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There are a lot of differences between these two types of hot tubs that can cause confusion for those that are looking for a solid purchase. Since inflatable hot tubs have come a long way over the years, they are really starting to cover a lot of the features that portable hot tubs have already covered. This means that deciding between the two has become more difficult than ever since they have a lot of the same pros and cons. Neither one is necessarily better than the other, so it isn’t as easy as saying that portable hot tubs are better than inflatable hot tubs. Below is a short guide on how to differentiate between the two when deciding on a purchase so that you can narrow it down to what you really want.
The Canadian Spa Company is one of the most renowned and respected brands on the market. In 2015, this global brand has even won the Best of Class Award, this title being deserved due to the high-end hot tubs that they have delivered to customers. For over 30 years, they have managed to bring joy to those looking for great-performing hot tubs at fair prices. As time has passed, this brand has focused on innovation and quality, this being the main reason why they have managed to provide impressive tubs like the top of the line CSCHTRG29 Rio Grande.
The price is a marvel, and it’s very democratic. What it really means is that the inflatable hot tub experience is really no long exclusive for the well-off. How long will it take you to save $400 for a tub? Probably not all that long, right. And it doesn’t add much to your electricity bill, with some people saying it will add about $80 to you monthly electricity expenses. That’s for keeping it ready every day!

Things to know. The temp goes up to 104 degrees. The jets have a timer with 20 minutes on and then 10 minutes off before you can restart them again. As seen in other reviews, it does lose temp during the jet sessions, but to my experience, it loses about 2 degrees per twenty minute session. I usually keep mine at 102 degrees and after 2 sessions (plus the 10 minute wait in between), the temp decreases to about 98 degrees - which works fine for me. I have found that 104 is way too hot, so the 98-102 range is perfect. This unit ... full review
Basically, there are two types of hot tubs and spas: portable and custom-built or in-ground. Portable models can accommodate anywhere from two to eight or more adults. They can be inflatable latex or vinyl, which are usually less expensive; fiberglass; acrylic; polyethylene; or another type of plastic. Some hot tubs are built in traditional wood or even out of recycled materials, like metal bins or barrels.
It isn’t designed to be left running 24/7, and will automatically shut off after around 48hrs. If you intend to make regular use of a hot tub and don’t want to have to keep waiting for the water to get back up to temperature, then a portable hot tub may not be the be the most efficient choice. If, however, you are simply looking for something to enhance your weekends, a portable spa is definitely the answer,
The Intex Pure Spa Jet & Bubble Deluxe Portable Hot Tub is an example of a hot tub that sports a combination of 120 bubble jets and 4 high performance massage jets. These massage jets produce a much more powerful stream of water which can be used to soothe needy parts of the body. The massage jets do provide a more restorative feature than the bubble jets alone The jets are located about halfway up the inner wall and are positioned well to give your back a nice massage. Again just don’t expect too much. You won’t get the same experience from a $400 spa as you would a $10,000 one.
The walls are made with six-layer reinforced PVC designed to resist tears and leaking, and the inside supports 108 relaxing air jets for soothing hydrotherapy and pain relief. The spa also features a built-in heater for more convenient design, and features an LED control panel close at hand that makes it easy to activate the jets or manage the temperature inside the spa.
Location. In a combination pool and spa, the placement of the spa is inflexible, as it must be located in the immediate vicinity of the swimming pool. That’s not always going to be the best spot for it. In fact, to encourage ease of use, spa owners often prefer to place their hot tubs very close to the back door. This way, even on cold winter days, their warm hot tub is just steps away.

The inflatable spa offers a number of desirable features. An inflation hose makes it easy to inflate your hot tub when you set it up, and a built-in hard water treatment system filters out calcium and other minerals for a more smooth, relaxing soak. The experience is further enhanced by 130 massaging jets which can be activated via the handy, easy-access control panel at the side of the hot tub.
Be sure you have an adequate area to install the inflatable hot tub you are looking for before you hit the Buy button. Each model has its own guidelines when it comes to external and internal implementation, so if you are looking for a hot tub to enjoy the cold seasons on your own private thermal water be sure the model is resistant to thermal stress as some models really can’t endure temperature way too cold, like to freezing and snowy degrees. As we said before, the area on the ground where you will install the tub must be preferentially thermal insulating. Cold stone floors are not recommended, wood, lawn or even sand and preferential. For cold scenarios, the installation of the set is better over windbreakers like a fence or a wall.
