What’s the Best-Looking Hot Tub I Can Buy? Your Ultimate Guide to Hot Tub Design

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Hot tubs are the kind of purchase where after it comes in, you want people to come over and go, “that looks amazing!”

That’s why being asked for hot tub design ideas is a common request of our retailers here at Hydropool. Which colors of acrylic are popular? What furniture can work with the model I have selected? What matters more, the cabinet or the interior?

These are all valid questions. Some people want their hot tubs to blend into their backyards, while others want one to make a statement. Some want their hot tubs to make people go “wow.”

In this article we will have a closer look at all the parts of hot tub design. We will consider:

  • Top hot tub brands
  • Types of hot tub design: modern or classic
  • Hot tub colors: acrylics and roto molds
  • Our advice on hot tub furniture, decks and sunk-in approaches


A Quick Guide to Hot Tub Brands

 Some brands provide instant cachet. Mercedes. Hermes. Coach. Nike. Macallan. These are top-of-the-line brands that stand out from the crowd.

There’s only one brand in the world of best hot tubs that can live up to that standard. It is Jacuzzi, the California-based company that originally invented hot tubs in the first place. For many people, what Kleenex is to tissue, Jacuzzi is to hot tubs

After that? The famous U.S. Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps endorses Endless Pools in the world of swim spas. But that’s really about it. 

So if you’re looking at hot tub brands (and hot tub costs), it’s not so much the brand that holds the cachet. The hot tub itself is the star. Unfortunately, some fly-by-night companies have taken advantage of this fact, making sub-par hot tubs that look glitzy. But ultimately, they don’t last, heat your water well or keep your water clean. 

So what to think about brands if you’re trying to figure out how to choose the best hot tub?

First of all, we always advise buying from a retailer who has been in business for a long time. We know this is in part self-serving, as we have been selling hot tubs for more than 40 years.

We believe in our product. We know that other companies who have been around a long time make decent hot tubs as well. We’re not afraid to explain them by the way. For our pick of the best brands and where to start, click here

What’s the best-looking hot tub: Modern vs Classic Designs, Roto Mold vs Acrylic


When you look at the hot tub market as a whole, a few design elements stand out:

  • Is the hot tub design a traditional one, with imitation woodgrain and mostly neutral marble colors in acrylic? If so, then the hot tub manufacturer has taken a classic design approach. By far and away, most hot tubs are designed to look like this. That way, hey are purposefully built to go into as many backyards as possible. 
  • Is the focus on white and grey and other light neutrals, with sharp edges and shiny silvers? If so, that’s part of a new modern wave of hot tub designs. It has begun popping up over the last few years. 
  • Does the hot tub have fake rock surrounding the cabinet? Does it have wisps of blue in the acrylic or does it come in round or heart-shaped sizes? If so, these are harkening back to older molds and hot tub designs. These were more popular in the 1970s and ‘80s than today.
  • Is the hot tub a matte color and appears to be made out of plastic? If so, it’s likely a roto-mold hot tub. Roto-mold hot tubs are made by putting melted plastic into a mold and rotating it. Because it’s not acrylic, you don’t get the shiny look but more of a matte finish, usually in a neutral color. Increasingly, these hot tubs makers are experimenting with style to deliver more design bang for your buck. 

The traditional design approach is adopted by most hot tub brands, because they can blend into most backyards and feel like a part of it, rather than treat the hot tub as a showcase element. Within traditional hot tubs however, there are still details that may matter to you.

Jacuzzi, for example, has a dark bar at the bottom of its hot tub cabinets, so the tub almost appears to float and the cabinet appears sleeker as a result. We think it gives the hot tub a classy look.  

One thing to mention: When planning your backyard, how a hot tub looks at night matters as much as the daytime. Another little hot tub feature can include the touches of accent lighting on the corner of an exposed hot tub. They can really make it stand out in a backyard, without it appearing over-powering (Hydropool offers this as an option).  

Modern trends in Hot Tub Design


Modern hot tubs stand apart from classic hot tub designs, with sharp, squared-off edges and tight modern lines. Bullfrog has done this with its Modern line of hot tubs, as an example. They look impressive and dazzlingly modern and work well with modern houses that share their shape and squared-off approach.

Just as in high heels or neckties, what looks good isn’t always the most relaxing hot tub experience. With any of the hard-edged tubs, we encourage you to try before you buy and ensure they are comfortable. We think there’s a reason they haven’t caught on in a big way yet. 

While dark colors dominated decades ago, we have found that today most customers prefer neutrals in whites and greys for their acrylic choices.

There’s a benefit to lighter colors for the acrylic for the consumer in that they actually show less water markings than darker ones. With swim spas, lighter colors dominate because if you stretch marble too far when making the acrylic pattern, it doesn’t look like marble anymore, and just looks like a mess. 

Silver marble as the acrylic option and driftwood brown as a cabinet color are Hydropool’s two current most popular choices hot tub designs. But ask us again in a few years and we predict they will change. Style is fleeting, after all. 

A Quick Guide to Outdoor Hot Tub Design Ideas: Furniture, Decks, Sunk-In Approaches


While Hydropool’s hot tubs and many others are attractive enough to stand alone in a backyard, many people chose to build out an area around their hot tub. This only makes sense, as the hot tub is a place to congregate and a natural focus of attention. Cup holders are always a crowd pleaser!

A few points on this to consider: 

  • Steps and handrails are a great addition, because not only do they make your hot tub look better, but they are useful too. Hooks for towels and robes also come in handy, especially if you’re using the hot tub in the winter and need to make the dash either to the tub or back inside. Umbrellas are also very handy because you’re going to want shade if you intend to sit in the hot tub for any length of time in the summer. This is always where we suggest to start: function as much as form matters first. 
  • Decks can be built around hot tubs and look wonderful. We have seen beautiful examples around the world of people having had decks built or building decks themselves that cover half of the hot tub, essentially creating a table at the top of the tub’s height. One caveat if building a deck surrounding your hot tub: Make sure you’re still able to access the hot tub if it ever needs repairs. 
  • Sunken hot tubs create the same effect. Not only are the easy to get in and out of, we think sunken hot tubs allow hot tubs to blend in well, often achieving a subtle, elegant look. The catch with creating sunken hot tubs is the same as if you’re building a deck around them, but likely needs to be underlined: Make sure you leave enough room to access the hot tub for repairs down the line for anything such as leaks or a breakdown in the massaging jets. Usually this means building out a “moat” of sorts, of at least three feet around the unit, and then covering it up on top with something strong enough that you can stand on. So while the final look will be impressive, the cost involved will be considerable (the quotes here will vary depending on your circumstances so much that you are best to talk to your local dealer for an estimate). But the cost of having to replace or remove the hot tub for a minor repair will drive you batty down the line if you don’t build that element in. 

A Few Final Thoughts on Hot Tub Design and Aesthetics 


Navy blue suits and black dresses have been in style for years. We predict they will remain so for a long, long time. The classics never go out of style. 

We get asked for tips on how to make hot tubs look better in backyards frequently at our stores, so we wanted to put this piece together to give people a sense of where to being with backyard design and the most common pitfalls there are out there.

From shopping on brand alone to burying a hot tub in the backyard without allowing for electricity, we have seen a lot of approaches at Hydropool that could have been much more successful with just a little bit of advice and help. 

We’re happy to provide that help! If you’re looking to talk to a retailer, we can help you here. And if you’re interested in more articles like this, we’d encourage you to we’d encourage you to head here.  

Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used or linked to 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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