9 best hot tubs to buy in 2021

08 February 2021

woman in inflatable hot tub

There’s been a huge rise in the sale of hot tubs since the UK’s first lockdown and their popularity shows no sign of slowing down.

Once a luxury item, the increase of inflatable models means that hot tubs – also known as home spas or jacuzzis – are now much more affordable.

Sitting under the stars with jets of hot water can be a great way to relax as well as ease aching joints. Some Mumsnet users also reckon they’re great for physiotherapy for themselves or their children.

They’re not for everyone though. If you live in a row of terrace houses, then a wood burning hot tub may not endear you to the neighbours, unless your garden is really big.

If you top up the chemicals regularly, hot tubs should be far more hygienic than the local swimming pool and with accessories like cup holders, mood lights and cushions, it could feel like you’re on holiday even when you’re sitting in your back garden.

Update: Lockdown has meant a much bigger demand for hot tubs and there may be some stock issues. If you see a hot tub you like then act fast as they can sell out quickly.

Here are the best hot tubs for 2021.

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

“We’re really pleased with ours – we have the Miami model. Much better performance than we were expecting for such a reasonably priced product. Get one if you can. They are great fun.”

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

Lay-Z-Spa is one of the best known brands when it comes to inflatable hot tubs and it’s easy to see why. Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs are hardwearing, durable and more affordable than most on the market.

The Miami model is a good starting point for small families or couples. Although Lay-Z-Sp 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, the Miami has an impressive 120 jets. Its round shape maximises the effect of the jets, making it more comfortable for those inside. If you want to make your hot tub even more relaxing, then Lay-Z-Spa offers headrests that you can purchase separately.

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 – 4 people

2. Best budget hot tub: CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub

2. Best budget hot tub: CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub

For under £500, CosySpa’s Inflatable Hot Tub, new for 2021, will fit up to six adults – or you can spend around £420 for a four-person model. It comes with filters and a pump as well as an insulating ground sheet so you don’t have to worry about spending more money.

There are lots of optional accessories too – a comfort set featuring headrests, a drinks holder and an inflatable lid for improved insulation, available for an extra £100. The lid alone will soon pay for itself as it will reduce your electricity costs when not in use.

Despite its comparatively low price, the CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub can be used all year round.

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

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

“We have the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki. We’ve had it just over a year and have left it up all winter. We love it, especially in lockdown.”

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

The Helsinki Hot Tub – another one on this list by Lay-Z-Spa – 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 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 for winter use. The pump intelligently monitors the ambient air temperature to ensure that it never stops working even when snow hits.

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.

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

4. Best inflatable hot tub: MSPAUK Tekapo

4. Best inflatable hot tub: MSPAUK Tekapo

The Tekapo hot tub’s square shape will fit neatly onto most patios. But, despite the tiny footprint, it’s still fairly spacious with an inner dimension of 118cm.

This model, an upgrade on previous ones, comes with some clever new features. It has a built-in UVC sanitiser which can kill more than 60 disease-causing microorganisms and pathogens while using nothing more than light. It also has a sensor that means the filtration system will be automatically turned on for 60 minutes every four hours. This is to make sure the water is clean, even when you’re not using it.

Unlike some inflatable models, the Tekapo’s heater is designed for even the coldest of UK weather, which means you’ll get maximum use out of it all year round.

Key specs

  • Style: Inflatable
  • *Number of jets: 108
  • Outer dimensions: 158cm x 158cm x 68cm
  • Inner dimensions: 118cm x 118cm x 68cm
  • Heating: 1500w
  • Water volume: 650 litres
  • Capacity: 4

5. Best hard-shell hot tub: Haisland US Balboa Outdoor Spa Hot Tub

5. Best hard-shell hot tub: Haisland US Balboa Outdoor Spa Hot Tub

This hard-shell hot tub is more durable than inflatable options. But it weighs in at a hefty 350kg so you’ll need to decide where it’s going and ideally get it set up by a professional. Some users have even sunk it into the ground.

It’s an expensive hot tub, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s great for privacy and, once it’s installed, it has a huge range of features. It will fit up to six people – five on seats and one on a lounger – and it also comes with a musical and TV system for ultimate relaxation. You’ll never want to get out!

Key specs

  • Style: Hard shell
  • Number of jets: 45
  • Outer dimensions: 200cm x 200cm x 95cm
  • Inner dimensions: 125cm x 125cm x 70cm
  • Heating: 1300w
  • Water volume: 1,000 litres
  • Capacity: 3 people

6. Best therapeutic hot tub: Intex Purespa Bubble Hot Tub

“We've got an Intex inflatable hot tub and love it. We both suffer with back problems and it definitely helps. We worked out it's costing us approx £1.50 a day to run. We only really use it at the weekend though.”

6. Best therapeutic hot tub: Intex Purespa Bubble Hot Tub

Although Intex’s Purespa Bubble Hot Tub is inflatable, it’s strong enough for people to sit on the side, just like at a traditional spa.

The interior dimensions are a huge 147cm considering the footprint is under two square metres. It also has four high-powered massage jets, which Mumsnet users say help with aches and pains.

