The brands I like and dislike and why

The brands I like and dislike and why

There are 3 kinds of hot tub companies.

  • Ones that are great marketing companies building midgrade spas at stupidly high prices
  • Ones that build mid-grade mid-priced spas. 
  • And ones that make great hot tubs in the middle price area. This last group is always where you want to be because its the best value and the best tubs. 

The great marketing ones are often owned by big corporate equity investment firms that apply a very simple business model that is very profitable for the shareholders but not a good thing for the guy buying the hot tub for a few very solid reasons.


The hot tub brands I consider to be in this messy group that IMHO is your worst options are: HotSprings, Caldera, Limelight, Endless pools, Arctic spas, Dimension One, Sundance.
Their business model is this:

  • Create very expensive Branding, marketing, and advertising campaigns that are seamless and harmonious and make the products appear to be a cut above the rest. They are super good at this even knowing what I know when I get immersed in their marketing I’m even impressed.
  • Go to a cheap to build places like Mexico, or china and get parts made that only fit your hot tub so you can control both the cost fo the parts and the availability… basically, ensure you get money from the customer forever at what every high price you dictate because they have zero options.
  • Build to a mid-grade standard but have lots of magic, like goofy flippy floppy jets, miracle chemical reduction systems, wifi automatic systems etc.
  • sell the spas only through high-end retail stores.

When you buy these overpriced spas you are really paying two things… You are paying half for the hot tub and half for the massive marketing and high-end retail costs… you literally are spending half your money on smoke and mirrors. and these tubs are nowhere near as well built as the really well-made spas.


The hot tub brands I consider to be in the middle group are: American Whirlpool, Vita, Maxx, Viking, Dynasty, Premium Leisure, Pinnacle, Strong etc 
Their business model is simple:

  • Build a mid-grade mid-priced spa
  • Usually, they do one or two of the expensive things (shell, plumbing, insulation, parts) really well and cut corners on usually the shell construction and insulation.
  • Some of these are reasonable buys some are absolute shit shows, its a risky group not only between brands but we see some real quality control issues with this middle group and there are a lot of lemons that get through into the market.

The hot tub brands I consider to be in Top Group: Artesian, Twilight, Garden spas, getaway spas, elite, Master, Healthy Living, Clarity, PDC, Coast (pending factory inspection), and then a bunch of fringe guys like Bullfrog, Beachcomber, Nordic, Marquis (undergoing factory revamp and having issues right now)

These guys are in the sweet spot of building to a high standard with good quality control and not blowing their brains out on the shitty 90’s style marketing and branding bullshit.

  • These guys spend the money on the build:
    • They use good nonhardening full-foam insulation- expensive but the highest R-value
    • They hand roll shells with Vinyl ester resin cores and build them strong enough to support their own weight.
    • They use efficient plumbing systems that greatly increase flow rates and they glue and clamp the plumbing lines.
    • They Use good reliable expensive OEM parts that are easy to source and competitively priced.
  • They often sell through lower overhead operations 
  • Their marketing and branding is hit and miss and scattered, it does not have the polish (or the cost) of the high-end marketing guys.

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Hello from Manitoba, Canada. My husband and I are looking at hot tubs – talking about the worst time to look! Availability is zero, which means we will have to wait until end of winter to receive it. Definitely a sellers market. This is a daunting task, and the maximizer in me will most likely spend countless hours researching. I’m thankful I stumbled across your site. Thanks for all of the valuable information! Would you have any connections/recommendations in the Winnipeg area? Going to look around today, so if you have any suggestions we would love to hear them! Thanks!… Read more »

Hi Sharon,

If you’re in Winnipeg go check out the folks at Krevco Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs. They are on our all-star list for dealers and they really know how to take care of customers AND they sell Master Spas, one of our preferred brands

Chris, thanks for your input. We live in Central PA and have been looking at purchasing a hot tub. With COVID are any of your normal recommendations (i.e Master etc.) needing to supplement lower quality parts to fulfill demand? Any recommendations on dealers in this area?

Hi Doug, With Covid and all, everyone is seeming to want to stay home and buy a new tub, prices are up and availability is down. With Master Spa, lead times are way longer than normal, as they are maintaining build quality. They are just swamped right now with 4 buyers for every tub they have. We deal with them a lot and have some influence, and maybe able to reduce lead times. You should try our private buyers service and if we can’t save you at least the fee, we’ll refund it. Plus you’ll have us backing you if… Read more »

This info is amazing, I just wish that the dealers made it as easy to find out what brands they sell too.

