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What you need to know about buying a hot tub

If you are about to make a decision to buy a hot tub, then the choice that awaits you is quite daunting.

Ranging from a two person round tub designed to fit in a small corner to an ultimate swim spa with attached six seater hot tub, through to a grand theatre-style hot tub which seats 11 and includes a mini cinema screen! That's the choice when you enter the world of trying to select a hot tub.

The variety of hot tubs on the market in the UK is both wide and varied – and can be confusing. So where do you start and what are the options?

For a first time buyer we believe it is about three things – price, value and reliability. Hot tubs now are produced almost bespoke to the buyer’s needs with therapeutic jets positioned to suit your specific needs. But it’s also about water cleansing, how environmentally friendly the tub is and whether you want television, DVD or music systems as part of the package.

It is also about the warranty which will be given with the tub and the help and service you will be offered.

Our top 30 hot tubs
We know that hot tub reviews really help, so we selected and included in the latest edition our 'Top 30' of the best hot tubs on the market – they represent value for money and range from a portable, rubber inflatable tub for a few hundred pounds to two-seater tubs which will fit into a corner in your garden, through to the luxury, top of the range multi-seating, sophisticated tubs for £15,000 and more.

The prices quoted on the hot tubs have been checked with the manufacturers and are as accurate as possible. However, it is important that you check with your dealer as there will be some differences in the market.

You will see that many of the hot tubs we have selected come with a variety of options. Some are standard and will be included in the price – others will involve added costs and so this will naturally affect the price you are finally quoted.

In our selection we’ve included just some of the technical information you will need to know which we hope will allow you to compare hot tubs – including in every case what the manufacturer is offering as a warranty.

Of course, by highlighting just 30 of the best hot tubs, it means there are some great products which haven’t made it on to our list but it does, we hope, offer a starting point as you try and find the tub you are looking for.

Quick tips on hot tub planning
Think long-term
Like a car, a hot tub is a long-term investment. Consider financing your spa – paying a small monthly bill each month, as opposed to a lump sum upfront – to make the acquisition easier on your wallet.

Think location
Keep in mind the additional expenses of hot tub installation. Delivery can add to cost, especially if extra equipment is needed to move the hot tub into place. If you plan to put your spa on a deck, check building codes to ensure that your joists and posts are strong enough. The typical four-person hot tub weighs 4,000 lbs. filled with water. If you don't have a deck, you may need to pour concrete or purchase a spa pad - a prefabricated, modular and weatherproof product with a sturdy, flat surface to hold and support the tub. Upgrades to the existing electric power at your home may also be required. Have the site inspected by a spa sales representative to find out what home improvements need to be made before delivery.

Test the waters
A showroom soak is the best way to ensure the spa fits your needs, and most retailers are happy to oblige. At the very least, you need to climb into an unfilled spa to ensure it's roomy and comfortable.

Cover up
As with pools, a hot tub cover stops heat from escaping (thus reducing your energy bills), discourages impurities from entering the water and prevents children and small animals from falling in. Look for important cover features like high-density foam for structural soundness, an R-value of 12 or higher and a longer apron (or side flaps) to ensure heat conservation.

Jet propulsion! a guide to how hot tub jets differ
• Therapy Jets – Powerful directional streams that are easily controllable to provide the right amount of massage
• Swirl Jets – Nozzle design to swirl water in a circular pattern, giving a wide, overall massage
• Laser Jets – A pinpoint stream to soothe individual joints. These are the smallest jets, but extremely powerful. When clustered together and positioned properly, they provide an intense massage
• Whirlpool Jets – Large, round jets particularly good for those with special therapy needs. Each has the power of up to six Therapy Jets or 12 Laser Jets
• Pulsating Jets – Ideal for gently kneading tired muscles. They are the same size as the Laser Jet, but actually pulsate the water
• Shoulder Jets – Installed above the waterline, these jets are angled specifically to direct a powerful stream of water toward the neck and shoulders
• Pillow Jets – Combine an unbeatable neck massage with a comfy pillow. They include a control valve to adjust the intensity

For more information on swimming pools, hot tubs, spas, swim spas, saunas and much more, click here to sign up to receive your free copy of this years edition.