Hot tub used to be the thing an average person just couldn’t afford. They were expensive to get, difficult to maintain, and took a LOT of space. Luckily, inflatable hot tubs came to the rescue.
Inflatable hot tubs are affordable, easy to set up (you just need an ordinary power socket nearby), and don’t take much space. In fact, they can be stored away when you don’t plan to use them. All of this while providing an awesome massage and soothing hot water.
We spent a lot of time researching inflatable hot tubs (and we update this guide all the time), so before diving into details, let us show you our top picks which won’t let you down:
Coleman Lay-Z Spa is a 4 person portable hot tub manufactured by Bestway and licensed by Coleman. That’s why it’s also known as Coleman Lay-Z-Spa or Bestway Lay-Z-Spa. What made it to be our top pick? Well, the differences between our first and second recommended hot tubs are minimal! If you don’t love the green color of Coleman SaluSpa by any chance, then feel free to go for our second pick instead, they are very similar.
This one comes with a cushioned air pad floor (great for thermal insulation, improved comfort, and as a protection against puncture). It’s manufactured using a patented TriTech Material, which is basically a polyester mesh core encased in two layers of PVC. This allows you to inflate it to surprisingly high pressure. You can then actually sit on the walls without any issue!
Being one of the most affordable inflatable hot tubs, the manufacturer included only essentials (yeah, no headrests or underwater lights- but you can purchase hot tub accessories separately). With a great price and quality manufacturing, it’s one of the most popular blow-up hot tubs worldwide, and it deserves it – the value for money is incredible.
An affordable spa with an amazing build and material quality? We were surprised by the engineers at Intex. For example, the design of its inflatable walls and why they are so sturdy is genius (more on that later).
You can’t really go wrong with Intex PureSpa. It has everything a jacuzzi should have. Sure, there are other more expensive models with more premium features (e.g. underwater lights) available, but they are also more expensive.
Taking into account the quality, design, price, and reliability, this is one of the best inflatable spas for the money (together with Coleman SaluSpa). What exactly makes it that great?
The most important is the quality of its inflatable walls. They are super sturdy when properly inflated thanks to the proprietary Fiber-tech™ wall construction – the market-leading inflatable hot tub wall design. On top of that, the material has a pleasant texture and just looks premium. It’s also more resistant to punctures (but you still have to be careful).
Inflation only takes a couple of minutes with the included air pump (the same pump is later used for bubble jets). PureSpa also comes with a built-in hard water treatment to prevent limescale build-up (limescale can clog the pump and filter cartridges). Chemicals are dispensed via a simple chemical floater.
The massage is provided via 120 bubble jets. One of the super important things to have is a hot tub cover, and it comes with the intex PureSpa as a standard. It’s important for minimizing water temperature losses, preventing leaves or insects from getting into the water, and as a safety measure.
SaluSpa Miami (also known as Lay-Z-Spa Miami) is a common 4 person portable hot tub with no extra features like LED lights. It has 60 bubble jets surrounding the bottom of the spa. Together with other soft tubs from Bestway, it uses their TriTech material. This gives this spa extra sturdiness and robustness.
Bestway included a cover, which is a great way to lower thermal losses and make it safe when not in use.
SaluSpa Miami comes in black color, which might not be the right one for everybody. Being very similar to other inflatable hot tubs in the affordable category, the design is one of the most important decision-makers.
In this lower-end category of hot tubs, often the only difference in models from the same manufacturer is the design. Do you love black color? Go for it.
SaluSpa St. Lucia is the smallest round hot tub you can get. The main benefits of its small size are:
Those are also the main advantages. What this hot tub lacks are all the premium features that can be found in more expensive hot tubs (but it makes it up with its very competitive price).
Intex hot tubs are always super popular, and PureSpa Plus Greywood is no exception.
Let’s talk about a few points which make the most difference between inflatable hot tubs.
Inflatable spas range from around $400 up to $1,000. The higher price tag generally comes with more advanced features such as
Some very low-cost inflatable hot tubs (often with unknown brand names) have walls made of low-quality materials – we have omitted those from our list.