I am going to be looking for a hot tub in Sedona, AZ in November…and I think I found a Bullfrog dealer, but the rest (as near as I can tell) are in your “worst options” group. Do you happen to know of any that I missed that you would recommend? Thanks in advance for any and all help!

Hi Sebastian, The Bullfrogs use a cheap ABS shell and lower end control systems but the biggest issue I have are those jetpacks. They have had a lot of issues with standing water and even mould behind those and it’s just another fancy marketing gimmick that lures customers instead of focusing on quality build and components. For better options,
You’d be much better off with a quality tub from Master Spas, Artesian or PDC direct.

What do you think of Aqua Living?

Hi Jak, Aqua Living is a retailer not a manufacturer what brand were you looking at?

Hey Chris- We just found you while starting our hot tub search. We’re in NJ and are willing to spend around 10K to soak our aching muscles. Which brands would you recommend at that price? Thanks so much. Love your site.

Hi Jay, For the best options, check out PDC, Artesian or Coast Spas. We have a great All Star dealer in your area too, Master Spa too Click here for details, ask for Ben, he will look after you…

Hi! My Wife and I are stuck between the R45 special edition by Saratoga – quoted $8374 usd price includes delivery, startup chemicals, cover lifter. 3 years part and 2 year labor warranty.

the American Whirlpool 471- quoted $9,874 usd includes delivery, chemicals, cover lifter. Life time warrant on frame and insulation. 5 year on parts and labor.

Which would you recommend and is are the quoted prices reasonable?
thanks for your help in advance we are stuck!

Hi Tasha, Saratoga is one of those brands that does a lot right and then screws up on one major thing – in this case, the shell. It’s what they call “ridgidized three layer” which is market-speak for a thin cradle-supported shell. Id’ go for something that has a hand rolled self-supporting fibreglass shell
American whirlpool, they are a lower end unit with cradle supported shells, no clamps on the plumbing and low R-value insulation. Check out our video on R value, click here.
Better options with, Master Spa, PDC or Artesian.

Hi Chris I’m really interested in a Garden Leisure 863L what are your thoughts on the hot tub

Hi Rob, it’s a cheaper plastic shell with good parts not a nightmare but it really should be priced like rotationally molded spa shells, not like fiberglass acrylic shells.
You don’t mention where you are, so I cant recommend a local dealer, but better brands to look at: Master Spas, PDC, Artesian or Coast Spas

Let me rephrase, I mean of the good hot tubs that have top of the line shells without the need for cradle/ supports.

I was going to do gravel base but I’m wondering if I could do gravel picture frame or the real heavy retaining wall stones for picture frame.

Hi Rich, All tubs will require a full base, not a picture frame style shape. It can be a slab of concrete, paving, gravel etc. but strong enough to give the tub even support across the whole base.

Hi, this is probably a stupid question, but… Are all hot tubs weight on the perimeter frame? I ask this because Im wondering if I could build a level picture frame retaining wall with the dimensions of the new hot tub, that it would set on? OR does it have to be the entire surface area? I’m old/health issues/broke down (hence the need for hot tub:) and generally think outside of the box, and DIY most of my home projects, and just thinking a picture frame would be easier for me to build rather then digging, leveling and entire surface,… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Rich a

We have a 15 year old Hydropool that is so old it’s basically a bath tub with one working jet so the thought of 50+ jets is pretty overwhelming. We’d like a energy efficient 5-6 person tub that soothes the muscles. We are up in Muskoka and would like to keep it under $10k. Any recommendations on where to start is appreciated

Last edited 4 days ago by Val

Hi Val,

With Covid right now it seems that everyone is staying home and they all want a new hot tub. That has prices high and availability low. In your area I would call up Premium Wholesale Home and leisure in Mississauga and ask about the Getaway Bar Harbour or the Clarity lines from Master

Hi Chris,

We live in the Denver area and are looking at a Dynasty’s Radiance series. For the price (approx $10K) it seems to have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive spas we have looked at. I have seen your review from awhile ago but from what we saw in the undercarriage it looks like they have changed a lot. They do still use the 2x3s for construction but it looked legit. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Hi Mike, Dynasty is still a no-go for us. They use a sub-standard control system and perimeter insulation which is not only less efficient than foam but also puts your pumps into an environment as hot as the tub which will shorten the life of the pumps. Most importantly though is that shell – we have developed an algorithm that computes a shell strength factor that takes everything into account such as material, surface area, weight, etc. and gives us a hard value to compare. The better tubs all have factors over 70 (on a scale of 0 – 100),… Read more »

Hi Chris. I am looking for a hot tub. Since I never owned one and I am not sure how often am I going to use it, I don’t want to spend too much money on it. My budget is $4.5k max. Could you please recommend a brand or a dealer in Tampa Bay, Florida area 34655?

