Best Portable and Inflatable Hot Tubs Under $1000 in 2016
Are you looking for a cheap and cheerful portable spa to relax in after work? Or to use at a party you’re hosting at the weekend? There are definitely some great bargains to be had, and there are some real quality inflatable hot tubs out there that can be bought for well under $1000. See below for the best inflatable hot tubs in your budget, you will not be disappointed at the choice available.
1. Bestway Lay-Z Spa Hot Tub Range
The Bestway Lay-Z Spa Range features a series of three hot tubs that all come in at well below the $1000 threshold and can hold between 4-8 adults depending on the model.
Each Bestway model comes with a rapid water heating system to ensure that it gets up to maximum temperature as quick as possible. A water filtration system is also included to ensure that the hot tub water remains properly filtered and clear of particles and objects that could damage the product.
Additional features included with every model are: Digital control panel, hot tub cover, puncture repair kit, chemical testing kit and an automatic heat time which is rarely available on any other hot tub models in this price range.
Each Bestway Lay-Z spa us built with strong and endurable puncture-resistant triple-layered materials consisting of durable polyester mesh and laminated PVC to give as much protection as possible against sharp objects and rough usage.
Built with strong puncture-resistant 3-ply TriTech reinforced fabric, this hot tub has 3 layers of strong protective material. These 3 layers consist of a durable polyester mesh core that is shielded in another two layers of laminated PVC – this much protection is not available on many other inflatable hot tubs currently on the market – especially in this price range.
Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub
Unfilled weight: 85lb
Water capacity: 192 Gallons
Outer diameter: 71in
Advertised as a 4-6 person hot tub, (although 6 adults is a bit of a squeeze), the Bestway Palm Springs model is definitely more spacious than the Miami. Coming in at a decent weight of 88.4lb, it can be moved with a bit of muscle-power involved. Still a great portable choice.
It can hold nearly 1000 liters (or 254 gallons), meaning that this product is easily suitable for 6 people with the extra 100+ liters of water capacity compared to the Miami. This means you have a more spacious spa experience, with greater water andextra room for movement.
Unfilled weight: 89lb
Water capacity: 254 Gallons
Outer diameter: 77in
Inner diameter: 56in
Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Paris Inflatable Hot Tub
With roughly the same dimensions as the Palm Springs hot tub, the Bestway Paris Lay-Z Spa includes a stunning multicolor LED lighting system – this is an amazing feature for a hot tub that is not only under $1000, but a very cheap hot tub under $500 too!
Unfilled weight: 89lb
Water capacity: 250 Gallons
Outer diameter: 77in
Inner diameter: 56in
2. Intex 77in PureSpa Hot Tub
The inflatable and portable Intex 77in PureSpa hot tub is one of the cheapest available hot tubs in 2016, but that’s not to that it isn’t great on features, including a premium built-in hard water treatment system that softens the water, making it more gentle on skin contact for a more relaxing and soothing experience.
120 air jets line the lower half of the hot tub creating a good bubble. The bubbling does create a little noise, but not loud enough to ruin a regular conversation. The air jets are not the most powerful available (go for the upgraded deluxe massage version for a greater experience) but still help create a wonderful relaxing environment.
This hot tub tries its up-most hardest to fight against the more expensive portable hot tubs currently in the market. It has an impressive feature list and good capacity, and would be a very respectable purchase for anyone looking for an entry level and portable hot tub under $500 – strong, durable and amazing value.
Additional Features: Digital Display, Carry Bag, Hot Tub Cover, Insulation Ground Sheet, Water Treatment System, Hard Water Treatment System, Puncture Repair Kit, Chemical Testing Kit.
Unfilled weight: 89lb
Water capacity: 210 Gallons
Outer diameter: 77in
3. Homax Inflatable Hot Tub Series
This Homax Inflatable Hot Tub range is absolutely full of variety. Coming in a varying degree of sizes and at very good prices, these hot tubs offer a loads of features for not a lot of money. The quality is great for this prices range and it’s definitely worth looking because they could well be what you’re after.
