If you’re after an inflatable hot tub, you really can’t go wrong with the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki.
Lay-Z-Spa is the leading inflatable hot tub brand – and for good reason. Its home spas come with a few features that really set them apart from cheaper models, and the Helsinki is no exception. It features the brand’s patented “Freeze Shield” tech, which prevents its water from freezing so you can use it in the winter. Plus, its exterior is made from an ultra-rigid Drop Stitch material, which is thinner than most brands’ but just as tough. This shaves a few centimetres off the Helsinki’s footprint, saving you space.
The Helsinki comfortably fits up to seven people, heats up to 40°C, and has a hugely generous 180 jets (the biggest jet count in this list) – all without breaking the bank. Plus, it takes all of 5 minutes to set up and is handsome to boot, with a wood-print exterior inspired by Nordic saunas.
The Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki isn’t the cheapest inflatable hot tub around, but it’s a great first step into home spa ownership if you’re looking to test the waters before you plump for a hardshell model. The shell is also covered by a 2-year warranty, reducing to 12 months for the heat pump and 6 months for accessories such as the cover, but still impressive compared to the 1-year warranty guaranteed by almost all other suppliers!
The MSpa Nest’s unique bath-shaped design makes it the perfect choice for couples looking to enjoy romantic soaks in the comfort of their own back garden. It has 104 jets that offer a deep massage and a convenient shelf to rest drinks on (bubbly anyone?). And since it’s so compact, the Nest heats up a lot more quickly than a standard four-person hot tub and takes up a lot less room.
MSpa is a newcomer on the inflatable hot tub scene, and the brand is looking to set itself apart by filling its spas with nifty tech. The Nest might be the brand’s smallest model, but it’s not short of bells and whistles. It features a smart filtration system, UVC sanitiser, and an O3 Ozone Generator, all of which help keep its water clean and easy to maintain. It also has an anti-icing system that lets you use it throughout winter.
Of course, the Nest’s big drawback is that it can only fit two people at a time. If you only ever intend to enjoy solo or couples’ soaks then this is the perfect inflatable hot tub, but if you want the option of being able to throw hot tub parties you might want to look for something larger.
Best Inflatable Hot Tub on a Budget
CleverSpa Onyx 4-Person Hot Tub
The Hot Features: 🔥
Underwater LED Lighting System: Interior LED lighting that’ll fit any mood, creating a great relaxing atmosphere.
110 Total AirJets: Strong massaging bubble jets that encompass you powered by an 1800 Kw heater.
365 FreezeGuard: High-quality PVC outer liner designed to be both water-resistant and UV-resistant, protecting the hot tub from the elements.
What Pops Our Bubbles: 🥶
Unfortunately, there are no jets that can provide a foot massage in the Onyx.
1-Year Warranty: The Oynx only includes a 1-year warranty guaranteed from the manufacturer covering the tub’s shell and only 6 months guaranteed for the outer liner.
After bubbles on a budget? Look no further than CleverSpa Onyx.
This compact model won’t break the bank – or take up too much of your garden since its pump and heating system are built-in. The Onyx doesn’t skimp in the jet department either, featuring 110 air jets. And it also has CleverSpa’s “365 FreezeGuard” technology, which stops the water from freezing and allows you to use it all year round.
Just beware: it’s not the biggest spa in the world, just fitting four adults at a squeeze. And because the components aren’t as efficient as what you’ll find on higher-end models, you can expect it to take longer to heat up and be more expensive to run. However, there’s no doubt the Onyx is a great entry point if you want to see if hot tub life is for you.
Best Inflatable Hot Tub for an At-home Spa Experience
Canadian Spa Grand Rapids V2
The Hot Features: 🔥
The Aromatherapy System mixes scented beads with warm air to release gorgeous smells when in the spa.
3 Speed Air Valve – The new design air valve allows for super quick air release, providing a relaxing and powerful massage experience.
LED Lighting – The built-in LEDs completely illuminate the water and provide a playful colourful feel to the tub, a great feature that gives it that party atmosphere.
What Pops Our Bubbles: 🥶
Deep Tub – The Grand Rapids V2 is definitely on the deeper side, making it less child friendly.
1-Year Warranty: The Grand Rapids V2 only includes a 1-year warranty guaranteed from the manufacturer covering the tub’s shell.
Want to recreate a luxurious spa experience in your own back garden? Canadian Spa has been a leading hard-shell hot tub manufacturer for over 35 years, and their inflatable Grand Rapids model is made to those same exacting standards.
