Best hot tubs: 7 inflatable and hard-shell buys for backyard relaxation

These are the best hot tubs, including inflatable, 2-person and plug and play options for the ultimate home-spa experience

Best hot tubs graphic with lazy spa and hard shell inflatable options
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(Image credit: Future)

Wanting one of the best hot tubs to buy in 2022? We have all the models, types and sizes at various prices, so you can find the best option for you. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of opulence to your outside space or simply searching for a spa day that won’t cost a bucket load, having one of the best hot tubs is the ultimate way to just, relax. 

There are inflatable options that are great for small spaces, and hard-shell types best suited for bigger lawns and those looking for a permanent fixture. You can plug-in and go with some styles and even control them from your phone. Though no matter which one you choose, you’re sure to become the house that hosts. Hot tubs are a great way to entertain family and friends, especially if you’re in the market for a larger 6-person tub. 

Alongside the best outdoor furniture, having a hot tub is an essential element to turning your backyard into a space to enjoy, even after dark. So bring the bubbles home and enjoy a relaxing experience in the comfort of your yard with one of these best hot tubs.


The best hot tubs 2022

An inflatable hot tub with a brown faux wood-panel exterior filled with waterGold badge

(Image credit: SaluSpa)
Best overall hot tub

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 5–7
Dimensions: 71" x 26"
Water capacity: 297 gal

Reasons to buy

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Great for big families 
+
Stylish, premium design 
+
Freeze technology for year round use 

Reasons to avoid

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No LED lights 
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More expensive 

One of the largest hot tubs out there that offers more space than most, with equally great performance, and at a reasonable price, the Bestway Saluspa Helsinki is our best overall. Its ratings are bubbling with 5 star feedback, as is our review. 

The important stuff
It’s easy to set up with a built-in digital inflation pump. And whilst it is an inflatable option, it’s cleverly designed with thin, rigid walls that allow for more space inside; in fact there’s room for the whole family with space for up to 7 (though we found that to be a bit of a squeeze). 

Features
What makes it stand out from the rest is its faux wood-panelling print, making it look less like a kiddie pool and more like a Scandi-spa. Not to mention, it can heat, massage and filter all at the same time, with a powerful integrated 180 air jet system offering a welcome jacuzzi experience. Though this luxury look and feel does make it one of the most expensive on the market. But that’s not to say it’s expensive to run. It has a power-saving button to time your spa to heat up, reducing energy consumption when not in use.

Testing
We have reviewed this product and compared it against its smaller sister the Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii. Our reviewer loves the stylish design of this one and thinks it’s enough to steal the show. But the Freeze Shield technology that lets you use it all year is a bonus. The only downside? It doesn't have hydrojets that are great for muscle aches that the Hawaii model offers.

A grey inflatable hot tub with thick outer walls and a white interiorGold badge

(Image credit: SaluSpa)
Best inflatable hot tub

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 4–6
Dimensions: 71" x 71" x 28"
Water capacity: 222 gal

Reasons to buy

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Affordable and good value
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Easy to set up
+
Portable and easy to store

Reasons to avoid

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No built-in seating 
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No LED lights 

The Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii hot tub takes the top spot for our best inflatable option for a variety of reasons, ultimately because it's the perfect balance of performance and price.

The important stuff 

To get the downside done first, this model does not come with Freeze technology for all-year use. Instead, Bestway suggests that users shouldn’t use the spa if the outside temperature dips to 14˚F. But as a smaller, 4-person model that’s super portable, there’s no problem putting it away over the colder months. 

Features 

Equipped with a massage and hydrojet system, the hot tub offers two different relaxation experiences. Theres the ‘massage’ system that creates plenty of bubbles for an authentic jacuzzi experience and a hydrojet function for a more powerful massage. Performance aside, the appearance is a little kiddie paddling pool like, but the thick inflatable sides felt structurally sturdy when we were inside

Testing 

After testing the Helskini model, our reviewer jumped at the opportunity to try another inflatable hot tub. Being a great price but offering all the amenities of a hard-shell model, she called the Hawaii ‘the best of the best’, as far as inflatable hot tubs go. In particular, its portability, powerful jets and ability to withstand cold temperatures put it at the top.
 

Best hot tubs for two aquaspa cut out in dark grey

(Image credit: aquaspa )

3. Aquarest Spas 300 2-Person 20-Jet Plug And Play Hot Tub with LED Waterfall

Best 2-person hot tub

Specifications

Type: Hard-shell
Seats: 2
Dimensions: 80” x 68” x 31”
Water capacity: 160 gal

Reasons to buy

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Best for couples with small outdoor spaces 
+
Stylish stone-like design 
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Use year-round 
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LED lights 

Reasons to avoid

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Not suitable for entertaining 
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More expensive 

Don’t worry if you only have a small outdoor space, as with this AquaRest Spa your backyard jacuzzi dreams can still come true.

