Hot tubs used to be outrageously expensive, the kind of thing you couldn't afford until you were on to your second yacht. But now they're a common sight in all kinds of properties, not just millionaires' mansions. There are also more models at more price points than ever before, ranging from fun budget blow-up designs to expensive, elaborate installations.
Not all hot tubs are created equal and there are various different types and technologies at play, so knowing what they all do and offer is critical in deciding on the right hot tub for you. Also, some hot tubs require professional installation, while others are designed to be installed by the owner.
Just like we do in all our outdoor and garden buying guides – Best Outdoor Solar Lights, Best Barbecues and Best Cordless Lawnmowers etc – we're not only featuring the best hot tubs, but also supply some buying advice at the end of this article that will tell you everything you need to know about choosing the best hot tub for you.
The best hot tubs for all budgets in 2023
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We like just about everything that the Lay-Z-Spa Singapore has to offer. From the premium drop-stitch material on the outside, to the spacious five-person capacity, it's got a lot going for it, and it definitely earns its place at the top of our best hot tubs list. What's more, the price is on the reasonable side as well.
Lay-Z-Spa has managed to fit 140 jets in here, so you're guaranteed a relaxing soak in this hot tub, and it has plenty of modern technology built in too – you can turn it on, turn it off and set the temperature right from your phone, and there's a 40°C rapid heating system installed so you don't have to wait around before taking a dip.
The Lay-Z-Spa Singapore is able to heat, massage and filter at the same time, and it comes with Freeze Shield technology included as well – this means that if the temperature of the water gets too low, it'll automatically be kept above a certain level, so you can ensure that you're able to enjoy your hot tub whenever you like.
There are some good customisation options included as well, such as the adjustable pressure of the jet system coming out of the sides and the centre of the tub, and yet at the same time it's also very easy to set up – once it's in place you can be up and running in as little as five minutes, which is another reason it stands out.
All in all, the Lay-Z-Spa Singapore is a fantastic hot tub and one that we can wholeheartedly recommend. You can get cheaper models, but in terms of value for money, scope of the features, aesthetic appeal and capacity for five people, this is definitely a winner.
When it comes to affordability, we think the popular Lay-Z-Spa Miami Hot Tub is the best value model you can buy at the moment.
This inflatable hot tub has been earning rave reviews from customers. It's slightly smaller than some of the other options here, seating up to four people (although customers have said it's more like three at a push), and it doesn't come with the fancy lighting of its more advanced sibling – the Lay-Z-Spa Paris hot tub, below. However, you do get a very similar air jet system, and the fast and easy set up that you get with the more expensive model.
The Lay-Z-Spa Miami boasts a sturdy construction, reducing the risk of puncture or leakage. As a result, you can expect this hot tub to stand the test of time in your back garden, and at less than £400 it's fantastic value.
You can compare this hot top to another top competitor in our Lay-Z-Spa Miami vs Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki comparison feature.
The Helsinki AirJet from Lay-Z-Spa is a Nordic inspired inflatable hot tub which can be used all year round thanks to the innovative Freeze Shield technology that's built in. The tub is easy to set up and features a rapid heating system, which will heat the water to a toasty 40-degrees centigrade (or less, if you desire). You and up to six (at a squeeze) of your friends or family will be enjoying the 87 Airjet massage system in no time.
But it's the Freeze Shield tech which is the star of the show here, allowing you to use the hot tub on the coldest winter nights. It keeps the pump running at all times in a power saving mode, stopping the water from freezing in the pipes and motor. This, coupled with a durable drop stitch construction, insulating inflatable lid, and a realistic wooden design, make it a great alternative to an acrylic spa.
For more details, have a look at our comparison between the Lay-Z-Spa Miami vs Bestway Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki!
This classy, albeit pricy, acrylic hot tub is probably the closest thing you’ll get to a real Jacuzzi in your garden. It seats up to 4 people, and features a whopping 24 hydro-massage jets in the surrounding body and 4 hydro-massage seat jets for maximum luxury. It comes equipped with a back-lit stream of water that flows into the spa to complete the look, meaning you can expect to throw some awesome garden parties with this hot tub.
