- Inflatable hot tubs are practical, portable, and more economical than permanent versions.
- The Intex PureSpa Plus Bubble Massage Spa has solid heat retention and durable walls.
- See also: The best inflatable pools
As cold weather drag on, you may be looking for a way to keep warm while still enjoying time in the yard. If you have space, soaking in a hot tub is a good way to unwind and relieve stress.
An inflatable hot tub isn’t going to come with the same powerful motor and temperature stability as hot tubs three or four times its price, but it will certainly do the trick in a pinch and last a while if you take care of it. We suggest insulating the bottom with rubber mulch and sand to keep these inflatable tubs much warmer throughout winter.
We found the best inflatable hot tub options currently on the market. We also have tips on what to look for when shopping around, how to use one, and how to stay eco-friendly, all at the bottom of this guide.
Here are the best inflatable hot tubs in 2021
- Best inflatable hot tub overall: Intex PureSpa Plus Bubble Massage Spa
- Best budget inflatable hot tub: Coleman SaluSpa Four-Person Hot Tub
- Best square inflatable hot tub: Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet
Updated on 2/18/2021: We’ll be rewriting this guide soon with new product recommendations. We also plan to speak to experts to learn more about what to look for in an inflatable hot tub. In the meantime, we stand by our picks.
The best inflatable hot tub overall
The Intex PureSpa Plus has numerous jets, heats quickly, and is available in the four- and six-person models.
Pros: Includes hard-water treatment system, easy assembly
Cons: Water cools down when jets are on, no hydro jets
This is an improved version of our previous top pick as it comes with 20 more jets. It’s also more widely available.
The four-person hot tub (which really fits two or three comfortably) comes with 140 jets, and the six-person model (really more of a four-person size) comes with 170 jets.
The downside of those jets is that the more the water stirs in a hot tub with a smaller motor like this, the cooler the water gets. Still, you should be able to get this thing up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t bad considering you’re getting a hot tub for less than $1,000 and that it takes about a day or two to get the thing up to heat. The colder it is outside, the longer the pool takes to heat, so bear this in mind during winter.
The other bells and whistles are two inflatable headrests and a multi-colored LED light. Assembly should take around 20 minutes.
The best budget inflatable hot tub
Durable, strong, and comfortable, the Coleman SaluSpa Four-Person Hot Tub is an excellent deal for a reasonable price.
Pros: Economical, sturdy, heats up quickly, easy to set up and use indoors or outdoors, has a padded floor
Cons: Can’t run bubbles and heater at the same time, potential leaks (tub, heat/pump container, hose connection), crowded for more than four adults
The Coleman SaluSpa is an entry-level inflatable hot tub. It’s solidly built, but it lacks the bells and whistles of some of our other picks. Made of a three-ply reinforced material featuring a polyester mesh core encased in two layers of sturdy PVC, the tub is extremely tough. Because of its I-beam construction (something you’d find in a house), you can feel secure leaning against, sitting on, or grabbing the tub’s walls to climb in and out without bending or buckling it.
Many shoppers reported heating water up to 104-degrees Fahrenheit (40-degrees Celsius) in as few as two-to-six hours on a hot day, but as much as 24 to 48 hours in colder conditions. An automatic start/stop timer-controlled heating system helps save energy.
The air jets can’t run when the heater is on, but they’re effective in emanating bubbles from the tub’s perimeter.
Although the inflatable hot tub can fit four to six adults, it’s most comfortable for four.
The best square inflatable hot tub
Stretch out your legs, lean back, and enjoy robust bubbles in a less-than-ordinary hot tub, the square Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet Hot Tub.
Pros: Ample room, ideal shape for stretching out legs, robust bubble action, durable design
Cons: Confusing assembly instructions
The comfortable Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet is the perfect place to stretch out in the sun or under the stars. It’s advertised to fit four to six people, but as with other picks on this list, it definitely starts to feel cramped if you max out the capacity.
This tub heats up fairly efficiently. Reports of warm-up times ranged from as few as nine hours to as many as 36 hours under different conditions such as initial water temperature and the surrounding climate. Especially notable is the Salu-Massage System: 114 air jets that surround the hot tub and emit massaging bubbles even while the heat is on. This sets it apart from the others in our guide since many inflatable hot tubs can’t run both the heater and the bubbles at once.
While a few people report running the bubbles for as long as 15 minutes without the water temperature dropping a single degree, others concede that the heater can’t maintain the temperature over a longer period of time. The bubbles themselves are impressively strong for an inflatable tub.
The Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet Hot Tub is 71 inches wide, 71 inches long, and 28 inches tall with a capacity of 210 gallons. With durable walls, this tub requires no tools or professional installation for set-up. Many reviewers, however, complained of confusing and frustrating installation instructions.
What should I look for in inflatable hot tubs?
When shopping for inflatable hot tubs, consider the following factors:
- Size: How many people can it fit comfortably? Do you plan to use it by yourself, with a partner, or for hosting a party? Some models fit two to four adults, larger ones accommodate six or more adults. For a more comfortable experience, consider having fewer people in the tub than what it says is the max — you’ll need some space to stretch out, after all.
- Capacity: Capacities range between 175 and 275 gallons. Bigger isn’t always better: the greater the water volume, the heavier the tub becomes, and the longer and costlier it takes to fill up and heat.
- Shape: Although most are round, there are square and rectangular models that can offer more legroom and fit well in corners or against a wall.
- Construction: Most inflatable hot tubs are made of layered vinyl PVC. Some have walls reinforced with polyester, nylon, vinyl, or a blend. For additional sturdiness, some models’ walls have a segmented design, reinforced with an interior vertical I-beam structure.
- Heater: Look for a heater that raises water temperature efficiently (within 12 to 24 hours) and maintains it between 89°F (32°C) and 104°F (40°C). Some heaters run on timers for energy-saving auto turn-on and shut-off.
- Air jets: Powered by the pump, air jets shoot out bubbles to give bathers a tickling sensation. Find out how many jets a model has and where they are located. Higher-end models have hydro jets that spray streams of water for massage. Often — but not always — jets and the heater can’t operate simultaneously.
How do I use an inflatable hot tub?
- Plan ahead. Most models require about 12 to 24 hours to heat up the many gallons of water it takes to fill the tub, so you won’t be able to jump in right away.
- Fill up the tub with only the amount of water you need. This reduces your water usage and therefore, bills.
- Don’t heat the water above 104°F (40°C). 100°F (37°C) is the maximum safe temperature for pregnant women. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, soaking in 106°F (41.1°C) water can raise body temperature and induce heatstroke.
- Don’t run the heater unnecessarily. Heat up the water only when you plan to use it (of course with enough time for preheating). Use the heater’s timer; if it doesn’t have one, use an egg timer or your phone’s timer.
- Hydrate. Drink water before and after your bath because the heat can dehydrate you.
- Supervise any children using the hot tub. Don’t bring in babies/infants.
- If you have any heart, circulatory, diabetic, or blood-pressure issues, consult your doctor before using a hot tub.
- Don’t take anything that induces drowsiness (e.g., tranquilizers, anti-histamines, excessive alcohol, etc.).
Can I use the water from an inflatable hot tub to water my lawn or plants?
Yes, but only after leaving off the cover to let it cool down as well as dissipate and reduce chlorine or bromine to a level around one part per million. Use a hose to disperse the water and prevent flooding.
Check out our other pool guides
- The best swimming pools
- The best inflatable pools
- The best kiddie pools
- The best pool toys and games
- The best pool floats
- The best beach umbrellas
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