What To Know About Inflatable Hot Tubs

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Get the scoop on inflatable hot tubs — the pros and cons, care and maintenance and the top models for your backyard.

Since Roy Jacuzzi introduced it the public in 1968, the outdoor whirlpool has become a fixture of American backyard culture. The next generation of hot tub is affordable, portable and inflatable. Soak up the good life — these blow-up, jetted, bubbling delights are here to stay.

What is an inflatable hot tub?

As the name implies, inflatable hot tubs are soft-sided, portable blown-up tubs filled with heated water. Great for relaxing or soothing sore muscles, they can be set up nearly anywhere — outdoors and indoors — and packed up easily to travel a beach house or friend’s backyard.

Unlike built-in hot tubs, inflatable versions are an excellent way to soak away stress in thermal waters without spending a lot of cash or making a huge commitment.

Inflatable Hot Tub Pros and Cons

There are upsides and downsides to owning an inflatable hot tub.

Pros:

  • Affordability
  • Portability and space savings
  • Easy installation
  • Cushioned back and neck
  • Folds and stores away

Cons:

  • Prone to punctures and abrasions
  • Can take water a long time to heat up
  • Not recommended in temps below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Capacity may be misleading (look at the interior, not exterior dimensions)

Inflatable Hot Tub Care and Maintenance

Inflatable hot tubs almost always come with pumps, filters and heaters included. And like built-in spas, whirlpools and swimming pools, you’ll need to clean and treat them regularly to keep them safe and hygienic for bathers.

“Make sure the inflatable hot tub you choose comes with a filter pump as well as an adequately sized filter,” explains Jason Werner, owner of Everclear Pools & Spas. “It is also a good idea to see if salt water chlorination is offered as an option over chlorine tablets. Salt can be easier to maintain and provides a much more comfortable swimming experience for the bathers.”

Treat Water with Chemicals

Because certain chemicals can damage vinyl, only use products recommended for inflatable hot tubs, like this chlorine starter kit. It’s also a good idea to check your inflatable hot tub’s water chemistry frequently using test strips for proper pH, chlorine and other levels.

Drain and Scrub the Tub Periodically

Clean water is key for relaxation and enjoyment of your hot tub. Werner recommends replacing inflatable hot tub water every few months or so. “Assuming chemical levels are maintained as appropriate, the industry standard for draining and refilling is every three to four months. Given these units are not as sophisticated as more expensive standalone units, it’s a good idea to change the water more often — even once a month. As a rule of thumb, the more often the water is changed out, the safer it will be to swim or bathe in.”

When emptying the tub, make sure to give the interior surface a good scrubbing with a cloth or sponge to remove gunk, scum and mold before refilling. And you may want to consider adding an insulated cover when the hot tub isn’t in use to reduce impurities that settle inside, as well as limit heat loss between dips.

Remove and Rinse the Filter

It’s best to clean your inflatable hot tub filter once a week to avoid clogging it with debris and dirt. Proper filter cleaning will also help the motor run more efficiently.

To clean the filter, turn off the motor, remove the filter and rinse it out with a hose or under the faucet. Check the filter after every use and change it every month or so, depending on how much you use the hot tub.

Inflatable Hot Tub Costs

Inflatable hot tubs can cost from $500 for a basic model to around $1,500 for larger tanks with more bells and whistles — powerful jets, attractive outer shells and built-in seats, for example.

Don’t forget to figure in the ongoing costs associated with running your inflatable hot tub, which include:

  • Energy (electricity)
  • Water
  • Water chemistry test kits
  • Chemical treatments

Best Inflatable Hot Tubs

Here are a few options to get you started on your search for the perfect inflatable hot tub for you.

Best Overall Inflatable Hot Tub

Intex PureSpa Inflatable Hot Tub

610wphvyhkl. Ac Sl1500 via merchant

The Intex 28409E PureSpa has tons of great features that make it our top choice. It’s big, holding six occupants. An easy-to-use control panel activates 170 massaging bubble jets, and a built-in hard water treatment system is gentler on your skin and clothing.

The water heats fast — in about 20 minutes — and the tub deflates easily for transport and storage. It comes with a non-slip seat insert (additional seats sold separately) and an energy-efficient cover with a child security lock for peace of mind.

Pros:

  • 20-minute heating time
  • Six-person capacity
  • 170 bubble jets
  • Control panel
  • Hard water treatment system
  • Includes seat insert
  • Child security lock

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Some reviewers note it doesn’t function as well in cold weather

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Best Four-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Intex Greywood 4-Person Portable Hot Tub

Intex Greywood Delux 4 Person Portable Inflatable Hot Tub Spa Ecomm Via Walmart.comvia merchant

The Intex Greywood Deluxe Four-Person Hot Tub is an indoor/outdoor spa to make your summer a lot more chill. Take a dip solo or with company. The interior construction provides durability and strength. It holds 210 gallons of water, has 140 bubbling jets and a built-in filtration system. When you throw a backyard party, the color-changing LEDs create a brilliant light show at night.

Pros:

  • Four-person capacity
  • 140 jets
  • Inexpensive
  • Color-changing LED lights
  • Wireless touch control panel
  • Two headrests

Cons:

  • Can’t be used in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit

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Best Budget Inflatable Hot Tub

Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub

Coleman Saluspa Inflatable Hot Tub Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

With more than 6,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and an affordable under-$600 price, the Coleman SaluSpa Hot Tub Spa is one of the most popular inflatables on the market.

