What is the Best Hot Tub You Can Buy in the United States?
A hot tub isn’t the kind of purchase you make every day. Chances are you know what kind of dish soap you like, or brand of milk or even what kind of car you might prefer. But deciding on a hot tub to buy? For many people, that’s a brand-new decision. And even if you’ve owned one before, knowing which companies are making quality hot tubs can be difficult.
Making it more complicated than you might want is due to several factors:
• Most hot tub brands aren’t well known to the scale of some brand superstars, such as Apple or Google or Chevrolet and Honda. So it can take a bit of learning to figure out who are the quality hot tub makers. Or you can just buy, cross your fingers and learn through trial and error, but we don’t suggest that. (to help you with hot tub brands, if you want to read a guide to hot tub brands, click here).
• Once you learn the brands and figure out your Cal Spas from your Calderas, you will next have to narrow down to the specific model you’d like.
• Decisions to make include the number of seats, features like jets, power source, pumps and lighting, plus overall cost.
We know it can be a lot to figure out. Across the U.S., we frequently hear from customers who just want to buy the best hot tub as the solution. “Show me the best and I’ll buy it.” It’s hard enough figuring out where you’re going to put your hot tub in your backyard, let alone deciding which one to put back there.
We understand. As a result, we decided to take a good look at our competitors and pass on some models we prefer on to you, in hopes of answering the “what is the best hot tub in the U.S.?” question. And we’ll also supply a guide on what to look for in a quality hot tub.
We hope everyone looks at Hydropool’s hot tubs and finds one they want, but it’s possible we’re not a match. We’d rather help guide you and support our industry by pointing out who else is building good hot tubs. We’re always going to be proud of our hot tubs, and we’ve been in business for more than 40 years. During that time, we have always understood there will be competition. So, here’s a look at some of the best hot tubs out there, in the most unbiased way possible.
American Whirlpool 471 Hot Tub Review
If you’re looking for American Whirlpool’s entry into the “what is the best overall hot tub” category, perhaps it is the 471, which the company bills as its most popular model.
• Featuring two bucket seats and a single performance lounge with a Foot Relief Zone
Seating for six overall
• Zone Therapy, a massage feature (Hydropool uses the same term as part of our Wellness Program, which is a full body massage)
• Comfort Collar, which offers neck massage, they feature two seats with neck jets (Hydropool offers that, but includes a cascading waterfall)
American Whirlpool does not offer pricing.
Bullfrog Stil5 Hot Tub Review
This is a relatively unique look among hot tubs available to buy. The Stil is part of Bullfrog’s Modern class, and it features a minimalist design, more neutral colors and sharper angles, rather than the woodgrain and soft curves many other brands showcase. Among other features, it also includes:
• Seating for four, with all four as bucket seats
• Two lounger seats
• Select one of three massages
• Full foam and a molded base
• Multiple JetPak options for a variety of jets and massage
While many companies will send your information to a dealer who will then contact you, Bullfrog tells you about the pricing on the website after you fill out a form. We did it and the pricing at the time of this writing came out to just under $19,000.
Caldera Cantabria Hot Tub Review
The Cantabria is billed as Caldera’s signature hot tub. It is part of the company’s premium line called Utopia (a comparable model with Hydropool is our 970). The Caldera hot tub features:
• Six different jet sequences and three speeds
• 74 jets total
• UltraMassage lounge chair with the customizable UltraMasseuse System
• Seating for up to eight
• More targeted massage seats than any other Caldera spa
At the time of this writing, we could not find pricing on the Caldera website.
HotSprings Envoy Hot Tub Review
The HotSprings Envoy is part of the company’s HighLife collection, which is the company’s premium line. Hydropool’s comparable is the 790.
• Two feature seats: What the company calls a Moto-Massage DX jet that sweeps up and down your back on the lounger, and a captain’s chair that includes wrist jets
• Six different types of jets overall
• Wireless multi-function controller
• It’s the company’s largest luxury lounge spa, with room for five
• Two seats have their own footwells (the lounger and the captain’s chair), so the remaining area allows for more foot room for the remaining three
At the time we wrote this piece, we couldn’t find HotSprings published pricing.
Jacuzzi J-385 Hot Tub Review
The J-300 Comfort series features the J-385, which is often cited as the flagship model of the entire lineup, despite being a middle of the pack model. It has room for seven. Hydropool’s 720 is comparable, which is similar but 39” deep to Jacuzzi’s 36.”
• Features the largest open seating of the company’s mid-line Comfort collection
• Has PowerPro Jets for massage
• Comes with a jetted massage pillow and a jetted foot dome in the center
• Uses Clear-Ray UV-C technology, which artificially generates UV-C, otherwise known as germicidal ultraviolet light to help keep your tub’s water purified
• Employs a four-stage filtration process
The hot tub retails for $16,487.
MasterSpas Michael Phelps Legend LSX 900 Hot Tub Review
The MasterSpas Michael Phelps Legend Series has seating for five to eight, with the LSX 900 as the eight-seater model. This loaded model has all of MasterSpas top features. This is comparable to Hydropool’s 970 model.
• Largest hot tub in the top-of-the-line series
• 72 jets, including 22 therapy jets on the lounge chair
• Uses copper and zinc in its filters to reduce chemical usage
• A vac-formed, high density polymer base is standard here (an option on other product lines)
Premium Lighting system available with backlit cup holders
When we we wrote this piece, we couldn’t find pricing online for MasterSpas.
