Cheap Hot Tubs Under 500
Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.
Seems like everyone on this Google page wants to sell you a cheap hot tub.
Cheap hot tub? $350 is still a lot of money. So we try to avoid hype and hyperbole here
Instead, we just keep track of Amazon reviews on all of the best cheap hot tubs and then put together a summary for you,
We know which ones are most likely to live up to your expectations. And which ones won’t.
Then, we try to feature only the best of the best on our list.
It’s a short list.
Here Are Today’s Best Cheap Hot Tubs.
Coleman 71 x 26 Inches Portable Inflatable Spa 4-Person Hot Tub
- Here’s a 4-person inflatable hot tub that has received more than 100 5-star reviews,
- And it consistently ranks among the least expensive on Amazon.
- Sets up quickly and easily anywhere there is a flat surface.
- A multitude of strong, bubbling jets to massage tired muscles.
- Easy to assemble and inflate (watch any YouTube unboxing video to learn how).
- Consistently maintains 104 degree temperature.
- Easy to keep clean (again, watch any YouTube video or visit a pool store)
- Very few negative reviews – less than 2 in 10.
- Some dislike the automatic heat control, which cuts off unless reset.
- Some find that it’s smaller than they thought (very comfortable for 2 people, though.).
The Bottom Line
- This hot tub, if you can catch it on sale, is a great deal – the absolute best on this page.
- You’ll get a dependable, soothing soak to look forward to at the end of a long day.
Coleman SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub
- Here’s a 4-person hot tub that’s been around for a long time.
- The venerable Coleman brand usually means quality, and this product would seem to be living up to its name and reputation.
- With over 800 5-star reviews, there are a lot of happy customers out there.
- So is it worth the relatively cheap price tag? Read on.
- Inflates in no time and ready for fill-up from the garden hose.
- Then, it slowly heats to its maximum temperature of 104 degrees.
- This can take at least 24 hours — be patient.
- Then, 120 bubble jets surround you with therapeutic water massage
- With over 800 5 star review this hot tub has plenty of fans.
- Less than positive reviews included digital control, pump and air leakage issues.
- However, the percentage of positive reviews to negative is good, with many more positive reviews than negative.
The Bottom Line
- A careful check of reviews over the past six months shows four times as many positive reviews as negative. So, we’re inclined to give this cheap hot tub an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Intex Pure Spa 6-Person Inflatable Portable Bubble Hot Tub
- Here’s a 6-person inflatable hot tub that also has received more than 100 5-star reviews,
- Unfortunately, at $499, it barely qualifies as “cheap.”
- It has a lot going for it, though: great reviews, spacious and easily set up.
- And 170 pulsing jets of water to soothe and relax you at the end of a long day.
- Very roomy — it’s the widest on this page at more than 5 feet across.
- Inflated and ready for water in about 20 minutes.
- Once heated, it reliably retains 104 degree temperature.
- Though a tad bit expensive, it’s eligible for special 6 month financing through Amazon
- The majority of less than positive reviews on this hot tub were well before May, stretching back as far as 2016.
- This could indicate that Intex has successfully fixed its pump issues.
The Bottom Line
- If you don’t mind taking a bit of a calculated risk on this large, 6-person hot tub, you should take advantage of Amazon’s current $70 discount and get it.
Intex PureSpa Plus
- Here’s another 4-person hot tub.
- It has received 47 favorable reviews out of the 65 posted to Amazon.
- Usually priced around $400, it is an everyday good buy, giving a good ROI.
- A bit more sturdy than the Coleman units, you can sit on the sides comfortably.
- Comes with an amazing 140 bubbling jets of water to really massage tired muscles.
- A to A, B to B connectors make it very easy to set up.
- A well designed digital control panel is within easy reach from inside the hot tub.
- Patented hard water treatment system is easy on fabrics and bodies alike.
- Some complained that it took 24 hours to heat to 104 degrees (they all take that long).
- But several had significant problems after owning it only a year.
The Bottom Line
- On balance, we’re inclined to recommend this hot tub, based on the many great reviews.
- So, if it only lasts a year, you will have rented a sensational hot tub for $35/mo.
- Or basically a dollar a night. That’s still a pretty good ROI.
Intex PureSpa 6-Person Portable Inflatable Bubble Jet Hot Tub
- This spacious 6 person hot tub has received almost 30 positive reviews out of 40.
- And it features 140 brisk jets to envelop you in soothing, super-strong bubbles.
- Like the other hot tubs, setup is a snap.
- And its sturdy side wall design promotes party fun as 6 can get in the spa and 4 can sit on the side walls and warm their feet in the swirling waters.
- Like the other Intex hot tubs, assembly is easy
- Consistently maintains 104 degree temperature.
- Buyers report there’s no need for pillows as the side wall supports the head comfortably.
- Like the other Intex hot tubs reviewed here, happy buyers significantly outnumber unhappy ones.