There are currently 5 varying sizes to choose from in this series, starting at a smaller but well respected 158 gallon tub, and going right up to a rather huge 373 gallon model.
These hot tubs can be set up from straight out of the box in spectacular time and due to their low weight, are very portable transportation is required. The tough materials make sure that the products remain durable even with heavy usage. Strong vertical beams have been added inside the material to allow the structure to stay strong and allow the hot tubs to remain in shape during and use.
The heater works well on these tubs and although the jets add a good relaxation factor. Overall, this is a great range of inflatable and portable hot tubs at quite amazing prices for their feature lists. Not the highest specification inflatable tubs currently on the market, but definitely fantastic value and won’t disappoint.
Homax 158 Gallon Hot Tub
The smallest of the series, the Homax 158 hot tub with slightly rounded corners can contain up to 158 gallons of water and seats 4 adults.
Although this hot tub can become a little tight when 4 people are in at one, it is definitely not too much of a squeeze. At 61 inches outer diameter this hot is great for the space-conscious buyer, but is definitely still big enough to either relax in or have a great time with friends.
Water capacity: 158 gallons (600 liters)
Outer diameter: 61 inches (155 cm)
Inner diameter: 43 inches (110 cm)
Height: 25.6 inches (65 cm)
Homax 211 Gallon Hot Tub
This round Homax 211 hot tub is slightly bigger than the 158 and boasts a rounded shape. With another 10 inches added to its outer diameter, with an extra water capacity of 53 gallons, this hot tub becomes a nice and spacious 4 seater. Although coming in at 14lb heaver, it is still perfectly portable.
Water capacity: 211 gallons (800 liters)
Outer diameter: 71 inches (180 cm)
Inner diameter: 55 inches (140 cm)
Height: 25.6 inches (65 cm)
Homax 252 Gallon Hot tub
Going back to a square shaped tub, this Homax 252 can hold 6 adults. It’s not the most spacious of 6 seaters, but is definitely not too cramped either. It would be a lovely size for 4 adults.
Water capacity: 252 gallons (950 liters)
Outer diameter: 73 inches (185 cm)
Inner diameter: 59 inches (150 cm)
Height: 25.6 inches (65 cm)
Homax 264 Gallon Hot Tub
Hitting the magical 1000 liter mark, this very spacious Homax 264 6 seater tub is great for a bigger yard, especially if you have lots of friends and family over. More than enough room to sit back and enjoy.
Water capacity: 264 gallons (1000 liters)
Outer diameter: 82 inches (208 cm)
Inner diameter: 63 inches (160 cm)
Height: 25.6 inches (65 cm)
Homax 373 Gallon Hot Tub
If it’s big you are looking for – then look no further! This beast can take hold of 8 full sized humans and is probably one of (if not thee) biggest inflatable hot tubs on the market. Not only that but this product also holds a whopping 373 gallons of water! Can you imagine the parties in this?
Water capacity: 373 gallons (1410 liters)
Outer diameter: 95 inches (240 cm)
Inner diameter: 78.7 inches (200 cm)
Height: 25.6 inches (65 cm)
4. Coleman Lay-Z Spa Hot Tub
One of the best cheap portable hot tubs under $500 as well as under $1000! The Coleman Lay-Z Spa is pretty much one of the cheapest good-quality hot tubs on the market in 2016 and is one of those rare products where quality seemingly outdoes the price. No wonder it’s the number one best-selling hot tub across multiple websites.
This Inflatable Hot Tub is cheap in price but has some very good features included with it. Cramming in an impressive amount of additions, this portable hot tub is hard to beat in the low-cost hot tub market.
A great tub for such a small investment when compared to other hot tubs. It has an extremely fast setup time and is surprisingly durable when fully inflated.
