Lay-Z-Spa Zurich hot tub review: is this the best hot tub for small families?

A brilliant buy for smaller households, the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich gets top points for looks and features

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in garden with lid on
(Image credit: Future)
Gardeningetc Verdict

This stylish and feature-packed hot tub wins in every department. It's the perfect size for smaller gardens and smaller families, whilst being anything but an eyesore on your patio, balcony or terrace. Not only that, but it retains heat very well making it kinder on your pocket, and it can be enjoyed by kids or adults alike with built-in cup holders.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Lovely design

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Great thermal cover

  • +

    Built-in cup holders

  • +

    Easy to clean

  • +

    Timer

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Setup was difficult

We've been testing the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich hot tub this summer, rain or shine, so that we can give you a true verdict on whether it's worth your money. This inflatable hot tub, just like most, is a great alternative for those with a smaller budget, and for anyone who would rather not put a permanent fixture in their garden.

The Zurich comfortably fits four adults, however, it doesn't have any built-in seat structures. It's easy to maintain and it comes with a thermal cover, so on some of the hottest days of the year we found that we needn't even heat it up. 

In fact, we enjoyed using it as a cold tub over the summer with the aim of heating it in winter for the full experience. Placing it in a sunny spot is also a good idea to keep running prices low, and it would be handy to own a collapsible gazebo to pop over it so that you can use it in the rain.

Read on for more information on how we tested this hot tub and what we thought, otherwise for plenty more picks, you can check out our best hot tubs buying guide.

Reviewed the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in August 2022
Annie Collyer author image Gardening Etc
Reviewed the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in August 2022
Annie Collyer``

Annie is our Deputy Ecommerce Editor at Gardeningetc, and she works to test everything from hot tubs to barbecues for us. Annie lives in a flat in south-east London with only a small amount of space on her terrace, so she tested this hot tub in her parents' busy family home in Hertfordshire.

With a keen eye for design, it was imperative that the hot tub fits in with their minimalist garden decor, so the Zurich was a great fit. Also, as frequent hosts to friends and family, young and old, it was a key factor for the hot tub to be easy to use.

It's worth noting that Annie's parents previously owned a Lay-Z-Spa a good few years ago. So, this upgrade came at a great time. The new technology is brilliant in comparison, and they find it very easy to maintain.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich specifications:

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich review

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)
  • Seats: Four adults or three adults and two kids
  • Water capacity: 669 litres
  • Cable length: 7m (approx)
  • Maximum heat: 40˚C
  • Dimensions (inflated): H66cm x W180cm (width with pump 221cm)

First impressions of the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich hot tub

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in box

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in box

(Image credit: Future)

When the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich first landed on our doorstep, we were impressed with how compact its box was. Though be warned: it's very heavy and will require two people to move it.

Immediately we opened the box and inspected what was inside, and then we went on to choose a spot for the hot tub to live. Once you add water to it, you'll find it very difficult to move. We suggest finding somewhere in a shady spot, or ideally placing your hot tub under a cover, such as a hot tub gazebo or covered pergola.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich parts

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich parts

(Image credit: Future)

When considering where you will place the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in your garden, you'll need to think about a few factors. Our hot tub arrived with a mat (opens in new tab) that you put down underneath it, to protect your floor and to help ensure you won't slip when getting out all wet. The mat is slightly larger than the hot tub itself, but you can use it to visualise where it will go if you buy it too. It fits together like a jigsaw. It's worth us noting that this mat will help keep heat in the hot tub too. If you can't invest in one, then try and get something similar for your hot tub surround.

The first thing to consider is that your hot tub needs to be close to an electrical socket. You also need to ensure that your hose will reach the tub when you need to add water to top it up or refill the tub entirely.

Place your hot tub somewhere sunny if you don't mind using it with the sun shining on your head because this will keep it at its hottest temperature, naturally. Also, be sure to consider its positioning when it comes to emptying. Should you have any grass, try and angle the hot tub so that the pump and the plug are close by your grass so that you can empty your tub straight on there, to make life a little easier. Our guide on how to drain a hot tub has useful tips to help with this too. 

A lot of the bits in the box were wrapped in plastic – just something to bear in mind if you're eco-conscious.

Setting up the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich before inflation

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich exterior

(Image credit: Future)

We won't lie: setting up the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich was a slight nightmare. We were missing a part, as it turns out, which was pretty key to the entire process. A washer.

With this in mind, I will say that it took longer than expected (Lay-Z-Spa claim 10 minutes). I'm not sure that even with the washer we would have been able to do it in 10 minutes, though, and it's quite fiddly. The instructions aren't the best so you might want to watch a video online like we did. We've had this issue with Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs before, with the instructions being on the poor side, so this won't be any different if you buy another model to the Zurich.

