With decades of experience in showing people how to buy a hot tub, the team here at WhatSpa? has come across dozens of common mistakes that first time hot tub buyers make and many hot tub brands to avoid.
Some of them can lead to disastrous consequences that have even left UK hot tub owners with useless or dangerous ‘grey imports’ that cannot be fixed and are left sitting worthless in their back gardens. Making critical hot tub buying mistakes can also result in hazards to your health; as well as blowing a hole in your bank account.
So you don’t fall victim to the same mistakes as those that have gone before you, here are the Top Ten hot tub buying mistakes and how to mitigate against them:
A ‘wet test’ or ‘test soak’ is where you make an appointment with a hot tub showroom, take your your bathing costumes along and literally try the hot tub you are interested in before you buy it. In fact most hot tub showrooms have quite a few models filled and ready to try so you can experience the feel of different models directly after one another.
Every hot tub feels
different in terms of water depth, seating styles, and the action, power and
adjustability of hydrotherapy jets. Only by trying hot tubs before you buy, can
you tell which models do and don’t suit your needs based on how they feel to
you (and how effectively they massage the muscle groups and areas of your body
that you find most soothing).
Because we are all different in terms of body shape and size, and our tolerance for jet power and massage varies, this step is a vital part of the buying process and should not be overlooked. This is especially the case if you are considering a small hot tub, where a west test is a must to ensure that the experience is comfortable – see more info on small hot tubs in this post.
2. Don’t buy hot tubs online
For many years WhatSpa? has highlighted the serious consequences of purchasing poor quality ‘bargain’ hot tubs from virtual ‘web shops’ and these companies make up the list of hot tub brands to avoid.
Whilst buying online may
be appropriate for purchasing entry-level inflatable hot tubs and paddling
pools costing a few hundred pounds at most, it is certainly not recommended for
more considerable investments involving thousands of pounds of your hard-earned
income and savings, especially in the case of hot tubs, where water and
electricity make unlikely bedfellows if strict safety regulations have not been
observed during manufacture.
We’ve seen hot tub websites disappear into thin air at very short notice, with businesses being dissolved after taking hundreds of deposits and even full balances without ever delivering the hot tubs that were ordered in good faith by trusting customers.
Web brands such as Trade Price Hot Tubs, Spaserve, Danz Spas and Hot Price Tubs have all disappeared in the last few years, leaving thousands of hot tub owners high and dry with no after sales support.
If you value your health and the wellbeing of your family and friends who will be sitting in your new hot tub then it is critical to ensure that you purchase a top quality hot tub from a respected bricks-and-mortar WhatSpa? Approved dealership. These dealers have gained experience of providing total hot tub purchasing support and customer satisfaction over many years.
3. Avoid really cheap hot tubs
Generally, if you have a
restricted budget you will be inclined to seek out ‘bargain buys’ when it comes
to traditional ‘low ticket’ household items. These may include kettles and microwaves,
but you should never single out this option and fall into the trap of
purchasing a hot tub on price alone.
When you buy a really cheap hot tub, its residual value will be negligible to zero as soon as it arrives in your garden, its lifespan will tend to be short and it will typically be expensive to run (in terms of electrical use).
As you go up the budget ladder and start looking at more established high quality branded products, the build quality tends to improve, the lifespan will be longer, residual values will be higher, reliability will be better and running costs will be lower (as energy-efficiency features are built-in to lower ongoing electrical running costs).
If you want to fully enjoy the multitude of hot tub uses and gain top quality hot tub technology, then you may have to extend the level of your budget and consider what impacts hot tub prices. This will help you to gain superior performance from the cutting-edge jets that are incorporated within a top quality hot tub. See our recent piece on how much hot tubs cost for guidance on the cost of quality hot tubs.
Interest free or finance sales packages may be the ideal way to extend your budget to gain the best hot tub for your lifestyle demands; while our WhatSpa? Genie advisory service will enable you to receive up to date offers from your local WhatSpa? Approved dealers at the touch of a button. View more information on hot tub finance with our comprehensive guide here.
4. Avoid hot tub ‘grey imports’
As UK demand for hot tubs has continued to thrive in recent years, dozens of hot tub factories have sprung up in developing countries to exploit rising demand across the globe.
Some of these factories have very little by way of quality control or even basic compliance with CE standards. The ‘grey import’ products that are being churned out of these factories are then brought to the UK by speculators and typically sold online with slick websites and questionable sales tactics.
A general word of caution applies here. If you cannot identify the provenance of a hot tub model from the website of a trader and trace it to a trusted manufacturer of good repute, it’s advisable to do more research and ask some searching questions about where it was manufactured and what quality assurance standards have been observed in its production.
