Best hot tubs 2022: our top picks from Lay-Z-Spa, and more

The best hot tubs for creating a luxury spa experience at home – from the best inflatable hot tubs to the top hard-shell options for relaxing in the garden

Best hot tubs graphic with green background and two lazy spa models and one hardshell model
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(Image credit: Future)

Looking to upgrade your outside space? Adding one of the best hot tubs on the market to your patio or decking has to be the ultimate way to maximise the full potential of your garden. 

Whether you opt for one of the best inflatable hot tubs to take advantage of quick set-up, flexibility, and affordable price points, or you opt to invest in a static hard shell design, both options will allow you to relax and unwind in style, all in the comfort of your own backyard.

As such, we've rounded up the best hot tubs on the Gardeningetc team's radar below, including a mixture of compact two-person hot tubs and more spacious five-person options that are perfect for parties. There's also plenty of buying advice to help you make the right purchase at the bottom of this page.  

Pair one of these top tubs with some of the best garden furniture and you’ll have yourself an outdoor living space you (and your guests) just won’t want to leave.


Best hot tubs to buy in 2023

Why you can trust Gardeningetc Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Helsinki hot tub lazy spa in brown cut out imageGold badge

(Image credit: Robert Dyas )
The best hot tub overall

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 5-7
Dimensions: H66cm x D180cm
Water capacity: 1123L
Air jets: 180

Reasons to buy

+
A spacious inflatable that's ideal for large families or parties 
+
Faux-wood finish gives a more premium look
+
Easy to use and control
+
Quick to inflate 
+
180 massaging air jets
+
'Freeze shield' technology for year-round use

Reasons to avoid

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Large footprint
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Less energy efficient than other options
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No Wi-Fi controls
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No LED lights

One of the best hot tubs out there for capacity, as well as doing a great job of balancing performance and price, the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki tops our list as our best hot tub overall, with not just great customer ratings but a win from our reviewer. 

The important stuff
Easy to inflate, this blow-up hot tub has much thinner walls than most other inflatables, which makes for more space inside the hot tub – and a whopping 1123L water capacity – that allows up to seven adults to enjoy a spa experience at one time (although we think five people ensures everyone has comfortable leg room). The spacious design is matched by a generous 180 massaging air jets.

Features
Despite its thinner walls, this tub feels sturdy, and the wood-effect print on the exterior – inspired by traditional Scandinavian wooden hot tubs – puts it a cut above the average inflatable tub in the looks department. Not to mention, it can heat, massage and filter all at the same time, with the powerful integrated air jet system offering a welcome jacuzzi experience. Bliss! This is also an outdoor spa you can use all year round thanks to its 'FreezeShield' technology. 

Testing
Our reviewer loves this model for its stylish design and its heating capacity that keeps the water temperature at 40 degrees without fluctuation. The downside is that that larger water capacity does cost more to heat, and the thinner walls make it less energy-efficient than some on our list.


LAY-Z-SPA Barbados AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub in grey cut outSilver badge

(Image credit: Currys )
An energy efficient Wi-Fi controlled hot tub

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 2-4
Dimensions: H66cm x D180cm
Water capacity: 669L
Air jets: 120

Reasons to buy

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Wi-Fi controlled
+
More energy-efficient than similar models
+
Easy to use and control
+
Quick to inflate 
+
'Freeze shield' technology for year-round use

Reasons to avoid

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A bit of a squeeze for four people
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No LED lights

This energy‑efficient inflatable hot tub has Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control your hot tub from the Lay-Z-Spa app so it's always ready when you are.

The important stuff
A four-person hot tub, Lay-Z-Spa Barbados offers a 669L water capacity, although we'd suggest that two adults is going to be a more comfortable arrangement, as the thicker sides do make it more of a squeeze inside. 120 air jets create massaging bubbles, and 'FreezeShield' technology allows it to be used all year round.

Features
This tub has two main selling points, firstly the Wi-Fi connectivity that allows you to control every aspect of your hot tub from your phone via an app, including turning it off/on, checking and changing the temperature, and activating the massage system and timer. That means you could have it turned on and heating as you leave work ready for a relaxing dip by the time you get home. Secondly, the Barbados includes an integrated insulated outer liner and top cover that makes it 40% more energy efficient when compared to similar models in the Lay-Z-Spa range – a great way to reduce energy bills and save on running costs.

