Great Marketing Vs. Great Hot Tubs

Great Marketing Vs. Great Hot Tubs
7.4 Total Score

Great Hot Tubs or great marketing. You can’t have them both and you can’t relax in a brochure.

There are 2 business models for Hot Tub manufacturers and unfortunately, the best business model is to Build a mid grade spa and spend a lot of money on fancy marketing, spin, and advertising.

The reality is marketing trumps, and the pitch and the spin are nearly impossible to sort from the reality.

One of the best things you can do is this analyse where the money is being spent.

For example, we can pitch reflective foils as a good insulation system, and we can pitch perimeter foam or full foam as great systems but looking past the hype and the pitch to what costs the most is a great way to determine what is really the best system, it’s easy… Full foam uses 3x more of the expensive expanding foam so it costs 3x more… similarly, the good North American parts cost more than the cheap Chinese parts and building a good hand rolled fibreglass shell cost the most.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Hi Chris, Great site with excellent content! We have been looking at getting a hot tub for a couple months and just stumbled onto your site. We are in Colorado and we wondered why you don’t rate or list the Cal Spa in any of your talks, not even on your likes, dislikes and why page? We just went to a Master Spa expo and got interested in the brand but our NUMBER 1 concern is that there is NO DEALER in Colorado, thus no support if something goes wrong. That is also the number one complaint from customers is… Read more »

Hi Kim Chris toured the Cal Spa factory, last year and they are right on the edge with him. Definitely not a bad spa and very close to being in our top group! Master Spa, are obviously a popular brand, and as such there are loads of service guys who are experienced in working with their products. The reality is the idea of a local dealer (and if your local dealer is more than 50 miles away, he may as well be 500) is kind of dated, what you need after delivery is timely information, apps like SpaStar put that… Read more »

You are amazing!Great advice.
I am suppose to be accepting delivery on a Hot Springs Grandee High Life collection this was the last one in stock.. for 12,500..a store 50 miles down the road quoated me the same one with 5 month wait for 18,000. So I jumped at it thinking I was getting a deal of the century…then I found your website..Should I cancel delivery and find another Hot tub..or relax and ride this one out knowing I have 5 year warranty on parts and plumbing.

Hi Mathew Difficult position for me to advise, the Hot Springs range is firmly in our messy group. Slick marketing and excellent branding, but the tub itself, is second tier. Check out the warranty, as if and when you need it, its full of proprietary parts, and many of which are produced in Mexico. So, unless the dealer carries a good stock, then you could be waiting a while for a service call that can actually complete a repair. The problem you face, all decent brands have a long wait for delivery, late spring early summer in many cases. Coast… Read more »

Hello, we found a 2017 Marquis V84 HotTub with Microsilk technology for 7300. What would be a good buying price for that tub and would you recommend this hot tub? Cheers,

Last edited 2 months ago by RyaK

Hi Ryak Marquis – On Paper a good brand, but we pulled one apart a while ago, and the parts and build were not of good quality by any measure. Did we pick on a bad one, a Friday afternoon rush tub? Who knows, but I doubt it. The Micro-Silk. The selling point is that it injects oxygen bubbles into the water to purify and condition “like medical equipment” but in reality, it simply puts air into the water. Air has about 20% oxygen whereas medical grade oxygen is 100% oxygen. Its always been an expensive option, with little or… Read more »

We are seeing conflicting information all over the internet and, as a result, are thoroughly confused. We just bought a ski home and want to put a hot tub in the yard. Looking for something that would seat around 6 people. We don’t really have a set budget so with that in mind, what would be your recommendation?

Hi John
Probably best to start with having a look at our buyer’s guide, we are not a dealer, and not tied to anyone, so we can talk about the whole market.
Also check out our brand reviews, which talks about ‘our’ top brands.
Once you’ve had a good look around those pages, if your still a little unsure check out our Private Buyer Service, where we basically help you choose the right product for you, and negotiate the best possible price of your Spa choice.

Hi. I’m in Atlanta so have several choices. I owned a Hot Springs 20 years ago and didn’t have many issues. Much has obviously changed. Reviews I find show Marquis and CapSpas as the best models. Looking for best price for a therapeutic massage. Which would you go with?

Hi Tara
Did you mean CalSpa not CapSpas? If so its, not a terrible brand but it depends what you order. They do two heating and control systems you want to make sure you have the Balboa system not the Waterways system.
Marquis, Not a great lover of those right now, we pulled one apart awhile ago, and we found a whole heap of quality control issues, and poor quality parts being used.
Check out our buyers guide to Therapeutic spas.

