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Best hot tubs: inflatable, hard-shell and plug-and-play buys

Get ready to relax in style with our expertly curated list of the best hot tubs on the market. Whether you're looking for luxury or affordability, we've got you covered.

By Anna Cook | Last updated May 26, 2023

best hot tubs collage

Sitting under the stars with jets of hot water can be a great way to relax and look after your mental health as well as ease those aching joints. So much more than just glorified paddling pools, some Mumsnet users also reckon hot tubs - also known as home spas or jacuzzis  - are great for physiotherapy for themselves or their children.

But what is it that makes the best hot tubs so good? Just like choosing the best trampoline for your garden, or the best balance bike for your little one, every family is different. That's why we've drawn on authentic reviews and recommendations from the Mumsnet Talk forums, to bring you our pick of 2023's hot tubs - with options to suit every garden, budget and lifestyle. 

So long as you top up the chemicals regularly, hot tubs can be safe, hygienic and clean. With accessories like cup holders, mood lights and cushions, it can feel like you’re on holiday even when you’re sitting in your back garden.

There are lots of different hot tubs on the market - from budget-friendly inflatables to hard-shell spas and traditional wood-fired models - so it’s fair to say that cost isn't the only thing you need to consider. We scoured our Mumsnet forums for advice from our users to see what they think are the best models around and what to look for when buying one. We then cross-checked their recommendations with expert advice and consumer reviews to help us whittle down our research to the nine best hot tubs available today.

1. Best overall hot tub: Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub

Lay Z Spa Miami

Price: £268.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Style: Inflatable | Number of jets: 120 | Outer dimensions: 180cm x 180cm x 65cm | Inner dimensions: 130cm x 130cm x 65cm | Heating: 1500w | Water volume: 800 litres | Capacity: 2 to 4 people | LED lights: No

What we love

  • Easy to get started (no tools or professional installation required)
  • Budget-friendly 
  • Relaxing Air-Jet system

What to know

  • Maybe on the snug side for four adults 

What Mumsnet users say

I have a Lay-Z-Spa and wouldn't be without it. I bloody love it. I dose with chemicals daily, takes 5 minutes Max and use it daily. Electricity Is about £20 weekly but I've spent a fortune on insulation etc to reduce costs.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter ChiefBabySniffer)

Our verdict

Lay-Z-Spa is one of the best-known and trusted brands when it comes to inflatable hot tubs and it’s easy to see why. Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs are hard wearing, durable and far more affordable than most other hot tubs on the market. The Miami model is a good starting point for small families or couples. Although Lay-Z-Spa says it fits up to four people, Mumsnet users warn that it may be a bit too cosy for four fully grown adults. 

Easy to inflate and deflate, with no significant set-up or installation required, the Miami has an impressive 120 jets. Its round shape maximises the effect of the jets, making it super relaxing for those seated inside. If you want to make your hot tub even more comfortable, then Lay-Z-Spa also offers headrests that you can purchase separately.

2. Best budget hot tub: CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub

CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub

Price: £219.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Style: Inflatable | Number of jets: 130 | Outer dimensions: 210cm x 210cm x 65cm | Inner dimensions: 160cm x 160cm x 65cm | Heating: 1200w | Water volume: 1,000 litres | Capacity:  6 people | LED lights: No

What we love

  • Quick to inflate and set up
  • Easy to use controls

What to know

  • Takes longer to heat up than some other hot tub models

What Mumsnet users say

We have an inflatable one. It is expensive to heat and generally needs emptying and cleaning out every 4/5 uses, but on the upside it is good fun and the initial outlay was £350 rather than 10x that or more.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user rookiemere)

Our verdict

For under £200, CosySpa can help you create the ultimate jacuzzi experience in your garden, without costing a small fortune. This inflatable hot tub comes in two different sizes, the larger of which (priced at just under £250) will fit up to six fully-sized adults. It also comes with filters and a pump included as well as an insulating groundsheet so you don’t have to worry about any additional cost.

Suitable for use all year round, you can even purchase optional extras such as comforting headrests, a drinks holder and an inflatable lid for improved insulation. If you’re worried about your energy bills, the latter is a great option and will soon pay for itself as it will reduce your electricity costs when the hot tub is not in use. Despite its comparatively low price, the CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub comes with an impressive 130 jets and easy to use controls. It’s also fast inflating and ready to fill in just five minutes.

