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The 5 Worst Hot Tub Brands (And 5 Cheaper Alternatives)

Invest in the best hot tubs, save money and effort. Read our expert review to discover the worst hot tub brands and top alternatives based on expert reviews.

So, why do you buy a hot tub in the first place? To relieve muscle pain? To have a good time with your family or friends? Or to relax after a long and tiring day at work? Whatever your reason is, your purchase will go down the drain if you end up investing in the wrong hot tub. 

Hot tubs are quite costly and the last thing that you need is the wrong hot tub, one with weak jets, cold water, leaks, or that breaks down easily. These are just some of the problems that you may face if you choose the wrong hot tub.

We have spoken over the years with hundreds of buyers, hot tub repairmen, and home spa designers. As a result, we came to a non-trivial conclusion (you will be surprised).

There are no bad hot tub brands. Even the flagships have unsuccessful models, but this goes down to buying a hot tub that does not suit your requirements. 

While a hot tub may be fit for one family, it may be completely useless for another family’s requirements. Therefore, it is critical to choose a hot tub that is designed to meet your needs.

Want to quickly figure out which jacuzzi will be the best home spa? Want to know which one you should consider leaving out? Read our roundup of failed hot tubs and this year’s top alternatives.

Worst hot tub brands + alternatives

Brand name and its weaknessBrands we recommend
1Bullfrog Spas
Hot Spring Spas

Weakness
Low-quality customer service
Delays in deliveries
(waiting time is more than 12 days)

Coleman
2Caldera Spas
U-max

Weakness
Low-quality customer service (replacement of components, maintenance issues are resolved after several weeks)
Intex
3Nordic Hot Tubs
Aleko

Weakness
Short hot tub lifespan
(item fails after 5-10 uses)
Parts often break down
(every few weeks you will need to contact a service center or carry out minor repairs yourself)
AquaRest SpasEditor’s choice
4Essential Hot Tubs
Life Smart

Weakness
Weak pump and heater
(heats up for a long time — more than 24 hours — and does not hold heat well, cools quickly — 3-4 degrees per hour)
Hudson Bay Spas

* While preparing this article, we noticed that some authors call the manufacturers of chemicals and hot tub accessories “the worst hot tub brands”. However, even minimal 5 min research shows that this is unreliable information. Be aware that Keter, Keszing, Leisure time, InSPAration, and Big Joe are not hot tub manufacturers.

Besides the brands listed above, 3 more companies have an ambiguous reputation.

  • MSpa — a company that has recently entered the hot tub market. Products from this manufacturer have received conflicting user reviews so far. This company mainly specializes in the production of inflatable hot tubs and equips its models with powerful water jets.
  • Jacuzzi — a world-renowned brand that has transformed the hot tub industry. And, of course, like any leading company from another industry, it has both positive and negative reviews.

During our research, we found the company’s negative reviews were mainly related to customer service issues. According to buyers, “complaints and requests were not considered for a long time or reluctantly, the staff was not friendly enough and did not always want to meet the client halfway”.

  • American Spa — the company specializes in the production of stationary models and has a wide range. Hot tubs of its products are either not popular or receive average ratings.

 After a detailed analysis of all the company’s products, we found one of the most successful models — AM-628TM. This hot tub is equipped with one of the most powerful pumps (2HPR) and has 18 powerful water jets. However, it is rarely available in stores.

American Spas Hot Tub AM-0628TM

What to focus on when choosing a hot tub

Perhaps you have already compared some models with each other in terms of technical parameters (size, number of jets, weight, etc.) and, probably, you have read reviews about these hot tubs.

At first glance, this approach makes sense, but in fact, we do not recommend relying primarily on comments when making a decision. Competitors may write these comments to degrade the brand. Or, they may be submitted using special programs. Not only you but even the search network algorithms will not be able to distinguish a real comment from a fake one.

We recommend that you focus on those resources that operate with a sufficient amount of data, and large samples. We adhere to these principles. Every inference in this and other articles are based on in-depth interviews with hundreds of buyers. They not only shared with us their first impressions of the purchase but also shared their experiences with home spas over the years.

How we did this research

Consumer research is just one of the steps in our work.

Also during the preparation of this article, we turned to the service centers of several brands and asked experts who are constantly engaged in the maintenance of the hot tubs what breakdowns are typical for certain models.

Our team constantly employs technical experts and professional designers who understand that even a normal hot tub can be a problem for you, because it may not be suitable for your requirements (not appropriate size or type of jets).

Byrossi® analysis methodology

So, after the analysis, we have established which criteria are important when choosing a hot tub, and those factors that do not matter.

Top criteria from buyers for choosing the best suitable hot tub

After that, we analyzed the ability of different manufacturers to meet your most important needs.
We have also selected models for you that have been tested by independent technical experts and many users.

Alternative hot tubs — short-list from experts and consumers 

We chose the most popular and diverse brands that have proven themselves to be worthy.

