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Understanding Hot Tub Review Sites

Hot Tub Reviews and Ratings on the Internet

  |   Hot Tub Tips, Outdoor Living   |   3 Comments

Hot Tub Reviews and Ratings: Evaluating Online Information Sources



A6 Portable Spa by Bullfrog SpasYes, it’s 2015, but for a variety of reasons, trustworthy, simple hot tub ratings and reviews are still a bit difficult to find on the internet. Searches for “hot tub reviews” or “hot tub ratings” turn up a hodge podge of sites willing to capitalize on your interest, but can they be trusted?


One of the reasons the information on hot tub ratings and reviews is confusing is that hot tubs, to date, have not been covered by some of the more historically trustworthy consumer review sources like Consumer Reports. Because of their size and space requirements it’s expensive to test each hot tub model. For consumer reporting companies, the interest in the category may not justify the expense.


Some consumer products industries also offer an industry-specific ratings and reviews. Unfortunately, in hot tubs there doesn’t seem to be a strong trade organization willing to sponsor independent testing or at least provide a transparent and trusted review site for the industry.


However, there is a lot of information available but, given the current state of hot tub reviews, it requires some sifting. I simply want to provide a guide to help you understand the kinds of websites you’re likely to encounter in the first page or two of your internet search. This will hopefully help you weed out the bad and/or biased information and understand a little more about the information you’re likely to find when you go searching for “hot tub reviews.”


I’m organizing these sites by their type and I will give them a rating on a scale out of 10. This rating based on my opinion of how helpful they are for the person looking to understand more about hot tubs, hot tub brands, hot tub sellers and specific hot tub models. The factors that influence the rating are presence of bias, correctness of information, transparency and general helpfulness. This rating is the solely the opinion of the author and should be used for informational purposes only.


Lead Generation and Advertising Sites


Lead generation and advertising type sites provide you with information in exchange for you providing your contact information to hot tub sellers, or provide a platform for advertisers. When done correctly, lead generation sites offer a fair trade. You get information and a brand or retailer gets the chance to talk to you more about possibly purchasing from them. Some of these sites are fairly transparent and the information they provide is actually valuable. However, many of these sites veil their intentions, don’t provide great information and you may feel a bit tricked when you find out that the trade of your info for their info wasn’t exactly fair.


Let’s take a look at the lead generation sites.



Consumer Affairs





Understanding this site:


The primary purpose of the Consumer Affairs site appears to be to allow for consumer complaints in order to provide lead generation opportunities for lawyers. However, the site seems to have expanded its focus and now also offers options for brands in certain verticals, like hot tubs, to pay for placement and leads.


Basically, brands pay an advertising fee to show up high in the “reviews” section. Anyone with a basic understanding of the hot tub industry will understand that the brands that do show at the top are not necessarily “top quality” brands. For this reason the quality and authenticity of reviews can’t necessarily be trusted.


Without much detective work you can clearly understand how their business model works. From the About page:


“ConsumerAffairs is a private, non-governmental entity that empowers consumers by providing a forum for their complaints and a means for to be contacted by lawyers if their complaints have legal merit. Your complaints and reviews may be published, shared with the news media and reviewed by attorneys at no cost to you. See our FAQ for more information”


The FAQ section further clarifies their business model:


“Are you non-profit?

Is this a government site?

Do companies pay you to recommend their products or services?
No. But companies pay us to become an Accredited Member (see below). We also receive compensation (sometimes from the company; sometimes from third party agencies), when we refer a consumer to a company’s site through a link on our site, although this does not affect our ratings or reviews.”


Somehow these accredited brands (AKA paying advertisers) do seem to show up at the top of their Compare Brands list. Mysterious isn’t it?


Rating: 2/10



Top Ten Reviews



Top Ten Reviews


Understanding this site:


Operated by Purch, the same company that operates the lead generation service, Buyer Zone, Top Ten Reviews is a lead generation site that offers hot tub reviews in exchange for your contact information.