The important stuff
This best 2-person hot tub comes with foam insulation and a cover, designed to retain heat so you use less energy to save on your electricity bill. Which also means it can be used year-round - impressive on a standard 110v plug. This can somewhat justify its high price point. But if you have a bigger space, and like this size, we think Aquarests larger sizes do venture on being overly expensive. 

Features
This hard-shell oval design creates the perfect intimate hot tub experience for you and your partner, or a friend. The two-chair design gives both people ample room to relax comfortably whilst receiving a generous 10 jet water massage, and the pressure is adjustable to suit each person with dual-side air controls. It may be small, but it has all the same bells and whistles as its bigger brothers, including LED lights and a cascading waterfall.
 

Bestway Miami hot tub in navy blue cut out with pump

(Image credit: Amazon )

4. Bestway SaluSpa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub

Best hot tub on a budget

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 5–7
Dimensions: 71" W x 26" H
Water capacity: 177 gal

Reasons to buy

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Easy to set-up 
+
Freeze Shield technology 
+
Super affordable 

Reasons to avoid

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No LED lights 
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Not the most stylish 

If you want the spa experience of a hot tub but can't afford the luxury price tag, the Bestway SaluSpa Miami is a great value for money alternative to more expensive options. And the reviews confirm it does the job and customers can't seem to work out why you'd need to splash out on a tub that costs considerably more. 

The important stuff 

At under $500 this is a great budget buy that also won’t cost too much to run. It's not too big in size with a smaller water capacity, so doesn't need too much filling and heating up. Considering this, it’s still pretty spacious, fitting up to 4 with enough jets to create a good amount of bubbles. The Freeze Shield technology also means you get your use and relax all year round.

Features 

For the price, you can’t expect too much style wise. It has a heavy-duty plastic outer shell, that is slightly paddling pool-esque - we’d also advise you take care with it when storing away in case of holes or punctures. All in all, you’re sure to spend time soothing your body and soul for an affordable price with this Bestway Saluspa buy. 

A hard-shell hot tub with a dark brow panelled exterior and white interior with purple LED lights

(Image credit: Canadian Spa)

5. Canadian Spa Company Saskatoon 12 Jet Plug and Play

Best plug and play hot tub

Specifications

Type: Hard-shell plug-and-play
Seats: 4
Dimensions: 63” x 29”
Water capacity: 185 gal

Reasons to buy

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Plug-and-play for easy instillation 
+
LED lights in several colors 
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Classic design 
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Use year-round 

Reasons to avoid

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Longer to heat up 
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Most expensive on this list 

If you’d prefer a hard-shell option, with the ease of an inflatable, then this Canadian Spa Company Saskatoon spa is a great plug and play choice. You can retain the luxurious features from a hard-shell option, without the effort of installation. 

The important stuff
It runs on a standard 110v plug, so you don’t need to hire a professional to wire it in. Which is impressive considering it's built with high-density foam insulation and a heat reclamation system to make it energy-efficient, despite the slow heat-up time. You can save energy, money and also ensure your tub stays warm, even in harsh Canadian winters.

Features
It has 12 hydrotherapy jets with adjustable pressure controls to suit your massage mood, and LED lighting in several colors allowing you to customize in accordance. It has great overall performance while being aesthetically pleasing. What more could you want? It may be more expensive than the best inflatable hot tubs, but if offers everything you’d be looking for without the technical fuss. 

Bestway SaluSpa Zurich 4-Person Portable Inflatable Round Hot Tub in light grey cut outSilver badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Bestway SaluSpa Zurich 4-Person Portable Inflatable Round Hot Tub

Best 4-person hot tub

Specifications

Type: Inflatable
Seats: 4
Dimensions: 57" x 28"
Water capacity : 177 gallons

Reasons to buy

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Easy to use and control
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Great size for families
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Luxury look
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Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

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Noisy in bubble mode
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Not suitable for large groups 

Loved by our Gardeningetc reviewer in the UK, we’ve rated the Zurich hot tub by Bestway, or Lay-Z-Spa if you’re from England, our best hot tub for 4. 

The important stuff
Why? There’s space for four, possibly even 2 adults and 3 kids (whereas you’ll find others’ recommended capacity is a bit uncomfortably close), with plenty of room to splash and have fun. It’s somewhat basic in design, but it has all you need for a family-friendly tub you can all enjoy. For every month of the year, if you’d like too thanks to its Freeze Shield technology. 

Features
This hot tub is more energy efficient than previous Bestway models too, since it's equipped with an insulating cover that keeps the heat in well. Similar to other models, it has a rapid heating system, plus a total of 120 jets. Though it's not smart, so you can't control it from your phone. 

