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Best Portable Hot Tub

It’s getting late, but you’re far from tired. You pour yourself a glass of wine, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read but never got around to and head outside to the hot tub. Could this night be any more perfect? Well, what if you could make it happen for under $500?

If you’re looking to add a touch of decadence to your yard, but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to get a built-in hot tub, you might prefer to pick up an inflatable one instead. These are a lot sturdier than the inflatable furniture you might remember from the early 2000’s, and can actually rival their more expensive counterparts in terms of quality.

Best Portable Hot Tub – Comparison Table

Below, you’ll find a table showing the name of each product we’ll be reviewing, as well as a couple of its key attributes. There’s more to a hot tub than just its capacity though, so try to reserve judgment for the time being.

Product NamePeople CapacityWater Capacity
Coleman Lay Z Spa Inflatable Hot Tub4-6254 gallons
SaluSpa Miami AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub2-4177 gallons
Intex 77-Inches PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set4210 gallons
SaluSpa Paris AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub4-6250 gallons
Intex Portable 6-Person Inflatable PureSpa Plus Bubble Spa6290 gallons

Now that you’ve had a chance to gauge our most recommended products, we’ll be going more in-depth which each of them and looking for any strengths or weaknesses that they might have. Without further ado, let’s begin with the Coleman Lay Z Spa.

1

Coleman Lay Z Spa Inflatable Hot Tub – Best Budget Portable Hot Tub

The Coleman Lay Z Spa is an inflatable hot tub that costs less than $400 and yet, provides a high-quality, luxurious experience that rivals models which cost significantly more money.

This hot tub measures 77” wide and 28” tall, and can comfortably seat 6 people. Unlike with smaller models, everybody has a decent amount of personal space, so you’re not all crammed together, which is great news if you’re a little claustrophobic.

Setup is very quick, taking around twenty minutes from opening the box to filling it up and doesn’t require any tools since the tub uses its own pump to inflate. Once you’ve got your water in, you can begin heating it up (and we’d advise doing this in advance of any event you might have planned). The maximum temperature this tub can support is 104oF and you can expect the water to increase in temperature by around 2-3oF per hour.

Whilst empty, this hot tub weighs 85 pounds, but when full, it rockets to 2701 pounds. This is why it’s imperative that you only use this product outside, on solid ground. Most decks won’t be able to support all this weight, especially when you include the weight of the people as well, so, for your own safety, be sensible about where you decide to place this product. This weight does mean it’s very resistant to heavy winds though, so that’s a bonus.

The sides of the tub are supported by a network of metal beams which provide enough strength to allow people to sit on the walls without it bending or buckling. Additionally, the exterior is puncture-resistant and made of a polyester mesh coated on both sides with PVC, so you shouldn’t have to worry about anything popping your hot tub – just make sure to clear the area of any rocks or debris before you place it and you’ll be fine.

The floor of the tub is cushioned with an air-padded layer which serves two functions: firstly, it’s more comfortable to sit on, but more importantly, it helps to insulate the bottom and minimize the amount of heat through the base.

There is, of course, a bubble jet which can be turned on or off using the digital control panel, and also other features such as a timer which can be used to automatically turn the jets off at a set time, as well as a temperature maintenance mode for when you find that level of heat that’s just right. These features are, whilst fairly basic, pretty much all you need in a low-end hot tub and we’re certain that this product will meet your expectations.  

All things considered, there’s a lot to like about this hot tub. It’s spacious enough for several people, sturdier than you might expect and offers a good range of control over the water temperature and operation of the bubble jets. Whilst it may seem fairly basic, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is considered a low to mid-end portable hot tub, and to find one of this quality is not only rare, it’s exceptional. If you’re curious about getting a hot tub but don’t know where to start, you can’t go wrong with the Coleman.

PROS
  • Sturdy and puncture resistant
  • Spacious yet inexpensive
  • Offers a good amount of control over temperature and bubble jets
CONS
  • Very heavy when filled
2

SaluSpa Miami AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub – Best Small Portable Hot Tub

If you’d like your hot tub to be a little more intimate, then perhaps the slightly smaller Miami AirJet by SaluSpa is more to your tastes. It is 26” tall and 71” wide, so it’s perfect for sharing with your significant other, or even just a couple of friends since it can fit up to 4 people comfortably.

