A Quick Guide to Buying the Right Hot Tub Cover

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If your hot tub cover is worn, torn, faded, or heavy – it’s time to look for a replacement. With so many options to choose from, finding the right hot tub cover for your climate and budget can seem overwhelming. We will walk you through the different types of hot tub covers and help you determine the right match for your needs!

Foam Core Density & Thickness

One of the most important features of a durable hot tub cover is the type of foam used. Quality cover cores are made from 100% virgin closed-cell polystyrene foam. Cheap covers are made from many different types of recycled foam, called “re-grind”. While re-grind is cheap to manufacture and allows retailers to sell at a cheaper price, this type of foam soaks up water very quickly and cannot withstand rain or snowfall.

The Right Core for your Climate

If you want a cover that lasts, pick a quality manufacturer and purchase the right foam density and thickness for your climate:

As foam density and thickness increase, so does the strength of the cover. For this reason, it doesn’t pay to purchase a lesser model than what your climate requires. A thin cover in a rainy or snowy climate will not only provide less than adequate insulation, and will fail in a short time under the weight of rain and/or snow.

Cover Jacket

Less expensive spa cover jacket’s are made out of vinyl. Vinyl quality is variable, but better vinyl covers use 28 oz. Marine Grade Vinyl intended for outdoor use (commonly used for boat upholstery), which is resistant to sun damage.

Better covers, such as DuraTherm, use WeatherShield Outdoor Fabric. WeatherShield is an extremely durable fabric that is 3 times stronger and weighs 25% less than marine grade vinyl. In addition, this fabric holds up to UV rays much better than vinyl.

DuraTherm with WeatherShield

While jacket material quality is important, maintenance is equally important to ensure cover longevity.

Vapor Barrier

The vapor barrier in a spa cover is the plastic wrapping around the foam cores. While quality foam is water resistant on its own, having an additional vapor barrier (or two) around the foam helps to prevent water from collecting between the closed-cell foam beads.

A quality vapor barrier is made from 6 mil clear or blue transparent plastic. Black plastic is cheaper, lower quality and does not hold up as well.

Center Reinforcement (C Channel)

The center of every spa cover has two metal reinforcements, one inserted into each piece of foam. This reinforcement keeps the cover rigid and strong.

Some cheaper covers use aluminum or PVC material for their c channel. A quality C Channel is made from 20 gauge galvanized steel, which is much stronger than aluminum or PVC.

Polylaminate Underside

The material on the bottom of the cover facing the water, the scrim, is just as important as the top side of the cover. Some cheaper covers use a flimsy woven mesh (like a window screen).

Quality DuraTherm covers incorporate woven fibers laminated in vinyl, which creates a very strong, chemical-resistant sheet. We add grommeted drain holes in key locations to allow condensed steam back into the spa.

Heavy-Duty Wind Straps and Locks

Important for keeping your cover secured to the tub, the straps and locks are another area requiring special attention. Heavy-duty straps and locking buckles are the standard for DuraTherm Covers.

Although you may not like the hassle of securing and locking your cover each time you use it, it’s important for the safety of children, animals, and your spa. Not to mention, local building codes frequently require locks on hot tubs if not fenced in.

Have questions about finding the right hot tub cover? Post your question or comment below!

7 comments

  1. We live in Fl and have an outdoor hot tub. We have been through 3 covers in 5 years. The rain accumulates in the cover and breaks it down. If we aren’t home to bail it out, it eventually bends until it fills up the center with water.
    Will a 4 inch thick foam center hold up if we are away during heavy rains?

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  2. Hi Nancy,
    We suggest only using tapered covers so the rain rolls off easily. If your previous covers were tapered and you are still having issues with waterlogging and sagging, then the rain is probably not at fault.
    The most common cause of premature cover failure is chemical damage. Check the underside of your cover for signs that your hot tub chemicals are damaging it from the inside out. The signs include:
    – Bleaching (lightening) of the underside of the hinge and under material
    – Deep wrinkling or texture change at the underside of the hinge
    – Brittleness and cracking of the plastic liner inside the vinyl cover (accessible by opening the zippers)
    If you see these issues, then the chlorine/bromine levels are too high and are damaging the cover. Test more frequently to make sure you aren’t overdosing the spa or consider switching to a more gentle sanitizer.
    If you are not sure if you have chemical damage or not, then feel free to call us at (800) 823-3638 M-F, 9am to 8pm Eastern, and one of our experts would be happy to help you troubleshoot so you can get more years out of your hot tub covers.
    Thanks,
    Sarah
    SpaDepot.com

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  3. Hi, I’m curious of your thoughts about foam weight based upon density. We received a spa cover from SpaGuyUSA.com, foam density of 2 pounds, and the weight is far less than the one we are replacing (which had foam density of 1.8 pounds. For example, I can lift the entire new cover somewhat easily, by comparison the weight of half of the old cover (just one side) (foam only removed from the protective cover) is so great that it’s hard to lift with one arm.
    Have I been ripped off?
    If so, I wish i had visited and ordered from your site earlier and I’d like to expose Spaguyusa.com ‘s misleading website claiming foam density of 2 pounds.
    I’ve read that foam will increase in weight as water accumulates inside, but this weight difference is huge.
    Thanks
    Love you site and the content you’re sharing.

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  4. Thank you for checking with us! It is very likely that your old cover was holding water in the foam, regardless of the density of the old foam. Almost all spa covers start taking on water. When they do, they can get really, really heavy. I believe it’s much more likely that your old cover had lots of water in it, which is why the new cover feels so light. The new cover likely is the 2lbs foam, it’s just so much lighter because it is not soaked with water. I hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any other questions!
    Thanks again,
    Mark
    SpaDepot.com

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  5. It’s a good idea to get the correct cover for your environment. That’s something not many people think about. Good article!

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  6. I just ordered and paid for a 2 lb foam hot tub cover. I picked it up today, unwrapped it, and I can see it’s regular white open-cell styrofoam. What does 2 lb foam look like?

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  7. Hi Phil,
    It’s hard to differentiate 2LB foam from 1.5LB foam visually. If you bought a DuraTherm cover, we can give you weights to compare with your cover that will make the foam density obvious. Give us a call at 800-823-3638 and we’ll be happy to help.
    Thanks,
    Brian
    SpaDepot.com
    800-823-3638

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