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The Best and The Worst Hot Tubs Under 500: All you NEED to Know

Did you know you could purchase a great hot tub for under $500? Able to accommodate 4 people, we show you how you can purchase the right one for your needs.

There’s a fear of spending a lot of money on hot tubs because of rising prices, some instability, and uncertainty of the quality of products. However, even “inexpensive” hot tubs are an important investment.

That’s why our team has put together all the hot tubs that you can purchase within the $500 range. We analyzed each of the models by their specifications, and more importantly, by the feedback of the owners of these hot tubs to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each model.

As a result, we have selected a list of hot tubs that will be worth your money.

Table with top three models + their benefits

Bestway
Hawaii Air Jet
Intex
Greywood Deluxe
Intex
PureSpa
Winner in the category:
Comfortable staying
Winner in the category:
Additional features
Winner in the category:
The best combination of price and quality
Can seat 4-6 adults
222 Gallons
114 Air Jets
Can seat 4 adults
210 Gallons
140 Air Jets
Can seat 4 adults
210 Gallons
120 Air Jets
Heating to
104F (40°C) 24 hours
Heating to
104F (40°C) 20 hours
Heating to
104F (40°C) 20 hours
Benefits
Roomiest for 4-person
Heater works with massage**
Ergonomic and easy-to-use control panel
An integrated water filtration system
Energy-saving timer
Benefits
Hard water filtration system*
Wireless remote control
An integrated water filtration system
Quiet operation
Carry bag and 2 headrests
Energy-saving timer***
Benefits
Hard water filtration system*
Ergonomic and easy-to-use control panel
An integrated water filtration system
Carry bag
Best price
Read moreRead moreRead more

* Hard water system – built-in water softener that makes your skin gentle and extends equipment life

** Heater works with massage – most tubs don’t have it and the water cools quickly due to cold air bubbles

*** Energy-saving timer – helps schedule a hot tub without waiting for it to heat up

The best hot tubs are rarely in stock

There has been a surge in the demand for hot tubs since the COVID-19 crisis. Due to this reason, the best models are hardly available and usually sell out the same day they are restocked. If you have decided on the model that you will purchase, consider subscribing to in-stock notifications below. Since we’re directly in touch with the manufacturers, you will be informed a couple of days before your chosen model is restocked. This means that you will have a chance to grab your hot tub before it goes out of stock again. That is why we also advise buying from Amazon. 

What do inexpensive hot tubs mean?

Often “inexpensive” is associated with “poor quality and durability”. This perception is not always true. Affordable hot tubs often mean fewer functions or slightly weaker productivity but, they also have a number of advantages.

Let’s dive into the benefits of inexpensive hot tubs as well as some of the downsides that they may have.

What are the advantages?

In addition to the main advantage – low price, inexpensive hot tubs have a number of other advantages.

You can easily install this hot tub even by yourself 

All hot tubs in this price category are inflatable. So, do not worry about the complexity of installation. One of the main advantages is quick and easy installation.

Although sometimes the manufacturer’s instructions are not clear enough, there are many videos on YouTube that will help you figure out how to install your hot tub. Following the instructions, the hot tub can be installed in less than an hour. All that is then left to do is to fill it with water and plug it in.

Easy to pack and convenient to store

When you do not need to use the hot tub, it can be packed and stored away in less than an hour. This is particularly useful if you have limited space or want to use the spa only for special occasions as it will save time and hassle. 

It is easy to find a comfortable place

Portability also gives you another advantage. For an inflatable hot tub, it’s not difficult to find a suitable place to set up your hot tub. You can easily take your hot tub with you on holiday or when you move away. You can take it to a campsite, a summer cottage, and anywhere else provided you have a flat surface to keep it on.

If you want to know how to select the perfect place to set up your hot tub read here.

Easy cleaning and maintenance

Another significant advantage is the ease of cleaning and maintaining the inflatable hot tubs, in contrast to cleaning hard-side hot tubs.

Service systems are integrated into the inflatable hot tubs and operate automatically. All you have to do is add chemicals when needed and turn off and replace the filters. Changing the water is also fairly simple and it keeps the hot tub clean and functional. You can change the water monthly or every few months. It depends on how often and how many people use the hot tub.

What are the downsides to remember? 

When choosing a hot tub in the $ 500 price range, it is important to understand why it may fall into that lower price category. 

