If you’ve never purchased a hot tub before, the shiny jets and sleek exterior of each one you see might appeal to you. But not all hot tub brands are the same. Without proper research, you’ll end up spending thousands on a lemon. What are the worst hot tub brands to avoid?
Here’s my opinion after looking into it:
The worst hot tub brands include Life Spas, Future Spas, Thermospa, and Dimension One Spas. Often, companies like these use high-pressure sales tactics to get the initial sale but have poor customer service, follow-up, and mechanical service following the sale.
In this article, I’ll cover what differentiates the good hot tub brands from the bad.
Costco sells hot tubs cheaper than traditional dealers, so I’ll give you the scoop on whether they are good or not. I’ll also discuss the seven worst hot tub brands on the market, so keep reading.
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Are some brands of hot tubs better than others?
While many of the top brand names are comparable to one another, lower-end hot tubs typically use cheaper building materials that don’t last as long and are much more poorly insulated, resulting in higher electric bills and energy inefficiency.
That’s a no-brainer. Just like with cars, there are some manufacturers that are better than others.
Hot tubs are no different. These luxury items can be costly, and you want to be sure you’re investing in the right brand. The criteria for a good hot tub brand aren’t very extensive so let’s get into it.
The best hot tub brands use full foam insulation.
If a description doesn’t specify the type of insulation, chances are the hot tub is only partially insulated. Most modern hot tubs are energy-efficient, but partial insulation will cost you more in the long run.
A good warranty is needed for your hot tub, and not all brands provide that. Be sure to check the available warranty before you decide to purchase. It should cover labor, so you won’t have to hire a professional if a part needs to be replaced or repaired.
Other factors that differentiate the good hot tub brands from the bad include the water care system used and materials used to make the hot tub.
While I’m sure this information is helpful, there are still many things you need to know before buying a hot tub. Here’s my recent article on 23 crucial things to know before buying your first hot tub.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
— elmamaria 🇵🇹🇪🇺 (@elmamaria) August 19, 2014
Are Costco hot tubs any good?
Costco does sell some good brands of hot tubs, such as Aquaterra. They also sell Bullfrog Spas as well, which are outstanding, but these are only available at traveling events held at specific locations for set dates.
Just remember they don’t service them, and you may also need to arrange for transportation from the curb, as well as an electrical hookup.
Hot tubs from bulk retailers like Costco are never the best quality out there, but they do have some great ones. There are benefits and drawbacks to purchasing from them so keep reading to find out more.
If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, decent hot tub, then you can find that at Costco.
Prices can range from $2500-$8000 with tons of jets and features. Similarly built hot tubs can cost twice as much from smaller dealers. This is because Costco’s business model focuses on large volumes and smaller price margins. So, it’s not that their hot tubs are cheaper because they aren’t good.
They can afford to sell them at lower prices than local dealers.
Another great benefit of buying from Costco is their flexible return policy. Cosco allows you to return a hot tub and receive a full refund within six months of purchase if you’re not enjoying it.
Note, though, that this does not include installation costs or accessories you purchased. You’ll also have to pay to transport the hot tub back to the factory.
It’s worth mentioning that one of the biggest drawbacks of buying a Costco hot tub is their warranty.
Unlike most traditional dealers, they won’t provide labor for repairs. Your hot tub has a lifespan of up to 25 years, and you’ll need a decent warranty to cover it. Otherwise, you might end up paying a lot out of your pocket to get repairs done and parts replaced.
The next drawback has to do with support. Costco will not walk you through maintenance and care of your hot tub.
You’ll be buying the hot tub online and not in a showroom. This means they won’t offer any help on chemicals, parts, accessories, or technical support. If you’ve never owned a hot tub before, that can be really frustrating to figure out on your own.
— The Worst Things (@TWTFSale) July 18, 2018
Here are the 7 worst hot tub brands on the market
The Better Business Bureau gave Life Spas an A+ rating.
However, there were no customer reviews or customer complaints on the site. That wasn’t very helpful, so I dug around to find other reviews.
- Yelp shows them with 2.5 stars
- Consumer Affairs rated the company 2.8 out of 5 stars based on 11 reviews
Like with the other brands, one of the main complaints about Life Spas was the heater and motor. Currently, their website isn’t even working, so they may be going out of business.
This brand was rated 3.5 out of 5 stars on Google.
