Are you considering buying a hot tub but have a limited budget? Second-hand hot tubs can be a great option for those who want to enjoy both the luxury and health benefits of hydrotherapy e.g., pain and arthritis relief, without breaking the bank.
However, it’s important to approach the purchase of a pre-owned hot tub with caution and the right advice. In this buying guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed buying decision when choosing your perfect used hot tub.
Before diving into the market of second-hand hot tubs, it’s crucial to do thorough research. Start by familiarising yourself with different hot tub brands, models, and features. This will help you understand the specifications you should be looking for and allow you to compare options effectively.
The best way to get up to speed with all things hot tub is with our FREE WhatSpa? Magazine, a glossy 140-page magazine containing reviews of the top 50 best-buy award-winning hot tub models available in the UK.
The magazine also contains a comprehensive buying guide, a jargon-busting spa masterclass, as well as a pre-delivery guide informing you on exactly how to prepare your garden for your new or second-hand hot tub installation, so don’t hesitate to order your FREE copy through the green button below!
When you have found a potential second-hand hot tub, it is mightily important to visit the seller in advance and inspect the tub thoroughly and gain valuable information such as its age and condition. Don’t just rely on a picture from the spa’s listing, as these can often be easily fabricated.
On average, hot tubs can last anywhere between 5-25 years in great working order, however, its life span is also highly dependent on factors such as the spa’s manufacturer, the specificmodel, maintenance upkeep and water chemistry over the years.
If possible, also be sure to ask for any maintenance and repair records to gauge how well the hot tub has been cared for over the years too.
Issues To Keep An Eye Out For:
Check for any signs of damage, leaks, or wear and tear on the outer shell and cabinet, and be sure to ask to test the jets, pumps, control board, interior and exterior lights and sound system if present to ensure they are in proper working condition.
Hot Tub Shell
Almost all hot tub shells these days are made from acrylic, which despite their strength and sturdiness, can still suffer from problems such as blistering, scratching, cracking and discolouration, all of which are likely to cost you a pretty penny to repair. Be wary of all these problems during your shopping and avoid any hot tubs that have extensive damage to their shell, it’s just not worth it.
Hot Tub Cabinet
A hot tub cabinet plays a critical role in maximising your hot tub’s energy efficiency and fully protecting its electrical components. Many spas will either be fitted with a wooden or UPVC cabinet, so it is important to check that the cabinet of the used hot tub you are considering is free from any dampness, rotting, or brittle that may lead to further damage when the tub is relocated to your garden.
Hot Tub Cover
If you are purchasing a used tub from a reliable retailer you are better off starting with a new hot tub cover, however, when purchasing from private resellers there are a few warning signs to look out for, as a poorly maintained cover is likely to cost you an arm and a leg in extra running costs due to lost heat over the course of a few years.
Be sure to double-check that the cover is not waterlogged or feels heavier than it should to operate, as a spa cover in this condition is almost always in need of a replacement. Don’t forget about the cover lifter either, as a worn-out lifter can also add significant hidden costs down the line should it start to break.
If it’s your first time buying a spa, WhatSpa? highly recommends that ask the seller to wet-test the used model to ensure that the model and its seats are the right depth to satisfy all the bathers you are likely to be soaking with.
A wet test is also going to help you gauge if the jets give a great massage, help get a better feel for the power of the jets and the types of massage it provides, as well as give you a feel for the general size of the tub and if there is adequate room for your family and friends to use the hot tub all at once.
To minimise the risks associated with buying a used hot tub, it’s advisable to purchase from trusted WhatSpa? Approved sellers. Look for reputable dealers or individuals with a good track record, many of which can be found within our UK Retail Directory that comes delivered completely FREE alongside our WhatSpa? Magazine.
You can check online marketplaces such as eBay, local classified ads on places such as Facebook Marketplace, or even inquire at bricks and mortar hot tub dealerships for any second-hand options they may have currently available in stock.
Private sellers should be more than willing to answer your questions, provide detailed information about the hot tub’s history, and allow you to inspect it in person before finalising the purchase. If you’re buying from an online marketplace, ensure you consider the seller’s ratings and reviews to gauge their reliability.
Pricing is an essential factor when buying a second-hand hot tub. The price of pre-owned hot tubs can vary significantly based on factors such as the tub’s age, condition, brand, features, and accessories included.
Used hard-shell acrylic hot tubs that seat between 4-6 people can typically be priced from £1,500 upwards if bought from private sellers, often sitting within a range of between £1,500 – £3,000.
Remember, while purchasing a used or sale hot tub can save you plenty of money upfront, there are still likely to be additional costs involved, such as transportation & delivery, installation, repairs, and maintenance.
Used hot tubs bought from retailers are likely to cost you a little bit extra due to the added VAT, usually starting at around £2,000. It is important to remember however that you do get the added benefit of securing a warranty when purchasing from a hot tub retailer, as well as the peace of mind knowing that the tub is completely operational and fully serviced.
Warranty and Support
One of the biggest downfalls of buying a second-hand hot tub is the absence of a warranty guarantee. The warranty coverage provided by the original retailer will almost always be non-transferable if the owner decides to sell down the line.
While you can chase this up with the original retailer to be 100% certain, in our experience, the likelihood of a retailer transferring a warranty guarantee if the hot tub is re-sold privately is slim to none.
Despite this, it is still worth inquiring with the original retailer regarding the availability of support services for your used hot tub. Double-check to make sure that the manufacturer or local dealer offers maintenance callouts, repairs, or technical support for the specific model you are considering (which almost all dealerships do!).
This can be helpful if you encounter any issues down the line, but if not, there is also an abundance of hot tub repair and service mechanics online that would be happy to offer their advice and expertise should you choose to get in touch.
Hygiene and safety are crucial considerations when buying used hot tubs. Ensure that the hot tub has been properly cleaned, sanitised, and maintained so you don’t have a huge cleaning job on your hands upon delivery. Be sure to ask the previous owners about their cleaning routine and frequency.
Inspect the filtration system and filter bay to ensure that it is fully functional, and as mentioned above, be sure to check that all safety features, such as covers, cover lifters, and safety locks are all in place and in working order.
The Final Word
Buying second-hand spas can be a fantastic way to enjoy the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxation at a more affordable price.
However, it’s essential to approach the process with caution and thorough research. By following the tips outlined in this pre-owned hot tub buying guide, you can make an informed decision and find a high-quality second-hand hot tub that fits your needs and budget.
Once you’ve found the perfect pre-owned hot tub, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the luxurious and therapeutic benefits it offers. Whether you’re unwinding after a long day, hosting a gathering with friends, or simply indulging in some well-deserved self-care, your second-hand hot tub can become a cherished addition to your home.
If you buy a hot tub from a WhatSpa? recommended brand and look after it properly by sticking to a regular maintenance routine, it can last up to 25 years. Of course, some parts may need replacement over time, but you won’t have to worry about fully replacing your beloved hot tub for decades to come.
What is the resale value of a hot tub?
If you’re reselling a hot tub, you can typically ask for 25-35% of what you originally paid and expect it to get snapped up. It is important to keep in mind that you’ll only be able to sell it at that kind of asking price if the hot tub is still in full working condition and maintained to a good standard throughout its ownership.
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I am the Content Writer and Marketing Officer at WhatSpa? Magazine. I have worked at WhatSpa? for over 8 years, and I recently graduated with Distinction from Northumbria University with a Master's degree in Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
My role at WhatSpa? is to ensure that all hot tub lovers can easily access the highest quality and most up-to-date content, news and information from within the UK wet leisure industry.