A hot tub is a consumer durable item and if you choose carefully from a manufacturer of good repute, a good hot tub model could be serving you well for the next 10 or even 20 years!
That’s why your choice of hot tub should be as much about the integrity, professionalism and after-sales service offered by potential retailers as it is about the spa itself.
You’re entering a long term business relationship with your chosen hot tub dealership, so find out what level of after-sales support they provide before you sign on the dotted line.
6. Don’t fall for false sales offers
This is common sales tactic used, especially by online-only hot tub sellers. They will use a ‘Was’ price or ‘RRP’ (recommended retail price) which is purposely inflated, so that they can give the impression of a deep discount.
These ‘sales’ never go away and are always on offer. Whilst this kind of sale tactic infringes advertising standards, it is commonly used by unscrupulous sellers of grey imports to give the impression that the product is better quality than it actually is. Proceed with caution if you see this in action.
The old adage “If is seems too good to be true, it probably is” is as true today as it always was so be vigilant when doing your research.
7. Always do your due diligence on the hot tub manufacturer
Sadly, there also seems to be a growing trend for
some online retailers to offer products typically manufactured in emerging
economies, but then claim they are manufactured in the UK, North America,
Canada or Europe, which may mislead customers into thinking they are buying a
product from one country when it is actually from somewhere entirely different,
where quality control and manufacturing standards can be far less exacting.
If you do your due diligence and purchase a quality hot tub from a trusted brand, not only will it give you many years of reliable service, it will also maintain a strong residual value should you ever wish to upgrade or sell it on. You are also guaranteed continuity of parts going forward so that it can be kept in great working order for decades if well serviced and maintained.
8. Don’t forget to negotiate hot tub extras in your deal
If you are a first time hot tub buyer then you will not have
had to negotiate the process of getting the right hot tub deal before. Every
year WhatSpa? magazine features ‘Hot Products’ that can elevate
your hot tub experience to a whole new level. Yet these new additions to the
wet leisure market showcase are extra products that are often purchased after your
hot tub has been installed to elevate user satisfaction.
Ahead of closing the hot tub deal and booking an installation date, consider the additional hot tub accessories that are essential to creating a practical hot tub environment in your garden. Essential items include steps, additional supplies of water maintenance products; and more practical items, such as cover lifters, and spare filters.
These are many of the products that can be included in your bargaining process. On the other hand, some dealers may offer extended warranties at a premium so these could be used as a bargaining point ahead of the hot tub purchase.
9. Always check hot tub running costs beforehand
According to the feedback that WhatSpa? has received, a common mistake among first time hot tub buyers is the failure to check out how much it costs to run a hot tub before they are purchased and installed. Poor quality hot tubs have limited insulation; and this quickly leads to higher running costs than those that are expected for a hot tub that has been produced with eco-friendly design qualities by a respected manufacturer.
Advanced insulation, which is combined with top quality manufacturing,
is often produced with recycled materials to produce exceptional heating and
running cost efficiency that you will gladly pay to achieve a daily soak with
cutting-edge hydrotherapy in the soothing comfort of your home surroundings.
WhatSpa? Approved dealers will provide information on running costs for the hot tubs that they supply as part of their professional customer service. So always check this important part of hot tub purchasing research; especially if you want to limit the impact on your electricity bill.
10. Impulse hot tub buying will cost you dear
Most of us have been guilty of some form of impulse buying that can result in unwanted items cluttering up our wardrobes and homes. If you are in that mode before a hot tub purchase than chances are that you will fall into a common hot tub buyer mistake that will cost you dear.
The sun may be shining and
the forecast for the rest of the month may be gloriously sunny and warm, and
you are wanting to exploit this opportunity to splash out on a new hot tub.
Stop right now! Before risking pouring all your savings
into an impulse hot tub purchase you should consider all the consequences and
once again read all the previous common hot tub buyer mistakes.
As the hot tub market
continues to flourish there will always be unscrupulous suppliers who will
exploit your desire to achieve a quick purchasing fix. Your cash could end up
in the pockets of a fraudulent operation that has no intention of supplying you
with a hot tub or your preferred choice of model in your desired timescale.
Approved suppliers and BISHTA members will guide you professionally
along the correct purchasing route within your desired timescale. If you are
very keen to get a hot tub for your garden within a specific time frame then
professional hot tub dealers can provide you with options that they have in
stock or can order quickly from their manufacturing suppliers.
When large amounts of money are at stake, then it is much better to be safe than sorry after an impulse purchase of a hot tub.
I am the Editor-in-Chief at WhatSpa? Media Group and my job is to keep you informed about the very latest hot tubs on the UK market... the best job in the world! When I'm not being deluged with press releases and hot tub brochures I enjoy keeping fit and participating in endurance events including triathlons and distance running.