This hot tub has a tool free setup – it inflates using the included blower pump – and takes around 20 minutes from unpacking it to filling it with water. It has a capacity of 177 gallons, so it might take a while to fill up, plus it’ll likely take a day or so to reach its maximum temperature of 104oF since it takes around an hour to warm up by 3 degrees or so.

The construction of this model is similar to the Coleman – the sides are rigid enough to withstand a person’s weight without buckling, although to be honest, they’re not really for sitting on and as such, aren’t particularly comfortable. The outside of the tub is thick and pretty resilient, but it’s not bulletproof, so you’d be well advised to keep pets away from it and make sure there are no sharp stones underneath it before you start filling it up.

There are a few included extras with this model that you would have had to buy separately anyway, so it’s great to see them being included in the price. The first of these is a chemical floater which you can put chlorine tablets into in order to keep your water sterile – remember to take the floater out before you get in, though!

You are also provided with your first filter cartridge (although this will have to be replaced every week or two in order to guarantee clean water), and a cover which uses Velcro strips to attach to the sides of the hot tub. This serves two functions – firstly, it’s to keep debris like bugs or leaves out, and secondly, it helps to keep your water hot by stopping the hot air from escaping. With this cover attached, it’s no problem to keep your water at 104 degrees, even in winter.

 There’s a year’s limited warranty included with purchase, however, there is an important thing to consider – whilst the company will replace any part that fails (assuming it’s not your fault), they do not cover the cost of anything damaged by leaks. This means that even if the side of the hot tub ruptures and it’s not your fault if your garage gets flooded, you’re out of luck, so make sure you take this into account when placing the unit initially.

Overall, this is a pretty decent little hot tub. It provides enough space to cater to both a romantic evening under the stars and a “couple of beers in the yard” kind of party. We love that several essential parts were included rather than requiring you to buy them separately, and the tub cover, in particular, is incredibly useful. Whether you lack the space for a larger model or you like your evenings to be cozier, the SaluSpa would make a fantastic addition to your yard.

PROS
  • Sturdy construction, puncture resistant
  • Versatile - intimate for two people, spacious enough for four
  • Includes essentials such as tub cover and filter
CONS
  • Costs almost as much as a larger hot tub
3

Intex 77-Inches PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set – Best Portable Hot Tub for Hard Water Areas

The Intex PureSpa Portable is a slight step up in terms of price but comes with a few key features not found in lower cost models, chief among them the hard water treatment system, which will be a godsend for people who live in rural or remote areas.

Essentially, hard water is water with a high concentration of minerals like calcium or magnesium. Over time, if left unchecked, this can build up and corrode your hot tub, so it’s vital that it’s dealt with in some way. Thankfully, this tub has a built-in method – it generates an electromagnetic field which agitates these minerals until they clump together and become floating crystals instead of gathering on the sides of the tub. These crystals can then be removed by the filter, so you don’t have to worry about them.

A wide range of accessories are included when you buy this product – two filter cartridges (these should last between 1-2 weeks each), a floating chlorine dispenser (you will have to buy chlorine tablets or granules, however), a ground cloth, a water cover,  a test strip which allows you to check the pH level of the water and a carry bag. The carry bag is of limited use since the product is so heavy (at 87.2 pounds when empty), but it does help keep it at a manageable size and as such it can be easily fit in the back of a car or stored away somewhere.

Both the ground cloth and cover are insulated to stop heat from escaping, and the ground cloth also provides a good level of comfort, despite the fact that you’re essentially sitting on the ground. The water temperature of this hot tub can range from 68-104°F, and the cover does a fantastic job at keeping the heat in, even at the higher end of this spectrum. It also has a lock to prevent people or animals from sneaking in, which is great.

The water can be expected to rise in temperature by about 2 degrees per hour, so it’s best to set this hot tub up the day before you want to use it. It can be used indoors, but know that there will be some condensation created by the heat of the water.

