The 9 Best Hot Tubs in 2024 - Best Outdoor Hot Tubs

AquaRest’s six-person hot tub is our top pick for great features at an excellent price point.

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The 9 Best Hot Tubs in 2024 - Best Outdoor Hot Tubs

For an excellent addition to your outdoor space—and one you can use year-round—you can’t go wrong with a hot tub. Sure, they're a major investment (though a budget-friendly inflatable hot tub is always an option) but they transform your backyard or deck into an outdoor oasis and take soaking to the next level.

Whether you’re looking for a hot tub for two or you’re ready to splurge on a luxe model to accommodate a party of six, these are the best hot tubs worth considering. Read on for our reviews and recommendations, followed by things to consider as you determine which hot tub is right for you and your space.

For some must-have accessories for your hot tub, check out our picks for the best hot tub covers and hot tub steps.

Our thorough research and selection process included speaking with representatives from the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), about safety, and consulted Allen Jerabeck, a pool and spa specialist at Tarson Pools & Spa in New York for his expert opinion.

According to Jerabeck, it's important to nail down a hot tub’s size in relation to setting (which people often underestimate), any potential issues related to installation, and its main purpose. “Do you want a hot tub for hydrotherapy and pain relief or do you want a party spa?” he asks. Of course, safety is paramount, and it's essential to follow best practices for use and maintenance. More on that in our What to Consider section following our reviews.

The hot tubs we recommend span multiple price points, from about $600 for a four-person inflatable hot tub to roughly $8,000 for a premium six-person standard model. Hot tubs come with a long list of must-have and nice-to-have features, and we took them into account and weighed them against cost, highlighting the most desirable for every hot tub we recommend.

We chose this plug-and-play hot tub as our top pick because it offers an excellent lineup of features for the price. The six-person hot tub is made of durable, 100 percent recycled polyethylene, with a high water capacity for its size, 30 stainless steel hydrotherapy jets, and a two-speed pump, plus water filtration and ozone purification systems.

We appreciate its dual-side air controls and that it comes with an insulated ASTM-certified cover. Other highlights include a well-positioned lounge seat, exterior LED lighting, and nine settings for its multicolor LED-backlit waterfall. It’s available in two color options: a beige interior with your choice of espresso or onyx paneling.

The warranty is in keeping with most of the plug-and-play hot tubs we cover—the shell is covered for five years, and there’s a one-year on parts and 90 days on labor.

With a 240-gallon capacity, 29 jets, and extra-fun features, we recommend this six-person plug-and-play hot tub because it’s an exceptional value, priced at just over $3,000 at the time of writing. The sleek, geometric details on the stone-like outer make this a natural-looking addition to a garden space.

Although there’s no lounge seat, which is a drawback for some, this plug-and-play tub is high quality, made of impact-resistant polyethylene with water filtration and ozone purification systems included.

Best of all, the backlit waterfall has nine light options for setting the mood. It also comes with an insulated ASTM-certified cover and it comes in a choice of gray, dark brown, and light brown.

Like our best overall pick from AquaRest above, this plug-and-play hot tub comes with the brand’s standard five-year warranty on the shell, plus one year of coverage on parts and 90 days of labor.

This deluxe six-person hot tub is the one we recommend for a splurge purchase, especially if hydrotherapy is important to you. It features 50 adjustable stainless steel jets, several of them set into the seats for massage purposes.

We also love that it has two energy-efficient pumps to keep your electric bill low, plus a lounge seat and padded headrests for relaxing alone or with friends. Other features include the ozone and water filtration system and a programmable backlit digital control panel on top.

The underwater color-changing LED lights and included waterfall make this as good a pick for entertaining as it is for soothing sore muscles. Moreover, the acrylic hot tub has an attractive, UV-resistant exterior made of faux-wood paneling, along with an insulated locking cover—though for the price, it would be nice if steps were included.

Like other standard hot tubs we write about here, this model comes with a two-year warranty on parts, plus five years of coverage on the shell and one year on labor.

