Most people associate hard-shell hot tubs with built-in jets that provide relaxation. However, in addition to these characteristics, hot tubs can have different shapes and, most importantly, designs.
Apart from the hard shell, they can be made from soft materials like PVC. Therefore, such hot tubs are called inflatable. However, the question immediately arises: what are their advantages and disadvantages compared to hard-shell hot tubs?
To answer this question, we determined the pros and cons of inflatable hot tubs, indicated how they work, clarified how long they last, and listed tips for use.
How Do Inflatable Hot Tubs Work?
The principle of operation of a hard shell and inflatable hot tub is almost the same. Both types have a pump that runs water, a heater, and massage jets. However, the devil is in the details. Therefore, let’s discuss the main differences between hot tubs and understand the principle of operation of inflatable ones accordingly.
- The hot tub needs to be inflated. Almost all hot tubs come with a pump that inflates them. Sometimes, it is combined with one that pumps water.
- The inflatable hot tub must be placed on a flat surface. An uneven surface may puncture the hot tub. To avoid it, you should consider a hot tub base. It is designed to prevent heat losses from the floor and protect the structure from punctures.
- Some inflatable hot tubs do not allow the heater and jets to work simultaneously. The pump can supply water to the heater or jet nozzles. However, do not worry about warm losses because such hot tubs can provide long-term relaxation due to materials that retain heat inside the shell.
Pros and Cons of Inflatable Hot Tubs
At first glance, the pros and cons of inflatable hot tubs are evident. It may be low durability due to surface puncture or portability. However, not everything is so clear. We found less apparent pros and cons when we got acquainted with users’ experiences. Now, we suggest you immediately familiarize yourself with them to know what to expect from an inflatable hot tub.
Low Initial Cost
If this criterion is one of the most important for you, the cost of inflatable hot tubs will please you. We looked at the list of products on several marketplaces and found that the price of inflatable ones starts at $397, and the average is about $1,050.
As for hard shell hot tubs, their price starts at $2,999 and has no limits. Therefore, the inflatable ones are a minimum of 7.5 times cheaper. You can save money, purchase accessories for the hot tub, and turn it into a 5 ⭐ place to relax.
Easy to Install
Inflatable hot tubs are a “plug-and-play” solution. You need to choose the installation place, inflate it, and plug it into a regular outlet. As for the installation place, it should be any flat surface that can bear the weight of a full inflatable hot tub and the people who sit in it. If you do not have the opportunity to purchase a hot tub base, you can put it on the grass or the floor.
Perhaps the main advantage of inflatable hot tubs over hard shell ones is portability. Here are the reasons for this:
- Weight. An inflatable hot tub weighs between 50 and 100 pounds without water. Hard shell ones weigh an average of 500 pounds. Therefore, the inflatable is 5-10 times lighter. You will be able to move it to any place in your home.
- Dimensions. Inflatable and hard-shell hot tubs do not differ in size because this indicator depends on volume and capacity. However, a deflated hot tub can be transported anywhere as its package measures approximately 30″ x 19″ x 23″.
Easy to Maintain
Inflatable hot tub maintenance is straightforward. You can always drain the water with an additional pump and fold your hot tub if necessary. Similarly, its placement will not take more than 2-3 hours.
Also, your inflatable hot tub will serve you faithfully for more than one year if you stick to the following tips:
- Check the pH level regularly. Once a week, you need to check the pH level of the water. It should be between 7.2 and 7.8. The water will become acidic at a low pH and can cause corrosive processes. The paint may start peeling off, holes may form in the filter, or skin irritation may appear. At high pH, precipitate begins to form, which can clog the pump or filter. We advise you to check your pH levels with test kits regularly. They are similar to pool ones, so read the instructions and use them accordingly to your hot tub’s volume.
- Disinfect the water. The warm water of a hot tub is an ideal environment for bacteria. They feed on garbage and breed rapidly in this temperature regime. Therefore, you need to disinfect the water. You can do this with special chemical kits that contain everything you need to care for your inflatable hot tub.