At 29″ deep, the Grand Rapids is one of the deepest inflatable hot tubs on the market, submerging your shoulders for an extra-relaxing soak. And its 110 massage jets have three different settings to give you the perfect spa experience for you.
What really sets Canadian Spa’s Grand Rapids V2 apart is its aromatherapy capabilities. The Grand Rapids comes with fragrance cartridges that fill your hot tub with soothing aromas, helping you completely unwind. This extra-deep hot tub is the best on the market right now when it comes to pure relaxation.
Experience the epitome of luxury with the Greywood Deluxe Purespa by Intex. This premium spa comfortably accommodates four people, offering an invigorating massage experience with its 140 therapeutic bubble jets.
The built-in hard water treatment system is also a fantastic feature that enhances the longevity of your spa equipment while also also ensures a gentler, more soothing experience for your skin and hair, especially for hot tubbers in areas of the UK subject to hard water such as East & Southern England.
What sets this spa apart is its user-friendly Wi-Fi control panel and robust construction. It transcends the feel of a typical paddling pool, providing an ambiance akin to a high-end retreat right in your backyard. The spa’s aesthetic appeal is heightened by its sleek wood effect design, complemented by top-notch fiber tech construction, making it a standout performer in its category.
But the perks don’t stop there, the Intex Greywood Deluxe also comes with a host of bonus accessories, including two headrests, a carrying bag, and a multi-coloured lighting system, which would typically come at an additional cost.
Want to be able to luxuriate in your garden without sacrificing style?
The six-seater Soho comes with all the bells and whistles as the rest of the MSpa range: a smart filtration system, UVC sanitiser, O3 Ozone Generator, and an anti-icing system. But what sets it apart from most inflatable hot tubs on the market is its stylish exterior.
The Soho’s handsome design makes it the perfect pick for anyone looking for a home spa that complements a contemporary outdoor space. However, it doesn’t come with a ground sheet and only reaches 36°C, so bear that in mind before you take the plunge on this one.
Massive 140 Air Jets: Get a fantastic full-body bubble massage from the huge 140 air jets placed strategically around the tub.
PatentedFreeze Shield Technology to ensure your water doesn’t freeze on cold winter nights.
Stunning in-built LED Light System: Enjoy a fantastic and fully-automatic light show while you soak that cycles through 7 bright colours controlled by the remote control functionality.
What Pops Our Bubbles: 🥶
The lightly-coloured exterior shell is likely to make dirt and stains more obvious to the eye.
No Whisper Quiet Tech: At full power, the Paris is likely to make some racket due to the powerful pumps.
Let there be light with the Lay-Z-Spa Paris. This is yet another model from the UK’s best-selling inflatable hot tub brand you can snap up on a great deal. It comfortably fits four adults and two children with its 806L water capacity and has 140 all-surrounding air jets, quickly heating up to 40°C.
Plus, it’s the only Lay-Z-Spa model with an LED lighting system, bringing seven different colour options you can set to match the mood or leave to cycle through. Operating the lighting system is a breeze with the user-friendly wireless remote control, simply select your preferred color or switch to the auto-change mode.
The Lay-Z-Spa Paris is a testament to chic design and durability. Its round, white structure, crafted from DuraPlus material, is reinforced with three layers of polyester mesh and PVC. This ensures that unlike a standard paddling pool, the Lay-Z-Spa Paris maintains its shape through repeated inflations and deflations, while still providing a smooth and soft touch to your skin.
Even though the Lay-Z-Spa Paris is a more budget-friendly option, it doesn’t compromise on premium features, coming equipped with the ChemConnect ground detection system and an innovative Freeze Shield Technology that activates when the water temperature falls below 40 Fahrenheit. Additionally, the energy-saving timer automatically turns off the tub when not in use, contributing to cost savings in the long run.
Everything You Need to Know about Inflatable Hot Tubs Before You Buy:
There are a few things you should know before you decide to pick up an inflatable hot tub instead of a model with an acrylic shell.
Here’s a quick rundown before we dive into our pick of best buys:
How much do inflatable hot tubs cost to run?
Because inflatable hot tubs aren’t surrounded by a layer of insulation like their hardshell counterparts, they leak a lot more heat. That makes them more expensive to run.