The massage-effect of the 120 air jets and the very quiet jet pump make for a very relaxing hot tub experience. The various add-on features like the digital control panel, insulating ground sheet and hot tub cover make this product even better in value. Overall a great buy for a person searching for a low-cost/entry inflatable hot tub.
Water Capacity: 254 Gallons
Outer Diameter: 56in
Inner Diameter: 77in
What to look for in an inflatable hot tub under $1000
When searching for budget hot tubs like this, you want to make sure that you’re looking at the best products on a market that can contain both good, and not so good hot tubs. That’s why we’re here – and we believe that we have hand-picked the very best hot tubs currently available anywhere on the market that are priced under $1000 this year.
When selecting the hot tubs that are listed above (which, amazingly, are all selling at under $1000 – some well below) we looked for very specific criteria in a selection of departments:
As all of these hot tubs are inflatable, it’s imperative that they’re able to withstand a reasonable amount of wear and usage without being punctured, losing their shape or splitting at the seams. Certain materials and manufacturer processes are better than others so we have tried as best we can to chose strong, solid hot tubs that are able to stand the test of time, and a few crazy cannon-balling kids too.
Circumstances change and sometimes you may not want your inflatable hot tub where it currently is – you may want to either move it somewhere else or pack it away for a little while – therefore we have chosen a group of highly portable hot tubs that, when emptied of water and be moved very easy around a yard or decking area, and can also be packed away without any fuss. The beauty of inflatable hot tubs is that they can be packed away into extremely small spaces and most weigh considerably less than 100lb.
Who doesn’t want to get their brand new amazing hot tub setup as soon as it arrives as quickly as possible!? Incredibly every hot tub on this list can be inflated and ready for water in under 30 minutes! We have made sure that each product comes with a motor that is especially designed to rapidly inflate the hot tub for you. Also, none of these inflatable hot tubs need any additional tools whatsoever to set up and can all be run off of a standard home power outlet.
So many cheaper hot tubs come completely standard with no additional functionality, so we have picked 4 brilliant models/ranges that do. The very least you want to look out for to know that you’re getting your moneys worth is a hot tub cover, a digital control panel and chemical testing kit – they all make your life so much easier, and thankfully, each product on this list comes with all three.
Ease of Maintenance
You don’t want to spend most of your spare time cleaning and maintaining your hot tub, you want to be in it! So we have made sure that all of our hot tubs are ridiculously easy to look after and clean. The most you’re every going to need to do it add chemicals and clean/change the filter once every so often.
What are the main reasons to buy a Hot Tub?
Everybody has their own ideas in mind when it come to buying a hot tub, below are a few of the main reasons behind customer purchases:
Probably the number one reason why hot tub purchases are made. What better way to end your hard day at work than to slip into an outdoor 104F bubbling bath of heaven in the depths of winter? Spend 30 minutes in a quality hot tub and all your worries will just float away. The powerful jets will massage deep into your tense muscles, loosening up multiple tight areas and improving blood circulation throughout your body while the mood-lights will set an amazingly relaxing scene.
This is tied into the relaxation section above – hydrotherapy is the term coined when using water for pain relief. The amazingly warm temperature of a hot tub spa coupled with the multiple perfectly-placed power jets around the inner shell can do amazing things to your body.
The heat from a hot tub causes several bodily processes/changes to occur within your body. Blood flow starts to increase as your core temperature warms up, this in turn causes your blood vessels to dilate, helping to lower your blood pressure in as little as 20 minutes. Your core will start to relax in the hot water as the heat transfers into your deep muscles.
Although a standard bathtub could theoretically do the same, unlike hot tubs, baths can’t maintain the high temperatures for long periods of time, not allowing the blood to circulate through your muscles at temperatures perfect for relaxation. For this reason, hot tubs are a perfect option for soothing acute and chronic back pain and other muscle/joint pains if used regularly.
In addition to the benefits above, regular hot tub use can also help with: Diabetes, Arthritis and getting good quality deep sleep.
