Hot Tub Reviews & Ratings – What are the Best Hot Tub Brands?
Did you know there are over 50 different hot tub brands worldwide?
To find the hot tub that’s best for you, you’d have to spend a lot of time comparing hot tub ratings and brands. And that means less time enjoying your spa.
To help you with your hot tub selection, we’ve put together this comprehensive “hot tub reviews” guide to walk you through the best hot tub brands based on spa quality and customer reviews.
Table of Contents
Here’s a quick overview and comparison of the best brands, listed in alphabetical order. Details about each brand’s features and benefits will come later in the article.*
Bullfrog Spas is known for its innovative engineering and design. Our goal is to create an experience that provides a peaceful body, mind, and home for every customer.
At Caldera Spas, they focus on comfort, design, and performance. Every element, from the seats to the jets, is optimized for a soothing, therapeutic experience.
Caldera offers three hot tub lines: the Utopia® Series, the Paradise® Series, and the Vacanza® Series.
Hot Spring is the largest hot tub manufacturer in the industry and has over 900 dealer locations worldwide. These dealers pride themselves on great customer care.
Hot Spring offers three hot tub lines: the Highlife® collection, the Limelight® collection, and Hot Spot® spas.
Jacuzzi offers five spa lines, the J-400™ Collection, the J-300™ Collection, J-200™ Collection, the Jacuzzi® Play™ Collection, and the Jacuzzi® Swim Spa Collection.
Sundance offers five hot tub lines: the 980™ Series, the 880™ Series, the 780™ Series, the 680™ Series, and the Splash™ Series.
|Best Known For
|Innovative engineering and design
|Comfort, design, and performance
|Great customer care with over 900 dealer locations
|Being the original hot tub brand and popularizing outdoor hot tubs
|Reputation as a community-oriented company
In a recent survey, hot tub owners were asked which hot tub features had the biggest influence on their purchase decision when comparing hot tubs.
The results of the survey showed that these are the top 6 features that influenced hot tub purchases:
1. Jets & Therapy
2. Quality & Reliability
3. Energy Efficiency
4. Style & Design
6. Water Care
Because these are the most important features, it’s important to know what each hot tub company provides. Here’s a comparison of these 6 features for each hot tub brand.
Because hot tubs are best known for their amazing therapeutic jets, it’s no surprise that the number one feature hot tub shoppers are looking for are quality jet massages. There is nothing more relaxing than soaking in warm water while receiving a soothing massage.
To help you find the hot tub with the best jets for you, here’s a breakdown of the jets and therapy features of each of the best hot tub brands.
Bullfrog Spas feature the JetPak Therapy System® which allows you to select between 18 interchangeable jet massages called JetPaks, place the JetPak in the seat that fits your height, and adjust the massage power to your preferred intensity. This allows each person to completely personalize their hydrotherapy experience and target the exact muscles that need relief.
Using a holistic approach to hydrotherapy, each seat in a Caldera spa focuses on a different muscle group in the body. Known as hot tub circuit therapy, the user moves from seat to seat to massage different regions in the body.
The Moto-Massage® DX jet is the latest hydrotherapy addition to the Hot Spring® spa collections. The unique massaging jet produces two streams that move up and down your back. Hot Spring also offers 10 different jet types, including rotary, directional, and precision jets to create a unique spa experience for all users.
When it comes to Jacuzzi’s hydrotherapy systems, better jets are more important than more jets. Their PowerPro® jets feature Aqualibrium® technology, which provides the perfect balance of air and water, resulting in a high-flow, low-pressure massaging jet.
The Fluidix® jet system provides deep tissue relief and relaxation, working on the same pressure points targeted in reflexology. The jets simulate real massage sensations, from Shiatsu to Swedish, providing deep relaxation and tension relief.
Other than finding a hot tub with the perfect jet massages, the next most important thing to hot tub owners is finding a spa they can rely on.
The best hot tubs should last 10 or more years and should require minimal maintenance and servicing.
Here’s a comparison of the quality and reliability of each of the best hot tub brands.
