Our verdict: AR 300 is the best hot tub for 2 persons, total winner by 7 parameters in its category.
Aqua Rest 300 Pros and Cons
- Most luxurious design in the industry (60% more favorable reviews than average)
- Thick, 2-4mm solid plastic with strong carcass; made using rotational molding (won’t break even if you jump)
- Elite, fully insulated cover (to keep heat and save energy)
- Full foam insulation (to keep heat and save energy)
- LED waterfall, 9 colors (to create just the right ambiance)
- Patented, easy to use filter and drain system
Select 300 vs Premium 300 – what’s the difference?
There are two variations of this tub: Select and Premium with equally positive customer reviews. Nevertheless, we recommend choosing Premium over Select.
Premium version is just 10% more expensive, but it is more energy-efficient. It includes a heater, while Select heats the water with the pump (see more info).
In the winter, Premium will be quieter and heat up faster, and it can be used in temperatures below -20F. With Premium, you also get an option to convert to 240v and install an ozonator.
According to our research, we can confidently say AR 300 it’s one of the two best hot tubs for 2 persons.
The average customer rating is 4.54. It is better than 98.4% of all other hot tub models. Proudly made in the USA (in Florida).
It’s the winner in the following criteria:
- Roomy. Due to its triangular form, it feels much roomier than other tubs with similar dimensions. In AR300, you won’t bump into the other person – your legs are stretched in the same direction, not against each other.
- Keeps the heat well. Due to full foam insulation and an insulated cover, it retains heat even in -2°F Saskatchewan winters and saves energy.
- Lightweight. Can be easily moved by 2 adults using a sledge, or just rolled
- Visual design. It has an outstanding, luxurious design that looks more like a sport car part than a jacuzzi. You will enjoy even simply looking at it.
- Thick and stable construction. It is made from thick and solid plastic, using a rotomolded method. Nothing will break even if you would jump in it.
- Saves energy. Most people won’t see an increase in the electricity bill.
- Easy and quick setup. Clear instructions, which you probably won’t even need as reviews say the setup is intuitive
- Waterfall with LED lights will set just the right ambiance for a romantic evening or a refreshing spa session after a long hard day.
With the price of Select model being 20% below average in the category, this is definitely a good investment in your home value.
The best Aqua Rest Spas 300 variation is Premium.
How we reviewed
- Tried the tub in our lab
- Interviewed 2 service engineers (who know all ins and outs)
- Analyzed 650 customer reviews (to compare this tub with its rivals)
- Interviewed 12 customers (who can represent the market opinion)
What is essential when choosing a hot tub?
We analyzed hundreds of customer experiences after buying a hot tub.
We realized that after the purchase, customers appreciate not the same things they appreciated when buying the product.
It is like buying a gold-coated watch: you may like the luxury looks, but once the coat is worn off, you regret your purchase. When purchasing a hot tub, customers tend to miss things that will actually define their experience.
The criteria to look for when buying a hot tub are:
- Roomy, fits your body
- Air and water move comfortably, powerful jets
- Easy and quick set up, easy instructions, user-friendly control panel
- Thick and stable construction, excellent build quality, well-insulated
- Easy and quickly heat up
- Keeps the heat well, stays warm long, includes an insulated cover and full foam insulation
- LED light works well
- Includes a waterfall
- Saves energy
These things will define your post-purchase experience – a good one or a regretful one.
What turned out to be unimportant (and doesn’t influence the satisfaction):
- Number of jets – you won’t be able to tell the difference between 10 and 30 jets tub given the pump power is the same
- Horsepower of the pump – it just reflects how much energy the pump consumes. Instead, the comfort of use is dependent on the construction of jets and the productivity of the pump.
How does Aqua Rest 300 match these criteria?
* there’s no split between AquaRest 300 Select and AquaRest 300 Premium on these characteristics
Dimensions and shape – Aqua Rest 300 Select / Premium
According to the reviews, this tub is a winner in “roominess”. It feels roomy because of its triangular form, as it utilizes the space the most optimal way. If you are anything below 5’ 10” (177 cm), it would feel very roomy for you as well. If you are taller, you would need to consider a larger tub.
Due to the triangular form, you will sit by each other shoulders and your faces will be closer, what provides more opportunity to interact casually. In contrast, in some hot tubs you have to sit next to each other, what is a position that subconsciously stimulates confrontation.
The triangular form also enabled the futuristic design. This hot tub looks more like a Lamborghini than a jacuzzi.
Dimensions of both Premium and Select modifications are 80 inch (length) x 68 inch (width) x 31 inch (height).