Spent few hours on this awesome website and Dreammaker, Getaway or Nordic would probably be my target. What is your opinion on the Dreammaker EZ line?

Last edited 6 days ago by Patryk

What SPA to chose the Marquis Elite Hollywood or the Jacuzzi J-235? Plus for the lounger I’m a big guy going 250 lbs so what do you think?

Hi Peter,

I’d go with the Jacuzzi. They’re solidly built and a bit overpriced but while the Marquis looks good on paper, we tore one apart and didn’t like what we found at all. See this review

Hey guys,
Awesome website…very honest guidance and advice!
We live in just north of Toronto/ON.
We’ve been quoted the following (from Premium Wholesale):
$12,644 CAD (~$9,575USD) for Clarity Balance 7 or Precision 7; AND
$14,369 CAD (~$10,880USD) for a Healthy Living HL7 or HL7.5
Recognizing the current COVID situation – are these prices reasonable?
Any thoughts on these models (in terms of quality, jets, power)?
Plus – can I negotiate?
Thanks for your time!

Hi Alex,

Premium is a great dealer and those are both awesome tubs. I prefer the Clarity to the HL though just because I think the HL is too contoured and heavily moulded so it’s hard to move around and you are restricted to each seat. Plus your knees are bent quite a bit. The Clarity is more open concept with barrier free seating. Build quality on both is top notch though

Thanks very much for the input…any thoughts on quoted price for the Clarity models (i.e. too much, good deal)?

Do all hot tubs leak, or just some brands? I was told my a service tech that Arctic Spas are notorious for leaking, which is why they push their perimeter insulation, whereas Cal Spa, Master and others use full foam and build the tubs properly so they won’t leak. Is this true do you think?

Hi John,

A well built hot tub such as Master, Artesian, PDC or Coast ahem all their plumbing lines glued AND clamped which is why they see far fewer leaks than some of the other brands. That’s one of the things that we look for in any tub we recommend

I just found this site…SUPER helpful…THANK YOU! My wife an I are in the market for a swim spa. Because of what I’ve learned here we’ve dropped Integrity and Catalina from our list of options. That said we’re leaning towards an H2X 15 or 18 Deep unit. Both have a similar waterline. We were quoted from what I thought was Master Spa’s order desk a price of $28K for the 18D and $27K for the 15D. Is this a good price? Would you be able to beat it if we signed up for your personal service? All these places are… Read more »

Hi Dax,

If we can’t save you money on the private buyers service, we’ll refund you the fee (and we are sure you’re properly taken care of)

Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the great tips and information. I have been researching hot tubs for 6 months and have taken your advise on the Master Brand, particularly the Twilight 8.2. problem is getting one here in the Toronto market…delivery May 2021 right from Master dealer. Recently I found a 2016 Sundance 880 from a reputable dealer for $8500 (mint condition, they serviced it for 4 years, and they ae including a full 1 year warranty). Any advice on the Sundance or should I wait for the Twilight at double the price?
Thanks,

Hi Ajay,

Sundance is a low to mid-grade tub and I don’t care what kind of condition it’s in, that’s a crazy high-price to pay for any 4 year old used tub, warranty or not, especially a Sundance. Wait for the Twilight. I know it’s a wait and a lot more money but this is not something you’re gonna use for 3-4 years, it’s a 10-20 year purchase

Hey Ajay, This is the tub we’re interested in as well, seeing Premium Wholesale/Master dealer in Mississauga this week. Did you get pricing?

The only dealers in Portland Maine sell bulldog and caldera. Any suggestions. There are no folks who service twilight which you suggested. Thoughts between caldera and biullfrog For a three seater? Appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Bullfrog is better than Caldera. In my opinion it’s somewhat middle of the road and overpriced but a far better option than the Caldera

Hi, your articles are so helpful! I am in southern NH and looking for a 5 person hot tub for therapy for my medical condition. It must have a lounger seat but I don’t need fancy lighting, stereo, waterfalls etc. I’m fine with basic but I don’t want to be wasting my money on junk. My ideal budget is 5k. Thank you!

