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

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.

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:

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.

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.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich pump

(Image credit: Future)

These are the average temperature times to get this hot tub to 40˚C. We tested these times and found them to be pretty accurate.

  • From 10˚C to 40˚C - 15.5 hours
  • From 15˚C to 40˚C - 12 hours
  • From 20˚C to 40˚C - 10 hours
  • From 25˚C to 40˚C - 8 hours
  • From 30˚C to 40˚C - 5 hours

Just bear in mind that if the temperature outside goes below 6˚C, you'll need to turn your hot tub on. Its pump will keep the temperature of the water between 6˚C and 10˚C to avoid damage. Do not use the spa should the temperature hit -10˚C. 

If you're going away over a period of time when you think the temperature might really drop, then you're best to empty the hot tub and store it somewhere safe, along with its pump, such as a garage or shed.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich design

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich inside diagram

(Image credit: Lay-Z-Spa)

Undoubtedly, this hot tub looks great in a garden. It's sleek and its pump is also nice and compact, too. If you lift up the digital display, you'll find two cup holders for your vino to sit as you soak. 

Its suede look blends with the cover so that when being protected it still looks the part. EnergySense™ insulated outer and top cover provide 40% more energy efficiency than other inflatable hot tubs and its soothing 120 AirJet™ massage system and 40°C water offer the ultimate year‑round home spa experience.

Inside the hot tub, there is a floor which looks like your classic white and blue tiled pool floor. The walls feature EnergySense™ insulation to make it heat faster and retain heat well, too.

Cleaning and maintaining the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich

When it comes to hot tub maintenance, the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich is pretty much the same as maintaining any other hot tub out there. Some people like to leave their hot tub switched on and heating up year-round, but we haven't been doing that bearing in mind the rise in energy prices.

Instead, we make sure to switch on our hot tub a day before we hope to use it and switch it on to heat and filter. Usually, over the summer, it has sat at a constant temperature of around 19˚C to 22˚C, so it only takes a minimal amount of time to get to a hot temperature.

We've been testing the water several times a week and adding in whatever is needed to get it to the right levels. Other than that, we empty it once a month and clean the hot tub filter then, too. Much like a vacuum cleaner filter, you need only clean this under water and then leave it outside in the sun to dry.

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich filter

(Image credit: Future)

When the hot tub is empty, you can wipe down its inside if needed. I found the best method for cleaning a hot tub is to wipe it with a damp cloth or use some cleaning products on it. Don't go for anything too harsh though. 

Otherwise, you can wipe down the exterior of your hot tub with ease, or you can even pressure wash it if necessary. Just don't get too close on the highest setting.

A pool of water normally forms on the top of the hot tub after it has rained. You'll want to push this off to prevent the hot tub cover from marking.

Should I buy the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich?

If you're searching for the latest hot tub ideas for your outdoor space, we think that the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich is a great investment for year-round use. It's also ideal for entertaining kids and adults, plus it looks great in a garden, too. 

It would easily fit in a smaller space as it can be tucked into a corner of a garden, though we do recommend that if you can, place it underneath a hot tub shelter, such as a gazebo, that can be moved. This way, you can use it rain or shine, winter or summer.

It's a great buy for those searching for a hot tub that's easy to use, smart looking and affordable.

How does the Lay-Z-Spa Zurich compare to similar models?

At Gardeningetc, we've reviewed a range of hot tubs from Lay-Z-Spa. Undoubtedly, we think it's a brilliant hot tub brand and perhaps one of the best out there when it comes to value for money, quality of product and also warranty, which is two years.

We've also tested the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki, which seats more people, (five to seven in total). This is definitely a great buy for larger gardens, bigger families and if you have a large budget. It RRPs at £899 and much like the Zurich, is designed with style in mind. It offers a wood effect look and it boasts 180 jets in total.

You can usually find the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki on sale for around £500. 

The Lay-Z-Spa Barbados has also been reviewed by us and given 4.5-stars. This hot tub, out of the three we've tested, is definitely the happy medium. It seats four and price-wise, sits at £699 RRP. What it does have that the Helsinki doesn't, is a smart pump. This pump connects to Wi-Fi which syncs it with your phone so that you can control it from anywhere. Otherwise, it has 120 jets and in terms of looks, doesn't offer anything special. It's plain grey so not an eyesore. 

You can usually find the Lay-Z-Spa Barbados on sale for around £420.

In comparison with these two models, the Zurich is more cost-effective and simple to use for any technophobes out there. It also looks great with a suede-like look. It has an RRP of £699 but you can usually find it on sale for just shy of £300. A total bargain if you're asking us!

About this review - and our reviewer

Lay-Z-Spa Zurich tub in grey, in back garden

(Image credit: Future)

Annie tests a huge range of outdoor buys for Gardeningetc, from barbecues to hot tubs and everything in between. Annie lives in a flat in south-east London and whilst she does have a small amount of outdoor space – a terrace with artificial grass on one side and her furniture on the other – she's always searching for compact garden buys.

Annie tested this hot tub at her parents' home in Hertfordshire, in their design-savvy garden. They recently got rid of their older model Lay-Z-Spa as they were seeking an upgrade, and they got in both looks and features. 

We are not paid to review this product (nor any products we test). We've been allowed to keep this hot tub so that we can review it in the wintertime, too, and report back on how it retains heat. 

Annie Collyer
Deputy Ecommerce Editor

Annie is our Deputy Ecommerce Editor at Gardeningetc. With 4 years of experience when it comes to sales events, from Amazon Prime Day to Black Friday, she is our deals guru if you are after something specific, but are on a budget (aren't we all right now?). She also spends her time reviewing garden essentials for us, think everything from hot tubs to pizza ovens, patio cleaners and even BBQs. With a sizeable terrace to decorate and fill, Annie is always on the hunt for garden buys to make her life easier, and her South London space prettier.