Weaker massage 

In contrast to hot tubs with hydro jets, these lower-priced hot tubs will only have air jets that cannot provide a thorough massage and therefore don’t offer the same health benefits. So, if you’re after a hot tub that can provide a great, full-on massage, it’s better that you stick to hot tubs equipped with hydro jets. Moreover, there are many options for inflatable hot tubs with hydro jets and they are certainly more expensive than $ 500, but still much cheaper than standard hot tubs (inflatable hot tub with hydro (real) jets).

Smaller capacity 

An inflatable hot tub, especially a low cost one, will not be very spacious. When the product description indicates that it is designed for four people, you should understand that it is better suited for two. With a smaller hot tub, you can still stretch out and relax. This does not mean that the other people are out of the question, the four of you will most certainly fit. But it is important to note that the four people will be sitting very close to each other. For some, that may not be a problem but for others, it may be out of their comfort zone. 

The same rule applies for hot tubs for six people. They are better suited for four. 

Slower to heat and quick to cool

Less expensive hot tubs will have heaters that are not quite as powerful and efficient as higher-priced hot tubs. The heater on average raises the temperature by 1.5 – 2 degrees per hour. The first time you use a hot tub, it will take approximately 24 hours to heat the water. Also note that when using air jets, the water will cool down faster because they will draw in the outside air causing the water to cool.

It is advised to cover the hot tub with a cover/lid after using the hot tub. This will help keep the water warm and the cover will also protect against external debris. If you have small children or animals, it is good for their safety too.

Probability of leakage and product rejects 

In this category, there will only be inflatable hot tubs. Although they are generally made of sufficiently strong material, there is still the possibility of damage and, as a result, air leakage.

There is also the possibility of receiving defective or damaged products due to improper transportation and delivery. And, because of the low cost of the product, not all manufacturers are keen on replacing the products. It can sometimes be a hassle. Therefore, it is better to buy these hot tubs through Amazon. There is a useful Amazon A-to-z warranty that provides peace of mind and eliminates hassle – it holds the money for some time prior to issuing it to the seller. This ensures that the buyer has some time to try and enjoy the product. Amazon’s customer service is well-known for taking the customer’s side most of the time (what can’t be said about the Chinese manufacturers).

Models that you shouldn’t buy

As experience shows, it is possible to find a good inflatable hot tub at a low price. However, there are also some poor quality products that are not worth the money. For example, we do not recommend buying Aleko hot tubs, which have proven to be one of the worst hot tubs in the market.

Is an inexpensive hot tub suitable for you?

Price is not the only factor to keep in mind when choosing a hot tub. Before considering a model, you should have a clear set of requirements. These requirements will ensure that you can pick the right hot tub to suit you and your needs.

Let’s take a look at what an inexpensive hot tub will and will not cater to.

An inexpensive hot tub would be a good solution to:

  • Put your spa anywhere you like 
  • Get a pleasant relaxing air jet massage
  • Spend a good time with your family (up to four adults)
  • Throw a little party for up to four people
  • Spend romantic evenings with a partner 
  • Take a portable hot tub for your camping experience

An inexpensive hot tub would not be a good solution to:

  • Get a strong recovery massage
    You will need a hydro-jet massage for that. A budget solution for this would be to invest in inflatable hot tubs with hydro jets. They are higher than the $500 limit, but still much cheaper than stationary hot tubs. Read about inflatable hot tubs with jet jets.
  • Relaxing with a big company

Low price relates to a smaller size when it comes to models up to the $500 mark. The models presented in our rating have two sizes (for four and six people). Larger size models exceed $500 and are better suited for enjoying a soak with a large company.

Our analysis

To search for the best inexpensive hot tubs we:

  1. Found models up to $500;
  2. Studied the information from manufacturers have consulted with 2 engineers, excluded models with poor performance;
  3. In the remaining hot tubs, we identified their strengths and weaknesses based on the technical characteristics and feedback from their owners.
  4. Based on customer feedback, we also identified key features that are significant when using a hot tub 
  5. Determined 3 winners that better meet these criteria (as far as possible) and have an attractive combination of price and quality compared to others

The owners of the inflatable hot tubs highlighted these criteria as “really important”

CRITERIABestway Hawaii Air JetIntex Greywood DeluxeIntex PureSpa
Easy assemblyEasy and quick set up101010
Clear instructions71010
Quickly inflate/deflate101010
ComfortAmple room to sit comfortably1099
Specified capacity corresponds to reality877
Comfortably and powerful air jets1089
Ability to maintain heat898
Silent hot tub8108
Easy to operate
Easy to use and maintain101010
Easy to remove101010
Control panel convenient to use
9109
Quickly heat up888
Construction qualityGood pump8107
Doesn’t leak988
Support serviceEasy replacement of defective goods/return1077
Help with emerging issues888
AVERAGE8,99,08,6
MAX101010

One thing that sets our research apart is that we are not sponsored by brands, and therefore, it doesn’t make a difference to us regarding what model you buy. We are here to provide you with our unbiased findings so that you can pick the hot tub that will suit your personal requirements. Our priority is that you get exactly what you expect when you buy a hot tub and are happy with your purchase. 

