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Hot tubs and spas are a popular way to relax after a hard day at work, entertain guests, and soothe aching post-workout muscles. While many gyms and fitness centers have hot tubs for their members, these facilities often have issues with cleanliness and availability. And, who wants to crowd in with a group of strangers when you can have your own hot tub right at home?
You may be wondering, "What's the difference between a hot tub and a spa?" Although the terms are now used interchangeably in most cases, a hot tub traditionally referred to a basic tub enclosed in a wood cabinet, without contoured seating, while spas did have seating that allowed users to recline comfortably with support.
Sunday, September 19th
You've probably seen commercials for Wayfair, promoting their inventory of more than a half-million items for your home, from furniture to linens. When it comes to hot tubs and spas, their selection does not disappoint. While most retailers have one or two dozen models to choose from, Wayfair puts more than 100 options at your disposal with just the click of a mouse. For budget shoppers, you can get a 4-person inflatable spa for $589.99; if absolute luxury combined with competitive swim training is your goal, you'll find a 73-jet, 20-foot-long swim spa/hot tub combo for the "bargain" price of $32,399.99 - and, of course, many other options across the spectrum of prices.
You'll have no trouble using the website to find your ideal hot tub. On the main category page, you have a number of ways to sort through their inventory: browse according to price or popularity, and/or sort the results by maximum occupancy, number of jets, available features (such as MP3 auxiliary input or aromatherapy), shape, water capacity, and many more.
You can also see at a glance how many customer reviews each model has, giving you an immediate idea of how popular each one is and what buyers have to say. When you select a particular model, you'll be able to see not only those customer comments but also more detailed manufacturer information and a helpful Q&A section that may cover any questions or concerns you may have as well.
And, Wayfair will absolutely give you the lowest price on the hot tub you select. We found that their prices were often hundreds of dollars lower than their competitors, giving you a significant savings without having to spend hours comparison shopping. Shipping is also free on all of Wayfair's hot tubs and spas.
We were stunned to see that Wayfair's 30-day return policy applies to hot tubs as well. According to their policy page, you may return them within 30 days of delivery for a full refund. You are responsible for the return shipping costs, however, so we recommend that you find out what those costs would be on larger items like hot tubs.
At Wayfair, you'll get incredible selection, the best prices, and all the information you need to decide which hot tub is right for you. Wayfair is our top choice for hot tubs and spas.
Overstock sells just about everything, from furniture and electronics to apparel and jewelry. And, their hot tub and spa selection matches their inventory in other departments, with more than 50 models to consider - from budget inflatables to 65-jet luxury spas with waterfalls and digital controls, ranging in price from $594.99 to $6,249.99.
Using the website is relatively easy. Once you're on the spa page, you can sort through the available products by price, number of jets, brand/manufacturer, capacity, and more. We also like that Overstock makes it easy to see customer reviews for their spas, and that there have been enough purchases made to have a solid number of reviews entered. For example, the Home and Garden Spas 3-person, 31-jet Hot Tub has 30 total reviews and an average rating of 4.5 stars. Looking through the customer comments for that model, it becomes clear that Overstock also does a fantastic job on pricing; this unit is often sold for almost twice the price at brick-and-mortar hot tub stores.
Shipping is free on all of the spas for sale at Overstock (within the continental US), with no extra charges for oversize items. Just be aware that, on larger items, it may take up to 6 weeks for delivery, though most arrive within 1-4 weeks.
Overstock's return policy states that opened or used items are eligible for a partial refund, with lower refunds on items returned more than 30 days after delivery. Fortunately, if your hot tub is defective or damaged, Overstock does refund the full cost of the merchandise.
One money-saving perk to consider is Overstock's Club O. For an annual fee of $19.95/year, customers can earn 5% in rewards. On a purchase of a hot tub, especially the more expensive models, the membership would easily pay for itself and then some; on the Home and Garden Spas model described above, the rewards amount would be $204.50. Also, the Club O membership is free for members of the military, teachers, students, and first responders.
Because of their customer-friendly policies and perks, their excellent selection for every budget, and free shipping, we give Overstock high marks.
Spa Sauna Direct has 49 hot tub models to choose from, all in the QCA family of products, along with a good selection of saunas, pools, chemicals, and water fitness items. The easiest way to find the hot tub that meets your needs is by using the side navigation to sort through the available items by price range, capacity, jet count, size, or whatever features are most important to you.