What ever you call them, when you place enough of them together you do get some power and you will experience a pleasant light massaging effect. Most inflatable spas have somewhere between 100 and 120 bubble jets. That much air does produce some energy. The water fills with air and seems to increase in volume as the bubbles charge towards the surface.
On one hand, such multifunctionality provides clear benefits by saving construction time and cost; on the other, combining functions can markedly reduce functionality. Sure, you can play both pool and ping-pong on a combination table, but neither experience will quite measure up to playing pool on a real pool table, or ping-pong on a table specifically designed for the game. The same principle applies to combination in-ground pools and spas.
If your looking how to order, there are several companies selling a huge range, so it can be difficult to choose the right one. Ask yourself how often you will be using the Jacuzzi, how many people should it seat, where is it going to go? Check out the online comments and do your research as although a cheap inflatable spa sounds great you will still want the top quality you can afford.
Like most of the portable hot tubs that are available to buy you can’t usually use the heater and the bubbles or the jets at the same time. The bubbles have a 30 minutes run time and the jets have a 60 minute run time and in that time the temperature of the water can drop a few degrees because of the cold air bubbling through the water. There’s less heat loss with the water jets. The heater can be switched back on straight afterwards.
Cartridge System: the more cartridge filters a hot tub implements the better. When you have several filter cartridges the maintenance of the tub gets easier as you don’t have to replace them that often. While this kind of build is more often seen on hot tubs that have big capacity of water and people, whenever you spot them give it special preference. The replacing of cartridges on these tubs can take almost 2 years, a lot of time you save money and the bother.
You’ll notice right away that saltwater feels softer, almost like a mineral bath. The salt used is sodium chloride, which is essentially regular table salt. It’s also the same salt that is in the ocean, but only about a tenth of the amount. Get a 40 lb. bag of pool salt, add 2 lbs. per 100 gallons of spa water, and you’re ready to go! The salt is very cheap, about $7 per bag. The slightly salty spa water leaves your skin feeling refreshed, not irritated, like bathing in mineral spring water.
The maximum heat capacity is 104°F, and it uses 120 bubble jets and 4 massage jets to provide an amazing hydro massage. It boasts an impressive 210-gallon water capacity, and it has a flow rate of 460 gallons per hour. It heats the water by 2-3°F per hour. The important features are the easy-to-use digital control panel, the water filtration system, the hard water treatment system, the salt water system, and the comfortably cushioned floor.
Outdoors: Obviously in the summer months outdoors is going to be great. If you are in a particularly hot region then, although it is tempting to leave the spa unprotected in the sun to keep water temperature up.  Be cautious of too much hot a sun, as the tub can deform with exposure to excessive prolonged heat. Setting up or putting it inside a gazebo is a perfect solution to overcome this. See our guide to the best gazebos >>
A quality inflatable hot tub can last for years. They are made of sturdy material and can withstand temperatures of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and more. The sturdy material comes in handy when heavy people are using the hot tub. So if you are large, you don’t have to worry that the hot tub will deflate from your weight. They are sturdy and can take a lot of wear and tear. They are firm and will hold you no matter what position you are in when using them. You can lean back or stand up, and the hot tub will stay strong. You can also get a tub that can support the weight of as many as four people, so you get to share your hot tub fun with friends and family.
An inflatable hot tub actually has superior insulation because air surrounds the water and most come with an inflatable thermal cover. We found most hard hot tubs do not come with a cover and will require an additional purchase in most cases. From experience, we know how those ‘additional purchases’ turn into putting off the purchase and never getting one.
The more expensive of the two would definitely be portable, not only for the higher grade materials but also factoring in shipping weight. Portable hot tubs tend to weight more than 100 pounds and depending on where you want to put it may need special planning beforehand. This is because you have to factor in doorway size if you are putting it inside, and let’s not forget taking it up a flight of stairs. A lot of people opt to have a friend help, so there is a couple of bucks in that transaction as well-unless you have a really gracious friend that doesn’t mind helping you carry a 100+ pound hot tub with weird dimensions up a flight of stairs.
Sturdy Rock-Solid Shell – We cannot look past the sturdy rock-solid shell, it definitely makes the product worth it. The sturdiness of the shell is what is really catching people’s eyes. Plus, along with this, there’s a 5-year warranty. The shell is nearly indestructible and has been designed to withstand any harsh climate condition. With this one right here, you don’t have to think twice about putting it outside.
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