Hello, we’re deciding between the HotSprings SX HotSpot model (incl circulation pump and ozonator at $6200) or the Master Spa Twilight TS-240 (no upgrades at $6900) and would like your recommendations. HotSprings is sold by a nearby dealer, whereas MasterSpa is sold by a distributor. We’re located in Marina, CA. and important features for us: energy and water efficiency, hydrotherapy massage and spa reliability and quality. Having local customer service seems like an advantage. Thank you!

Hi Monica,
It my opinion, it’s a no brainer, the hotsprings is at best a low to mid end Spa, with an old school mentality where the branding, marketing and a slick sales blurb are the priority. The reality is if we pull apart one of there tubs, there is nothing in the fabrication or the build to validate the high prices. To be honest, you are better off buying the Master Spa… much better construction and parts used.

Hello, we are looking at the Bull Frog M series, can you give me your opinion on this tub and if there is a better tub which one would you recommend?

i Melissa,

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, check out Master Spas, PDC, Artesian or Coast Spas

Hi Chris, what are your thoughts on UV systems and ozonator’s. I’m looking at purchasing a Twilight series tub and would like to know if the UV add on is worth it. Thanks

Best informational website I’ve found. I live in Raleigh, NC and buying our first hot tub. There are really only 3 different stores in the area each carrying different brands. So you can’t price match. Each store tells me why their tubs are better than the others. So I am so confused on which to lean toward because according to them, they are all great. The fact that they don’t show prices makes me feel like I’m out on a used car lot. I’m looking for an energy efficient, low maintenance, 6 person tub. But I’m confused by which brand… Read more »

Hi Tony,

Yep, that’s the hot tub industry – everyone’s got the best of the best and nothing else is any good. From those choices I’d go with the Artesian every single time. The Hydropool is poorly constructed and uses crap insulation and the Vita line is middle of the road. That’s a good price on the Artesian and it’s a good unit so I’d go for it.

Hi, I have narrowed down my choices between the Hot Spring Jetsetter LX, Jacuzzi J315, and the Bullfrog R5L. Those are the 3 brands available in my area. Due to Covid I can’t wet test so really looking for opinions. I like strong jets so that is one factor but also other things like quality, reliability, durability, and repair costs after warranty runs out are also factors. They are all similarly priced so that won’t be the decider. Between those 3 which would you buy? (I’m currently leaning towards the Jetsetter LX with the new salt system)

Hi Alan, First off, you are much better off ignoring salt systems. While they work well for pools they are not suited to spas and you will still have a chlorine based system (the chlorine comes from the salt). Don’t fall for the marketing hype of “new” salt systems or other “high-tech” water treatment systems. Instead go with the Spa Marvel system. Salt will get your chlorine from the standard 6 parts to million to about 3-4 but Spa Marvel will get you down to 1 ppm and it’s far easier than any other system – pour a bottle in… Read more »

Looking at the Master spa Twilight 8.25 versus the Bullfrog A-series A7. MasterSpa offered at $10,300 and Bullfrog at $12,500. Can you help me pick, and what do you think on these prices? Both include cover, steps, and delivery.

Looking at Master Spa T6.2 as have a very small yard. In Paris, Ont. Spoke to Kitchener shop that carries this product. Saying cost is $13,995.00 Canadian Covid special?. Is this a reasonable price? Seems high for smaller tub. I love your site. Any other models that cost less with same great build and components?

Hey there! Wow! Someone who actually takes the time in this minefield of marketing ploys to help you get to the right tub! Thank you so much man! I’ll dive in… First time tub owners, chronic pain and muscle issues. Going for the best in class for therapeutic aspects. Locally we can get MAXX, Beachcomber, Artic Spa and I’m not sure about Masters but I know they are within an hour or two. Any help in recommending what might work for us is greatly appreciated! We are in Corunna, Ontario which is directly across from Port Huron, Michigan. An hour… Read more »

HI, in some need of guidance. I’ve narrowed down the choices of two tubs to the Precision 7 by Master Spas or the J245 by Jaccuzi.

I can get either for a similar price range (=/- $1000.00) and would like to know what you suggest.