When you've selected a particular model that interests you, you can easily select color combinations and add-ons like a VARImax Pulse Massage system or a liquid aromatherapy system. Any additional costs associated with those options are easy to see as you choose from the drop-down boxes. You can also see each spa from a variety of angles, manufacturer product information sheets, and detailed information from in-depth product descriptions to technical specifications.
All of Spa Sauna Direct's hot tubs and spas ship for free within the continental United States. We had no issues with the checkout process, unlike several other retailers we considered.
Unlike the two higher-ranked retailers in our review, Spa Sauna Direct does not accept returns of products that aren't in resaleable condition. If you need to return a product because it was "misordered", you will be charged a 15% restocking fee.
Although there is only one customer testimonial listed on Spa Sauna Direct's website, we were encouraged by their A+ rating and 10-year accreditation with the Better Business Bureau - a significant advantage over many of their competitors.
In general, Iowa-based Spa Sauna Direct is a very good choice for your hot tub purchase, with a terrific range of products, free shipping, and an excellent reputation for customer satisfaction.
If luxury is a priority for your hot tub purchase, Integrity Spas fits the bill. Their 22 available spas, ranging in price from $4599 to $25,999, have all of the bells and whistles you could want. In fact, Integrity is one of the few retailers we reviewed who offer swim spas, which allow users to change the current strength for exercise ranging from light jogging to competitive training. Other hot tubs have fun features like LED mood lighting, 42" TVs with DVD/radio/MP3 players, and more.
Integrity Spas also carries a selection of hot tub accessories, patio and backyard furniture and more, and several rec room favorites like foosball and air hockey tables.
The ordering process works better than many of Integrity's competitors. When looking at customization options, such as tub or cabinet color, changing the selected option gives you a new image that shows you exactly what it looks like. We also liked that each spa has alternate views, so you can see what it looks like from multiple angles and get close-ups of the jets, lighting, and other aspects. Also, many upgrades that cost extra with other retailers are included at no additional charge. For example, when we looked at the Fiji model, we found that it came with an ozonator (often $99 or more), lighted waterfall ($199), marine-grade cover, and several other features at no extra cost.
Within the continental United States, Integrity Spas ships for free. For those who live in Canada, expect to pay shipping costs ranging from $599 to $1,499, depending on the hot tub or spa you've selected.
Because all of the spas sold by Integrity are custom built to your specifications, there are no returns accepted. If you choose to cancel your order prior to shipping, you will be charged a 15% restocking fee.
We were also somewhat concerned with Integrity Spa's current B- rating with the Better Business Bureau. Although it looks like they have responded to all customer complaints, most of which described damage to the spa during shipment or components that needed to be replaced under warranty, many customers reported not receiving a satisfactory response to their problem. Given the cost of the spas, this could be an expensive hassle.
On the other hand, the warranty coverage offered by Integrity Spas is solid. Again, looking at the Fiji model as an example, it's protected with warranties of 10 years on the structure of the spa, 5 years for the surface, 2 years parts on pumps, plumbing, and electronics (1 year labor on those categories), and 90 days parts and labor on the TV and DVD system if selected. Other companies charge service call fees even during the warranty period.
Integrity Spas was docked in our ratings due to their big-ticket prices and lower Better Business Bureau rating. With evidence of improvements in customer satisfaction, particularly with faster repairs made on warranty items, it would easily improve this rating.
Buying a hot tub or spa from a local brick-and-mortar store can be time-consuming, driving from one store to another hoping to find exactly what you want at a good price. You also have to contend with pushy salespeople who want to convince you that today's deal is a limited offer, rather than giving you the time you need to consider all of your options.
Shopping online for a hot tub puts the same manufacturers and models at your fingertips, often at prices that are much more affordable than those "special deals" you can get at a retailer in your area.
What should you look for when shopping for a hot tub or spa? The options may be overwhelming at first, so begin by considering the following:
Once you have a clear idea of your ideal hot tub set-up, you'll be ready to take a look at the various online retailers who can make your vision a reality. Hot tub stores vary widely, so you'll want to keep an eye on several factors:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best hot tub stores available today. We hope these reviews help you find the hot tub you've always wanted for fun and relaxation!
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