Ultimate Hot Tub Buyer's Guide - O'Neill's Pools

The Ultimate Hot Tub Buyer's Guide

Everything You Need to Know to Buy the Perfect Hot Tub.


Choosing the Perfect Hot Tub

Buying a hot tub can be trickier than you may think with a multitude of factors to consider. Not only do you have to find the right hot tub for your home and budget, but you will also need to consider delivery options and where to buy your hot tub. Don’t worry though, we will break it all down in this all-encompassing guide to make your hot tub buying experience as smooth as possible.

The Types of Hot Tubs

Plug & Play Hot Tubs

Plug & play hot tubs resemble smaller traditional hard-shell hot tubs and can be plugged into any standard 110-volt outlet. They feature multiple jets, a control panel, a deep water level, bench or lounge seating, and are generally easy to move and install. 

Although Plug & Play hot tubs are insulated and are more energy-efficient than inflatable hot tubs, the 110-volt power supply does cause it to be less energy efficient than traditional 240-volt hot tubs. The small power supply also means that there is usually not enough power for the filters and heater to run at the same time meaning they have to cycle which can reduce heat-up times, and limits the amount of jets that can be included in the hot tub. The small power supply also limits the size of the hot tub.

If you are looking for a low-investment, an entry-level hot tub that gets the job done and will last many years, a plug & play hot tub may be the perfect choice for your home.

Traditional Hot Tubs

Traditional hot tubs are in most cases larger than plug & play hot tubs and have a larger power supply. Traditional hot tubs have to be professionally wired into your homes 240v wiring. Because of this, they can be far larger than the other types of hot tubs, and can include many more jets, have better filters, heat up much faster, and are more energy-efficient. 

Traditional hot tubs are the usual choice for homeowners, and are the most expensive out of the three types of hot tubs. Traditional hot tubs also require more effort to set up due to their power needs and their heavy weight. This usually means that a concrete slab be poured for the hot tub’s foundation. If your home is in an especially difficult position, the hot tub may need to be craned into position. 

Water Care Options

Salt Water Systems

Salt water systems are specifically found on high-end hot tubs including the Caldera Spas’ Utopia and Paradise series. These systems are widely regarded as the pinnacle of water care systems due to their ease of use and low maintenance. With just a little salt added to your spa’s water, the system will automatically generate chlorine when needed to keep your spa water clean and clear for up to a full year until you have to drain and refill. Other than simple routine adjustment, the system runs off of disposable cartridges that last 4 months. So with three cartridges and routinely adjusting your system, you can avoid having to drain and refill your water for up to a year!

Manual Water Care

Traditional water care means the spa owner manually adds Chlorine or Bromine to the spa. You should only purchase chemicals from an authorized hot tub dealer like us to make sure you get the highest quality products to assure your spa and water stay healthy. The amount of maintenance required by the spa owner depends on how frequently they use the hot tub. With regular hot tub use, the spa water should be checked with a test strip to ensure the proper balance is maintained.

Ozone Systems

Ozone with MPS and Silver Ions is slightly more expensive than traditional water care. It is still a fairly manual process but requires a little less interaction from the spa owner than manually adding chlorine or bromine. Spa owners enjoy this system because it only requires a very small amount of chlorine and chemicals.

Ozone systems were once considered the best water care option for hot tubs and have since become the industry standard for hot tub water care in most middle-tier hot tubs. Ozone water care systems use powerful oxidizers – ozone and MPS – with silver ions to decrease the need for chlorine. Once the Ozone unit is installed, it continually releases tiny ozone bubbles into the spa water. The silver ion cartridge then automatically releases silver ions into the water that inhibit the growth of bacteria. The spa owner then has to manually add MPS to the spa with each use, and a small amount of chlorine once a week. The silver ion cartridge should be replaced every three months, and the ozone unit will need to be replaced every 4-5 years.

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What Brand Do We Offer?

With more and more hot tub manufactures entering the market, we find it increasingly important to partner with the best hot tub brands. The number of factors we consider when offering hot tubs are quite large: selection of sizes, accessories, warranty, quality, design, jet technology, price, customizable options and more. 

With our knowledge of the hot tub industry we have selected the very best brand.

Caldera Spas

Caldera Spas one of the most popular choices Caldera has a nationwide dealer network, similar warranties, advanced heating and filtration technology, and is one of the two brands with the innovative salt water system available.  Regardless, when you start researching which brand to go with, or head to a dealer to check out different brands, you are sure to come across Caldera Spas.

Caldera features three lines of hot tubs that rise in price and features, and their jet technology is quite advanced. Their series are Utopia, Paradise and Vacanza.

The Utopia® Series

The pinnacle of hot tub design, the Utopia Series is unlike anything available today. And it’s waiting for you. An exclusive combination of high-performance details make each Utopia spa a hydrotherapy powerhouse that’s easy to use with low operating costs. It’s the most ideal personal care experience, and a visually-stunning backyard focal point. Every model is ready to use with our simple and intuitive FreshWater® Salt System for longer lasting, natural feeling water.

The Paradise® Series

Transformation, wellness, and connection are always at your beck and call with our popular Paradise Series. The Paradise Series has models sized for three to seven adults all with a blend of practical functions and premium options for an immersive hydrotherapy massage, and comes ready to use the FreshWater® Salt System.

The Vacanza® Series

All the wellness benefits of a Caldera spa, available at an exceptional value. Refresh, renew, and emerge ready for what life has to offer. The Vacanza Series hot tubs have been thoughtfully designed with options that provide the broadest range of therapeutic benefits at the greatest value. We’ve focused on jet configurations that target major muscle groups to work away stress so you emerge fully rejuvenated.

Installing Your Hot Tub

Where Can I Put a Hot Tub?

When purchasing a hot tub, where you will put it will be the first question that needs answering. Hot tubs are quite heavy when filled, and will need a solid and level foundation to sit on. When considering your hot tub’s foundation, there are four main options to choose between: a spa pad, pouring a concrete slab, a wooden deck, or pavers. Each method will vary in styling, functionality, and price. 

For those working on a budget, spa pads can create a simple and easy foundation for your hot tub with minimal cost and effort, they usually come in the form of interlocking thick rubber pads that form a solid base for your hot tub. 

The simplest and most common foundation is a concrete slab. Pouring a concrete slab will also be relatively inexpensive and quick. Concrete slabs are very durable and will easily last the life of your spa. 

Another common place hot tub owners like to house their spas are wooden decks. While most wooden decks are stable enough to uphold the full weight of a filled hot tub, you will need to call in an expert to assess that your deck is structurally sound enough. Another option is to blend a concrete slab with a wooden deck. Some homeowners choose to place their hot tubs on a concrete slab under their deck, with the top of the hot tub seamlessly rising through for easy access. 

The last method that is commonly used, is placing your hot tub on pavers, many homes already have areas covered in pavers, and can be used as a solid foundation for your spa.

How Much Does Installation Cost?

The cost of your hot tub foundation can range from 0-$1,000+ depending on if you already have a solid foundation, or if you decide to build a custom deck for your hot tub. For reference, spa pads range in price from $100 to $500, and concrete slabs range from $900 – $2,000.

The cost of having a professional electrician wire a hot tub usually ranges from $200 – $500.

Delivery can also be costly if you require a crane to lift the hot tub into your backyard, which can cost between $500 – $1,000. Usually, a portion of a fence Is taken down, and a hot tub will be carried into place by multiple people.