Inflatable hot tubs
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A Hot Tub is a purchase many of us dream of: it allows you to enjoy outdoors while toasty warm, relieves stress, and eases muscle tension. The idea is incredibly appealing. That said, for most of us, a fixed hot tub is beyond the budget of most of us.
When you consider that inflatable hot tubs are portable, less expensive, and don't require a permanent space commitment, unlike fixed hot tubs, you can see why many vendors are struggling to keep them in stock.
Traditional hot tubs cost between £3000 to £10,000 for installation, as compared to the £300-£800 price tag for an inflatable one.
Most google search inquiries for inflatable hot tubs look for information on Laz-y Spa Hot Tubs specifically, as the brand has a reputation for providing high-performing hot tubs at affordable prices. They're also the brand of hot tub we've tried – and been seriously impressed with.
Tempted? Here's what to know ahead of purchasing an inflatable hot tub.
What is an inflatable hot tub?
As you'd imagine, an inflatable hot tub is one you blow up with air. Most are smaller than traditional hot tubs (though you can get 8-seaters, which are quite large). Pre-formed, they have all the required jets (the number of which depends on the model you buy) and waterways, which are connected to a unit housing a heater and a pump. Instead of being permanently plumbed into the mains, you fill a hot tub from a hose instead.
Once filled, a hot tub will take between 8-12 hours to heat up, depending on size. The heater can keep it warm year-round once turned on, though, although this will incur power costs for useage.
What do you need at home to make it work?
Any inflatable hot tub will come with a pump that circulates the water, as well as a heater to heat it. For some models, you'll need to have an automatic pump to inflate it, though Lay-Z tubs come with one in the set. You'll also need a hose to fill it, and an outdoor power supply or waterproof extension cord to power it.
Along with the tub, you'll need to purchase water filters to help protect the pump and jets from any detritus that falls into the tub.
You need a strong surface on which to place your tub – its going to be supporting both the weight of the water it holds and the people in it.
What to look for?
Find a model that has a reputation for ease of set-up – some inflatable hot tubs can be set up in 15 minutes, but the less impressive models can take hours.
Most have between 70 and 140 jets. Purchase as many jets as you can afford: the boost they provide to air circulation is quite something, and makes for a more massaging effect.
We’ve looked at the best Lay-Z Hot Tubs available, and a couple of the most impressive options from other brands.
New for 2021, we were seriously impressed with the Lay-Z-Spa Milan, which sits at the lower end of the price range for inflatable hot tubs. Holding up to people (we liked it best when it was just four), it’s small enough to be super-speedy to inflate – it took us 15 minutes, and the pump for inflation comes as part of the bundle.
With 140 jets, we found the massaging effect of this spa absolutely delightful – it works a treat at easing lower back pain.
The outer walls are made of rayon-coated PVC, making for a resilient, puncture-resistant structure that fits easily into tight spaces.
We also loved the energy saving timer, which switches off the hot tub when not in use, but allows you to time it to start heating up so the tub is ready for you at the end of the day.
With a built-in Wi-Fi module, spa can be controlled through a phone app ChemConnect dispenser provides a stable level of chlorine throughout the spa.
Lay-Z Spa St Moritz
A shade more expensive, the St Moritz model offers plenty more bang for your (extra) buck. It provides everything the Miami does in terms of resilience, but it houses up to 7 people (though it's more comfortable with 6).
Despite that, it still requires only 15 minutes to inflate, and is impressively sturdy.
180 jets ensure that at a larger size, the St Moritz will still provide massaging comfort regardless of where you sit. The in-built cup holders are a nice touch, meaning you can enjoy a cold beer while toasting up.
The 'Freeze Shield' means the St Moritz will withstand freezing temperatures, so you can use the tub even when the air temperature hits sub-4 degrees celsius.
It's currently in stock.
Lay-Z Spa Cancun
Seriously romantic, we'd advise keeping use of the Cancun to two people, though it can squeeze four in (two adults and two kids fit just fine, though).
With 81 jets, it won't prove as therapeutic as other Lay-Z models, but it will keep you bubbly, warm, and happy.
Small and easy to set up, we'd recommend the Cancun for people who want an inflatable spa they can use for a couple of weeks at a time, then pack away for when the urge next takes them. It can inflate in five minutes, making it ideal for 'as and when' use.
Lay-Z Spa Bali
We won't repeat ourselves, as the Bali hot tub is the same as the Cancun, with one fun added feature – LED lights. This makes it great for night-time use, providing the sense of being on a tropical holiday at a glitzy resort.
Chisdock 4-Person 108 Inflatable
An alternative brand, the Chisdock inflatable makes for a reliable option. The laminated PVC outer means it's sturdy and puncture resistant, and as a 4-seater with 108 jets, you'll be getting a lovely back massage as you sit.
In terms of ease of use, the Chisdock distinguishes itself by coming complete with a built-in pump, which niftily takes care of inflation for you in 10 minutes.
With an integrated filtration system, you don't have to splash out on water filters regularly to keep it clean.
A timer system also ensures you can delay heating for up to 99 hours – so you can have the spa ready for when you like.
A well-thought through, accomplished choice.
CleverSpa Onyx 4 Person Hot Tub
The CleverSpa is aptly named, a nifty four person hot tub, replete with 110 jets to relax and massage.
The black leatherette look is one of the most stylish options on the hot tub market. Like Lay-Z Spa Hot Tubs, it comes with a Freeze Guard, to ensure you can use in the wintry depths.
It also comes with all the kit you need to set it up and keep it operational: an insulated top-cover that clicks on securely, a filtration kit, inflation hose, and repair patch. It will only take ten minutes to inflate, too.