This four-person hot tub features 20 stainless steel hydrotherapy jets set at various levels, plus key features like water filtering and an ozone purification system. We also appreciate its deep seats with lumbar support—helpful for getting comfy in the tub—and controls on both sides for easy access, plus a color-changing backlit waterfall and cup holders. There’s no lounge seat, however, which may disappoint some but isn’t uncommon for a hot tub this size.

The hot tub is made of durable polyethylene, with an eye-catching diamond design on the exterior, and comes with an ASTM-certified insulated locking cover. Like other AquaRest spas we write about, the warranty covers parts for one year. It also includes 90 days of labor if there’s a problem and five years of coverage on the shell.

If you’re thinking of getting a four-person hot tub but want more elbow room, a five-person model is the way to go—and this one is particularly well-priced for its size. One of the best features of this hot tub is its dual-side air controls, which allow you to adjust jet power on each side.

The 215-gallon hot tub, which includes a lounge seat, is made of high-impact polyethylene and comes in brown and dark gray shades, in addition to the light gray shown here. The main drawback is that the seats are on the smaller side for a hot tub of this size.

The tub features 29 stainless steel multilevel jets that can run continuously or automatically shut off after 15 minutes, as well as lumbar seating with arch support, plus a backlit multicolor LED waterfall. It also boasts an ozone purification and water filtration systems, along with an ASTM-certified insulated locking cover.

This round plug-and-play hot tub is a good value, with a 220-gallon capacity—higher than most four-person models—multicolor LED lights, and an insulated locking cover.

Made of durable polyethylene, it features two bucket seats on one side and a two-person bench on the other, so it’s comfortable for a group despite its size. It has fewer hydrotherapy jets than most of our picks, and there’s no ozone-purification system, but the filter and energy-efficient pump are included.

It’s a great pick if a round hot tub works with your space. While it tracks that a hot tub of this size wouldn’t have extra features like a waterfall, considering the price, no ozonator is a disappointment. However, the warranty is the same as the competition—one year on parts, 90 days on labor, and five years on the shell.

This seven-person hot tub is our top pick for party people, with tons of space and 14 high-output jets that target the back and feet—a game-changer for soothing sore muscles. The waterfall and LED lighting make for a great party scene, and the tub itself looks chic with a dark faux-wood side paneling.

The acrylic hot tub has UV-resistant paneling and a subtle gray interior, all kept in tip-top shape by the insulated locking cover and included filter and ozonator. Even at full price, this hot tub offers substantial value for folks looking for maximum space, though it lacks luxurious details like a lounge seat and padded headrests.

The warranty on this luxe hot tub is solid, with a two-year warranty on parts, five years on the shell, and one year of labor covered. However, it lacks the luxurious extras that many other standard hot tubs at the price point have, like padded headrests. It’s also only available in one color.

If you’re looking for a cozy two-person hot tub—or one ideal for a luxurious solo soak—we recommend this AquaRest model. It features 20 multilevel stainless steel jets with controls on two sides of the tub, seats with lumbar support, and the requisite water filtration and ozone purification systems. Have fun lighting up the night with its multicolor backlit waterfall while sipping wine or champagne.

The hot tub is easy to maintain because of its size, it has an eye-catching shape, and it comes with a locking cover. There’s no waterfall in this petite hot tub, though that’s probably not a dealbreaker for most people looking for a relaxing soak—and not uncommon for a hot tub of this size.

Even though it’s small, the warranty is the same as larger hot tubs from AquaRest: five years on the shell, one year on parts, and 90 days on labor.

If you’re not ready to fully commit (or invest) in a big, stainless steel hot tub, consider an inflatable one instead. This popular model from Coleman has a digital control panel to adjust water temperature and jet pressure, and most importantly, you can pack it down after use.

The inflatable hot tub is equipped with 140 jets and comes with a filter set, an inflatable cover and ground mat, plus a floating chemical dispenser that allows you to adjust chlorine levels. There’s also a timer to maintain water temperature.

The hot tub can be deflated easily for storage or transport, making it a convenient choice if you’re not looking to take up a bunch of space on your patio—but remember, each time you deflate this, you’ll have to refill it with fresh water from the hose, which can take a while.