Testing
Our tester loved this model and found the Wi-Fi App really handy as she could easily view the real-time pool temperature, and turn the heater, bubbles, and filter on from her phone. That energy-efficient performance also impressed.


the Lay-Z-Spa Cancun 2-4 Person Hot Tub, the best cheap hot tub

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)

3. Lay-Z-Spa Cancun 2-4 Person Hot Tub

One of the cheapest inflatable hot tubs

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 2-4
Dimensions: H66cm x D180cm
Water capacity: 669L
Air jets: 120

Reasons to buy

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Affordable
+
Easy to use and control
+
Quick to inflate 
+
'Freeze shield' technology for year-round use

Reasons to avoid

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A bit of a squeeze for 4 people
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Less energy efficient than other options
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No Wi-Fi controls
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No LED lights

If you're looking for an affordable hot tub, then the Lay-Z-Spa Cancun is generally one of the cheapest hot tubs on the market, and has some pretty impressive features to boot.

The important stuff
Similar in size to the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados, the Cancun hot tub shares many of the same specifications, including a 669L water capacity, 120 air jets, and 'FreezeShield' technology that allows it to be used all year round. The big difference is the lack of energy-efficient lining, and the absence of Wi-Fi connectivity.

Features
Although it lacks the insulation of the newer Barbados and Zurich Lay-Z-Spa inflatables in our round-up – and so how much it costs you to heat and maintain the temperature of the water is likely to be higher – the older Cancun hot tub does offer a big reduction in price, with this hot tub generally on sale for well under £300. The grey rattan outer is also a nice touch that adds a little more style than the classic 'paddling pool' outer that cheaper models tend to favour.


Lay-Z-Spa Vegas grey inflatable hot tub

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)

4. Lay-Z-Spa Vegas 4-6 Person Hot Tub

An affordable inflatable hot tub with a little more space

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 4-6
Dimensions: H61cm x D196cm
Water capacity: 935L
Air jets: 140

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Easy to use and control
+
Quick to inflate 
+
'Freeze shield' technology for year-round use

Reasons to avoid

-
Less energy efficient than other options
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No Wi-Fi controls
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No LED lights

If you're looking for an affordable hot tub with a little more space, then the Lay-Z-Spa Vegas with its 935L water capacity could be the ticket.

The important stuff
A size up from the Lay-Z-Spa Cancun, the Vegas hot tub has enough room for six people at a time to enjoy its therapeutic heated waters (although, as with all hot tubs, that figure denotes maximum capacity, so we'd suggest four to five people is a more relaxing experience). It also adds an extra 20 air jets to the mix, with 140 bubble-making jets compared to the Cancun's 120 air jets. 

Features
Similarly to the Cancun, this older and more affordable model lacks the insulation of the newer Barbados and Zurich Lay-Z-Spa inflatables. So how much it costs you to heat and maintain the temperature of the water is likely to be higher in comparison. It does however feature 'FreezeShield' technology for year-round use, a rapid heating system, a power-saving timer, plus an insulated lid and safety-clip cover.


Lay-Z-Spa Zurich hot tub greySilver badge

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)

5. Lay-Z-Spa Zurich 2-4 Person Hot Tub

A stylish suede-look hot tub that's energy-efficient

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 2-4
Dimensions: H66cm x D180cm
Water capacity: 669L
Air jets: 120

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish suede outer
+
More energy-efficient than similar models
+
Easy to use and control
+
Quick to inflate 
+
'Freeze shield' technology for year-round use
+
Built-in cup holders

Reasons to avoid

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A bit of a squeeze for four people
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No Wi-Fi controls
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No LED lights

Tried, tested, and loved by the Gardeningetc team, the Zurich is stylish option that offers 40% more energy efficiency than similar models.

The important stuff
Very similar to the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados, the Zurich hot tub is quick to inflate, and offers a four-person, 669L water capacity, 120 air jets, and 'FreezeShield' technology that allows it to be used all year round. The only difference is the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity, which generally means you'll find this hot tub at a cheaper price point.

Features
Just like the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados, the Zurich includes an integrated insulated outer liner and top cover that makes it 40% more energy efficient when compared to similar models in the Lay-Z-Spa range. This option also comes with a stylish suede-effect outer, which we think gives it a more premium appearance than the usual rubber outer.