I can’t think of many alternative romantic settings that can beat sitting in a private hot tub out of sight from everybody, under the stars, steam being thrown off the surface, red mood-lights shining through the water layers with a glass of champagne, a few strawberries and a perfect soundtrack playing in the background. Can you? A perfect way to get some often much needed time together when the kids have gone to bed. Bliss.
To be an amazing party host
Who wouldn’t want to go to a garden party in the heights of summer when there’s a 4-8 person hot tub just waiting to be stepped into? Definitely every party host’s best weapon of choice when it comes to putting on a BBQ for friends and family. Beers in hand, great party music blazing out – and a hot tub to help you put on a party to remember.
Just to say you have one
And of course, at the end of the day, who wouldn’t want a hot tub? Just get one!
What else to look out for in a Hot Tub
As mentioned above, there are so many different hot tub and spa variations that you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. There are probably hot tub configurations and types that you didn’t even know existed.
Although any hot tub you decide to buy is going to be both fun and relaxing (depending on its purpose), I know that if I can help you chose the one that you really want, then you’re going to be twice as happy as you would have been if you just picked out the cheapest, or the ‘bubbliest’, or the one with the nicest coloured lights. Let’s see what you should be looking for when deciding on what’s the best hot tub for you:
There are a few main types of hot tub – each built to serve a specific purpose and price range. The most popular hot tub variations are:
Inflatable Hot Tubs and Portable Hot Tubs
Inflatable hot tubs are the cheapest and smallest available. They’re designed for the low budget customer but also for the customer who requires the most portability. These inflatable spas very light compared to their bulkier square cousins and can be moved around a garden or from a house into a garage at will, which is why they are also commonly called portable hot tubs.
With portability and price being the upsides, the downsides are the fact that these variations are normally smaller and less durable that hard-cased hot tubs.
Hard-Cased / Plug and Play Hot Tubs
The stereotypic hot tub. These are the ones that you are likely familiar with, commonly square and with steps leading up to the waterline. These hot tubs are more expensive but are a lot more durable and keep the water warm for a very long length of time if equipped with a well insulated cover. Although a lot heavier and bulkier than an inflatable hot tub, they can still be transported to a reasonable extent if needs-be.
In-built Hot Tubs
These are either custom built hot tubs or are variations of a standard hard-cased hot tub. These are built into the ground, normally within a garden or outdoor spa and can look amazing with the right enclosure and surroundings. Obviously these are not portable at all so you better be sure the you like that hot tub where it is!
Probably the most important thing in this list for the majority of people. When it comes to buying a hot tub, the price range is huge.
At the lower end you can pick up a well made and reliable inflatable hot tub for around $300 – like the Coleman Lay-Z Spa. Inflatable hot tubs are the cheapest and generally regarded as low-range hot tubs, but they definitely serve their purpose. Inflatable hot tubs go up to around $1200 in price.
After a bit of a price jump after inflatables, Plug and Play hard-cased hot tubs begin at around $2500 – these are definitely the most popular choice for the average buyer. Depending on size and customisation. These can go up to around $20000 for the luxurious, super powerful 8-12 person monsters.
And then we hit dreamland. For between $20000-$30000 you can land yourself a multi-tier, 20 person, TV-laden hot tub that when you sink into it, you’ll never want to climb out again – ever. Of course then there are custom-built hot tubs for the perfectionists, but that’s a whole other article. you can make these as cheap or expensive as yo please.
Another important factor – you’ll know straight away the rough amount of seats required in your new purchase. This is going to vary widely between buyers. Will you be using your purchase mainly for a relaxing romantic night in for two? Or will you be hosting huge garden parties with the aim at squeezing 8-10 people in at any one time?
My recommendation is to decide how many people will normally be using the hot tub, and then add on at least another 2 seats. If your family increases, or you suddenly have a big influx of friendly gatherings, you can’t just add another seat or two into your hot tub, you need to decide before you buy and play it safe.
