Top Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Hot Tub
Am I making a mistake? You know that moment when trying to decide on a major purchase– that thought pops into your mind. You then open up several choices, none of which are particularly fun: 1) You can dismiss it and buy anyway, leaving the door open to regrets, 2) slow the process down and start asking questions to re-assure yourself you’re doing the right thing or 3) just stop and go buy something else.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know the most common mistakes in advance, so you didn’t have that awkward moment? That’s why we wrote this article.
At Hydropool’s retailers, we see people freezing all the time on the spot or having doubts about how to buy a hot tub or a swim spa. We understand that – neither are small purchases. We have also seen people walk out of stores who bought different models than ones we thought would make the most sense for them.
We want you to be able to buy with confidence, knowing that you’re not making one of the five major mistakes people make when buying a hot tub. And we want to help guide you on what to look for, so you can get the best hot tub for you. That’s why we wrote this article.
Mistake 1: Thinking the initial price is the only amount that matters
• There are your upfront costs. – What it costs to buy the hot tub as well as install it and get power to it.
• Your ongoing costs. What does it cost to maintain the hot tub each month?
One of the major cost increases in the price of a hot tub is how many pumps it has. For example, on Hydropool’s Signature line, we have the Gold or Platinum designations. The difference between the two is the number of pumps: Platinum has two, the Gold has one.
With two pumps neither has to work as hard, and they are more efficient as a result, costing you less each month. But the Platinum series costs more upfront, to account for its hardware.
TIP: Make sure you understand the monthly operating costs on every model you’re considering and be convinced the cost is affordable. Try this article for guidance: How much does it really cost each month to run a hot tub in Canada?
Mistake 2: Not understanding the crucial role of insulation
We know it’s boring. We know that insulation is not something most people know a lot about or have a lot of interest in. But what type of insulation you have makes a huge difference on what you end up buying and how it will work for you. Hydropool uses an insulated blanket while others use full foam or perimeter foam – each of these works differently to help keep your water as warm as possible.
TIP: You can read this article on insulation if you really want to get into it. Or this one that provides you tips on what cold weather hot tubs would be good for you. If you want to back up a bit, consider our overall guide to buying.
Mistake No. 3: Not fully understanding the regular maintenance needed
All hot tubs require some maintenance over time. But you can expect more maintenance on lower-end hot tubs and less on higher-end, if you know what to look for.
Public pools are regulated for cleanliness more strictly than hot tubs or swim spas. Ask any salesperson how closely the hot tub in question works compared to a public pool. Some are built as close as possible (Hydropool is in this camp). Others use much lighter or different filtration methods that aren’t as effective.
You’re going to want to ask questions like this:
• What chemicals should I use in this hot tub?
• How often do I replace the filter in the hot tub?
• How can I get my hot tub serviced after I buy it?
Another thing to ask is if you can get a hot tub with ozone and UV-C protection. Many companies offer a version of this. This is a type of filtration that helps remove bacteria before it begins and is used by the same facilities that treat drinking water (Hydropool’s system is called the Pure Water System).
No matter what hot tub you buy, ph levels need to be checked regularly. Filters will need to be cleaned and chlorine or bromine will be needed to help with sanitization.
Mistake No. 4: Buying on appearance alone
Oh, there are lots of ways companies try to tempt you into buying hot tubs. Bragging about a huge number of jets or having high horsepower motors. No industry loves adjectives as much as the world of hot tubs – turbo jet power! Deep tissue hydrotherapy! (Hydropool is among them, we have fancy names for all of our components!).
It really pays to know what you want to use the hot tub for, before you buy it, so you’re not sucked into the shiny acrylic and fine cabinetry options in the showroom (let alone the shiny silver jets, all cranked up on overly powerful motors sucking back wattage you don’t need.)
At the same time, it’s easy to say that they’re all the same, all just boxes filled with water. Some will emphasize massage. Some will be more about being large bathtubs. Some are made for partying. It pays to do a little work to figure out what you’re looking for.
Make sure you can verify what any salesperson says. Join a Facebook group and ask questions. Ask your friends who already own hot tubs what they wish they knew the first time around. Know the warranty and the possible options you could have and have a sense whether you actually would use a waterfall feature or not.
TIP: Read, watch videos, join the chatgroups. A few hours of research will get you closer to the right hot tub for you and save you money. Our Learning Centre is loaded with information – feel free to dive in.
Mistake No. 5: Buy from a retailer who only wants you to buy a hot tub
This is the most consistent advice we give: Buy from a local retailer or a company with a strong network of retailers.
Major tent sales that blow through town offering bargains and multiple vendors are often just one company masquerading showcasing their various brands – and after they leave town you’re left with a hot tub and zero support. A warranty is no good if there’s no one around to ensure it is upheld.
Buying the lowest price model from a company you can’t find on the Internet is not going to be helpful for you in the long term, especially when things start to go wrong (all hot tubs will eventually require service).
Big box stores have hot tubs at low prices and also tend to deliver them and drop them on your lawn, leaving you to figure out everything that comes after (and realizing what you should have done before!)
A good salesperson asks you questions you can answer and then listens to what you want, rather than pushing an overstock model that may not be a fit for you. And a good retailer completes the sale and then offers continuous support after if you need it. Retailers that want referrals are generally good at keeping customers happy and know it (you can find the closest Hydropool retailer here).
TIP: A good retailer is like finding a good mechanic for your car: grab them and don’t let go!
How to Avoid Mistakes When Buying a Hot Tub
Mistakes are part of life and what we learn from. But wouldn’t you rather get a hot tub without having a learning experience?
We hope what you learn is that hot tubs are fun and allow you and your family time to hang out together, not a burden that doesn’t fit your needs, costs too much to operate and has left you with no one to call for help when something goes wrong. Those are some of the pitfalls this article covered, so that you can make sure you avoid them when you buy.
• Have a look at Hydropool’s models with our Hot Tub Builder.
• Download a buyer’s guide from Hydropool.
Jon Filson is the senior content manager at Hydropool Swim Spas and Hot Tubs.