Gone are the days when you have to leave your hot tub at home to go camping. A portable or inflatable hot tub will allow you to get in a good soak while you’re on the road. Let’s take a look at some of the best portable hot tubs on the market.
Can You Really Buy an Inflatable Hot Tub?
Yes! In fact, inflatable hot tubs are a huge trend right now. Many people don’t have thousands of dollars to shell out for a regular hot tub.
And let’s not forget about the lack of traditional hot tubs on the market and months-long delays due to the pandemic and natural disasters. Instead of waiting, you can get a portable hot tub that arrives in days.
Things to Note When Buying a Portable Hot Tub
Don’t know the first thing about inflatable hot tubs? Here are some things to keep in mind while shopping.
Ease of Set-Up
It should take about 30 minutes to set up and inflate an inflatable hot tub. Adding water may take a few hours. If you’re not near a water source, you’ll need a really big water bag to transport water.
You can purchase a hose connector to connect your hose to your indoor faucet and add warm water to speed up the heating process. Or wait a day to let the water heat up to a cozy temperature.
If your water starts at 50 degrees, it’ll take up to 32 hours to reach the hottest temperature of 104 degrees. Since you could spend a full day or more on this project, make sure it won’t be a hassle, and you can set it up easily and let it fill and heat.
Portable hot tubs cost between $500 and $750. This isn’t a small purchase. Thankfully, everything you need to get it up and running comes with the hot tub. The only extra you should need to budget for is maintenance items like test strips.
If you pay for electricity at your campsite, factor that in as well. The pump and heater use 1,300 to 1,500 watts. Some of the accessories and fancy settings will consume more power as well. If you’re worried about electricity costs, check whether the inflatable hot tub has a power-saving timer.
Inflatable hot tubs come with special features, like air-jet bubbles. Some may have color-changing LED lights and can even work in winter. You might find some with headrests, cup holders, and other special features. These can raise your cost, but also your comfort, so balance the pros and cons accordingly.
Pro Tip: Relax in your portable hot tub in style by adding ambiance to your campsite with these 13 Cozy Campsite Decorating Ideas to Make Camping Feel Like Home.
Ease of Maintenance
Made of durable and puncture-resistant material, these portable hot tubs are low on maintenance. In general, you’ll need to clean the filter cartridge daily and use pool chemicals like chlorine or bromine tablets to keep the water sanitary. This also maintains the water chemistry and prevents bacteria and algae growth.
Clean the cover periodically. Use soapy water to clean the liner when needed. If you get a build-up of stains and bacteria, you may need to remove all the water and clean and disinfect the whole hot tub. Finally, you may also need to occasionally add air to the hot tub walls, depending on your weather.
These hot tubs are easy to pack away. After emptying the water, all you have to do is deflate the hot tub, dry it out, and fold it up. You should be able to fit the pump — which is a couple of feet wide — and the inflatable hot tub itself into a large tube.
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Top Inflatable Hot Tubs Options
There are several portable hot tubs out there, but these are our picks. Check out whether any of these offer you the best bang for your buck, plus the features you’re looking for.
Coleman 90363E SaluSpa Inflatable Hot Tub Spa
At only $500, this is the least expensive option on our list. The Coleman SaluSpa is 77 inches in diameter and 28 inches tall. It heats up to 104 degrees and comes with a power-saving timer to allow you to heat up the hot tub days in advance rather than maintaining that temperature all the time.
There are no tools required for setup. It easily fits four adults and holds 242 gallons. The pump heats the water, inflates the spa, and runs the filter system. It weighs just under 90 pounds and comes highly rated with a score of 4.3 out of 5 after more than 6,800 reviews.
- ENJOY THE ULTIMATE SPA EXPERIENCE: Nothing beats the feeling of...
- EASY TO OPERATE: The digital control panel lets you dictate the...
- DURABLE & INNOVATIVE CONSTRUCTION: The spa's durable PVC material...
Intex 28429E PureSpa Plus 6.4 Foot Diameter 4 Person Portable Inflatable Hot Tub Spa
This Intex portable hot tub sets up in just 20 minutes and comes ready for all seasons. It’ll fit four adults and includes contoured headrests, 140 water jets to massage those achy areas, and a hard-water treatment system.
