Let's be honest. There are some great inflatable hot tubs, but also a few not-so-good ones. Are you curious what the main differences are? Check out our in-depth guide below.
We spent a lot of time researching inflatable hot tubs (and we update this guide all the time to keep it fresh), so before going into details, let us show you our top picks:
The affordable choice for 2021 with a place for 4 people and 104 soothing air jets.
Coleman SaluSpa is an awesome 4 person hot tub - great value for money!
Our top list:
#1 Coleman SaluSpa (Affordable Top Pick)
Coleman Lay-Z Spa is a 4 person inflatable 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 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.
#2 Intex PureSpa
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.
#3 Intex Greywood Deluxe (Best 6-person Inflatable Hot Tub)
For this review, we've chosen the bigger 6 person version of the Intex Greywoord inflatable hot tub, an extra space is always welcome! For those with space constraints or for those only planning to use the hot tub for 2-4 people, the 4-person version is an awesome choice as well. If you plan to throw hot tub parties, the 6-person version will come in super handy!
This is a fairly new hot tub, and it already made it to the 3rd spot in our top inflatable spas list! Well, Intex really knows how to make a great product.
Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe is a premium hot tub, with awesome features (remote control, LED lights) - more on that later.
Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe offers a lot of premium features
We absolutely loved the detachable wireless control panel. You can control everything wirelessly now. Want to get the hot tub ready? Just set the desired water temperature from your home a few hours before - brilliant.
The feature loved by everybody is definitely the included underwater LED light. It changes colors and creates beautiful light patterns, especially when the bubble jets are turned on.
The two included premium headrests are a nice bonus, definitely making resting your head much comfier.
Being a bigger inflatable spa means the heating takes a bit longer. The heater is the same as with the smaller version, unfortunately, this is limited by the standard power supply (it goes into an ordinary power socket). Greywood deluxe 6 person heats up at about 1°-2°F/hr depending on the outside temperature.
One of the best premium portable spas available. Wireless control, included headrests, LED light, absolutely beautiful wood pattern design - all of this coupled with the build quality of Intex hot tubs means it's one of the best premium inflatable spas you can get.
#4 SaluSpa Paris (Awesome features)
While not first on our list, a still very impressive inflatable hot tub - SaluSpa Paris, portable hot tub made by Bestway. Bestway is a well-known brand when it comes to pool products and spas.
SaluSpa Paris offers a unique white design with one of the best implementations of LED underwater lights (more on that later).
What does SaluSpa Paris offer?
SaluSpa Paris (also known as Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Paris) is a very popular hot tub. Affordable price, high-quality materials, and advanced features.
It comes with a cushioned air mat floor - which is soft to sit on and improves heat insulation.
SaluSpa Paris has the best light effects!
Instead of including just one underwater light (as is often the case with other blow up hot tubs) - they included a whole RGB LED strip that goes around the whole hot tub (on the bottom side). The lights are super bright and make for a great show! This is definitely one of the best inflatable hot tub lightings we've seen.
Here are the 7 colors it can create:
Check out this video showcasing SaluSpa's blow up hot tub in action! The atmosphere created by LED lighting is awesome!
One of the best premium portable hot tubs available. Wireless control, included headrests, LED light, absolutely beautiful wood pattern design - all of this coupled with the build quality of Intex hot tubs means it's one of the best premium inflatable hot tubs you can get.
#5 SaluSpa Hawaii - Best Inflatable Hot Tub with HydroJets
Another great blow-up hot tub from Bestway. This rectangular spa is a little more expensive than others, but for a valid reason – it is an inflatable hot tub with water jets. The only one on our best blow-up spa list.
All other inflatable spas have air jets instead, which are awesome in their own way (a lot of people prefer them), but water jets have their own advantages.
What’s so special about SaluSpa Hawaii portable hot tub?
Hydrojets (water jets) are common in built-in or acrylic spas (which costs several thousand dollars) but are a rarity in inflatable hot tubs. They provide the ultimate massaging experience by thrusting water through the adjustable nozzles at high speed.
Disclaimer: Not everybody enjoys water jets, some people consider the water jet to be "too much" and that they actually hurt. It's the same as with massages, some love it gentle, others say it must hurt.
Another of their advantages is that running a water pump is much quieter than turning on air bubbles. Hydro-jets also don’t cool the water as much as air jets do.
How many water-jets does this hot tub have?
SaluSpa Hawaii has 8 adjustable water-jets, plus it also has the airjets. But it’s not just that. It also has a built-in saltwater water treatment system and a hard water system.
The manufacturer claims a capacity of 4-6 people, but our experience says 4 would be a more appropriate rating.
The water capacity is 210 gallons. That is ~1700 pounds of weight. Keep that in mind when thinking about where to place your hot tub. You can calculate the weight of your hot tub based on dimensions here.
If water jets are your thing, but still want the practicality of an inflatable portable hot tub. SaluSpa Hawaii is your choice.
#6 Intex PureSpa Plus (6 person hot tub)
This is a middle-tier version of the famous Intex PureSpa hot tub. Not as luxurious as the Greywood Deluxe, but still has a LOT to offer.
Intex included an insulated cover with safety lock clips to minimize heat losses. Covering your soft-sided hot tub after use can greatly lower your monthly electricity bill! Furthermore, Intex PureSpa blow-up spa has a built-in hard water treatment system that softens the water, reducing the limescale build-up.
