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Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Good in Winter?

Inflatable hot tubs are a perfect solution for those looking for a hot tub on a small budget. However, many buyers have concerns about how well they are insulated and if they are energy efficient. Naturally, this leads many to wonder are inflatable hot tubs good in winter?

Yes. Most inflatable hot tubs are good to use in winter. However, they struggle to maintain the set water temperature if the weather drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. An insulating ground mat below the tub helps to maintain steady water temperature.

So when the temperature in your area is below 4o degrees Fahrenheit does that mean you have to take down your inflatable hot tub for the season? How much does the temperature of the water drop?

And if you do want to shut it down for the season, how do you do that? Also, we’ll also discuss if it is more expensive to run a hot tub in winter.

But it helps to know exactly how inflatable hot tubs work and what their limitations are.

Click here to read my complete guide to inflatable hot tubs. I cover their functions, what temperatures they won’t work in, how long you can expect it to last, and much more!

Just keep reading to get all the information.

Can an inflatable hot tub stay warm in winter?

Though, your inflatable hot tub can stay warm-ish during the winter months, if there is really cold weather, you should probably shut down your hot tub. By really cold I mean at or below freezing for an extended period of time.

The biggest challenge inflatable hot tubs have is that they typically don’t have a pump and a blower.

This means that if you have the jets on, the pump can’t pump water through the heater. That’s how the water stays hot. So by definition, it already will have a harder time staying hot if the jets get used frequently. And, of course, it has vinyl walls instead of an acrylic shell in a wood frame filled with insulation.

Combine that with freezing weather, and you have a hot tub that, at best, will probably hit the low 90’s in terms of water temperatures.

But will all that increase your electric bill?

Click here to read my ultimate guide on winter weather and how that impacts hot tub heating costs. I get into all the ins and outs of hot tub electricity usage, both inflatable and hard-sided. And we look at how the air temperature affects the heater which ultimately impacts your bill.

If you live somewhere with brutal winters and can’t move your inflatable hot tub into a garage or sunroom, your best bet is to shut it down for the season.

If you want to shut down your inflatable hot tub, here is what you should do. 

1. Cut the power

Begin by completely powering down your hot tub. Unplug the hot tub after turning off the heater.

2. Drain it

Once the jets have stopped working, drain the hot tub of water. Ensure that you do not pour the water onto your grass. The chemicals can damage the environment.

3. Remove the filter

Next, please take out the water filter(s) and put them in a cleaning solution. My favorite one is called Power Soak (click to see the current price on Amazon). Then clean out the filter basket.

4. Ensure no standing water is left in the plumbing

Your pump may come with drainage plugs. If so, open them up and let them drain. Ensure you also get rid of the water in the jet plumbing by either hand drying it or use a shop vac to suck the water out.

That may seem like a hassle, especially since hot tubs are awesome in winter. So are inflatable hot tubs worth it?

They have definite pros and cons, but we are talking hundreds of dollars instead of thousands. See all the benefits and drawbacks in this recent article.

You may click on the above link to read it on my website.

Should I use insulation under an inflatable hot tub?

It is absolutely crucial that you use the insulation mat that probably came with your inflatable hot tub.

Since heat transfers from hot to cold medium, your hot tub would transmit the heat out to the ground, patio, or whatever surface you have yours on. Therefore, you will want to put your hot tub on a thin ground mat so that this doesn’t happen.

Your hot tub didn’t come with a ground mat?

Puzzle mats, as you sometimes see in daycare facilities, make a great, inexpensive, and simple way to add an insulated pad under your inflatable hot tub.

I like this one on Amazon from the company BalanceFrom. It’s black, 3/4 inch thick, and easy to put together to the perfect size for your hot tub.

It’s also an Amazon’s Choice product with over 13,000 near-perfect reviews. Just click that link to check the current price on Amazon.

Another cheap insulation system that is available at most department stores is a foam core board. It will create a vapor barrier that will keep the heat inside the hot tub.

Of course, decks don’t provide much insulation at all. If you’re wondering about placing your inflatable hot tub on a deck, read this recent article. I get into calculating whether your deck can take the weight. But I also tell you how to reinforce your deck if it can’t support the weight of a fully-loaded inflatable hot tub.

Just click on the link to read it on my website.

Are the inflatable hot tubs more expensive to run during winter?

The short answer is yes, they can be. I pay between $20-25/month for the electricity of my portable hot tub.

Inflatable hot tubs often run closer to $30-40/month. However, that could spike in winter depending on how cold it gets where you live.

