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Hot tubs are the perfect way to relax after a long day of exploring. Like a personal note or complimentary bottle of champagne, a hot tub can provide that little taste of luxury that guests love to find on vacation. They are becoming increasingly popular in rental properties for exactly this reason.
If you own a rental property or Airbnb and are thinking about adding a hot tub, you're probably wondering what the best hot tub is to get. There's a lot to consider with so many different types available.
The best hot tub for a vacation rental is one that is durable, easy to maintain, and of course one that looks good so it'll bring in more bookings. Some of the top brands on the market that fit these requirements include Hot Spring, Nordic, and Tuff Spas.
I'll walk you through a few recommendations in this article to help you narrow down your search, as well as some general things to look out for (plus a few to avoid).
There are several types of hot tubs you may consider for a holiday let, but some are going to be better than others for this purpose. Let's take a look at a few common kinds to start with.
What are the different types of hot tubs?
Some of the most popular types of hot tub are:
Acrylic hot tubs are the most common type around. They have glossy shells and usually a contrasting wood (or faux wood) exterior.
They tend to be the most expensive type, as well as heavier and more difficult to place due to their weight.
Rotomolded hot tubs are more durable than acrylic hot tubs, but they're also much more affordable and lighter in weight.
They may not be the most appealing to the eyes, but they can be great for property owners who want an easy installation since most of these hot tubs just need to be plugged in and can be run on 110V power. Because they are both durable and relatively affordable, they can be an excellent choice for a rental property.
Some hot tub companies offer both acrylic and rotomolded spas, though many specialize in one type or the other.
Inflatable hot tubs are exactly what they sound like: they don't have the hard shells that most hot tubs do, and are instead filled with air.
This makes them super lightweight and easy to transport and install, but it also means they will not handle excessive wear and tear as well as other hot tubs—you're trusting your renters not to damage or puncture the hot tub.
These are the most affordable option, but they come with a high risk of damage (to both the spa and to your property in the case of a flood).
When most people think about hot tubs, they picture the portable above-ground ones. There's nothing wrong with these. Above-ground hot tubs are much easier to install and can be quickly added to a rental property.
On the other hand, in-ground hot tubs tend to be more appealing aesthetically since they can seamlessly blend into any backyard.
If you have the time and resources to build a hot tub in-ground, this may benefit you when it comes to bookings—especially if your property caters to the upper end of the market.
But bear in mind that if anything goes wrong with the tub, repairs will probably be more difficult as these are all custom installations.
What makes a good rental property hot tub?
The best hot tub for a rental property may not be the same one you would pick if shopping for a hot tub for yourself.
This is because rental property hot tubs need to be able to handle a lot of different people and (let's be honest) potentially take quite a beating, whereas if you're shopping for your own personal spa, you know you'll take good care of it.
The cost of the hot tub is going to play a role in which one you choose. Because you care about return on investment, you're basically looking for something that looks impressive, but is on the affordable end of the range.
You can expect to pay $5,000 to $10,000 for a quality rental property hot tub.
There are many hot tubs that have all the bells and whistles, making them more on the pricey side, but that's not what you're going for here.
Even with a smaller budget in mind, there are still plenty of hot tubs that are safe, durable and offer your renters an excellent experience for an affordable price.
The next thing you'll want to consider before purchasing a hot tub is what size you'll need. Most hot tubs are designed to comfortably seat anywhere from two to six people. The best way to decide what size you'll need is to base it on how many people can sleep in your rental.
If you can only sleep two people, you don't necessarily need to buy a hot tub that seats six. Besides how many people you want to accommodate in the hot tub, you'll also need one that fits in your backyard.
Last but not least, you need to consider what features you want your hot tub to offer. Pretty much all hot tubs come with water filtration, basic jets, and some lighting, but should you look for a hot tub that has more features?
For example, higher end hot tubs can come with high-powered jets, integrated speakers, and even saltwater sanitation systems in some cases.
While these features sound impressive, the main question you need to ask yourself is whether or not they will just cause you more hassle than they're worth—and whether your renters will even care.
The answer to this in almost all cases is "no". Nine times out of ten, you will just pay more for fancy features that won't even get used.
The hot tub should look nice in the yard of your rental property, but that doesn't mean it needs to be super fancy or expensive (remember, you're on a budget).
The truth is that most guests won't know a luxury hot tub from a basic one, and they will just be happy to have the hot water to relax in after a long day hiking or exploring the city.
You want something that looks nice enough in photos that it will help to market your property, but it's really not necessary to go beyond a basic model.
3 durable options to consider
After learning about cost, durability, size and features, you're now ready to start shopping. Here are some top models that will give your rental property great appeal without breaking your budget:
This luxurious-looking hot tub is the largest in the Hot Spot Collection. While these aren't the best hot tubs in the world, they are definitely some of the more affordable and widely available in the acrylic category.
It seats seven adults and comes with 40 jets, as well as 10 interior and 4 exterior multi-color LED lights. The exterior lights give the hot tub a very cool look that's great for photos of your rental property.
This hot tub is the most full-featured of all the ones I'm going to recommend (meaning it does have more complex controls that guests could mess up), but I wanted to include a reasonable quality acrylic option.
Nordic Hot Tubs are a brand you should definitely consider if you're in the market for a quality rental property hot tub. Their spas are solid, simple, and built to last, which is something that can't be said for a lot of other manufacturers.
Their Nordic Escape MS model seats six adults comfortably and comes with 22 jets. Thanks to its exterior LED sconce lighting, you can really set the mood in your listing photos with some dreamy evening shots.
These spas are not acrylic, but aren't really thought of as a rotomolded brand either, even though their shells are made from HDPE plastic. So while they don't have that attractive glossy sheen, they are built like tanks and will also be a bit more affordable than an acrylic spa.
The Tuff Spas brand of hot tubs is a good rotomolded option that gives you a very solid hot tub while still staying affordable.
The standout feature here is the Tuff Top Cover which is an integrated hardtop cover. You don't have to worry about guests ripping this or dropping it on the floor—it's built to last and is seriously sturdy.
The TT450 model seats four to seven people, comes with 22 jets and has an easy-to-use control panel. While this hot tub isn't as glamorous as some of the other options on this list, you can rest assured that your guests will be perfectly comfortable when they climb in.
Things to avoid when shopping for a rental property hot tub
So, we've covered all the things you should look for. But what should you steer clear of?
The more buttons to push and settings to change, the greater chance your guests are just going to break something. Either they will mess something up, or just won't even use the features so they'll go to waste.
The best way to avoid this is to just go for a basic model without any of these options in the first place. Can't break 'em if they don't exist. Look for a simple control panel with just the basic temperature and light controls if possible.
Bullfrog is one example of a very customizable hot tub brand. Their spas have removable panels in the back of each seat so you can change the jet configurations. This is definitely not something you want to put in a rental property (not unless you want to find the panels in people's beds or have them go missing altogether!).