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

With warmer days just around the corner, make the most of your outdoor space with a luxury hot tub. Here are the best ones on the market, including inflatable and pocket-friendly options. 

By Anna Cook | Last updated Apr 4, 2022

Woman in hot tub

Once a luxury item, the increase in 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 and look after your mental health as well as ease those 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.

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. It can be hard to know which one to invest in when considering what will be the best for your garden or your needs though, so we’ve done the hard work for you, selecting the nine best models available today.

How we chose our recommendations

We’ve thoroughly researched the best hot tubs you can buy, taking into account tried and tested experiences from different reliable, trusted sources.

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.  

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 2022.

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

LaZSpa Miami hot tub

Price £380 | Buy now from Amazon

We have a Lay-Z-Spa and LOVE it. I think it’s one of the best things we’ve bought. Heats up in about four hours and the set up is very very easy”. (Recommended by Mumsnet user Sjxoxo)

We have the Lay-Z-Spa Miami. It’s one of the smaller models. The performance is just as good as a proper hot tub IMHO.” (Vetted by Mumsnetter Yogagirl123)

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.

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Maybe on the snug side for four adults 

2. Best budget hot tub: CosySpa Inflatable Hot Tub

Cosy Spa

Price: From £299 | Buy now from Amazon

For under £300, 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 £360) 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. 

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

LaZySpa Helsinki hot tub

Price £679 | Buy now from Amazon

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, I like the soft base and sides.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Murinae)

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. 

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

Pros

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

 Cons

  • More pricey than other inflatable models 

4. Best inflatable hot tub: MSPAUK Tekapo

Tepeko hot tub

Price: £371.95 | Buy now from Amazon

The Tekapo hot tub’s square shape will fit neatly onto most patios but, despite its tiny footprint, it’s still fairly spacious with an inner dimension of 118cm, comfortably housing up to four people.

This model, an upgrade to previous versions, comes with some clever new features. First, it has a built-in UVC sanitiser which can kill more than 60 disease-causing microorganisms and pathogens 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 helps ensure the water is clean, even when the hot tub isn't in use.

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
  • LED lights: No

Pros

  • Small footprint 
  • Built-in sanitiser and filtration system for hygiene

Cons

  • The right angles of a square shape may not offer as much comfort as rounded walls

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: £8,500 | Buy now from B&Q

We have a Canadian Spa hot tub.” (Brand tried and tested by Mumsnet user Cloudyrainsham)

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. 

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 

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

ntex 85 x 28-inch PureSpa Bubble Massage Set

Price: £749 | Buy now from Amazon

I have an Intex PureSpa and it comes with an inflatable inner lid which sits right on the water and keeps the outer covered up and level. Also very good for keeping the heat in.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter LionLily)

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.

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

7. Best hot tub for couples: MSpa Silver Cloud

MSpa Silver Cloud 2021 Edition

Price: £299 | Buy now from Amazon

Ours is an MSpa, like a Lay-Z-Spa but all the gubbins are inside it not an additional unit.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user AtLastEarwax)

 “I got this one last summer. The pump is in the wall, rather than a separate pump like the Lay-Z-Spa.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Chasingsquirrels)

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. 

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

Pros

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

 Cons

  • Snug for four people

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

Canadian hot tub

Price: £6,439.99 | Buy now from Argos

Ours is from the Canadian Spa Company. It's lovely. We use it more in winter.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Dowser)

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.

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Pricey

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

Skargards Regal 190

Price: £3,450 | Buy now from Skargards

We are seriously thinking about getting one. Looking at the Skargards wood burner type. Not cheap!” (Brand considered by Mumsnet user Belindabelle)

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. 

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 

Pros

  • More control over running costs
  • Traditional Nordic aesthetic 

Cons

  • No bubble jets as standard 
  • Pricey 

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, however, that hot tubs are a long-term commitment. Filters and chemicals cost 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 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 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 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. 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 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'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 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 £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.

Why you should trust us

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Main image credit: CosySpa