Owning a hot tub means you can relax and unwind in your own personal spa whenever the mood takes you. Whether you want to enjoy some ‘me time’ after a hard day at work, quality time with your partner or host the ultimate garden party, a hot tub is the ideal investment. However, choosing the right hot tub can be tough, particularly with so many different models available.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a hot tub is how much space you have available. This will determine which size of hot tub is right for your needs. The area in your yard should be bigger than the hot tub, since you’ll need easy access to the service panel as well as clearance for a cover lift if you’re using one. There should also be sufficient room for the stairs.
The average tub size is between seven and eight square feet; however, some are as large as nine square feet. Smaller, space-saving spas are available that seat between two to three people. Many contractors suggest adding at least one foot to the hot tub dimensions when pouring the concrete pad for it to sit on.
Once you know how big you want your hot tub to be, it’s time to think about seating. Will you be using the spa alone or will you be sharing it with your partner, family or friends? If there will only be one or two of you, a 2-or 3-person hot tub will be fine. However, hot tubs can have up to 12 or more seats, which is ideal if you want your spa experience to be a sociable one.
There are different types of seating available in hot tubs. Lounge seats are particularly popular since they allow the user to lay back, submerged in the water. They normally have more jets to offer a full-body massage and typically take up the equivalent of two standard seats. If you need more seats for family or friends, you may want to opt for more standard massage seats. They are normally sat higher up in the tub too, making them ideal for socialising and entertaining.
When choosing a hot tub, you’ll need to consider the number and location of the jets. Hot tub jets convert the water flow from the pumps into a massaging action, providing a very relaxing and therapeutic experience. Vigorous jets that mix water with air give the best hydrotherapy massage.
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Many people are tempted to opt for the model with the most jets, but this isn’t always the right move. High jet counts can lead to decreased pressure in the tub, and the only way to solve this is by adding bigger, energy-draining motors that can lead to sky-high energy bills.
The pump system within a hot tub’s shell is responsible for driving the water through the jets, playing a key role in their effectiveness. Therefore, it’s important to find out how many hydrotherapy pumps are installed. Most smaller hot tubs will have a single pump, whereas bigger models will usually have more to cater for a higher number of jets.
When choosing a hot tub, consider the material it’s made from. Not only should it be comfortable to sit on, but it should also provide sufficient insulation to keep the water warm and utilize energy efficiently. Moreover, the material you choose should be strong and robust enough to withstand years of use whilst retaining its aesthetic appeal.
Most modern hot tub shells are constructed from acrylic; however, vinyl, roto-cast polymer and wood are also available. Acrylic hot tubs tend to be the most expensive option.
Lighting and audio
Whilst you don’t need underwater LED lights or a state-of-the-art audio system built into your hot tub, they can make the spa experience more relaxing and enjoyable. There are lots of options available when it comes to choosing lighting and audio, so it’s a good idea to think carefully about your needs and budget. Many hot tubs also come with Wi-Fi, allowing you to control your spa from wherever you are via your smartphone or tablet.
A hot tub can be a fantastic addition to your garden, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing spa experience all year round. However, there’s a lot to consider before you start shopping around for your perfect tub, from size and seating to jets and optional extras like lighting and audio.
*Shane Davies is the managing director of Hot Tub Barn, a leading UK retailer of hot tubs, swim spas and pools, with 8 showrooms and over 25 years of experience in the industry.