Best Hot Tubs

Best Hot Tubs – Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden

With so many hot tub options out there, from inground and portable to acrylic, swim-spa combos, rotationally molded, and even wood-fired varieties, it’s clear there’s a hot tub for every taste and preference. But which are the best hot tubs, is a tough question to answer.

However, for this discussion, we’re zoning in on three popular types: acrylic, wooden, and inflatable hot tubs. Each of these brings something special to the table, offering unique benefits for your relaxation and leisure time.

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Comparison Between Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden Hot Tubs:

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Which Should You Buy – Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden Hot Tubs?

  • Choose an Acrylic Hot Tub if you prioritize durability, want a variety of features for a luxurious soaking experience, and are prepared for a higher initial investment. It’s ideal if you have a dedicated space and prefer a permanent addition to your home.
  • Opt for an Inflatable Hot Tub if you’re looking for an affordable option that’s easy to install and move, making it perfect for renters or those with limited space. It’s a good entry-level choice if you’re new to hot tubs or uncertain about making a long-term investment.
  • Select a Wooden Hot Tub if you value the natural aesthetics and traditional experience of wood, don’t mind the maintenance, and are looking for something that blends well with natural surroundings. It’s great for those who appreciate craftsmanship and are willing to invest in upkeep for longevity.

What We Tested?

This detailed breakdown covers crucial aspects of hot tub evaluation, offering a thorough guide to what potential buyers should consider:


  • Delivery: The ease of receiving the hot tub, including whether it arrives on a pallet, in a box, or needs special handling equipment, is assessed.
  • Assembly: For non-inflatable models, the duration and ease of assembly, clarity of instructions, and necessity for professional installation are evaluated.
  • Inflation: The time and simplicity of the inflation process for inflatable hot tubs are examined.


  • Size and Capacity: The comfort level for the stated number of occupants and the adequacy of space for movement are considered.
  • Seating: The comfort and ergonomic support of the seating, including back and leg support, are reviewed.
  • Aesthetics: The hot tub’s visual appeal and how well it fits into your outdoor space and matches style preferences are noted.


  • Daily Care: The required daily efforts to keep the hot tub clean and sanitary, including chemical addition, filter cleaning, and surface skimming, are looked into.
  • Water Chemistry: The ease of maintaining the right water chemistry balance and any built-in features that assist with this process are evaluated.
  • Winterization (optional): The simplicity of winterizing the hot tub in colder climates to prevent damage is assessed, where applicable.


  • Price: The correlation between the hot tub’s price and its features and quality is considered.
  • Long-term Costs: The evaluation includes energy consumption, maintenance supplies, and potential repair costs versus the hot tub’s upfront cost and expected lifespan.
  • Warranty: Warranty coverage, including parts, labor, and defect protection, is reviewed.


  • Jets: The quantity of jets, their adjustability in intensity and direction, and the massage experience provided are examined.
  • Additional Features: The presence and functionality of extra features like waterfalls, LED lighting, sound systems, or smartphone integration are evaluated for their enhancement of the overall experience.

By focusing on these factors, reviewers can offer a well-rounded view of each hot tub’s performance, helping you make an informed decision that suits both your preferences and budget.

Some of the Best Hot Tubs – Acrylic

Essential Hot Tub Select

Some of the Best Hot Tubs – Inflatable

Bestway SaluSpa Helsinki Inflatable Hot Tub Spa

Some of the Best Hot Tubs – Wooden

wooden hot tub

Why Only The Three Types?

Focusing on these three types of hot tubs— acrylic, wooden, and inflatable—helps streamline the decision-making process for many potential buyers by highlighting distinct categories that cater to a broad range of preferences and practical considerations.

The availability factor plays a crucial role in why acrylic, wooden, and inflatable hot tubs are often spotlighted. These types cater to a wide market demand and are readily accessible, making them prime choices for those looking to dive into the hot tub experience. Let’s explore this aspect further:

Acrylic Hot Tubs: The Feature-Rich Option

Acrylic hot tubs are a staple in the hot tub market, available at numerous retailers, from specialized pool and spa stores to big home improvement centers. Their popularity ensures that consumers have a wide variety of models to choose from, each offering different features, sizes, and price points.