Brand / manufacturer
Brand AquaRest operates since 1997 and is owned by LMI IP, LLC. Its spas are fully assembled in the US.
The company is located in Florida and also owns Dream Maker and Syncrylic brands.
All the brands owned by the company, including AquaRest, have pretty high customer reviews – above 4.5 out of 5 stars (we aggregated ratings of the products of these three brands from Wayfair, Amazon and Home Depot). Currently, the company has no litigations in the process and has maintained a good name so far.
Shell, assembly, and insulation
Aqua Rest is an American company. It manufactures its hot tubs here in Lake Mary, Florida:
AquaRest manufacturing facilities in Florida – see on Google Maps
Shell material: AquaRest uses medium-density polyethylene shell, instead of the acrylic and fiberglass shells that are used in traditional spas. So the shell is much lighter and stronger. It can endure any weather without peeling, fading, rotting or cracking.
Rotational molding method: AquaRest was one of the first manufacturers to introduce rotational molding method to create spa shells. Unlike the standard method, the mold with heated plastic rotates while in the oven. The rotation helps the plastic to coat the mold evenly and create a uniformly thick shell.
Full foam insulation: Unfortunately, many manufacturers use air insulation or partial foam insulation to save costs. So we were glad to see that Aqua Rest 300 has end-to-end foam insulation that covers the whole hot tub within. This ensures low energy costs, and also the spa stays hot even when placed outside in the winter.
AquaRest 300 Premium / Select capacity is 160 gallons. It’s on the smaller part of the spectrum, but more than enough to provide comfort. It also means this hot tub is on the lower part of the spectrum when it comes to maintenance expenses and electricity – you will spend around $20 on chemicals, and save the electricity in winter, as lower capacity = lower heat radiation area = lower heat losses.
Electricity and maintenance cost
Chemicals will cost you around $20 a month, just like for any other hot tub of this size.
Electricity costs depend on a) temperature around, b) whether you cover the tub properly, c) electricity cost, d) insulation.
This tub is fully insulated by foam and has an insulated cover. No wonder it’s a clear winner by the number of reviews that mention “energy efficiency” among its rivals.
|Temperature around||Monthly bill increase|
|50F and above||$10|
|40F – 50F||$20|
|30F – 40F||$30|
|20F – 30F||$35 – $40|
|less than 20F||$40 – $50|
* Assuming that the electricity cost is $0.15 per kWh, you use the tub twice a week, and it’s well insulated the rest of the time and running around the clock, and you use a thermal blanket. The numbers are given for Premium, the more efficient variation.
Customer Reviews about the running costs (AR 300 Premium variation):
Does Aqua Rest 300 Work Well in Winter?
Even though some online retailers claim both tubs to work perfectly in any temperature, we figured out it might be not true: the Select variation does not have a heater – it heats the water using the pump, what is not very efficient. In a cold winter, the pump will be running all the time to keep the tub hot.
- Select 300 works well for temperatures 30F and above.
- Premium 300 works in any temperature. It reportedly works well even in Saskatchewan winters.
Unline AR Select 300, AR Premium 300 has a) a separate 1kW heater, b) can be upgraded to 4kW heater if needed. That is why our engineers strongly advise buying the Prime model if winters in your area are colder than 30F.
Reviews about Prime 300 functioning in winter:
Warning: if your winter temperatures fall below -20*F, we recommend installing the hot tub on an insulated cover, or even building an insulated enclosure around the hot tub to keep it from wind and heat losses. Additionally, make sure the area around the access panel and around the power outlet are well insulated from water, ice, and snow.
How long does it take to heat up for AR 300?
You just need to heat it up once and leave it running.
So don’t worry about how long will it take to heat up – just don’t let it cool down. Switching it off won’t save energy. A simple explanation for this is that heating up a cold hot tub takes the same amount of energy as it would take to keep it hot.
If you are going to leave it unattended / unused for more than 2 weeks, consider draining it.
The heating rate will be 4 degrees per hour for the Select 300 model, and 8 degrees per hour for Premium 300 model. So if your water starting temperature is around 50F, it will take around 13 hours for Select model, and around 6 hours for Premium model to heat up.
|Model||Select 300||Premium 300||Premium 300,4kW heater upgrade|
From 50F to 104F
Premium 300 model will heat up faster because it has a separate 1kW heater. You can also upgrade it to 4kW heater, which means heating up from 50F to the normal 101F-103F in 4 hours. Although to use the 4kW heater, you will need to have 240v wiring. It is only needed for the regions with severe winters where temperatures often fall below 10F.
