Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Durable? (Some are. Here’s how to know)

If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a hot tub but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend, an inflatable hot tub could be a great option. These are plastic or resin made, easy to store, and inexpensive. However, most people’s first question is are inflatable hot tubs durable? 

So I dug into this, and here is what I discovered:

Higher-end inflatable hot tubs are durable as they are made from reinforced vinyl, and have resistance to punctures and scrapes. However, really low-priced ones are of poor quality, and will not last long.  Most also come with a ground cover that should be used to protect the underside.

But there is a lot more that you must consider before buying an inflatable hot tub, like how they fare against the regular tubs. Or if you can leave these makeshift hot tubs out in the cold during winter months. 

To clear all your doubts, keep reading. 

My pick for most durable inflatable hot tub?

This 4 to 6 person Intex Pure Spa Plus (click to see the current price on Amazon).

Are inflatable hot tubs any good?

The short answer is yes, if you want a hot tub and your budget doesn’t allow for a higher-end one.

If you are wondering whether an inflatable hot tub is a good investment, then the answer is no. It’s not something that adds value to your home, so you wouldn’t buy it for that reason.

However, you get what you pay for, and at some point, you are going to have to repair it or replace it. Still, by that time, you and your family will have enjoyed some great afternoons and evenings wallowing in the bubbles, at very little initial expense.

I looked into this in a recent article and discussed in more detail the value you get out of an inflatable hot tub. Why not check it out before committing?

Just click that link to read it on my site. What really surprised me was which inflatable hot tubs can’t run the heater and the jets at the same time.

There is a massive market for inflatable hot tubs, not only because of the cost but with people moving around in their jobs, living in rented accommodation. It makes them a viable proposition for a couple or a young family.

They are also a great introduction to the joys of using a hot tub all year round. Many people start with one of these and then move on to the more regular types.

Once you get into it, hot tubs are a great way of relaxing and socializing, even with your own family. The container is strictly a no phone zone!

Inflatable hot tub vs. regular hot tub

By regular, we mean a portable hot tub—the simple plug-n-play variety. These are usually made from a resin, which makes them incredibly lightweight, yet durable.

The spa experience is provided by the jets, but it isn’t always the number of jets that count. For instance, a regular hot tub has 25 to 50 jets, whereas the inflatable type may have over 100.

The difference is in the size of the jet. Inflatable spas tend to have more, but they are smaller.

What matters is the power, and regular hot tubs usually win on that scale. Depending on whether you have 110v connection or an upgraded 240v, you can have between 1kw or 4kw of heating with a regular tub, whereas the average inflatable is around 600w on a 110v system only.

There are smaller, cheaper inflatables around starting at $600. But for durability, you’ll want to upgrade just a little to one like this 4 to 6 person Intex Pure Spa Plus. It costs less than $1,000 on Amazon and has outstanding reviews.

Just click that link to see the current price on Amazon.

A similar-sized regular hot tub such as the Essential Hot Tubs Polara model will set you back around $4,600 on Amazon. There are cheaper ones available, of course.

In terms of comfort, regular hot tubs have molded seats to maximize the impact of the jets, whereas inflatables have simple blow-up cushions. The good thing about this is you can have them where you like.

If this is your first foray into the world of hot-tubbing, then you may want to check out this recent article—twenty-three essential things to know before deciding.

How long do inflatable hot tubs last?

It is a matter of how well you take care of your tub.

Like anything, treat it rough, and you’re not going to get many years out of it, but with the right care and attention, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy five years of use, and that’s not bad for a small investment.

Keeping sharp objects out of the way is an obvious one. Besides, beware of broken glass as well, so think about that before jumping in with jewelry on or allowing the kids in with their toy Jaws!

Also, be careful when introducing accessories like seating, as these might not come as standard. Make sure they are suitable for an inflatable tub.

Always use only the recommended chemicals, not only for treating the water but also for cleaning the hot tub. The inside should be cleaned with warm soapy water and don’t scrub. Use a soft cloth or a microfiber sponge to avoid damaging the surface.

If you live somewhere with brutal winters, packing it away for winter will help too.

A hot tub is really nice in winter. But most inflatable hot tubs aren’t really designed for external temperatures below 40 degrees. You can still use it below that. But don’t expect it to get much above 98 if it’s super cold out, no matter what you set it to.

More on this below.

Can you leave inflatable hot tub out in winter?

Yes, absolutely. That’s a great time to experience a hot tub, especially if you get snow where you are.

But remember, in heavy snow conditions, you need to sweep it off the cover—the tub is made of vinyl, so there’s not much inherent strength in there.

The water will take longer to heat up, and it will cost more to keep it hot because there are only two skins of vinyl and air between the water and the outside. Some inflatable tubs have a triple-layer skin with aluminum foil to help retain some of the heat.

Some inflatables blow the outside air through the jets, so in freezing conditions, the water is going to cool down pretty quickly. If you do intend using your hot tub in the cold weather, it would be worth paying extra for one that heats the water before pumping it around through the jets.

It can take up to 12 hours for the water to get to a suitable temperature in winter, so bear that in mind. It is always best to leave the pump running in any case. Then you’re not heating the water from cold every time, primarily if you use it often, say 2 or 3 times a week.

Do inflatable hot tubs tear easily?

Good quality inflatables are made from a hard-wearing PVC fabric with an aluminum liner for better heat insulation and are resistant to minor scuffs and abrasions. Some have a reinforcing layer making them more robust still.

However, sharp knives, nails, and broken glass will cut into the fabric, leaving you with a let-down feeling. So if you do place your hot tub on a timber deck, don’t drag it across the surface. Place a mat underneath—some tubs come equipped with this.

If you do get a puncture, it’s not the end of the world. Most inflatable hot tubs come with a repair kit, and if they don’t, it’s easy to pick one up from your supplier.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about how durable inflatable hot tubs are?

I hope that covered everything. If you click on the links to other articles on my site, you find even more information there.

Inflatable hot tubs are great if you look after them, and you will have many hours of fun, but as with a fixed or portable spa, you need to think about where it is going to go.

Remember that an inflatable tub is as heavy as a portable one with a resin shell.

It is the people and the water that adds the weight, so bear this in mind if you’re thinking of putting your spa on an existing timber deck.

In a recent article, I discussed how to estimate your inflatable hot tub’s weight and how to modify the decking to support it if necessary. To read it, follow the link.

That’s all for now, but if you think of anything, drop me a line.

My pick for most durable inflatable hot tub?

This 4 to 6 person Intex Pure Spa Plus (click to see the current price on Amazon).


Photos which require attribution:

Spa2Go Executive Lounge by Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

Recent Content