- Again, problems with the pump may crop up after the year’s warranty is up.
The Bottom Line
- Analysis shows recent reviews running positive more than 3 to 1, so perhaps Intex has successfully addressed its QC issues.
- We’ll cautiously give it a green light — but use it often during the first 6 to 8 months, as that is well within the year’s warranty window. If a problem is going.to develop, it will show up while you’re still covered.
Customers this week have also purchased
- Surge Protector Power Strip 6 Outlets with 6 USB Charging Ports
- 2-Pack Hot Tub Spa Bromine Tablets
- 24 Ft. Plugin Rope Lights
- GoFloats Inflatable Floatmingo Drink Holder (3 Pack)
- Intex PureSpa Cup Holder
- Intex PureSpa Type S1 Easy Set Pool Filter Cartridges
NOTE: We recently dropped the other five hot tubs we were tracking because they either rose above $500 in price or their Amazon ratings dropped to unsatisfactory levels. We want to present only the best of the best for your consideration. So, as these spas regain ratings above 3.5 stars, we’ll fold them back in. But not until they can prove worthy of your attention.
It is definitely possible to have that relaxing soak at the end of the day after all, perhaps with your significant other and a chilled glass of wine — if you choose carefully from these hot tubs.
FINAL NOTES: We make no guarantees about your personal experience with any of these hot tubs. We’ve offered pros and cons on each one. Read those and consider carefully before buying.
PS Stay on this page for some more useful info about portable inflatable hot tubs. Thanks!
A few basics on portable inflatable hot tubs
One factor to consider is size. Each one of these spas comfortably seats two or even three adults. But just be aware that adding a fourth full-size adult will make things really cozy. Which is fine if you’re among close friends or family. But if you want to have a little elbow room, you might consider the next size up — seating four to six adults easily with an additional 10 inches across.
A few other considerations
Construction. You need to make sure your hot tub is built to last more than one season. There’s no real way to know this, but most will, according to the many reviews I’ve read. As a general rule of thumb, however, the inflatable hot tubs with interior reinforced construction seem to hold up best. In the case of our two manufacturers, this means Intex.
Price. You can expect to find most inflatable hot tubs to be in the $350 to $800 range. That’s a sizeable investment. But, it’s nowhere near the cost of an in-ground spa. And besides, we’re only talking about a $500 ceiling today.
Warranty. Check out the warranty provided by each manufacturer before you buy. This will adjust your expectations and should furnish you with customer service contact information if you need new parts or — worst case — a replacement hot tub. You can find a brief summary of warranty information on each hot tub’s Amazon page.
Jets. Again, just so you won’t be disappointed when you climb into your hot tub for the first time, pay attention to how many jets your hot tub comes equipped with. Generally, four-person inflatable hot tubs have 120 jets, while the larger six-person tubs have 140 to 170. And please understand that they produce a powerful stream of bubbles, not real jets of water, as you might be used to in the big commercial hot tubs (with one exception, noted below). Still, very pleasant and soothing.
Covers. When you are making your selection, make sure it comes with a suitable cover. All the hot tubs on this page come with covers. They are important in order to keep heat in from day to day and in order to keep things like falling leaves out.
Cleaning. This is an important weekly task. The filters on each of these hot tubs will need to be changed when you clean your hot tub — weekly. But, in every instance in today’s selections, you can easily order replacements from Amazon. Same for chemicals, which you’ll need to keep your hot tub’s water sparkling.
Reviews. Any product will have its share of discontented customers, for one reason or another. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, but see if you can tell what the company’s customer service department did (or didn’t do) to rectify the complaint.
Voltage. All inflatable hot tubs that we know of come with connectors for 110-volt AC GFCI (ground fault interruptor). Be forewarned that your new inflatable portable hot tub will pull some serious meter time and voltage — especially during initial warm-up. But not so much when it’s reached its peak temperature (generally 104 degrees F).
Breakers. Closely related to the point about voltage above is the issue of your breaker box. The outlet into which you plug your spa may not be able to withstand the extra demand. Thus, a breaker might trip repeatedly during initial heating. To solve this problem, either (a) run a heavy duty electrical cable to another receptacle or (b) have an electrician upgrade the amperage on the circuit you keep
Storage. When the season is over (this is assuming you don’t intend to use your spa in both summer and winter) you can deflate and fold it up into a box about the size of an old fashioned steamer trunk, or a very large suitcase. You can easily pick it up and store it away in your basement, garage or storage shed. Or, if you’re particularly strong, you can even lug it up the stairs into your attic,
Are Inflatable Spas Any Good?
A vigorous debate is currently raging among folks who want the soothing benefits of a portable, inflatable hot tub or spa.
But they (a) don’t want to pay a fortune for them and (b) want to make sure they’re durable.
A little fact-checking (as they say in the current political debates) is in order.
