Perhaps you’ve had a long day. A long week. A long month, year, …or life.
Maybe you got up not only on the wrong side of the bed, but in the wrong room, wearing someone else’s clothes. Sounds like you need a good soak in a relaxing hot tub.
There are few troubles that hot water and massage jets can’t take your mind off of—but not every living situation or budget can accommodate a full-size unit.
An inflatable hot tub could be the answer.
Comfortable, relatively affordable and easy to set up, these tubs offer the same features as their larger, permanent counterparts, for a fraction of the cost.
Deciding on one can be daunting—that’s why we’ve “tested the waters” for you. Here, immerse yourself in our top inflatable hot tub reviews and buying guide.
1. Lay-Z-Spa 54123-BNNX16AB02 Miami Hot Tub Airjet Inflatable Spa, 2-4 Person
Not to be confused with La-Z-Boy—makers of the recliner chair so well-known it’s practically a household name—the Lay-Z-Spa 54123-BNNX16AB02 Miami Hot Tub nonetheless provides a deeply relaxing sensation.
Let’s lean back and learn more about its many features.
A soft-touch digital control panel makes adjusting the temperature a breeze—simply select Celsius or Fahrenheit, and key in the desired setting.
The Lay-Z-Spa Miami heats water up to 40° C/104° F—plenty warm, but not hot enough to burn.
An intelligent, timer-controlled system lets you choose how often the heater comes on, keeping water at your ideal temperature for as long as you like.
We’re fans of the control panel—the illuminated display is easy to read, and the sealed, integrated buttons prevent water ingress.
The Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub comfortably fits between one and four people, making it perfect for a relaxing evening with your closest friends. And the small size is no drawback—this compact, inflatable hot tub can be set up almost anywhere.
Treat yourself and your guests to the Air Jet Massage System, featuring 81 massage jets placed around the perimeter of the hot tub floor. We were pleasantly surprised to find so many jets on such an affordable unit.
Lay-Z-Spa’s Miami Hot Tub can be set up and ready for filling in ten minutes.
That’s less time than it takes to run a bath. Setup requires little more than connecting the pump, inflating the tub and attaching the filter.
It’s very straightforward, but Lay-Z-Spa was thoughtful enough to provide video instructions, which make the process crystal clear.
Included with the Miami Hot Tub is a water filtration system, consisting of two cartridges and a housing unit.
Though spa chemicals are a must—Lay-Z-Spa recommends the Clearwater brand, and includes a handy chemical floater—the filter goes a long way in keeping the water free of particulate matter.
Also included is an inflatable, locking lid that traps heat and keeps out leaves and other debris.
The Miami Hot Tub was thoughtfully designed with 48 vertically-oriented i-beams—the same type of structural support used in steel construction, where it’s favored for high load resistance and the ability to bend instead of buckle under excessive stress—for maximum strength.
Stiff, puncture-resistant outer walls are coated with Rayon, a durable, cellulose-derived material.
A majority of users greatly enjoy the Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub, praising its ease of setup and use, relaxing massage jets and low cost.
Any Drawbacks You Should Know About?
Complaints revolve primarily around the quality of the pump—some units become abnormally loud for no apparent reason—and a deflating top cover.
However, such issues are far and few between, suggesting these are infrequent occurrences battributable more to a lapse in quality control than poor design.
For the price, the Lay-Z-Spa 54123-BNNX16AB02 Miami Hot Tub is hard to beat; we’d highly recommend it for anyone new to inflatable hot tubs.
2. Lay-Z-Spa Hawaii Hot Tub, HydroJet Pro Inflatable Spa, 4-6 Person
Technically, the state of Hawaii is bigger than the city of Miami, which perhaps explains the namesake of Lay-Z-Spa’s larger, 4 to 6-person Hawaii Hot Tub.
But lest this devolve into an argument over which island destination is best, let’s instead look more closely at what’s under the hood—or rather, inflatable cover.
As found on the Lay-Z-Spa Miami, the Hawaii model features an easy-to-use digital control panel that allows you select Celsius or Fahrenheit, and adjust water temperature up to a safe, comfortable, 40° C/104° F.
The Hawaii’s control panel is essentially the same as that found on the Miami, distinguished only by shape and the presence of a hinged base, on which the panel is mounted.
It’s a nice touch—the base flips up for easier access from within the hot tub, providing an ergonomic advantage.
Additionally, the Hawaii’s panel includes storage for accessories and water treatment chemicals.
With space for up to six people, the Lay-Z-Spa Hawaii Hot Tub is best suited to mid-sized gatherings (or a glorious solo soak with loads of room all to yourself!).
The larger size means it won’t fit absolutely anywhere, but it’s still compact enough to be used on most patios and pool decks.
A dual jet system, comprised of 8 high-power, multidirectional and flow-adjustable HydroJets and 120 AirJets, provides a deeply soothing, whole-body massage.
Like its little cousin the Miami, Lay-Z-Spa’s Hawaii Hot Tub features durable, puncture-resistant, 3-ply i-beam construction, providing superior load-bearing ability that allows users to sit on the sides of the spa without it collapsing.
You’ll also find the same style of filter cartridge and housing, as well as Lay-Z-Spa’s recommendation to use Clearwater-brand spa chemicals.
Rounding out the Hawaii Hot Tub is a protective, reinforced insulated cover made from Leatheroid—a cellulose-derived material with properties similar to those of vulcanized fibre, chiefly among which are good flexibility, tear resistance and tensile strength—all desirable qualities in a hot tub cover.