Hi Bob,
I’d go for the precision 7 just off build quality alone, Jacuzzi gets all their parts from Mexico and are custom so you can’t get them elsewhere, I’ve heard stories of people waiting forever to get parts or paying way more than they should for something basic. Good OEM parts are worth it every time The hot tub parts game and how it affects your long term satisfaction

Hi there, im over in michigan and i have been looking at spas for a week now with a budget between 6-8k. I thought i had settled on a viking tradition 1 but then randomly wandered into a masterspa dealer and fell in love with the masterspa twilight 8.25. The viking is $7,500 and the masterspa is $8,500 and both come with all the extra equipment. The masterspa is a little out of by budget, but i would only like to make this investment once, so thinking it may be worth it. My local dealer was absolutely amazing and so… Read more »

Thank you so much for your response! I feel much better about my decision.

Aw no problem Kristen, absolutely happy to help. We hope you enjoy your tub!!

Hi there. I live near London, Ontario (Canada). Never owned a hot tub before. Looking to try to stay within $8,000-$10,000 range. 5-6 person, with lounger. Local brands seem to be Sima, Artesian, Hydropool, Beachcomber, Dynasty and, of course, Costco sells the Evolution and AquaTerra lines (I’m reluctant to buy from Costco due to lack of service issues). Any thoughts on which of these to avoid, or one(s) you prefer of those listed here? I think the closest Master spa place I’d about 90 minutes away, so am reluctant to purchase this if no one local can service any issues.… Read more »

Thank you so much. It is very kind of you to take your time to answer my questions, and has really helped me narrow it down to just the Artesian. Take good care. Cynthia

Hi there, I live up near Edmonton AB, First time spa buyer. We’ve narrowed down to master or Artesian, both from what seem to be very good dealers. We’re looking at Artesian 860B or an 84″ master, not decided on model yet. (twilight is listed at 15k CAD, which is more than we can really afford so we’d likely have to go with a lower model, whereas Artesian is $10,200 CAD). Just wondering whether you have any advise? We just want a solid spa that is reliable and good for Alberta winter, and hopefully has some reasonable massage capability. Many… Read more »

What is your opinion of ThermaSpa Concord Silver and their non foam approach? And low chemical bacterial system? They quoted $12k. We live in Bay Area. Does this seem reasonable?

The reflective system is just mylar with a bit of closed cell foam on the perimeter,

They use a lot of Thermo branded terms for things to make them sound special or different but most them are just standard methods or in some cases old ones.

for 12k you could get a much better hot tub, you have tons of service people in the area so I would consider looking at a factory direct or a spa expo, I’ll see if I can find you something.

I was looking for information on how noisy hot tubs are, particularly during the filtration cycle. Are there significant differences between the brands on your A list? or between high end models and middle of the line? I found that very few manufacturers provide the actual DB ratings.

Help! I need to settle on a hot tub and have only looked at Marquis and Bullfrog. There seems to be so much information and I don’t have huge amounts of money. Trying to get a 5-6 seat hot tub that is quality for less than $9000.

Who is this massive dealer 😀

Just curious about the dr wellness it has been a year or so since you last commented on them have you found out anymore it’s 6400 for g12 tub with has extra foam it’s the higher series. With the other brands you mention for similar features and warranty couple thousand more

Moving to the Flathead Lake region in Northwest Montana. What would be your choice of a dealer in that area and hot tub choice for a 4 person?

Do you think $10,295.00 is too much money for the Master Spa HL7 (Clarity) . 84x84x36

Is 11k too high for a Clarity 9? How about 15k for legend LSX 900?

Hello! Thank you for the information… it’s all VERY helpful (and humbling as I now realize how much we DON’t know!) We’re in Hudson, WI (relatively close to St. Paul, MN) and wondering if you have can suggest brand/model for 7+ person tub in/around ~$10/12k. Would love to spend less if we could, but we were just about to go with a Vector 21 until seeing the “behind the scenes” review showing the deficiency. It’s our first tub, but we do have a salt water pool that we love and with the automatic cover it’s been relatively low maintenance so… Read more »

Looking to buy a hot tub. Pinnacle Hot Tubs are at a home show. Would you recommend the Pinnacle brand? We live in the Allegheny Mountains in South Western PA where the winters are harsh.

Wondering what you would recomend for a spa for a couple, children are grown, say 4-6 size, living in the WA area around Tacoma. We’ve had several used fixer uppers, but would like something maintenance free for awhile!

