What is the Best Hot Tub for the Money?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Apr 29, 2024

“What is the best hot tub for the money?” is a valid question that deserves an answer. But the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might like it to be. 

In a way, it would be easy if there was one best hot tub and everyone could all line up and just buy it and be done with it. But the hot tub industry doesn’t work that way. Not many do. You might think the iPhone by Apple is the best phone, and there is certainly a case to be made that it is. But it’s not the best on initial price. Many Android phones cost less, and as a result, many people think Android phones are the best. It all depends on what you value.  

There are many “bests” in the hot tub industry as well. There are many factors to consider when deciding what is the best hot tub. Some of the ones we are most often asked at Hydropool include: 

  • Is it the best on pricing? Does it have value? 
  • Is it the best looking? How are the aesthetics? 
  • Does it give the best massage? Does it offer good hydrotherapy? 
  • Is it the most prestigious? Will it impress people? 

We’re going to look at each of those in turn in this article, to help you decide which is the best hot tub for you. It might seem strange but we’re going to mention some competitors in this article as well. We’ve been in business for more than 40 years, and we understand we’re going to have competition. What we’re looking for here is to help you decide on what is the best hot tub for you. We hope it’s Hydropool, but we know that sometimes people are looking for other things. This article will hopefully help you decide what you value and what you’re really looking for in a hot tub. 



Which Hot Tub is the Best on Price? 

Are you looking for the absolute lowest price on a good hot tub? If so, then we’d encourage you to consider what’s called a roto-mold hot tub. They are stronger, cheaper and can be found in plug-and-play or hardwired models. Hydropool doesn’t sell them, but we do recommend the brand DreamMaker, which makes roto-mold hot tubs. Other notable manufacturers include brands such as Strong Spas, FreeFlow and Tuff Spa.

Roto-mold hot tubs aren’t made with acrylic, but plastic, which is why there are cost savings when buying one. 

DreamMaker hot tubs currently start around $6,000 U.S. (published on the company website at the time of this writing). They come with lights and jets, and everything you’d want in a hot tub, except some of the glamour most people associate with the hot tub experience. Roto mold looks have improved in recent years, but many don’t think they are as pretty as acrylic hot tubs, as glossy white or marble finishes aren’t on offer. But they are good value, often bought by people just starting out buying hot tubs or who have owned multiple hot tubs and know exactly what they want. Anyone looking for the most hot tub they can get for the money would do well to start here. 

You can pay less. There are inflatable hot tubs you can buy, often at big box stores like Home Depot, Costco or Lowe’s or online stores like Amazon or Wayfair. And some people are simply fine with inflatable hot tubs. If you’re looking for the absolute lowest price, and think that’s best, then inflatable hot tubs might be a fit for you. We don’t sell this type of hot tub because we don’t think customers get a good enough experience for the cost, despite the low entry price. 

So our recommendation if you’re looking for the best value of any hot tub today is to start with the roto mold. It’s a lot of hot tub for the money. 

  • Want to learn more about the different price points for hot tubs out there? Click here.  

The area around your hot tub matters as much as the hot tub itself if you’re going for a stunning display. This is a Hydropool Signature hot tub: For more information on it, click here. 

Which is the Best-Looking Hot Tub? 

This comes down to whether you prefer a modern look or a classic one. 

If modern looks matter to you most of all, then there’s a few hot tubs out there really trying to push the limits, like this one by a company called Aquatica. That ultra-modern design is where some manufacturers have started to move. Among more prominent brands, Bullfrog has a line called Stil, which has a striking appearance, with a lot of clean, hard angles, and lighter colors.

But best-looking might be the most subjective element on this list.  What we have found at Hydropool is that most customers want a classic appearance. Across the industry, most hot tubs offer greys, browns and blacks for the exterior, and a variety of whites, browns and blacks for the acrylic shell. Some will sneak in a blue or aqua in the acrylic, for example, but for the most part the overall look is consistent and many of the hot tubs look similar from 100 yards away. 