To tie in with the section above, hot tubs have many different floor-plate shapes with varying seating plans:
These are the seats you will normally see in an average hot tub – they are usually placed in each corner and allow you to sit upright as if you was sitting in a normal chair. If there are jets added to the back/bottom of the seats these are sometimes referred to as therapy seats due to the massage effects that these closely-placed jets produce in relation to the seated user.
These are exactly as they sound – like sun loungers they allow you to stretch out and normally come with good lumbar support for extra comfort. They can come either with or without inbuilt jets. The obvious benefit to these seats are that they allow you to stretch out and can be extremely comfortable – the downside being that they are space-hogs and having a lounger in your hot tub normally means that an extra seat or two will probably be sacrificed.
These seats are normally shaped similar to a standard seat, except they are raised higher within the hot tub. The idea of these seats is that in the high water temperatures, you are able to better perch your upper body out of the water so your core body temperature is able to cool down.
Think of these as corner-sofas. Love seats are flat-bottomed, right-angled and more spacious than a regular seat so that two (or more) people are able to snug up next to each other – if that’s what they’re into.
Obviously another important factor. It is definitely a requirement to scope out your preferable hot tub placement within your home/garden before you buy and to make sure that measurements have been made to guarantee that the hot tub will in fact fit where required.
Keep in mind that the average round/inflatable hot tub can vary in size between about 6-7 feet, while square products can range from 7-9 feet depending on the capacity they are designed to hold. If you’re planning to build your hot tub into the ground, consult a specialist landscaper to ensure the hole measurements are perfect and allow for electrical input and access to filters/motors.
Jets are not important as long as your hot tub bubbles right? Wrong! A quality hot tub with huge numbers of powerful jets will tell you otherwise – trust me, you can tell the difference. Jet numbers can vary greatly between hot tubs depending on brand, size, shape and quality.
Cheaper/smaller plug and play hot tubs can have as little as 12-20 jets built in, while more expensive/larger products can have as much as 80 jets. Although inflatable hot tubs can claim to have up to 150 jets, these are ‘air jets’ and are completely different to the crafted adjustable power jets found in other hot tubs.
Although I have just written a whole paragraph on jet numbers – the amount of jets in a hot tub isn’t the be all and end all as far as the discussion goes. Some of the best hot tubs on the market have lower jet numbers – it all comes down to quality. Do you want 72 jets that flow out like a straw? Or 40 jets that blast out like water cannons (if you wanted them to)?
Jet placement is also important, and be assured that market research has been carried out by the various top hot tub brands to ensure that jet placement is perfect for each individual manufactured product.
In terms of flow and power, many hot tubs have control panels allowing you to customize which jets are running at any given time, and most jets can normally be turned on and off manually by simply twisting the nozzles – not to mention that many jets also have movable nozzles to adjust flow direction to suit the placement of each user.
At the end of the day jet placement all comes down to personal preference. Do you want a powerful back and bottom massage while sitting in your seat? Or do you want well placed jets to sooth the feet? This is what this site was made for – to help satisfy your requirements.
A common misconception is that a 220v hot tub will increase the power of the jets when compared to a 110v. This is wrong – having a supply of either 110v to 220v has no effect at all on jet power/performance. This extra voltage will however help increase pump efficiency and decrease heating time.
To follow on from above – you could have the best jets in the world, but they’re not going to work very well at all if you have a shoddy underpowered pump… Hot tubs can come with one, two, or sometimes even three pumps. The average two pump hot tub will use one for water circulation/filtration, while the other will power the jets.
Some hot tubs come with pumps with variable speeds so they can fire up and give you a lovely jet stream while in use, and when you’re out, they can slow down and keep the hot tub gently bubbling away, keeping it crystal clear at the same time. Summary: The better the pump – the better the filtration and the stronger the jets.