Perhaps the best thing about this particular model is that it doesn't require any lengthy installation, so if you want to do it yourself you can. Users say the manual is a little limited, but this hot tub is simply plug and play, and most have had no issues with set up.
The M-Spa Silver Cloud 2021 hot tub is an excellent mid-range choice – one that's worth looking at if you don't want to spend huge amounts of money but you do want a decent size and a respectable level of features. With a 700-litre capacity and the option to deflate it when not in use, it's great for occasional use.
You can fit up to four people in here if needed, and there are a total of 118 jets installed for that perfect, soaking hot tub experience. The water is kept at a cosy 40°C level, and the control box is worth mentioning as well since it makes the hot tub very straightforward to use and maintain, and that includes the one-press inflate option.
Obviously there are hot tubs out there with more features and more capacity but they're also going to cost you more money, so it depends what you're after. If you don't need something that's permanently installed in the back garden, then this one is well worth a look.
If an acrylic hot tub is a little too big of an investment, the Lay-Z-Spa Paris is the next best thing you can buy. This inflatable hot tub is easy to set up, with a clear instructional DVD.
Users have said it accommodates four people comfortably but six can be a bit of a squeeze, although not completely impossible. You can run both the heaters and the bubbles at the same time and it can be controlled via a wireless remote or using the built-in timer. This model is loved by customers for its atmospheric multi-coloured lighting – making it the ideal place to wind down in the evenings.
This inflatable hot tub has a whopping 120 jets which users say recreates a proper Jacuzzi-style spa in their home. Add to that an adjustable temperature between 20 and 40 degrees centigrade, and a control panel to set the performance of the bubbles, and you can see why this makes our list of the best hot tubs.
It's not the most stylish hot tub we've ever seen (we’re still undecided on the beige colour), and it doesn't come with any embellishments like LED lighting – but considering everything that you do get, and the price that it's selling for, we'd say that it's an easy inclusion here.
Lay-Z-Spa makes a further entry on our list with the St Moritz hot tub and it’s one of the largest of the lot, with seating for up to seven people (and this time customers say that's actually a fair assessment). If you want to have room for plenty of friends, then this might be the hot tub for you.
Despite its size, this is still simple to inflate – Lay-Z-Spa states it can be set up in five minutes – and deflate as and when you need to, but remember it will require a lot more water (1,190-litres) than the smaller models, so that's something to bear in mind. There are a whopping 180 jets packed in here, which means a soothing experience is guaranteed.
In the pantheon of hot tubs, this one’s rattan effect gives it a more attractive look than other inflatables though it’s easy to see that the effect is just a print from up close. Nevertheless, for the price (around £550), it’s great value for the size.
Garden hot tubs: what you need to know
While some hot tubs require rather lengthy installations, we’ve managed to pick out a range of the best hot tubs that don’t require that much fuss – most of the models above are of the plug and play variety, turning your garden into a luxury spa in an instant. Depending on the level of luxury you're going for, you can get hot tubs with different jet speeds, mood lighting and even built-in sound systems. But before you get too excited, there are a few things you need to consider when purchasing the best hot tub for your garden.
Space is an obvious consideration: ensure you have plenty of room to fit the hot tub, as well as easy access to a power source, and enough leeway to safely get in and out of the water. Also make sure it’s on a firm level surface, preferably concrete or paving. If you decide to place it on the lawn you can wave goodbye to the grass because it will be dead for good in a week and, worse turned into a stinky sludge. Some hot tubs need to be installed on a pedestal that isn't directly touching the ground, while other inflatable or "pop up" hot tubs don’t require this kind of groundwork.
It’s essential that you have an outdoor electricity source because you don’t want to be unfurling extension cables. That would be a bad thing. Besides, most hot tubs require a permanent connection not only to heat up the water when needed but to maintain an above-freezing temperature in the water pipes and pump in winter.
If you want a little more versatility from your hot tub, then swim spas are also a popular choice for gardens. These are somewhere between a Jacuzzi and a swimming pool, allowing for both exercise and relaxation. Most hot tubs and spas can accommodate between four and eight people, and usually come with a step and cover to keep your hot tub in pristine condition.