I’ve loved and owned several hot tubs. But back when my budget was smaller, I use to wonder are inflatable hot tubs worth it?
Here’s what I learned:
Yes, with an average price of under $600, inflatable hot tubs are worth it for people who want a hot tub and are on a tight budget. But in colder climates, know that the further below 50° F the outside air temperature is, the harder it is for inflatable hot tubs to maintain a water temperature of 104° F.
But there’s a lot more to know about inflatable hot tubs and whether they are worth purchasing or if you should save up for a more permanent one.
When it comes to hot tubs, there are so many different options out there.
You can have a hot tub built into the ground. Or you can buy a portable hot tub, which is the most common. But inflatables are very budget-friendly and can be a great option too.
That’s why, today, we’ll show you everything you need to know about inflatable hot tubs.
Is a hot tub is on your wishlist? But maybe you’re unsure whether or not you want to commit thousands of dollars towards one? You’re definitely in the right place.
Let’s get started!
Are the inflatable hot tubs any good?
Inflatable hot tubs are a great entry-level hot tub for those on a low budget, or when the need to move the hot tub easily is a priority. While issues include shorter lifespan, being more prone to puncture, and inconsistent heating cold weather, for many, the lower cost offsets the limitations.
Now it’s true that they won’t last as long, and could be more prone to leaks. But you’re also paying hundreds of dollars instead of thousands. So inflatable hot tubs are a good value.
In many ways, inflatable hot tubs can work just as well as their solid counterparts. Let’s review the different aspects:
Inflatable hot tubs are good for many things, but the price is definitely one of them.
As opposed to spending thousands on a hot tub, you can skip all of the hassles, and pay between $200-$1500 depending on the tub.
After all, a (so-called) portable hot tub with delivery, installation and electrician cost could easily cost you at least $3,000 to $5,000, or more.
By comparison, inflatable hot tubs are generally well under $500 and don’t typically have an expensive installation or high electrical costs.
But while the price may be good on an inflatable hot tub, there are a few things to consider.
First, it would be wise to purchase one of these hot tubs new. This is because the smallest amount of wear can easily cause an inflatable hot tub to spring leaks.
So if you are looking for a really cheap option, make sure you check the hot tub out before you buy it. Otherwise, when you buy a new inflatable hot tub, they’re usually made with quality vinyl.
Inflatable hot tubs are not only cost-effective, but they’re also extremely convenient.
This is because they’re easier to pack up, and storage is extremely easy. If you have a garage or shed, chances are you have enough room to store an inflatable hot tub along with its components.
So while they may have the glamor of a more permanent hot tub, when it comes to convenience, you really can’t beat inflatable.
Hey just wanted everyone to know my buddy bought an inflatable hot tub and it looks pretty dope honestly pic.twitter.com/Yj8YMOWgrC
— David Ruff (@dcarterruff) November 11, 2019
But do they actually work well?
Compared to a standard hot tub, there are definitely a few key differences that you should be aware of.
This is because these hot tubs work a little differently. So you need to keep the heating factor in mind.
When it comes to heating an inflatable hot tub, it may take a little more time.
That’s because the insulation is not as strong. After all, we’re comparing a thin vinyl wall to an acrylic or concrete shell.
Aside from the heating, rest assured, they do an excellent job for the price. We’ll have more on some of the details for you as you read on.
Inflatable hot tubs are not the best hot tubs on the market, but for the price, you really can’t beat their effectiveness.
— Deal Hunter UK (@UK_DealHunter) November 8, 2020
How long do inflatable hot tubs last?
The average lifespan for an inflatable hot tub is 5 years. This compares to hard-sided hot tubs’ average lifespan of 15 years. However, proper maintenance, deflating during harsh weather, and using an insulated ground cover can extend the lifespan.
Anything that’s inflatable seems to have an expiration date attached to it.
Now, while this may be true for hot tubs as well, you’ll be surprised when you hear how long these hot tubs can last. Plus, to be quite honest with you, a lot of it comes down to how well you take care of it.
So, as I mentioned, inflatable hot tubs can last you up to about 5 years.
This is because these tubs are made out of vinyl. That means that the risk of wear and tear is higher than other types of hot tubs.
So when it comes to handling one of these hot tubs, you’ll need to make sure that you approach them with care. You don’t have to treat them like they’re made of glass. But if you want them to last, you’ll need to be at least a little bit careful.
In truth, ALL types of hot tubs will only last a certain number of years.
I break down the average lifespan of each type of hot tub in a recent article. That will help you compare all of them and see if an inflatable hot tub is really a good value or not.