Every Bullfrog spa is constructed with the patented, wood-free EnduraFrame™ structure. Designed for durability and longevity, this ABS spa frame doesn’t deteriorate or corrode with use. All components are injection-molded, ensuring a tight, leak-free connection between the frame, plumbing, and cabinet. All parts are manufactured and assembled in the U.S., guaranteed to meet the highest quality standards.
Caldera Spas uses high-quality heaters, pumps, and components. Their hot tub shells are made of durable, reinforced acrylic and last for years.
Hot Spring spa models also incorporate an ABS acrylic shell for improved durability and have high quality parts and components.
Jacuzzi portable spas feature high-grade, scratch-resistant acrylic shells to improve heat retention and durability. Exterior cabinets are manufactured using UV-resistant synthetic wood that doesn’t warp or degrade due to sun and weather exposure.
Sundance spas are built with a synthetic base to keep out rain and other elements. Their SunStrong® Skirt cabinets are also UV-resistant.
Just as it requires energy each month to keep your refrigerator cold, you use energy to keep your hot tub warm.
However, keeping your hot tub hot shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Great hot tubs are well insulated and have innovative plumbing to keep energy costs down.
Here’s a comparison of the energy efficiency of each of the best hot tub brands.
Bullfrog Spas are ranked the most energy-efficient hot tubs in their class based on data collected by the California Energy Commission. Since Bullfrog Spas uses 90% less plumbing than traditional spas, they limit energy consumption and retain heat more efficiently. Plus, their full foam design minimizes heat loss and lowers energy costs.
Caldera Spas makes energy efficiency a priority in all its hot tub designs. From the latest insulation to the most efficient pumps, Caldera Spas® uses materials that reduce environmental impact while lowering operating costs for users. Their EnergyPro® pump operates continually at low wattage, reducing stress on the heater and lowering overall energy use.
Each Hot Spring hot tub uses its Energy Smart® system to ensure maximum energy efficiency in all aspects of construction. In particular, all spas use the SilentFlo 5000® circulation pump, which continuously circulates warm water throughout the tub, consuming less energy than a 40-watt light bulb.
Jacuzzi’s high-end model, the J-495™, uses materials and components that maximize heat retention and lower energy consumption. This model exceeds energy-use standards in the industry without sacrificing the power and performance you expect from your hot tub.
Sundance Spas use high-density insulation to prevent heat loss and minimize energy consumption. They also offer SunStrong® foam covers to increase efficiency.
When choosing a hot tub for your backyard living space, it’s important that your spa matches your style and home.
Here’s a breakdown of the styles and designs of each of the best hot tub brands.
The Bullfrog Spas STIL Spa is the only portable hot tub to have won the prestigious iF Design Award. Bullfrog Spas offers beautiful, updated cabinet and shell colors to go with any landscape and home design.
Caldera’s Utopia series offers various design styles such as Cottage, Contemporary, Tuscan, and Mid-Century Modern.
Hot Spring’s Highlife collection was designed in partnership with Designworks®, a BMW Group Company. Hot Spring offers 6 cabinet finishes on their spas.
The Jacuzzi J-400 has a curved design, unique exterior lighting, and 9 shell colors to choose from.
Sundance offers classic hot tub designs with up to 10 different shell colors, as well as several cabinet and cover color options.
Have you ever sat in a public hot tub and felt really uncomfortable in the hard, scratchy seats?
Luckily, the best portable hot tub brands have smooth, comfortable seats and surfaces to maximize your spa enjoyment.
Here’s a comparison of the comfort features of each of the best hot tub brands.
Bullfrog Spas features various seat heights and angles so everyone can enjoy their spa experience. The new A9L model has ample space and has 8 seats. The popular A8D model comes with 2 premium lounge seats to maximize your relaxation.
Caldera Spas are designed for comfort with sculpted seats and soothing jet massages. Some hot tub models also feature the UltraMassage® lounge.
The HotSpring Grandee is Hot Spring’s most spacious hot tub with lots of legroom and seats up to 7.
Jacuzzi’s J-300 collection is focused on comfort with adjustable headrests and ergonomic seating.
Sundance spa models offer both open and lounge seating options. They also feature several large hot tubs that can comfortably fit the whole family.
Although only 6th on hot tub customers’ list of most important features, easy water care is quickly becoming a higher priority for hot tub owners. Hot tub brands are coming up with simpler, more automated systems to keep your spa water clean and clear.