Hello- Thanks for the information you have provided, it’s been very helpful.I have been in the market for almost a year looking for hot tubs and I’m caught at the crossroads. Essentially I’m looking to buy a tub around 6-8k but I want a larger tub that holds at least 7. The one company I keep coming across online is Aqua Living who stands by these spas callled Dr.Welness, and from what I researched they used to be called Laguna Spas. Do you know of these spas or have any opinions om their product? I checked out Hot Tubs and… Read more »

Thanks for all your info…IT IS a ‘hot tub minefield’ out there..after the wife and watched your vids and read info articles we decided on a Master Twilight 6.2.(with the aquafinesse water system). Lucky for us we have a reputable dealer in Calgary. Keep up the excellent work!…regards…Brent and Elaine

Thank you for all of this information. It is a huge thing to try to educate yourself on. And the more I look the more there is to know. And the marketing is really starting to confuse me. That said…what is your opinion of a good dealer in the San Diego/Chula Vista area? And also what is a good hot tub brand available…I don’t think we have Master. But there is Artesian, Cal Spas, Beachcomber, and Marquis. There might be other good ones that I haven’t mentioned. Just trying to avoid the ones on your no list. And did you… Read more »

I’ve tried to pay as much attention as possible. Really looking for therapeutic massage and $8500 is the budget. I have an Atesian dealer as well as a Marquis dealer and both seem to hit your top 5 must haves list. I really want to know which brand and model Atesian Captiva vs Marquis vector v84 for overall use and therapeutic massage.

Looking for just a two to three person hot tub. Is a 110 volt hot tub worth a look?

Your site is amazing, I am lost reading all the conversations and recommendations! We are a family of 4 looking for our first spa. Want something easy to maintain with very little to zero chemicals, good massage therapy options, captains chair with leg massage. In the $6-$8k range. We have a marquis dealer and that seems to be the way to go based on everything I’m reading on your site. Anything else you’d have us check out? We are in Ardmore, PA and there are a number of places within an hour or so. Thank you so much for your… Read more »

hi was looking in to buying either a beachcomber 740 model or a master spa twilight ts 7.25 or twilight 8 ts 8.3 was wondering what the better choice would be and how much from Toronto


We live in Coeur d’alene ID. and looking at a Viking Heritage 71. What is your opinion of this brand.

Hi, I have a Vita,Jacuzzi and Bullfrog dealer in my area and a cal spa. The cal spa dealer is just a rep, he does not have a place to go see the tub. His price is much lower. They have all been around for 15+years. Being a first time buyer its hard to buy a tub that i can’t see first. what do you think? Thanks

First time buyer….been reading your comments and watching your videos….so much information. We have only one dealer close to us, we live out on the Olympic Peninsula, and one of your top recommendations is to buy from a local dealer. They sell these brands….Hot Spring, Hotspot, Cladera and Fantasy. Any recommendations on which to buy?

Looking for a good round 6′ hot tub. Live near Indianapolis, IN. Your suggestions and thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Chris: I am trying to find a reliable Hot Tub in the Las Vegas area that I will fit comfortably in. Big fan of your posts at Hot Tub University. I am looker for a larger tub–would like a lounger seat, but I am 6’4″ and most I try don’t seem to fit me correctly–so ok with just getting a 6-7 person seated tub with strong jets and good therapeutic qualities. Have you ever looked at the “” post from 2013 and what can you tell me about their grading or overall scoring of many brands of Hot Tubs? Also… Read more »

Hi We are first time buyers and live in Winnipeg. We are trying to decide on a brand which has good insulation (given our extreme winter weather), good jet power for a healthy massage, relatively low maintenance and reliability. We looked at Arctic as they have a nice esthetic (cedar surround) and promote their insulation factor but they seemed to come on with a hard sell and it looks like you have some unfavorable opinions. What other options could you suggest? Do you know of any other recommended companies have the cedar surround? Could the surround be changed to cedar… Read more »

Hi Chris. Great wealth of info. Thanks. Do you have any insight into Dimension One Spas?

In my area ottawa ontario we are looking at 3 different hot tubs; beachcomber, artic and signature and as well there is a guy who sells his hot tubs out of warehouse Pinnacle hot tub. Everyone has a pitch why they are better. Looking for 6 to 8 person hot tub reliable under 10k.

