8 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Hot Tub

Don't buy a hot tub without getting answers to these all-important questions.

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Some of the health benefits of using a hot tub include relieving tight muscles and sore joints, reducing swelling and lowering your stress level.

If you’re considering reaping these benefits, there are certain things you need to know before buying a hot tub. Here are eight questions hot tub owners and experts recommend you ask before buying.

Is the Hot Tub a Good Fit for the Space You Have in Mind?

Always carefully measure the space where you plan to install your hot tub and avoid any models that exceed those dimensions. (Make sure to measure out how much space you want around the hot tub, too.)

Cristina Miguelez, a home maintenance and remodeling specialist at Fixr.com, urges extra consideration if your hot tub will be indoors. “It’s really important to have a well-ventilated space for humidity and condensation control,” she says. If the ventilation isn’t adequate and the tub can’t be located anywhere else, install a fan.

What Kind of Cleaning and Maintenance is Required?

Jesse Silkoff, a home improvement enthusiast and former hot tub owner, urges potential buyers to ask what kind of cleaning and maintenance is required to keep the hot tub in good working condition.

“Depending on the hot tub, upkeep may be simple or involved,” he says. “Make sure you are getting a hot tub you can realistically keep in good condition.” Hot tubs with lots of jets are harder to clean than those with fewer jets. If there’s more work involved than you want to do yourself, it helps to know ahead of time if you need to budget for professional help.

Who Will Teach Me the Ins-and-Outs of Hot Tub Ownership?

There are plenty hot tubs for sale online. But before you go that route, know that one big benefit of buying from a local retailer (especially a pool and spa store) is that the staff can provide much-needed advice on setting up, using and maintaining your hot tub.

Mary Beth Simon wished she had asked about this before buying a salt-water hot tub six years ago. “You preferably want advice from an employee who owns a similar system,” she says. “Also ask if the delivery crew will walk you through set-up and what their qualifications are.”

How Are the Jets Positioned? Are They Air Jets or Water Jets?

Jeneva Aaron, a hot tub owner, recommends asking about the all-important jets. “The best hot tubs have strategically placed jets designed to hit your back and shoulders in the most therapeutic spots,” she explains. It’s also worth finding out if the jets can be customized to your preferences and if they’re water jets or air jets. Air jets do not provide the more focused, intense pressure that water jets do.

How Much Water Does the Hot Tub Hold?

Aaron also recommends finding out how much water a hot tub holds in addition to how many people it can accommodate. “Most hot tubs hold around 400 gallons of water, which was enough for me,” she says. “The more gallons it holds, the longer it takes to fill, drain and refill. And more gallons also equals higher water and heat bills.”

How Long Will it Last?

As her final tip, Aaron recommends asking about the expected life span of the hot tub you’re considering. “Hot tubs are luxury items, but there are definitely chintzy ones out there that need frequent repairs,” she says. “Higher quality hot tubs can last a decade or longer.” Hot tubs made of durable materials like fiberglass will last the longest, so long as they are properly cleaned and maintained.

Hot tub warranties run from one to 20 years, so definitely ask about how long the model you’re interested in is covered, and which specific components are under warranty.

Does the Hot Tub Need to Be Hard-Wired or Can It Be Plugged Into an Ordinary Outlet?

A hot tub can be hard-wired into your home’s central circuit breaker box or plugged into an electrical outlet. (The latter are commonly called “plug-and-play hot tubs.”)

Peter Smith, the owner of Inflatable Hot Tub Center, tells potential buyers to ask which electrical source a hot tub requires before buying. “All inflatable models are plug-and-play, while most bigger and built-in hot tubs need to be hard-wired in by an electrician, due to their higher power needs,” he says.

Is the Hot Tub Cover Included?

Smith stresses that a hot tub cover is a must. “It greatly reduces heat loss and your electricity bill,” he says. A cover will also keep your hot tub free of debris and reduce the risk of child and animal drownings. A good hot tub cover can run several hundred dollars, so it’s worth finding out if your desired model includes one in the purchase price.

Amanda Prischak
Amanda Prischak is a freelance writer based in Erie, Pennsylvania.