The cover-integrated air chamber helps prevent heat loss, while safety-lock clips hold the cover firmly in place, keeping fallen leaves and other debris out of the tub.
Given its similarity in design to the Miami inflatable hot tub, the Hawaii suffers from some of the same problems—primarily pump noise, and the occasional sidewall leak and cover deflation.
Again, these appear to be uncommon occurrences, with most users delighted by the ease of use, convenience and comfort provided by the Lay-Z-Spa Hawaii. As such, it remains our recommendation for a mid-size yet spacious inflatable hot tub.
3. Intex Octagonal Pure Spa—4-Person Bubble Therapy Hot Tub Review
From Intex—a long-standing manufacturer of above ground pools, air mattresses and inflatable hot tubs—comes the Octagonal Pure Spa 4-Person Bubble Therapy Hot Tub.
Priced between our other two recommended models, the Intex Octagonal Pure Spa is a compact tub constructed from a unique, patented material.
Is the Pure Spa worth the price premium over the similarly sized Lay-Z-Spa Miami?
Central to any inflatable hot tub is the control panel, where the timer, water temperature and jet settings are adjusted.
The Octagonal Pure Spa features an easy-to-read, 7-button digital control panel with a color screen. The buttons are slightly raised and click when depressed, adding tactility that makes them easier to push.
The panel is protected by a translucent, hinged cover that resists splashing while maintaining visibility.
With a four-person capacity, the Intex Octagonal Pure Spa is ideal for small backyard and poolside gatherings.
The compact size allows this inflatable hot tub to be used on almost any level surface—and 120 heated bubble jets create a superbly relaxing, jacuzzi-like experience that’s sure to melt away tension.
Intex has taken a unique approach to the construction of its Octagonal Pure Spa, utilizing patented Fiber-Tech technology that incorporates thousands of interwoven, stretch-resistant, high-strength fibers.
These fibers, used in conjunction with a 3-ply laminated material, significantly increase stability, puncture resistance and longevity. Atop the Pure Spa rests a protective cover, held in place by a simple and effective straps and buckles.
Another unique feature you’ll find on the Octagonal Pure Spa is built-in hard water treatment.
This clever system generates an electromagnetic field, agitating and suspending calcium and other minerals found in untreated water. The resulting water is soft, pleasant and gentle on skin.
The Intex Octagonal Pure Spa is well-regarded by most users—and infrequently prone to material failure, component breakdown and pump noise.
These issues appear due to occasionally inconsistent quality assurance, evidenced by the few negative reports relative to many positive reviews.
Its uncommon flaws aside, the Intex Octagonal Pure Spa is an excellent, mid-priced inflatable hot tub whose higher price tag justifies additional features.
How to Choose (and Use) the Right Inflatable Hot Tub
Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, inflatable hot tubs offer an attractive alternative to rigid, full-size, fixed-base tubs, whose weight, dimensions and expense put them out of reach of many people.
But how do you choose the best inflatable hot tub for your needs? We’ll guide you in the right direction.
Pump it Up
A hot tub should relieve your stress—not increase it. That’s why it’s important to choose a tub that’s easy to set up.
Look for an inflatable hot tub that fills quickly with a minimum of fuss.
Fortunately, most models require little more than assembling the control panel, connecting the pump, filling with air, installing the filters and attaching the clearly labelled water connections.
Bubble, Bubble, We Want no Trouble
A hot tub without bubbles? – Never!
For maximum enjoyment, choose an inflatable hot tub with at least 80 air jets—enough to span the perimeter of a small to medium-size tub, providing all occupants with a relaxing massage.
Make Yourself Comfortable
Most inflatable hot tubs seat between four and six people. Small tubs have the advantage of fitting in more spaces, but we would suggest a larger tub if you can accommodate it—the extra room is nice to have.
Put a Lid on It
Always look for an inflatable hot tub that includes a protective cover—it’s essential if using the tub outdoors, where leaves, bird droppings and even small animals can find their way into the water.
And regardless of where the tub is placed, an insulated cover helps retain warmth. That means a shorter warmup time and lower electricity costs.
Better Living Through Chemistry
All our recommended inflatable hot tubs include filtration systems that help keep the water free of particulate matter—but it’s important to follow manufacturer’s instructions and use appropriate chemical treatment. Spa chemicals maintain water pH, and keep it sanitary.
Level The Playing Field
Regardless of model or make, an inflatable hot tub must be placed on a level surface.
Poolside decks, patios, and the concrete slabs that surround most inground swimming pools are ideal, but if setting up your hot tub elsewhere, it may be necessary to even out the surface.
If the tub comes with a ground cover, don’t forget to use it.
Feel the Power
It takes a lot of electricity to heat hundreds of litres of water. That’s why you should opt for a well-constructed, well-insulated hot tub—and keep an eye on your electric bill. If it rises, you’ll know why.
Take a Snow Day
There’s something magical about soaking in hot water while your breath condenses in the cold air and snow falls gently around you.
Unfortunately, inflatable hot tubs are not designed to withstand year-round outdoor use—unless you live in a temperate climate.
Repeated exposure to freezing temperatures can damage plastic and rubber—so remember to drain and put away your hot tub before winter arrives.
You’re in Hot Water Now…
Or at least, you will be soon!
Inflatable hot tubs are a great way to unwind, whether alone or in the company of family and friends—and unlike costly, permanent hot tubs, require relatively little space, setup and expense.
We hope our inflatable hot tub buying guide has given you some good ideas. Take your time, shop around, and we’ll see you poolside.