The 6 Best Inflatable Hot Tubs
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Bring the relaxing luxury of a spa to your own backyard, patio, or deck with one of these inflatable hot tubs. They are portable, simple to install, and just as hassle-free to pack away whenever you need to have your space back. We've ranked our selections by ease of setup, heating time, durability, and other special features that should enhance the Jacuzzi-like experience. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 22, 2020:
While the big name brands like Coleman and Intex continue to offer some of the best options on the market, some lesser-known brands have struggled to remain relevant, especially with some significant durability issues like the ones seen with the now-removed Aleko Oval. That model had a pump that tended to fail after one or two years, making it a pretty lousy investment despite some nice features.
If you stick to the big names, you're going to have a fine time with durability, but there's still a matter of capacity to consider. A model like the Coleman 90454 SaluSpa Hawaii might last a long time, but it's limited to 177 gallons, which is a bit small for four people to enjoy. Something like the Bestway Hawaii, by comparison, offers 222 gallons. That's more than 55 gallons per person compared to the Coleman's measly 44. But the Intex PureSpa Plus offers the best of both worlds, with a 210-gallon capacity in its four-person model, and a 290-gallon capacity in its six-person model, all while boasting a high degree of durability.
One last thing to scrutinize with these tubs is their air jet quantity and positioning. A lot of air jets might give you a nice jacuzzi experience, with a relaxing massage from all those little bubbles, but oftentimes the air from those bubbles can be a lot colder than the water, and too high a bubble count could actually decrease the water temperature. I might be a bit biased as I'm a much bigger proponent of still water in a hot tub, but if you're deploying your tub in a cold environment and you want those air jets on full blast, you might also want to look for a model with fewer jet openings.
April 19, 2019:
We wanted to create a list of inflatable spas that would ensure buyers didn't feel they were missing out by skipping the more expensive permanent Jacuzzis. Durability was a top priority, which is why the MSpa M-113S caught our attention, with six layers of PVC material in the walls. The Coleman SaluSpa should also last a long time without showing wear and tear, as it features I-beam construction — a special build that resists force and shouldn't bend. We understand that, for some, Jacuzzi time is social and for others it's private. That's why the large Gymax Outdoor and the Goplus Six-Person made the list, both of which should be able to accommodate a small party, but the Aleko Oval also snagged a spot for those who just like to soak solo, or with one other person. There's no need to sacrifice style just because your hot tub features air-filled rather than concrete walls, and the MSpa M-113S, with its eye-catching design, proves that. Everybody appreciates the little perks that make hot tub time even more relaxing, so the Intex PureSpa Plus caught our attention, with its included headrests. The Aleko Oval also has a thoughtful addition in its beverage holder.
It Might Not Be A Time Machine, But Who Cares?
In a hot tub, we let our guards down a little, shed some of our socially conditioned armor.
Going back in time a little, at least in my memory, I can recall that only one person in my high school had a hot tub. It was a salt water hot tub attached to a salt water pool, and its very existence resulted in the most memorable (and forgettable) parties of those high school days.
That's because there is something innately magical about a hot tub, about the depth of relaxation it provides, especially when shared with other people. It's as though the calming waters and massaging jets not only relax our physical selves, but our emotional and psychological selves, as well. In a hot tub, we let our guards down a little, shed some of our socially conditioned armor. Our excess is less measured, our passions less deliberate. We are free to connect on a simple, honest, human level. They are, of course, also great for relieving sore muscles.
So, why wouldn't you want to take that reality and make it as portable and accessible as possible?
That's what these inflatable hot tubs offer you. They come to you deflated, almost mysterious in their packaging. You unwrap and inflate them anywhere you have electricity. Fill them with pure water and turn them on. The electrical current warms up a heating element kept in a separate filtration compartment through which the water gradually circulates.
In a matter of hours you have a portal to your most perfect self sitting on your deck, at your campsite, in your back yard, or anywhere you can find a place for it.
When you're done with it, it can easily be emptied, deflated, and packed back up for transportation and storage.
How Hot Is Too Hot?
It's probably never been said that a hot tub is an extension of one's personality. Hot tubs, after all, share a vast majority of their of features with one another, where the individual is as nuanced as the pock-marked surface of the moon.
The maximum temperature availability of these tubs is the next most important factor.
Still, there is an opportunity here to take stock of yourself in your pursuit of the perfect inflatable hot tub. As it stands, the very fact the you're looking into an inflatable hot tub rather than a more permanent fixture speaks volumes about your style. You've got more mobility in mind, less waste, and probably more fun.
All of these tubs can accommodate that spirit, but not all of them will allow you to share it with as many people as you like or get quite hot enough to suit your tempestuous temperament.
The first thing you ought to look at when comparing hot tubs is their gallon capacity. Anything around 150 gallons or below is liable to be a tight squeeze for two or more soakers, but beware: the inflatable tubs above that capacity are much larger when deflated for storage and transport.
The maximum temperature availability of these tubs is the next most important factor. Due to the compact nature of these systems, the tank for heating and filtering the flow of water is usually on the smaller side. That means there's a slightly lower max temperature with inflatable hot tubs than with a lot of in-ground or above-ground units.
Trust me on this one: the hotter, the better — within reason, of course. I don't want you starting a fire under your deck and cooking yourselves up like a couple of lobsters, besides, you can always turn it down.
Icarus Burned, And We All Benefited
If you're a little rusty with your Greek mythology, Icarus was a dude who got his hands on some wings, and, against the warning of his father, flew too close to the sun. The wings burnt up, and Icarus went plummeting into the sea. Like most Greek myths, pride gets the better of a hero.
Ikaria also just happens to be home to one of the first, and certainly one of the most famous hot tub collections in history, as the island was known for its hydrotherapy.
Where exactly he is meant to have fallen may be the subject of some consternation among scholars, but the inhabitants of one Greek island did their best to settle the dispute when they named their home Ikaria, claiming the hero fell in the waters closest to their land.
Ikaria also just happens to be home to one of the first, and certainly one of the most famous hot tub collections in history, as the island was known for its hydrotherapy. Was it the residual heat from Icarus' burnt wings that kept the waters warm? Probably not, but the healing properties of hot water have been used this way around the world for millennia.
In Japan, for example, natural hot springs and coal-fired onsen were the centerpieces of large resorts dating back to the 8th century.
Inspired largely by these resorts, some American manufacturers began making the kinds of hot tubs we'd recognize in the 1940s, and they've gotten a little bigger, a little sturdier, and with the advent of the inflatable hot tub, a lot more portable ever since.