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


Due to increased demand we are running 5-10 days for comment responses, it sucks but its only me… I’m working to find a suitable co-writer but I’m currently running 5-10 days for responses 🙁 and 12-24 hrs for paid responses. It’s not a cash grab I just can not keep up with the numbers despite spending my entire life here 🙂 I am determined to keep this honest and true to its tenants and therefore it takes time to ramp up to the massively increased traffic over the past 3 years.

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Hi Chris, I live on Vancouver Island and we have only three dealers in the city in live in (Duncan). The brands they carry are Artic, Jacuzzi, Beachcomber and Coast. I know you like Coast of the bunch but because of Covid they cannot give me a date for delivery which is sometime next year! We would like to get one sooner then that. Another dealer further upisland sells Passion, Clearwater, Bullfrog and H20 not sure about those brands but was impressed with how many options the Passion had for the price but likely for a reason and found out… Read more »

Hi Jack,

With everyone staying home and buying hot tubs during Covid, the market has gone bananas and delivery times with most dealers are getting to 6+ months so that’s not surprising. Don’t be tempted to buy something you’ll regret just to get it sooner.

If you’re on Vancouver island check out Fraser Valley Hot Tubs. They’re off the island but do cover it and they’re on our all-star list. Good people, greta service and high quality tubs

Cool the Hot Tub in a hot summer! Hey Chris; thanks for the great advise on our latest hot purchase. After owning 5 hot tubs our last tub gave up the ghost and developed a leak that we could not locate. The wife finally had enough of nursing it along. (Nordic brand) So we were in the market for a new tub. We finally found a hot tub shop close to us and as it turned out, they carried the Coast Spas. The wife wanted to buy it right away but I held off until I saw that it was… Read more »

Hi Steve,

Online you can buy a cover-cover which is basically a fitted sheet type of tarp to put over your tub and protect your cover from the elements and we had a user use a white one to reflect UV radiation which worked fairly well but I’d be curious to know your results so please keep us updated

Hi Chris,

Thank you for all the great information you post on your site. I have seen in multiple posts and videos that you greatly prefer Balboa controls to Gecko controls. How do you feel specifically about the Gecko K-1000 since I am seeing it in a lot of hot tubs locally?

Hi Bruce,

The K-1000 is an evolution of the Gecko system (now the in.ye5) and they’ve made some good changes to it mainly making it far more serviceable. Balboa is still king but that’s not a bad pack

Hello gentlemen, Working with two dealers in my area (Northern VA) and am down to one offering to price match the other but not seeing a lot of incentives one way or the other on who to go with. One is much more local than the other. Do you have any recommendations on incentives for me to ask for that might sway who I decide to go with? Basically what is a realistic ask? Wondering if asking them to throw in the Axis cover to seal the deal might be a good ask or something along those lines? We are… Read more »

Next time around on that drink 😉
We went with Hot Tub INC out of Owings, MD.
MP Signature Deep – $38,495 w/axis cover $3,800
LSX900 – $13,495
No other incentives were offered. Even tried to see if we would save anything on delivery since we were buying both units. Once we got them on the phone they were great to deal with though.

Hi Butch,

In this market those are fair prices. Dealers right now are not offering a lot in the way of incentives simply because they don’t have to – there are 4 buyers for every unit and dealers have no trouble moving tubs

Hi, I was quoted $17k on a master spa swimspa therapool 13. Does this seem like a good price? If not do you know of a similiar swim spa in that price range or less?

Hi Keisha,

That’s a great swimmer and, considering the crazy hot market right now where there are 4 buyers for every tub, it’s a great deal too. Well done!

We had a Catalina spa for 20 years and did great but finally failed. One of the repair guys said Nordic would be his suggestion. What do you think of them? We have a local dealer which is nice.

Hi Jackie,

Nordic is a decent tub, made well and they focus on the right things. You won’t go wrong and if you have a good dealer in your area that makes it all that much better because a good dealer can make a decent tub great

Looking at a used Twilight 6.2 for $4500 and a Clarity Precision 7 for $5500- Master Spas -are the magnetic therapy any good in the Clarity that is touted??? – Live about an hour from South Bend and they seem to have a few people that handle Master Spa used spa sales on FB. I assume that if in good condition these would be good deals (if they are not already sold). Thanks!!!