This is the one most important feature of a hot tub, so read carefully. Let’s begin with the most used and most popular option, the AirJets.
Most of the inflatable hot tubs have air jets. They are cheaper to manufacture and provide affordable but amazing massage. How come they are so cheap? Well, they reuse the same blower that inflates your spa when setting it up for pushing the air through a hose into a ring on the floor with holes in it. While this doesn’t sound very sophisticated, the massage and tinkling feeling on your skin is actually very pleasant.
What we like about airjets:
Portable hot tubs with airjets are generally cheaper than those with water jets. Bubble jets are surprisingly very pleasant!
What we don’t like about airjets:
The blower can be loud. The heater often cannot be run simultaneously with air jets. They cool the water pretty quickly.
While water jets are a common occurrence in a conventional built-in jacuzzi, they are rarely found in an inflatable spa. Why is it so?
Well, it’s due to manufacturing costs. Water jets need a powerful water pump and high-quality and reliable water piping. Actually, there’s only one inflatable hot tub in our top list offering this awesome feature. It’s the SaluSpa Hawaii (Check it out).
These are the jets that expensive built-in hot tubs use. The massage of these jets is much more focused on one spot. The jet of water is applying direct pressure to your skin.
What we like about hydrojets:
The focused jet of water under high pressure makes a unique massage experience therefore water jets can give you a much stronger and more direct massage than air jets. The water pump is less noisy than its air counterpart. No heat losses due to cold air being pushed into the water. Together with hot water, they are awesome for relieving sore muscles – check out this study.
Hot tubs with hydrojets usually also have airjets, so you are not missing out on anything.
What we don’t like about hydrojets:
The price is usually double what an ordinary air-jet inflatable hot tub costs.
The smallest inflatable hot tub available is this two-person spa. The biggest hot tubs can accommodate up to six people – but be ready for some underwater leg touching if six grown-ups meet in there :-).
Volume-wise they range from around 150 gallons up to 300 gallons of water. The latter is more than 2,500 pounds of weight, so be careful about the place you plan to fill it with water.
Most of the hot tubs have very sturdy walls. One can sit on them and they won’t budge. They use a variety of materials, some better, some worse, for the best quality, check out our top picks in our top list.
Another important aspect is the heater unit. Most of the hot tubs have an external adjacent unit where all the important stuff is (heater, blower, a control panel on top). Some newer hot tubs have this unit built into the wall of the spa. This is beneficial for those of you with less space available.
As a rule of thumb – the cheaper the hot tub, the fewer features it has. It’s totally up to you if you wish to pay extra for some of these features. Even the basic low-cost inflatable hot tub can provide awesome relaxation. Here are some typical premium features you might find in an inflatable hot tub:
This feature prevents a buildup of limescale which is a major cause of hot tub pump breakdowns. Luckily, this feature is found on most inflatable portable hot tubs.
This takes the nighttime soaking to a new level and it looks super cool. More and more hot tubs start to include this as a standard, for example, SaluSpa Paris (Go check it out).
A Saltwater system eliminates the need for adding chlorine or shocking your spa and thus saves a ton of time and struggle. What’s even better is that the spa won’t have that typical chlorine smell. You might know it from older pools. Modern pools are often using other ways of sanitation.
If you have problems breathing the air with the smell of chlorine, a saltwater treatment system is more suitable for you.
With cheaper portable hot tubs, you usually miss on included accessories like stairs, headrests, beverage trays, or LED lights. In most cases, you can purchase them separately. Always consider included accessories when comparing the price.
Don’t forget to take into account the number of included replacement filters (usually 2), and if any chemistry to keep the water clean is included.
Literally all of these are discontinued/unavailable, April 2020
Hi Stephenie! A lot of them are sold out due to huge demand right now. Sorry about it.
Are they constantly using an air pump? I have a backyard inflatable waterslide and as soon as you turn the LOUD airpump off, the water spills out of the pool area of the slide.
Hi Katie! No, they do not. You only use the air pump to inflate the hot tub at the beginning, then occasionally if the pressure drops. In the meantime, the air pump is what provides air for the bubble jets.