Reviewers complained that the company does not stand behind its product. One review from November 2020 stated that the customer had been waiting months for replacement parts because the hot tub was delivered with a bad fuse and a cracked cabinet.
Another reviewer complained that Futura Spas tried to get them to pay for parts even though the hot tub was still under warranty and the parts were covered.
I checked their warranty on their site, and it’s one of the worst in the industry.
They claim a 25-year warranty, but in truth, the company will only pay for the part you need. Labor and any other expenses are your responsibility.
You don’t need experience to know a horrible warranty when you see one. Hiring a technician can cost $300, and then the cost of shipping the defective part or the whole spa will be expensive.
Unlike most hot tub brands, Thermospa does not use local dealers.
For this reason, I’ve noticed that many complaints were aimed at poor delivery estimates. Customers got their hot tubs up to three months after paying for them. I first checked the Better Business Bureau, and the brand was given a B rating.
However, based on customer reviews, their rating was 1.18 out of 5.
Consumer Affairs rated then 3.2 out of 5 based on customer reviews. Every customer complained about the interior deteriorating rapidly, with some uploading pictures of the interior and exterior of their tubs rotting.
Laguna Bay Spas
This hot tub brand was rated 3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Most reviewers stated that their hot tubs were delivered with defects. Water leaking out, broken tub skirt, and heating issues were among the most common complaints.
Customers also added that the hot tub jets are weak.
Complaints stated that Laguna Bay Spas refused to send replacements even though the warranty had not expired. Others said the company refused to return calls and emails.
Dimension One Spas
The Better Business Bureau gave this brand a C- rating.
There were no customer reviews, so I checked elsewhere. Consumer Affairs rated the brand 3.2 out of 5. Some customers complained that their tubs kept leaking after only a few weeks of use.
Others have issues with heater replacements and a lack of support from Dimension One Spas.
Coleman & Bestway Inflatable Hot tub
I wouldn’t recommend this brand for a variety of reasons. The hot tub will take roughly a day to heat up. Now all inflatable hot tubs take a while to heat up. But Coleman, based on reviews, seems to take longer than Intex.
The jets are also weak, even for an inflatable hot tub. Let’s look at customer reviews.
The brand got a rating of 2 out of 5 on Home Depot.
The review from January 2020 stated that the spa didn’t last long. The pump stopped working first then the temperature gauge displayed a CO2 error message before it stopped working. The reviewer said this was only after a couple of months.
The brand is rated 3.7 out of 5 on Amazon.
Out of the 474 reviews, 214 were from dissatisfied customers. The complaints were very similar. The hot tub worked well for a few weeks before there were issues with the pump and circuit board. Some reviewers said that Coleman/Bestway replaced the pumps several times before the warranty was up, but they all malfunctioned.
Aleko Inflatable hot tubs
Aleko, like the other hot tub brands on this list, has mixed reviews.
With the majority being bad, one of the most common issues was a faulty tub being delivered. Aleko sells inflatable tubs that are new, but some have been rejected and resold. A lot of reviewers point out that the hot tubs neither reach the desired temperature as fast as it should and then loses its heat too quickly
One Amazon reviewer stated that a malfunction in their hot tub caused an electric shock and a toxic smell.
Along with many of the other brands, Reviewers of Aleko warns that you won’t get any customer service assistance. If you think that’s reason enough to avoid them, there’s more.
They scored 1.3 out of 5 stars on Home Depot. Every reviewer complained about the heater in their hot tub. And the warranty of only three months doesn’t help.
If you’re considering an inflatable hot tub, there are things you need to know about them. Here is my recent article on how inflatable hot tubs work.
Click that link to read the article on my site.
In this article, I covered what makes some hot tub brands better than others.
I also discussed the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing a Costco hot tub. Lastly, I covered the seven worst hot tubs on the market.
Of course, I have to say everything stated here is my opinion based on publically-available reviews, complaints, and scores on websites where hot tubs are sold. I am not implying any of these companies are engaging in unethical or illegal activity, nor am I implying they are misrepresenting themselves or their products on their websites or platforms where they are sold.
I am simply reporting what I researched, am my opinion about those findings, and like all research, my findings could contain errors, or corrections may have been made to problems that I am unaware of.
You should always make your own decisions as to what brands seem appropriate for you and your needs, read your own reviews, and do your own research.