Many of the best hot tubs these days come with at least a few different heating/jet modes, below are a few of the most common modes you will likely find configured on your new hot tub:
This, obviously, is the bog-standard hot tub mode that you’ll likely be using the most. When this setting is activated your hot tub will warm up to the desired set temperature and remain there until you either change mode or the hot tub switches off.
Economy mode, as the name suggests is designed to save power. To save power the hot tub will normally (depending on make and model) only heat up to the desired temperature during filter cycles. Once up to temperature, the water will very slowly drop until the next filter cycled takes place.
This mode will save you money on power in the long run in exchange for a slightly cooler hot tub experience once the temperatures start to drop off.
This mode is normally set when the hot tub is not in use for prolonged periods of time. When set to sleep mode, the water temperature will heat up to within about 20° F (11° C) of the configured temperature during each filter cycle, using less energy and costing less money than economy mode.
As well as the above modes, most good hot tubs normally have at least two jet settings, generally allowing you to shift between low speeds and high speeds. Some hot tubs have a ‘pulse’ setting which cycles through slow jets and fast jets.
If you are a friend of the planet, you are likely to want to ensure that your hot tub is as eco-friendly and energy efficient as possible. There are multiple factors to consider when trying to pick a hot tub with a good energy rating. Check the type and amount of insulation used around the hot tub – the more insulation, the less heat that will escape and therefore the less amount of work the heater will have to do to keep the water up to temperature.
Many hot tubs have multiple foam layers, so check foam density before buying if you want to best insulation. Of course, the surrounding insulation is useless if the is nothing stopping the heat from escaping above while the hot tub is not in use.
You will want to make sure that you invest in a good quality hot tub cover if one isn’t initially supplied – they can make the world of difference. A good average thickness to aim for is around 4 inches for a cover, although some covers can come in at up to 6 inches thick! Check here to see some of the best hot tub cover reviews.
Hot tub manufacturers
As with pretty much every single product on the market today – there are good brands and there are bad brands, and this market is no different. Please be aware that some manufacturers are better than others, and we will of course point you in the right direction and help guide you towards the best hot tub brands currently available within your price range. See here for a full list of the best hot tub brands.
Hot tub maintenance
As I’m sure you are aware, owning a hot tub comes with the responsibility of ensuring that it’s correctly maintained. Worry not – this is in no way as difficult as you probably think. These products are designed to be customer maintained between services and are therefore designed to be as easily maintainable as possible. Although I won’t go too in-depth here, below are a few of the maintenance procedures that would be required by yourself:
Regular cleaning of hot tub shell and cover
An obvious one here – as with most things placed around the house/garden, it does unfortunately need to be cleaned regularly, especially when there is water and humidity is concerned – this type of environment is a breeding ground for bacteria and algae so ensure that you give the outside, inside and cover a good scrub regularly.
Cleaning the filter
Once every 2-3 weeks you will need to check and clean your filter to ensure that it isn’t clogged up and is running optimally. There may be times when the filter becomes loose or rips/tears and the filter will need to be changed. Filters should also be changed at least once a year anyway regardless of damage.
Checking and replenishing of chemical levels
In order to keep the water sanitary and bacteria/algae-free you will likely need to use some sort of chemical additive such as chlorine or bromine. You will need to monitor the PH levels regularly to ensure that chemical levels aren’t too low are too high. Too low and the bacteria/algae will still be able to grow – too high and the acidity will start to corrode the hot tub and potentially cause skin irritation.
Although it is relatively easy to do all of the above yourself, it’s still highly recommended that you get a hot tub service at least once a year (and more often with heavy usage) – this ensures that your hot tub is always running as optimally as possible, and also greatly helps in preventing problems (and costs) further down the line.
Many brands only honour certain warranties if the product has been regularly serviced by a professional, not to mention – if you’ve just thrown down $5000+ on an amazing hot tub, surely you’ll want it to remain in the greatest condition possible?