As you can tell from their names, SpaSearch.org, Pool & Spa Living, PoolAndSpa.com and HotTubSpaRatings.com all provide useful information about wooden and other hot tubs, including buyer's guides, photographs and owners forums.
Wooden hot tubs -- which are generally constructed of teak, redwood or cedar -- are above-ground spas that generally have a simple round design with bench seating. The main attraction of these tubs is their solid construction, and the natural aromatherapy provided by their fragrant woods. Like other above-ground spas, wooden hot tubs require a firm surface for proper installation, but their heat source may be electrical, gas or wood. On the down side, wooden hot tubs require careful maintenance and are simple in style, lacking many of the options and contoured seating found in other spa types, such as above-ground acrylic hot tubs (*est. 3,000 to $10,000). They are mostly available from specialty retailers and in do-it-yourself kits.
SpaSearch.org's site includes dozens of articles related to hot-tub buying decisions, with sections on construction, features, maintenance, safety and installation. This site also has an endorsement program for manufacturers, based on customer survey cards; most major brands are included.
Review: Buying a Hot Tub, Editors of SpaSearch.org
2. Pool & Spa Living magazine
There are no product reviews on the website of Pool & Spa Living magazine, but you'll still find some good articles on choosing a spa, as well as pages on installation and maintenance. Pool & Spa Living also includes lots of photographs of hot tubs in a wide range of types and prices, so you can get a good idea what's out there.
Review: Hot Tubs and Spas Articles Archive, Contributing editors to Pool & Spa Living
This retailer sells parts, chemicals and accessories for hot tubs, but not the tubs themselves. Most of the site is very commercial, but the article on buying considerations is helpful. The short guide covers material types, installation considerations and a shopping checklist.
Review: Planning to Buy a Hot Tub Spa?, Editors of PoolAndSpa.com
4. HotTub SpaRatings.com
Very few of the owners posting comments here discuss the same spa, but there's a large enough number of reviews that you're likely to find something on the spa you're considering. Also, there's a helpful buyer's guide that covers spa materials, jet types, maintenance and installation considerations.
Review: Hot Tub and Spa Reviews, Contributors to HotTubSpaRatings.com