The tub — with interior beam construction for superior structural stability — inflates in minutes, and its walls are puncture- and UV-resistant. Kick back and relax, because the AirJet system provides massaging streams. And the rapid heating system means you don’t have to wait long to immerse yourself in this bubbly backyard oasis.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • 9,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.4-star average
  • Four-person capacity
  • Puncture- and UV-resistant walls
  • Sturdy interior beams
  • Digital control panel

Cons:

  • Some reviewers have found the pump may need replacing over time

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Best Square Inflatable Hot Tub

Coleman SaluSpa 4-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Coleman 15442 Saluspa Person Portable Inflatable Outdoor Square Hot Tub Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

If you’re trying to tuck a compact inflatable hot tub into a deck or patio corner, a square-format option may be best for you. The Coleman SaluSpa Four-Person Hot Tub is an affordable pick with sharper angles. Square hot tubs lend well to tucking flush against walls and in corners. Users report frothy relaxation thanks to 114 built-in air jets that reviewers can’t stop raving about. It also comes with a cover, pump and two filter cartridges that keep your first few months of maintenance as easy (and cheap) as can be.

“It was easy to assemble, kept the temperature well and had amazing, robust bubbles,” writes verified Amazon purchaser Minnie. “It’s much more pleasant than we had expected.”

Pros:

  • Convenient square size
  • Four-person capacity
  • 114 air jets
  • Two filter cartridges included with purchase
  • Three-ply walls

Cons:

  • Can’t be used in temperatures below 39 degrees Fahrenheit

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Best Two-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Bestway SaluSpa St. Lucia Inflatable Hot Tub

Bestway Saluspa St Lucia Airjet Inflatable Hot Tub Spa Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Smaller yards and decks can benefit from the compact Bestway SaluSpa St. Lucia Hot Tub thanks to its smaller footprint. It’s one of the best inflatable hot tubs for those just getting their feet wet in the hot tub market (see what we did there?). This patio perk neatly fits on apartment-sized outdoor spaces and tinier decks while still fitting up to three average-size adults.

The frame is made of DuraPlus material that is stress tested for superior durability. That means it retains its shape no matter how many times it’s inflated and deflated. It also comes with a power-saving timer that allows you to save on energy bills and control the temperature up to 40 days in advance.

Pros:

  • Two-person capacity
  • Convenient for small spaces
  • Inexpensive
  • Digital control panel
  • Freeze Shield protects the hot tub in cold weather
  • Internal beams

Cons:

  • Some reviewers note the assembly instructions are difficult to follow

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Best Large Inflatable Hot Tub

Bestway SaluSpa Santorini Seven-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Saluspa Santorini 5 7 Person Hot Tub Spa Ecomm Vai Homedepot.comvia merchant

The Bestway Santorini Seven-Person Hot Tub is a brilliant option for large families and those who love entertaining. It features a roomy interior that can hold a small crowd. It also offers plenty of space to spread out for just one or two people at a time.

Those in cold and temperate climates can appreciate the included freeze shield feature as well. It boasts an automatic heating function that prevents its inner components from freezing when the mercury drops. That makes this a smart choice for leaving out in the fall and early spring. It also has a multi-function pump and a ChemConnect chemical dispenser for inflating, heating and filtration without worry.

Pros:

  • Large seven-person capacity
  • Freeze Shield protects from cold weather
  • Puncture- and UV-resistant material
  • Digital control panel
  • LED lights

Cons:

  • Expensive

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Best Wicker-Look Inflatable Hot Tub

JLeisure Avenli Four-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Jleisure Avenli 800 L Inflatable Round Hot Tub Ecomm Via Homedepot.comvia merchant

Matching your deck’s wicker patio chairs and accessories is a breeze with this elegant-looking Avenli 4-Person Wicker-Look Hot Tub. It inflates in minutes and features a rapid heating system that quickly gets water temperatures up to 104 degrees. Over 100 soothing bubble jets surround the spa’s interior, while a wicker-look exterior quietly offers high-end detailing that few other inflatable hot tubs can compete with.

It comes with everything you need, including an insulated cover with double-locking safety clips, floor protector, two filtration kits, a flexible inflation hose and a repair patch. It’s best for warm and temperate climates though, because the insulation performs best at 39 degrees or higher.

Pros:

  • Stylish wicker-inspired exterior
  • Four-person capacity
  • Rapid heating system
  • 110 bubble jets
  • Lots of accessories included with purchase

Cons:

  • Can’t be used in temperatures below 39 degrees Fahrenheit

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Best Rustic-Look Inflatable Hot Tub

Bestway SaluSpa Helsinki Seven-Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Bestway Saluspa Helsinki 7 Person Inflatable Hot Tub Airjet Ecomm Via Lowes.comvia merchant

Inflatable hot tubs can actually blend into their surroundings if you choose the right exterior materials and prints. This handsome Bestway Helsinki Seven-Person Hot Tub offers the rustic look of a natural wood exterior with all the convenience of a synthetic portable model.

Its cushioned floor, massaging air jet system, rapid heating and integrated water filtration make it feel like a far more expensive stationary hot tub. It even comes with its own pump to inflate within a matter of minutes. Have plenty of friends? This model can seat up to seven people at once and boasts a 297-gallon capacity.

Pros:

  • Unique wood-inspired exterior
  • Seven-person capacity
  • 81 air jets
  • Two filter cartridges included with purchase
  • Foil-coated cover to keep water warm
  • Cushioned floor

Cons:

  • Can’t be used in temperatures below 39 degrees Fahrenheit

Shop Now

With additional reporting by Toni DeBella.

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Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Family Handyman. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.