What new hot tub would you buy?

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,217
Cabool, Mo
I hear from alot more spa owners on a different forum I frequent.
I would buy the one that came from a good, reputable, long standing dealer in my area that I liked best after wet testing everything in town.
 
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Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,909
NY
I would buy the one that came from a good, reputable, long standing dealer in my area that I liked best after wet testing everything in town
+1. Just like a pool, if you aren’t 100% capable of handling/maintaining every last detail down the road, you are buying an ongoing relationship that can be worth far more than a slightly marked up purchase.
 

DangerBoy

Well-known member
Oct 4, 2018
153
Calgary/Alberta
Personally, I don't like many of the newer hot tubs that are out there because they're too molded with too many sharp ridges and contours and I don't like how they force you to have to sit in a specific place and in a certain way. You can't sit an inch over in any direction from where they want you to sit because the tub is so highly molded, you can only sit in the exact spots and exact positions they want you to sit in. I also don't like that they have a zillion jets in them. Jets aren't that important to me and I don't use them much so I prefer a tub with fewer of them, not more.

I like a tub with smooth rounded contours and lots of open seating so you can sit wherever you want and in whatever position you want. That's why I went out of my way to find and purchase an old early to mid 90s Hot Spring Grandee and I'll try to keep that tub going forever. It helps that I'm quite handy and know their system quite well so I can troubleshoot and fix any problem that comes up with the control system or plumbing. To help keep the tub going I continually scour the classifieds to pick up parts I can use from people who are parting out their old tubs. With a collection of spare heaters, jet pumps and control systems that I've picked up for cheap, I'm entirely self-sufficient and can keep my old tub going for a long-long time at very low cost.

If I was looking at a new tub there are a few features I'd want it to have. One is that it uses a dedicated small circulation pump that runs 24/7 rather than try to make one of the jet pumps run at a very slow speed and circulate at certain intervals. Running a small pump motor that doesn't draw much current 24/7 is more energy efficient than trying to make a large electric motor that isn't designed to run at very low RPM do exactly that, even if it's just intermittently. Also, a little circ pump motor that isn't working hard and runs constantly will probably far outlast a jet pump motor that's being forced to run a lot slower than is optimal for the motor but I'm just speculating here.

Another feature that I would want is for the inside of the cavity between the tub and surround to be fully filled with injected foam. I live in a place where it can be very cold during the winter so I prefer a tub that is as well insulated as can be. Surrounding all of the jet lines with foam holds them in place rigidly and prevents them from moving and expanding from the pressure surge when the jet pump gets turned on. I believe that over time, lines that are able to jiggle and expand will start to fatigue at stress points and will eventually start to leak where fatigue cracks form. I can't prove this happens but as an engineer that is something I would expect to happen. As with most things in life, having a tub that's fully injected by foam like a Hot Spring comes with a trade-off. The trade-off is that if you ever freeze a line or a line starts to leak for some other reason, it is much harder and much more work to find the leak(s) and repair it/them because you have to dig out a ton of foam to get at them.

As for all the other features like waterfalls, light displays, sound systems, etc., that you can get with tubs nowadays., I wouldn't want any of them. More stuff to have to fix when it goes wrong and I wouldn't use those features anyways. Call me boring but I pretty much just like to sit out in my tub, soak in the wonderful hot water and enjoy the quiet and darkness as I look up at the night sky. Once in awhile, I might fire up the jets to work on a sore muscle but most of the time I never use them other than to circulate chemicals. That's why I don't need or want a tub with 140 jets. My big ol' Grandee has about 14 jets and that's plenty for me. You may feel differently about that though.

One new feature/capability that I might like to have is WiFi control over my tub's control system so I can do things remotely like adjust the temperature or operate the jet pumps. That's a new feature that could be pretty handy.
 

