When Is the Best Time to Buy a Hot Tub?

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To help you get the best deals, we asked the experts for the best time to buy a hot tub. Here's what they had to say.

Soaking in a spa is relaxing, but there are plenty of other reasons to invest in a hot tub: Doing so can help you sleep better, loosen stiff joints, improve aches and pains and reduce inflammation. But with most models costing at least a few thousand dollars, this isn’t an impulse buy for most people. That’s why it pays to know the best time to buy a hot tub.

Just as there is a best time to buy patio furniture, outdoor grills and small appliances, there is a best time to buy pretty much anything—including a four-season soaker that’ll help you unwind at the end of a stressful day. Read on for expert tips for saving cash while buying a hot tub. Then get ready to turn on the jets and lounge.

Why trust Reader’s Digest

In order to determine the best time to buy a hot tub, we interviewed retail and shopping experts who have direct knowledge about them. We also researched price trends at major retailers. All that ensures you’re getting accurate information and can truly take advantage of the very best deals on hot tubs.

When is the best time to buy a hot tub?

The best time to buy a hot tub is during the fall and winter, after peak pool and spa season.

How much do hot tubs typically cost?

According to Family Handyman, there are hot tubs for every budget. Those looking for a temporary, portable solution can buy an inflatable hot tub for around $1,000—or even less. These “plug and play” models generally have shorter lifespans, but they can be a great solution for renters or those on a tight budget.

Entry-level hot tubs, a step up from the inflatable option, are generally constructed with cheaper materials (think plastic) than their high-end counterparts and have few jets and little to no bells or whistles. As your budget increases, expect upgraded features and materials (luxury models are generally made out of acrylic) and better insulation.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for a hot tub:

  • Inflatable hot tub: $300 to $1,000
  • Entry-level hot tub: $2,500 to $5,000
  • Mid-tier hot tub: $5,000 to $8,000
  • High-end hot tub: $8,000 to $11,000
  • Luxury hot tub: $11,000 and up
  • In-ground hot tub: $15,000 and up

What affects hot tub pricing?

Several factors can affect a hot tub’s price. With seasonal items like this, prices increase as the demand gets higher, says Kristin McGrath of shopping savings site RetailMeNot. (Consider this your reminder to avoid shopping for a bathing suit during the summer, if you’re looking to save.)

Another thing to consider when buying spas and hot tubs is the installation fee. If you’re just planning on plopping a hot tub on your deck, the cost of installation will be low. But if you’re looking for a built-in hot tub, plan on paying more.

Best times to buy a hot tub

The high demand for hot tubs usually starts in the spring, when outdoor leisure activities ramp up. The best time to buy a hot tub is usually during fall, “after the crunch season,” and winter, “when older models get discounted,” says McGrath.

As for hot tub supplies and chemicals, stock up at the end of summer. That’s when pool supply stores start running their clearance sales, says McGrath.

Best times to buy a hot tub
Fall and winter offer the best deals on hot tubs, but if you’re buying supplies and chemicals for your hot tub, shop at the end of summer.

What are the best months to buy a hot tub?

Buying a hot tub without breaking the bank is a matter of knowing when to expect sales. Deals on hot tubs often occur during these times of year:

Worst times to buy a hot tub

The worst time to buy a hot tub is generally spring, “a high-demand season for hot tubs,” says McGrath. This is when prices tend to peak.

What to consider before buying a hot tub

Hot tubs can cost a pretty penny, so make sure you’re getting the best one for your space and needs by considering some key details before you pay.

  • Type: Catherine Quatrano, spa category expert at Wayfair, explains that there are two types of hot tubs: plug-and-play and standard installation. As the name suggests, the plug-and-play version plugs right into a standard electrical outlet. Standard-installation hot tubs, however, have 220- to 240-volt connections that require a hookup from a licensed electrician.
  • Added features: Before purchasing a hot tub, Quatrano suggests doing some research about the available hot tub features and checking to see if they match up with your budget. “Are you looking for one with lights? Perhaps you want something with more jet count or stronger jet pressure. Some hot tubs also come with a lounger seat for those looking for a relaxing hydromassage,” she says. Keep in mind that you will have to pay more for these features.
  • Location: Available backyard or deck space is everything when it comes to purchasing a hot tub. “Make sure you have a place to put your tub, since hot tubs will need to sit on a flat, even surface,” says Quatrano.
  • Climate: Where you live will affect the type of hot tub you should buy. “It’s important to note that acrylic and standard, installed hot tubs are recommended for those who live in cold climates, like those who want one outside during a Michigan winter,” says Quatrano.
  • Accessories: Before you check out, make sure you have everything else you need to get your hot tub up and running and keep it maintained. This includes steps, a cover lifter and chemicals, says Quatrano.
  • Delivery and installation: Will it be easy to get a hot tub into your backyard? “Make sure your space is cleared out and cleaned up to ensure a smooth and seamless delivery and installation,” Quatrano says.

Tips for buying a hot tub

Shopping during sales can help you save on a hot tub, but there are other ways to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.

  • Buy refurbished. Some specialty stores that sell used and refurbished goods will sell secondhand hot tubs. That said, they often won’t come with a warranty, so if something goes wrong, you will be responsible for all the repair costs.
  • Buy open-box or floor models. Check with your local dealer to see if the store has any open-box or floor models on sale and try to negotiate.
  • Calculate delivery and installation costs. Whether you’re purchasing a hot tub online or in a brick-and-mortar store, be sure to take delivery and installation costs into consideration. You might think you’re getting a great deal, but if a vendor charges a lot of money for delivery, you might end up paying more than you would somewhere else. Websites like Wayfair offer fast and free delivery, but you still might have to hire a licensed electrician to install it for you.

Where can you buy a hot tub?

You can buy a hot tub at specialty stores, renovation centers, pool supply stores, wholesale retailers and even online, from retailers like Amazon and Wayfair.

Five best hot tubs you can buy right now

Shop seasonally for hot tubs

As with most seasonal items, you’ll find the best deals on hot tubs after the season is over and retailers are trying to clear out their inventory. For hot tubs, that means the best deals occur in the fall and winter.

Once you become the owner of a hot tub, be sure to educate yourself about safety. For instance, the water shouldn’t be hotter than 104 degrees, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and you should avoid swallowing it.

Now that you know all about the best time to buy a hot tub, learn about the best time to buy furniture, a TV and even plane tickets.

Sources:

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Leah Groth
A general lifestyle writer, Leah covers everything from cleaning hacks and consumer products to travel and pets for RD.com. When she isn't working you will find her chasing after her four children (two humans, a Vizsla and a German Shorthaired Pointer) or working on her 100-plus year-old-home outside of Philadelphia.