Acrylic hot tubs represent the more traditional, permanent option that offers durability and a wealth of features. They are often highlighted because they can come fully equipped with various jet settings, lighting options, and advanced filtration systems. This category is particularly relevant for those who are looking for a long-term investment in their home’s leisure and wellness amenities.

Inflatable Hot Tubs: The Flexible and Economical Alternative

Inflatable hot tubs top the charts in terms of convenience and ease of purchase. Available in many big-box stores, online marketplaces, and even some supermarkets, they offer an entry-level option that is hard to beat.

Inflatable hot tubs are included because they address the needs of a different segment of the market: those looking for affordability, ease of installation, and the flexibility to move or store the tub as needed. This type opens up the possibility of enjoying a hot tub experience to those who may have limited space, are on a tighter budget, or are not ready to commit to a permanent fixture.

Wooden Hot Tubs: The Natural and Aesthetic Choice

While perhaps not as ubiquitous as their acrylic counterparts, wooden hot tubs still hold a significant place in the market. They are readily available through specialty retailers and online platforms, catering to those who seek the aesthetic appeal and timeless design of wood.

Wooden hot tubs are emphasized for their aesthetic appeal and the unique, natural soaking experience they offer. They appeal to those who value craftsmanship and the beauty of natural materials. The inclusion of wooden hot tubs in discussions caters to individuals who prioritize the visual and tactile aspects of their relaxation experience, perhaps even over technological features.

The Broader Perspective

While there are many other types of hot tubs available—each with its own set of features, benefits, and intended uses—focusing on acrylic, wooden, and inflatable hot tubs helps cover a wide spectrum of what potential buyers might be looking for.

  • Acrylic hot tubs cater to those seeking a durable, feature-rich spa experience.
  • Inflatable hot tubs provide an accessible entry point for those prioritizing affordability and flexibility.
  • Wooden hot tubs appeal to those drawn to the aesthetic and natural elements, offering a unique and traditional soak.

By concentrating on these three types, we cover the bases from high-end, feature-packed options to more affordable, flexible solutions, and the aesthetically pleasing traditional choice, ensuring that a wide audience can find something that resonates with their specific needs and lifestyle preferences. This approach simplifies the decision-making process, making it easier for individuals to navigate the vast array of options and find the hot tub that best suits their desires and requirements.

Setup of Hot Tubs – Compare Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden

Setting up a hot tub is an exciting step towards enjoying relaxation and hydrotherapy at home. However, the setup process varies significantly across different types of hot tubs. Here’s how the setup compares between acrylic, inflatable, and wooden hot tubs:

Acrylic Hot Tubs

  • Preparation: Requires a solid, level base such as a concrete pad, reinforced deck, or compacted gravel. The area must support the weight of the hot tub, water, and users.
  • Installation: Often needs professional installation, especially for electrical hookups, which may require a dedicated 220V line for heating and pump operation. Plumbing might also need to be considered for models with external water systems.
  • Timeframe: The setup can take several days to complete, depending on the complexity of the site preparation and the availability of professional installers.

Inflatable Hot Tubs

  • Preparation: Requires a flat surface that can be grass, a deck, or a patio. While less permanent, the surface still needs to be free from sharp objects to prevent puncturing the material.
  • Installation: Most can be set up by the homeowner without professional help. The process involves unboxing, inflating with a provided pump, filling with water, and connecting to a standard electrical outlet.
  • Timeframe: The setup is quick, often taking just a few hours from unboxing to filling. Heating the water to the desired temperature can add additional time before the first use.

Wooden Hot Tubs

  • Preparation: Similar to acrylic hot tubs, wooden hot tubs require a sturdy, level base. The natural weight of the wood, plus water and users, demands a solid foundation.
  • Installation: Can vary in complexity. Some wooden hot tubs come pre-assembled, but traditional models may require assembly that includes fitting the staves and securing the bands. Electrical and plumbing setup for heating and filtration might need professional assistance.
  • Timeframe: The setup time can vary widely, from a day for pre-assembled models to several days for those requiring full assembly and installation of heating and filtration systems.


