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An Engineer’s Review: AquaRest Spas 300 Select & Premium

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

According to our research, we can confidently say that the AR 300 is one of the two best hot tubs for 2 persons. The AR 300 is the total winner of 7 parameters in its category.

The average customer rating is 4.54. It is better than 98.4% of all other hot tub models and is proudly made in the USA (in Florida).

AquaRest 300

Key features


  • Thick, 2-4mm solid plastic with a strong carcass; made using rotational molding (it won’t break even if you jump on it)
  • The most luxurious design in the industry (60% of customers noted it)
  • Good at retaining heat and saving energy due to the hermetic cover and high-quality foam insulation
  • LED waterfall, 9 colors (to create the perfect ambiance)
  • Patented, easy-to-use filtering and draining system

Priced at 20% below average in the 2-person category, this is definitely a good investment in your home value. The best Aqua Rest Spas 300 variation is the Premium model.

The bottom line

It’s the winner in the following criteria:

  • Roomy. Due to its triangular structure, it feels roomier than other tubs with similar dimensions. In the 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’s car part than a jacuzzi.
  • Thick and stable construction. It is made from thick and solid plastic, using a rotomolded method. Nothing will break, even if you jump in it.
  • Saves energy. Most people won’t see an increase in their 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 the right ambiance for a romantic evening or a refreshing spa session after a long hard day.

Steps for Aqua Rest Spas 300

The set of Aqua Rest 300 steps are not included. You can buy the steps from AquaRest (quite overpriced, in our opinion). Or consider two other options that are cheaper and have good owner reviews – see below:

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
1. Roomy 🥇1. Steps are not included; older folks may need them
2. Retains the Heat 🥇2. Conversion to 240V is paid and available only in the Premium version
3. Lightweight 🥇3. Triangular structure, unlike the round shape means that you can only sit in a predefined direction, unless you rotate the tub itself
4. Spectacular Design 🥇
5. Easy and Quick Setup 🥇
6. Thick and Stable Construction 🥇
7. Saves Energy 🥇
8. Powerful Jets (water moves comfortably) 🥉
🥇 – Category Winner, 🥉 – In The Top-3*

Comparisons were made among the hot tubs for 2 people. Find more details about the research here.

Models besides the AR 300 which entered the top 3 best hot tubs for 2 people:

Intex PureSpa

The most spacious hot tub
for 2 people
170 powerful bubble jets


More deals

SaluSpa Miami

Simultaneous heating and bubbling for a comfortable massage
Includes chemical dispenser to keep hot tub always clean
The most affordable option.

Select 300 vs Premium 300 – what’s the difference?

Source: Pinterest

There are two variations of this tub: Select and Premium with equally positive customer reviews. Nevertheless, we recommend choosing the Premium model over the Select one.

The premium version is just 10% more expensive, but it is more energy-efficient. It includes a heater, while the Select model heats the water with the pump (see more info).

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
  • a pump with a long life
  • a hot tub that will stay hot in the winter without having the pump constantly running

In the winter, the Premium will be quieter and will heat up faster. It can be used in temperatures below -20F. With the Premium, you also get an option to convert to 240V and install an ozonator.

Specification Select vs Premium

ItemSelect 300Premium 300
BrandAquaRest-"-
AssemblyUSA-"-
TypePortable-"-
Seats2-"-
Jets20, dual side air controls-"-
Capacity160 Gallons-"-
Dimensions80 in (l) x 68 in (w) x 31 in (h)-"-
OutdoorsYes-"-
WiringStandard outlet, 120V/15ASame, but can be converted to 240V
WinterWorks great at 30°F and aboveWorks great in any temperature (reported from Saskatchewan, -2°F)
Pump1.5 HPR 1 Speed Pump2 HPR 2 Speed Pump
HeaterNo heater (water is heated using the pump)1kW heater (upgradable to 4kW)
Price

Where to buy

Due to the COVID19 pandemic and the surge in demand it caused, the AquaRest 300 is out of stock at all major online retailers but we saw it recently on Wayfair. If you still find it there and consider purchasing, add it to the cart and leave it there. This way you can temporarily book it and prevent others from buying it.