The fact that brands are paying for top placement introduces an obvious bias and degrades the trustworthiness of the reviews. However, this site does offer info on each brand and spa model. The information appears more accurate than several of the other lead generation sites but is still very basic. As you read through a few of the reviews on Top Ten Reviews it’s easy to assume the information is researched, however, an expert in the industry will recognize that these “non-biased” hot tub reviews, written by an “expert” reviewer are actually more likely to be restatements of information gleaned from the brand’s website. It’s highly unlikely that anyone at the site has ever seen, much less relaxed in, the hot tubs they review.


You’ll recognize fairly quickly that this site exists to capture your information and send it to hot tub sellers. Top Ten Reviews only sends your info to brands or stores that pay for their service, even though they “review” many other brands on their site. Because Top Ten Reviews primarily exists to sell advertising space and to generate leads for hot tub companies, it is not particularly trustworthy. I say this even though Bullfrog Spas is currently at the top of their reviews.


Rating: 3/10






Spa Search


Understanding this site:


This site is produced by Bigfish, a reputable company that publishes several pool and spa industry trade magazines. Spasearch offers a high degree of expertise in the field. The information available on Spasearch is well researched and applicable to the spa shopper.


In terms of their reviews, however, it’s important to understand that Spasearch only shows those brands and local dealerships that pay to advertise with them in their online program. So, the list of brands reviewed is not comprehensive. Like other lead generation sites, Spasearch solicits your information to provides it to to their advertisers.


Spasearch does provide relevant information in the form of informational articles. Their advertisers are also mostly reputable brands. It is important to understand that there is always some bias involved in an advertising situation. With that in mind you may want to consider the listings in the “Top Products” section of this site more of a paid directory than a list of quality independent hot tub reviews.


Rating: 5/10



Consumer Search



Consumer Search Hot Tub Reviews


Understanding this site:


Consumer Search offers extremely vague information about hot tubs in general rather than specific ratings or reviews. Instead of focusing on hot tub models or even hot tub brands they instead seem to zero in on reviewing whole categories of hot tubs with very generic descriptions.


In reality this site is primarily designed to sell advertising. The few brands and models it does actually list are mostly low quality spas sold at big box and/or online retailers indicating that this site makes money off of affiliate deals with those retailers.


In general Consumer Search is not a great source of trustworthy information.


Rating: 2/10



Pool and Spa Ratings



Pool and Spa Ratings



Understanding this site:


This site claims to have independent reviews based on the following information.


“We specialize in independent surveys. Unlike other websites, our ratings are not determined by how much money the hot tub manufacturers spend on advertising with us, our ratings are the result of our own extensive research by interviewing consumers, dealers, and taking compiled information from the better business bureaus.”


However, upon further review trust begins to really break down on this site. The specific methodology for reviewing hot tubs on this site is not well explained, it’s difficult to tell how they arrive at their findings, but most revealing is that nearly all of the brands that receive a 10 out of 10 are brands we’ve never heard of that all seem to be manufactured in the same plant in Tennessee.


Yes, this site appears to be a sham site set up to review a particular manufacturer’s brands well. A little digging seemed to confirm this theory.


The site’s domain registration information was hidden and it doesn’t seem to be receiving any updates. Furthermore, it appears (according to the BBB) that the probable parent company, Leisure Products, Inc may actually be out of business. A message sent to the contact email on the site went unreturned. This site never was, and certainly isn’t now, a good source of information.


Rating: 1/10



Pool and Spa Buyer’s Guide by



Pool and Spa Buyer's Guide



Understanding this site: is an organization that sells pool and spa products and accepts payment from brands to advertise their products in information areas of their site. You will see preferential treatment for brands that are paying advertisers, however, also provides some useful information.


One piece of information that is helpful as you start your hot tub research is a’s relatively comprehensive list of hot tub brands. Scroll way down (no really, way way down) on this page and you will find a table that lists pretty much every major and minor spa brand. They have also made a reasonable attempt to identify some of the characteristics of each brand intermixed with some seemingly arbitrary awards.


Don’t necessarily rely on the reviews on this site to help you narrow down your decision to a very best hot tub, but instead, use it as a starting point for understanding the brand landscape for hot tubs and spas.


