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What is a portable hot tub and should I buy one?

8 Minute Read

When researching hot tub options, you’ve probably ventured across portable hot tubs in your physical or online searches. Portable hot tubs can serve as a function option for many reasons. Here, we’ll break down the main features of a portable hot tub, hot tub price ranges, how they compare to standard hot tubs and more.

What is a portable hot tub?

First things first. Exactly what is a portable hot tub? It is a completely self-contained freestanding spa that can be relocated from one place to another. Typically, essential components such as heaters, pumps and plumbing are all housed within the hot tub’s cabinet. The difference between a non-portable hot tub, such as commercial or in-ground hot tubs, is that the key components are not contained within the cabinet. The key components mentioned above are not contained within the cabinet of a non-portable hot tub. Rather, the equipment of in-ground hot tubs are built into the ground, surrounding landscaping or an added structure.

What’s the difference between a portable hot tub and an inflatable hot tub?

These two hot tubs sound like they could be similar or even interchangeable, but they have their differences. A portable hot tub has a hard shell, molded or optional lounge seating and jets that offer a varying array of hydromassage options. An inflatable hot tub has a soft shell and, in most cases, open-style seating. Inflatable spas also do not have massage jets, only air bubblers that do not provide the same level of hydrotherapy as jets. As its name suggests, it is inflatable so it can be deflated and stored when not in use.

How big is a portable hot tub?

Portable hot tubs vary by size, shape, model and features based on the hot tub manufacturer. There is typically a small, medium and large range. Generally, small portable hot tubs can seat two to three people, medium portable hot tubs can accommodate four to six people, and large portable hot tubs can seat five to eight or more people. When it comes to size, consider some of the following questions to help determine the best fit for you:

-Who will be using the hot tub?

-Where will the hot tub be placed?

-What purpose will the hot tub serve — relaxation, entertainment, etc.?

-What is my portable hot tub budget? 

-What is the configuration of the space allotted for my portable hot tub? Asking this question can help you determine if a triangular, square or other shape hot tub will best suit your needs.

hot tub portable

How much does a portable hot tub cost?

Portable hot tub prices range greatly based on many factors including:









Hot tubs from quality brands, for example, range from $7,500 to $12,00 for an entry level or small portable hot tub, while large luxury models can cost upwards of $24,000. When it comes to price, take all things into consideration. Longevity comes with quality, a brand marker of all Jacuzzi® hot tubs.

What are common portable hot tub features?

A portable hot tub should come equipped with all the necessary features to ensure a soothing and relaxing hydromassage. In addition to the shell, cabinetry, control system, filtration/pumps, insulation, plumbing, jets, and lounge or open seating options, some portable hot tubs also include or offer optional lighting, waterfalls or features, smart technology for ease of use and energy efficiency, and more to enhance the hot tub experience.

Jacuzzi® hot tubs, for example, either come standard with or are compatible with the Jacuzzi® SmartTub® remote monitoring system. The SmartTub® system installed on your Jacuzzi® hot tub or swim spa is designed to help you monitor and operate your Jacuzzi® hot tub from near and far. The app is a convenient addition to the many ways you can communicate with the SmartTub® system on your Jacuzzi® hot tub or swim spa.

Are portable hot tubs easy to use?

Most reputable and reliable portable hot tub brands not only strive to make their products as user friendly as possible, but they also may provide tutorial through an authorized dealer upon purchase and installation. A visit to a local showroom with an authorized Jacuzzi® hot tub dealer, for example, should provide you with a walk through on how to use the specific model you have in mind.

Should I buy a portable hot tub?

If you are looking for a long-term energy-efficient spa that provides a deep level of hydrotherapy with a multitude of jets and has comfortable seating as well as lounger options, a portable hot tub is probably your best option. An in-ground hot tub cannot provide the same level of hydrotherapy, has hard (often concrete) seating more like a park bench and is not nearly as energy efficient, while an inflatable spa does not have any massage jets and has a short lifespan. 

Hopefully upon reaching this point in the article, you will have the knowledge to determine whether a portable hot tub is your best option based on your needs. To help finalize your decision, visit an authorized hot tub dealer and speak to an expert who can answer any lingering questions you may have and help guide you in the right direction.


Click here to find your nearest Jacuzzi® dealer


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

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ashley fields

About The Author: Ashley Field

Director of Training, Jacuzzi Group

Ashley Field has been with Jacuzzi Group since 2016, previously having worked for Discover Financial Services and Taco Bell. When she was initially contacted about an opportunity with Jacuzzi Group, she loved the idea of building... Read Full Bio