Hot Tub Ratings Sites and Hot Tub Discussion Forums, Sorting the Bullshit from the Bananas

Hot Tub Ratings Sites and Hot Tub Discussion Forums, Sorting the Bullshit from the Bananas
7.4 Total Score

The ratings you see on a Rating site reviews can be anything from anyone and most of the time if it is really bad review or a really good review it’s either a competitor posing as a customer or a dealer posing as a customer, these fake reviews are not isolated they are rampant some studies suggest that as much of 50% are fraudulent.

The discussion forums are populated by hot tub sellers, they have a Bias and an agenda it is in their best interest to knock brands that are taking money from their local markets so any brand indruding heavily into dealers markets and selling at tent sales and events are public enemy #1 because they have numerous dealers who  travel the country selling at these massive sales taking money from local dealers.

When a company comes into a market, does an Expo or tent sale and sells Half a million dollars worth of hot tubs in a weekend the local retailers go bananas! Especially when they sell at thousands less than the high priced fancy showrooms. Local retailers see this as unfair competition and they vent their anger on the discussion forums and ratings and review sites by posing as customers, and bad mouthing the brand that is stealing millions from their local markets.

Forbes reported that even Amazon is suffering from a massive increase in fake reviews anyone can create a fake email and an account on Yelp, or any other rating site or discussion forum using a VPN and totally skew the real data concerning the reliability of a product…

So what are the review sites and Discussion Forums sites really worth?

Unfortunately in the Hot Tub world with the exception of regulated groups like the BBB, Consumers Digest, and Consumer affairs they are almost bullshituseless and the unregulated discussion forums are even worse, in fact the discussion forums are heavily controlled by certain companies, usually the same ones building cheap products and hiding behind high profile branding and marketing and are full of the very same guys who are losing millions to the Traveling road shows, expos and tent sales.

Remember the experts on these discussion forums are sellers of hot tubs, it is in their interest to band together against the guys doing expos in their markets!!! They have a BIAS.

Event saless are taking millions of dollars out of these guys pockets and they are furious.

While the advice and recommendations from the hot tub guys on the forum discussion sites is almost completely useless the reality is the discussion forums can give you a wealth of information on what tubs are working reliably and which ones are failing in the field if you know how to look at the data instead of listening to the half truths, spin and marketing…

On the forums they say Hot Springs is great because the forum is full of hot springs dealers, Hot Springs is arguably the best at the branding, spin and hype so it makes sense that part of their strategy is to have their dealers be prevalent on the discussion forums. The same experts will say Master Spa who is the biggest guys doing Expos and tent sales in their backyards is crap because they are all pissed off at Master because they keep coming into their markets and taking millions of dollars out of their local markets so it’s all heavily biased self serving information…

Look at the real data…

I went to the first 10 pages of the two top forums and only looked at who is needing help fixing their broken spas… this is a true unbiased snapshot of what is working and what is falling apart…

Guess what !!!

The Watkins group (Hot Springs, Caldera, hot spot etc) is arguably the worst with a whopping 34% of the posts asking for help fixing these midgrade spas with all the fancy branding and marketing… The Jacuzzi arguably the next biggest culprit of supplying mid grade spas wrapped in gorgeous branding and advertising is the second worst with 21% of the broken spas. These numbers are wholly disproportionate with their market share these tubs are failing again and again.

Meanwhile, there are 0 customers with Master Spas, and around 2% for the other brands I recommend asking for help because their hot tubs are working reliably… Yet the experts on the discussion forums will tell you that Master Spas are poorly built crap and in the next breath say that Artesian and Marquis which are built much the same way with the same parts are good because those two companies are not taking millions out of their local markets…

It’s not hard to see what the truth is and what is just more of the same hype and bullshit that is prevalent in the world today…

Check out the raw data without the input of all these pissed off dealers…

Number of customers requesting help fixing their broken hot tubs

Data culled from:

11:45 est 11/08/17
12:25 est 11/08/17,21789.0.html

forum Data


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Hi Chris, I’m a new spa owner (installing next week) and trying to wrap my head around all the water chemistry issues. I’d like to use the least amount of “chemicals” yet maintain a safe water environment.Question about Spa Marvel.
When using SM, I’m assuming you still need to monitor PH and alkalinity levels. And add some chlorine (Y/N)?
Add Water softeners/ hardeners….. ?? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks very much. Great site!!

