The True Cost of a Hot Tub

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How much does a new hot tub cost?

So you want to purchase a new spa, but need to know how much it will cost you now and in the future? I did the research for you and break it down in this post.


Beyond the purchase price of a new spa, you should also think of:

  • the location setup costs which can include: moving the spa, landscaping and electrical
  • maintenance costs 
  • quarterly water fill-ups
  • monthly electricity and
  • annual chemicals expenses


Thankfully in our digital age, you are not limited to purchasing a new portable hot tub at the dealer anymore. Purchasing a spa online, sight unseen can be intimidating, but how knowledgeable and honest are the salespeople at the retail locations? Websites are competing against these physical stores for your business by posting authentic information and pricing.

Type of Hot Tub

First analyze your options on what type of hot tub you want. There are inexpensive inflatable spas, wood hot tubs, portable spas or in-ground hot tubs.

  • Inflatable hot tubs are moderately popular due to their inexpensive cost, availability and reasonable setup requirements.
  • Portable spas are made from acrylic or roto-molded materials. These are what people think of when they hear ‘hot tub’.
  • Wood hot tubs are less common today but were the first mainstream hot tubs available in the early 60’s.
  • In-ground spas are known to accompany in-ground pools and are usually made of gunite (think smooth cement) material. This is not one you can just go pick out at a retail store.

Let’s focus on portable hot tubs which is where my expertise is.


The typical customer shopping for a spa will visit their local stores to gather research. This is especially true since these locations are fairly convenient, always advertise “Big Hot Tub Sale” banners and are often airing TV commercials.

These retailers can be found with booths at county fairs, stores in mall parking lots and sometimes disguised as big box stores. Having a physical product to touch can make a difference in your purchase decision, but these are not your only option.

For example one local retailer’s prices can range from $3,000 to $18,000+.


Most spa manufacturers have a website where you can research and compare features. They do not disclose the price but rather a price range with titles on each tier like Entry-Level all the way up to Luxury. These are subject to interpretation.

On top of not disclosing their prices they instead refer you to contact their local dealer. I understand how frustrating this can be! You just want to know what value you’re getting AND the price you are going to pay.

These manufacturers will also mislead you into thinking their features are superior to the competition by using fancy titles on similar products available at a lower cost with other portable hot tubs.

Laptop Shopping on

Spas purchased online can range from $2,600 to $7,999+.

Retailer & Online

Don’t let the retailer or website fool you by saying the cover is free with your purchase today. Wherever you purchase a spa, all manufacturers are required to include a spa cover.

There are many accessories you can add to make owning a spa easier such as steps, a cover lifter and side tables.

Adding these accessories at the dealer may be convenient but the markups are not. Some dealers will charge up to $350 for steps with the same quality that you can purchase online at an affordable rate.


Congratulations, you made a decision and bought a hot tub! Now lets review the costs associated with getting your home set up for the new investment.


Do you need a building permit for a hot tub?  Typically when you run electricity for a 220V spa, a building permit is required.


Since most municipalities require one, it would be best to check with your city government officials for their confirmation. This could cost at least $500.


Finding the perfect spot in your yard will definitely have an impact on your overall budget to the cost of a hot tub.

You will need to take into account your neighbor’s view of you, and your view of your neighbors. Do you have existing walls or corner of fence you can use for privacy? If not, there are many affordable options available at your local home improvement store such as a drop cloth, curtains, or outdoor screening.  

  • Dropcloth: $12 (5’ 9” x 8’ 9”)
  • Outdoor curtains: $26 (per 4’ 3” x 8’ panel)
  • Bamboo Screen: $36 (per 13’ x 5’ panel)

Another consideration is the resting base for the spa. A level, spacious ground is required for any spa. This could be made from a poured concrete slab, brick or pavers, or even compacted gravel. Whichever medium you chose for your base, be sure it is compacted and level before the weight of the spa and water is added.

  • Concrete patio: $2,200 (8’  x 8’ slab)
  • Pavers/brick: $500 (8’ x 8’)
  • Compacted gravel: <$150 (8′ x 8′)


Some local retailers offer white glove service to install the hot tub. But when you purchase the spa online, usually the only option is curbside delivery.

To prepare for curbside delivery, rent a pallet jack and have a couple of friends ready to help you move the hot tub into its final location.

  • Pallet jack rental: $37/day
  • Crane: $150-$300/hour
  • Pizza & Beer for friends: $30 – $75

Some situations require a crane to pick up the spa and place it in its final site.


After you figure out where you want the spa situated, you’ll need to prepare the electrical hookups. This information can be listed on the spa manufacturer’s website or in the spa owner’s manual.

The choices are either 110-120V or 230-240V.

120V spas are often called Plug-n-Play hot tubs that require a dedicated electrical outlet to power the spa.

240V requires an electrician to wire the resting location of the spa.

240V Spa Wiring.png
Wiring a spa for 240V

The cost of running 240V electrical wires can be rather expensive (about $300 for 100 feet of 6 AWG copper wire), but in the long run 240V can be worth the upfront costs.


When it comes to the costs of maintaining a spa you will need to consider quarterly water changes, electricity costs and cost of chemicals.


Changing the water quarterly helps keep your water easier to maintain and balance. There are some microorganisms that are not caught by your filter or sanitizing system that can reproduce and become unmanageable. Even if you only use the spa once a week, water changes every 4 months is recommended.

The costs added from filling your water is actually very minimal. Filters eventually get clogged, worn down and are not as efficient. They should be replaced annually to avoid damage to equipment or loss of water clarity.

  • Fill: $1.21 per 480 gallons
  • Filters: $20 – $60/year


Most people ask us how much the spa will cost them each month. This answer is difficult and depends on several factors including but not limited to: outside temperature, spa temperature, city or county utility rates and spa usage.


We estimate a quality spa can add an additional $15-25/month to your electricity bill.


Your spa will need chemicals to operate properly. A sanitizer, shocking agent and balancing chemicals are used in-between water changes to maintain healthy spa water.

Depending on the type of sanitizer you use, the costs can accumulate throughout the year. After becoming familiar with your water source and chemicals required to produce recommended chemistry levels, your costs will level out.

Balancing chemicals are things such as calcium or pH adjuster. Cleaners are needed for the spa cover, filter and plumbing.

Final Cost

The overall cost of a hot tub can vary wildly. The following sum is an example of how much a spa purchased online could run you excluding the electrician, utilities and maintenance costs:

Very Basic Spa Purchased Online$4,995
Spare Filter$35.95
Cover Lifter$149.95
GFCI Load Center$119.95
Privacy Screen$72.00
Pallet Jack Rental$37.00

DISCLAIMER: These costs are not all inclusive and are strictly approximates so you can have a better idea of how much a spa can cost you from purchase to use.

To Recap…

  • Spas purchased online are less expensive than at retailers because they do not apply commission charges to the cost of the hot tub.
  • When purchasing a spa you’ll also need to consider the installation and maintenance expenses.
  • Setting a budget is necessary and with this true cost of a hot tub breakdown you will have a better idea of how realistic your budget should be.

Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them below!


  1. I don’t think the maintenance is so much work, especially with the new types of jacuzzi’s. I spend max 10 minutes per month or less.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good article on the advantages of buying online and costs associated with purchasing a hot tub. There’s a solid counter argument for buying from a local dealer including warranty support and repair as well as being able to see fit and finish prior to purchasing as all hot tub are not created equal.

    Liked by 1 person

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