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Other than the price and where you buy it from, what makes one hot tub better than another. This is somewhat of an objective topic. Some brands excel in certain areas and are not as great in others. That being said, the main areas you need to focus on when picking out the best hot tub are, energy efficiency, comfort, building materials, therapy, as well as care and maintenance.
Energy efficiency is made up of many different aspects including heat retention, insulation, filtration, and pumps. It is very important to buy an energy efficient hot tub in order to save money on your energy costs. One of the most energy efficient hot tub manufacturers include Bullfrog Spas. The key to Bullfrog’s efficiency is their full foam insulation, as well as high tech plumbing that allows for less jet hoses that allow hot water to cool. Retaining your waters heat is the main factor in lowering your energy costs.
Another factor that is not as well known is filtration. Your water needs to be filtered through the system and heated. If your water can’t get through the filter efficiently it will not be able to pass quickly through the heater and give a consistent temperature.
Pumps, horsepower, and the number of jets are often one of the first specifications customers ask about when looking for a hot tub. The secret is that the effectiveness of hydrotherapy is not based on just the number of jets and the size of the pump. There is a balance when making a hot tub energy efficient and powerful. If there are a huge amount of jets and the pump is not big enough, you will have a very poor hydrotherapy experience. On the other hand if you have a handful of jets and a huge pump, you energy efficiency will be poor. This is another reason why trying a hot tub out for yourself will tell you if the pump is powerful enough to give you the massage you are looking for. Many hot tub manufacturers including Jacuzzi include circulation pumps, which run quiter and with less electricity, decreasing your energy costs.
Consider the size of the footwell! The number of seats is a major component when picking out a hot tub, but many customers don’t think about how big the footwell is, then immediately regret not thinking about it when their hairy-toed uncle comes over for a dip and takes up the entire footwell.
Another benefit to buying from a local store is that you can test many hot tubs before you buy. Bring your swimsuit and see first hand if you truly like the hot tub you are interested in. You wouldn’t buy a new car without test driving it first. Backyard Leisure even has a mood room, that lets you test out multiple spas in a dim room to completely immerse yourself in the relaxing experience.
Hot tub cabinets are made to look good and last the lifetime of the hot tub. The two main types of cabinets are wood and composite. The look and feel of each of these materials is very objective. You may like the look of wood better than composite, or the other way around. The biggest factor between these materials is how long they last. If you have read Building a Deck for your Above Ground Pool, you will have read the difference between different types of wood used and their pros and cons. In short, composite will last longer than wood and won’t warp, rot, or discolor.
Shell’s are typically only found in acrylic (most common) or a rotated plastic (found in Dream Maker Spas). Both of these materials have their own benefits. Acrylic shells are more of a premium material, they are smoother and harder than plastic and will last for years and years. The benefit of having a rotationally molded plastic shell is the overall weight will be dramatically decreased making changing locations very easy. The biggest benefit to rotated plastic hot tubs are that they are often found at incredibly low prices.
Objectively the greatest benefit of having a hot tub is hydrotherapy. It is great to warm up and relax your muscles. Different brands have different jets that offer a different level of massage. Jacuzzi has some of the best jets on the market, they mix an equal 50% water and 50% air and are able to concentrate the power directly to your muscles from you neck to your toes. Brands like Bullfrog have JetPaks that allow you to swap in the JetPak that gives you the exact massage that you want. Other brands like MAAX have physician designed zone therapy to target the six most important areas on your body, as well as a “foot relief zone” that encases your feet for a full foot massage (great for people that work on their feet all day).
Most new hot tubs will have a cartridge filter, the biggest different is if there is one large filter or two smaller ones. Either set up is fine, just make sure you have a backup of filters to replace your dirty ones. For some other trick on keeping your hot tub clean please read Hot Tub Tips and Tricks. One of the biggest changes to hot tub cleanliness is the CLEARRAY Water Purifaction System by Jacuzzi. This system uses UV-C technology to neutralize 99.9% of waterborne pathogens and will reduce the amount of sanitizing chemicals needed.
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