Where to buy a hot tub: What to look for in a hot tub retail store, a complete, unbiased guide

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas


A salesperson you like and can trust

We know: There are some salespeople in our business who like to be pushy. And some who are cheesy. And some who are good at what they do and care about customers getting the right product.

Here’s what to look for in a good salesperson. They’re a person who:

  • Asks you questions about what you need.
  • Listens to the answers and makes recommendations.
  • Explains why they made the recommendations so that you understand them.
  • Answers any of your questions.

They should also know their product well. A good salesperson will be able to explain why one hot tub in the brand’s lineup is better for you than another.

Buy from a brick-and-mortar hot tub retail store

We know online shopping is awesome. But it’s not great for buying a hot tub. There are a host of reasons why, but the main one is that hot tubs often require questions later, and you want the support of a good retailer behind you to help you answer those questions.

We know we can be accused of bias on this issue, because we sell through a network of brick-and-mortar stores. But we’re not the only ones who believe in this model. Consider Wirecutter, which is owned by the New York Times, in this article:

“… we strongly recommend working with a local, specialized hot tub dealership, rather than ordering a hot tub from one of the major retailers that carry them (Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Costco among them). You’ll have more options and more salespeople who can walk you through them. You’ll get advice on the site prep you need, as well as manufacturer specifications that contractors can use to ensure a safe setup. And your hot tub will be installed and hooked up by the dealership. The big-box stores simply drop the hot tub at the curb, and then it’s up to you to figure out how to get it into your backyard or onto your deck.”

What to ask a hot tub retailer?

You’ll also want to make sure there’s a company and a retailer behind you who will honor your warranty. So one of your first questions to ask is “how long have you been in business?”

And another? “Who does your repair work?” You want to know if the company contracts it out or does it themselves. When you buy a hot tub from a good retailer, it is like getting a car and a mechanic from a car dealership.

After-sales support is a key benefit of a good hot tub retailer, so asking about how that works from anybody you’re seeking to buy from is a key question. A warranty is useless if there is no one around who will honor it for you.

A showroom with a wide variety of hot tubs

Asking for multiple brands might be too much – most places only carry a couple of lines.

  • You should see a variety of hot tub sizes and a range of options for you to consider.
  • A good hot tub showroom will also allow you to turn the lights off to see how the hot tub looks in the dark.
  • You should also be able to sit in the hot tub you’re considering. Many places will allow you to try a “wet test” – if not of the hot tub you’re interested in, a similar model.

 

Why a local hot tub retailer matters most

Most hot tub companies do not work like established retail chains, where you can buy from one store and return at another. Who you buy from is where you are going to get your service from.

So if you live in Northern Ontario, but want to buy from Southern Ontario, that store hours away will be responsible for servicing your hot tub and honoring warranty claims.

Here’s a tidbit worth knowing: Most warranties do not include travel time. Most dealers will consider an hour’s drive a normal part of business. But if you live six hours away, you can expect a charge. It doesn’t always come up, but it can be very annoying when it does. Again, it pays to buy from your local dealer.  

Where you buy from creates a long-term relationship with you and the retailer, sometimes whether you want it or not.   

Look for an established hot tub retailer

The best retailer you can find is one who has been doing it for a long time. There are good new retailers, but you know one that has been around for years has more likely developed repeat business and been able to satisfy customers and honor warranties.

We know we can be accused of bias here because Hydropool has been in business for more than 40 years, and many of our retailers have been too. But if we weren’t able to sell hot tubs that worked well for people, we all would have been out of business by now.

What’s more, look for a specialized retailer, who knows hot tubs. If you’re buying from someone who sells many other things, like a big-box store, you’re not going to get the same level of expertise as you would from someone whose income depends entirely on hot tub sales.

Published (or public) hot tub pricing

Having prices readily available is key to buying any hot tub. At Hydropool, we publish our pricing online, on each hot tub’s page (here’s an example, a top-seller in the Hydropool 570 Gold). A retailer should be able to either point you to public pricing or immediately tell you the ballpark price of what a hot tub costs.

Head online for hot tub recommendations

There are Facebook chatgroups and there are review sites for hot tub retailers. They are worth checking out. We have found the information on them mixed, and sometimes people get bombarded with recommendations when simple solutions exist. So we would suggest taking it as one source of information, rather than a definitive one.  

Convenience matters with hot tub retailers

A retailer should have easy parking, offer a clean store and have reasonable hours. You want to be able to reach people should something go wrong, and you want to be able to come down to the store to pick up replacement filters, chemicals and other supplies.

What to look for in a hot tub retailer

We know that hot tub shopping can be difficult. We wrote this guide to help make it easier and we hope that this hot tub retailer guide helps you understand what to look for in a good retailer.

We wrote this article because we hope that everyone can have a positive experience buying a hot tub, whether it’s from a Hydropool retailer or someone else!

  • If you want to talk to a Hydropool retailer, click here.
  • If you’d like to download a brochure, click here
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