How we reviewed

  1. Tried the tub in our lab
  2. Interviewed 2 service engineers (who know all the ins and outs)
  3. Analyzed 650 customer reviews (to compare this tub with its rivals)
  4. Interviewed 12 customers (who can represent the market opinion)

You can find the full study here.

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 different things as compared to the things appreciated when buying the product.

It is like buying a gold-coated watch: you may like the luxury look, 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, comfortable to sit in
  • 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 quick heating up
  • Retains the heat well, stays warm for longer periods, includes an insulated cover and full foam insulation
  • Lightweight
  • LED light works well
  • Includes a waterfall
  • Saves energy

These things will define your post-purchase experience – a good 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, comfort is dependent on the construction of jets and the productivity of the pump.

How does Aqua Rest 300 match these criteria?

Aqua Rest 300 Select / Premium Features

* there’s no split between the AquaRest 300 Select and the 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 structure, as it utilizes the space in 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 shape, you will sit by each other’s shoulders and your faces will be closer, which provides more opportunity to interact casually. In contrast, in some hot tubs you have to sit next to each other, a position that subconsciously stimulates confrontation.

The triangular shape also provides a 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 U.S.

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.

AquaRest manufacturing facilities in Florida – see on Google Maps

Shell, assembly, and insulation

Shell material: AquaRest uses a 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 the 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 the Aqua Rest 300 has end-to-end foam insulation that covers the whole hot tub within. This ensures low energy costs and the spa stays hot even when placed outside in the winter.

Capacity

AquaRest 300 Premium / Select capacity is 160 gallons. It’s on the smaller side of the spectrum, but more than enough to provide comfort. It also means this hot tub is on the lower side of the spectrum when it comes to maintenance expenses and electricity – you will spend around $20 on chemicals and save electricity in winter, as lower capacity = lower heat radiation area = lower heat losses.

Electricity and maintenance costs

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 adequately, c) electricity cost, and 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, 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 the Premium model, 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, which is not efficient. In a very 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.

Unlike the AR Select 300, the AR Premium 300: a) has 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 with 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 the AR 300?

You just need to heat it once and leave it running.

So don’t worry about how long it will 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 the Premium 300 model. So, if your water starting temperature is around 50F, it will take around 13 hours for the Select model, and around 6 hours for the Premium model.

ModelSelect 300Premium 300Premium 300, 4kW heater upgrade
Heating time
From 50F to 104F
1364

The 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 in regions with severe winters where temperatures often fall below 10F.

To speed up the heating, leave the tub covered.

Water treatment

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 the 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 goes wrong. Also, you can easily switch it off by pressing the red button. The 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 the Select one has no heater: it heats the water using friction. This is the reason we recommend the Premium version over the Select one.

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.

Aqua Rest 300 Select pump Aqua Rest 300 Premium pump
Pump1.5 HPR 1 Speed Pump2 HPR 2 Speed Pump
HeaterNo heater (water is heated using the pump)1kW heater (upgradable to 4kW)

More detailed explanation – why a 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) there is more heat because the water is being slowed down after it was accelerated in the hot tub, which decreases its kinetic energy and turns it into 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.

Warranty

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
AquaRest 300 Warranty
Source: AquaRest

Full specs of the Aqua Rest Spas 300

FeaturesSelect 300Premium 300
Product TypePlug and Play
Primary MaterialPlastic
Primary Material DetailsPolyethylene
Maximum Occupancy2
Overall2' 8'' H x 5' 7 3/4'' W x 6' 8'' L
Interior Tub2' 7'' H x 4' 10 29/32'' W x 4' 8 3/32'' L
Seat/Bench2' 1/2'' H x 1' 7'' W x 1' 6 3/4'' D
Power Cord Length15'
Product Weight When Filled1565 lb.
Overall Product Weight232 lb.
Roto-Molded ConstructionYes
Pieces IncludedSpa and cover
Voltage120 Volts 120 Volts (can be converted to 240v)
Amperage15 Amps20 Amps (30 Amps if converted to 240v)
Number of Jets20
Number of Pumps1
Pump Horsepower (hp)1.52
Waterfall IncludedYes
Ozonator IncludedYes
Built-In SeatingYes
Water Capacity160 Gallons
Light IncludedYes (LED Light)
Cover IncludedYes
Insulated CoverYes
Locking CoveYes
Steps IncludedNo
Compatible Spa Steps Part Number300400;40012-GS
Cup Holder IncludedYes
Number of Cup Holders2
Slip ResistantYes
Stain ResistantYes
UV ResistantYes
Freeze ResistantYes
Compatible Cleaner/Chemical Part Number490000
Product CareClean with mild soap and a soft cloth
Supplier Intended and Approved UseResidential Use
Country of OriginUnited States
AssemblyUnited States
Installation RequiredYes
Product Warranty5 years shell, 1 year plumping & equipment, 1 year cover, 90 days labor
Colors availableBrownstone, Cobblestone, Graystone