Inflatable spas have come a long way since they were first introduced to the market several years ago.
Nowadays it’s possible to get a very affordable (under $375) soft-sided hot tub that’s surprisingly sturdy.
Who are the leaders in the field?
There are several models put out by camping gear leader Coleman. And they are consistently ranked highest in customer satisfaction.
These spas have a tough, cloth-covered wall that’s firm enough to sit on, yet inflate within minutes.
The floor is padded (that’s also where you sit) and they come in both a four-person model and a roomy six-person version.
One version (the Lay-Z-Saluspa Paris) even has a built-in light show.
These inflatable hot tubs come with a heater, air compressor (for blowing up the spa and its cover) and an intuitive digital control panel
This dandy control panel allows you to set the temperature to a steamy 104 degrees F.
In addition, a powerful motor pushes a stream of massaging bubbles through 120 jet nozzles around the spa’s upper perimeter.
Who has the most durable construction?
The Coleman brand, while the most inexpensive, doesn’t boast the most durable walls and filtering system in the industry.
That distinction goes to a company called Intex.
Intex puts together their inflatable hot tubs with patented, three-ply high-strength fibers woven into their side walls.
This makes them virtually as steady to sit on as an in-ground spa.
And, the Intex brand also features a unique hard-water filtration system.
This system, according to the company, “makes your spa water gentler on the skin, clothes and the entire spa system.”
Both the Coleman and Intex brands come equipped with easy-to replace filter cartridges, floating chemical dispenser, and a carry bag with grab handles.
What about customer reviews?
As for reviews, both companies received scattered complaints about non-functioning components.
These included such things as heaters that didn’t work properly and automatic shut-offs that kicked in too soon, resulting in a longer wait time for heated water.
However, both companies responded to the concerns — Coleman more quickly than Intex, according to the reviews left on the Amazon site.
Two other features of distinction:
- Coleman’s inner lining on the cover is composed of aluminum foil to better hold heat in, and
- Intex cover straps are lockable for added security.
Finally, a major advantage of inflatable spas is that you can easily deflate them, pack them up, and take them anywhere.
Take your tub to a vacation rental in the mountains or at the beach — or even to visit relatives for an extended time.
As long as you can find a nice, level spot (on grass, wooden decking, or concrete) and have ready access to a garden hose and a 110 AC power source, you’re good to go.
How long do they take to heat up?
It depends on how cold the water is when you first fill the hot tub.
The average temperature of water right out of your garden tap is around 68 degrees.
Most customers of both Coleman and Intex spas reported that it took almost 24 hours to bring the temperature of the water to 104 degrees F.
However, after use, it drops to around 80 degrees with the cover back in place. Then, say owners, it takes only a couple of hours to raise the temperature back to 104.
What about increased electric bills?
It bears mentioning in passing that you should be ready for a spike in your electric bill while heating the spa initially.
After that, while in maintenance mode, it just draws a trickle.
Then, there’s a small increase when you bring the temperature back up.
This rise in electrical usage will be especially noticeable if you decide to use your spa during the winter.
Inflatable spas really are a good value for the money.
They don’t last forever, of course, but:
- an average investment of $500
- spread over an average usage of, say, 20 soothing soaks a month, works out to
- $1.04 per two-hour session — even if the spa were only to last 2 years.
That would give you a much better ROI than enduring the expense and landscaping disruption that would be caused by excavation for and installation of an in-ground hot tub.
That kind of thing could easily run to $5,000 or more.
So, are inflatable spas any good? The answer, across the board, is yes.
Will Medicare Pay for a Hot Tub?
Don’t let your aches and pains get you down.
It could be the right time to ask your doctor for a prescription for a portable, inflatable hot tub.
These dandy devices provide soothing relief for a myriad of common (and not-so-common) ailments associated with aging such as:
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Knee or joint pain
- Severe arthritis pain
- Poor circulation
- Type II diabetes
- Stroke recovery
- Traumatic brain injury
- And many other conditions.
And Medicare may even pay for it.
It never hurts to ask!
Of course, you should be prepared to show evidence of your condition or injury, such a X-rays, MRIs, or other proof.
And, your doctor should state precisely why he or she feels it is medically necessary for you to have the benefits of a soothing spa treatment in your own back yard.
This letter should include:
- why a hot tub would be of therapeutic value
- why the tub would be a benefit to your condition or injury, and
- what they expect the treatment to accomplish
You should also know that Medicare — or any insurance provider — will likely only provide funding for a one-person tub.
Check your Medicare Supplemental
Check your Medicare Part B or Supplemental policy to see if hot tubs are specifically NOT covered before you go to the trouble of filing a claim.
But, even if they don’t, the expense for a portable, inflatable hot tub is tax deductible as a medical expense (provided you hold onto the prescription and the receipt).
So is the electricity that powers it (although this could get tricky — check with your CPA).