Rebekah Brading

I want solid information about hot tubs, every other site I have visited seems to be company based and not actual consumer reviews.
Thank you.

Rebekah Brading

We have looked at bullfrog, hot springs,elite Hollywood, jacuzzi (not interested), we are simply needing honest reviews and info to what is the best bang for the buck. We are going to buy very soon!. HELP please!


Great read! We are currently looking at a Bullfrog A8 for about 13k. Jet packs felt good but we are new to spas. Both of us have migraines and I suffer from a neck injury and looking for relief. We are both ~5’8” and not large people. I am near Salt Lake City. A place near me is recommending Catalina over the Bullfrog, claiming apples to apples for around 9k. What would you recommend?
Is the Bullfrog overpriced at ~13k?
Are there others near me you might suggest?


I’m looking at the Passion Spa line of tubs. any info on them? I don’t see any reviews from you


Hi, I’ve done a little research but need more direction. I’m looking for an alternative to chlorine and/or bromide to disinfect and keep the water sanitized. Mostly only 2 people will be using the tub and we shower prior to entering the tub. Thank you for pointing me in a direction to gather additional information.


Hi Chris. I wound up finding a couple of your videos addressing alternatives to chlorine (eg. AquaFinesse).
I’m researching that product now. So, thank you for the info in the video(s).


Hi Chris, great information. I’m wondering if the Legacy LS Acclaim is comparable to the other Master Spa brands or if it is too ‘entry level’ compared to their Clarity Precision 8 or Twilight TS8.25. Trying to balance value with features without compromising quality.

Steve Phipps

Dear Chris: Thanks *so* much for your clarity, honesty, and desire to “put good buyers together with good sellers”! (That’s how it should work!) I’m writing to let you know, if you didn’t, that “Consumer Affairs” is *not* an objective source. They are a “reputation management” company. They take a large fee ($9000 to sign up + $3000 a month, according to the first source below) from makers/vendors who are then “accredited” by Consumer Affairs. CA then (apparently) solicits positive reviews–probably by getting sales lists from people who pay them for their services–to build up the their “star” ratings. If… Read more »

Stanley Treadaway

i need some hot tub chemical advice. i live in the country and have well water that is pretty hard. i am having a hard time keeping the ph down. i had the numbers good last week but it seems like overnight the ph shoots through the roof. i had to add half a container of ph reducer to get it down again. can i use muratic acid to lower it, and what is the best way to add it. i really need a more cost effective way to keep it down. help please


Hello! I live near Alexandria, Mn and from what I am aware of, my only options in the are is to choose from Hot Springs, sundance, nordic or bullfrog. I know you aren’t a fan of these……Can you recommend any hot tub from these brands? I’d like to get a marquis from Brainerd but they don’t’ deliver to where I live.
I do have fibromyalgia and sometimes the only relief I get is using a hot tub.
Thank you for your help.


Hi Chris, so we have been doing homework and wet testing tubs for a few weeks now. Have owned a hydropool (it was ho-hum) in the past and moved and we do miss having a tub so here we are. Sat in Master Spa’s twilight tub, unfortunately the jets don’t hit my lower back sciatic where I have my issues so as much as I liked the idea of them it’s off the list. We wet tested the Bullfrog tub – feels pretty amazing… like really amazing, but I’m kinda sceptical on those packs and for the price point I… Read more »


I bought a Marquis E-545 2 years ago based on Chris’s recommendation. After visiting the brand new store in Livermore CA and chatting with the folks at the factory in Portland I had it delivered. Couldn’t be happier with the tub. Easy to maintain and keep balanced. I’ve moved and need a tub for the new casa. I checked back with Marquis to see what is current now. The outside of the tubs have cheapened considerably and they went from a 2 filter system to a one on the equivalent model I had previously bought. I’d have to go up… Read more »

robert d

looking at the Artesian Elite tub what you review on it for $14000 is it worth it or better one out there

George Eden

Any thoughts/experience with “Spa berry” product? I have misgivings about any hot tub that runs on 120V even if it is small. They seem to be available in the Calgary market …. not certain where else.



