Hot Tubs Brands in the United States: Your Complete, Unbiased Guide to Which Hot Tub Brand is Best for You

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Apr 29, 2024

America is home to amazing brands, like Nike, Apple and Google. It is also home to a wide variety of hot tub brands. But there’s no Nike, Apple or Google of hot tubs, no one brand that stands out over all the others, universally accepted as the leader. 

If you’re looking for a hot tub, that leaves you scratching your head and wondering, “Which brand hot tub brand is best in the U.S.?” 

Where to turn? Consumer Reports doesn’t review hot tubs. There are some industry awards, but nothing universally accepted as standard-setting which can help you decide which hot tub brand is worth a longer look. 

We are asked “which hot tub brands are good?” frequently at Hydropool and hear the comment, “it’s hard to know which brands to look at” on a regular basis. We know there is no real trusted brand guide in the industry, and as a result people can be confused about what to buy and what information to trust. 

There are many different types of best and many different types of hot tubs sold in the United States. Is the best brand:

  • The one with the most cachet? 
  • The one that offers the most at a low price? 
  • The one with the most features overall? 
  • The one with the best build quality? 
  • The one with the longest history? 

In this article, we want to go through a list of what we consider to be quality hot tub brands and we will consider each of these factors in our reviews. We know this is a bit unusual for a company, but at Hydropool, we want to answer all our customer questions and we know our customers will consider other hot tub brands than ours alone. All pricing in the article was accurate at the time we published, and we took all numbers from manufacturers websites. 

We always hope people will find something in our lineup that works well for them. But if they don’t, we would still like them to end up with a decent purchase.  We have been in business for more than 40 years and are here to stay, but we have seen a lot of competition come and go. 

Let’s have a look at what’s out there for American shoppers, in alphabetical order.

 

 

American Whirlpool Review

While it comes from a long legacy of hot tubs, the American Whirlpool brand itself is actually very new to the marketplace, being added in 2018. And despite having “American” in its name, the company has roots in Canada. 

American Whirlpool is built under the MAAX brand, which was originally a company based in Quebec, Canada, and is still headquartered there. It has been in operation for more than 40 years. 

A quick rundown of the company’s hot tubs:

  • The company offers a wide range of hot tubs: The lines are sold by number, with the 151 being the smallest with seating for three, up to the 982, which seats 10. The 250 is a four-seater rectangle tub and there is a three-seat triangular model as well in the 261. There is a 1 series, 2 series, 4 series, 8 series and 9 series, with the bulk seating 4 to 6. 
  • American Whirlpool tubs are built in Chandler, Arizona. 
  • American Whirlpool uses steel frames on most of its hot tubs -- what the company calls its “Appliance Grade” hot tubs.  
  • The company wraps its hot tubs in 3M Thinsulate, the brand you see in mittens, jackets and winter boots in what it calls its “Northern Exposure” system. This is done under the cabinet, which creates a convection oven effect to help keep your tub’s water warm (Hydropool does this in a very similar way, employing a thermal shield blanket in your hot tub’s cabinet to ensure it operates efficiently). The company is one of the few that mention quiet operation as well, with the insulation method being touted as a factor keeping noise levels low. 

Who owns American Whirlpool takes a bit of explaining: It’s owned by American Bath Group, which has both developed and acquired many recognizable hot tub brands and companies, including MAAX -- which is the parent company of American Whirlpool -- but also Elite Spas, LA Spas, California Cooperidge Hot Tubs, Coleman Spas, Infiniti Spas, Savannah and Vita Spa. American Bath Group is a massive entity, that sells everything from shower doors to marble and tile to tubs: If it is bath related in anyway, chances are American Bath Group operates in that area. American Bath Group is in turn owned by Centerbridge Partners, an investment firm. 

At this time, we couldn’t see official pricing from American Whirlpool on the company website. 

Bullfrog Review

Bullfrog is a Salt Lake City, Utah-based company, known for its innovated approach to jets, and to overall design. Bullfrog has a wide range of sizes and options for customers, but consistent across lines is a JetPak system that allows you to move your jet to different seats in your tub, changing your massage experience as you see fit, all while using minimal plumbing components. 

Bullfrog uses ABS frames, rather than wood or metal, which are more common. Design is clearly a priority at Bullfrog as their hot tub lineup features more neutral colors than most and overall, the brand has a more modern aesthetic. Bullfrog is relatively new to the industry, beginning in 1996. This is in contrast to most established brands, many of which started in the 1970s. Hydropool started in 1978, for example.  Here is its model lineup:

  • Elite starts at $24,345.  
  • Modern at $17,795. 
  • Luxury is at $13,995. 
  • Premium starts at $10,495.  
  • Comfort begins at $8,395.  