Hi Katie,

With Covid it seems everybody is staying home and they all want a new hot tub so prices are high and availability is low. That means getting anything decent for under 8-10k will be a challenge and getting anything with any form of effective therapy jottings going to run you more like 10-12k

Hi Chris,

We are looking for a reliable 5-7 capacity hot Tub under $10K that is reliable for the Northern Ontario weather. We are from North Bay Ontario!! We have been looking at the Canadian Spa Company but we aren’t certain what we should be looking for. Any suggestion on hot tubs would be awesome.

Hi Greg,

With Covid it seems everybody is staying home and they all want a new hot tub so prices are high and availability is low. That means getting anything decent for under 10k will be a challenge but something like the Clarity Precision 8 will not be a lot above that and it is huge with a massive footwell (which is important for larger numbers of people)

I’m in the Boise, ID area.

Any recommendations on where to get a 7 person SPA for $7K or under?

Thanks

Hi Greg,

With Covid it seems everybody is staying home and they all want a new hot tub so prices are high and availability is low. That means getting anything decent for under 7k will be a challenge and getting a 7 person tub under that number will require an act of God

Hello

I’ve been looking at the Catalina Hampton as well as the Pinnacle PS-852. Which would you recommend between the two? I’ve been quoted $8K for the Hampton. Is that a fair price?

Should I just wait for the Evolution Spas Stockbridge price to come down again at Costco in the Spring? I think they quoted $6K at its cheapest.
Can I get a quality 7-person hot tub for less than $7K?

Hi Greg,

Both the Catlina and Pinnacle are about the same quality as the Evolution and if you want to know the truth on those check out this video.

A better bet than any of those would be something from Home Depot because you’re still getting a mid-range tub but at least you’re paying a fair price for what you get

Looking at purchasing a hot tub or swim spa, recommendation of good quality. We have looked at local dealer who carries Signature Spas and another carrying ThermoSpa, having difficult time finding reviews for SS..Recommendations?

Hi Amy,

Signature is made by the same people that make Catalina, Pinnacle and Tranquility – basically a mass-merchant mid-grade tub with a cradle supported shell, no clamps on the plumbing and poor insulation. Thermo-Spa is in the same category and right now it seems everyone is staying home and wanting a new hot tub so even these lower end units are priced wayyy too high. Check out Master Spas, PDC, Artesian or Coast

We are in portland Maine and looking for a good 3 person hot tub. Price is not an issue. We want quality at a fair price and good jets and insulation for Maine winter. Any suggestions and good dealers? Thanks for all your helpful info. This is more overwhelming than buying a car!

Hi Ken,

Start with the Master line, specifically the Twilight 6.2 or 67.25. Top notch construction and the best therapy tub on the market (which is why I have one for my 28 broken bones……:))

Dealer would depend on where in Maine you are located but look up Crocker Sales in NH – first rate dealer who take care of their customers

Hi Chris, My family and I are looking for a simple, good quality, nothing fancy 6 person hot tub. Want some hydrotherapy for back pain. We’re strongly considering a Nordic Jubilee LS and really like it. A local dealer quoted us at $7650 (Feb delivery) including stairs, cover, delivery, 6 months chemicals and ozonator, but I keep feeling like this price is too high. We also looked at a cal spa escape (tropical maybe?), but felt like it just didn’t seem like it was as high quality, delivery Nov, price $8500. Don’t want to overspend and don’t want to buy… Read more »

Hi Lee,

That’s a fair price in this market for Nordic. The market is really hot right now and that has prices up and availability down and with the backlog I think it will be the New Year before we see things settle down.