We cover two types of hot tubs in this story: semi-permanent plug-and-play models, and standard acrylic hot tubs that require professional installation.

Plug-and-play hot tubs are more affordable and relatively quick to set up; all you need is level ground and a standard 110-volt outlet. They’re rotomolded from high-impact polyethylene, and generally widely available online. Those are just a few reasons why our best overall choice is the AquaRest Spas six-person plug-and-play hot tub—depending on your setup, plug-and-play might be your only option. The downside is they warm up slower and may have jets that aren’t powerful or well-positioned.

Standard hot tubs require more advance planning. You should hire a professional to install this type, which includes features like fast heating and upgraded jet function. They’re pricier and made of acrylic, often with UV-resistant side paneling to withstand the outdoors year-round. You also may need to upgrade to a 220-volt power source, which a licensed electrician can take care of. Jerabeck recommends standard hot tubs for therapeutic purposes because they have better jet function and design.

Next up, think about how many people are going to regularly use the hot tub. If you have the space, consider sizing up, as max capacity usually doesn’t make for the most relaxing soak. Six- and four-person hot tubs are popular sizes, but there are plenty of two-person hot tubs and models that accommodate up to eight adults.

Jerabeck recommends looking for features that help you with maintenance—like filters and ozone purification systems—before considering extras like waterfalls and LED lighting. Most hot tubs come with these features, though as a rule, high-end spas’ systems tend to be more advanced. Hot tubs also usually include insulated locking hot tub covers, certified by ASTM. According to Jerabeck, a good hot tub cover makes a tremendous difference in preventing energy loss, which ultimately can help save you money.

What may surprise you is that jet count isn’t the best way to gauge a hot tub’s performance — and more isn’t always better. Jeraback says that placement, variety, and rotational adjustment are a far better indicator, adding that higher-end spas often have a broader range of jet type.

Hot tub steps are almost always sold separately. Beyond a way to get in, features like multicolored LED lighting, waterfalls, and padded headrests are just a few extras to consider. Jerabeck advises against built-in Bluetooth speakers because performance isn’t reliable long term, and the markup is higher than the cost of a top-quality portable sound system.

That depends on the type of hot tub you buy. A quality standard hot tub, which typically requires professional installation, is the priciest at roughly $6,500 and up. Plug-and-play models are a notch down, ranging from about $3,500 to $6,000.The least expensive are inflatable hot tubs, which average around $500 to $600 for a four-person model and $700 to $900 for a six-person model.

According to Jerabeck, figure roughly $30 to $35 per month in spring, summer, and fall, and an extra $10 to keep it warm during winter months. The average cost for chemicals is $300 to $350 a year if your hot tub has water management systems—if it doesn’t, tack on an extra $50 to $100. Keep in mind that these estimates are subject to variables like the hot tub size, the amount of energy the heater and pump draw, climate, thermostat settings, insulation, and the price of electricity.

On average, you should replace the water in your hot tub every three to four months, though you should consider draining it if you start to notice a smell or foamy water (and antifoam solution isn’t kicking it).

The longevity of your hot tub depends on the type you buy and how well you maintain it. Inflatable hot tubs may give out in three to five years, whereas plug-and-play hot tubs can last for up to a decade. Standard acrylic hot tubs cost the most, but the investment buys you up to 20 years of use.

If you follow guidelines, yes—hot tubs are safe for most people, unless your doctor says otherwise. For more on hot tub safety, check out the PHTA’s safety guide.

Rachel Klein is a Senior Commerce Editor for Popular Mechanics, where she writes about everything from garden hose reels and patio furniture to mesh wifi systems and robot vacuums. She started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and was a travel editor for more than a decade before she started testing and reviewing luggage, noise-cancelling headphones, and other travel-related products. Fast-forward another five years and her area of expertise includes home decor, appliances, tech, and outdoor adventure gear. In her spare time, you'll find her planning her next trip, reading historical fiction, and seeing as much art as she can squeeze into a weekend. 

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