Testing
Our reviewer upgraded their Lay-Z-Spa tub from an old model, and couldn't help but notice how much better the Zurich was when it comes to energy efficiency, staying hot much longer after use. It also scored in the style stakes, with the grey suede-look outer offering a more premium look than most, and our tester loved the built-in cup holders!


Lay Z Spa Bali 2-4 Person LED Hot Tub, the best inflatable hot tub with LED lights

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)

6. Lay-Z-Spa Bali 2-4 Person LED Hot Tub

An inflatable hot tub with LED lights

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 2-4
Dimensions: H66 x Dia.180cm
Water capacity: 669L
Air jets: 120

Reasons to buy

+
Remote-controlled LED lights in 7 different colours
+
Easy to use and control
+
Quick to inflate 

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit of a squeeze for four people
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Less energy efficient than other options
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No Wi-Fi controls
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No freeze prevention, so not suitable for year-round use

This hot tub is all about the night-time illuminations, making it the ideal hot tub for wowing evening guests.

The important stuff
Similar in size and specs to the other four-person Lay-Z-Spa models in our round-up, this inflatable offers 120 air jets, easy inflation, and just enough room for four adults. But as evening falls, the reason for upgrading to this hot tub becomes clear. 

Features
Seven different colours of LED lighting set into the hot tub's inner walls allow you to fine-tune the evening's ambience. You can switch up the colour to match the mood via the wireless remote or use the auto-colour mode to cycle through the shades.

However, this older Lay-Z-Spa model does lack the insulating layer to increase energy efficiency, and it doesn't come with the usual freeze-prevention technology, so won't always be suitable for year-round use.

If you want to add wow-factor to your garden parties – especially considering the extra investment needed to gain the LED feature isn't that much of an increase on the comparative models – then this party hot tub could well be worth the spend.


Canadian Spa Kelowna 21-Jet 4-Person Hot Tub cut out

(Image credit: Canadian Spa )

7. Canadian Spa Kelowna 21-Jet 4-Person Hot Tub

A hard-shell hot tub with plenty of bells and whistles

Specifications

Type: Hard-shell
Seats: 4
Dimensions: H79cm x W153cm x D211cm
Water capacity: 700L

Reasons to buy

+
Traditional style 
+
LED mood lighting
+
Easy installation 

Reasons to avoid

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The most expensive on our list
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Only really suited to large gardens with permanent space for a hot tub

For a traditional hot tub that has all the extra amenities you could desire, this Canadian Spa four-seater hot tub delivers the ultimate outdoor spa experience. 

The important stuff
This is a 'proper' hard-shell hot tub – no inflating required – and its high-quality frame is designed to last for years and years, with no worries about punctures or deflation. However, that does mean it's going to take up a lot more space to store, or it will need a permanent spot in the garden

Features
It offers individual hydro-massage jets that can be individually adjusted, LED mood lighting, a backlit cascading waterfall, a Bluetooth sound system, and a built-in aromatherapy canister.  It has the highest price tag on our list, but if you're after the ultimate hot tub we think this is a great option for that luxury spa experience.


How do I choose a hot tub?

There are a few key hot tub brands out there but a wide range of styles, types and sizes. Before you buy it’s important to consider which would work best for you, and your garden. This includes asking whether you’d need/prefer: 

A portable or static model? An inflatable hot tub isn't just a cost-effective choice, it also means it doesn’t have to sit in one spot year on year, plus you can deflate it easily to store it away when it's not in use. A hassle-free option, an inflatable hot tub comes packaged in a compact box, and just requires unfolding, inflating, and then filling with water – which you may need to allow 1-2 hours for, depending on water pressure. Built-in hot tubs are a more expensive, permanent option although they can make a stylish garden feature. This type may also require specialist involvement to be craned in, depending on its size and access. 

Two, four, six-person or more? How large your outdoor space is and how many people you're expecting to use the hot tub at any one time will, of course, impact your hot tub choice. When choosing, bear in mind the hot tub marketing can often be a little optimistic... In other words, what's described as a six-person hot tub often means four or five would be more spacious and comfortable seating experience. 