I like the Nordic better than the Cal in terms of build quality but also have a look at the Getaway line from Master. Great budget priced tubs

Hi Chris, I’m looking at purchasing a hot tub from Coast spas. I see you have it listed as a company you would recommend as making a quality hot tub pending a factory visit. Was wondering if you have had a chance to visit the factory or inspect their tubs further? Do you still think they are a quality tub? I know they use Balboa components and the shell is Fiberglass with bonded steel reinforcement In the fiberglass(don’t know if the fiberglass is hand rolled). Insulation looks to be a sprayed in foam of some sort. I think they say… Read more »

Hi Mark,

We haven’t been able to visit Coast (or anywhere else for that matter lately) but yes the do use a hand rolled shell, full spray foam and a good parts list. Coast is definitely a solid tub

Hi Chris,
We are first time buyers from the UK, and feel like we are going round in circles, hopefully you can point us in the right direction, we have been to all our local dealership (Not that they have much in these curent times), we have a sort list of : Florance by Caldera, Flair by Hot Spring, 720 by Beachcomber, and J345 by Jucuzzi, All are about the same price. We are looking for a tub that will be reliable and give us years of pleasure. what’s our best choice, Thanks.

Hi Chris,

I’m a first time buyer in the SF Bay Area. Have been looking at the Endless Pool E500 and feel impressed by the swim machine.

But paused by the price tag and your reviews above. If my goal is fitness swimming (not Olympian or competitive), which brand would you recommend that has the smoothest, widest current for swimming between PDC, Artesian and Master at a more reasonable price point ~$20-25K? I also notice that there aren’t any dealers in the area for these brands (or at least I can’t seem to find it).

Could you help?

Thanks

Hi Yvonne, For fitness swimming the depth is far more important than the width and the Trainer 15D or Trainer 18D from Master would be at the top of my list. They’d be right around the top end off your budget depending on which you chose but you’d be getting something that would definitely serve your needs. The PDC and Artesian are good units but don’t compare to the Trainer lineup for exercise, they are more suited to lounging. The Endless is not a well built unit so I’d stay away from that one. Check out our private buyers service… Read more »

Hi Chris,

I’m a first time buyer in the Seattle area looking for advice on what dealer to visit and what brands to consider. I’d like to get a tub for hydrotherapy due to neck/back pain but my wife just wants a tub that “looks nice”. Looking for a value buy with a budget $10K and seating for 5-6. Any suggestions in our area would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Bullfrog jet packs…. energy savings ? Dozen different jet packs for different massages ? Is it all a gimmick? I looked all of the jet packs over, wouldn’t even know which ones to pick other than the shower one is a no go definitely.

Thank you for your knowledge

Hi Chris, thanks for all the helpful info. My wife and I are first time buyers in San Pablo, CA. Your site has pushed us toward Master Spa but I’m looking for something at a lower price-point. We want a 6 (or more) tub. What are your thoughts on American Spa? Any other suggestions? Thanks!

Hi Tim,

Right now with Covid it seems as if everyone is staying home and wanting g a new hot tub and that’s got prices high and availability low but in the Budget lines look at:

Getaway Hot Tubs (made by Master)
Garden Spas (made by Artesian)
South Seas Spas (made by Artesian)
Nordic Spas

Thanks guys.

Bill – Do those recommended brands use standard replacement parts, or proprietary?

My budget is 5 – 7k. I want something that won’t break down often, and I know that this might sound trivial, but since I am a music addict, I want something with a built in bluetooth sound system.

I’d be interested in learning more about the private buyers service; how do we set that up?

All those lines use OEM parts and nothing proprietary so good to go there.

As far as built in stereos go, stay away from them man. I’m a music addict too and I get your wishes but it’s a high-cost option for a low-quality sound system and I’ve yet to see a sound system in a hot tub last more than 12-18 months. A far better solution is a good quality waterproof speaker system.

Check out the private buyers service here

That’s great info – thank you!

Hi Chris, your site has already been helpful, and definitely considering further consulting. Basically, we want a tub that is simple and flat, 6x6x2-3′ deep, made out of metal, wood, or tile. No jets needed. Maybe this already smacks of absurdly expensive – or just plain ignorant – but that’s the aesthetic we want, and we want to try and do it as economically as possible. Luckily we live in New Mexico and know a cadre of highly capable builders and metal workers, but I wanted to hear from an expert opinion before we really jumped in the deep end.… Read more »

Hi Mark,

You can source a spa liner for in-ground tubs (the type that are typically next to swimming pools) but with all my experience in this industry I would not consider building my own. You will still need 1-2 jets for water circulation as well as a skimmer and a heating/filtration system. Properly equipped and insulated, it will cost you far more than a budget tub from a good brand with minimal jets

Hi Bill,
Thank you for the quick response, super helpful. Can you direct me to some good sources for in-ground spa-liners, as well as the minimal-jet budget tub alternatives? Thanks!