Just click the link to read it now on my site.
If you want to get longer use out of your inflatable hot tub, be sure to keep sharp objects and jewelry out of it. This will significantly reduce the amount of possible risk.
Our Fibre Palm #thatch tiles are popular at the moment& it's not hard to see why! With 2 colours, a tropical aesthetic & a lifespan of 50+ yrs they're the obvious choice for garden projects. Here a hot tub #gazebo is topped in Bali tiles & a #tikibar is finished with Makuti tiles pic.twitter.com/kSW9cLosOa
— Africa Roofing UK (@AfricaRoofingUK) April 28, 2021
Do inflatable hot tubs have seats?
Inflatable hot tubs do not typically come with molded seats like traditional hot tubs. However, they do typically have insulated cushions for seating which would allow the user to sit and have their head above water.
You obviously don’t want to stand in a hot tub, right?
They’re meant for sitting, and while some inflatable hot tubs do lack proper seating, most of them have something for you to relax on.
Inflatable hot tubs are not the best when it comes to seating.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stand the whole time. This is because most inflatable hot tubs will come with cushions at the bottom for you sit on.
They tend to be very comfortable, and if the hot tub has massage capabilities, then you’ll definitely still get the full experience.
Can I add seats?
While they may not come with seats right out of the box, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your hands on better seating.
There is excellent aftermarket support for inflatable hot tubs, which means that you can find plenty of great seating options online.
This Intex inflatable hot tub seat on Amazon is a great addition if your seating is lacking.
It is inexpensive, features adjustable height, is both slip-resistant and removable. Just click that link to see it on Amazon.
So while inflatable hot tubs may not have the best seating options, you’ll still have a place to sit. Plus, if you really want a bench or chair, you can always order one online.
Fancy a chance at winning an Intex Inflatable Hot Tub and a 2019 Hull FC Warm Up jersey?
Head over to @outdoorlivininghottubs and name the three players modelling our brand new warm-up jersey to enter! pic.twitter.com/bgyw8gFpCY
— Hull FC (@hullfcofficial) January 18, 2019
Can you leave an inflatable hot tub out in winter?
Winter is an awesome time to use your hot tub. That’s because it’s really a great experience to be immersed in warm water while there’s a chill in the air.
One of my most favorite experiences was being in a hot tub in Lake Tahoe surrounded by snow.
Most hot tubs are designed to function perfectly in the winter. But since it lacks the insulation of a traditional portable hot tub, and typically comes with a much smaller heater, winter can be extra challenging for those with an inflatable hot tub.
So can it be left outside in winter?
An inflatable hot tub can definitely be left out in the winter.
But you need to make sure that you’re kind to it. So if it starts snowing heavily, make sure to clean the snow off the cover. That way it doesn’t build up heavily as inflatables being vinyl are not as strong as a hard shell
Also, excessive ice can cause some serious damage to the external vinyl wall. So, if you’ll be leaving it out, just make sure you keep the weather in mind.
— Terri Warner (@terrirodwarner) January 16, 2021
Does it work in the winter?
The answer to this question really comes down to the model that you have.
But generally the further below 50° F the outside air temp gets, the harder it will be for your inflatable hot tub heater to maintain a water temp of 104° F.
That’s not to say it won’t be hot at all, but it may dip well into the 90’s depending on how cold it gets.
This is because some models are made differently from others. Some inflatable hot tubs push bubbles into the water by using outside air. So if your hot tub functions that way, it can be difficult to maintain the water temperature if it’s below freezing outside.
The next thing you need to be aware of is insulation.
Inflatable hot tubs will do a good job in the warmer months because the air in the walls will serve as a great barrier.
But in the winter the effectiveness of insulation will definitely drop along with the air temperature.
So while it may be safe to keep it outside, you need to consider the impact that the air temperature will have on your experience as it can be harder to keep the water warm.
Finally, if you have an inflatable hot tub that heats the air before it sends it through the water, then you’re in pretty good shape.
Heating the water won’t be too difficult, and you’ll be able to keep the temperature level where you want it.
Many people like to bring their inflatable hot tub indoors during winter to reduce heat loss. So if you have a basement or enclosed patio, that can be a great winter option.
When it comes to running inflatable hot tubs in the winter, always make sure you run it for at least 12 hours before use. It takes longer to heat a hot tub in the winter, and chances are you don’t want to jump into frozen water.
Do inflatable hot tubs cost more to run than other types of hot tubs?
Yes, inflatable hot tubs do typically cost more per month on the electric bill than traditional hot tubs. However, the increase is not likely to be more than $20/month. The average inflatable hot tub owner pays about $40-50/month for electric costs.