Related: How to keep paddling pool water clean

3. Best hot tub for families: Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki 7-Person AirJet Hot Tub

Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki 7-Person AirJet Hot Tub

Price: £545.95 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Style: Inflatable | Number of jets:  87 | Outer dimensions: 180cm x 180cm x 66cm | Inner dimensions: 130cm x 130cm x 65cm | Heating:  2000w | Water volume: 1,123 litres | Capacity: 7 people | LED lights:  No

What we love

  • Suitable for up to seven people 
  • Attractive wood panel effect
  • Allows heat and jet use simultaneously

What to know

  • More pricey than other inflatable models 

What Mumsnet users say

“We have the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki. Had it just over a year and have left it up all winter. We love it especially now in lockdown. We do have a large not overlooked garden though so no neighbours to annoy. We had to get the lazyspa as we have access issues and can’t get a solid on I to the garden unless it’s somehow lifted over the house. I like the soft base and sides.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter Murinae)

Our verdict

The Helsinki Hot Tub – another one on this list by Lay-Z-Spa – is the UK’s top-selling hot tub and has two big bonuses. The first is that it seats up to seven people, while still having a small footprint, which means it’s ideal for families and parties but won’t take up too much space in your garden.

It also has something Lay-Z-Spa calls ‘Freeze Shield’ technology, designed to let you use your hot tub all year round, making it one of the best hot tubs on the market for winter use. The pump intelligently monitors the ambient air temperature to ensure that it never stops working, even when snow hits. With wood effect side panels inspired by traditional Nordic hot tubs, the Helsinki inflates and is ready to fill within five minutes. Unlike some hot tubs, you can use the Helsinki’s heater and bubbles at the same time, but bear in mind that the tub does cool down quicker when the jets are on.

4. Best inflatable hot tub: Lay-Z-Spa Paris

Lay-Z-Spa Paris

Price: £327 | Buy now from B&Q

Key specs

Style: Inflatable | Number of jets: 140 | Outer dimensions: 196cm x 196cm x 66cm | Inner dimensions: 146 cm | Heating: 2,050 w | Water volume: 806 litres | Capacity: 6 | LED lights: Yes

What we love

  • Fun LED lights to use at night
  • Easy to set up
  • Can be controlled with a wireless remote control 

What to know

  • It may be a bit snug for six people

What Mumsnet users say

We have a lazy spa and love it. Used it every day the first lockdown- kept me sane!. Recently moved house and got it all built in to the decking and it looks fab. We use it every weekend and school holiday and my dc loves to play in it in their own with toys and then when friends come round. It has been a great investment.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Roodicus21)

Our verdict

Another Lay-Z-Spa to feature on our list and for good reason. If you’re looking for a hot tub you can wind down in on an evening, the Paris comes with multi-coloured LED lights to add a bit of atmosphere to your night-time relaxation - and a bit of fun when your friends come round! 

You can easily control the multi-coloured lighting with a wireless remote control, so you don’t even have to move to change the settings. There’s a handy instructional DVD to make setting up the hot tub really easy and with Freeze Shield technology and an inflatable lid, you can use this hot tub all year round - so you can enjoy the massaging bubbles and atmospheric lighting on cold winter nights too. Users do say it fits four comfortably, six is more of a squeeze.

5. Best hard-shell hot tub: Canadian Spa Company Toronto UV SE 6 person Hot Tub

Canadian Spa Company Toronto UV SE 6 person Hot Tub

Price: £6,995 | Buy now from B&Q

Key specs

Style: Hard-shell hot tub | Number of jets: 44 hydrotherapy jets | Outer dimensions: 213cm x 213cm x 82cm | Inner dimensions: Unspecified | Heating: 3000W | Water volume: 1000L | Capacity: 6 | LED lights: yes

What we love

  • Robust and hardwearing
  • Range of moulded seats for comfort and relaxation
  • Excellent filtration technology for easy maintenance 

What to know

  • Significantly more expensive than inflatable hot tubs 
  • One Mumsnet user found it quite loud when in use

What Mumsnet users say

I got a 6 seater one in January. Used it every other day since then. We love it.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Russell19)

Our verdict

Whilst inflatable hot tubs are great for beginners, hard-shell hot tubs not only look more like the ‘real deal’ but are often more energy-efficient and maintain their heat for longer. They also come with built-in moulded seats or loungers which can offer additional levels of comfort and back support. Whilst it comes with a fairly hefty price tag, the Canadian Spa Company Toronto UV SE 6 Person Hot Tub is a durable and hard-wearing option for families and groups of friends, coming with a range of seating options including a full-length lounger, a three seater bench and even a deeper bucket-style chair for ultimate relaxation. 