Hi Mark,

The best place to source spa liners would be a pool company – sorry I don’t deal with them nearly often enough to have any contacts that might help.

For the budget tubs look at the Getaway line from Master or the Garden Spas lineup from Artesian

What about Great Lakes. Being from Michigan, I’m of course biased by the name. Heard general good comments from people, but not much substantial one way or the other.

I’m not sure about the Great Lakes, I’ve honestly never heard of them, it must be a small regional guy and TBH on these high priced items small guys can’t do it right… you need the volume and cash flow to innovate or even adopt innovation, and the same for efficient production lines. The little guys doing it right are priced way too high and the other ones are just building low end.

Thanks for the quick reply! Sorry, I think it might be emerald outside of this area, https://emeraldspa.com/great-lakes-spas/

Hi John,

Thanks for the info. Emerald is a low to mid-range brand. Weak shell, gecko electronics and a ton of cheap low-flow jets.

Thanks, that helps. Ok, tried the Master Spa here in Grand Rapids, they had a few, but not size we were looking for (7′). Other than that, April was what it sounded like. Looked at Bullfrogs and loved their 7′, but same story (“Marchish”). Seemed like soonest is Viking, Jacuzzi, or Sundanc 🙁

Hello, first time perspective buyer…after visiting Sundance, i discovered your site (thank you so much for all the info), I’ve reviewed your articles, which led me to the Master dealer (Niagara Hot Tubs) here in Niagara Ontario. Just want to be sure, the Clarity series is still one that you’d recommend? We’re looking at the Precision 7.

Hi Mark,

Those guys are great to deal with and on or all-star dealer list. They really take care of their customers and the Clarity is a very well built tub so you’re getting a great tub from a great dealer. You’re in good hands

What’s your opinion on integrity spas, more specifically, the swim spa line? Thanks

Hi Jared, Integrity is one of those low quality units that are not well built but backed by a lot of fancy marketing. Their warranty is lousy and a “limited 5 year” on the shell is absurd but there’s a reason for it. If you look at one specification – the weight of the units. The Integrity Barbados is comparable in size to the Master Trainer 15 but there is one specification that stands out – the weight. The Integrity is just under 2,000 lbs dry whereas the Trainer is almost 2,600 lbs. The trainer is better insulated but it’s… Read more »

Hi, do I get all this fancy optional MasterPur™ Water Management System: The synergistic blend of natural sanitizers Ozone, UV-C Light, and EcoPur® with the TS 67.25 or go with the Spa Marvel on your home page? Thank you for your time Chris

thanx for the quick reply, btw I do not see cal-spas in any of your 3 groups, which one do the fall in ? as well as Aspen spas manufactured in st louis, mo..?

Last edited 18 days ago by rich a

Hi Rich

Aspen – no go for me. Cradle supported shell, cheap low R-Value insulation, and some goofy no name heating and control system. There are far better options

Cal is a mid-tier tub and can be good buy if you have a good dealer

Any thoughts on Viking in general, are newer Viking spas going in the right direction compared to older ones?

Hi Pete,

Viking is one of those middle of the road tubs with some good, some bad. Plastic shell, sub-par insulation but they do use Balboa control systems. If you have a good dealer supporting you it can be a good tub provided you get it at a bargain price

Fortunately We do have a really good local dealer, but I’m not sure on the price. For $8000 out the door, we get delivery and installation, cover, cover lifter, water chem package, steps, and it’s a Current Legacy 2, with the two pumps, 51 jets, led lights the works, minus speakers and a touch screen, which we wouldn’t want anyway. Everything seems great, and we like the balboa parts, but spending that amount of money on any hot tub makes us nervous. We appreciate your time and knowledge!

Hi Pete,

One of the top brands on the market is Master Spas and the Master Twilight 7.25 would be comparable to that Viking in size. Master uses full foam insulation which is damn near weightless so that’s not a factor but the Twilight comes in at 935 lbs dry compared to the Viking at 550. That weight difference is shell construction and that’s what makes me nervous of the weaker shells. In my opinion that’s over-priced for a mid grade tub when you can get a top of the line unit like the Twilight for 10k

Hey! New to the hot tub game trying to help my grandparents get a good deal in the GTA area Ontario. Looking at Beachcomber right now (fits price range) a simple 4 seater don’t really need much extras. Any recommendations on something simple? Thank you

Hi Stephanie,

Check out the Getaway line by Master Spas from Premium Wholesale Home and Leisure in Mississauga. It’s a great line of tubs and they’re a first-rate dealer

What are your thoughts on the Passion Solace spa tub?