Yakiman

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2012
65
Yakima, WA
Personally, I don't like many of the newer hot tubs that are out there because they're too molded with too many sharp ridges and contours and I don't like how they force you to have to sit in a specific place and in a certain way. You can't sit an inch over in any direction from where they want you to sit because the tub is so highly molded, you can only sit in the exact spots and exact positions they want you to sit in. I also don't like that they have a zillion jets in them. Jets aren't that important to me and I don't use them much so I prefer a tub with fewer of them, not more.

I like a tub with smooth rounded contours and lots of open seating so you can sit wherever you want and in whatever position you want. That's why I went out of my way to find and purchase an old early to mid 90s Hot Spring Grandee and I'll try to keep that tub going forever. It helps that I'm quite handy and know their system quite well so I can troubleshoot and fix any problem that comes up with the control system or plumbing. To help keep the tub going I continually scour the classifieds to pick up parts I can use from people who are parting out their old tubs. With a collection of spare heaters, jet pumps and control systems that I've picked up for cheap, I'm entirely self-sufficient and can keep my old tub going for a long-long time at very low cost.

If I was looking at a new tub there are a few features I'd want it to have. One is that it uses a dedicated small circulation pump that runs 24/7 rather than try to make one of the jet pumps run at a very slow speed and circulate at certain intervals. Running a small pump motor that doesn't draw much current 24/7 is more energy efficient than trying to make a large electric motor that isn't designed to run at very low RPM do exactly that, even if it's just intermittently. Also, a little circ pump motor that isn't working hard and runs constantly will probably far outlast a jet pump motor that's being forced to run a lot slower than is optimal for the motor but I'm just speculating here.

Another feature that I would want is for the inside of the cavity between the tub and surround to be fully filled with injected foam. I live in a place where it can be very cold during the winter so I prefer a tub that is as well insulated as can be. Surrounding all of the jet lines with foam holds them in place rigidly and prevents them from moving and expanding from the pressure surge when the jet pump gets turned on. I believe that over time, lines that are able to jiggle and expand will start to fatigue at stress points and will eventually start to leak where fatigue cracks form. I can't prove this happens but as an engineer that is something I would expect to happen. As with most things in life, having a tub that's fully injected by foam like a Hot Spring comes with a trade-off. The trade-off is that if you ever freeze a line or a line starts to leak for some other reason, it is much harder and much more work to find the leak(s) and repair it/them because you have to dig out a ton of foam to get at them.

As for all the other features like waterfalls, light displays, sound systems, etc., that you can get with tubs nowadays., I wouldn't want any of them. More stuff to have to fix when it goes wrong and I wouldn't use those features anyways. Call me boring but I pretty much just like to sit out in my tub, soak in the wonderful hot water and enjoy the quiet and darkness as I look up at the night sky. Once in awhile, I might fire up the jets to work on a sore muscle but most of the time I never use them other than to circulate chemicals. That's why I don't need or want a tub with 140 jets. My big ol' Grandee has about 14 jets and that's plenty for me. You may feel differently about that though.

One new feature/capability that I might like to have is WiFi control over my tub's control system so I can do things remotely like adjust the temperature or operate the jet pumps. That's a new feature that could be pretty handy.
Wow thanks. Some of that I never would have considered. I agree with you about the highly molded seats and the jets—but I think my wife is the opposite. Maybe we can find one with both bench seating some “Lounge chairs“ with lots of jets. She has a lot of back issues and the jets help.

Gets cold here too. I would like to run a pump 24/7.

How do you feel about salt generators? Like the add on type you put in the tub?

like the idea of hording parts!
 

Yakiman

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2012
65
Yakima, WA
+1. Just like a pool, if you aren’t 100% capable of handling/maintaining every last detail down the road, you are buying an ongoing relationship that can be worth far more than a slightly marked up purchase.
Thank you! I will need to shop around for that. I have done most of my own maintenance but I do like to have some close and open my pool and the 2 stores I’ve used here in Yakima really suck! I’m thinking doing the wet test thing will provide some insight. I really want my wife to try some of the various jet configurations to see what helps with her issues also.
 