But just like traditional hot tubs, there are a variety of factors that come into play to determine your costs in the wintertime.

Turning off your hot tub in between sessions does not save you money.

Once the water is heated to your preferred temperature, you’ll save energy and money by keeping it at that temperature. It actually costs more to reheat the water every time you turn it on.

If you keep the heat going 24/7,  your electricity bill could spike as the heater works harder to maintain the set water temperature.

However, it’s possible to cut down the heating costs:

1. Set the filter cycle to off-hours

One way to save heating costs is to set your hot tub’s filter cycle to kick on when your electric company’s rates are lowest (often in the middle of the night). Most electricity providers charge more during peak hours. So have yours do the hard work during off-hours.

This means you’ll pay less per unit of energy.

2. Use a slightly lower water temperature

The second option is to reduce the temperature the water is heated to by a couple of degrees. A lot of people set their hot tubs to 104° F. I actually prefer mine to be 98°. That way, I can soak longer, and if my kids get in, it’s safer for them.

But dropping it from 104° F to 98° F could easily save you $10 bucks a month if you leave it set that way.

3. Use a low-cost thermal blanket

The third option is to invest in a hot tub thermal blanket. Lay it across the water, and it will keep the heat in, allowing you to lower the temperature but still keep it nice and hot.

I like this one on Amazon. You can easily cut it to size, and it just floats on the water. Easy on-easy off too. Great reviews, a rock-bottom price, and an Amazon’s Choice product too. Just click that link to read it on my site.

How hot can an inflatable hot tub get in winter?

Most of the inflatable hot tubs are designed to work properly in air temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

And, the maximum temperature of a hot tub, inflatable or not, is 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This is based on a recommendation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Anything past this temperature is dangerous and can cause harm.

So in winter weather above 40° F, you can expect your inflatable hot tub to get to whatever temperature you set it to, give or take a degree. That’s especially true if you use an insulated ground cloth, and keep the lid on when not in use.

But once temps drop below 40° outside, your hot tub will struggle to keep up.

If you live someplace like Minnesota don’t expect your outdoor inflatable hot tub to maintain 104° F all winter long! In fact, you’ll be lucky if it gets to 95° F.

If you want to use your inflatable hot tub during the wintertime, consider sheltering it from the weather. This will ensure it is not damaged by ice, or winds carrying debris.

That could be building an enclosure around it, putting it in your house’s garage, or even adding a greenhouse around it. There are a lot of questions to ask and a lot of decisions to make before you buy your first hot tub (inflatable or not).

Check out this recent article for important things to know before buying a hot tub. I get into the top 23 things you MUST know before buying one.

Just click on the link to read it on my website.

Is there a 4 season inflatable hot tub?

Yes, there is a 4 season inflatable hot tub!

It’s called the PureSpa Plus portable Intex Inflatable Hot Tub with bubble jets and a built-in heater pump. This inflatable hot tub has a lot to offer! Just click that link to see the current price on Amazon!

To begin with, it has 170 built-in water jets. These are high powered jets that will give you the soothing feeling you need.

Additionally, this hot tub has a hard water treatment built right in! This makes the water gentle on your skin. It also boasts a quick set up time of twenty minutes, meaning you can get in the water quicker!

The Intex hot tub also fits up to six people at a time.

Finally, the hot tub comes with:

  • An insulated cover
  • Multicolored LED lights
  • Two filter cartridges
  • Two headrests
  • Thermal ground cloth
  • Inflation hose & carry bag
  • Floating chlorine dispenser

Moreover, it’s incredibly safe! The hot tub can support and cushion people’s body weight.

Now durability is a common concern people have with inflatable hot tubs. After all, we’ve all seen how long inflatable tubes or kid’s swimming pools last.

Click here to read my ultimate guide which breaks down exactly how durable inflatable hot tubs are. I even cover how puncture-resistant they are and how many years, on average, they last before needing to be replaced.

Final thoughts

So, you can absolutely use your inflatable hot tub during the wintertime!

Remember that you should insulate your hot tub, so you don’t lose the warmth. Besides, the thinner the foam mat, the more heat that is insulated.

And remember, there are a variety of factors that can influence how much you pay for your hot tub during the winter months. Ensure you follow the steps above to save yourself money.

And if you’re looking for an inflatable hot tub, check out the PureSpa Plus on Amazon! That’s the one I bought to bring with me in my RV. It works great and has tons of fantastic reviews!

As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click on Amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase. You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details.

Jeff Campbell