To speed up the heating, leave the tub covered.
Just like for any other hot tubs – see our article on hot tub water treatment. You would need to use a sanitizer (either chlorine or bromine) to kill bacteria and a combination of pH increaser, pH decreaser, and an alkalinity increaser to keep pH and alkalinity at the right levels.
Wiring for Aqua Rest 300
No special wiring is needed. You can connect it to a standard 110V / 15A socket.
The plug includes a security switch that will switch the device off if something will go wrong. Also, you can easily switch it off by pressing the red button. Premium 300 tub can be easily rewired to 240V, but it requires buying an upgrade.
Heater and Pump – Aqua Rest 300 Select vs Premium
Select and Prime models have different pumps, and Select has no heater: it heats the water using friction. This is the reason we recommend Premium over Select.
Heating water by “friction” is not efficient: you have to pump water all the time to keep it hot. It is better to have a separate heater in addition to a pump: it results in shorter, quieter cycles. The pump will run at a low speed, only when needed. Also, electricity will be transformed into heat faster and with fewer losses.
A hot tub that has both a pump and a separate heater (the Premium variation) will result in:
- reduced electricity costs
- reduced water heating time
- quieter running
- your pump will serve longer
- your hot tub will stay hot in the winter without having the pump constantly running
|Aqua Rest 300 Select pump||Aqua Rest 300 Premium pump|
|Pump||1.5 HPR 1 Speed Pump||2 HPR 2 Speed Pump|
|Heater||No heater (water is heated using the pump)||1kW heater (upgradable to 4kW)|
More detailed explanation – why friction heater is not efficient:
Friction heating is a name for the process of heating the water using a pump. After the water goes through a pump, it heats up by a few degrees, because a) it takes the heat from the pump, b) more heat appears because the water is being slowed down after it was accelerated in a hot tub, what decreases its kinetic energy and turns it into a heat energy. If you shake water in a bottle for long enough, its temperature will increase. Although a faster way to heat up the water (and probably a more efficient one) would be to boil it on the stove.
Aqua Rest Spas provides a standard industry warranty on this tub:
- 5 years on the shell
- 1 year Parts/90 Days On-Site Labor
- 1 year on the spa cover
Full specs of Aqua Rest Spas 300
Steps for Aqua Rest Spas 300
You can buy the steps from AquaRest (quite overpriced, in our opinion). Or consider two other options, cheaper and better by reviews – see below:
Disadvantages of Aqua Rest Spas 300 – Select / Premium
This product has some disadvantages. Some of them are inevitable consequences of its strengths – spectacular design, low cost, or triangular form. The others hopefully can be fixed in the next versions.
1. Although the tub is not a high one (30 inch high), it has no built-in stairs, so getting in for older folks can be difficult. Most likely, you will need to buy stairs separately. It is the way Aqua Rest makes money, but we have found cheaper stairs completely compatible with this hot tub.
2. The triangular form looks spectacular, but it also means you will have to sit facing just one direction only. The twp seats are located on the two corners of the triangle, facing the third corner. It means that you have to be strategic regarding how to place your hot tub – so that you will sit facing a gorgeous view, not your room’s window. With round-shaped hot tubs, this problem doesn’t exist, as you can sit in whichever direction you wish.
3. The conversion to 240V is available only in Premium version, and requires a paid upgrade, which costs about $400. In reality, it is not needed unless you have winters with temperatures often falling below 0F and you use the hot tub outside.
4. The marketing brochure says it has stainless steel jets, but they are plastic jets with stainless steel surrounds – just like most of the other hot tubs have. When using, most probably you won’t see any difference, as the jets are covered with bubbly water. We saw not a single comment that would say the jets are not durable. But if this detail is essential for you, you’d probably need to look at the more expensive jacuzzis.
5. Only three colors are available: brownstone, cobblestone, graystone. All of them look luxurious, but the choice is still small. Hopefully one of them fits your interior.
If any of the above is a deal-breaker for you, we suggest that you look for another tub.
We analyzed 620 reviews of hot tubs in the category of hot tubs for 2 persons, and here is what we found.
This tub is a clear winner in the category by these parameters:
- Keeps the heat well
- Thick and stable construction
- Save energy
- Easy and quick setup
So if anything of the above is uncompromisable for you, this tub is the best one to go with.
Among other things that customers say about this tub, when compared to its rivals, is that “water moves comfortably” and it has “powerful jets”.
Customer reviews – Aqua Rest 300 Select / Premium:
Do you need a hot tub at all?