Model
Review
1Coleman
SaluSpa AirJet
(green) / Honolulu (gray rattan)
Winner in the category
“Safety hot tub 2020”

Type: inflatable hot tub 
Capacity: up to 6 people (max.comfort 4 person)
Size: 77” x 28”
Weight (empty): 91.05 lb.
Jets: 114 air
Installation: up to 30 mins.
What else is included:
Came with a spa cover (to keep it warmer for longer)
For outdoor usage, it has ground cloth (protects the cushioned air pad floor and helps with insulation)
Features: Chem-connected dispenser (releases chlorine at a controlled pace).
“We have been using this tub for over 3 months now and we love it. Easy to assemble, easy to clean the filters, and having the cover come with the tub is essential as it holds in the heat and helps keep the tub clean. The size fits 3-4 people comfortably but 6 would be a bit tight. Just a quick lesson at a pool store on which chemicals to use To keep the pool clean and well run and voila! A wonderfully relaxing way to end each day.”
Naomi, ON
2Intex PureSpa plus Bubble Massage set
Winner in the category
Budget & functional hot tub

Type: inflatable hot tub 
Capacity: 2 options 4 and 6 person models
Size: 77” x 28”(4 person) or 85” x 25”(6 person) 
Weight (empty): 104.72 lb./ 114.4 lb.
Jets: 140 air
Installation: 20-30 mins.
What else is included:
An Insulated cover and ground cloth (to manage heat loss) Equipped with a built-in hard water treatment system
Features: 5 options LED-lights Came with 2 renewed headrests  Сan be equipped with original seats (for children or people of short stature)
“This is my second hot tub and I love it! We sold our first one for $350 after using it for two years. We purchased another one for our new place. The price and customer service are unbeatable! I had a bit of an issue with my initial item but after talking to the customer service team, I was guided on how to go about the RMA. My new hot tub was delivered after three days.”
Jackson, ME
3AquaRest Spas 300 Premium
Winner in the category
Spacious and lightweight hot tub

Type: stationary hot tub 
Capacity: 2 person
Size: 80” x 74” x 40” 
Weight (empty): 232 lb.
Jets: 20 water
Installation: up to 40 mins. (does not require a  special electrical line plug & play)
What else is included:
Equipped with built-in seats (2' 1/2'' H x 1' 7'' W x 1' 6 3/4'' D)
The EZ Kleen Filtration System, providing 100% water filtration, combined with a factory-installed Ozone Purification System, which eliminates up to 75% of chemicals, work together to keep the water crisp and clean. 
2 cup holders are also in a kit
Features: 9 options LED-lights
“Great Hot Tub for the price. Advanced features like an ozonator and lighted waterfall. Great looking. Fits well with my gray trex deck. Arrived 2 days ahead of schedule. Set up quick and easy. Spa start-up kit is also a good buy because it has everything you need to test and set the water.”
Mary, NJ
4Hudson Bay Spas/ Home and Garden Spas LPI13CAN
Winner in the category
“Spacious 1-person hot tubs”

Type: stationary hot tub 
Capacity: 1 person
Size: 80” x 35” x 30” 
Weight (empty): 450 lb.
Jets: 19 water
Installation: up to 50 mins.
What else is included:
7 options LED lights 
Features:
Maintenance-free synthetic cabinetry, pressure treated base frame along with ABS bottom to ensure durability for years to come.
“Easy to set up with perfectly positioned jets. I was a bit skeptical regarding how powerful the jets would be since I am currently using the 110v wiring but they are powerful indeed! This hot tub is brilliant and therapeutic for those that have underlying health problems like neck and back pains. An added perk: the delivery of the hot tub was much quicker than anticipated.”
Cheryl Lee, FL

Hot tubs for a large family or party makers

In recent years, Intex and Coleman Spas have repeatedly become the best hot tub manufacturers. For several decades, these companies have been well known around the world as manufacturers of high-quality and reliable products for camping, inflatable spas and swimming pools, and other products for active leisure.

As we pointed out earlier when choosing a hot tub, you should pay attention: 1) to the model (whether it will meet your personal needs) and 2) the manufacturer (quality of goods, customer service, speed of response to requests, etc).

According to more than 2,000 consumers, these companies are customer-oriented. Issues of maintenance and repair of the hot tub are resolved quickly. Models usually arrive on time. Hot tubs are made of durable materials, components are tested (before shipment), and have a separate warranty period.

Coleman Honolulu (AirJet) hot tub 

“Awesome product. Quick and easy to set up. Very low maintenance. I highly recommend it.”

Maureen, CT

Intex PureSpa plus Bubble Massage set

“It was very easy to get put together and set up. It came kind of pre-installed and just needed some minimal attaching and inflating. It only took like 2.5 to 3 minutes to fully inflate.
It didn’t take long to fill up either and was heated by the following day and ready to enjoy.
I’d say it fits 2 people comfortably, 3 people if you like each other, and 4 if you’re all tiny little pre-teen people. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a squeeze.”

