There can be a lot to consider when shopping for your best hot tub and the better informed that you are, the more likely you are to be extremely happy with the hot tub that you choose. I wanted to review some points to consider when evaluating the value of a hot tub, so that if compromises are needed, they are made in areas that you don’t mind compromising on.
In this example I’m focusing primarily on acrylic hot tubs however many of the factors covered here also affect rotationally molded hot tubs.
In regards to how it’s made, let’s start with the shell which is basically acrylic over fiberglass. In most cases the fiberglass is at least a ¼ inch thick, however you can save hundreds on a hot tub build by making the fiberglass a little thinner. Unfortunately this also makes it more prone to cracks over time. Stand in the hot tub. If the floor of the hot tub has a lot of flex in it, which is part of the structure, then you might want to be extra careful that your pad is extremely level so that no additional stress occurs on the shell.
If the display model that your interested in is standing up on it’s side, the reason might be they are hiding a weak floor. Always get in the hot tub that you are about to purchase to ensure that that the shell is rigid and won’t flex.
Is the floor or base of the hot tub open or covered and if covered what is it covered with? A plastic pan bottom will cost more than not having an enclosed bottom or just a sheet of plastic on the bottom of the hot tub and will make it harder for rodents to move in.
In regards to the jets, more is not necessarily better. Ultimately you want the right size jets in the right locations to maximize your massage. Any more jets than this and you will need more powerful pumps which adds to your electrical maintenance cost. 100+ jets might seem like a neat idea until you either see the hydro bill or experience weak jets or need to replace them all prematurely if they are less robust.
Is the insulation full foam, perimeter insulation or does it use construction insulation such as Roxul? If it is using perimeter insulation is the plumbing secured in any way so that it doesn’t move as much?
Movement over time equals leaks. Full foam is the most expensive insulation not only because of the insulation itself but because you need a spray booth to apply it. Less insulation equals to less cost to build the hot tub.
Is the plumbing PVC? Or does it use clear hoses? Is the plumbing glued? clamped? or glued and clamped? PVC typically offers less restrictions as there is less movement however it costs more.
Does the hot tub have an electrical certification rating? cETL or CSA? This rating means it’s safe to use and is associated with the entire hot tub (like an appliance) and not just the equipment.
Lastly, how long is the equipment warranty? If it’s only a year you might want to budget for eventual part replacements. Do you know what the replacement pack, topside, heater and pumps will cost?
That’s the product itself, but what about the services offered?
Is the delivery curbside? Or right where I need the hot tub to be? Is there any kind of orientation offered? Do they know how the hot tub works? Is there anyone on staff who can test water and understands water chemistry?
I’d like to leave you with this thought; there is no best hot tub, only the best hot tub for you and your needs. If you know what you need and what you want then you are well on the way to selecting the perfect hot tub for you.
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