Buying a Hot Tub
In past essays, I have discussed things to consider when selecting a new or replacement hot tub. While certainly important components, I concede that insulation, support framing, and electrical requirements are certainly not ‘can’t wait-to-read’ topics. Okay, now let’s look at the more exciting features that drive buyers to choose their hot tub.
I’ll begin with a question. How many people will normally be using the hot tub? When checking out models, envision the people who will be using the tub and where they might sit. Will everyone be crammed in like sardines in a tin? Is there elbow and leg room? Is there room for everyone to put their feet? Normally, four people in a hot tub equals eight feet in a footwell. That’s a lot of feet and tootsies.
Yes, size of the hot tub is important for comfort, but also for water displacement. Ah…another exciting topic. A 7 x 7-foot tub that holds approximately four-hundred gallons may overflow if four fully-grown adults are in it. You may want to consider going to an 8 x 8 unit. Displacement is minimized and everyone will be a lot more comfortable.
Do you want a lounge seat or not?
That’s a personal choice, but here are some things to consider. A lounge is nice if you have adequate seating, and it isn’t too deep. In olden days, lounges were frequently constructed very flat to double as a bench-style seat and people tended to float. Some compared them to being on a blow-up raft on the ocean. Today, most lounges lower your center of gravity, need I say your ‘derriere’. This helps hold you in place, but there are other things to examine. Crawl into the dry demo and lay down. Most lounges have jets at the end for foot massage. Will your feet reach or are there other jets for the legs and feet? Now check where your head would be in relation to the water level. If you will need a snorkel to enjoy the seat, you may want to pass on a lounge unit.
There is another lounge consideration. If the foot area leads directly to another seat, will you be infringing on someone else’s space? I have always preferred the flexibility of having non-confining seats where I can turn and stretch out sideways. I sit how I want when using the hot tub by myself but respect others’ space when sharing the tub.
I personally like seating variety. I don’t want everything to be the exact same depth. I like water almost up to my chin, but it’s nice to have seats that place me higher. This is especially true during warmer months when you might want to cool down a little. Plus, what’s a great seat for one person may not be true for another. A shorter person may completely hate a seat that is the favorite seat of someone a foot taller.
Now we’re talking! This is everybody’s favorite hot tub topic. But I’m not talking about sheer numbers of jets. I’m looking at jet types. Some are directionally adjustable; some are fixed. Others may spin or pulsate, while still others may be intense high-pressure personal therapy jets. I don’t want every seat jetted the same. Variety is the spice of life, they say. I admit, I don’t know who ‘they’ are, but the analogy is spot-on. I also want jet groupings or clusters that hit the areas I want addressed the most. If you have lower back issues, make sure to select a model that adequately massages the lumbar region. Neck and shoulders always stiff and sore? To quote an old sales representative, pick out a hot tub that ‘hits you where it gets you’.
A last point about jetting is pressure control. Air is mixed into the water via a venturi system. Close off the supplemental air and you have less pressure. This is great, as it gives the user flexibility in the massage. However, if one venturi adjusts two or more seats, you now affect others using the tub. The more venturis the better. Fortunately, many hot tubs have jets that may be opened or closed off entirely, just by turning the jet facing. This is a nice feature when sharing tub usage with guests or family members. It also allows the hot tub user to fine-tune the massage.
When you visit our showroom, climb in! While it’s nice to demo a filled hot tub, most people prefer not to do this. No problem! Just sit in dry units and check out the things I have discussed. And if it feels like jets are poking you in the bag and legs, don’t fret. Once filled, buoyancy and flowing water virtually eliminates direct contact with jet facings.
Finally, consider the fact that you will have the hot tub for a long time. What doesn’t hurt today may in five years. Hey—it’s called getting older. Don’t just pick out a model for today. Pick one out with flexibility and jetting for the future, too.