The design of inflatable hot tubs allows them to have powerful hydro jets. They make fast water flow and combine it with an air stream using the Venturi effect. Inflatable hot tub jets are less powerful than hard-shell ones but also provide a full massage of large or small body parts. It improves blood circulation, tones the skin, relieves stress and fatigue, and improves sleep.
May not Have Seats
One of the most non-obvious disadvantages of inflatable hot tubs is the lack of built-in seats. You will need to sit on the floor or on a bench, which does not provide sufficient comfort. In this case, you will need to consider purchasing seats or pillows for your hot tub.
In the case of inflatable hot tubs, you should expect them to heat the water by 3°F per hour. As for hard shell ones, they can heat up to 6°F. It turns out that inflatable hot tubs cope with this task twice as slowly.
Moreover, some inflatable hot tubs cannot simultaneously run the heater and jets. Due to the design features of the pump, it can only supply water to one of the components.
Most new inflatable hot tubs are made from puncture-resistant material. Moreover, they can withstand massive inflation/deflation and remain unharmed. However, there is no denying that inflatable hot tubs are more prone to damage than hard-shell ones.
When a puncture occurs, you can use sealant for your hot tub. It works great on different materials and surfaces. However, before use, you need to read the instructions in detail and calculate the correct amount of sealant.
Hot Tub Tips: Can I Use It During Rain or Winter?
Among users of inflatable hot tubs, questions related to the use of their device in different weather conditions are very popular. We are talking about the cold (winter) and rain. And so, let’s find out if it is possible to use the hot tub in such weather conditions.
☔ Rain. Inflatable hot tubs are made from durable vinyl or PVC materials. They can easily withstand the load created by the flow of rainwater. Therefore, you can easily use the hot tub when it rains. However, it would help if you kept a close eye on the pump so it does not flood with water. Otherwise, it may fail.
❄ Winter. Hot tubs are designed to keep you warm on cold days. However, which temperature can they withstand? Most manufacturers of inflatable hot tubs do not recommend using them at temperatures below 40°F. Firstly, the heater will not be able to work efficiently and maintain the set temperature. Secondly, electronics may start to work incorrectly or fail because it is not protected from freezing.
What Is the Lifespan of Inflatable Hot Tubs?
Any device eventually becomes obsolete and breaks. As for inflatable hot tubs, they last an average of 3-5 years. Sometimes users report problems after a few months and manufacturers are willing to help solve them in such situations. As for hard-shell hot tubs, they last for 5-20 years. It is 1.7-4 times longer than inflatable ones.
Summary: Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Worth It?
Inflatable hot tubs are not just a compromise solution. They have advantages and disadvantages that distinguish them from the shell ones. In this article, we got acquainted with them and are ready to answer the final question of this article: are inflatable hot tubs worth it?
✅ Yes, of course, they are worth it! They are simple, convenient, portable, and cheaper than hard shells. Also, you can find inflatable hot tubs with hydro jets, which will provide a full massage. As for the disadvantages, they cannot outweigh the advantages because if you are aware of them, you will be able to deal with them.
🤤 Have fun in your brand-new inflatable hot tub!
💧 How often should I change the water in my hot tub?
You should change the water in the hot tub every 3 months. During this time, chlorine accumulates in the water and begins to dissolve more slowly.
🕐 Is it possible to always leave an inflatable hot tub up?
If you use an inflatable hot tub all the time, you can leave it up all the time. However, if you won’t use it for more than three weeks, it’s better to fold the hot tub to avoid bacteria in the stagnant water.
📌 Do inflatable hot tubs pop easily?
Most inflatable hot tubs are made from durable puncture-resistant material. Therefore, they are difficult to pierce.
🔫 Do inflatable hot tubs have jets?
Yes, they can have the bubble or hydro jets. The first type is more suitable for relieving tension, and the second one is for a full massage.
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