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You've always dreamed of having your very own hot tub, and you're finally ready to take the plunge. But where do you start? Do a quick Internet search, and you'll find thousands of hot tubs in a dizzying array of prices, sizes, and features. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you're new to the world of hot tubs.
In this article, we'll help you start your search by identifying the features and benefits that matter the most to you in a hot tub.
There several great reasons to take the plunge into hot tub ownership – and there's a type of hot tub ideally suited to each type of owner. Before you start your search, think about how you envision using your hot tub:
Whether you're considering an in-ground hot tub or an above-ground hot tub, you'll find that there are options available for just about every price point.
In addition to size, there are several other factors that determine the price of your hot tub. For example, the kind with more jets or fancy, contoured seating will typically cost more money. Same goes for hot tubs with extras like integrated sound systems or programmable lighting.
And don't forget to factor in the long-term cost of ownership: This includes everything from the power required to run your hot tub to the chemicals and supplies required for routine maintenance.
If you're pretty sure that you want your hot tub to be a permanent part of your backyard, you'll probably want to go with an in-ground hot tub. The biggest pro of going in-ground? You can get exactly what you want: Custom shapes, luxurious finishes and materials, built-in steps, and tile or stone accents that blend beautifully with your outdoor space.
Of course, an in-ground hot tub will cost you more: Unlike other types of hot tubs, an in-ground hot tub is definitely not a DIY project. It's basically a custom construction project, and you'll need to find a qualified professional to do the job.
Prefer something a little less permanent? Need an alternative that's a little more budget-friendly? You can't go wrong with an above-ground hot tub. You get all of the benefits of spa ownership, without the time and high cost of a days-long construction project.
Although they don't offer the range of customization options that you'll find with an in-ground spa, above-ground hot tubs do have a few definite advantages: For example, above-ground versions typically feature more jets than their in-ground counterparts. Above-ground hot tubs also tend to place more emphasis on comfortable seating.
Many above-ground hot tub owners also appreciate the flexibility and freedom of a non-permanent hot tub option: Unlike an in-ground hot tub, an above-ground hot tub can be moved; and if you ever want to upgrade or replace your hot tub with a newer model, it's easy to do so.
Hot tubs don't require quite as much space as a full-sized swimming pool, which makes them a popular choice for homeowners with small yards. But this doesn't mean that you can simply put a hot tub anywhere. Here are a few things to think about when choosing a hot tub for your backyard:
The internet is an amazing resource for early information-gathering, but there's simply no substitute for shopping for a hot tub in person.
Now that you've got a general idea of the type of hot tub you're looking for – in-ground vs. above-ground; small or large; simple or loaded with extras – it's time to visit your local spa retailer. Ask questions and get a closer look at the finishes and fixtures. You should also ask for information about warranties (most reputable spa manufacturers offer a warranty).
And, most importantly, take the opportunity to sit in a few hot tubs to see if they're literally a good fit for you.