A Lay-Z-Spa (the leading portable hot tub brand) inflatable hot tub will cost an average of £1.85 a day to run if you use a cover (and a whopping £2.97 if you don’t). The most energy-efficient hardshell hot tubs on the market, by comparison, will cost between £1.00 and £1.30 per day to run. That means an inflatable hot tub could cost up to three times more to run than a hardshell model.
The fact is: inflatable hot tubs cost less upfront, but could end up putting you back a lot more over time since they cost so much more to run. If you’ve got the money to buy a hardshell model, it’s well worth spending more upfront on one – especially since they generally have more powerful jets that give a better massage, too.
How to reduce the cost of running an inflatable hot tub
If an inflatable hot tub is the right choice for you, here are some simple ways to keep its running costs as low as possible:
Buy a model with a well-insulated cover (or invest in a separate one). Heat rises, and not having a cover could mean your spa costs a pound more to run every day.
An inflatable hot tub protector will add an extra layer of insulation to your tub, so it’s well worth investing in one of those too.
A home spa sat in the middle of a wind trap will have to work a lot harder to heat up. So, if you’ve got the space, install your hot tub somewhere it’s protected from the elements.
If you’re looking to cut down on your energy bills, definitely don’t use an inflatable hot tub during winter, as it will have to expend a lot of energy to maintain its temperature. If you want to enjoy soaks in a spa during winter you’re best off buying a hardshell hot tub.
If you clean your inflatable hot tub regularly its components won’t have to work as hard to filter the water, which means it will run more efficiently.
How long does it take to set up an inflatable hot tub from the box?
Even if it’s your first time setting up an inflatable hot tub, it will only take you around an hour to unbox and inflate your spa and fill it with water. Buy a model from a quality manufacturer – like the ones that have made our pick of best buys below – and the instructions will be easy to follow, so you shouldn’t run into any trouble.
Then you’ll just need to add your hot tub chemicals and wait for your shiny new spa to heat up.
How long does it take to heat up an inflatable hot tub?
It takes around 12-24 hours for an inflatable spa to get up to temperature, depending on how big it is and how good its components are. So, we’re afraid you won’t be jumping straight into your spa the day it arrives.
Do inflatable hot tubs plug into any home electrical socket?
All inflatable hot tubs are 13 amp, meaning they plug straight into a standard plug socket. Just beware: spas are designed to be plugged straight into a mains socket, not an extension lead. So, be sure to install yours within reach of an indoor or outdoor socket.
How hot can an inflatable hot tub get?
Most models can get up to 40°C – the same max temperature as most hardshell models. However, make sure to check before you buy, as some can’t get quite as warm and should be avoided if you like your hot tub really hot.
Can you use an inflatable hot tub in winter?
You can’t use most inflatable spas in winter because the vinyl material they’re made from deteriorates when the temperatures drop. In extreme cases, the water inside them can even freeze and damage their components.
However, most of the leading manufacturers these days have developed anti-freeze technology that lets you use your inflatable spa in the colder months. That being said, we’d strongly recommend you opt for a hot tub with an acrylic shell and plenty of insulation if you like the idea of winter soaks, as they cost a lot less to run in colder temperatures.
How often do you have to change the water in an inflatable hot tub?
Inflatable hot tub owners should follow the same cleaning schedule as people with an acrylic model and change their spa’s water every three months.
How long do inflatable hot tubs last?
Your inflatable hot tub will last you around five years if you buy a model from a trusted manufacturer and look after it properly. By comparison, a good hardshell hot tub from a WhatSpa? recommended brand can give you decades of good use, so you might want to opt for an acrylic model if you know for sure you want a spa to be a permanent fixture in your garden.
Do inflatable hot tubs pop easily?
Since they’re made from sturdy three-ply vinyl, you shouldn’t have to worry about your inflatable hot tub popping.
If an inflatable hot tub is right for you then you really can’t go wrong with any of the best buys we’ve picked out here. These are all great first steps into the world of hot tub ownership.
But if you’re sure that getting a hot tub is right for you we’d always recommend getting a hardshell home spa over a portable one. It will give you a better massage, have a much longer lifespan, and cost you a lot less overall once you factor in running costs.
Pick up your free copy of the latest edition of WhatSpa? Magazine today for help narrowing down a shortlist of the best acrylic hot tubs and quickly finding the right model for you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What inflatable hot tub is best in the winter?
What is the lifespan of an inflatable hot tub?
Do inflatable hot tubs use more electricity?
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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.