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How to Purchase a Used Hot Tub

Hot tubs can be a marvelous addition to the home that can serve as a welcome place to go for fun and relaxation. However, new hot tubs can be expensive so many opt for used hot tubs which can prove to be a relatively good investment if the necessary facts are known. Cost is an issue but before the cost of used hot tub can be determined, specific preparations and decisions must be made. For instance: 

  • The proposed location (indoors or outdoors) and how much space is available. Considering that most hot tubs are 3' to 7' deep and 3' to 9' in diameter, customers will want to plan spacing accordingly
  • The number of people expected to use the hot tub at the same time
  • Material to be used: acrylic (fiberglass or plastic) is the most common material used. While wooden hot tubs offer rustic beauty and aromatic scents, it can also be considerably more expensive to maintain (i.e., water leaks) and harder to keep clean
  • Portable or permanent fixture: portable (inflatable) hot tubs are the least expensive and they can be stored away when not in use. The cost of used hot tub like above-ground acrylic and in-ground (built-in) hot tubs is more expensive
  • What does a person intend to use their hot tub for: Relaxation? Entertainment? Pain therapy? The purpose will determine the number of pumps and types of jets used
  • Type of heating to be used: Gas heaters are powered by propane or natural gas, they're less expensive than electric heating, and it heats water quickly. Electric heaters are easier to use and fix but they use more electricity and therefore cost more. Wood-fired and solar heaters give the option of using natural gas, a wood-fired stove or a solar-powered hot water system. The solar-powered system offers a high level of energy efficiency but it costs more to operate. On the other hand, the wood-burning unit is the cheapest heating method.

Costs Involved

Used hot tubs have been purchased for $500 - $7500 depending on the size, amenities included and age of the hot tub. Where necessary, installation will cost approximately $500 - $1,000 depending on whether extensive plumbing is needed to complete the installation. Accessories could run about $100 - $600 (i.e., sanitation supplies, covers, etc.) and the cost of actually running the hot tub could be $15 - $60 per month, depending on how often it’s used. This means that the total cost ranges from approximately $1,100 to $10,000. 

When purchasing a used hot tub, consumers must also include the cost for removing the hot tub from the seller's premises and delivery to their home. Thus, sometimes it may be possible to purchase a new hot tub with similar features for the same price that a seller may be offering for a used hot tub... and the price of the new hot tub may also include delivery and a full warranty.

Another area where costs must be considered is in the many extras (features). For example, there are built-in sound systems that can surround the users with hypnotic music while they enjoy their favorite pastime, and LED lighting creating a marvelous rainbow of assorted colors creating a soothing effect. When considering the purchase of a used hot tub, consumers must find out what features are available or whether the hot tub can accommodate the features they'd like to have.

Repairs Could Be a Large Portion of the Cost

When purchasing used hot tubs, consumers must remain open to the possible costs of necessary repairs because there's usually no warranty on a used hot tub. Examples of some of the common repairs that may have to be done are as follows:

  1. Heating System: $100 - $200 or more
  2. Pumps (repair or replacement): $100 - $450 or more
  3. Jet replacements: $75 each
  4. Spa cover replacement: $110 - $400

Above is only a short list of repair jobs that may be needed but it's enough to indicate the possible cost of used hot tub and why consumers will have to be knowledgeable and selective about their choices.

Where to Buy Used Hot Tub

A good place to start is either in the classified ads of local newspapers, or directly with dealers who typically have refurbished units that have undergone extensive checks on function and parts and that come with limited warranties. Also, many will find the internet useful because not only are consumers able to go to the manufacturers’ websites to check out available name-brand hot tubs, there are also auctions (eBay), and aggregate websites that provide a selection of quotes from several manufacturers after getting certain information from consumers. In addition to giving quotes, some of these websites also present a compilation of questions, dialogue and information from fellow hot tub shoppers and buyers giving their direct experiences, comparative facts and useful details.

Important Considerations When Purchasing Hot Tubs

Like a pool, owning a hot tub requires regular maintenance of the proper hardware components that are built into the hot tub, and the necessary chemicals must be added to the water on a regular basis to keep it clean.

Also, it’s highly advised that consumers only consider purchasing used hot tubs that are currently in use as opposed to hot tubs that have been stored away or neglected. Because water is involved, there are several irreparable problems that could occur as a result of lack of use: 

  • Corrosion and rust can build
  • Even if the tub is drained, there are still gallons of water remaining in the pipes and pumps that could freeze and expand causing fractures and cracks in the plumbing system
  • Uncovered hot tubs will suffer from exposure to weather elements (i.e., the sun) that could damage the hot tub material (causing blistering and degrading of lamination).

Each of the problems listed above could lead to connection problems that could render the hot tub unusable. Therefore, consumers should take the time to shop around, inspect and compare before they buy used hot tub to avoid ending up with plain bathtubs that's good for soaking only.