A couple of years ago, a video went viral that showed a man walking into his apartment when, much to his surprise, his wife and her friend had set up an inflatable hot tub in the middle of their living room. The video shows the entire process, from receiving the box of parts to filling it up and waiting for the water to reach the optimal 104-degree temperature.
The thing about the video that probably appealed to most people is just how accessible hot tubs are to the average Joe. Gone are the days when you needed a full yard and a couple grand just to set up a hot tub. With their collapsible design, small footprint, and low cost, inflatable hot tubs can work for both the large estate and the tiny apartment.
Benefits of Hot Tubs
Hot tubs have a lot of benefits for the body, but the rewards don’t stop there; there are also mental and social pluses to consider.
- Physical: Hot tubs are probably best known for their physical benefits. The hot, bubbling water soothes sore muscles and joints, making it the perfect way to relax at the end of the day. Completely immersing in the water can also promote healing while relieving the pain and stiffness that accompany arthritis, over-doing-it, and old age. Additionally, one study said that soaking in a hot tub for a half-hour, six days a week can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar better.
- Mental: Few things can do better for the brain than turning it off at the end of the day as you sink into a warm hot tub. Many people say that soaking for a half-hour at least an hour before bedtime can help you get to sleep faster, sleep sounder, and wake up more refreshed just because you gave your body a chance to relax completely before bed.
- Social: While it is therapeutic to relax in a hot tub by yourself, it can also be a blast to spend some time in front of the jets with your favorite people. Depending on the size you get, some hot tubs can fit up to six adults.
Things to Consider
Inflatable hot tubs tout their versatility and accessibility as compared to traditional hot tubs, but there are still some things to keep in mind if you are serious about getting one.
- Weight Limit: A mid-range inflatable hot tub can hold about 240 gallons of water, which is roughly 2,000 pounds. If you are going to use the hot tub inside of your home, you need to make sure that the floor can withstand that amount of weight without collapsing.
- Timing: Inflatable hot tubs can (on average) heat the water two to three degrees per hour. It takes less time to heat it up if you keep it as warm as possible (keep the cover on, have an insulated bottom mat, etc.), but you need to be sure to plan enough time to get it to the correct temperature before you hop in.
- Over-Inflation: Some inflatable hot tubs have over-inflation prohibitors built into the mechanics, but if your model doesn’t, make sure to keep an eye on the pressure. Over-inflation can cause the whole thing to burst, which could create a catastrophic mess.
- Drainability: Remember—most of the water you put into your hot tub has to be drained back out somehow. It might not be such a big deal if your hot tub is located outside, but if it’s indoors, make sure that you have a way to get the water out safely. Some inflatable hot tubs have special adaptors that you can hook up to a hose to drain the water.
- Costs: A mid-range inflatable hot tub will set you back about $500, and depending on the cost of electricity in your area and how much you use your hot tub, your power bill could increase several thousand dollars per year. You should also remember that you will need additional materials such as chemicals, cleaners, and filters to keep your hot tub running well.
Inflatable hot tub maintenance is similar to swimming pool maintenance but on a much smaller scale. You will need to follow manufacturer instructions to keep the alkalinity, pH level, and chemical-to-water ratios in balance. You should also plan on running the jets and filter in your hot tub once or twice a day to keep the water circulating, which will help it stay clean.
In addition to the chemical levels and need for circulation, your hot tub will need to be kept clean. You should clean your hot tub’s jets, outside shell, and waterline with a rag dipped in warm water and vinegar at least once a week. This routine will keep the scum at bay, but you will still need to deep clean your tub every two to three months. For a deep clean, you will have to completely drain it and scrub down the sides with a mild soap and lots of water.
Not all inflatable hot tubs are created equal, so as you browse the options, look for these features:
- Water Softener (if you have hard water)
- Shape (circle vs square)
- Child locks on cover
- Insulated cover
- Carrying case
- Cushioned bottom pad
Any or all of these additional features can help make your hot tub experience as enjoyable as it could possibly be.
If an inflatable hot tub is not for you but you want the benefits of hydrotherapy, consider a walk-in bathtub. You can equip these tubs with advanced features such as therapeutic air and whirlpool jets as well as heat and massage systems to help with general aches and pains, poor circulation, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.