Buying a discount hot tub online is no longer a complicated affair thanks to the internet. There are several caveats to be aware of, but for those that do a little research and homework, the savings can be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
So you want a hot tub! There are many reasons to buy a spa including health, social and relaxation. Buying a hot tub by aimlessly visiting nearby dealers can be very time-consuming and not relaxing at all. Finding a good deal on the internet can be done from the comfort of your own home.
After establishing the need for a hot tub because you want to heal aching muscles, want a place to unwind after work, want to share quality time with family and friends, or want the peaceful solitude for the healing of your own mind, body and spirit, the next step is to learn about what elements go into the construction.
Hot tubs are basically cauldrons of hot, bubbly water. In the early days of spa development, these vessels were made of wood and were usually round. Those of the seventies tended to leak and because the wood was porous, they were more difficult to keep bacteria-free and clean.
Today’s modern units are made of high quality acrylic with various strengthening and backing materials to assure a robust structure that will easily contain the water without leaking through the shell. Shell materials do vary from hot tub manufacturer to hot tub manufacturer, so it is important to distinguish between cheap materials and the more robust hot tub acrylic materials.
The cheapest hot tubs on the market today can be had for as little as $500. These are generally inflatable hot tubs that are made of a vinyl material and in the case the vinyl is punctured, they can be patched with repair kits similar to what is used to repair a bicycle tire. The advantage of these vinyl spas is that they are more portable than their more robust counterparts. They can be transported, easily set up within an hour and plug right into a standard electrical outlet so that no electrical installation is usually required. The disadvantages to these cheaper vinyl spas is that they usually do not have their own heater, so they rely on the friction generated by the pump to warm the water. This can take over 24 hours on a first warm-up and the spa may not be able to hold the water temperature at the desired level when the weather turns cold. The jetting is also usually limited in these types of hot tubs. There is also no seating in these type of tubs, as you usually just sit on the vinyl floor.
The next level of hot tub prices is in the $700-$1,500 range where you will find roto-moulded and other lower cost plastic shells. These materials are not as robust as higher priced acrylic and when scrutinizing their warranties, you may see text that warns of possible discoloration of the material. These hot tubs are also usually plug and play models that plug right into a standard 110 volt dedicated outlet. The advantage of the hard plastic hot tubs is that they too are somewhat more portable than their acrylic counterparts. They are a hybrid between the ultra-cheap solutions and the more sturdy spas meant for a semi-permanent installation.
Next are those found in the $1,500-$3,000 class. These are the first spas that may use actual brand name acrylic such as that manufactured by Lucite or Aristech Acrylics. These two companies supply most of the high-end acrylic to the entire worldwide hot tub industry made up of hundreds of manufacturers.
Finally there are the $3,000+ spas that may end up costing $10,000 or even more depending on how many jets, how many pumps, quality of workmanship and extras such as radios, televisions and advanced electronics.
But what really is the difference between a spa costing $5,000 and one that costs $15,000? The answer may surprise you since it has little to do with the actual cost of the components necessary to build the spa and more to do with the particular company’s distribution and marketing strategy.
As with many types of luxury products, a product needs to be manufactured by purchasing components from quality third party manufacturers and assembling them into a quality product. Then the product needs to be shipped to a distribution center and from there to a retail outlet where more advertising dollars are spent to attract potential consumers. Finally the consumer orders a unit that is then made by the manufacturer and shipped directly to the consumer, or via the distribution channel.
The more hands that touch the order, the more expensive the order usually becomes as each organization in the chain needs to pay for operation and marketing expenses. For those consumers that can cut out this expensive chain and deal directly with the manufacturer, the savings on the exact same product can be enormous.
The challenge is finding manufacturers that embrace the internet and are willing to sell directly to the consumer. When searching for a discount hot tub online, find those manufacturers that have their own e-commerce stores. By dealing directly with the manufacturer, you are also protected in case there are any issues with the spa.
In house service professionals who understand their product thoroughly, can advise you on the best way to operate and maintain your hot tub. This takes the guesswork out of the question: “What happens if I have a problem with my spa and the dealer does not respond?”.
Not only should you deal factory direct, but also find a manufacturer that has been in business at least 10 years and preferably longer. Building a spa is complicated and requires a rigorous quality control standard and backup support. A manufacturer that has been in business a long time has the advantage of years of customer feedback and product tweaks that avoid repetitive problems some newer hot tubs may have such as recurring leaks, underperformance of jets or even shell material malfunctions, warping, discoloration and bubbling.
Most components on a spa can be replaced, and spas that do not stuff foam under the shell that is called insulation but is needed to support a cheaper shell material, allow for easy access to most components. The only components that are difficult to replace on most spas is the actual shell material and cabinet. On neglected spas, the entire plumbing system may be lined with calcium deposits or other deposits creating less-than-sanitary conditions and even obstructions in the plumbing lines. For that reason it is better to buy a new hot tub at a deep discount rather than buying someone else’s used hot tub unless you know it has been properly cared for.