Looking for a Master spa dealer in the Spokane, WA area. Seeking a small spa 2 to 3 person thar will retain heat in cold winter usage. I did locate a Marques dealer. Thank you, GHS

HI, first time hot tub buyer. Looking to buy local in San luis obispo, CA. we have 3 choices. Jacuzzi J-335 ($8500), Vita 300 elegant($6400) and Bullfrog RL7($7700).
Any thoughts? thanks for your help

Thanks for the reply and info. I have found a local dealer who sales Marquis.
We are looking at the 425. Do you recommend the Marquis over the Bullfrog?
The Bullfrog seems a little gimmicky.
PS price is simalier

Hi. I dont know if you still see these new comments now. Our heads are spinning from looking at hot tubs. We have looked at so many. Currently between a Dynasty, a Maxx, or a Mira. We are in the USA in Ohio. Finding reviews on these have been so tough. Maxx acts like thier perimeter insulation is best. We question that with the cold Ohio winters. Have you heard of these brands and have an opinion on which may be best?

Hi again. Apologies for asking again but we are in the market ASAP for a new hot tub. We have stuck way too much money in trying to kerp our old one alive that we are biting the bullet and going new. Need it for chronic back and neck pain management. Used almost daily. Must be goid in cold weather. Looking in St. Cloud MN. Too many manuf. Touting they’re the best and don’t know what to believe. Narrowed down sumwhat to Arctic. Cal Spa. ThermoSpa. Master spa. Any and all info into these brands and others is greatly welcome.… Read more »

Okay. Im wavering on pulling the pin on the master spa. Theres just so much contradictory info out there. So I’m torn between master spa twilight 7.2, hot springs highlife aria, cal spa huntington or la jolla. I like the motomassage on hot springs & the ATS seat on the cal. Our friends love their Maxx but dont know much about them. The more i look the more confused I’m getting. I need to hear why not to go with one of these. Uhg! Help please.

How about Hot Springs highlife series. Jetsetter?

Your site has been really informative so keep up the great work it’s really appreciated! We live in Eastern Ontario just outside of Ottawa and have been shopping around the local dealers. Wow what an experience as it really is a gong show of information (one says one thing and the other says the opposite). I think we’ve narrowed down our decision (much due to the info on your website and feedback from others). So a little about us. We are 2 adults who will be using the tub for our own use with maybe 5% of the time having… Read more »

Thanks for taking the time to reply. It’s really appreciated. May we ask where you are located and do you ever have any tubs sent up to our area?

In this post you talk about expo shows and your concerns with them. Master Spa is having a show in my area soon. There is no Master Spa dealer in my area so should I stay away from the “show” or go ahead and purchase here?

I have a 14 yr old daughter with very bad psoriatic arthritis. She also has the skin plaque psoriasis and chlorine is an irritant. I need to get the best massage tub with the best salt system. I’m overwhelmed with decisions . We live on the east coast where everything is accessible. Your opinion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Can’t thank you enough. Really, this was invaluable information. Very grateful.

Hi, what a great resource your site is! We live in Clayton, NY on the Canadian border, and are looking to replace our (still working!) vintage Tiger River Bengal. The Canadian dealers I called either won’t deliver to our area and/or say they would charge sales tax. On the US side, there are 3 dealers who would deliver & service: Hot Springs, Caldera & PDC. We’ve used the Hot Springs dealer over the years with good results. There is a Marquis dealer about 2 1/2 hours away that will not deliver to us, and the Master Spa site directs me… Read more »

Chris, I’m down to a Sundance 780, Master twilight 8.2, and artesian grand bahama. Please help.
Thanks, Mike

Chris I chose the twilight. After they delivered I discovered it was a new 2016. Is there any difference between a 2016 vs a 2017? As a dealer would you ever deliver a year end model instead of current yr model without telling the customer? Also how does if affect warranty? Haven’t decided whether to make them take it back.

We are trying to decide on a Hot Tub. Choices are limited here in Lake Havasu City, Az. Have narrowed down to Hot Springs Pulse or Tropic Seas Oahu. Any thoughts on these would be appreciated!

Hi! Great website! Looking for a hot tub south of Boston. Have 6 in my family, so something large, with great therapeutic jets for tight muscles. Thinking of master twilight based on your reviews. Are there any other brands/spas that are a good value in this range and area? Also, thinking of perhaps a spa/swim spa combo–any recommendations on those? Thank you so much–this is a mind boggling process!

Hi we are first time hot tub buyers. We are looking at Sundance, or one of the Jacuzzi brands. Mostly Sundance, what are your thoughts on this brand?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x