Should I Buy a Used Hot Tub?
Hot tubs tend to be expensive purchases. And like any expensive purchase, most people are looking for ways to reduce the costs. For things like vehicles and homes, we frequently buy them second-hand to make it less expensive, and sometimes we try to extend that methodology to other areas. When it comes to buying a used hot tub, though, the question is: should you?
Why Your Discount Hot Tub Isn’t Such a Great Deal
The answer, unfortunately, is usually no. Too many homeowners make this mistake and wind up regretting it. There are differences between buying things like houses or cars and buying things like spas, and those differences make a big impact on the viability of buying a used model.
First and foremost, spas aren’t designed to last as long as a home or a car. A cheaper spa may last only 3-5 years, while a quality hot tub that’s well maintained can last around 15 years. Like the water heater or boiler in your home, spas wear down because of the constant flow of water and have to be replaced at least every two decades. Additionally, they degrade faster when not properly maintained, and you have no reliable way of verifying the degree of care shown to the unit over the years of use.
Spas are also designed to be left in place which can maintain the longevity of your hot tub. They’re difficult and expensive to move, susceptible to damage when transported, and most of the time moving the unit will void its warranty. You’ll also have to find a way to install it, since dealers typically only install new models.
What’s more, when selling a used model, owners don’t tend to knock much off the price; they assume that it’s still worth most of what they paid for it. You could be paying nearly the same price as a new model for something that’s only going to last a handful of years.
Tips for Buying Used (If You Must)
If you have to buy used, you can increase your odds of getting your money’s worth by following a couple of basic pieces of advice.
- Buy used from a dealer—dealers, unlike owners, have a reputation to uphold, since they will be selling more than one spa. That means they tend to put efforts into quality control: inspecting units, doing repairs and maintenance to get them ready to sell, avoiding purchasing units that are too old or too damaged, etc. If you buy from a dealer, you have someone to go back and complain to in the event something goes wrong, and they may even install it for you.
- Buy from someone you know—if you’re buying from a friend or family member, it’s easier to determine the truth of statements like “I’ve kept it in good condition.” People who care about you are less likely to sell you a lemon, and odds are you’ve seen how they care for and use the unit. Friends are also less likely to overprice the unit, too.
- Test drive the hot tub—don’t buy the spa without making sure it works, first. Be sure that everything is in working order: the jets all function, the display works, all the buttons do what they’re supposed to, etc. If possible, get in the hot tub for the full experience.
- Factor in extra costs—be sure to account for costs like moving and installing the spa in your budget. You may also need to account for things like landscaping to ensure that the spa looks nice where it sits on your property.
Benefits of Buying New
If you’re really looking to get your money’s worth, you’ll want to buy a new hot tub, as opposed to a used one, or an older model. Buying a new model from a dealer comes with a number of benefits:
- More Features: They come loaded with cool features, like lounger seats, bluetooth speakers, and advanced water jets.
- Warranties: They include warranties that cover the unit and often the maintenance in the event something breaks.
- Professional Delivery & Installation: They come with professional delivery and installation, ensuring that a botched installation job doesn’t ruin your spa.
- Larger Selection: A dealer will have a larger selection of new hot tub models to choose from, and you’re more likely to get exactly what you want.
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