Hi Terry,

Passion is anther one of those mid-grade brands. Good plumbing and control system but cradle supported shell and cheap insulation. Unless you can get it real cheap there are better options out there

thoughts on Matser Spa range at Hot Tub Superstore in Blackpool UK? 13/16 amp v 32amp? is it really worth it? which range would you recommend

I’m so pleased I found your site!

I have one question please. I’m considering buying my first spa. Overall I lik to just soak, no jets. So fancy jets aren’t important to me. Which brand do you believe makes the most reliable inner workings – pumps, blowers, heating unit ect.? And which is the most energy efficent? Best warrenty?

Thank you very much!

Hi Mitch, I’ve got videos on all those points.

Artesian, Master and PDC are my top for parts and reliability,
The hot tub parts game and how it affects your long term satisfaction

Energy efficiency Artesian and Master do better,
https://hottubuniversity.com/hot-tub-insulation-systems-numbers/

Warranty can depend on the dealer, there are things to watch for there as well.
https://hottubuniversity.com/hot-tub-warranties/

Any thoughts on Wellis brand hot tubs? Specifically the CityLine Paris? We were quoted $10,500 for one near DC (with cover, lift, steps, delivery & installation included). Is that a good price?

yeah don’t do it, mines going back

Hi,

We are about to purchase out first hot tub here in St. John’s, NL. We are not finding a lot of variety of brands. Beachcomber is unable to give us a delivery any time in 2020 or even early 2021. Our other option is Hydropool 660 /695 or Maax (American whirlpool 471 or 481). Worried about durability and of course tub insulation and energy efficiency for the winters here. Any advice/help is greatly appreciated!

I would like to thank you for great information and insight. I am an engineer and I like the way you simplify things. Congratulations

I don’t see Hot Spot or FreeFlow Hot Tubs. What are your thoughts and experiences with those brands?

I’m a little bit confused, I see multiple websites for Hydropool’s. I was considering their 970 or 770 self cleaning hot tub from the website with the url containing Mississauga which is where they are built which is a nice thing but is this the same company as the one you’ve mentioned to avoid? I was recommended this company and have read good reviews but I’m curious because I have yet to come across a bad review.

Thank you for your reply, I finally went into the store and felt like it was more of a sales pitch on “self cleaning” rather then a true breakdown and description of what makes their hot tubs unique/great or even worth their higher prices. I am starting to look away and more towards Master spas as you’ve recommended. Do you think it’s worth the extra money to jump from the Clarity Balance 9 to the Legend 900. The reason I am looking at these larger tubs is because they would fit perfectly in my cold room which I am turning… Read more »

Hello, what about Sunrise spas ? Any thoughts there

appreciate that, thank you – and what about dynasty spa ? Comparible ? Those are the two we are debating about here in Alberta thank you ! This is very helpful

Any thoughts on the Canadian spas and swim spas generally ?

Hi I’m glad I found your site ! Independent reviews are so hard to find ! Especially when companies are manufacturing in China when offices in Canada or USA. I’m in UK Kent, and am struggling to find any reliable reports for a swim spa or two separates. Don’t want to sacrifice the swim for the spa or visa Versa ! Most sites have marketing blurb but it’s hard to trust what they say and there doesn’t seem to be an effective monitoring body ! … for U values, running costs etc. I realise you have to pay a fair… Read more »

Thanks I will take s look !
Also going to look at https://www.artesianspas.co.uk/

I’m shocked they say they are in Kitchener, Ontario and suggest they are a quality brand !
… it’s hard to find independent advice.

Looking to downsize from a D1 Chairman 2 that served me very well. Looking for a 2-4 person hot tub for mostly myself. Looking for power and jets. I think there are D1, HotSpring, and BullFrog dealers near me. If there’s a good match, I’ll travel a little to get the right spa. Not really interested in a lounge. Seem to float up in the one that I have. Thanks in advance.

Hi Vinnie,

Of those three Bulfrog would be the best of them but there should be better brands available to you depending on where you live

I don’t see Cal Spas on your list. What is your opinion of them?

Hi Karen,

Cal Spa is not a terrible brand as long as you order the right tub. They offer two different control systems so make sure you get a Balboa system and order the full foam option (which should be standard on any tub)

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