My wife and I are trying to find a good/reliable brand of hot tub in Columbus, Ohio. We are looking for something to relax in we do not need anything high end or therapeutic. We are looking for a 4 or 5 person hot tub/spa. We found 3 local dealers, 1. All Season Spas carries Sundance, Jacuzzi, and Nordic 2. Scioto Valley carries Bullfrog, Hot Spring, and Viking 3. Rainbow Hot Tubs carries Hydrapool, Dreammaker, and Passion. There may be other dealers in the area we are missing but we would love your input.


Holly Withington

Hi there – I need an excellent therapy tub and we are deciding between a jacuzzi 345 (9K) and a coast luxury (12K) … of these two would you be able to say which is likely to be the most therapeutic/reliable? We wet tested both and like the therapy of the coast although the controls are a bit overwhelming and have read the jacuzzi tends to last longer…the dealers for both seem solid.

Darci Fletcher

Hi~ Any comment on Thermospa? First time buyer here, and thought the info provided to me regarding the Maui Diamond and Concord Platinum sounded good???

Kelly Miller

I would like to hear an answer to this as well. Looking at swim spas for their size and therapeutic offer. So overwhelmed!


Hi Chris

Looking some advice. We are based in Northern Ireland and wanting to purchase our first hot tub. Brands here are limited, we have Wellis, Hot Springs(salt system), Hydropool/Lazboy & Canadian Spa. Looking to purchase a 6-7 seater every dealer pushing their own and to say we are confused is an understatement. Hoping to spend in and around £12000. Just looking some honest feedback and hoping you could point us in the right direction.

Also what is your view on all seated or with lounger?



Hi. What’s your latest view on Coast please? Thanks


What do you think about Catalina brand hot tubs


I have a Caldera Spa that I purchased in June of 2017. I have two speakers that won’t work and I need to replace the Head Cushions. I’ve contacted the local dealer regarding this three times now with no luck getting anything done. I’ve sent a message to Caldera Customer Service and am waiting to hear back from them. This really sucks. I’ve been chasing this for over a month now. I think I should just give up and trade this thing on a Spa that someone will service, or at least supply parts for. Any advise?

Bruce kramer

Hi Chris after reading your sire I’ve decided to go with a Master 7.2 . I’ve previously owned a Sundance and was pleased with it . But reviews are coming in about the dependability of those recently. Thanks Bruce K


I’m in Toronto Canada. Cottage a 100 miles North. Canadian made are Hydropool amd Beachcomber, two brands you don’t seem to like very much. But dealers are local to cottage and will install and service. Thoughts? Advice? Thanks, Chris.


Hi. Chris, looking to purchase a good hot tub in the Stockton CA area. We are getting ready to retire and want to gift ourselves with a good one, which may have to be moved down the road?


Hi Chris. I live in northwest Montana and have been looking around Kalispell. There is a place here that has Vita spas. They are quite pricy but said all of their money goes into the product, not the marketing. Have you heard of them? Are they worth the cost?

Rod Gallant

Whats your opinion on the Nordic Spas especially the Modern series Retreat? I am not finding many reviews on the Nordic tubs.

Hi Rod,
The Nordic tubs are well built and reliable but they don’t provide therapy level performance. If you are just looking for a hot tub to relax in and get some light massage jets then they are a great entry level option, good insulation, plumping glued and clamped, good shells. If you are looking for therapy though there are a lot of brands that perform better.


Hi Chris, I live in central Illinois we get our fair share of below freezing weather. Can I get away with a plug and play model or would you suggest a hard wired hot tub ?


Consumer’s digest is a fake purchased award and very deceiving by playing off the notoriety of consumer reports name. Consumer affairs is also biased and bs. See links below. The traveling expos (Admin)/ and the state fairs, tent sales, home shows etc/ lie and inflate their prices. It costs a lot of money to travel around the country bring all of these spas with them, put their high commission salesman up in hotels and most of all, spend $65k in tv ads. The truth is, these spas are sold for very similar prices as to what you could… Read more »

Chris Arrott

Hi Chris,
What do you think about the American Whirlpool 461? I am looking in Albuquerque,, New Mexico. There seems to be only 5 dealers/stores in Albuquerque and 3 are owned by one guy who carries Hot Springs, Hot Spot, Durasport, Bullfrog, Caldera and American Whirlpool…possibly others. I live 2 hours from Albuquerque near Las Vegas, NM where there is very little repair service. I am replacing a Coleman Cooperage Model 105.