Last edited 17 days ago by Cassi

Hi Cassi,

The magnetic therapy does have benefits but the larger massage jets on the twilight are better. The price on the Twilight is good assuming it’s in excellent condition. The Clarity price is high (but with Covid and a shortage of tubs on the market, the seller may get it)

Any experience with the hot tubs sold by Aqua Living Factory Outlets? Their brand Hudson Bay is priced fairly cheaply compared with many other brands and are within my budget. I just don’t want to buy something that cut corners everywhere.

Hi Ryan,

Stay away from them man. They’re priced cheaply because they’re built cheaply. A bunch of tiny high-pressure low flow jets in a cheap shell so yeah they cut corners everywhere. Stay with the good brands (Master, Atresian. PDC, Coast) and make sure you get something you’ll enjoy for years

Thank you Bill, that feels like the smarter investment. We have a Coast dealer very close to my house.

We are looking at the bahama spa serenity cove from the dealer or Master spa 2018 twilight series 7.2 used from a couple for $6000.00. Any advice on which you would pick and in general thoughts on the brand Bahama? I can’t find much info on them. Our dealer only sells jacuzzi, sundance, and bahama. Bahama is the only one that is in our price range.

Is there something to look at to figure out what fair prices are for used hot tubs? Also if we buy used from private party do you have advice on moving it if it’s over an hour away?

Hi Mike,

Used tubs are all over the place in terms of pricing and quality. There are some deals to be had but there’s a lot of overpriced junk out there as well. Every one would have to be looked at individually. Moving a tub is not hard with a small trailer and 4-5 people. You can also check tub dealers and repair shops because they often offer moving services

Just purchased a used 2014 twilight 8.2 from an older couple. Tub looked in great shape and didn’t have any leaks when we saw it but he told me he hadn’t had anything done to it. Kept up on chemicals but still had the original filters, which he said he cleaned regularly. Had it moved to our house and when I removed the sides to hook up the wiring I noticed a maze of mouse tunnels throughout the foam. Local dealer says that is common and refoaming the tunnels isn’t necessary. Powered everything on and noticed concrete is staying wet… Read more »

Hi Pat,

I’ve seen great results from Fix-a-Leak so I’d definitely give it s shot. There’s also a little trick you can use to stop the rodents from getting in – get some coarse steel wool and stuff it into the gaps at the bottom of the corners of the tub (that’s primarily where they get in)

what about the costco brands. aquaterra, evolution and beachcomber?

Was quoted 6995 in Milwaukee area for masterspa clarity balance 7. Curious on Your thoughts with price. 150 for previous tub removal andb150 for cover lift.


I have a 2001 hotspot jacuzzi in the manual it tells you on the adjustments to hit the light hit me up button at the same time I get a reading 1 through 12 I do not understand the settings on that is there anyway you can help me with that seems like I said it on one and it’ll kick on five times a day 6 times a day and so on I need to find some Conformity on this

Any thoughts on Life’s Great brand hot tubs? Not much info out there?

Unfortunately, this is one of those brands we don’t really trust. There a generic mass merchant tub and as far as I’m concerned they’re chilling on the same tier as Costcos hot tubs. If you want more specific info on why we don’t tend to support brands like this, here’s a great resource for you to check out

thoughts on tropical seas brand hot tub?

Hi guys…have s all.round metal flakes at bottom of older hottub…what’s it from? Leaving little spots of rust…

Bought a home with a sundance (15 years old) don’t want to put more money into fixing it any more than I already have. Now leaking. It’s had its run. Place down the road sells Tropic Seas and/or Artesian. Any insight to that? Do I run away? or are they ok? Also – I think I want a bigger tub, maybe 91×108…. will that end up costing me more in the future?Chris in Kansas.

Hi Chris, stumbled across your great website, thanks for all the tips and insight.
Have you ever come across a Swedish brand called Viskan? They are kind of “the talk of the town” in Scandinavia the last years in the spa business. Seem to be going for quality components and insulated to withstand Scandinavian winters, but I would like to know how they compare to the top American brands (Artesian, Sundance, D1 etc)? Anything you could comment on?

