Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Worth it?
You only have to look at the queues outside Costco, Argos and B&Q on a sunny day to understand that people go mad for a cheap inflatable hot tub. We often get people coming into store asking about them – while we don’t stock them, that’s not to say they’re a good idea for some! Today we’re talking about the pros and cons to investing in an inflatable hot tub.
Pluses and Positives:
- The blow-up hot tubs are a great way of finding out if you’re going to use a hot tub. You can usually pick up a cheap inflatable Hot Tub for around £300, which is a much smaller investment than a hard-shell hot tub!
- Because they are inexpensive to buy and conveniently plug into a standard U.K. socket, you can literally buy one in a box, pump it up with the air blower supplied and be in hot water on the same day. No lengthy lead times, no electrician, no hassle! You’ll also use way less electricity than a traditional 32 Amp traditional Hot Tub, saving you money in running costs.
- If you’re persuaded to splash out on the real deal at some point in the future, you’ll be better prepared for knowing what type of hot tub you prefer. You’ll also have knowledge on water chemistry and all of the other chores and challenges which are associated with hot tub ownership.
- Your garden will become a party-zone and you’ll have friends (some which you’d forgotten about) turn up at your house with their bathing costume! It’s a great (and relatively inexpensive) way of reconnecting with family and friends, and of course making use of your garden, which may otherwise have only been used for drying the laundry!
- If your garden resembles more of a postage stamp than a country estate, you might not want a hot tub taking up precious space all year-round. Inflatable hot tubs can easily be emptied, deflated and put away until you’re ready to use it again! The bonus to being easily stored is that you can take it with you – whether you’re moving to a new house or fancy a soak at your holiday home, providing you have a water supply and electrical outlet, your inflatable hot tub can deliver!
The Downsides and liabilities:
- You’ll have to regularly change the water - every 2 weeks if in daily use! The filter is very, very basic in inflatable hot tubs; not what you want when they’re responsible for collecting everything which comes off our body and keeping the water clear! The filters are disposable and don’t last long (perhaps a month) – although they’re usually only a tenner online.
- It can get expensive to run as there’s no insulation to keep the water hot – usually only a lid and perhaps a ground sheet. While in the height of Summer this may not be a problem, but if you use your Hot Tub when the weather is a little cooler (or early morning/late evening), this could become expensive.
- There’s no built-in or in-line purification system to keep the water clean and neutralise bacteria and water-borne germs – just a floating dispenser. This must be loaded manually with chlorine or bromine tablets and left bobbing around in the spa, meaning that you’ll use lots of chemicals and without lots of bromine/chlorine the result will be dirty. Chlorine and Bromine are bleaches, meaning that lots of chemicals will deteriorate of the insides of the blow-up spa, which cannot be avoided! The deterioration weakens the material, leaving it prone to rips and tears; these rips and tears won’t be covered under the guarantee and it’s very difficult to repair as the puncture repair material won’t stick to the now chemically-scoured sides of the spa. As an additional bonus (that was sarcasm) the blower and heater will also pack up!
- While you usually get a 12-month guarantee, the lifespan of an inflatable spa is around 2 Summers use (if you’re lucky!) after which it will likely need replacing. This is also a major issue, as they are not recyclable – meaning when it inevitably breaks and you throw it out, it will sit just sit in a landfill forever! We are firm believers in environmental sustainability, so while hard shell hot tubs are also hard to recycle, a good quality model will last upwards of 10 years, lessening the need to be replaced and reducing waste!
- Inflatable hot tubs only have an air blower to create the bubbles, so there is no hydrotherapy – just air! The trouble with these types of jets is you cannot control the temperature as it will be the same as the ambient surrounding air temperature. So, on a colder day, the air will cool the water dramatically.
- You won’t be able to use the spa during the winter. Most blow-up spa manufacturers advise against using their hot tub in temperatures lower than 10 ° Celsius since in the winter, the heater cannot warm the water as fast as the air temperature cools the water. If you’re determined to use an inflatable Hot Tub through the winter, a great idea is to set your blow-up spa in a cabin, which will help to keep it relatively warm.
- There’s no seats in the blow-up spas, so when you’re in it, you’re sitting on the floor at garden or deck level. But hey, so is everyone else in your spa and if you’ve all got a drink – who cares?
Inflatable hot tubs merits and can be a great starting point for someone dipping their toe (pun intended) into the world of hot tub ownership. That said, they are not a long-term investment, and while they’re relatively cheap to buy initially, you may pay the price later down the line!
If you want more information on where to start with a hard-shell hot tub, feel free to contact us or Download our FREE Buyer’s Guide to start your journey to Hot Tub ownership.
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