Paul Peters

Hi Chris not sure if you can help?
i am from the Uk and i am very interested in a Canadian spa company hot tub {Thunder BAY] .
A local hot tub supplier has completely run them down what are your thoughts?
I can find no negative feedback anywhere.


Hi Chris,

Looking at buying our first hottub and want to make sure I get a good therapeutic one.
I’m in the west end of Ottawa, ON.

I’v narrowed it down to 2 dealers one sells Artesian and the other Marquis. I’m sure you can figure out who is who. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance


HI Chris Thank you for the great info. I noticed you haven’t mentioned the brand Nordic
i am interested in the Stella MS version vrs the sundance Montclair, vs master Twilight series.. what can you tell me about the quality of NOrdic brand? thank you


Chris, Curious to see if all the bad reviews on the Balboa WIFI option are accurate. DO you have any experience with it? I REALLY want to be able to turn the tub up on my way to the cabin, instead of waiting for 2 deg/hr heat-up. I sure do not want to spend $600 on something that is spotty. Any other non-OEM WIFI controller add-on options out there I should consider? (Alternatively, is there a safe gadget for boosting heat with a separate propane powered device, etc?) Thanks! BTW, Recently got the Twilight 8.2 based on your info here.


Hi Chris, we’re a family or 5 and sometime we like to receive friends over. I have come across a TS 7.25 and I’m wondering if the size would be too small for us. Friends come once in a while so I’m wondering if it’s worth to get a bigger tub for that? I like the HL8 as TS8 would be of my budget. Any suggestion?



Hi Chris ! Thanks for all the info this is great. I am looking at a small tub 3-4 persons I want quality build simple no high tech breaking option good jet but quality is the biggest concern. My option are limited being situated in the Montreal Quebec region not all of the brand you talk about are available. – I found a dealer for master spa called SP international seems he is a distributor for all Quebec’s and Canada seems to be the only dealer in Quebec for master spa. My concern is he has no showroom and everything… Read more »


Hi Chris – Great article and information. You have a great way of putting things into perspective. In a past video you spoke highly of the MS Twilight 8.2. Do you still recommend it? I am thinking about buying based on your past review.

Thanks again for all the great information.


What is your opinion of passion spas?


Hey Chris and Good Morning!! I live in Lutcher, Louisiana (between New Orleans and Baton Rouge) and been looking on sites and yep message boards before finding yours. I do notice lots on different sites pushing for one or another which is confusing me BIG TIME.. I did think Hot Springs was good until I saw what you said all the problems people were having. Good to know.. I just don’t know which brand to get. I NEED help lol We looking for one to relax in with a glass of wine and help for tired muscles when over worked.… Read more »

Brittany Derbyshire

Hello Dana,

They are very good at marketing but frankly build mid grade spas.

I found a dealer nearby, They are about 40 miles from your area that sell Artesain spas which we consider one of the best out there. The parts are better and easier to source and competitively priced.

Splash Pools and Spas
Status Unverified:

Sells Artesian Spas, have not been to the store but the brand is a good one.

Details from Google Maps
13031 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, LA 70810
+1 225-766-8800

David Custers

Chris a local dealer “Aqua Bay” in Kingston (second location in Belleville) Ontario sells Artesian Spas. They sells four different lines of Artesian including 1) Platinum Elite, 2) Island and Island Elite, 3) South Seas Spas and 4) Garden Spas. Can you confirm to us if these are all truly made by your recommended supplier “Artesian” and if so are they all made at the same factory? Are there any lines we should stay away from? What are the fundamental differences between the lines and are the differences enough to have higher price points?


Where did my question go? Sent today.

There is sometimes a delay as we filter comments. I did some research and see a few good options near Orillia for what you want, give us a short bit and I’m sure Chris can help point you towards the right one.


Hi Chris ,
We live in orillia Ontario, and have been doing our homework for a while. Hydro efficiency is important , as is durability and reliability. We don’t need bells and whistles. We had narrowed our search to beachcomber and hydro pool and we’re hoping to make a decision today , but after reading your reviews we are more lost than ever. Which hot tub do you recommend we look at? Budget is about 10k for a 5-6 seater


Lisa, my cottage is near Orillia. Which brand did you end up buying?


