Backyards continue to be a prime space for the whole family to chill out and blow off steam, doubling as pool clubs, spas, gyms, movie theaters, water parks, restaurants and bars. For an excellent addition to your space—one which you can use year-round—you can’t go wrong with a hot tub. While you can always opt for an inflatable model, installing something permanent will hold up to the elements and offers features that take soaking to the next level.
Whether you’re looking for a basic, affordable model or want to splurge on something more luxe, here are out top picks for the best hot tubs to buy right now, plus shopping advice and tips.
What to Consider
The first decision to make is whether you want a plug-and-play or standard hot tub. The former are generally easy to set up and less expensive, made of high-impact polyethylene, plus they’re more widely available online. Standard hot tubs are pricier, made of acrylic, often with UV-resistant side paneling, and are typically more complicated to install and require more advance planning. You may also need to upgrade to 220 volts, which should be done by a licensed electrician. Depending on your setup, a plug-and-play hot tub might be your only option.
Next up: consider how many people will regularly use the hot tub and whether it’s for adults only or a family affair. If you have the space, consider sizing up. Six-person and four-person hot tubs are popular sizes. If kids are going to be using the hot tub, check out these safety tips for children. Consider seat depth and overall configuration of regular seats, lounge seats, or both.
The number of jets can be deceiving and more isn’t automatically better. Keep the jet count in mind, but you’ll also want to look at the size and placement of the jets. Water filtration and ozone purification systems (sometimes called ozonators) are a must. Most come with both, as well as insulated locking covers certified by the American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM). Steps and hot tub covers can be found separately. Beyond that, it’s all about prioritizing special features and extras based within your budget, such as multicolor LED lighting, waterfalls, padded headrests and even built-in Bluetooth speakers.
How We Chose
Our thorough research and selection process included consulting expert sources, such as Wirecutter, to inform our choices, and combing through customer comments for enthusiastic reviews and common complaints. All of the hot tubs we cover have ratings of four stars or more, and, because maximum capacity is one of the first and most important considerations, we offer options in a range of sizes, from two-person to eight-person. Hot tubs come with a long list of must- and nice-to-have features, and we took them into account and weighed them against price, plus highlight the most notable for every hot tub we write about.