It's quite tricky to line up all of the holes in the tub with the sections of the pump, but first you'll want to blow everything up. It will initially look a little creased, but don't worry as these will disappear. You need to make sure that it's properly full of air to make its walls more comfortable to lie back on. Also, just a tip to blow up the lid at the same time as inflating the body of the tub.

We had three people setting up this hot tub as you ideally need more than one to help spread out the hot tub evenly. The only good thing was that once it's up you needn't assemble it again. It can live outside year-round as it has frost protection for the wintertime.

When it comes to filling this tub, you can expect it to take from one to two hours, depending on your water pressure.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich tub after inflation

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich tub after inflation

(Image credit: Future)

Using the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich

We don't leave our hot tub on all of the time, mostly because it uses quite a lot of electricity and in the current climate, this is not ideal. With this in mind, when we do turn it on we're sure to hit the buttons reset test reset on the lead. Wait til you hear a few beeps. You should then see the temperature of the hot tub displayed. For safety purposes, you need to press and hold the power button for three seconds to gain access to the pad.

This hot tub is very easy to use, just like other Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs, though bear in mind that it's not Wi-Fi-connected. It features a digital display that's pretty straightforward. It has a button for bubbles, one for heating, arrows for controlling and the pad lights up to tell you what's going on.

After unlocking the digital display, you'll want to press the flame button and set the temperature using the arrows. You'll hear a noise to signify that the heating element of the tub has switched on.

From here, you'll just have to wait and keep checking the temperature, whilst keeping the cover on and tight at all times. When it's ready to use, remove the cover and use the bubbles only when the cover is off. This hot tub has a total of 120 jets.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich in garden with lid on

(Image credit: Future)

In comparison to other (more expensive) hot tubs, the Zurich is quite basic. It can only be controlled via the digital display, whilst others are Wi-Fi controlled. Saying that, it offers everything you need in one place and it's anything but confusing. So much so that my nephews managed to work it out within about five minutes of using it. You can even child lock the pad but they soon worked out how to unlock that setting.

Temperature control

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich pump with drink on

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa )

Whilst testing this hot tub, we noticed that on average, it took one hour to heat 2°C. On the flip side, once the heating is off, it will drop around 1°C every hour. It will stabilise at a temperature based on the outside temperature. This temperature that it stabilises at will be a lot colder in the winter than in the summer.

Depending on the time of the year, the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich holds heat impressively well. The thermal lid, so long as it's kept on and pulled tight, should keep it close to the temperature outdoors. For example, when spending the day thoroughly testing this hot tub it was 22˚C outside. In the hot tub, the water was 20˚C. During the UK heatwave when temperatures were soaring through the 30s, we checked the hot tub and it was, too, in the 30s. Meaning we didn't even have to turn the heating on. But we did heat it for an hour or so before using as the heating element turns on the filter.

To come up to temperature, the hot tub will vary in time depending on the volume of water inside it. We never suggest filling it too much, otherwise, you'll end up heating water that will be spilled on the floor once warm. We recommend putting enough water in it so that it's just under the line.

We made sure to note how long this hot tub takes to get to heat (40˚C is the max). We turned it on to heat at 16:30 on our day of testing and noticed that it managed to gain 2˚C every 2 hours. The best part about this hot tub is that you can time it to heat up. So, if you're planning on using the tub in the evening then you can use the timer button on the display to set the tub to switch on, depending on the current temperature of the water, a set amount of hours ahead of use. This way you needn't unnecessarily heat it up.

Bear in mind that in winter the temperature of the hot tub will be a lot lower. We tested ours in the summer so can't comment on this (yet). It will naturally take a lot longer to get warm in the winter, though lower temperatures will obviously feel hotter, so you might not have to heat it all the way to 40˚C, but instead 36˚C or 37˚C.

As soon as you take the lid off this hot tub to get in, the temperature will drop quite rapidly. The same goes for when you turn off the heating. Whilst testing, we turned its heat off at around 11.30pm, when it was 35˚C. By 8am the next morning it had dropped by 7˚C, to 28˚C. 

In summary, this hot tub definitely keeps heat better than other hot tubs, bearing in mind temperatures drop drastically at night. The cover works wonders when heating or after use to conceal heat. Just be sure to put it on tight. The time your hot tub takes to heat will be dependent on several factors including the outdoor temperature, the surface it's on, its position in your garden and the temperature of your hose water or the water already in the hot tub.