There’s an overwhelming amount of information on the internet about hot tubs—it only takes a few minutes of clicking around to feel like you’re drowning. From Google product ads to Pinterest glamour shots to blog articles on everything from jets to wellness routines (and those are just our blog posts!) it can feel like you need a personal shopper to help you find the right tub for you and your family.
We want you to experience that first amazing soak with your sanity intact. That’s why we’ve put together the information on this page, plus a helpful hot tub selector tool, to take you step-by-step through the things you’ll need to consider when choosing a hot tub. (If you want to skip right to the hot tub selector tool, you won’t hurt our feelings!)
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Things to consider when choosing a hot tub
How to choose the right size and number of seats for your hot tub
This one is pretty straightforward. Do you want to be the place for hot tub parties or the place for hot tub parties?
We're kidding (sort of). But understanding what size hot tub and how many seats you'll need will largely depend on what you plan to do with it. If your priority is to get a hot tub for date nights with the better half, perhaps a 3-seater is right for you. Want to have regular post-game "hops and hydrotherapy" sessions with the guys? Um, 9-seater. (And go for self-cleaning.) Do you want to hang out with your high schoolers or college-aged kids on the weekends or when they're home from school? The size of hot tub will depend on the size of your family (and the size of your kids. And their friends).
Speaking of size, an often overlooked factor in deciding what size tub to choose is the height of the tallest person who will regularly use the hot tub. Hot tub seats come in different depths and if there are basketball players in your family, you’ll want seats they can sink into.
Style of seats is also an important consideration. Some people can’t live without a lounger. Some people want to make sure there are two loungers, to keep the peace. Of course, if you’re not sure whether you’d like a lounger—or you’d like to try Hydropool’s famous no-float lounger for yourself—you can always book a test dip.
Thinking about available space in your yard or patio
At some point in your hot tub selection process, you'll have to consider how much space you have available in your yard or on your patio.
Overall, hot tubs are a great option for smaller yards, patios and decks (though they’re an excellent option for large areas too, or as an add-on to your existing pool so you can get year-round fun).
But beyond the generalities of “good for small spaces”, it’s wise to think of the specific location you want to place your tub and any existing constraint or opportunities. Do you have an existing patio or concrete pad that you could use to support the tub? Do you want to place it near an existing shed you plan to convert into a cabana or near your pool? Have you landed on a deck design already and want the hot tub integrated? Do you have an existing deck that needs to be considered? Make sure you measure the space you need to work with before talking with a salesperson. As a general rule, if space is really tight, rectangular hot tubs offer greater flexibility in placement.
When measuring your yard for a new hot tub you'll want to consider distance to the house as a significant factor in determining available space.
How close to the house is too close?
When determining where to put your hot tub in relation to your house you'll need to consider a few things:
- Distance from the home entrance: You'll want to place your hot tub close enough to a door that you can quickly and safely get in and out during the winter, but not so close that it's in the way of traffic when the tub isn't in use. When it comes to winter hot tubbing, you'll also want to make sure that the hot tub is far enough from a major traffic area so that water from bathers doesn't cause dangerous slippery areas. Winter snow and ice aside, in the dark, a shorter walk can often be a little easier.
- Distance to an electricity source: Having your hot tub close to the house is excellent for easy access to electrical and water sources needed to run and power the hot tub. Take this into consideration when thinking of where to place your hot tub.
- Privacy and noise concerns: When thinking about available space for your hot tub, you'll also want to consider who will be using the tub and when. If you've got teenage kids who are more likely to use the tub later at night, having it outside your bedroom window may make for some sleepless nights.
All about aesthetics: Cabinet and shell design and colour
When it comes to choosing the right hot tub, cabinet and shell colour and design are primarily about personal preference, though size and budget will affect your options.
Many people choose to match or contrast shell colour with the colour of their home, deck or patio features or simply decide to let the hot tub stand on its own as a unique piece.
Cabinet design is another feature that many people like to play with. If your home or backyard has a contemporary design, you'll likely want a cabinet that compliments that feel. Again, choices for the design and colour of your shell and cabinet are mainly a matter of taste and preference.
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Choosing the type and number of jets
What's the difference between a hot tub and a bathtub? One of the most apparent differences is the hot tub jets. The jets play a vital role in hot tub hydrotherapy, providing important massaging features. They also make the water bubbly, which is fun for pretty much everyone!
We’ve put together a post specifically on the 7 types of hot tub jets and what they do. Suffice it to say, if you're planning to use the hot tub as a part of your health and wellness routine, you'll want to pay close attention to the jets and seating, and go for preset or programmable wellness routines.
We also recommend trying out the jets before buying. We schedule free jet tests after our store is closed so you can put one of our tubs through its paces without feeling shy!
Choosing hot tub add-ons and special features
Another difference between hot tubs and bathtubs: add-ons and special features. Unless you're a Kardashian, your bath probably won't have special pillows, lighting, and built-in speakers. Chalk one up for hot tubs again! Special features and add-ons are great ways to get a little more out of your hot tub.
It can be easy to get carried away on the extra features. The options for all the bells and whistles can quickly drive up the price of a hot tub, so choose ones that fit with your reason for getting the tub in the first place. Some of our favourite options for add-ons and special features include:
- Northern Lights Shell Upgrade: strategically placed LED lighting illuminates all of the top-mounted control valves and waterfall jets creating a beautiful sequence of colour ranges, or set to a single colour
- DreamScents on Demand: mix some aromatherapy with your hydrotherapy! With this add-on, you can inject the perfect amount of specially formulated essential oils directly into your hot tub.
- Cover lifter and steps: make getting in and out of your hot tub a breeze.
Special features and add-ons are great options if you want to kick your hot tub game up a notch, but if you like to keep it simple, you can do without and still enjoy your hot tub experience.
Hot tub cleaning and maintenance needs
Like most things in life, it takes a little effort to keep things running smoothly and safely. When it comes to hot tubs, this comes down to cleaning and maintenance. Besides the regularly scheduled chemical needs of a hot tub, there are times when extra bathers, changes in temperature, or an accidentally spilled glass of wine or pint of beer will require you to do some additional maintenance. You’ll also have to drain your tub every 4 to 6 months, depending on its size and how much use it gets. (Check here to learn how to drain a Hydropool hot tub.)
When deciding which hot tub is right for your family, you'll want to consider how much time you can afford to care for your hot tub. Most hot tub owners will tell you that maintenance doesn’t take much, but you might want to consider a self-cleaning model to help you do what a hot tub is meant for: taking it easy.
Available warranty and repair services
When choosing a hot tub, you'll also want to consider a hot tub dealer. Certified dealers can help you make the best choice of hot tub, but are also best equipped to help you maintain your warranty and provide the best repair services when something breaks down. Buds has been a certified Hydropool dealer for more than 40 years. Not only do we have our own technicians and fully-stocked trucks, but we’re experts in repairing and maintaining these made-in-Canada hot tubs. The experience of our year-round trained staff mean there’s nothing they haven’t seen, which means we can often help customers troubleshoot issues with their hot tub over the phone, which could save you a service call.
Having a budget is a great way to start your hot tub journey and may be a deciding factor in the type, size, and add-ons available to you. Luckily, there are hot tubs for all types and sizes of budgets. Hot tub financing is also available to help you make the most of your decision and find the hot tub that's perfect for you.
Now that you know about all the things that go into finding the right hot tub, you're ready to get started on your hot tub journey. While all this information can be a little overwhelming, we've got something to help make it even easier.
Our hot tub quiz will help recommend the right hot tub for you. Take the quiz now and take the first step on your hot tub journey!
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It's never been easier to find the right hot tub.
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