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Top 5 features every quality hot tub should have in the UK (Do’s, don'ts, advice and more)

January 6th, 2023

Estimated read time - 10 minutes

Author – Phil Sharp - Freelance Writer 

Planning to buy a hot tub and wondering what boxes a good one should tick? Asking yourself what is the best hot tub to buy?

At face value all hot tubs can look great, but it's worth digging a bit deeper if quality is a priority for you.

Jacuzzi® J-300™ Collection aerial

In this article you will learn about the top 5 hot tub features to prioritise as you shop around, and some valuable dos and don'ts so you stay on the right buying track!

Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Jacuzzi Group. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (December 18, 2022) and may change without notice.

What are the essential hot tub features?

We’ve kept it to five points we believe are the top priority for you, but it could easily be more. Let’s look at the hot tub features we think you should consider first:

1. Jets - Quality of hydrotherapy.

2. Water sanitisation & filtration - Clean and safe water.

3. Materials (and insulation) - Durability and efficiency.

4. Controls - Simple to use.

5. Seating - Fit everybody in.

1 - Quality of hydrotherapy and hot tub jets

They just pump water right? There's more to it. Of real importance is the balance of air and water coming through the jets.

You will only feel true hydrotherapy when air is combined with the jet output of water. This combination ensures you receive a massage as opposed to a pummelling!

As an example, Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs come with a unique feature called the Jacuzzi® Aqualibrium® formula. 

In a nutshell, each jet is individually calibrated to eject a balance of air and water into the hot tub. Working with this is a pump to jet ratio so quality hydrotherapy can be felt in all seats.

Is jet placement important in a hot tub?

To put it simply, yes. When you look inside a hot tub in a showroom, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by hot tubs packed full of jets.

Lots of jets just dotted around the shell does not necessarily mean the hot tub will provide better hydrotherapy than one with less. Think quality over quantity. 

The key is in the jet placement. Fewer jets in more strategic positions deliver targeted hydromassage to the parts of your body that need it the most.

When looking at the jet placement, think to yourself ‘What parts of my body do I want to feel a targeted hydromassage?

From here, you can then consider jet position in relation to the key parts of the body. You want them aligned with the soles of feet, calf muscles, thighs, lower back, shoulders and neck. If they're fully recessed, this means they won't protrude from the shell and press into your back and limbs.

Superb hydrotherapy is not about a scattergun approach, it’s about precision, jet placement, comfort and providing relief to your body. With these boxes ticked, you'll be able to sit back, relax and recuperate.

Do - Consider jet quality, placement and being fully-recessed for a more targeted and comfortable hot tub hydrotherapy experience.

Don't - Make hot tub buying decision based on the number of jets it has.

Jacuzzi® Hot Tub hydrotherapy

2 - Quality hot tub water cleaning systems

Every time you get into a hot tub, you want to see crystal clear water. More importantly you want to know that the water is clear of unwanted bacteria and debris.

As a hot tub owner you will have to play your part in the cleaning. Using sanitising products, then testing and adjusting the water pH and alkalinity as needed. Primarily this means filters, baskets and additional clean water systems.

You want to be looking for pleated filters that have easy access. Whether they are polyester or ceramic. Pleated filters remove debris from the water before it’s pulled through the jetting system. This is vital and helps avoid any damage to the pump and heater (in turn expanding the products lifespan).

And remember, if it’s easier to get to them, cleaning them is less of a chore (rather than being a faff that you might leave until next week or longer!).

To get a real gold standard when it comes to clean water, consider a complimentary system that will run alongside the hot tubs standard filtration.

These clean water systems work in association with the filters and baskets already in place. To ensure organic and inorganic materials are dealt with. Remember you are looking for additional cleaning through:

-Chlorine and bromine sanitisers 

-Ozone and UV systems 

Many of the top hot tub suppliers choose to use these systems, because they really offer peace of mind for the user and supplier. Clean hot tubs means less irritations for you and fewer comebacks for the manufacturer. 

As an example, Jacuzzi® utilises CLEARRAY Active Oxygen™ technology with UV-C technology and an up to 6-stage filtration system. (Depending on the hot tub model)

When it comes to automated clean water systems, the key point to remember is they work to clean more, so you can clean less!

Jacuzzi® hot tub filter

Do - Look for a hot tub with an automated clean water system.

Don’t - Think that adding more chemicals and ignoring recommended dosages will keep the hot tub water clean, instead of considering automatic water systems. The wrong chemical dosage can lead to skin irritations and damage components in a hot tub.

3 - Hot tub materials & insulation

Now we have hot tub performance and water cleaning systems covered, it’s time to turn your attention to the build quality of a hot tub. Obviously the better the quality materials used, the better the longevity and durability of the product.

The quality of the materials used will also go a long way to helping with energy efficiency through insulation. For this section we want to consider both the outside and the inside of the hot tub.

What are hot tub shells made of?

-Acrylic: Is durable, sturdy and has excellent temperature retention. Keep in mind that it may be more expensive than fibreglass.

-Fibreglass: More affordable yet really prone to scratches and fading over the duration of use


-Rotomolded resin: Has a different feel and look to acrylic. Being a single moulded unit is more affordable and less prone to cracks like a multi-layered acrylic counterpart.

