Do Inflatable Hot Tubs Get Hot?

Hot tubs are great for relaxing with your family, and inflatable ones allow you to experience that on a smaller budget. But the question that worries most people is, “do inflatable hot tubs get hot?”

I did some research, and here’s what I found:

Inflatable hot tubs do get hot, up to a temperature of 104°F.  However, most inflatable hot tubs will struggle to reach that temperature if the ambient air temperature is below 40°F. Also, in inflatable hot tubs, the jets and heater are not able to function simultaneously.

If you are willing to buy an inflatable hot tub but aren’t sure whether it is the right one, then this article is a must-read for you.

So we’ll be looking at how well inflatable hot tubs work in cold winters. But we’ll also explore what it means to not be able to use the heater and jets at the same time.

Let’s dive deep into the details.

How hot can an inflatable hot tub get?

The maximum temperature on any hot tub, including inflatable hot tubs is 104°F. However, due to the lack of insulation, and the fact that the heater and jets cannot run simultaneously, inflatable hot tubs are not likely to get above 98°F if the air temperature drops below 40°F.

But you also have a less efficient heater on most inflatable hot tubs. The heater on an inflatable tub is limited to around 1kW compared to 7kW on a standard tub.

In winter, to maximize the heat, you may want to set your hot tub to the max temp of 104°F.

Ultimately, it doesn’t make a massive difference to your running costs if you set your hot tub temperature to 98° or 104°, although it will take a little longer to raise it to the higher figure.

Once at your chosen temperature, it is best to leave it at that, as bumping the temperature up and down frequently will increase your energy costs.

Also, remember that once that lid is off and the jets are set to full speed, the water temperature will start to drop.

So you may find it better to leave the jets off while soaking when it’s really cold outside.

How do I keep my inflatable hot tub warm?

To keep your inflatable hot tub as warm as possible, always use an insulated ground cover and keep the lid on when not in use. Also, keep the temperature set consistently as it takes longer to reheat the water from a lower temperature than it does to maintain a set temperature.

Inflatable hot tubs are not particularly well insulated on the whole.

The walls are thin, and although the air prohibits a certain amount of heat loss, the outside air temperature can have an enormous impact on this.

On a hot summer day, it’s okay, but as the temperatures drop, the air in the walls drops too.

On many inflatable tubs, the lids are little more than a fabric covering, with no insulation value at all. They keep out the debris and wild animals in search of a drink.

The base of the tub is also a great source of heat loss, and even on a hot day, it can be a bit uncomfortable if you don’t have seating installed.

There are, however, ways to improve on this, starting with the lid.

#1 The Lid

Getting the right fit is essential, so make sure you put the lid on all the way every time you get out. Even just being slightly off-center can cause a lot of heat to escape the hot tub.

You can also use a thermal blanket under the lid.

This is an insulated blanket that floats on the surface of the water keeping the heat in. Basically, it adds an extra layer of insulation under the lid.

This one on Amazon is a great one to get. Awesome reviews, inexpensive, and easy to cut to size for a perfect fit no matter which brand of hot tub you have.

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

#2 The Ground Mat

Finally, it is well worth investing in an insulated ground mat if yours didn’t come with one.

These often come with the tub as standard, and they should be big enough to cover the base and the pump/heater box.

But the floor of an insulated hot tub is the thinnest part of the tub. So it’s the perfect place to lose heat and efficiency. A ground cover helps keep the heat in the water.

Should an inflatable hot tub be left on all the time?

Yes. It is recommended that all hot tubs be left on permanently. This is because it is costlier to bring the temperature back up to 104° than it is to keep it there. The main exception would be if you are winterizing it, or shutting it down for an extended vacation.

If you turn off your hot tub after use, it will lose heat rapidly.

This is even more true when the outside air temperature drops below 40. Because the heater on an inflatable hot tub is limited to 1-1.2kW, it takes a lot longer to heat the water. Maybe as much as 12 hours, so this is going to impact your spa-time.

Combat this by leaving it on all the time.

Remember, you bought the hot tub for your enjoyment. It is pointless to spoil that for the small cost of a dollar a day it takes to run it.

Do inflatable hot tubs stay warm in winter?

With a good, well-insulated ground mat and a tight-fitting lid, inflatable hot tubs can usually maintain at least 98°F in winter. However, using the jets when the air temp is below 40°F will cause the temperature to drop as the heater and jets can’t work at the same time.

It is because the heater will switch off as soon as you turn on the pump.

One of the advantages of inflatable hot tubs is their ease of use – you just need some flat ground and a 13amp outside socket with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).

The downside is, this doesn’t give you enough power to run the pump and heater at the same time.

There are ways to keep it warm during the wintertime. Adding insulation over the lid and around the walls will make a massive difference and help you save a lot on your electric bill.

Alternately you can move it to the end of a garage in winter for added efficiency.

Inflatable hot tubs are more expensive to run than regular hot tubs. But how much more? Luckily, in a recent article on my website, I cover exactly how much you can expect to spend.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

What is the most energy-efficient inflatable hot tub?

The most energy-efficient inflatable hot tub is the Intex PureSpa. It comes with both an insulated lid and a thermal ground cloth. But it’s 1,300-watt heater is also more powerful than most inflatable hot tubs.

CLICK HERE to see the Intex PureSpa on Amazon.

Although I explained that inflatable hot tubs are not as energy efficient as regular solid-body hot tubs, some are more efficient than others.

The thing to look for is the cover. Most of the heat loss occurs through the lid of the hot tub, which is why this needs to be in place when your hot tub is not in use.

One of the best on the market for energy efficiency is the Intex PureSpa, available here on Amazon. It comes in two sizes – 4-person and 6-person –, and it is a favorite of mine for three reasons:

  • It costs less than $1,000,
  • The specs are great
  • It’s the #1 Best-Selling inflatable hot tub on Amazon with hundreds of awesome reviews

The 6-person tub is equipped with 170 water jets powered by a 1.1hp pump, providing a flow rate of 7.7gpm (gallons per minute) to give you that excellent spa experience.

With an inside diameter of 65 inches and a height of 28 inches, it can comfortably seat six adults, unlike some so-called 4 to 6-seaters.

Made from a laminate PVC, it is both comfortable and durable.

CLICK HERE to see the Intex PureSpa on Amazon.

Speaking of durable, if you ever wondered whether inflatable hot tubs are durable enough, you should read this recent article here on my website.

I get into all how they are built, whether they are easy to patch if you get a hole or tear, and how long they last.  And I also cover whether it makes sense to buy one now or save up for a more permanent one.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about whether inflatable hot tubs get hot?

So, to sum up, inflatable hot tubs do get hot and in the summertime, and they can retain that heat for long periods. However, as the air temperature gets colder, the heat loss is far more significant than you get with a regular tub.

This is because you cannot run the heater and the pump at full speed at the same time.

This always pops up the question, are they worth the money? The low initial cost has to be balanced by the higher running cost, so why don’t you check out this recent article on my website before making your mind up. I get into all the pros and cons of inflatable hot tubs.

Just click that link to see it on my site.

If there is anything I didn’t cover that you would like to know, drop me a line or just click on the links to see previous posts on my site.


Photo which requires attribution:

Respite from Regularity by Vanity Mirror 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.

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