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Yakiman

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 16, 2012
65
Yakima, WA
+1. Just like a pool, if you aren’t 100% capable of handling/maintaining every last detail down the road, you are buying an ongoing relationship that can be worth far more than a slightly marked up purchase.
Also, what’s the other forum?
 

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phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
784
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
I have a Bullfrog A6

I just got it last week, so my opinion may change over time.

However, aside from the reputation, build quality, features, etc what made me want this tub are the interchangeable jet packs.

1) I have already deep cleaned the tub, and being able to remove the packs, and flush all of the jets and manifolds with a hose was wonderful.

2) I'm tall and my wife is normal height. One of the jet packs we bought has the downward facing shoulder jets. It is great to be able to swap that pack between the deep seats for me, and the shallower seats for my wife depending on who wants to use it.


Wow thanks. Some of that I never would have considered. I agree with you about the highly molded seats and the jets—but I think my wife is the opposite. Maybe we can find one with both bench seating some “Lounge chairs“ with lots of jets. She has a lot of back issues and the jets help.

Gets cold here too. I would like to run a pump 24/7.

How do you feel about salt generators? Like the add on type you put in the tub?

like the idea of hording parts!.
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
784
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
In this Covid world, dealer support on warranty work and tub availability are the keys. I have heard some tubs are 6+ months out.


I bought my Bullfrog A6 in June 2020 - It was delivered 12 days ago (mid April 2021) - I WISH I got it 6 months out, more like 10 for me

The dealer I bough through said I got mine just before things got really really bad. In addition to the issues with workforces and COVID, there are now resin shortages.

Apparently Bullfrog is also having issues with whoever makes the subwoofers they use in their audio systems. Loads of spas were complete, but not shipping because they were waiting for subwoofers (June 2020 was a promo month, any A or R series spa came with a free premium audio system). The dealer I went through had Bullfrog ship the tubs without the subwoofer and then would have his tech install them on his own dime whenever they came in.
 

Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,847
Fresno, CA
Pool Size
27000
A sound system let alone a subwoofer would not be a feature in a hot tub I would ever use. :scratch:
I'm looking for hot, clean, still water and a cool drink. Maybe a neck ring to keep my head above water when dozing off. :drown:
 

A.O.

Well-known member
Apr 12, 2016
255
Kershaw, South Carolina
I bought a Cal Spa and it was delivered in Jan I think... Absolutely love it!!! Would rather have no other! Have had hot tubs for 30 years and this is the best so far! If you have a choice, go bigger not smaller!
 

phonedave

Well-known member
May 30, 2012
784
Montville NJ
Pool Size
17000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
A sound system let alone a subwoofer would not be a feature in a hot tub I would ever use. :scratch:
I'm looking for hot, clean, still water and a cool drink. Maybe a neck ring to keep my head above water when dozing off. :drown:

I thought the same thing. I even asked if I could get money back instead of the free sound system promo.

Now that I have it, I like it a LOT. The speakers are inside of the shell (not through the shell) and are right near your head. I can play the radio (or other music source) and hear it clearly over the jets, without having to blast it.

It is surprisingly nice, and I use it often.
 
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DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
350
Chandler, AZ
I bought a Cal Spa and it was delivered in Jan I think... Absolutely love it!!! Would rather have no other! Have had hot tubs for 30 years and this is the best so far! If you have a choice, go bigger not smaller!
A.O. which model did you buy? I'm not very familiar with the Cal Spa line, but the dealer from whom I bought my 17-year old Dimension One now sells Cal Spas. I may be in the market for a new spa soon is why I ask.
 

SSharp

Bronze Supporter
Aug 25, 2019
92
Nebraska
We have an 18 year old Sundance Optima. No bells and whistles, still works like a top, shell in pristine condition, even after being moved around several times. I would buy this brand again.
 
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