  • Acrylic hot tubs offer permanence and durability but require significant preparation and professional installation, making them the most time-intensive to set up.
  • Inflatable hot tubs shine in ease of setup and flexibility, allowing quick enjoyment with minimal technical or physical preparation.
  • Wooden hot tubs blend tradition with complexity, requiring solid preparation and potentially extensive assembly but offering a unique aesthetic and soaking experience.

Choosing the right type of hot tub involves balancing your desires for convenience, aesthetic, and the level of permanence you want in your outdoor or indoor living space. Each type has its own setup advantages and considerations, from the straightforward and temporary to the complex and permanent.

Design of Hot Tubs – Compare Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden

The design of hot tubs significantly affects their aesthetics, functionality, and how they blend into your outdoor or indoor space. Comparing Acrylic, inflatable, and wooden hot tubs from a design perspective reveals distinct advantages and considerations for each type.

Acrylic Hot Tubs

  • Aesthetics and Customization: Acrylic hot tubs often offer the widest range of designs, from sleek, modern aesthetics to more traditional looks. They come in various colors, finishes, and shapes, allowing them to seamlessly integrate into any landscaping or deck design.
  • Functionality and Features: These tubs typically come with built-in seats, multiple jet configurations, and advanced features like LED lighting, sound systems, and customizable hydrotherapy options. The rigid structure supports more sophisticated plumbing and electrical components, enhancing the overall soaking experience.
  • Space and Capacity: Acrylic hot tubs are available in a range of sizes, accommodating anywhere from 2 to 10 or more users. The predetermined shape and size require a dedicated space but ensure consistent comfort and user experience.

Inflatable Hot Tubs

  • Aesthetics: Inflatable hot tubs are more functional in appearance, with a focus on convenience rather than high design. However, they still offer a cozy and inviting look, with some models available in different colors to fit personal preferences.
  • Functionality: While lacking the built-in features of acrylic models, many inflatable hot tubs now include air jets for a relaxing soak. They lack customizable seating and jet positions but provide a flexible and straightforward hydrotherapy experience.
  • Space and Capacity: These hot tubs are also available in various sizes but tend to cater more towards smaller groups. Their portability means you can set them up as needed, making them ideal for those with limited space or those who prefer a hot tub that can be stored away when not in use.

Wooden Hot Tubs

  • Aesthetics: Wooden hot tubs offer a timeless, natural look that can complement any outdoor setting, especially rustic or garden environments. The beauty of the wood grain and the craftsmanship involved in their construction add a unique aesthetic appeal.
  • Functionality: Traditional wooden hot tubs may not feature built-in jets or seats found in acrylic models, focusing instead on simplicity and the natural soaking experience. Some modern wooden hot tubs, however, incorporate jets and heaters, bridging the gap between traditional charm and contemporary functionality.
  • Space and Capacity: Like acrylic tubs, wooden hot tubs come in fixed sizes and shapes, requiring a dedicated space. They can vary widely in size, catering to both intimate soaks and larger group gatherings. The robust construction and materials used mean they are meant to be a permanent fixture in your space.


  • Acrylic hot tubs excel in functionality and customization, offering a luxurious spa experience with a variety of design options to fit any style.
  • Inflatable hot tubs prioritize convenience and flexibility, providing a simple, user-friendly option with limited aesthetic appeal but great versatility.
  • Wooden hot tubs stand out for their natural beauty and traditional soaking experience, appealing to those looking for a unique and aesthetically pleasing design that harmonizes with natural surroundings.

Your choice among these will depend on your priorities, whether it’s the luxury and sophistication of acrylic tubs, the practicality and ease of inflatable tubs, or the rustic charm and organic feel of wooden hot tubs.