Rating: 6/10



Public Forums and Question Answer Sites


Public forum and public question/answer sites are another category of websites that you will find in your search for “hot tub reviews” or “spa reviews.” These types of sites allow you to ask questions or start conversations on a topic. Real people will answer that question in an online forum format. These kinds of sites are especially helpful with more specific questions on brands and hot tub models. However, because you have to wait for someone out there in cyberspace to see your question and answer it, these sites aren’t always the best way to get quick information.


Let’s look at some of the forum and question/answer sites you’ll find.



Pool Spa Forum



Pool and Spa Forum


Understanding this site:


This forum site is a bit of a mixed bag. There are a number of hot tub industry pros that regularly contribute. Their insight and advice is generally good. But, as with any open forum, you do have to weed through some shenanigans like self-promotion veiled as advice .


This forum is associated with Spasearch, a website covered above. Like Spasearch, the Pool Spa Forum exists to sell ad space and generate leads for hot tub retailers and brands. However, forum members are real people who are generally helpful and not overly promotional.


If you have specific questions, it’s worth a shot to ask them here but take it all with a grain of salt, understanding what biases may be introduced.


Rating: 5/10



What’s the Best Hot Tub Forum



What's the Best Hottub


Understanding this site:


What’s the Best Hot Tub is probably the best hot tub forum site on the internet today. This forum features regular participation from a decent number of real people. This site also seems to be committed to the mission of providing relatively unbiased discussion and info.


Additionally, What’s the Best Hot Tub offers locations for real consumer reviews and a fairly detailed and accurate buyers guide.


The forum is open to everyone. Consumers and hot tub industry people all comment. As is the case with most online forums, you occasionally get opinions from “experts” who are actually just trying to sell you on their business or favorite brand. However, for the most part, the regulars on this forum try to keep their advice as unbiased, helpful and respectful as possible. Many of the forum participants are actual hot tub experts who are open and generous with their knowledge.


This site does sell advertising but it doesn’t hit you over the head with it or try to force you towards just the brands that advertise. Overall, What’s the Best Hot Tub is a good place to ask specific questions and get a variety of opinions from hot tub pros, hot tub owners and other consumers in the market.


Rating: 7/10



Other Types of Hot Tub Information


There are several other types of information sources you will find when searching for hot tub ratings and reviews. These range from general business organizations to very specific brand sites to the largest search engines. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it does represent many of the types of sites you will encounter and how you can use them to inform your research process.


Let’s look at some other sources of online information.



Better Business Bureau



Better Business Bureau Hot Tub Reviews


Understanding this site:


The Better Business Bureau is known by nearly everyone as the place to lodge complaints about poor business practices. Today the BBB has additionally grown into a provider of business information.


The BBB maintains a reputation as a reputable organization that continues to adhere to a mission of rating businesses based on consumer feedback, or at least the lack of complaints. You can use the BBB to weed out the poorest brands, companies, and local hot tub dealers but it won’t provide much in the way of specifics. Each region has its own BBB chapter and each of these organizations maintain records on businesses in that area.


Early in your search you may want to locate your local BBB and make a list that includes accredited hot tub dealers in your area, accredited brands, along with those that have poor ratings for reference.


Rating: 6/10



Major Hot Tub Brand Sites

( and others)

Bullfrog Spas Website

Understanding these sites:


While there is a very clear opportunity for bias on brand sites, most of the best premium hot tub brands do a good job of providing locations for real customer feedback on their products. Look for customer reviews on specific hot tub models, blog comments and real testimonials.


This said, many of the poorer brand sites do not allow consumer feedback, don’t provide locations for comments, or heavily edit what they do show. Be alert when you’re looking at these reviews and look for verified consumer review services to be sure you can trust them.


Any onsite review system can be gamed to some degree so when you’re visiting brand sites look for reviews that feel like they come from real people. Since satisfied customers don’t leave reviews as often as those who have had an issue, take the negative reviews with a grain of salt. They generally represent the minority.


You should, however, use these reviews to identify advantages as well as potential problems with those products. For example, if a particular feature continually comes up as a positive you can trust that it’s going to benefit you. Conversely, if a particular feature repeatedly gets mentioned in a negative light you can be sure to ask your dealer specifically about that feature or avoid it altogether.