Disadvantages of the 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 structure. 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 can be challenging for the elderly. Most likely, you will need to buy a set of steps separately. It is the way Aqua Rest makes money, but we have found cheaper stairs that are compatible with this hot tub.

2. The triangular structure looks spectacular, but it also means you will have to sit facing just one direction. The two seats are located on the two corners of the triangle, facing the third corner. It means that you have to be strategic regarding how you place your hot tub – so that you will sit facing a pleasant view and 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 the 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 in most of the other hot tubs. When you’re using the hot tub, most likely you won’t see any difference, as the jets are covered with bubbly water. We couldn’t find a single comment that would say the jets are not durable. But if this is essential for you, you’d probably need to look at the more expensive jacuzzis.

5. Only three colors are available: brownstone, cobblestone, and graystone. All of them look luxurious, but the colors are still limited. 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.

Customer Reviews

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:

  1. Roomy
  2. Good at retaining heat
  3. Lightweight
  4. Design
  5. Thick and stable construction
  6. Save energy
  7. Easy and quick setup

So if any of the above aspects are 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.

Customer experience

The bubbly water, massage, and warmth enable you and your partner to relax. It is exactly what it takes for some quality time together.

The tub is a good reason to throw a party – even if it’s a party for two.

It relieves a tired and aching body and allows your mind to relax and unwind, so that you can get back to work being more productive.

Finally, it’s not just about having a spa. It’s living the spa life.

Given the price, and the best value for money in this segment, the AR 300 makes a perfect investment in your house value.

Summary

If you are looking for a hot tub for two persons with a spectacular design – the 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 an insulated cover that is included, it will save energy and stay hot even in Saskatchewan winters.

The disadvantage that the owners mention is that it may be challenging for the elderly to get in, so you would need to spend around $100 to buy additional steps. Also, its triangular structure looks luxurious, but it means that you can sit only in a predefined direction, unless you rotate the tub.

Our verdict? the Aqua Rest 300 is definitely worth the price but will accommodate only two of you. If you are a party person, considering purchasing something larger.

FAQs

🤔 What’s the difference between the AquaRest Spas 300 Select and Premium?

It’s just a variation of the same hot tub. We highly recommend choosing the Premium one. This model is more energy-efficient. Unlike the Select variation, the Premium one includes a heater and will be better for the winter. You can find a detailed comparison of these hot tubs in our article.

💰 How much does the AquaRest Spa 300 cost?

The AquaRest Spa 300 is rarely in stock due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it is hard to determine its actual price. You can always find the current price and availability status of this hot tub in our article.

❄ Does the AquaRest Spa 300 work in winter?

Some online retailers claim that both variations of the AquaRest Spa 300 Select and Premium work equally well, however, we found that the Premium one is more energy-efficient in winter because it is equipped with a heater.

❓Does the AquaRest Spa 300 have jets?

Yes! Both the variations of the AquaRest Spa 300 Select and Premium have 20 jets. However, our research revealed that the number of jets is not important and doesn’t affect customer satisfaction.

🙍‍♂️How many people can sit in an AquaRest Spa 300?

The AquaRest Spa 300 is perfectly suited for 2 persons; it is our winner in the roominess category.

🔍 Where can you buy an AquaRest Spa 300?

Currently, due to the pandemic, the AquaRest Spa 300 is out of stock from all major online retailers. But, we recently spotted one on Wayfair.

References

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:
https://aquarestspas.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/product-sheet-2018-select300.pdf
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

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