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In-Ground Hot Tub Review

By: Kelly Burgess on May 11, 2018

Bottom Line

In-ground hot tubs are a major investment. They're considerably more expensive than above-ground tubs, can take weeks to build, and may also have fewer features and lower energy efficiency.


  • Most durable, customizable
  • Can be used year-round
  • Could raise the value of your home


  • Requires extensive professional installation
  • Permanently installed
  • Could make your house harder to sell
Our Analysis

Breaking it down


Most expensive type. In-ground hot tubs are the priciest kind, not so much because of the cost of the equipment as the cost of the installation. A permanent spa requires excavation of the site, plumbing, electrical work and sometimes gas hookups, all of which must be done professionally. Better Homes and Gardens editors estimate the total cost of an in-ground spa at between $15,000 and $20,000. However, you get the option of heating the water with gas rather than electricity, which will save on energy costs in the long run. While an in-ground hot tub could raise the value of your property, the experts at the Better Business Bureau caution that getting that extra value could be a challenge when it comes time to sell.


Built to last. Online buying guide What's the Best describes an in-ground hot tub as the most durable type. They're typically made of either poured concrete or air-blown concrete known as gunite that's applied over a web of steel reinforcing rods, which can be molded to virtually any shape. Concrete and gunite spas generally have a line of ceramic tile around the rim to make cleaning easier, and some are completely lined with tile. Construction of an in-ground hot tub will probably require a permit, and may be subject to local building and zoning restrictions.

Ease of use

Fully customized. An in-ground spa can be custom-made to any size and shape you like. You can also choose the exact configuration of water jets: their number and position, adjustable or non-adjustable, even their color. In-ground spas may come with a full array of options such as colored lighting, sound systems or waterfall features, but more extras generally equal a higher cost. Construction is time-consuming, too, taking anywhere from two to 12 weeks or longer.


Built to fit your landscape. The editors at Better Homes and Gardens note that an in-ground hot tub "can add a dramatic effect to your yard." Because it's built to your exact specifications, you can choose whatever style will fit best into your landscape. An in-ground spa can be built right into a deck or patio for easy access from the house, and you can choose the shape you prefer, as well as the type and color of tile. Since an in-ground hot tub can usually be used year round, the editors at What's the Best recommend considering "the view throughout the seasons" when choosing a site -- and that's especially good advice since an in-ground tub can't be moved once it's built.

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