Hot tub outdoors

Hot tubs can be a fun addition to your backyard. They can be used for a relaxing night in or for hosting a gathering of friends. They’re also flexible with the seasons and can be enjoyed in the summer as well as the winter.

For all of the positives that hot tubs seem to have, there are a few costs to consider before taking the plunge and purchasing one. Let’s discuss the installation and upkeep costs you should expect when you purchase a hot tub.

How Much Is a New Hot Tub?

Hot tub costs range from $3,000 for a low-end model to $18,000 for a top-tier model. Other than price, the differences between the low- and high-end hot tubs will be maintenance and durability, meaning the more high-end models are prone to less damage and tend to have more longevity.

On the low end is the wooden hot tub, often made from redwood, cedar or teak. They’re the most traditional choice for hot tubs and are fairly easy to install. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the acrylic hot tub, heavier in weight and more costly in price because of their durable material. They also have a more appealing aesthetic than a wooden hot tub.

There’s also the option to install a built-in hot tub if you’re willing to shell out the big bucks – we’re talking $15,000 – $20,000. This is mostly due to the cost of installation and the materials, since an in-ground hot tub will need to be made of poured concrete, like a traditional swimming pool. We’ll talk more about the installation process and costs later.

Even on the low end, $3,000 can seem costly, but remember, it’s one of the few upfront costs you’ll be expected to pay for your hot tub. Some companies will offer financing for a hot tub, breaking the large payment into monthly installments, oftentimes with added interest until paid off entirely. You can also use a personal loan to purchase your hot tub.

Outside the initial cost of the hot tub is the accessories. Some accessories, like jets, pumps and ozone sanitizers might come as a package deal with the price of the hot tub. Others might be add-ons that you can pay for separately. Here are a few you should consider purchasing:

  • Hot tub cover – prevents leaves and other debris from entering the hot tub
  • Lighting – creates ambiance while also helps to avoid injury
  • Weatherproof stairs – allows easy and safe access into the tub

Unlike the cost of the hot tub, accessories might not be a one-time payment, as they tend to go through more wear-and-tear. For example, a hot tub cover may cost between $50 – $400, depending on the quality of the cover, and just like purchasing a low-end hot tub, expect less durability from a lower-priced cover. Make sure you budget for possible accessory replacements every so often as needed.

Another expense that’s ongoing instead of singular is the monthly chemical and upkeep costs. Your hot tub water needs to be tested weekly for chlorine, pH and alkalinity balances and proper sanitizer levels. If you purchased an ozone sanitizer for your hot tub, you’ll find that it does most of the cleaning and killing of bacteria and viruses. However, you’ll still need to keep up with your hot tub’s treatment on a regular basis.

The monthly chemical costs can range anywhere from $20 – $65, depending on whether or not you have an ozone sanitizer. Additionally, every four months you’ll need to entirely drain, clean, refill and rebalance your hot tub with clean water. You’ll also need to replace the filter every four months.

Now that you know what costs to expect for the hot tub alone, let’s discuss how much you should expect to pay for transportation, delivery (if applicable) and installation of a hot tub.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Hub Tub?

Hot tub installation costs vary on a few factors that you’ll need to sort out before purchasing. Before you walk into your local home improvement store or hot tub retailer, ask yourself these following questions:

  1. Where are you putting the hot tub?
  2. Is it above ground or in-ground?
  3. Are you paying for a professional installation or will you DIY?

There are a few pros and cons when deciding whether to install your hot tub outdoors or indoors. In order to install a hot tub outdoors, you’ll need a concrete base that’s able to support the weight of the hot tub, which on average costs homeowners $2,500. You’ll also have to install electrical and plumbing that can be used by the hot tub, ranging from $200 for an electrical outlet to $5,000 for plumbing trenches and pipes.

Installing your hot tub indoors, even in a sunroom, will require the same installation process as outdoors, but with the added installation of a ventilation system. This is required to not only control the humidity of the room but to also keep the smell of chemicals properly ventilated; breathing them in an unventilated room could be hazardous to your health.

Installing your hot tub outdoors also allows the option for an above-ground or in-ground installation, which is the next decision you’ll need to make. In regards to an in-ground hot tub, the installation process will be similar to above-ground hot tubs, in the sense that you’ll need to install the necessary plumbing and electrical.

However, there’s also the added cost of excavation to dig up your yard, pouring concrete and any repairs to your landscaping when the hot tub is installed. This process is what brings the cost of the hot tub and installation up to $20,000. There’s also the fact that an in-ground hot tub will need to be professionally installed, so there’s no way of cutting costs.

You could possibly install an above-ground hot tub yourself; however, because of the weight and size of the hot tub, you’ll need to rent professional transportation and installation equipment that could amount to over $700. Not to mention, you’ll definitely need to ask a few friends to help with the labor, as it typically takes up to six people to install a hot tub. The worst-case scenario for a professional installation will be around $300, so it’s worth your time and money to consult a professional for your hot tub installation.

Once again, you need to consider that installation will be a one-time, upfront cost that you’ll need to pay along with the purchase of the hot tub. When you decide where you’re putting the hot tub, and whether you want it above- or in-ground, you’ll be better able to determine exactly how much installation will cost you.

How Many Years Does an Outdoor Hot Tub Last?

There are several arguments that vary on how many years an outdoor hot tub will last, but most sources seem to agree that a low-end hot tub will last between three and five years, while a high-end hot tub might get you 15 – 20 years.

The lifespan of an outdoor hot tub is based on factors like:

  • The quality of the parts (pump, filter, ozone sanitizers, etc.)
  • The overall design
  • The manufacture

As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for,” and hot tubs are no exception. While you might be able to save some money by purchasing a low-end hot tub, rather than the top-of-the-line, the overall quality of the parts, design and manufacture of the hot tub will decrease, simultaneously lowering the lifespan of the hot tub.

Alternately, spending a little more money on a mid-range or high-end hot tub might mean more money upfront, but it also means a longer lifespan, as the parts and design will reflect the price of the hot tub.

Of course, price and construction mean nothing if you don’t regularly maintain your hot tub. By doing weekly cleanings and tests on your hot tub, you might be able to extend its lifespan.

However, it doesn’t hurt to look for warranties for all the hot tub maintenance you can’t control. Look for warranties that last a few years, so you’re guaranteed service should something break unexpectedly. Read the warranty carefully to see what’s covered. Most sources suggest that you include:

  • Structural damage – up to $1,500 in repair costs
  • Jet – up to $75 per jet in repair costs
  • Pump – up to $500 in repair costs
  • Heating element – up to $300 in repair costs

Wear and tear is inevitable with hot tubs, so expect to experience maintenance or repair on your hot tub at least a few times in its lifespan. That’s why it’s important to purchase a warranty. It may add to the overall cost, but it could save you money down the road. In fact, most homeowners might spend $2,301 on hot tub repairs alone, so it might pay to have a warranty.

If you don’t want to purchase a warranty, at least consider having your hot tub serviced every year or so. Most hot tub servicers charge around $200 for an inspection and basic repairs but are able to identify an issue before it becomes an expensive repair.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before purchasing a hot tub, but knowing the upfront and the ongoing upkeep costs can help you better prepare for successful hot tub ownership.

Do you have any tips for our other readers considering a hot tub? Share your wisdom in the comments below.

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