Additionally, when filled, this tub weighs around 2500 pounds, and if you don’t live on the ground floor, your floor might not be able to support all of this weight, so be careful. It might also be a good idea to open a window since it does have a tendency to make your room smell like chlorine, but that’s standard and even swimming pools can’t stop this. You can drain the hot tub by attaching a hose and routing the water somewhere it won’t do any damage too, but this will take a while since it has such a high water capacity.

This model has a couple of features that make it attractive, not least its hard water management system or its locking, insulated cover. It is a little more expensive than the other models we’ve seen so far, but it makes up for this by adding functionality that will help you out in the long term. It heats up slightly more slowly too, but that’s no big deal, especially when you consider that even the fastest hot tubs take around a day to reach their maximum temperature. The PureSpa Portable is a good sized portable hot tub that’s sure to be a talking point at any party you host and will last for years if you treat it well.

PROS
  • Includes locking cover and two filters
  • Built in hard water treatment system
  • Sturdy, insulated construction
CONS
  • Heats up slightly slower than its competitors
4

SaluSpa Paris AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub – Best Portable Hot Tub for Parties

The SaluSpa Paris is the inflatable hot tub that you buy if you want something a little more luxurious. It’s perfect for parties, not only because it’s a great standalone tub, but because you can turn on the built-in LEDs to create a vibrant light show that helps set the mood and enhance the water’s calming effect.

It’s 77×26”, so there’s enough room to fit four people comfortably. Whilst you could technically fit six people in there, they’d be pushed together and wouldn’t be particularly comfortable, unless they were kids. We’d gently suggest that whilst it’s certainly possible to get six adults in this hot tub, you might be better off sticking to four or less.

There are several LED lights which slot into holes in the base and cycle between seven different colours. These rely on a separate power source to the hot tub itself, so make sure you have enough outlets to avoid disappointment. When plugged in, these can be turned on or off with the remote control, which is a nice touch, since the last thing you need when you’re wet is to be handling electricals.

Water temperature and the bubble jets are controlled through a waterproof electronic panel. There’s even a timer which lets you cut the power after a certain amount of time has elapsed, or when the water reaches a specific temperature.

The maximum temperature of the water is 104°F, the same as the other hot tubs we’ve seen so far, and again, the water heats up at a rate of about 3 degrees per hour, so it takes around a day to reach its peak. There is an inflatable cover included to help create a seal and keep this heat in, and it has a pair of Delrin clips to keep it securely attached to the tub itself. There are no problems maintaining 104°F as long as it’s at least 40°F outside, although if you leave a hot tub on all the time, you should expect a slight bump to your electricity bill.

Also included are a filter to get you started, a chemical floater you can put chlorine into and a DVD that shows you how to set up and performance maintenance on the hot tub itself. The body of this product is as strong as the others we’ve seen and seems to have a very similar construction.

SaluSpa provide a year’s warranty with this product, which is great news. It is, after all, a pretty significant investment and we’d like to see you protected should anything go wrong. Usually, if a component fails, it’s in the first few months after purchase, so this warranty should see you through the danger zone, so to speak.

We really like the Paris – the LED light show really helps add some personality to this product, and it’s spacious enough for four people to stretch out in. The included cover is a step above the ones which are usually provided and the instructional DVD adds a little clarity to the sometimes murky world of hot tub maintenance. If you need a model which will liven up a party, there really isn’t one better than the SaluSpa Paris.

PROS
  • Included cover is high quality, instructional DVD is genuinely useful
  • LED lights cycle through 7 colours
  • One year warranty
CONS
  • Too cramped for six people to use
5

Intex Portable 6-Person Inflatable PureSpa Plus Bubble Spa – Best Large Portable Hot Tub

Well, this is the big one. The Intex PureSpa Plus is a high-end portable hot tub that can comfortably fit six people thanks to its massive width. At 85” wide and 28” high, you certainly won’t find yourself short on space, and with less than six people, you’ll even have room to stretch.

Like the last couple of models we’ve seen, this one comes with a built-in hard water management system. This not only makes the water easier on your skin, but it prolongs the life of the hot tub too, so it’s great to see.