Mentioned below is a detailed analysis of each model. 

#1. Bestway Hawaii Air Jet

Bestway Hawaii Air Jet

Winner in the category: Comfortable staying 

Easy assembly: 9,0 out of 10
Comfort: 8,8 out of 10
Easy to operate: 9,3 out of 10
Construction quality: 9,0 out of 10
Support service: 9,0 out of 10
Total: 9,0 out of 10

Details about Hawaii Air Jet

There are a few portable square hot tubs in the market. Many users have repeatedly highlighted the advantages of the square tub in comparison to round- shaped tubs. Note that you can get the same model under the name Coleman SaluSpa Spa. They’re absolutely identical, so if this is the right tub for you, there’s a better chance that it’ll be available.

Thanks to its square shape, it is more spacious than a round-shaped spa and you can sit more comfortably in it. It is ideal for family use or for parties. This hot tub is better suited for four adults. It is worth remembering that these four people will sit quite close to each other in the tub with their feet possibly touching.

A plus point of the square shape is the ability to sit in the corners. In comparison to a round-shaped hot tub, sitting in the corners of a square tub gives your body more support in the lower back. This is why people who have back problems note this as an important advantage. In addition, owners of this model also highlight the good power of air jets and, as a result, excellent relaxing massage of the whole body.

Another positive feature of this hot tub is the ability to start bubbles and the heater simultaneously. This helps keep the hot tub warm when you get a massage. Note that only this model out of the ones we have presented has this function. The Majority of competitors with higher price hot tubs do not have this function. 

Users have complained about slow heating, but it is worth remembering that all hot tubs in this category have this drawback. That’s why owners love the timer in this hot tub, which starts and stops the heating. This is quite convenient because the water stays warm for a long time. 

Buyers of this hot tub complain about the illegibility of the enclosed installation instructions. Some of them had to look for other instructions on the Internet and found the YouTube installation video particularly useful. Therefore, in general, users like the ease of installation, but not according to native instructions.

Some customers have also had complaints about the heater or pump. In such cases, you can return or replace your purchase with a warranty from the seller or manufacturer.

Advantages

  • The square shape provides comfortable seating and is the most spacious one for four adults
  • The ability to simultaneously start the bubbles and heater
  • The ability to automatically pre-start water heating with a timer
  • Powerful air jets that are ideal for a soothing and relaxing massage

Disadvantages

  • Confusing installation instructions
  • Slow heating, so the first heating can take 24 hours

Review of customer

This hot tub is worth the money. I wanted to ensure that I had used this hot tub for a good few months before submitting a review. We threw away our standard above ground pool and invested in this. It’s been 2 months and we are still on our first bottles of the bromine shock. This is phenomenal and significantly cuts down on maintenance costs related to buying chemicals every week! We haven’t had the need to add fresh water yet either. It’s brilliant. It is so SIMPLE to maintain and makes the perfect place to retreat on cool fall and winter Tennessee evenings. If this tub broke down today, it would still be worth every penny. You’re getting the benefits of a hard hot tub at a fraction of the price. Best investment ever. 

 — Jessie, US

#2. Intex Greywood Deluxe

Intex Greywood Deluxe

Winner in the category: Additional features

Easy assembly: 10,0 out of 10
Comfort:
8,6 out of 10
Easy to operate:
9,5 out of 10
Construction quality:
9,0 out of 10
Support service:
7,5 out of 10
Total:
8,7 out of 10

Details about Greywood Deluxe

The Greywood Deluxe and PureSpa are from the same manufacturer – Intex. And, as you can see from the comparison table, they have similar characteristics but Greywood Deluxe is a newer model.

The first thing that catches your eye is the renewed design – calm gray, a more compact heater and pump unit than many other models and the lid fits tighter, so it retains heat better. The owners of Greywood Deluxe also mention that it looks quite harmonious and attractive.