Here’s a comparison of the water care systems offered by each of the best hot tub brands.
Bullfrog Spas provides 3 easy-to-use and highly effective water care systems. The Enhanced Ozone System (EOS O3™), FROG® @ease®, and the WellSpring Circulation Pump. Your spa water will require up to 75% less chlorine than ever before—saving you time and money.
Caldera Spas offers the FROG® @ease® system and FreshWater™ salt system that automatically generates chlorine, making it easier to take care of your hot tub and keeps your spa water fresh for longer.
HotSpring also offers the FROG® @ease® and FreshWater™ salt system on their Highlife and Limelight collections.
Jacuzzi offers CLEARRAY® UV-C technology to sanitize their spas. UV light kills bacteria and is quick and easy to use.
Sundance also offers CLEARRAY® UV-C technology for their spas.
When looking for the best hot tub brands, a lot of people ask which spa brands they should avoid. Here are a few things to look out for when comparing hot tub brands.
A brand with less than 4 stars out of 5 probably isn’t the best choice. In addition to looking at the overall rating, you’ll want to read a handful of the best hot tub reviews to see what the main complaints have been. We’ll dive more into detail about evaluating reviews/ratings later on.
Double check the warranty on your hot tub before purchasing to make sure any unexpected troubles will be taken care of. Spa frames and bases should be covered for at least 5 years if not more.
If your hot tub is only sold online or at a big box store, be cautious before buying. A local authorized hot tub dealer is the best way to ensure you get great service before and after buying your spa. Otherwise, you may be on your own if a part needs replacing.
Even though we live in the 21st century, unbiased and straightforward hot tub ratings and reviews are still difficult to find on the internet. And if you do find them, how do you know if these sources can be trusted?
The Complexity Behind Finding Reliable Hot Tub Ratings & Reviews
One of the reasons online hot tub ratings and reviews are 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 of doing the testing.
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 of doing the testing.
Some consumer product industries also offer their own 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.
Big box stores like Sam’s Club and Costco provide accessibility to customers, but they tend to carry cheaper brands in general when they do carry them. There are still advantages and disadvantages to take into consideration.
Why? Depending on your hot tub needs, a big-box store might not have the personalized approach you’re looking for to create the hot tub of your dreams. Let’s take a closer look by diving into the pros and cons.
There are two key benefits in purchasing hot tubs from big box stores:
- Low prices: Big box stores sell a wide variety of products in bulk while offering low prices. So if you’re on a tight budget for a hot tub, Costco and Sam’s Club can meet your monetary needs.
- Availability: Because the big retailers purchase and sell items in bulk, they aren’t likely to run out of hot tub brands and products.
Sometimes, low price and availability just don’t cut it. Since every customer carries a variety of personal needs and demands when it comes to buying a hot tub, having a personalized touch is crucial. But this can be challenging to find in the big box realm.
Large retailers tend to have:
- Lack of customization: Whether you’re looking for some shoulder or spinal relief, you need to get the right JetPak. And if you’re planning on using your hot tub during snowy weather, you need the right insulation system and cover. These customizable items are difficult to find in a big box store and often require the attention of hot tub experts to help you make informed decisions.
- Smaller selection to choose from: Though big box stores may purchase their products in bulk, this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll carry all the product lines of a specific brand. You’ll likely need to visit a smaller retail shop that specializes in hot tubs to find the unique features you want.
- Limited customer support: Big box employees aren’t exactly hot tub experts. This can make it especially difficult to get straight answers to your questions, which makes the buying process pretty frustrating. Not to mention, finding post-purchase support for your hot tub troubleshooting needs can be little to none. For an up-close and personal experience, turning to your local mom-and-pop store is your best bet.
Now that you’ve seen a comparison of the best hot tub brands and understand how to evaluate online spa reviews, it’s time to design your own hot tub.
Choose the spa model that fits your family, the jets that target your aches and pains, the colors that match your style and landscape, and all your other favorite features and accessories.
You’ll even get an instant price quote when you’re done!
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) the spas you’re most interested in.
*Info about each brand has not been verified by the individual companies and is subject to change.
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