Rating: 7/10


Read Bullfrog Spas’ Customer Reviews Here




( + localized search)


Google Hot Tub Reviews


Understanding this site:


In case you’ve been asleep for the last 2 decades or so, Google is the undisputed king of search on the internet. Their mission is to organize and present the world’s information. This mission has some value in your search for hot tub reviews.


You can use Google local searches to evaluate and find reviews on hot tub stores in your local area.


Enter search terms like “hot tubs + (your local area)” and you’ll usually see a list of most of the local hot tub stores. You can click on the “More” link at the bottom of that list to get a larger list and map like the image shown above. From there you can click on any of the locations and get a pop up with more information and customer reviews.


Keep in mind that, like any open review platform, Google reviews can be gamed to some degree. Because of this, sometimes the star ratings are not necessarily the best gauge. Instead, read through some reviews for each location. Look for those with honest sounding language and use that to give you a better idea of who you may want to deal with in your area.


Rating: 8/10




Spas and hot tubs offer an incredible at home relaxation experience, a place for meaningful conversation with family and friends, along with unmatched hydrotherapy. While, there’s no single best source of information to help you evaluate the brands and specific models that will work best, there is a great deal of information available. Since the current status of online hot tub reviews leaves room for improvement, it’s important to learn to identify trustworthy sources, decide what information to ignore and to take some of the information you find with a healthy amount of skepticism.


Hopefully, this list can help you weed out some of the misleading information and locate some of the better, more useful information sources. You can learn a great deal from online hot tub reviews and ratings, public forums and other information sites and, with some common sense applied, reach a conclusion about what’s right for you.


Also, keep in mind that nothing replaces an in-person experience with the brand and spa models that interest you most. A visit to your local dealer and wet test (the hot tub version of a test drive) of the spas you’re most interested in can help you determine how much you will love having a particular spa in your own backyard.




Still Have a Few Questions?

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AUTHOR - Jake Ricks

Jake Ricks is the Online Marketing Manager and chief content writer and editor for the Bullfrog Spas blog. Jake has been published in a variety of publications with topics that include the pool and spa industry, outdoors, and content marketing. Jake's passion is fly fishing and living life outside. He guides, competes in fly fishing events, designs fly patterns and is a regular contributor to outdoor blogs and periodicals.

  • Pool Service Software | Jan 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Wow. Great article! I would say almost everyone misunderstands at least one or more of these sites and what they mean, along with the huge impact they have for businesses. Good info to know; online reputation management is essential.

  • Rich Loeschner | Jan 24, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I recently bought a Bullfrog A8 and have had nothing but trouble. We were sitting in the tub and the pumps went off, my wife started up pump 2 full speed, and I started pump 1 in low. A little bit later I turned to full speed and it blew the breaker. I tried to reset the breaker and it fried the breaker. I had our electrician come out and replace the breaker to get power to the tub (which cost me more money), then a couple days later the service rep came out and replaced the mother board. Worked fine for a day. Then went out again. This time we had to wait over a very cold weekend. I had to go out and buy a heater to keep the pipes from freezing. Another service visit and they couldn’t find a problem. Thinking that it’s pump 1, because the amps spike up when trying to start up. So we were waiting for a warm day to change out the pump. We went out to use the other pump and it died again tonight. I’m trying to reset the breaker and it won’t flip over. Something is shorting it out. I’m about ready to say to come get this piece of crap and I’ll find another spa that works.

    • Bullfrog Spas | Jan 29, 2016 at 8:41 am


      We’re sorry to hear about your experience. We ran this by our tech and service team and here is their assessment:

      It sounds like this is all related to their electrical, the breaker is not part of the spa and if it burned up that is a sign of a bad connection. This could also explain why he is having issues with the pumps, if there is a bad connection at the breaker it would be starving the pumps for voltage causing the amps to spike or run high. This can also cause damage to the pump which it sounds like it has, we are happy to help in any way we can to get the spa up and running but it sounds like they need to make sure their electrical is safe.

      Please contact a certified electrician to be sure your electrical connection is set up correctly. If you have any questions at all feel free to contact our service team directly at with an explanation of what steps have been taken. Or you can call 801-565-8111 and ask to speak to the service team.

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