Nicky, MT

Hot tubs for self-isolation or a romantic evening

If you want to buy one of the most capacious, yet compact hot tubs on the market, we suggest you choose the AR 300 model — a hot tub of a non-standard form. No other 2-4-person model from other manufacturers will allow you to fit so comfortably, because this model has separate seating for you and your partner.
It is easy to place anywhere. The compact size of the hot tub makes it one of the most energy-efficient among small models.

AquaRest Spas 300 Premium

“Absolutely love it! So glad we went with the larger pump, ozonator, and hardcover definitely worth the money. Worked great on the 110v definitely a plug and play! We love the size because it fits on our small deck with room to spare for the bbq grill!”

Marianne, TX

Small stationary hot tubs are also in great demand (so if you find this jacuzzi available online – you’re in luck). They have powerful jets and heat up quickly. And these models are very roomy, which is especially important for 1-2-person models.

Hudson Bay Spas 1-Person Hot Tub 

“This spa is well-built and has a good size pump as well as different jets. The jets provide a decent massage. Considering that I’m 6 feet tall and single, the oval-shaped tub enables me to recline and fully submerge in the water. Although, when I am seated I do feel that a deeper spa would be more comfortable for someone my height. Regardless, it works for my requirements.”

David, GA

Top-4 hot tub models of the year

Coleman
SaluSpa AirJet
(green) / Honolulu (gray rattan)
Intex PureSpa plus Bubble Massage set
AquaRest Spas 300 Premium
Hudson Bay Spas/ Home and Garden Spas LPI13CAN

What is important to know when buying a hot tub

The right-chosen hot tub will serve you for several years and you will be able to receive a pleasant and relaxing massage at any time. You will be able to get rid of muscle pain and remove chronic muscle cramps. You can relax your body, which will make you calmer, your sleep will improve, and, as a result, your overall emotional background, and well-being will be enhanced.

You may have concerns related to a hot tub’s operation and maintenance and none of us are immune to breakdowns. That is why good customer service is essential as well as a reputable brand that can quickly assist you with all your problems. 

For the jacuzzi to be worth the money, it should be made of durable materials that are difficult to break or puncture. It should have sufficiently strong jets, ideally a combination of water and air. It should also be roomy so that one person can fit in full height, and several people can comfortably sit inside.

We strongly recommend that you take a serious and thorough approach to your choice of jacuzzi, the placement of it, and the chemicals used for its maintenance.

Where is it better to place a hot tub?— read How to Pick & Prepare a Place for a Hot Tub (Outdoors, Indoors)

What chemicals do you REALLY need for a hot tub?— read Top 3 Chemical Start-Up Kits for Hot Tubs

We have researched for you so that you can quickly and easily choose the right model that will be suitable for your requirements, whatever they may be.

We also wish you a happy shopping experience and pleasant relaxation in your new hot tub.

FAQ

🛀 What is the difference between a hot tub and a Jacuzzi?

The word “jacuzzi” has two meanings. Jacuzzi is a synonym for a hot tub, and also the name of a reputable firm (Jacuzzi LLC) that produces hot tubs. So, Jacuzzi is a company that manufactures hot tub spas and whirlpool bathtubs, and a jacuzzi is a hot tub.

🔝 What is the best hot tub to buy?

The choice depends on your needs. Among the inflatable models, we recommend the PureSpa Plus model by Intex. If you want a stationary hot tub, we recommend you to read our detailed technical review and analytics for the AR 300 model (AquaRest Spas 300 Premium).

🔴 What hot tub brand is the worst?

During our research, we found many complaints about the Aleko brand (their hot tubs often break down, quickly fail, and do not heat up well). At the same time, Coleman and Intex are the most favored by customers. Many buyers recommend these models to their friends and have been using these brands for 5+ years.

🚩 Where is it better to buy a hot tub from?

When buying a hot tub, it is important to protect yourself and choose a service that offers proper delivery conditions and a maximum guarantee. Manufacturers are not good at dealing with defects of inexpensive products. Therefore, we recommend ordering a hot tub on proven platforms with an extended warranty (example — A-to-Z warranty from Amazon.)

💲What is the average price for a hot tub?

A hot tub is no longer an unaffordable luxury item. Today, you can easily get a model that will last you several years for $500-2000. You can choose from an inflatable portable model (such as Intex or Coleman) or a stationary, well-designed, and lightweight 2-person AR-300 Premium model.

⚒ What hot tubs have the best warranty?

Most manufacturers today offer 2 types of guarantees – a general one for a hot tub and a warranty for parts (pump, heater). Also, it is important to have an additional store warranty when making a purchase, because manufacturers are not good at dealing with defects issues. One of the most beneficial A-to-Z warranties is now offered by Amazon.

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