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Inflatable Hot Tub Review

By: Kelly Burgess on May 11, 2018

Bottom Line

For those interested in a hot tub but not a long-term commitment, an inflatable model is worth considering. Inflatable hot tubs can be installed virtually anywhere and, unlike other spas, are truly portable -- although they have to be drained, then refilled when set up in their new location.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Portable and storable

Cons

  • Less durable than other types
  • Cheap look, feel
  • Blowers can be noisy
  • Water tends to cool quickly
Our Analysis

Breaking it down

Cost

Least expensive type. Inflatable hot tubs are less costly than other types. Some go for as little as $350, though the largest and most elaborate versions can cost nearly as much as some budget above-ground models, such as the Lifesmart Bermuda. Installation is also not much of a consideration, since an inflatable spa can be set up on almost any level surface. User reviews indicate that inflatable models tend to lose heat during use, which can limit their energy efficiency.

Durability

Flimsy construction. Sources agree that inflatable hot tubs aren't very durable. According to the editors of HotTubSpaRatings.com, "as a shell material vinyl is easy to damage, especially if the chemical balance of the water remains out of ideal range for very long." Poor durability is one of the most common complaints about inflatable hot tubs in user reviews, though many also report better experiences. These tubs typically come with a one-year warranty.

Ease of use

Easy to install, but a few quirks. An inflatable hot tub is the easiest kind to set up and install. When deflated, you can carry it anywhere, then simply inflate it, fill it up and plug it in. However, the water may take a while to come up to temperature (days, in fact, some reviewers say) and may lose heat rapidly during use. That's because inflatable tubs generally use air jets in place of hot-water jets, and the airflow cools the water. Some users also complain that the air blowers are noisy. Unlike other hot tubs, however, this type is truly portable. You can even take it with you on vacation, but the hassle of emptying and refilling the spa may be a consideration.

Appearance

Looks like a kiddie pool. Inflatable hot tubs don't have the range of features found on molded above-ground spas. Most don't even include seats, so users must sit directly on the floor with little room for their feet. Some models have rigid sides that snap into place to give the tub more structure, but others just look like a giant, tub-shaped balloon. Owners choose inflatable hot tubs for their low price and convenience, not their looks.

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