A floating chemical dispenser is included together with two filter cartridges. Thermal ground cloth for thermal insulation is in the box too. The ground cloth also helps protect the bottom of the hot tub from whatever surface you put it on.
There are grab handles on the sides of the spa to make transportation a breeze. Of course, the spa has to be empty. The 290 gallons of water will weigh around 2400 pounds alone, without the weight of the inflatable hot tub or people inside! So take that into account when thinking about the right place for your blow-up spa.
If you want something more than a basic hot tub, but maybe a little more affordable than the Intex Greywood deluxe, this hot tub might be the right pick for you. The navy blue color looks great, and the hot tub is of typical Intex quality.
#7 Bestway Palm Springs
This is yet another great spa from Bestway. It doesn't really offer any standout features. However, it does the job of being a good basic inflatable hot tub very well.
Unlike its sister SaluSpa Paris, SaluSpa Palm Springs jacuzzi doesn’t have that cool LED lighting included. If that’s an issue for you, check out SaluSpa Paris.
The manufacturer claims a capacity of up to 6 people, it's doable, but it will be a tight fit.
SaluSpa Palm Springs doesn't really shine in anything in particular. It's basically another version of the Coleman SaluSpa. If you love the leather look, you might as well go for this one.
A basic inflatable hot tub, offering all the essentials. We believe there are better options available, but this one is an OK choice as well.
#8 SaluSpa Miami
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.
#9 Gorelax Goplus inflatable hot tub
This is one of the newer hot tubs released just recently. Being new, it comes with some improvements over more established models from well-known manufacturers. Its standout feature is the whole filter/blower unit being built into the inflatable wall itself!
What does the Goplus spa offer?
The manufacturer states a capacity for 4 people. Just like with every other hot tub with a claimed capacity of 4, it’s doable, but definitely not comfortable unless you are close friends (A lot of leg touching guaranteed).
Goplus has practical carrying handles for easier transportation (This is a standard feature in most blow-up hot tubs)
Possibly the most unique and the best feature is the heater unit, water filtration system, and bubble jets blower integrated inside the wall of the spa.
This makes it take even less space than other hot tubs in this category.
The digital control panel is right in the wall of the spa, making it super easy to change the settings from the water, without the need to reach over the side of the hot tub to an external control panel.
A Hard-water treatment system is included to prevent a buildup of limescale and make the water more pleasant to the skin.
Definitely an interesting option, the embedded heater looks like a cool design choice. Unfortunately, GoRelax (the manufacturer) doesn't yet have any reputation built. This being their first inflatable hot tub model, it might not last as long as inflatable hot tubs from well-known manufacturers, only time will tell.
Read the in-depth Goplus Spa review here.
#10 Intex PureSpa Hot Tub/Pool Set
|Volume||210 gal / 310 gal|
This is nothing like you have ever seen before! We saved this one for the end because it’s not just a classic inflatable spa, it’s actually a hybrid of a hot tub and a pool!
Is it a pool, is it a spa?
Well, children often enjoy playing and having fun in a pool, while parents would rather soak in hot water and relax. Making physical activity in hot water is not the best idea, especially for small children.
Now you can play games, like throwing a ball, together with your children. They will be playing in the pool, while you will enjoy a hot and relaxing spa.
The hot tub part, which is smaller, seats up to 4 people. The pool part is bigger, and would definitely seat another six people. But we don’t think it’s meant for sitting.
This hybrid comes with a built-in hard water treatment, to prevent clogging of the water pump and to make water more pleasant to the skin.
An insulated cover is a must, radically reducing heat losses, so intex included it in the package.
So this is how it looks like:
If you are looking for something special, you won't get anything more unique than this.
How to Choose The Best Inflatable Hot Tub
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
- WaterJets (Like in this one)
- LED underwater mood lights (Like in this one)
- Saltwater treatment system
- Space for more people
- Included headrests
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.
Two different types of jets
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.
2. Water Jets / HydroJets
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 it’s 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 a double of what an ordinary air-jet inflatable hot tub costs.
Size & Design
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 in.
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-in 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:
1. Hard water system
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.
2. LED mood lights
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).
3. Saltwater system
Saltwater system eliminates the need for adding chlorine or shocking your spa and thus saving 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.
4. Included accessories and chemistry
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can an inflatable hot tub be used in winter?
Yes, inflatable hot tubs are very popular in the winter. However, to reach the maximum temperature, you have to insulate the hot tub from the ground and use an insulating cover whenever not in use. Use a ground mat or several layers of an old rug, and use an inflatable or polystyrene cover. You also have to make sure to keep the heater on at all times, for the water to not freeze in it.
Do inflatable hot tubs use a lot of electricity?
Inflatable hot tubs can use anywhere from $20 up to $100 per month. It mainly depends on the outside temperature and the quality of insulation. To greatly reduce the running costs, always use an insulating cover and an insulating floor mat.
How long do inflatable spas last?
Quality-made inflatable spas from Intex and Coleman may last at least 5 years if properly taken care of.
Are inflatable hot tubs worth buying?
Absolutely. For a few hundred, you'll get years of relaxation. If your hot tub fails after 5 years, you can purchase a new and much better one, and the cost will still be way lower than built-in or acrylic hot tubs. If you change your mind, you can easily change the place of your spa. People have been building beautiful sheds for their blow-up hot tubs. In case you will have to move to a new house, taking an inflatable hot tub with you is super easy!