Maintenance – Compare Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden

When it comes to maintaining a hot tub, the material and construction significantly influence the ease and frequency of the upkeep required. Here’s a comparison of maintenance needs for acrylic, inflatable, and wooden hot tubs:

Acrylic Hot Tubs

  • Durability and Longevity: Made from materials like acrylic or polyethylene, acrylic hot tubs are built to last. Their sturdy construction means they can withstand the elements and frequent use with minimal wear and tear.
  • Cleaning: The smooth surfaces of acrylic hot tubs make them relatively easy to clean. Regular wiping down and a proper chemical balance in the water can keep them looking new for years.
  • Overall Maintenance: These hot tubs often feature sophisticated filtration and water purification systems, reducing the need for constant water chemistry management. However, they may require professional servicing for mechanical issues or electrical problems.

Inflatable Hot Tubs

  • Durability: While modern inflatable hot tubs are made from tough, puncture-resistant materials, they are generally not as durable as acrylic models. They can be more susceptible to damage from sharp objects, pets, or extreme weather conditions.
  • Cleaning: The vinyl or PVC surfaces are easy to wipe down, but the folds and creases in inflatable hot tubs can sometimes harbor dirt and algae. Regular cleaning and thorough drying before storage are essential.
  • Overall Maintenance: Inflatable hot tubs typically have simpler filtration systems, which may require more frequent cleaning and filter changes. They’re easy to drain and refill, offering a straightforward approach to water maintenance but potentially requiring more frequent attention to water quality.

Wooden Hot Tubs

  • Durability and Longevity: Wooden hot tubs can last many years with proper care. The natural material does require regular maintenance to prevent decay, swelling, or leakage.
  • Cleaning: The porous nature of wood means more meticulous cleaning routines. The interior surfaces may need regular scrubbing to prevent build-up of biofilm and algae, and the exterior wood may require staining or sealing to maintain its appearance and integrity.
  • Overall Maintenance: Water chemistry balance is critical in wooden hot tubs to prevent damage to the wood. They may not have built-in filtration systems, necessitating manual cleaning and more frequent water changes. Additionally, wood’s reaction to weather changes (expansion and contraction) can affect the tub’s water-tightness and may require periodic adjustments or repairs.


  • Acrylic hot tubs offer a balance between ease of maintenance and durability, with advanced features that help minimize the effort required to keep the water clean and clear.
  • Inflatable hot tubs provide convenience and simplicity in setup and take-down, but they may require more diligent cleaning and care, especially concerning water quality and filter maintenance.
  • Wooden hot tubs require the most maintenance, particularly in preserving the wood’s condition and ensuring water quality, but they offer a unique and natural soaking experience for those willing to put in the effort.

Choosing the right hot tub depends on your willingness to undertake maintenance tasks, your budget for professional servicing, and your preference for the hot tub’s material and aesthetic.

Value – Compare Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden

When assessing the value of acrylic, inflatable, and wooden hot tubs, it’s essential to consider not only the initial purchase price but also long-term costs, durability, and the overall enjoyment and utility they offer. Here’s a comparison of the value provided by each type:

Acrylic Hot Tubs

  • Initial Cost: Typically, acrylic hot tubs are the most expensive upfront, reflecting their durable construction, advanced features, and often larger size.
  • Long-Term Costs: They may require more electricity to maintain temperature but often have efficient insulation. Maintenance and repair costs can be higher, especially if sophisticated systems like hydrotherapy jets or digital controls need servicing.
  • Durability and Lifespan: With proper maintenance, acrylic hot tubs can last many years, often over a decade, making them a good long-term investment.
  • Value: Offers the best user experience in terms of comfort, features, and aesthetics. If you’re looking for a feature-rich spa experience and long-term usage, an acrylic hot tub can offer great value despite its higher initial cost.

Inflatable Hot Tubs

  • Initial Cost: Inflatable hot tubs are the most affordable, making them an attractive option for those on a tight budget or unsure about committing to a permanent hot tub.
  • Long-Term Costs: They tend to be less energy-efficient and may have higher heating costs. The need for potential replacement sooner than acrylic or wooden tubs can add to long-term costs.
  • Durability and Lifespan: Generally, inflatable hot tubs have a shorter lifespan, usually around 2-5 years, depending on the care and usage.
  • Value: Offers excellent short-term value and the flexibility of easy setup and portability. Ideal for those wanting to enjoy the hot tub experience without a significant financial or space commitment.