This is a great option if you’re dealing with hard water. It helps prevent calcium buildup and ensures the heating unit continues working. It holds 210 gallons and weighs just over 100 pounds. This one has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 with more than 1,200 ratings.
- TOTAL RELAXATION WITH 140 WATER JETS: Pampering yourself is...
- HARD WATER TREATMENT BUILT-IN: Built-in hard water treatment...
- FITS UP TO 4 PEOPLE: Provides relaxation at the touch of a button...
Bestway Helsinki AirJet Hot Tub
This is the smallest portable hot tub on our list at 71×26 inches. However, the interior diameter is actually 10 inches larger than the other two portable hot tubs since it has a thinner edge. In fact, this hot tub fits five to seven adults.
With this model, you get 83 bubble jets and a built-in water softening system, meaning this is another good option if you’re worried about hard water. It holds just under 300 gallons of water and takes only 20 minutes to set up. This model features l-beam walls, allowing you to sit on the edge of the wall to cool down. It has a realistic wood design, making it blend effortlessly into your surroundings.
- Round 5 to 7-person spa has you relaxed in no time with a...
- Built-in AirJet system with 180 jets releases warm air into the...
- Features a FreezeShield automatic heating function to prevent...
How Do You Heat an Inflatable Hot Tub?
You use a heat pump that comes with the hot tub to heat it. Some pumps are multi-functional, meaning they heat the water, inflate the tub, and help the filtration system keep running. Then, you use a digital panel to adjust the temperature.
The hot tubs also come with an insulated ground cloth and heated covers to provide some thermal protection.
If you’re boondocking, however, the power draw is simply too much for most RV battery and electrical systems to handle. We recommend looking into an instant, tankless propane water heater like this one to heat the water with propane – a readily available and familiar RV fuel.
For this setup, you’ll also need a water pump and a 12V power source, like a battery. We used a Battle Born Battery for the sustained power draw of recirculating the water.
Can You Pack an Inflatable Hot Tub in Your RV?
Yes, you can. You’ll need to empty and deflate the hot tub first. Then, dry it out and fold it up, similar to how you’d pack up a tent. The contents easily fit inside a large tote that you can store in your basement storage area or tow vehicle.
Did You Know: Hot tubs aren’t the only campsite accessories that are portable these days! After soaking in your hot tub, make a s’more with your Portable Propane Fire Pit.
Do Campgrounds Allow Inflatable Hot Tubs?
It depends. Similar to how some campgrounds allow you to put out rugs and some don’t, some campgrounds will allow hot tubs. You’ll have a better chance if you have a concrete pad it can sit on and don’t disturb the grass. If you’re paying for electricity, the campground may be more willing to let you bring your portable hot tub since they won’t have to foot the increased electric bill.
Do your research and look into the campgrounds you’re booking. Review their rules. You can also give them a call to ask. The worst they can say is no, and then you can decide if you want to find another campground to stay at or forgo the inflatable hot tub for now.
Are Inflatable Hot Tubs Worth the Cost?
If you live full-time in your RV and only stay at a campsite for a few days, then the juice may not be worth the squeeze. But if you stay at least a couple of weeks at each stop, then yes, it may be worth it to have a portable hot tub. If you have a seasonal site and leave it up, it could also be a good fit. If you only go camping on weekends and want an inflatable hot tub, chances are you won’t get to enjoy it in the short time you’re there.
Next, consider how many of your campgrounds will allow a hot tub. You’ll have to do some research and perhaps take a gamble here. Even at the high end of $750, if you get to use the hot tub for five weeks of the year, that’s just over $20 per day. Use it for 10 weeks of the year, and it costs about $10 per day.
A portable hot tube can enhance your camping experience, but it comes with costs and a bit of hassle. Whether that’s worth it depends on your camping and RVing style.
What do you think? Will you take the plunge? Drop a comment below!
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Lisa Rose Morton
Tuesday 28th of September 2021
It is such a good idea to buy your own hot tub And keep it clean. My son-in-law Just died from using a public hot tub he contracted legionnaire's disease. The hotel he was staying at didn't clean it very well.
Mortons on the Move
Saturday 23rd of October 2021
We're so sorry to hear about your son-in-law. You're right, though. Even if you have a portable hot tub, you still need to use the proper chemicals and keep it clean.