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The pros and cons of inflatable hot tubs

A growing trend in the UK, hot tubs are popping up in more back gardens than ever. They’re a great alternative to a pool if you don’t have the space, or if you simply want somewhere to sit and relax or exercise in any weather. The choice people face once they decide they want the luxury of a hot tub, however, is whether they want a permanent tub or an inflatable one.

In this article we’ll run through the pros and cons of both hot tub types to help you choose what would be the best for your needs.

An alternative option to choosing between hot tubs is a swim spa. These are typically 12ft x 6ft x 4ft and offer a more compact option for a swimming pool as well as the versatility of a spa.

Permanent/Hard-Side Hot Tubs

Pro – A quick set up is available with many hot tubs. There is no need to wait for any plumbing up, simply choose your spot for installation. However, there needs to be a large enough power supply close to the site for the unit chosen, along with a suitable base to sit it on.

Pro – Because you have a hard shell for the body on these hot tubs, you get permanent seating built in which offers the ultimate place to relax.

Pro – Advanced features are available, depending on how much you spend. If you’d like different jet styles, lights and other features, you won’t have to spend too much more to get them.

Pro – Regardless of the temperature outside, because of the more permanent setup, you can enjoy the luxury of a fixed hot tub year round.


Con – This type of hot tub is not recommended for indoor use. However, it could be used indoors if the environment suits or if it can be adapted.

Con – You’ll probably find that you need some form of step to be able to get in and out of this hot tub style safely. Some come with them, while others have steps built around them as a feature where requested. These aspects can always be boughts with the spa itself.


Inflatable Hot Tubs

Pro – An inflatable hot tub, and this is one of the key benefits, is far more flexible in terms of placement. This allows you to put up and take down the tub to allow you to move it around.

Pro – Due to the fact that the tub is inflatable, you get a more cushioned and comfortable experience. It combines all the comfort of a lilo while being in the mini, heated pool.

Pro – While the word “inflatable” makes you think of a flimsy, easy-to-puncture material, it’s not the case for these hot tubs. Due to being outdoor items, inflatable hot tubs have to be made of sturdier stuff to avoid puncture. Bear in mind though, it is not impossible to puncture such products.


Con – Inflatable hot tubs don’t come with seats. You’d usually expect to be sat submerged up to your shoulders at least, but without a seat you’ll have to crouch or prop yourself up using the opposite side of the tub.

Con – With an inflatable hot tub, you lose far more heat because of the materials it’s built from, plus, the power restrictions make it hard to it to reach a high temperature.

Con – Despite the fact an inflatable hot tub folds down, making it easy to relocate or pack away, it’s still something of chore having to empty the whole thing out and refill it. This wastes water as well as your time.

Con – Few inflatable hot tubs will come with any added features. If you want different jet types or the bonus extras you’d find on a regular hot tub you’ll be left disappointed.


Both these hot tub styles require chemical balance if you’re going to be using them long-term, leaving the water inside the tub. While an inflatable tub might be a short term investment, an in-ground hot tub is a more permanent investment for those who want the full hot tub experience, making far better use of the chemicals and maintenance.

If you can’t quite decide between a pool or a hot tub, you might consider the swim spa option, which gives you the flexibility of both options.

If you’d like to learn more about hot tubs and swim spas, or if you require help with maintaining and keep a chemical balance in your water, simply contact us at H2O Swimming Pools and we’ll be happy to help.


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