Hi Chris I just found your site and I am hoping that you can help us. We live in the Gray Maine area and have decided to use our money to get hot tub instead of taking a tropical vacation this year! Our budget is around $7000 or under for the tub, cover,steps. I went to a local Jacuzzi dealer but I thought they wanted a lot of money for what you get and indeed I see that you are not a big Jacuzzi fan. The tub will be used by my husband and I mostly, with occasional use by… Read more »

Darla Hartlage

Hi! You provide interesting information. Can you advise us on a hot tub brand to order in the Louisville Kentucky area? We looked at Bullfrog and Hot Springs tonight at Watson’s in Louisville. We plan to shop around.


Chris, Great site, thanks for a ton of information. We are building a vacation home 10 miles north of The Dalles, OR. My wife is not keen on a hot tub but our experience is limited to hotel hot tubs. I suspect if I can get a tub with decent massage jets and manage the water well, she may have a different view. So I’m looking for the best small hot tub for quality build and massage performance. There is a dealer for Marquis in The Dalles so I’m looking at the Spirit with the 160GPM pump. My concerns are… Read more »


Just started looking for a hot tub. This site is great.
Looking for something to help with sore muscles that fits 4-6 people. Live in Alexandria Virginia
Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hey there, I live in Moncton, NB and we are looking into getting a hot tub. Seems there are only a few options in the area. Today we went to see some at one retailer who carries hydropool. Hoping to get tot another spot in the next week that carries Beachcomber and I believe there is someone who carries Coast Spa’s also… Been reading some of your comments on here and it seems you don’t care for the hydropool? We were looking at a 720 model… Havent read up much yet on the beach combers or Coast… Any advice you… Read more »

michelle Berry

Chris – we are looking to purchase a hot tub for our home on the Outer Bank right on the water. Our contractor is suggesting a QCA tub that the local dealer tweeks to work well in salt environments. What do you think of QCA spas?


Hi Chris,
Looking at Sunrise and bull frog. Any opinion? I live west of Toronto. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank you,

Scott Lauder

Hi, I love your site! we live in Smithfield, Virginia, 23430, and cannot locate a hot tub dealer that sells anything other than jacuzzi, sundance, etc. I searched for local dealers for Marquis, Artisian, Master, and cal spa with no success. We did look at the costco ones and after the video we are uncertain. The tub we are interested in is just for a family of 4, and would love something that can work on my neck. I don’t see much discussion on the number of pumps or jets, but the idea of more is better is stuck in… Read more »

David LaForce

This is a great website. So much information out there and this helps to focus it all. But would still like some experienced opinion.

I just had spinal surgery so I’m really looking for a spa that is focused on hydrotherapy. While my kids may use it, I really only want the jets for that focus. As I live north of Chicago, what I’ve been recommended from the retailer’s I’ve talked to is Sundance Optima, Lazboy Renew or Hydropool 720. What are your thoughts?

Catherine Prince

I am looking for a small hot tub, 5-6’ x 7’, that is best for deep tissue massage of the neck, shoulders, and back. Do you think Bullfrog’s A5L with a deep relief, neck blaster, and gyrossage jet pack will do the trick? Would like to stay under $10k. Thanks so much for all your great advice!


I live in salt lake city and it seems like we have every spa brand out there within a 30 min drive. I would like it to seat a minimum of 5 (we have three younger kids.) I liked features of both the Artic and Bullfrog spas but I was very skeptical of the sales reps and what they said. Then I found your website and Im sure glad I did! I want to get the best spa out there for my family and money isn’t an issue. From your site I have learned what brands to stay away from.… Read more »

Richard Stock

I live in salt lake city and it seems like we have every spa brand out there within a 30 min drive. I would like it to seat a minimum of 5 (we have three younger kids.) I liked features of both the Artic and Bullfrog spas but I was very skeptical of the sales reps and what they said. Then I found your website and Im sure glad I did! I want to get the best spa out there for my family and money isn’t an issue. From your site I have learned what brands to stay away from.… Read more »

Nate Morse

Hey Richard, I live in West Haven (north of the SLC). My wife and I were also looking for some time at spas in the area, and felt a bit overwhelmed at the variety and availability of so many options…sometimes to many aren’t always a good thing. After some research, we knew we didn’t need fancy LEDs, a radio, or WiFi connection…those were all cool bragging rights, but for 2 tired parents w/ 2 wild little boys, they weren’t important. We went with the Healthy Living 5 person with a lounge, and thus far into it, love it. If you’ve… Read more »