How much does it cost? Whilst hardshell hot tubs can cost from £3,000 to £10,000, the best inflatable hot tubs range from just £300 to £1,000 (potentially even less if you check out our hot tub deals page), and can be easily unplugged and stored away when not in use. When budgeting for your new hot tub, don’t forget to factor in an increase to your energy bill (we’re sorry to say).

Are hot tubs expensive to maintain?

How much your hot tub takes to run will depend on its size, water capacity and how much you use it. Providing you don’t come into any additional spending on repairs or replacements, a good-quality hot tub should cost you no more than £30-£40 per month, according to hot tub brand Aqua Warehouse. This is for an average four-person hot tub of a 700 litre capacity. Though to put it simply, the more you use the hot tub the more energy and water you will use.

What surface can my hot tub go on?

As long as you put your hot tub on a solid base and can run electrics to it (unless you've opted for a stove-fired option) you can put it anywhere! Though it is always advised to use a RCD-protected socket and not an extension lead. 

The area required of course depends on the size of the hot tub you choose; consider the circumference for the hot tub itself, plus additional access room. 

Corner spots are good for providing a little shelter from the wind, however, having your hot tub right next to the wall of your home is probably too close. The steam that comes from the water may seep into windows and water splashed from the tub may cause a slippery walkway. You'll also want to avoid placing it under a tree to prevent leaves and debris from raining down while you're soaking. 

There's plenty more hot tub ideas in our design guide too. 

Do you need a hot tub cover?

Most hot tubs come with a cover included, which can be very useful for insulating and maintaining the temperature when the tub isn't in use, as well of course for covering the open water from debris and making it safer for children. They're also make life much easier when it comes to hot tub winter care

Along with a cover you might also want to think about a hot tub shelter for over the top of the hot tub whilst you're in it. This can be especially useful on sunny days when you want some protection from the rays, or some shelter from the drizzle!  As an alternative to a permanent canopy, check out the best gazebos for some budget buys. 

How often do you need to clean a hot tub?

Enjoy crystal clear waters with our guide to how to clean a hot tub. Otherwise experts at the British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association (opens in new tab) are clear that even a straight-forward inflatable design will require some hot tub maintenance. Their advice is that 'the essential points on upkeep relate to the water's quality and purity and a sound filtration system. All hot tubs and swim spas will come with a warranty, and your dealer will be able to advise you on how to keep high-quality water in the hot tub'. 


How we chose and tested these hot tubs 

The team at Gardeningetc team has tried and tested the badged hot tubs first-hand. For those hot tubs we haven't yet managed to review, we've analysed the specifications and compared attributes, including dimensions, water capacity, air jets, energy efficiency, and added extras like Wi-Fi connectivity or LED lights. We've also taken into account customer reviews across multiple retailer websites.

headshot of Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

Alex is an award-winning Mixed Latinx author and freelance writer based in Dallas. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 100 years old and sits on half an acre of land, so she had plenty of space to put the Lay-Z-Spa (Bestway, in the US) Helsinki inflatable hot tub through its paces. She loved the space it offered to relax with family and friends.

headshot of Linda Clayton
Linda Clayton

Linda has been reviewing products for Gardeningetc, Homes & Gardens, Livingetc, Ideal Home, and Real Homes for a number of years, so we knew the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados could be in no better hands. She was suitably impressed, and would recommend it to anyone looking for an affordable, portable hot tub with low running costs. 

Annie Collyer in garden
Annie Collyer

Annie is the Ecommerce Editor for out sister brand Real Homes, so she knows her way around a good product when she sees one. She put the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich hot tub through its paces and loved the stylish suede outer, its energy-efficient insulating layers, and the built-in cup holders!

Click here to find out more about how we test products at Gardeningetc.

Amy Lockwood
Decor Editor

After specialising in Textile Design for Interiors at Winchester School of Art, Amy spent many years working in the design and interior industries, including styling and visual merchandising for many well-known brands. She now writes for multiple interior publications, including Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, and Real Homes to offer advice on creating a well-designed interior, whether that's choosing the perfect shade of paint, what to look for when investing in a new sofa, or sourcing on-trend and sustainable products for the home.


Amy joined the Gardeningetc team to bring her design knowledge outdoors, offering advice on what to consider when shopping for the best garden furniture, how to choose the ideal garden bench, and sourcing everything you need to create an outdoor living area that will become the perfect place to kick back and relax when the sun shines.