A Buyer's Guide to Hot Tubs

by Pool Builders on 11-08-2010 in Articles

You have decided to go ahead and purchase a hot tub, but the numerous choices available in the market are making the decision difficult for you - a very likely scenario. Every manufacturer of hot tubs claim that its product is the best - but the big question is how do you decide which products fits your requirement perfectly. I'll discuss a few tips to help you make an informed decision and figure out how to go about buying a tub.

Where to buy

Three sets of places that you can visit to find your perfect tub:

• Retail outlets dedicated to tub products
• Warehouse outlets and "Big Box" retail stores
• Non-showroom outlets such as "curbers", tent sales, and the Internet

Non-showroom outlets can sometimes offer "unbeatable" bargain prices, but the buyer must be wary, as many of them do not offer warranties, a service contract, and in most instances, products offered do not enjoy industry certifications.

Retail stores that specialize in "backyard living", dealing in items such as swimming pools, barbeques, patio furniture, outdoor lighting, besides hot tubs, account for a large volume of sales in the tub market. This is despite the fact that they cannot offer the large discounts that big bargain stores like Home Depot and Costco. While the "big box" bargain stores offer solid discounted rates and a good warranty, the specialized retail outlets are more popular. This is because they offer additional purchase assistance, and extended warranty support as well as post-sales service contracts.

What to look for

These days manufacturers offer an overwhelming range of models to fit various budgets and preferences. You can help narrow down your options by considering these factors:

• Intended use: Who will use the spa? Is it meant for use by a single person, a couple, or the entire family? Or perhaps it will be used for exercise and physical therapy?

• Space constraints: Will it be a tight fit in the space available? Can the installation crew roll it through to the backyard on wheels or will they have to lift it over the home with the help of a crane?

• Backyard décor: Does it match the present décor or will it end up looking ugly and completely out of place?

• Your budget: Remember that there are additional costs besides the price of the tub itself. These may include electrical installation, setup and transportation charges. Find out from the dealer about all incidental expenses you are likely to incur.

• The warranty: Insist on obtaining a printed warranty copy. You could compare it to that of various other tub brands in the market in order to help you make a more informed choice.

• The wet test: Actually, this is the litmus test where comfort is concerned. The feel and the fit of the tub are very important. Try it filled with water, as it will feel very different when tested under dry conditions. Many dealers have private rooms where you can test tubs. Do not decide to buy a tub until you do the wet test.

When faced with a mind-boggling variety of hot tubs in the market, the best approach is to concentrate on basics like energy efficiency, durability, finish, and whether it is easy to repair. The most important factor is comfort - if it does not feel right, you will not use it.

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