Wooden Hot Tubs

  • Initial Cost: The price can vary widely but generally falls between acrylic and inflatable tubs, depending on the type of wood and craftsmanship.
  • Long-Term Costs: Maintenance costs can be higher due to the need for regular treatment of the wood to prevent rot, leakage, or decay. Energy efficiency varies with insulation and heating system design.
  • Durability and Lifespan: Wooden hot tubs can last many years or even decades with diligent maintenance and care, offering a good long-term value.
  • Value: Provides a unique aesthetic and soaking experience. The value of a wooden hot tub is often found in its natural beauty and the traditional, serene soaking experience it offers, appealing to those who prioritize these qualities.


  • Acrylic hot tubs offer the best long-term value for those seeking durability and a comprehensive spa experience, despite the higher initial and maintenance costs.
  • Inflatable hot tubs present an excellent short-term, cost-effective solution, especially for those new to hot tub ownership or with limited space.
  • Wooden hot tubs strike a balance, offering a unique aesthetic and potentially long lifespan with proper care, making them a valuable choice for enthusiasts of natural materials and traditional soaking experiences.

Ultimately, the best value depends on your priorities, such as budget, intended use, and the importance of features versus simplicity or authenticity in your hot tub experience.

Features – Compare Acrylic, Inflatable, and Wooden

When it comes to choosing a hot tub, the features each type offers can significantly influence your decision. Here’s how the features of Acrylic, inflatable, and wooden hot tubs compare:

Acrylic Hot Tubs

  • Advanced Features: Acrylic hot tubs often come loaded with the most advanced features, including adjustable hydrotherapy jets, LED lighting, built-in sound systems, and digital controls for temperature and jet strength. Many also offer Wi-Fi connectivity for remote monitoring and control.
  • Customization: These tubs allow for a high degree of customization in terms of jet placement, seating arrangements, and even accessories like steps, covers, and more.
  • Durability and Insulation: Built with sturdy materials, acrylic hot tubs offer excellent insulation, helping to keep the water at the desired temperature more efficiently.

Inflatable Hot Tubs

  • Basic Hydrotherapy Features: While simpler, many inflatable hot tubs still offer a soothing experience with air jets that provide a gentle massage. However, the jets are usually less powerful and less customizable than those in acrylic models.
  • Ease of Use: Inflatable hot tubs are designed for convenience, featuring easy setup and simple controls. They may lack advanced features but make up for it in portability and ease of storage.
  • Energy Efficiency: These tubs may not insulate as well as acrylic models, potentially leading to higher energy costs to maintain water temperature, especially in cooler climates.

Wooden Hot Tubs

  • Natural Aesthetics: Wooden hot tubs lack the high-tech features of acrylic models but offer a unique, natural soaking experience. The aesthetics and simple functionality appeal to those looking for a more traditional or rustic hot tub experience.
  • Customizable Heating Options: Depending on the model, wooden hot tubs can be heated with electricity, gas, or wood-fired heaters, offering flexibility in how you heat your water.
  • Limited Jet Options: Traditional wooden hot tubs may not come with built-in jets, though some modern versions incorporate them to combine the natural beauty of wood with the comfort of hydrotherapy.


  • Acrylic hot tubs are feature-rich, offering the ultimate in luxury and customization but at a higher price point. They’re ideal for those who prioritize comfort, variety in hydrotherapy options, and advanced technological features.
  • Inflatable hot tubs provide basic features focused on convenience and portability, making them suitable for first-time owners or those with limited space. They offer a cost-effective way to enjoy a hot tub experience without the advanced features and customization options.
  • Wooden hot tubs focus on the beauty and tradition of hot tubbing, with a preference for natural materials over high-tech features. They appeal to purists and those who value aesthetics and simplicity, with some models offering modern conveniences like jets and efficient heaters.