Featuring 44 adjustable hydrotherapy jets powered by two pumps, this hot tub offers some much needed deep tissue massage to help soothe and relax tired muscles at the end of a long day. For a full sensory spa experience, you can even make the most of the Bluetooth speakers, LED mood lighting and aromatherapy canister - bliss! With a built-in filtration system and ozone generator, you can also spend less time worrying about chemicals and upkeep and more time enjoying your hot tub.

6. Best hot tub for hydrotherapy: Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Set

Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Set

Price: £495 | Buy now from Currys

Key specs

Style:  Inflatable | Number of jets: 140 | Outer dimensions: 216 x 216 x 71 cm  | Inner dimensions: 165  x 165 cm | Heating: 800W | Water volume: 1,098 litres | Capacity: 6 | LED lights: No

What we love

  • Solid sturdy design 
  • Hygienic with built-in water treatment 

What to know

  • Six people may feel a little up close and personal! 

What Mumsnet users say

 “We've had an inflatable one for 4 years, now; originally a Lay-z-spa, now an Intex. It's out in the open with a shade sail over it; unless the weather is miserable we use it every evening, DH and I, to 'decompress' after our work day. No music, absolutely no TV! Just chat, and I usually put the bubbles on, but it's tucked more or less alongside our detached house, away from any neighbours.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter Miljea)

Our verdict

There’s nothing quite like coming home from a tough day at work and stepping into the comforting jets of a luxurious spa experience in your own home, and the Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Set is just the ticket for those who want to relax and unwind at the end of the day. 

Featuring 140 high-powered bubble jets that provide a refreshing yet gentle massage, the built-in hard water treatment also ensures the water is gentle on your skin. If you’re conscious of your energy bills, the included cover is a real plus, helping to minimise heat loss and maintain your personal temperature preferences. It's quite pricey compared to a lot of inflatable models, but reviewers adored this tub's features, with one remarking that it doesn't feel like an inflatable tub when in use.

7. Best hot tub for couples: MSpa Silver Cloud

MSpa Silver Cloud

Price: £281.28 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Style: Inflatable  | Number of jets: 118 | Outer dimensions: W180 x H70cm   | Inner dimensions: W140cm  | Heating: 1500w | Water volume: 700L | Capacity: 4 person | LED lights: No

What we love

  • No external settings or pump means a smaller footprint required 
  • 118 air jets that are great for pain relief

What to know

  • Snug for four people

What Mumsnet users say

I got an mspa one last summer… The pump is in the wall, rather than a separate pump like the lazy spa. Agree its the bubbles which make the noise. I was chatting to my neighbour the other day and asked if she'd heard it last summer (it's on the back patio on their side, their bedroom window is probably not much further away from it than mine). She looked surprised and said she didn't know we'd got one. Which reassured me!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter Chasingsquirrels)

Our verdict

If you are limited on space but still want the luxury of a hot tub in your back garden, the MSpa Silver Cloud 2021 edition is an excellent choice. One of the most compact hot tubs on the market, its small footprint makes it ideal for even a modest patio or decking space.  

Unlike some other inflatable hot tubs, the MSpa comes with a built-in control box rather than a separate unit and has no external motor. Whilst branded as a four person hot tub, we recommend this option for couples or small families instead, as four adults will be a bit of a squeeze! Whilst the MSpa comes at a competitive price, it doesn’t come with a groundsheet included, so you may need to factor this into your budget. 

8. Best plug-and-play jacuzzi hot tub: Canadian Spa Company Calgary Plug and Play Hot Tub

Price: £6,349.99  | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Style: Hard-shell | Number of jets: 24 | Outer dimensions: 230cm x 160 cm x 79cm  | Inner dimensions: 213cm x 150cm x 79 cm | Heating: 1500w | Water volume: 700 litres | Capacity: 4 people | LED lights: Yes

What we love

  • Luxury features for a spa experience at home
  • Longer length hot tub for relaxation 
  • Easy to set up and use 

What to know

  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say

We have a Canadian spa one. Our autistic son is in it hours every day when it’s warm.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Cloudyrainsham

Our verdict

Unlike many hard-shell hot tubs, the Canadian Spa Company Plug and Play does exactly what it says on the box, meaning you don’t need an electrician to set it up. Simply plug it in and you’re ready to go. This is a luxury jacuzzi hot tub, so whilst the price tag is substantial, it comes with everything you’d expect, plus a lot more. There are 24 hydrotherapy jets, a massage function, LED lights and an aromatherapy system that mixes scented beads (which you buy separately) into the water.