Another handy update for this model is the wireless remote control panel and a timer feature that is not available in the PureSpa. The wireless solution is not very useful. The remote control works no more than five meters away from the hot tub. However, the timer is a great feature. It effectively starts and stops the heating, so you can schedule your spa without waiting for it to warm up. 

A nice feature of this hot tub is a built-in softening system for hard water. It works automatically when the pump is on. This system extends the life of the internal components of the inflatable hot tub. It also makes the stay in the hot tub more pleasant for the skin and healthier for the hair. This feature is lacking for most competitors.

Wireless remote control panel

Customers who owned previous similar models also noticed a couple more improvements. First is the silence of the pump. This is a good plus if you want to talk in the tub or simply enjoy the silence. Second is a very soft floor.

The main drawback of this hot tub is that it is not true to its specified capacity. Half of the number of people in the description can lie comfortably inside a spa. The product description shows the maximum capacity. 

Slow heating is also a common complaint. As with inflatable hot tubs in the affordable range, weak heaters are common. So the first heating can take 20 to 24 hours.

Advantages

  • Keeps the water warm when you’re not using it thanks to a tight protective cover
  • Ability to automatically pre-start the water heating with a timer
  • The built-in water softener that makes your skin gentle and extends equipment life
  • Compact and aesthetic thanks to the new design with reduced heater and pump dimensions
  • Increased silence of operation

Disadvantages

  • The spa can accommodate four people as described but is comfortable for two people
  • Slow heating, so the first heating can take 20 to 24 hours

Review from customer

It is so simple to install. Durable body. The pump is quite quiet and the blower is not very loud. With temperature control, you can maintain the temperature of the water although the air blower will ever so slightly cause the water to cool about one or two degrees. The cover of the tub assists in keeping the water warmer for a longer period of time.

— Jeff, US

#3. Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa

Intex PureSpa

Winner in the category: The best combination of price and quality

Easy assembly: 10,0 out of 10
Comfort:
8,2 out of 10
Easy to operate:
9,3 out of 10
Construction quality:
7,5 out of 10
Support service:
7,5 out of 10
Total:
8,1 out of 10

Details about the Intex PureSpa

This is a very popular hot tub in the $500 category. Of the presented models, this one has the most attractive price. The Intex PureSpa has been on the market for a long time and, thanks to the combination of price and quality, it has won many fans. It has over 2,500 customer reviews on Amazon and around 70% of the reviewers rated this hot tub as a 4-5 star. This is a very good result in the category of inexpensive tubs when unusually this figure does not exceed 55%. 

Let’s see why this model is so popular.

Like the Greywood Deluxe, the PureSpa is equipped with the automatic softening system for hard water. The control panel is easy-to-use. It is located above the top of the hot tub, so you don’t have to lean overboard to see it.

Many PureSpa users also claim to have been pleasantly surprised by the power of jets, which are ideal for a soothing and relaxing massage. But people noted that when using air jets, the water tends to cool down faster. It should be noted that this problem occurs not only for this hot tub but for the air jets in general. As in most inflatable hot tubs, here the heater and air jets can not work simultaneously (except Bestway Hawaii Air Jet)

Some users also reported that the air jets were noisy. They can make it a little difficult to enjoy music or have a quiet conversation. Also, the owners of this hot tub often noted that although the model is designed for four people, two adults will feel more comfortable in it

Advantages

  • The built-in water softener that makes your skin gentle and extends equipment life
  • Powerful air jets are ideal for a soothing and relaxing massage
  • The control panel is easy-to-use.
  • Most pleasant price

Disadvantages

  • The spa can accommodate four people as described but is comfortable for two people
  • Slow heating, so the first heating can take 20 to 24 hours
  • Noisy air jets

Review from customer

The hot tub has been wonderful. I take it as one of my best investments. Since purchasing it two months ago, I’ve been using it almost every night and it provides such a relaxing experience. It takes around one whole day to get it to the highest 104 temperature. I enjoy the bubble feature although they are loud. I haven’t seen an increase in my electricity and water bills so that’s great. Although 4 people can fit in the hot tub, I recommend two as two can sit comfortably. It gets tight for 4 people. I advise buying hot tub accessories to enjoy with the hot tub like the light and the seats which my wife loves as she is shorter than me. I personally love the cup holders.

— Jason, US

What can make using a hot tub even better? 

When you purchase a hot tub, there are a number of things that can help make your experience better.