The cost of a hot tub is definitely something that’s on everyone’s mind.
This is because sometimes it can be quite expensive to run an inflatable one. This comes down to factors like:
- Outside conditions
But there are also some price caveats you should know about inflatable hot tubs.
You’ll definitely be saving some money on the front end, which is great because it can potentially be thousands.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the cost of running them, if you don’t run it correctly it can cost you a lot more.
This is because inflatable hot tubs take longer to heat up, which means they require more power. And that’s even truer in winter.
Is there a way around that?
Running a hot tub doesn’t always have to be expensive, and there is definitely a secret that will help you save quite a bit of money.
The secret, well, it’s very simple.
Instead of turning it off and on all of the time, leave the hot tub running. You’ll notice that it doesn’t use that much power, and your water temperature will always remain close to where you want it.
So not only will this save you money, but it will also save you the hassle as well.
If you want to compare the actual costs of running different types of hot tubs, I break it all down in a recent article that even explains how I run mine for only $15/month.
The initial cost of the inflatable hot tub won’t be troublesome, but when it comes to running them, make sure you carefully consider what we talked about in this section.
— Riverfront Times (@RiverfrontTimes) November 15, 2020
Can you put an inflatable hot tub indoors?
An inflatable hot tub can go indoors under certain conditions. It should not be placed on a 2nd floor due to the weight of it full of water. It also should not be placed on carpet. And the use of a dehumidifier is recommended to lower the risk of mold or mildew in the room.
You’ve probably seen something like this on social media over the past couple of months, where people have swimming pools inside.
While it’s not recommended that you run hot tubs or pools inside of your home, inflatable hot tubs can definitely function inside your home.
Just be prepared to deal with leaks quickly and definitely don’t put them on carpet; that’s just asking for trouble.
Things to consider for indoor use
The main thing you need to consider, when it comes to placing one of these inflatable hot tubs indoors, is the fact that you need the space.
Space is important because these hot tubs are still going to be quite large. So, it’s a good idea for you to dedicate an entire room for inflatable hot tub usage; a screened-in porch or patio is a great choice.
If you want to put your inflatable hot tub on a wooden deck, I have a recent article which breaks down exactly how much weight a wooden deck can handle and how to reinforce it for a hot tub (of all kinds).
Just click that link to read it on my site.
Aside from space, you also need to consider how you will fill and empty the hot tub.
Luckily, a lot of this can be done with a garden hose brought indoors. But you need to be aware of the how and where you’ll drain it.
Not sure how often you should drain your hot tub? I explain how often, why, and how to do it (quickly and easily) in a recent article.
Just click that link to see it on my site.
— Dan (@DanYaniro) June 18, 2020
Which inflatable hot tub is the best?
The best inflatable hot tub is the Intex PureSpa 6-person. This hot tub is both spacious and durable and features 170 jets, insulated ground cloth, and everything needed to get set up in as little as 20 minutes.
But that’s just a quick overview. So below, we’ll get into all the details as to why I think this is the best inflatable hot tub on the market.
Not all inflatable hot tubs are cut from the same cloth. So making the right decision can be a real game-changer.
But here’s my pick having owned and used dozens of hot tubs.
So when it comes to a great inflatable hot tub, that can even be used outside or inside, this model is definitely top-notch for the just over $600 price point.
It also features FREE shipping and near-perfect reviews on Amazon, as all Intex inflatable hot tubs do.
Here are some of the features:
- Plugs into a standard wall plug (13 amp breaker)
- A built-in hard water treatment system
- Fiber-Tech® Construction and the puncture-resistant three-ply laminated material
- Sets up in 20 minutes – no tools needed
- 170 bubble jets and the heat and juts run simultaneously
- Includes 2 headrests, 1 PureSpa seat, and a multi-colored LED light system
- Can seat up to 6 (comfortably)
Not every inflatable hot tub is made with the same standards in mind, so it’s always a good idea to frequently check reviews before making a purchase. Luckily, you can leave here today knowing about which two hot tubs are definitely excellent options.
Did I cover everything you wanted to know about inflatable hot tubs?
We know that we sent a lot of information your way today.
But hopefully, you leave here well versed in inflatable hot tub knowledge. Our final verdict about inflatable hot tubs is a simple one.
While they may not be as flashy or durable as a traditional hot tub, that doesn’t mean that they’re a bad product. For a great price, you can definitely have quite a bit of fun with your next hot tub.
So are inflatable hot tubs worth it? Absolutely!