It’s much better insulated than inflatable alternatives, with high-density closed-cell foam, a foam curtain and an infrared reflective material lining, as well as a hard top cover, so it should keep your heat in and electricity bills down. With a rectangular shape that is longer than it is wide, you really can stretch out and relax in comfort.

9. Best wood-fired hot tub: Skargards Regal 190

Skargards Regal 190

Price: £3,590 | Buy now from Skargards

Key specs

Style: Wood-fired | Number of jets: None, unless optional extra with 6 jets is purchased | Outer dimensions: 190cm x 190cm x 93cm  | Inner dimensions: 171 x 171 x 84cm | Heating: Wood-fired  | Water volume: 1200L | Capacity: 6 person | LED lights: No, but they're an optional extra 

What we love

  • More control over running costs
  • Traditional Nordic aesthetic 

What to know

  • No bubble jets as standard 
  • Pricey 

What Mumsnet users say

Best hot tub I ever sat in was a wood fired one, no bubbles but no noise. You can get wooden ones or steel ones.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter GenderApostate19)

Our verdict

If you’re worried about rising gas and electricity bills, a wood-fired hot tub is a great option, using natural energy to heat the tub as and when required. A traditional style tub with the aesthetic of the original Nordic spas, the Skargards Regal 190 is a wood-fired hot tub that we think wouldn't look out of place at a Swedish ski resort. Featuring a powerful stove that naturally circulates an even temperature across the tub, the Skargard is intuitive and easy to use, like a large warm bath on your patio. 

With a comfortable moulded fibreglass tub, unlike other hot tubs, the bubble jets are an optional extra. You can also add LED mood lighting too if your budget can stretch that little bit further. Aside from the hefty price tag, the other downside to consider is the shipping time (currently at around seven weeks), so you'll have to plan ahead and wait for a short while before you can start to use your new toy.

Related: The best scooters for kids, tried and tested by Mumsnetters

What’s the best temperature for a hot tub?

You’re not going to be able to properly relax in a hot tub that is too cold and equally you’re not going to enjoy sitting in one that is too hot. Generally, the best temperature for a hot tub is around 36 - 38 degrees C. 

However, this will vary depending on certain factors, such as body temperature, how warm or cold the weather is and also if you have a health condition. For example, if it’s a hot summer's day, you may want to reduce the temperature to stay cool - most hot tubs can be set as low as 26 degrees C.

Some people - such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with health issues, such as heart conditions - may need to seek medical advice before using a hot tub. For children, a lower temperature of say 35 degrees C will be better as they cannot stay in hot temperatures for long periods of time.

How do you keep a hot tub clean?

Inflatable, hard-shell and wooden hot tubs all need to be cleaned in slightly different ways so check the instructions that come with your tub.

  1. When you first use your hot tub, you’ll need to ‘shock’ the water with chemicals before checking your hot tub's chemical and pH levels. There are two ways you can do this. You can either use chlorine, which is available in tablet or concentrate form, or bromine, which is available in tablets or powder forms.
  2. If you use chlorine, you need to check the pH is between 7.2 and 7.6. If you use bromine, then it should be between 7.0 and 7.4. You can buy 50 strips for under £10 from Amazon. You should test your pool or hot tub water at home at least two to three times a week. You should change the water every two to three months as a minimum.
  3. When you change the water, you should empty the hot tub and clean out the pumps too (if it has them).
  4. Hot tub filters need to be changed at least once a year.

What are the best hot tub brands?

There are a few standout hot tub brands that have excellent reputations within the industry, and Lay-Z-Spa is up there with the best, particularly if you are opting for an inflatable model. 

They aren’t the only choice, however. Other hot tub brands such as The Canadian Spa Company and Intex are rapidly increasing in popularity, so we recommend you consider the features and suitability of each individual hot tub rather than focusing on brand name alone.

What is the best type of hot tub to buy?

Unless you want to spend a fortune, inflatable hot tubs are a great option for beginners and come with a relatively affordable price tag. Whilst hard-shell hot tubs tend to be more robust and hard-wearing, they do require a significant investment. They are generally more energy efficient however, offer hard moulded seats for comfort and are generally suitable for all year use - whatever the UK weather brings.