To take your comfort to the next level, you may need additional accessories. For instance, if you have children and you are concerned about the depth of the water, you will need seats. If you plan to have a party or just enjoy a drink while you’re in the hot tub, a cup holder (for Bestway and for Intex) is a good solution. In addition, some owners of hot tubs note an increase in comfort thanks to special cushions (Greywood Deluxe already comes with two headbands). But keep in mind that most hot tubs in the $500 range are not designed to fit accessories on the sidewall of the body.

Chemical residues, body oils, sweat, small insects, etc. accumulate around the waterline and on the inside of the lid. This is the hardest part of cleaning an inflatable hot tub. But there is a product that significantly reduces this problem, and it only costs a few dollars. These are sponges without chemicals – Scum Bugs. They float on the water surface and absorb dirt, preventing scale formation. This simple way can really make cleaning a hot tub a lot easier.

Though a few extra dollars will increase your budget, you’ll hardly regret buying these accessories as they will prove to be handy.

Intex PureSpa Spa SeatBestway SaluSpa Drinks HolderIntex PureSpa Cup HolderIntex PureSpa HeadrestScumbug Oil Absorbing Sponge

When is the best time to buy a hot tub?

There are many theories relating to the best time to buy a hot tub. Some would say early autumn, winter, late spring, mid-summer… But actually, it doesn’t really matter what time of year you purchase a hot tub. It doesn’t have an impact and totally depends on when you would like to use it.

Keep in mind that hot tubs in the $500 range are inflatable and most of them aren’t designed to be used in cold temperatures below 40F. So if you plan to place a hot tub outside, think about how long you can use it until you’ll have to store it away for the cooler months. Provided you have a suitable and flat place, you could also move the hot tub indoors and enjoy it all year round.

Summary

Inexpensive hot tubs are not necessarily poor quality or short-lived products. Yes, they have some limitations. For instance, you can’t expect them to offer fast heating or provide a strong massage like those provided by a standard hot tub with hydro-jets but that doesn’t make them any less of a great product. Regardless of their low price, they have their own set of advantages that are ideal for those who need a hot tub in the $500 budget. Usually, they are inflatable and don’t require complicated maintenance. Thanks to their portability, they can be easily installed without any additional costs, simply moved to the right place, and do not take up much storage space.

As a result of our detailed analysis of hot tubs in the $ 500 price range, we found models that combine great functionality without compromising on quality. Owners of these models report that these hot tubs are quite suitable for their needs. Therefore, rest assured that whichever model you purchase based on our ratings, you’ll be pleased with your purchase.

These top three hot tubs won in their respective categories: 

ModelWinner in the categoryPrice
Bestway
Hawaii Air Jet
Comfortable staying

Intex
Greywood Deluxe
Additional features

Intex
PureSpa
The best combination of price and quality

FAQ

🙌🏻 What can you expect when you buy an inexpensive hot tub?
“Inexpensive” is not synonymous with “Low Quality.” Budget hot tubs generally refer to those with fewer functions, smaller capacity, or slightly lower performance. Don’t expect an inexpensive jacuzzi to offer a powerful massage or a heater that heats the water quickly. Regardless, they do what they are designed to do and are of good quality.

🛀 Are there good Jacuzzis in the $500 price range?
Customers need to be aware that all the hot tubs in this price range are inflatable. And there is a vast choice of inexpensive inflatable jacuzzis. Inflatable jacuzzis have their set of advantages that include easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, simple installation, portability, and straightforward maintenance. But there are also some low-quality goods. Therefore, when you need to invest in an inflatable jacuzzi, consider well-reputed brands.

⌚ From where and when is the best time to buy a Jacuzzi?
There are many theories related to the best time for buying hot tubs. Everyone has their preference. For some, it’s early autumn, winter, late spring, and mid-summer. Infact, what time of year you buy a Jacuzzi is not important. But where you buy your Jacuzzi (especially inexpensive) from matters. To avoid the hassle, buy from sites that guarantee the buyer protection (example — A-to-z warranty from the Amazon). Manufacturers are not good at dealing with defects of inexpensive products. Therefore, it is advised to buy from well-reputed sites. 

👀 How to choose an inexpensive Jacuzzi?
Before considering a model, you must have a clear set of requirements. Answering the following questions is crucial in determining the right Jacuzzi for your needs.

  • Why do I need a hot tub?
  • How many people will use it?
  • Is a strong massage/ quick heater etc. important for me?

When deciding, also take customer reviews, expert reviews, and the reputation of the manufacturer into consideration.

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