Bullfrog remains privately owned, increasingly rare in the world of hot tubs. 

Caldera Spas Review

Caldera offers many different hot tubs, with seating for two to eight. It has a Utopia, Paradise and Vacanza series, with Utopia being the premium line. 

  • The Vacanza features foot massage, contoured pillows, optional speakers, a FROG Ease system of water sanitization (it involves a ball that floats in your tub and delivers the sanitation chemicals your tub needs), an insulated cover, and a range of 14-45 jets. 
  • Move up to the Paradise Series, and the company’s freshwater salt system comes into play. It features a disposable cartridge that lasts four months and generates chlorine from salt to sanitize your tub. You also add an “Energy Pro Circulation System,” more jets and a titanium heater, while eliminating the Frog Ease feature. 
  • Utopia series adds hip jets, wrist jets, neck jets, and some more electrical features, including exterior lighting, a diagnostic indicator light, touchscreen control panel and an auxiliary control panel that allows you to control the tub’s lights and jets from multiple seats. 

Caldera is part of the Watkin Wellness group of hot tubs and swim spas, which is headquartered in Vista, California (near San Diego). Watkins Wellness is itself a massive company, as it also owns Endless Spas, FreeFlow Spas, Fantasy Spas and Hot Springs (another hot tub company on our list today). Like Hydropool, Watkins has been around since the late 1970s and bought Caldera in 1999. Watkins is in turn owned by Masco Corporation, which also owns brands like Delta Faucets and Behr paints and is a Fortune 500 company. 

We did not see pricing on Caldera’s website when we wrote this article. 

Hot Springs Review

Like many hot tub brands, Hot Springs offers three lines: Hot Spot, Limelight and lastly, Highlife, which is the company’s premium line. Within each category there are multiple lines allowing you customize your spa, and you can order a hot tub that holds from:

  • Two to seven in Hot Spot, which offers FROG cartridge cleaning, FiberCor Insulation, multi-colored lights, with pricing listed as $7,000 and up. 
  • Four to seven in Limelight, which adds the company’s FreshWater Salt System (which features salt being converted into chlorine to clean your pool), SilentFlo circulation, a larger LCD display, a diagnostic light, and exterior lighting, priced at $11,000 and up. 
  • Three to seven in Highlife, which has an advanced filtration system, more insulation, and a stronger base, plus a wireless touchscreen control system, as well as a polymer and ABS-backed acrylic shell. It features the Moto-Massage DX jet package, which is a two-stream unit designed to massage your entire back. At the time of this article, published prices begin at $13,000. 

Hot Springs is also owned by Watkins Wellness, and has been built in Vista, California since 1977. 

Jacuzzi Review

A brand so well-known its name is often confused for the hot tub industry as a whole, Jacuzzi is based in California and began as a family business. This is an upscale hot tub brand, which sells all around the world. History is on its side, as it was founded in 1915 and can credibly say that it created the hot tub industry with major advances in 1968 that saw the first whirlpool tub developed and sold. 

  • Jacuzzi lists its entry level tubs starting at $4,000 to $7,999, it’s mid from $8,000 to $11,999, premium from $12,000 to $15,999 and luxury starts at $16,000. Note that it has four categories, a change from the more frequent three. 

Lines include: 

  • The Play Collection: Soul, Echo and Mood at the entry level. These are roto-mold hot tubs, unlike the rest of the series, which is acrylic. 
  • The J-200 Classic series is the entry level to acrylic Jacuzzi brand tubs, with both lounge and open seating options. 
  • The J-300 Comfort series features the J-385, which is often cited as the flagship model of the entire lineup. It retails at $16,487 and has room for 7. 
  • The J-400 Designer series includes the J-495, which is the largest Jacuzzi in the J-400 Collection seating up to nine people. It begins at a price of $23,322. 

Jacuzzi is at the premium end of the line, with the credibility of more than 100 years of being in business. Jacuzzi hot tubs offer full-foam insulation, and expect pillowed comfort to be the priority, especially at the upper levels. 

The Jacuzzi family sold the name Jacuzzi in the early 1980s to Apollo, a private equity firm.  It is now owned by the private equity firm Invest Industrial. Invest Industrial also owns other hot tub brands like Sundance Hot Tubs, Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas, Dimension One Hot Tubs, DreamMaker Hot Tubs and Thermo Spas. 

