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What’s the difference between a portable and an in-ground hot tub?

5 Minute Read

You may hear a lot of terms when doing your research for a hot tub. For example, there are inflatable hot tubs, portable hot tubs, in-ground hot tubs, non-portable hot tubs, and so on. It can become a little confusing. Let’s get some clarification, especially when it comes to the two main categories of portable hot tubs and in-ground hot tubs. Read on to learn more about the difference between these two categories of hot tub as well as pros and cons of each.

What is an in-ground hot tub?

An in-ground hot tub or spa is similar to an in-ground swimming pool, as it is built into the ground and landscaping of your backyard. Often times, this type of hot tub is built in connection with a swimming pool so users can go back and forth between a refreshing swim and a soothing heated soak.


In-ground hot tub pros

-Often connected to the swimming pool or adjacent to it for conveniently going back and forth between the pool and the hot tub

-Cohesive deign when built in with the pool

-Easier to balance water chemistry when built with a pool because they share a much larger body of water


In-ground hot tub cons

-Building an in-ground hot tub from scratch is a large expense

-Moving into a home that already has one built in does not allow flexibility to move it or make any preferences on size or shape

-In-ground hot tubs permanently take up a lot of space

-Very limited jet functions and options

-Bench seating that can become uncomfortable

-Poor energy efficiency with almost no insulation and no top insulation, which is like not wearing a hat in the winter — most of the heat loss comes from your head

in ground hot tub cost

What is a portable hot tub?

A portable hot tub is one that can be purchased and placed in a convenient area of your backyard, even right on your patio just steps away from your home. Jacuzzi® hot tubs, for example are considered portable hot tubs. Portable refers more to the fact that these units are self-contained and can be placed nearly anywhere in your backyard versus the idea that it can be easily moved around. It can, however, be relocated if necessary but the help of professionals is recommended. In-ground hot tubs cannot be moved about once they are built into place.


What are the pros of a portable hot tub?

-Portable hot tubs can be placed wherever you desire, as long as you have an appropriate space and connectivity

-Many portable hot tubs are “plug and play” with standard 110V power that don’t require additional wiring prior to installation

-Energy efficiency

-Powerful and purposefully placed jets designed for hydrotherapy

-Comfortable seating including the option of a lounger and/or open seating

-Options are aplenty with a portable hot tub including features like shape, size, lighting, sound systems, waterfalls, lounge seats, and color choices


Learn more about the options in the various Jacuzzi® Hot Tub Collection models


What are the cons of a portable hot tub?

-Moving it would require the assistance of a professional

-Can be more challenging to place, taking up more vertical space

-When added, a stand-alone hot tub does not have the same integrated appearance that an in-ground spa can have


Weighing the pros and cons of a portable hot tub versus an in-ground hot tub is a great way to determine the most important factors to you when it comes to your hot tub preferences. Prior to your hot tub shopping experience, it’s a good idea to consider the following questions to help further pinpoint your needs and desires.


-What’s my budget?

-How much space do I have for a hot tub?

-Where will my hot tub be placed?

-How important is hydrotherapy when using my hot tub?

-How many people will be in the hot tub?

-Will I use my hot tub to relax or do I want more hydromassage benefits from a soak?

-How important is energy efficiency and ease of use?


After answering these questions and armed with the information in this article, you should have a better feel for which type of hot tub is right for you. If you decide to want to view the wide variety of Jacuzzi® hot tubs, click here to find a dealer near you.


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


Medical disclaimer: This information is not intended to prescribe a particular diagnosis or course of action. We are not medical professionals. Please contact your GP or other medical professional for advice if you have any concerns about your current health or well-being.

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erica moir

About The Author: Erica Moir

Vice President of Designs and Advanced Technologies, Jacuzzi Group

Erica Moir has been with Jacuzzi Group for more than 22 years, working in both the Spa and Bath business... Read Full Bio