Wood-fired options are aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient, but tend to be less feature-rich in terms of lights and bubble jets. Which hot tub to buy will ultimately depend on your budget and the features you require. 

What should I look for when buying a hot tub?

Whilst your budget will ultimately dictate which hot tubs you can afford, here are some other things to take into account when deciding which hot tub is right for you and your family:

  • Style: Inflatable hot tubs are cheaper to buy than hard-shell models but are often not as well-insulated so their running costs can be higher. Inflatable tubs also won’t last as long. They are, however, more portable and less of a commitment than hard-shell tubs as you don’t need ground works to have them installed. If you don’t live in a smokeless fuel area, then wood-fired hot tubs are very atmospheric and can heat up very quickly.
  • Safety: Look out for hot tubs with lockable lids, especially if you have young children to make sure they are safe at all times.
  • How it’s heated: Most hot tubs plug into the mains and you’ll ideally need an outdoor plug. These can be fitted for around £80. Hard body acrylic jacuzzi tubs sometimes need to be installed by an electrician. Others are wood-fired, but these typically don’t have jets.
  • Shape: Round hot tubs are more traditional and great if the pump is external as it gives you somewhere to store the pump out of the way. But square hot tubs are growing in popularity as they fit neatly on patios and make use of all available space.
  • Dimensions: As well as external dimensions, look at internal ones too. Smaller hot tubs can have thinner walls, especially if they’re not inflatable, which will give you more space even if the tub has a small footprint.
  • Capacity: If you want to fit four people with a good amount of extra room, then look for a six-person hot tub. The average sizes are two to four people, four to six people and more than seven people. If you’re looking for a hot tub that will fit 10 or more people, then it will need to be at least three metres wide.
  • Insulation: A well-insulated hot tub will keep the water hotter and will keep your heating costs down. Ground sheets and external covers can be bought separately and so can ‘bladders’ that go in the hot tub to reduce heating costs.
  • Running cost: Hot tubs aren’t just a one-off cost. You need to factor in the cost of chemicals to keep the water clean and clear. You’ll also need to replace the filters too. The biggest cost for mains-powered hot tubs is electricity, something you’’ want to factor in with the current energy crisis. The bigger the hot tub, the bigger the expense. It can cost from around £1 to £7 a day to heat your hot tub depending on how well your tub is insulated. With inflatable tubs, the more insulation the better, so look at investing in a hot tub cover and ground sheet as this will make a big difference when it comes to cost.
  • Accessories: Some hot tubs, particularly hard-shell jacuzzi models, come with lights and seats. You can also buy drink holders. Some Mumsent users even buy gazebos or lean-tos to decrease heat loss and to maximise privacy.
  • Cleaning: The first time you use your hot tub, you will need to ‘shock’ the water with chemicals. Amazon sells a starter pack that has everything you need to get started. You will then need to regularly check the water’s PH and chlorine levels and add chemicals to keep the water clear and germ-free.

What is the best hot tub to buy?

The best hot tub to buy is Lay-Z-Spa’s Miami Hot Tub. It’s affordable but durable and can seat up to four people.

If you’re looking for a hard-shelled jacuzzi, then Canadian Spa’s Calgary Plug and Play Hot Tub is quick to set up, easy to use and will have a long life span.

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real Mumsnet users

We first headed straight to the Mumsnet community to get honest, unbiased opinions from our users. We looked out for the products they’ve put through their paces, evaluating which hot tubs were the most durable, comfortable, easy to use and great value for money.

Expert opinions

When it comes to buying a big ticket product like a hot tub, you want to know you’re spending your hard-earned cash on something high-quality. With this in mind, we spent an extensive amount of time analysing suggestions from home and garden expert websites to ensure we covered all the brands and models to look out for. 

Authentic consumer reviews

We then combed through independent reviews from various retailer sites to make sure the features of each hot tub were up to task and met expectations. Then we weighed up the pros and cons of each model and fully investigated the best options to suit every home environment.  

Celebrated best products 

Finally, during our research, we made a note of any products that have received industry awards. Whether you’re looking for a jacuzzi on a budget, a larger sized tub for the whole family to enjoy or a smaller spa for relaxing evenings with your partner, here are the best hot tubs you can buy in 2023.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

Main image credit: CosySpa