We have found that most hot tub owners – that shop at Hydropool at least – want a hot tub that blends into their overall backyard environment, rather than overwhelms it or tries to stand out from it. So classic woodgrain paneling (done with synthetic wood so it lasts longer) and neutral acrylic colors dominate the hot tub world, with heavily marbled patterns as more dramatic visual options. 

Hydropool would certainly be one of the classic companies when it comes to design, as would major manufacturers like Sundance, Master Spas and Hot Springs. Most smaller reputable companies such as Nordic and Arctic take a similar approach. 

Among classic designs, Jacuzzi might stand out the most here, as its hot tubs are designed to almost appear as if they are floating. They usually have a black base, which makes the rest of the hot tub look leaner than most others. 

The other reason why we feel the classic approach works best is that trends are always changing. Darker hot tubs were popular for decades, but in the past few years, bright white and softer neutrals have begun to dominate. As with clothes, whatever is in vogue now, will change and change again. But classic looks last forever. 

Which Hot Tub Gives the Best Massage? 

There are a handful of companies truly committed to what the industry calls hydrotherapy. Jacuzzi, Hot Spring, Bullfrog, Hydropool and Sundance are some of the names that leap to mind that all have some unique feature that makes their massage capabilities stand out. As examples:

  • Jacuzzi invented hydrotherapy, and today has the RX jet, which is a jet that is built to optimally blend air and water. 
  • Hot Spring has the Moto-Massage, which works up and down your back. 
  • Bullfrog jets can be moved from seat to seat, so you can set your massage the way you want. 
  • Hydropool offers Zone Therapy, where you move from seat to seat so your whole body receives a massage. 
  • Sundance jets are called “Fluidix” jets and have no moving parts, making them very difficult to ever break. 

Which one is the best for massage? As with looks, there is no one answer here. This is so much a matter of personal taste that if the best massage is what you’re looking for, we encourage you to try before you buy. 

Which Hot Tub is the Most Prestigious?

If prestige is your aim, then the most well-known brand in hot tubs is Jacuzzi. Although the company began in 1915, Jacuzzi originated the hydrotherapy sector in the 1950s, by dropping a pump into a bathtub, originally to help a young Jacuzzi family member deal with an ongoing illness. Today, Kleenex is to tissue, Jacuzzi is to hot tubs, and many people use the names interchangeably. But Jacuzzi is actually a brand name of a hot tub. The company today uses the brand on a wide variety of hot tubs, swim spas and bathroom products. It is a premium product in the hot tub marketplace today, but like driving a BMW, some people find that the brand is worth paying for. 

Most other brands have not been around long enough to cement themselves as prestige brands in the public’s minds, despite building high-quality products. As examples, Bullfrog and Master Spas are both leading companies that only began operating in 1996. Both have done very well in a short period of time. Hydropool is one of the most veteran companies in the sector and we began in the late 1970s. As a whole, the hot tub industry is young.  

How much does brand matter to you? What we have found at Hydropool is that for most people, prestige has to do with owning a hot tub, and not as much as the brand itself. As a result, we have put our money into engineering a better-quality hot tub, instead of brand-building and advertising. We don’t fault any company that makes a different choice though. As with everything else on this list, what is best is what matters most to you. 

What Is the Best Hot Tub Money Can Buy? 

What is “best” is a difficult question for anyone to answer. The hot tub industry isn’t reviewed by Consumer Reports. It doesn’t give itself awards that are universally accepted like Hollywood does with the Oscars. As a result, it’s difficult for anyone out there to figure out what is the “best hot tub.”

We wrote this article to try and answer that question. We wanted to highlight the four main areas we find that people are really asking about, when they say they want the best:

  • Value
  • Aesthetics
  • Massage capabilities
  • Prestige

We know that each of these alone are a good reason to buy a hot tub. Maybe you value one of these more than another, maybe you value some combination of any of the four. By going through each of these categories, we hope you found this article helpful in learning more about what makes the best hot tub for the money. 

  • Want to learn more and get a sense of some of the best brands in the world of hot tubs? Click here.
  • Are you ready to talk to a Hydropool dealer? If so, then click here.
Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Hydropool or Jacuzzi Brands LLC, the parent company of Hydropool. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.
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