I was looking for an updated model for the one you recommend as your first choice. Any new models for 2020 you’d recommend?
Hey! The new Greywood Deluxe models are great! They come with foam headrests, LED lights, and wireless control panel.
Looking at the inflatable options. We live in Indiana. I was hoping to use this in the winter. Are inflatables not a wise option for winter use? If not what is best to be able to use throughout the winter when temperatures are regularly below freezing?
Am looking for an outdoor inflatable jacuzzis spa for my roof garden. In the summer temperature can be up to 45 degrees..I am looking for a good solution for 2-4 persons..LED lights is necessary. Maintenance and time life is important too…which model you recommend?
Hey! Be careful about the maximum weight your foundation will hold, as hot tubs full of water can be heavy! Well, Intex Greywood (new model) seems like a good pick for you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful, informative article.
I’m looking at a portable spa because I need to be able to use Epsom salt, a large quantity in the spa. Sort of like the float tanks but without the sensory deprivation. I need the therapudic results from the Epsom salt. A bathtub just won’t do what I need.
I’m thinking if I can find an easily changed filter or easy access pump, I could change & rinse without having to dump & waste all the water & Epsom salt. I’m leaning towards body temperature water & air Jets, if they’ll create a gentle water current. With the inexpensive portable spas, I could replace it every two to three years without impacting my budget too much.
Any advice or suggestions on what I should get?
Thank you for your time and efforts.
My wife got me a Bestway SaluSpa Miami recently and I wanted to purchase an LED light for it. I did not find any that were made for the Bestway/Coleman spas, but I saw a review of an Intex one that someone had use on theirs. I purchased it from Amazon. https://amzn.to/2SUzlWv I found that the way it connected was different. I decided to design my own adapter to make it fit which worked perfectly. I am now selling these adapters on my website for anyone that is interested. https://dan.bemowski.info/shop/intex-bestway-saluspa-miami-led-light-adapter/
Are all the inflatable hot tubs 120 electrical watts?
We have the Saluspa Paris and my wife says it’s the best thing I’ve ever gotten her! We love it!
I need to get a replacement inflation tube for my Intex Spa SSP-H – 10-1.
Can you tell me where to get one. I can’t find it on Intex website.
Thank you for the information. I am interested in putting a spa in my basement. Would you recommend this and which one would be the best?
Hi Peter, I was about to purchase a Coleman inflatable spa, until I found this article and now I am considering the Intex PureSpa. Can you tell me – what put this one in the #1 spot over the Coleman?
I’m interested in a 2-3 person portable that operates on 220. Any info on this inquiry?
Are there any other options for a salt water system besides the Saluspa Hawaii? I don’t mind just having air jets, but have lung issues that make it hard to breathe with the chlorine.
I would like to install a portable hot tub on the deck next to my bedroom. I am concerned about the pump making noise while I am not using the tub. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations re: noise levels.
I don’t know of any that would have both gas powered heater, and air jets.
This one thing comes to my mind: https://amzn.to/2La68pR – Separate Bubble Mat (electricity powered) But that’s probably not what you are looking for 😉
First thing I would be concerned about is if the deck can support that much weight. When it comes to noise, the circulation pump is very quiet. The loudest feature is definitely the air jets 😉 Both the air pump and all that bubbles on the surface generate quite a lot of noise 🙂
Thank you so much for this comprehensive article! Very helpful! I’d be leaning towards the SaluSpa Hawaii with the HydroJet option, the Hard Water Treatment & SaltWater System.
However, a big consideration is that I am looking for any type of spa heating / power device that might somehow be GAS POWERED (portable), like for taking camping to an area that has no electricity.
Can you suggest any type of GAS POWERED / heated system?
I did see a ‘Hydro Hammack’ that had a portable gas-powered hot water heating system, but of course no air jets or water jets.
Hi my name is Nicole how do I go about getting an inflatable Jacuzzi please email me back thanks.
From Nicole d
What exactly would you love to know?
Want an inflatable where the water dept is more than 28″.
We ended up buying intex pure spa, and we are so so happy! Initial heating is quite long, but then we just keep it at temperature … it’s our favorite place to be in the evening!