Testing
As mentioned, we had one of our UK colleagues test out this best hot tub, and over in the UK Bestway Saluspa is known as Lazy-Z-Spa, so we reviewed the UK version of the same product. They upgraded their best hot tub from an old model, and couldn't help but notice how much better the Zurich was when it comes to energy efficiency, even over the loud noise when in bubble mode. It’s also a design lover's dream with a stylish grey suede-look finish.

Bestway SaluSpa St Moritz 85 x 28 Inch 5 to 7 Person Outdoor Inflatable Portable AirJet Hot Tub Pool Spa with Cover, Pump, and Filter, Brown

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. Bestway SaluSpa St Moritz AirJet 7 Person Inflatable Portable Hot Tub Spa

Best 6-person hot tub

Specifications

Type:: Inflatable
Seats:: 7-9
Dimensions:: 85" D x 28" H
Water capacity: 314 gal

Reasons to buy

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LED lights
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Use year-round 
+
Great for entertaining 
+
Stylish rattan design 

Reasons to avoid

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Pricier 
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No LEDs 

This is the biggest hot tub on our list. So if you have a large family or love entertaining friends, everyone can enjoy the fun with this Bestway SaluSpa St Moritz hot tub. It may be more expensive than others, but the size and capacity makes up for it.

The important stuff
You can unwind with up to 9 people in the tub at one time. Come rain or shine too with its Freeze Shield technology, that lets the hot tub parties commence all year round. We wouldn't recommend letting your friends in all the time though since a tub of this size will take some time to fill and heat up, and that's without considering the energy it would use to stay at the optimum temperature. 

Features
The beauty of this tub comes both in its looks and portability. Easy to put away and re-set up due to it being surprisingly lightweight, you can move it around for a change of scenery. Still, its modern rattan effect would look great in any yard, as evidenced by many in the reviews.


How to choose the best hot tub for you and your backyard 

Finding the best hot tub for you and the type of yard you have can be tricky, considering the amount of options out there. Providing buying a new one is also a big buy, choosing a hot tub to invest in should take a bit more deliberation. There are a few questions below we'd suggest asking yourself before you buy. 

How much does a hot tub cost?

Type and budget: Having a spa in your backyard is no longer just for the super-rich, there are options to suit any pocket and whatever style of backyard ideas you might have in mind. Note it's also important to factor in costs such as water and electric usage as well as potential instillation costs.
There are many affordable hot tub options available, with the best inflatable hot tubs being superb value for money. And if you have a larger budget then hard-shell options start from around $3,000 and can go up to $10,000 for luxury tubs with additional features. 

How much does it cost to install a hot tub?

Most of our options above are inflatable hot tubs or plug-and-play spas that use a standard 110-volt outlet. These don’t require any professional installation so they are nice and easy to set up yourself. They also draw less power which can save energy and reduce your electricity bills. However, this can mean they take longer to heat up and can have difficulty staying warm in colder temperatures. 

220-volt hot tubs and above and most hard-shell hot tubs will require professional installation that can cost thousands of dollars. Despite this they tend to heat up quicker and stay warm all year-round. 

Where to buy a hot tub?

Should you still be looking for a hot tub to suit your needs, then you can browse plenty more buys from our favorite recommended retailers, just below.

When is the best time to buy a hot tub? 

Generally speaking, the cheapest time to buy anything is out of season. For hot tubs – especially less insulated inflatable and plug-and-play models – that tends to be early winter. So any time from October through to December. Although it can sometimes be harder to find products in stock during this time. 

To keep track of all the biggest discounts and out-of-season sales, make sure to check out our guide to the best hot tub deals

Buy the best hot tub accessories 

Hot tub accessories add an extra layer of tranquility, or alternatively fun, into your backyard spa experience. They can range from anything from headrests and LED lights to cup holders and cool boxes. They will really elevate your hot tub experience, and are available at a range of different price points. 

How to maintain a hot tub 

We have a guide on how to clean a hot tub with lots of useful information on looking after your new buy. And our hot tub winter care tips have lots of advice on making the most of your space in the colder weather.  

Otherwise, there are steps to general hot tub maintenance, including clearing debris or testing and adjusting your hot tubs’ chemistry and PH levels that will need to be done weekly. As well as completely draining and cleaning your hot tub every 3-4 months. 


How we chose and tested these best hot tub buys 

The team at Gardeningetc, across the US and UK have tried out a few of these hot tubs first-hand, to give a fair verdict on the ones we rate as best. The first two options have stand alone reviews, so you find out more detailed information on anything from unboxing to heating up and cleaning. For the hot tubs we haven't have a dip in, we've researched customer ratings and compared them against a criteria that measures their size, seats, how much water they use against how much they cost. Our how we test page has further details on this evaluation process.