People buy inflatable hot tubs because they are inexpensive. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want them to last a while. So since we know they are made of plastic or vinyl, are inflatable hot tubs easy to pop?
No. Inflatable hot tubs are not very easy to pop. They are typically made from 3-ply vinyl to resist tearing. Intex takes that a step further with their Fiber-Tech added structural support, making for an extremely sturdy inflatable hot tub. But in the unlikely event of a tear, inflatable hot tubs can be easily patched.
But that just scratches the surface of inflatable hot tubs!
If they do tear or pop, can they be fixed? Do you have to drain them to fix them? And are some brands more durable than others?
We’ll cover all that and more in this article. Let’s dive in!
What are inflatable hot tubs made of?
Inflatable hot tubs can be made in a few different ways.
Intex, for example, one of the best inflatable hot tub brands, uses something called Fiber-Tech and 3-ply laminated “material”. Now I suspect by the word material, they mean vinyl. But honestly, they aren’t clear.
What I can tell you is their patented Fiber-Tech construction uses thousands of high-strength fibers, woven together, to create something stronger than your ordinary inflatable.
For example, if you sat on the ledge of a normal inflatable hot tub, it would likely sag. Intex inflatable hot tubs, by comparison, are strong enough to hold your weight.
Coleman, by comparison, uses 3-ply PVC material for its inflatable hot tub shell.
PVC stands for Polyvinyl chloride and is essentially a type of vinyl (just like those pants I had in the ’80s). But in terms of the exterior, Coleman and Intex are basically the same. Except Intex uses their Fiber-Tech support inside to strengthen the vinyl outsides.
The next brand you see the most is Bestway.
Unfortunately, they are very light on information both on their website, and resellers like Amazon. So I can’t really tell you how well made they are, or what they are made of.
What I can tell you that as of this writing, all their hot tubs on Amazon had between 14-20% 1-star reviews, which is pretty high. I can also tell you that it seems like Bestway owns Coleman or the other way around. So perhaps, Bestway products also use 3-ply PVC.
But no matter what, you’ll typically see better reviews on Intex inflatable hot tubs (more on that below).
Wife decided she wanted the hot tub in the garage instead of outside. Eh, it is an inflatable hot tub from Walmart, the garage actually seems like an appropriate spot for it. pic.twitter.com/EsQ4cOufZT
— passive jay (@PassiveJay) April 12, 2020
How do you repair a puncture in an inflatable hot tub?
The good news about inflatable hot tubs being made of vinyl is that they aren’t that hard to patch.
And with the vinyl being 3 layers, the likelihood of needing to patch it is fairly low. The biggest enemies of inflatable hot tubs would be:
- Dog nails or cat claws
- Broken glass
- Rocks underneath
But to patch one, here’s a step by step system to follow using the TEAR-AID Vinyl Repair Kit (click to see it on Amazon):
- Drain the hot tub
- Lay the area with the hole/tear so it sits perfectly flat
- Unroll the Tear-Aid and measure a patch to be about 1/2 inch taller and wider than the hole
- Cut the patch to the correct size
- Use rubbing alcohol or the alcohol prep pad that comes with the kit to clear the area around the hole
- Peel back the top left corner of the paper backing on the patch
- Press the exposed corner at the top left of the tear/hole
- Slowly peel away the rest of the paper backing as you press and flatten the patch against the vinyl around the hole
- Using even, steady pressure, press down on the entire patch to ensure good adhesion
Love this stuff for fixing inflatable hot tubs!https://t.co/sag4K56Hw2
— Middle Class Dad (@middleclassdad1) September 2, 2020
What is the best inflatable hot tub repair patch?
I definitely like the Tear-Aid.
I don’t own an inflatable hot tub, but I have used this product before on my previous hot tub’s cover and it worked great! CLICK HERE to see the current price of Tear-Aid on Amazon.
What I like about Tear-Aid is it’s clear, so it just blends into any color hot tub. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product with great reviews.
However, another good product you can use, which is a little simpler, is Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal Tape (click to see on Amazon). It has great reviews but is white in color.
Just cut a strip of the tape off (it’s basically just like duct tape, at least in appearance). Then apply the tape to the area around the hole or tear. Press firmly.
But either product should get you up and running in no time.
Conducting research can be frustrating at times, but as frustrating as filling your inflatable hot tub, then having a leak because you forgot two rubber gaskets, so you have to drain it and start over? #FirstWorldProblems pic.twitter.com/zg3m3UaaCG
— Joel Wood (@JoelWWood) June 7, 2019
Do you have to drain an inflatable hot tub to patch it?
To do it right, yes.
The problem with not draining it isn’t the water exactly. It’s the pressure forcing the water out of the hole. Both products I recommended above are water-proof. So in theory, they would still work with a wet surface.
But if water is squirting out of the hole, it’s going to be very difficult to apply the patch or the tape completely flat and firmly. If the patch gets applied with wrinkles or air bubbles underneath, it could easily cause the patch to fail over time.
I know it’s tempting to want to just slap the patch on and hop back in. But you’ll likely be taking a short cut that will lead to bigger hassles in the long run.
Just have to patch it without draining it?
Ok, I hear you. I get it. In this case, I’m going to recommend a different product. For this, you want to get the Heavy Duty Blue Vinyl Patch Kit by Pool Above (click to see it on Amazon).
This kit is really cool. It comes with precut 3″ round patches and a tube of adhesive. AND it works wet or even underwater! It also comes in a BUNCH of different colors to easily match your hot tub.
Just clean the area with an alcohol pad, apply the adhesive and wait 3 minutes. Apply a little bit more adhesive and stick the patch on. Press on it firmly to flatten.
Now they say to allow 24 hours to fully harden, so I would avoid getting in the hot tub until then. The added weight in the water could put undue pressure on your new patch and cause it to fail.
What is the best rated inflatable hot tub?
Best, of course, is a little subjective.
That being said, Amazon reviews are a good place to start with gauging how good one product is compared to another.
I already mentioned above that Bestway had some fairly high 1-star ratings for my taste.
Intex, on the other hand, makes some great products (I have one of their pools). And, the 85″ PureSpa Plus is the #1 best-selling inflatable hot tub on Amazon. Just click that link to check the current price on Amazon.
While their reviews aren’t perfect, it does boast a lot fewer 1-star reviews than Bestway products.
Here are some of the top features that make it a winner for me:
- 170 jets
- Built-in hard water treatment
- Fiber-Tech structural support allows you to sit on the sides without sagging
- 2 built-in headrests
- Multi-colored LED lights
- Comes with everything you need to get started; ground cloth, floating chlorine dispenser, test strips, carrying bag, and more!
- Big enough for 6 people!
CLICK HERE to see the Intex PureSpa on Amazon.
In this article, we took a hard look at how durable inflatable hot tubs are.
We explored how they are made, how they could pop or tear, and how to fix them. We also looked at the best-rated inflatable hot tub. No inflatable hot tub is guaranteed not to rip or tear, but some are definitely better than others!
Happy hot tubbing!
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