If you're looking to soothe your aching muscles after a hard day's work, you could spend more than $20,000 and wait half the summer to get a hot tub installed. Or, you could purchase a plug-and-play model and start pampering yourself as soon as it arrives.
A plug-and-play hot tub is a portable hot tub that you simply fill and plug into a GFCI outlet -- and you're ready for luxury. Our favorite, Essential Hot Tubs' Adelaide model, is an impressive hot tub that can fit up to five people. You can read more about that and other models below.
Considerations when choosing plug-and-play hot tubs
When shopping for a plug-and-play hot tub, there are two primary factors you will need to consider: size and jets.
Size: If you are purchasing a plug-and-play hot tub for a backyard retreat for you and your favorite person, size isn't a big concern, as most models can accommodate at least two people. However, if you want to entertain, or you have kids who will be joining you in the hot tub, you need to make sure it's large enough to fit everyone.
Jets: More important than the number of jets is being certain they are adjustable. You want to make sure that when it's time to relax, you can massage the parts of your body that are aching the most. Since that may change from day to day, you'll need jets that can be aimed at your trouble spots.
The following are a few of the best features you'll want your plug-and-play hot tub to have:
Cover: A locking hard cover (as opposed to a simple tarp-style cover) is the best, because it not only helps keep your unit clean, but it prevents any uninvited guests from using your hot tub. Some contain high-density foam that acts as insulation, so it can help keep the water hot between uses, which saves both time and energy.
Lights: On the inside, lights are an effective way to set the mood for your plug-and-play hot tub. However, exterior lights are a good safety feature if you plan on using your hot tub at night.
Comfort enhancements: Things such as ergonomic seats and lounges as well as padded headrests are things you could live without--but do you want to?
Cup holders: Even though you are sitting in water, it's easy to get thirsty while in a hot tub. You will appreciate a model that has built-in cup holders.
Steps: Just a step or two can make getting in and out of your plug-and-play hot tub a much simpler task. Unfortunately, most models do not include steps, but if you can find a bundle that includes this feature, you'll be grateful.
Plug and play hot tub prices
A light-duty plug-and-play hot tub can start as low as $1,500. For $3,500, you can get most, if not all, of the features you'll want. A fully-loaded model, on the other hand, could cost as much as $7,000.
Q: What are the top benefits of a plug-and-play hot tub?
A: Two of the biggest benefits of a plug-and-play hot tub are the lower initial costs, and the ability to install it (or move it to a new location) by yourself.
Q: What type of maintenance does a plug-and-play hot tub require?
A: A plug-and-play hot tub requires the same basic cleaning and sanitation tasks that you would perform on a regular hot tub, such as skimming, scrubbing, vacuuming, sanitizing, maintaining proper pH, and testing the water.
Q: Can I use my plug-and-play hot tub all year round?
A: Absolutely. But it will take considerably longer to heat up during the colder months.
Plug-and-play hot tubs we recommend
Best of the best: Essential Hot Tubs' Adelaide 30-Jet Hot Tub
Our take: A heavy-duty plug-and-play hot tub with 30 stainless steel adjustable jets.
What we like: This impressive model is large enough to fit five individuals, and it comes with an insulated cover with locking clips. The built-in ice bucket is a handy feature.
What we dislike: Draining the hot tub can be a difficult task.
Best bang for your buck: Lifesmart Bermuda Four-Person 13-Jet Spa
Our take: A plug-and-play spa that features an ASTM-approved locking hard cover for safety.
What we like: This model features deep bucket seats and has a conveniently located digital control center so adjusting the jets, temperature, and lighting are all within easy reach.
What we dislike: This smallish unit is better suited for accommodating just two people.
Our take: A larger-size spa that can accommodate up to six individuals and has 34 jets.
What we like: This model features a dozen LED perimeter lights as well as an underwater LED mood light. There are two turbo seats, which can be used for maximum therapy.
What we dislike: This unit may require an exceptionally long period of constant running to heat up in cooler weather.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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