What To Know About Inflatable Hot Tubs

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Get the scoop on inflatable hot tubs — the pros and cons, care and maintenance, and the top models for your backyard this summer.

Since Roy Jacuzzi introduced it the public in 1968, the outdoor whirlpool has become a fixture of American backyard culture. The next generation of hot tub is affordable, portable and inflatable. Soak up the good life — these blow-up, jetted, bubbling delights are here to stay.

What Is an Inflatable Hot Tub?

As the name implies, inflatable hot tubs are soft-sided, portable blown-up tubs filled with heated water. Great for relaxing or soothing sore muscles, they can be set up nearly anywhere — outdoors and indoors — and packed up easily to travel to the campsite or beach house.

Unlike built-in hot tubs, inflatable versions are an excellent way to soak away stress in thermal waters without spending a lot of cash or making a huge commitment.

Inflatable Hot Tub Pros and Cons

There are upsides and downsides to owning an inflatable hot tub.

Pros:

  • Affordability;
  • Portability and space savings;
  • Easy installation;
  • Cushioned back and neck;
  • Folds and stores away.

Cons:

  • Prone to punctures and abrasions;
  • Can take water a long time to heat up;
  • Not recommended in temps below 40 F;
  • Capacity may be misleading (look at the interior, not exterior dimensions);
  • Unsafe for small children.

Inflatable Hot Tub Care and Maintenance

Inflatable hot tubs almost always come with pumps, filters and heaters included. And like built-in spas, whirlpools and swimming pools, you’ll need to clean and treat them regularly to keep them safe and hygienic for bathers.

Treat Water with Chemicals

Because certain chemicals can damage vinyl, only use products recommended for inflatable hot tubs, like this chlorine starter kit. It’s also a good idea to check your inflatable hot tub’s water chemistry frequently for proper pH, chlorine and other levels.

Drain and Scrub the Tub Periodically

Clean water is key for relaxation and enjoyment of your hot tub. Most experts recommend replacing the water every few months or so. When emptying the tub, make sure to give the interior surface a good scrubbing with a cloth or sponge to remove gunk, scum and mold before refilling.

Pro tip: Add an insulated cover to reduce impurities that settle inside, as well as limit heat loss between dips.

Remove and Rinse the Filter

It’s best to clean your inflatable hot tub filter once a week to avoid clogging it with debris and dirt. Proper filter cleaning will also help the motor run more efficiently.

To clean the filter, turn off the motor, remove the filter and rinse it out with a hose or under the faucet. Check the filter after every use and change it every month or so, depending on how much you use the hot tub.

Inflatable Hot Tub Costs

Inflatable hot tubs can cost from $500 for a basic model to around $1,000 for larger tanks with more bells and whistles — powerful jets, attractive outer shells, built-in seats, etc.

Don’t forget to figure in the ongoing costs associated with running your inflatable hot tub, which include:

  • Energy (electricity);
  • Water;
  • Water chemistry test kits;
  • Chemical treatments.

Best Inflatable Hot Tubs

Here are a few options to get you started on your search for the perfect inflatable hot tub for you!

Inflatable Hot Tubvia amazon.com

Best All-Around Inflatable Hot Tub

The Intex 28409E PureSpa has tons of great features that make it our top choice. It’s big — it holds six. The easy-to-use control panel activates 170 massaging bubble jets, and a built-in hard water treatment system is gentler on your skin and clothing.

The water heats fast, in about 20 minutes, and the tub deflates easily for transport and storage. It comes with a non-slip seat insert (additional seats sold separately) and an energy-efficient cover with a child security lock for peace of mind.

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Hot Tubvia walmart.com

Best Four-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

The Intex Greywood Deluxe Four Person Portable Inflatable Hot Tub is an indoor/outdoor spa to make your summer a lot more chill. Take a dip solo or with company; the interior construction provides durability and strength. It holds 210 gallons of water, has 140 bubbling jets and a built-in filtration system. When you throw a backyard party, the color-changing LEDs create a brilliant light show at night.

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Inflatable Hot Tubvia amazon.com

Best Budget Inflatable Hot Tub

With more than 3,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and an affordable price ($650), the Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub Spa is one of the most popular inflatables on the market.

The tub, with interior beam construction for superior structural stability, inflates in minutes, and its walls are puncture- and UV-resistant. Kick back and relax — the AirJet system provides massaging streams. And the rapid heating system means you don’t have to wait long to immerse yourself in this bubbly backyard oasis.

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Toni DeBella
Toni DeBella is a freelance travel, lifestyle and digital content writer based in a medieval hill town in central Italy. Her work has been featured in such publications as Fodor's, The Telegraph, Walks of Italy, Italy Magazine, Frommers.com, Touring Bird (via [email protected]) and more. Most recently she authored the 2020 edition of DK Eyewitness Sicily travel guide. When Toni is not roaming around Europe, you'll find her tending her alley-side container garden or honing her clay-court tennis game.