Sundance Optima 880-Series Hot Tub Review
The Sundance Optima is part of the company’s top-of-the-line 880 series. It’s a seven-seater, billed as having “the best of everything.” This is comparable to Hydropool’s 720.
• Features multiple seat heights so people of various sizes can find a comfortable spot
• Seats include the company’s Accu-Ssage Seat, which offers full-body massage
• More neck and shoulder jets than any other model in the Sundance lineup
• Comes with a jetted foot dome in the middle of the hot tub
• Company’s most popular non-lounger model
The Sundance Optima is in the company’s luxury category, which starts at $16,000.
Dimension 1 Amore Bay Hot Tub Review
Dimension 1 has some unique hot tubs, such as the Executive spa. It’s one of the largest hot tubs you can buy, with room for nine. But we went with the Amore Bay, which has unusual-rounded styling, with seating for seven overall. This is a unique-looking tub in the marketplace, with two seats facing a round bench.
• Features “his and her” seats facing a rounded bench, a unique look in the industry
• Comes with the Flex Therapy Pillow, with three neck and shoulder jets
• The Dynamic Massage Sequencer uses pre-programmed massage settings
• Has the D1 SmartTub System, which allows you to manage your tub with a smartphone app
• Underwater fingertip control button allows you to manage your hot tub’s major functions
We couldn’t find specific pricing on the hot tub, but the company does say premium tubs like the Executive and Amore Bay will be more than $17,000.
Cal Spas Laguna PL-793B Hot Tub Review
The hot tub is a six-seater and part of the company’s Platinum series of spas, which is its premium edition. Comparable to Hydropool’s Serenity 6800, which has a similar layout and seating design.
• 20” Cascade LED Waterfall
• Includes 93 Velocity Jets, including a sizable footwell with multiple jets
• Pressure-treated wood cabinet frame
• Available with an ATS Plus seat, with its own dedicated motor and control panel that allows you to personalize your massage nine different ways
• Offers the Fountain of Youth hydrotherapy system, which generates millions of tiny bubbles in the tub and salt-water sanitization
We didn’t find official pricing for Cal Spas when we wrote this piece.
Why don’t many hot tub companies show pricing?
You’ll note that many of the hot tubs here do not have prices available, even rough estimates on prices.
This is common in the industry, if not always ideal for anyone shopping. Frequently companies ask you to send over your information or to head to a dealer for pricing in person.
Driving this common belief is the idea that hot tubs are purchases that require explanation and that prices on their own come across as sticker shock and scare customers away. Also, some hot tubs are sold at different prices in different countries or in different parts of countries by some companies. Published pricing also allows some companies to undercut and try and sell their tubs and spas that way.
Whatever the reason is, it does happen in the industry. We aren’t trying to push our own brand here with this article, but we are proud to let you know that Hydropool does publish its prices online (we do our pricing in Canadian dollars as a Canadian company on our website, check with U.S. dealers to get your local pricing). Most of our hot tubs are between $8,700 and up to about $20,000.
What to look for when buying a hot tub
There are several factors we would recommend that you consider when buying any hot tub, whether it is one from Hydropool or any on this list, or any hot tub at all.
Brand and Dealer Reputation
• It’s worth asking people you know who have hot tubs or checking some online chat groups to see what people say about brands and dealers to ensure you’re buying from a company with a good reputation (lists like this help!). Your dealer is going to help you considerably, especially in your first year of ownership.
Comfort and Design
• Are you hoping for something cutting edge, with a modern look? Or do you want something more classic in its appeal? Will you fit in the seats? What colors does the hot tub come in? You’ll want to make sure the one you buy appeals to you and much of this is subjective.
• How much massage you’re looking for and what part of body – or all of your body – is a key decision to make when looking at any hot tub. Most good hot tubs have a range of jet options that can deliver the massage you want. A good dealer will let you try before you buy – don’t be hesitant to ask for a test drive of any tub you’re considering.
Ease of maintenance
• A hot tub needs to be maintained. Its water needs to be sanitized and kept in balance. There is a wide variety of methods to achieve across the hot tub world but it’s one that we feel strongly about. Hydropool got its start in commercial-grade pools, and we use the same concepts in our hot tubs that guide the stringent measures public pools must adhere to.
Cost to buy and to operate
• There are two costs to consider when buying any hot tub: What is the upfront purchase cost and what are the ongoing costs, where elements such as what insulation is used in the tub can begin to matter a great deal. What warranty is offered can come into play here as well, as a hot tub is a working machine, and some day will likely require service as a result.
Which is the best hot tub you can buy in the U.S. this year?
In this article, we did something unusual for a hot tub company: We talked about which of our competitors you might want to consider as a hot tub consumer, pointing out some of our favourite models – ones we might look at it if we couldn’t buy a Hydropool hot tub.
There are a wide variety of brands out there in the United States (and many of them are not on this list for a reason). There’s also a lack of a clear guide, industry wide accepted awards system or recognition by a reputable guide like Consumer Reports to help you know what hot tub you might choose.
We know that can be confusing. We wanted to point you to some models that we thought would be decent bets to consider as a result. We always hope everyone would find something to choose within the Hydropool lineup, but we understand there may be reasons why people would select another option. With more than 40 years of experience, we are used to having competition in the marketplace and strongly believe our own products are worthwhile contenders of any product on this list.
• We left ourselves off this list, but you can still read about us! If you would like to read about Hydropool’s hot tubs and swim spas, please click here.
Jon Filson is the senior content manager at Hydropool Swim Spas and Hot Tubs.