This hot tub seems to have a pretty similar construction to the others – it’s made up of high-strength fibers which make it puncture resistant, and bolstered by an internal metal scaffold which provides rigidity and support. This means you don’t have to worry about leaning back too far and distorting the tub’s shape – it’s a lot stronger than a kid’s wading pool, after all.  

Given its larger size, it’s also heavier than the smaller models we’ve already discussed, at 115 pounds when empty. This model does come with a carry case to make it less bulky to carry and easier to store, though, but that’s not all – also included are an insulated ground cloth, locking tub cover, two filter cartridges, a floating chemical dispenser, and two inflatable headrests which allow you to get as comfortable as possible.

The controls for this unit are mounted to the side of the tub and allow you to easily set a maximum temperature, access the timer or control the bubble jets without reaching over the top of the wall, like most other portable hot tubs. Unfortunately, the display can get a little difficult to read in a sunny environment, but that’s true of any electronic device without a backlight. It does have a protective plastic cover which flips down to help protect it from the water, though, which is a nice touch.

It’s good to see Intex provide a full year’s warranty on this product upon purchase since this is considered a premium portable hot tub and as such has a fairly high price attached. This warranty covers any components that fail and aren’t your fault, although again, does not cover the cost of any property damaged as a result.

Overall, this is a pretty great hot tub. For one thing, it’s huge. For another, maintenance is both simple and quick, plus the hard water treatment system helps to ensure that it will be in great shape for years to come. Whilst most people won’t need a hot tub of this size, sometimes you just want the biggest one, right? With this model, Intex have proven that you don’t have to sacrifice size for quality and as a result, it’s sure to be the talk of any party you throw.

PROS
  • Side mounted control panel offers easier access
  • Very spacious
  • One year warranty
CONS
  • Control panel can be hard to see in bright environments

Best Portable Hot Tub - Buyer's Guide

Buying a portable hot tub doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve created a short guide to the most important considerations you need to make in order to get the best model for your needs. With our help, you can prevent buyer’s remorse down the line and find a hot tub that leaves you and your family smiling.

Physical considerations

First and foremost, consider the size of the hot tub. Do you have space for it? Most mid-budget models are about 6 and a half feet wide, plus you’ll want a couple of feet around it on all sides to get in and out easily. How many people can comfortably fit in it at once? The last thing you want is to be uncomfortably close to your in-laws, after all.

Once it’s full, how much does it weigh? Generally, you can expect it to be over 2000 pounds, and that’s without anyone in it. Can your surface support all that weight? If you want to locate it on a deck or other raised surface, make sure it’s well supported – ideally, you’d ask someone in construction, just to be safe.

How do you plan to empty the tub? You can attach a hose and direct the water, sure, but if there isn’t a drain or safe place to do this nearby, you could be in trouble.

Maintenance

Your hot tub will require maintenance to keep it in good shape – luckily, we’re here to tell you how. Firstly, you’ll need a sanitizer, usually either chlorine or bromine. Chlorine is less expensive but has a distinctive smell, whereas bromine is odorless. There’s a pretty heated debate as to which is best, but if you’re interested, you can read more about these here.

Your hot tub will also need a filter. Usually, at least one is included, so make a note of the model number and remember to replace it every week or two. These help get rid of debris from your water and the good news is they’re not too pricey.

You’ll also want to make sure you have a cover of some kind to stop the build-up of algae and other gross bacteria in your water. These are a necessity if you plan to keep the hot tub up for a long period of time and they really do pay for themselves. It’s also important to replace the water every 60 days since there’s a limit to what a filter and chemical treatment can do.

Conclusion


Whilst every portable hot tub we’ve reviewed today is a great product, there’s one in particular which we think stands above the rest in terms of accessibility. The Intex 77-Inches PureSpa Portable Bubble Massage Spa Set is a fairly inexpensive hot tub which is a reasonable size and comes with everything you need to get started immediately. It’s inexpensive enough for an average family to be able to afford it, yet has a high build quality that will ensure it will last for years.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful, and if so, we’d like to ask you to consider leaving a comment or a rating below – we appreciate any and all feedback we get and it’d really help us out. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and we look forward to seeing you again next time.