Many customers who live the spa lifestyle, find a hot tub a focal point for the family. Mobiles are stowed away, and some quality time is spent together soaking in the tub. If you want an entirely solo soak, better get up early! That’s been our experience at least.
The bubbly water, massage, and warmth make you and your partner relax. It is exactly what it takes to establish a deep connection. Only when relaxed you can have quality time.
The tub is a good reason to throw a party – even if it’s a party just for two.
It relieves the soaring body and lets your mind wander so that you can get back to work being more productive.
Finally, it’s not just having a spa. It’s living the spa life.
Given the price, and the best value for money in this segment, AR 300 makes a perfect investment in your house value.
Where to buy
There are four major places to buy the tub online: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and also a range of offline chains that sell it. Be wary of the illegit websites that pretend they represent the manufacturer.
Amazon vs. the rest
Amazon totals to 47% of retail e-Commerce sales. It’s not just a big retailer – it is a dominant player that negotiates the best discounts and is in the position to impose strict standards. That is why we compare Amazon with “the rest”. “The rest” represents Target, Walmart, Home Depot, and other stores – they all have similar operating models.
The benefits of buying from the juggernaut Amazon is that your money is secured by the reputation, customer service, terms and standards of Amazon:
- it has the strictest terms for manufacturers among all other major stores when it comes to warranties, returns, and customer service
- its A-to-z Guarantee guarantees the condition of the item and its timely delivery
- Amazon has its own dispute resolution center, renowned for staying on the customer side, not manufacturer side – so many sellers complain about it
- free shipping on numerous items – often including AR 300 hot tubs (a Prime account gives you even more free shipping options)
Amazon has a good turnover. It means that everything is “fresh”. The tub that arrived to us was manufactured only 5 weeks before it was shipped, so likely it was shipped directly from the factory. Buying on Amazon, you won’t run in a situation when you received a “new” tub made in 2015.
Even though sometimes you can find discounted tubs somewhere else, explore what is the reason for the discount. The margin that a reseller makes is less than 5%-6%. So if the price is lower than Amazon’s by more than $100, it is likely because their model is outdated, returned by someone, or called back by the manufacturer. The only way to tell if the item is good is to order it and have a service engineer to inspect it.
Used / for sale – check eBay
If you are looking to buy a cheaper, used hot tub, check eBay, sometimes you can spot good deals. You can use these search queries that filter out most trash.
Offline dealer vs Amazon?
As already mentioned, it’s likely that AquaRest ships freshly made tubs to Amazon customers directly from the factory.
Even though offline stores used to be more convenient, now they are good only to see and try the product, and then buy online.
First, buying offline, you will pay for their rent, sales staff, and taxes – embedded into the hot tub price that you see on the shelf.
Second, buying offline, there is no one who could defend your rights. If something goes wrong, the store won’t fight with the manufacturer, but it’s you will fight with the store or both with the store and the manufacturer. In contrast, Amazon has an A-to-Z Guarantee that guarantees the item condition and timely delivery, and a dispute resolution center that works in the best interest of the customer.
Third, in the local store, they have the incentive to sell tubs that can be outdated (because they can’t return it to the fabric, and every day it becomes more outdated), that were returned by someone, or that were used and repaired.
If you are looking for a hot tub for two persons with a spectacular design – AR 300 Premium is the best choice, as shown by our lab testing, 620 customer reviews, 12 real customer interviews, and the feedback of 2 service engineers.
It’s a clear winner when it comes to roominess, retaining the heat for long time, being lightweight, having an extraordinary design, thick and stable construction, and easy and quick setup. With full foam insulation and insulated cover that is included, it will save energy and stay hot even in Saskatchewan winters.
The disadvantages that customers mention is that for older folks, you would need to spend around $100 to buy steps. Also, its triangular form looks luxurious, but it means that you can sit only in a predefined direction unless you rotate the tub.
The recommended place to buy (considering price, warranty, delivery, customer service, and dispute resolution rules) is Amazon, and the second option would be Wayfair.
1. Aqua Rest 300 Premium Specifications: https://aquarestspas.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/product-sheet-2018-premium300.pdf
2. Aqua Rest 300 Select Specifications:
3. Aqua Rest Domestic Warranty: https://aquarestspas.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/AR-2017-Domestic-Warranty-900002-Rev-7-Eng.pdf
4. California Energy Commission, Analysis of Efficiency Standards and Marking for Spas: https://efiling.energy.ca.gov/GetDocument.aspx?tn=222413&DocumentContentId=31256
5. LMI IP LLC patents: https://patents.justia.com/assignee/lmi-ip-llc