-Tip - Quality hot tub shells are often multi-layered with different materials. For example, Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs are made with vacuum formed acrylic backed by fibreglass and insulation.

Jacuzzi® Hot Tub in winter

Acrylic cabinets, insulation and covers.

The cabinet of a hot tub is more than just a facia to hide the shell and engineering. They bring protection, added heat retention and a visual aesthetic that can be tailored to your requirements. 

Modern day acrylic cabinet sides use heat retentive materials that may not offer total protection. But when they are used in association with insulation - material or foam - form a dual barrier to heat loss.

Material insulation panels are like the type you find in lofts - pliable and easily fitted (and easily removable), they are a lower cost option to foam but may not provide the total coverage that foam can. 

Foam insulation is sprayed into the hot tub covering the base of the shell and the majority of the pipe and engineering. This forms an insulating second skin within the hot tub cabinet. You can also have the foam insulation pumped into all the cavities to reduce the space where heat can escape into.

The acrylic panels can also be created to resemble wood effect, as well as being available in a range of colours.

Finally the coverIt is best here to look for a foam filled hardshell cover that is a tailored fit to your chosen hot tub model. This level of insulation is on a par with what’s inside the cabinet and prevents heat loss from the large surface of the hot tub water.

Do - Think of the unit as a whole. Make sure the shell, cabinet, cover and insulation are the best they can be.

Don’t - Underestimate the importance of these features. They contribute to the overall longevity of the hot tub. The greater the quality of materials used, the easier these components should be to maintain.

Jacuzzi® J-495™ on tiles

4 - Hot tub control system

The one thing you want when you get into your hot tub is an easy to use and reliable control system. 

The simpler the controls, the less frustration you feel and the more time you spend relaxing. Ideally you want fewer buttons, clearly indicated programmes and a one touch approach that feels intuitive. The brands we recommend you keep top of mind while looking at hot tub options are Balboa® and Gecko®.

Ask in the showroom for a quick run through of these panels. If it looks complicated for the salesperson, you can bet that it’s gonna be fiddly for you too!

Look for that press and play mentality that you have on many of your other appliances and tech around the home. This easy play approach leads us nicely onto controlling things remotely.

Many hot tubs are beginning to use app technology as standard to give you total control in a format that everybody understands. Think of HIVE™ and RING™, you control them from wherever you are and whenever you choose.

You can do this with a hot tub too. Less messing when you want to get in and a real assurance that the hot tub is set to the heat and programme you wish to experience.

The Jacuzzi® SmartTub® app and the CleverSpa® clever link (Part of Clever®) are two examples of this tech on the market right now.

Do - Get a full demonstration on how to control your hot tub in the showroom and consider what forms of wireless controlling are on offer.

Don’t - Be taken in by a big flashy control console. If it looks complicated, ask questions on how to use it so you can anticipate how well you think you'll be able to use it independently.

Jacuzzi® SmartTub® screen hand

5 - Hot tub seats

Make sure you think of everyone who will be using the hot tub. Whether there’s 2, 4 or 6 of you in your family, you are single or socialising and entertaining is your thing, it’s a good idea to picture exactly how many people you could see enjoying a hot tub at any one time.

Once you’ve figured out the seating number, consider if a lounge seat would get a lot of use, as well as child or cool down seats. 

For example, if you have children, chances are the latter seats will be put to great use. If hydrotherapy is a top priority for comfort, sports therapy or to relieve aches and pains, then a hot tub with a lounger is likely to be the best option for you.

Do - Consider hot tub seats based on who will be using the hot tub now and in several years to come, as well as other types of relaxation you want to enjoy.

Don’t - Get too fixated on price, dimensions or jets until you understand who will be using the hot tub and how it will be used. 

Jacuzzi® lounge seat with hydromassage jets

What other hot tub features should I consider?

As you may start to be learning, there are many features that make up a hot tub so yes, there are factors you may want to keep in mind too. 

These include a - 

-Base pan - For protection from elements and insulation.

-Quality plumbing components and equipment - For longevity and reliability.

-Useful and ergonomic topside controls - (Such as drink holders, aromatherapy, bottle cooler, water features).


Now you’ve reached the end of the article, you should have a better understanding of the top five features to keep in mind if investing in a quality hot tub is top of mind for you.

Let’s recap - the top 5 features we recommend you prioritise if you're searching for a quality hot tub:

1 - Jets for hydrotherapy

2 - Water cleaning systems

3 - Materials and insulation

4 - Control system

5 - Seating

Asking yourself what are the best hot tubs in the UK? We recommend you read this review article of what we consider to be the top 5 hot tub brands in the UK.

You may also want to download our Buyer's Guide that's packed full of useful knowledge that will continue to help you as you make your first steps on your buying journey.

Disclaimer: (The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Jacuzzi Group. 

CleverSpa® is a trademark owned by Clever-Company Limited PRIVATE LIMITED COMPANY UNITED KINGDOM, HIVE™ and RING™ are trademarks registered in the Uk and other countries. Balboa trademark is owned by Balboa Water Group. Gecko® trademark is owned by Gecko Alliance Group

Affiliations: Jacuzzi® is a registered trademark of Jacuzzi Group. All rights reserved.