Hot Tub Buyers Guide: Buying a New Hot Tub the 2nd Time Around? How To Make the Best Choice Without Getting Soaked
45% of buyers of new hot tubs in the Puget Sound reason have owned a hot tub before. That’s one of the highest percentages of past owners in the country. One reason is that hot tubs have been around since 1977 when we at Olympic Hot Tub introduced them to the region. Another reason is that the weather here is perfect year round for hot tubbing. Puget Sounders love their hot tubs.
And, as hot tubs age, some fall apart while others become so antiquated that maintaining them is becoming costly and difficult. Many people set out to buy a new hot tub because of a move, or family size increasing or decreasing. And, finally, many people want to upgrade because they realize they have a dinosaur hot tub on their hands and want to upgrade to the newest technology like energy saving features and salt-water care.
So for any or all of the reasons above, you’ve made up your mind. A new hot tub is on your shopping list.
Consider these tips BEFORE you jump in the car to shop, compare and buy:
- LIST THE PROS. Make a list of ALL of the pros about your existing hot tub. Start your list with jets and seating. “I like the jets.” “I like the lounge.” “I like the depth.” “I like that it seats 4 comfortably.” etc.
- LIST THE CONS. Make a list of the cons about your existing hot tub. Start with a wish list: “I wish it had a floor drain so that I wouldn’t have to bail the last water out of the bottom when draining and cleaning.” “I wish it weren’t so noisy.” “I wish it didn’t have the timer that I’ve forgotten how to reset.” “I don’t want to do all of that testing, measuring, etc. to take care of it. I don’t want the big electric bill-the new hot tub must be energy efficient!
- MERGE YOUR TWO LISTS. By merging your two lists you’ll begin to clarify your thoughts about what’s important to you in a hot tub. Put your likes and wants in order of how important they are to your new purchase. Whether or not you had good or bad service from your current hot tub dealer, make service a priority from the dealer of your new hot tub.
- WHERE WILL IT GO? Consider your existing space. How much decking, landscaping, electrical will you have to do to install a new hot tub that will compliment your yard. If you’re going smaller, think about filling in the space that your old one took. How will you do that?
NOW SEARCH ON LINE after you’ve made your list or you’ll end up very confused!
- USE THE INTERNET. Search on line for 2-3 places locally that have good reputations (Google Reviews are a good place to start) and that carry models incorporating your top priorities. Pick a day to visit all of them. You need to see and try what you’re buying. Take your list with you.
- PACK YOUR SUITS. Be prepared to test soak. Yes, I know, you’ve had a hot tub before, but all hot tubs are not the same even in the same brand family. Find out if you can test soak your favorite models. If the answer is “no”, it’s a strong indication that the dealer is convinced you wouldn’t like what he’s selling. Go where you can test soak. Take along our guide to test soaking. Consider how your skin feels after trying models that use salt or SilkBalance.
- EXPECT TO BE HEARD. The best hot tub companies hire sales staff for their listening ability and willingness to be problem solvers. If you meet a yackety yak salesperson who launches off into a sales pitch the minute you step in the door, there’s a good chance he/she will ignore all of your questions and not provide the answers you’re looking for. Let them yak you right out of their store!
- SEE & READ THE WARRANTY. Be prepared to ask for the warranty in writing, upfront before you buy. Regardless of the age of your old hot tub, hot tub warranties are important. If a dealer says, “You’ll get it when the tub is delivered,” that is should send up a red flag in your mind. Shop where you can have the warranty upfront and understand what it says and what you’re getting.
- ‘BUY THE DEALER” BEFORE YOU BUY THE HOT TUB. Do business only with a dealer who will give you service as good after the sale as before your purchase. Choosing a hot tub dealer is the most important choice you have to make in the buying process. Pick someone who is trustworthy and can offer the foundations to help build and develop a relationship over the years you own your spa.
- ASK ABOUT SERVICE. The best hot tub companies do on-site service within a reasonable time from the time you call to report a problem. If the warranty is fulfilled by a 3rd party service company, that’s a red flag. Your chances of getting timely and proper service are low.
- ASK FOR REFERENCES. A reputable dealer will put you in touch with customers in your neighborhood so you can ask them about the hot tub and the customer service provided by the dealer. A major part of a top quality dealer’s business is based typically on referrals from satisfied customers.
- “ADD-ONS” ADD UP. Beware of “add ons” not included in the purchase price like an insulating cover, delivery to your prepared site, leveling, water care products, and on-site instruction and operation – all of which are vital and should be included.. Avoid purchasing from a company that plans to drop the spa off in your driveway for you and your neighbors to wrestle in place and attempt to level. The day your hot tub is delivered should be one of the happiest days of your life. Don’t risk injuring yourself or friends. Professional hot tub installers should be sent to do the job. and place the hot tub where you want it!
Good luck with your shopping. Hopefully our tips will help you make the best purchase of your life-a new hot tub that fits your space and lifestyle!
Anything we’ve left out that’s important to the shopping process the 2nd time around? Please let us know in the comments section below.
SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health through Water.
Author: Don Riling
Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 20 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through hot water & sauna therapy.