I am looking for WiFi enabled remote control options for hot tubs. Reviews of the Balboa add on remote app are not great. Any experiences with this or other?

Hi guys
My daughter in law wants to install a hot tub . She wants one she can close down herself . She wants to run it from April to Nov . We live in Canada . I have a older hot tube and have had it for 20 years never running it all year. I find all the new ones do not give proper accessibility and make it hard to shut down your self. Do you have any recommendations. Thank you Don

Have you had any experience with Catalina spas?

Any experience of Bewell ho tubs

Are there any comparison sites for Master Spa ?
We are thinking for a Twilight 87.3 or a Legent LSX800 .

Hello Chris-I am trying to decide on the nordic or hot spring 6 people tub and don’t understand the amps horse power and which of this two would be long lasting and less troublesome with problems.

Hi Chris,
Enjoy your web site but your methodology is suspect. You need to know how many tubs are out there before you can evaluate the reliability. If there are 10 complaints about Hot Springs but only 5 about Master, you can’t say that Master has half as many complaints. There might be 1000 Hot Springs out there and 100 Masters. Then Hot Springs has a failure rate of 1 in 100 and Master has a failure rate of 5 in 100.

Hi there we are in the uk and looking to purchase a tub. My hubby is really needing the hydrotherapy element. We have looked at Michael Phelps 9 (we are a family of 5 and regularly have visitors so we thought the extra space would be a bonus) The MP tubs are on the top end of the pricing but we don’t mind paying for quality.,,,do you have any advice on if this is a good tub or not. Can you recommend any other brands to look at? someone recommended blue whale but from what I can tell they are… Read more »

Dear Hot tub Brother

Need a new one…..and the hot tub als

Had a great Jacuzzi served us well for years
Penthouse in Puerto Rico , need crane ????

Looking for advice. Would really like to know what I need to do . I need a crane ? or can I get the whole thing in a regular elevator? looking for a six person tub raised , to enjoy the view.
Any advice appreciated😌

Hi Chris, I ended up at one of the Atlas shows this past weekend and found an Atlas Precision 8 for $9600. Based on the information on your website, I can tell that you recommend the Atlas brand. My question for is whether or not that is a good price for that model. I asked them to give me a week to consider the purchase and they agreed. For comparison, I stopped at a dealer and found a Bahama Spa Ocean Breeze for &7199. Its the same size as the Atlas and unlike the Atlas, it comes with a standard… Read more »

Hi Chris, we are completing an upper outside deck where we plan to place a hot tub. I have been researching the Bullfrog tubs as they seem well suited to our region (upstate New York, near Syracuse) will these tubs withstand our winters or should I be looking at another brand? Any advice you can provide is much appreciated.

Chris, thanks for putting in the time to give honest and knowledgeable reviews, it is appreciated. What’s your take on PDC? Was looking at the Bali.

Hi Chris, in the market for a new hot tub. Have looked at the American Whirlpool 481 and the Arctic Spa Yukon model. I am planning to look at the Artesian and Bullfrog models as well. I am a little partial to the Arctic Spa as I live about 40 minutes from the factory where they are built. Just wondering your opinion on these hot tubs. Thanks.

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!!

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.

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?

Thank you for the in depth reply. I was actually in there today as a matter of fact. Really liked the 8’ Elites, but hearing 14k+ tax turns me off a bit.

Would you recommend a Master (likely 8.25) over Artesian?

What about the Catalina Nantucket. They say it fine with two 7 hp motors at 60 amp. Lots of features and a great price. The other tub I was looking at was the Artesian Grand Cayman. That price to me is about $1000-$1500 to much. I’m very frustrated with Artesian as originally I wanted the Captiva. I started looking around a Family leisure has an Artesian but with a different name but basically the same tub. Neither the dealer or Family leisure would be honest about the difference in each tub, but family leisure’s was a lot cheaper. After I… Read more »

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.

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 »

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 »

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

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.


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.

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???

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

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