You get some great extras, including a liner repair kit, a storage bag and two filters. Plus, if you live in a hard water area, then the Intex has a built-in hard water treatment system, which makes the water gentler on your skin and clothes. The only downside is that users say this hot tub can be a bit noisy, which may not put you in good stead with the neighbours.

Key specs

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Number of jets: 100
  • Outer dimensions: 196cm x 96cm x 70cm
  • Inner dimensions: 147cm x 147cm x 70cm
  • Heating: 1500w
  • Water volume: 795 litres
  • Capacity: 4 people

7. Best small hot tub: Netspa Izy Spa Inflatable Hot Tub

7. Best small hot tub: Netspa Izy Spa Inflatable Hot Tub

If you’re looking for a hot tub with a small footprint, the Netspa Izy Spa comes in at just 165cm. But there’s still plenty of room inside. It’s also 70cm tall meaning it can hold a much bigger volume of water than other compact tubs.

It’s a model that’s definitely punching above its weight with no less than 100 jets and it can even be used all year round. There’s also a ground sheet that will help with heat loss.

The best thing, however, is that it heats up pretty fast – at between 1.5 to 2.5 degrees an hour – so you won’t have to wait too long for a dip.

Key specs

  • Style: Inflatable
  • Number of jets: 100
  • Outer dimensions: 165cm x 165cm x 70cm
  • Inner dimensions: 125cm x 125cm x 70cm
  • Heating: 1500w
  • Water volume: 650 litres
  • Capacity: 3 people

8. Best wood-fired hot tub: Kirami Original Chill Wood-Fired Hot Tub

“It's blissful and really quiet. Smells amazing too. Only other issue is that woodlice are liking it too!”

8. Best wood-fired hot tub: Kirami Original Chill Wood-Fired Hot Tub

Wood-fired hot tubs can heat much more quickly than their electric counterparts and are more attractive too. Kirami’s model goes from cold to 38 degrees in just three hours, while plug-in models can take 12 hours or more. But the biggest benefit is that they don’t need to be anywhere near an electric socket, giving you much more flexibility about where you put it in your garden.

It’s also made from marine-grade aluminum, which is much thinner than the material used for inflatable hot tubs, allowing for a roomier experience even if the tub’s overall footprint is small. There’s even room for a small bench, which is 5cm off the ground, to make relaxation easier.

Watch out if your neighbours are close though. Some people really don’t like the smell the burners give off. You also need to make sure that you’re not in a restricted area when it comes to fires. Check your local council’s website for the rules.

Key specs

  • Style: Wood-fired
  • Number of jets: None
  • Outer dimensions: 170cm x 170cm x 73cm
  • Inner dimensions: 160cm x 160cm x 73cm
  • Heating: Wood
  • Water volume: 1,350 litres
  • Capacity: 4 people

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

“Ours is from the Canadian Spa Company. It's lovely. We use it more in winter.”

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

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, but 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.

Because it’s longer than it is wide, you really can stretch out and relax in comfort.

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

Is it worth buying a hot tub?

Hot tubs are one purchase that divides Mumsnet users. Some see them as a luxury to be enjoyed, or an essential for physiotherapy and aches and pains, while others see them as an expensive purchase that requires more maintenance than they’re willing to allow for.

Hot tubs became increasingly popular during lockdown 2020 and sold out in record time. With people unable to leave their homes or go on holiday, many tried to recreate luxury breaks in the comfort of their own gardens and patios.

It’s worth bearing in mind that hot tubs are a commitment. Filters and chemicals are extra and will need topping up and changing regularly. Also, if your hot tub isn’t wood-fired, you need to be aware of the extra electricity costs. This includes having to wait for your tub to heat to its optimum temperature of 40 degrees – anything from three to 20 hours, depending on the model.

But many users say it’s worth buying a hot tub if you like to sit under the stars and relax. Some have even built wooden lean-tos or bought gazebos to help with privacy. You can also use some inflatable hot tubs indoors if the weather is particularly cold.

What should I look for when buying a hot tub?

  • *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 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.
  • 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. The bigger the hot tub, the bigger the expense. It can cost from £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 drinks 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's the lifespan of a hot tub?

How long a hot tub lasts depends on the quality of the materials and how well it’s looked after. Most hot tubs come with a minimum warranty of 12 months.

Inflatable hot tubs don’t last as long as acrylic-bodied hot tubs. Expect to get between two to five years’ use out of an inflatable hot tub. Jacuzzi spas are built to last longer – anything up to 20 years if they are looked after properly.

You will need to maintain filters, clean regularly and flush out the pumps (if your hot tub has them) to maximise its life span.

How do I clean my hot tub?

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 tubs 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 £5 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.

Which 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

All of our recommendations for hot tubs came from Mumsnet users themselves. We searched the Mumsnet forums for posts about which inflatable hot tubs and jacuzzi spas as well as wood-fired hot tubs that Mumsnetters really loved. We also looked at other reviews to see which hot tubs and spas performed well overall.

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.

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Main image credit: CosySpa