Your choice will depend on what you value most in a hot tub experience—be it the cutting-edge features and customization of acrylic tubs, the convenience and simplicity of inflatable models, or the natural beauty and tradition of wooden hot tubs. 

Does Your Hot Tub Brand Really Matter? 

The brand can definitely matter when choosing a hot tub, but it’s not the only factor to consider. Here’s a breakdown of why brand reputation can be important, but also some other factors you should weigh in your decision:

Why Brand Matters:

  • Quality and Reliability: Reputable hot tub brands tend to use higher-quality materials and have stricter manufacturing processes. This translates to a more durable and reliable hot tub that’s less likely to experience breakdowns or require frequent repairs.
  • Warranty and Customer Service: Established brands typically offer better warranties and customer service support. This gives you peace of mind knowing you’ll be taken care of if you encounter any issues with your hot tub.
  • Innovation and Features: Leading hot tub brands often invest in research and development, leading to innovative features and technologies that enhance your hot tub experience. These features could include advanced jet systems, energy-efficient insulation, or smart home integration.

Beyond the Brand:

  • Features and Functionality: Consider the specific features you want in a hot tub, such as the number and type of jets, seating capacity, size, and any additional features like lighting or sound systems.
  • Price and Value: Hot tub prices can vary greatly depending on the brand, features, and materials. Do your research to find a hot tub that offers good value for your budget.
  • Dealer Reputation: The dealer you purchase your hot tub from can be just as important as the brand itself. Choose a reputable dealer who provides excellent customer service, installation, and after-sales support.

Here’s a good approach:

  1. Identify your needs and budget: What features are important to you? How much are you willing to spend?
  2. Research different brands and models: Look for brands with a good reputation for quality, reliability, and customer service. Compare features and specifications of models within your budget.
  3. Read reviews: See what other customers have to say about different brands and models.
  4. Visit local dealers: Talk to salespeople, ask questions, and try out different hot tubs to see which one feels the best for you.

Brand reputation can be a good indicator of quality and reliability, but it’s not the only factor to consider. By focusing on your needs, budget, and the features that matter most to you, you can find the perfect hot tub regardless of brand name.

Making the Final Decision – Which Hot Tub is Your Perfect Fit?

Choosing the perfect hot tub hinges on understanding your priorities and aligning them with the strengths of each type. Here’s a cheat sheet to guide your final decision:

Prioritize Convenience and Affordability:

  • Ideal Choice: Inflatable Hot Tub
  • Pros: Budget-friendly, portable, easy to set up and take down, perfect for renters or tight spaces.
  • Cons: Less durable, fewer features, may require more frequent cleaning due to smaller water volume.

Prioritize Luxury and Durability:

  • Ideal Choice: Acrylic Hot Tub
  • Pros: Most durable and luxurious option, the widest variety of features and customization options, retains heat well (potentially lower energy costs).
  • Cons: Most expensive option, requires permanent installation and may need professional help for setup.

Prioritize Aesthetics and Natural Materials:

  • Ideal Choice: Wooden Hot Tub
  • Pros: Beautiful and unique rustic aesthetic, excellent insulation (energy-efficient), can be a stunning focal point for your backyard.
  • Cons: Most demanding maintenance (cleaning, conditioning, tightening), may affect water chemistry, potentially higher overall cost due to specialized cleaning supplies.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Frequency of Use: If you plan on using the hot tub frequently, a more durable option like a acrylic tub might be a better investment in the long run.
  • Maintenance Time: If you don’t have a lot of time for maintenance, an inflatable hot tub might be the most practical choice.
  • Number of Users: Consider the size and capacity of the hot tub to ensure it comfortably accommodates the intended number of users.
  • Desired Features: Think about the features that are most important to you, such as jet types, lighting, sound systems, or smartphone connectivity.

By carefully considering these factors, you can narrow down your choices and find the hot tub that perfectly matches your needs and lifestyle. Remember, the perfect hot tub is the one that allows you to unwind, relax, and create lasting memories with loved ones. So take your time, do your research, and enjoy the journey to finding your own personal hot tub oasis!

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