Master Spas Review

Master Spas offers four lines, including the premium Michael Phelps Legend Series. Master Spas has used Michael Phelps, the 23-time U.S. Olympic gold medallist in swimming, on its top of line hot tubs since 2010. 

  • Getaway – Offers five models of hot tubs ranging from three to five seats. These are roto mold hot tubs. 
  • Clarity – Offers seating from six to eight, over five hot tubs and the entry-level acrylic line. 
  • Twilight – Seating for three to seven over six tubs. More advanced hydrotherapy is added here, with foot therapy, lower back, tension ease pinpoint therapy and deep tissue massage all becoming standard.
  • Michael Phelps Legend Series – Seating for five to eight is available on the premium line, which includes elements such as a special lounge seat and up to 72 jets. A vac-formed, high density polymer base is standard here (an option on the other product lines). 

MasterSpas makes its hot tubs in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We couldn’t find pricing on its website when we looked for it. 

Sundance Spas Review

Sundance hot tubs uses the exact same price ranges as Jacuzzi: entry level tubs starting at $4,000 to $7,999, it’s mid from $8,000 to $11,999, premium from $12,000 to $15,999 and luxury starts at $16,000. The company, as stated above, is owned by Jacuzzi. Some similarities between the brands continue as you go through the Sundance product line up, although it’s worth noting Sundance has five lines, as opposed to the usual three most companies feature, and the four Jacuzzi does. 

  • The lowest range models are called the Splash series, and include the Berkely, Paisley and Brook, all roto mold hot tubs.
  • The next tier is the 680 series, which promises a classic experience and includes the Peyton, which holds six, down to the Alicia, which holds two. 
  • The 780 series promises a mix of new tech and “old-fashioned know how” and starts at $9,960.
  • The 880 series is in the luxury category and features the Cameo 880, a six-seater which is the best-selling of the company’s lounge lines. The 880 line starts at $13,960.
  • The 980 series: All the hot tubs in this line seat at least five and are at the luxury end of the range. 

The company began in 1979, in a garage in Costa Mesa, California. It started as a family business, with the Clark family using their expertise from the automotive industry to develop hot tubs. It grew rapidly: Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Sundance developed a reputation for innovation after incorporating elements such as Rigid Bond Shell Construction into the outer cabinet and an aromatherapy dispending system. Today Sundance and Jacuzzi share a head office in California and are both owned by parent company Invest Industrial. 

What Should You Look for in a Quality Hot Tub?

To anyone considering any of these tubs or Hydropool, our best advice on how to shop for a quality hot tub includes the following tips: 

  • Understand what your needs are first. For example, you will want to answer the following questions before you decide to buy: 
    1. Do you want a hot tub for your whole family to enjoy?  
    2. Is it for you and your partner to relax in?  
    3. Are you looking for a good massage or just want the pleasure of a warmed outdoor bath? 
    4. Will you use it extensively in the winter?  
    5. What is your price range? 
    6. How much time and effort do you want to spend cleaning and maintaining your tub? 
    7. How much room do I have for the tub itself?  
  • Has the company been in business for a long time?  
    1. If the company has been in business for many years, you can feel more assured that the hot tub dealer has established standards for quality and service.  
  • Has the hot tub been manufactured with your location in mind?  
    1. California is the world leader in establishing standards for hot tubs through an agency called the California Energy Commission. If you want to sell in California, for example, a company’s hot tubs must pass the CEC’s level of testing (note: All Hydropool models are CEC-approved). We suggest taking a similar approach to California when you shop for a hot tub, and look for that standard as a minimum.

What is the best Hot Tub Brand Nearest Me in the U.S.?

This might be an unusual piece to read: A company talking so much about its competitors and the value they have as hot tub brands. But it’s part of who we are at Hydropool. We have been in business for more than 40 years and we have seen companies come and go. We know there will always be competition for anyone selling hot tubs and we understand customers will want to shop around. 

We hope we have a product for everyone, but we know not everyone will come in and buy our hot tubs. What we tried to do here is point out some of the brands whose products may be worth considering if you’re in the marketplace.  

There isn’t one set brand that dominates the hot tub world, and there isn’t an accepted product guide like Car and Driver magazine’s Top 10 List does in the auto business. There’s no single recognized standard for everyone in the hot tub industry. That can make matters complicated for shoppers, and we don’t want that: We want you to feel confident when shopping and have an understanding of what’s out there for you. 

We hope this has helped. We deliberately left Hydropool off this list, but we have lots to say about our products as well, if you’d like to learn more. Reach out to your local dealer by clicking here

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