When you have an old hot tub sitting in your backyard that you just want gone, it can be frustrating trying to find a new owner—or receive removal quotes for hundreds of dollars!
Although you can often sell or give away an old hot tub, or have it professionally removed, you can also cut it up with a chainsaw (or a similar power tool) as a last-resort disposal method.
If you're not sure where to start when it comes to cutting up your old hot tub with a chainsaw, don't worry! In this article, we are going to help you with all of the tips and tricks you need to do it quickly, easily, and safely.
What type of chainsaw is best to cut up a hot tub?
If you need to cut up your hot tub in order to get it out of a space or dispose of it, cutting it up with a chainsaw is a viable option.
Most regular chainsaws are going to be capable of cutting through a hot tub with ease. However, many spa owners swear by a sawzall or reciprocating saw for the job. Just be sure to use a corded one if you can like this popular DeWalt model, or you'll go through a lot of batteries:
You should also expect to go through a few blades, as the fiberglass of a hot tub shell is a pretty hard substance. Spare blades are cheap though, so grab a few extras before you begin.
5 steps to prepare for cutting up a hot tub with a chainsaw
With a job as large as cutting up a hot tub, you should be prepared with the right knowledge and tools to do the job right the first time. Here are a few of our best tips to make sure you are successful:
1. Get some help
Although you can do the job on your own, if you can enlist a friend or neighbor to help you cut up your hot tub you will be able to work much faster and more efficiently. Another bonus of this approach is asking your friend to bring their chainsaw with them (if they have one) so you can both be working at the same time.
2. Have the right tools
In addition to your chainsaw, you probably also want to have a large hammer or mallet and possibly even a pry bar of some kind to help you take the pieces apart as you go—as well as detach the parts of the hot tub before you get to the shell.
3. Protect yourself
Some of the materials that make up the innards of your hot tub (mostly the PVC piping and the fiberglass shell) can be hazardous if you breathe them in or get them in your eyes.
It is highly recommended to wear a mask or respirator and eye protection while you do this to avoid any stray particles getting into your system and causing harm.
4. Cut with care
Most of the hot tub is just a combination of foam and fiberglass, which is easy to cut through. However, when it comes to electrical components or any areas that have metal, plan to cut a wide berth around them. The basic steps you want to follow are:
- Remove the side panels. These are most likely wood or a synthetic wood-like material, and can be reused or disposed of separately.
- Remove the foam. You can either cut or dissolve hot tub foam—I have another guide on that here.
- Carefully remove any working electrical parts, which you can sell or give away.
- Remove the wood support frame and PVC piping.
- Cut the shell into pieces.
Do your best to ensure clean, simple cuts and avoid sharp, dangerous metal edges or broken electronics that can cause injury during disposal.
5. Plan for cleanup
Cutting up the hot tub is the fun part, but cleaning up is arguably the most important.
Make sure you have everything you need to fully clean your entire workspace when you are done cutting and bagging everything up to make sure there are no dangerous pieces left behind. A shop vacuum is a great tool for this because it will pick up large pieces and tiny particles as well.
I personally have this 14-gallon one by RIDGID:
In addition to that, you might also want to have a rake around if you're near grass, or a broom for any decking or concrete.
Is it safe to cut up a hot tub with a chainsaw?
As long as you are careful and prepared, it is perfectly safe to cut up a hot tub with a chainsaw. Make no mistake, it will be a messy and possibly time-consuming job! But, the good news is you can do it safely and easily right in your own backyard.
Why cut up your hot tub with a chainsaw?
Hot tubs are large, bulky, heavy items that can be difficult to dispose of. Sometimes local hot tub suppliers will pick up and recycle old hot tubs for you, and some town dumps will dispose of them on bulk items day—but these services often come with fees that can stack up quickly.
If you have an older hot tub that you either don't want anymore or need to get rid of due to damage, leaks, or safety concerns, you might need to dispose of your hot tub in a pinch.
When you just want to get rid of your hot tub without the hefty price tag of one of the above services, or you don't have a vehicle that can transport it in one piece, you need to make the hot tub small enough to throw it away. And this is where a chainsaw can help you out.
If you can cut the hot tub into small enough pieces that it will fit in a dumpster in your neighborhood or into bags and be taken away on trash day, you can save yourself from having to pay for professional disposal.
How can you get rid of a hot tub without cutting it up?
As we mentioned above, disposing of your hot tub in its intact state is often fairly straightforward, but can be expensive and/or difficult to do. However, if your spa is in a working state, we would always recommend trying to find it a new home first to keep it out of the landfill.
Here are some things to try first:
- Try listing it on Craigslist, Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace (people will often take it, especially if you advertise it for just a small amount, or even free).
- Reach out to some local moving companies—they often have customers who might be interested in a second-hand spa.
- You could contact a local hot tub store and see if they will recycle old hot tubs. Or if any parts are working, you could at least see if the store might want those.
- You may also be able to bring it to your town dump or schedule a bulk item pickup with your local trash company before you resort to the chainsaw.
Many of these hot tub disposal options have a cost associated with them. The cost will vary depending on which option you choose and the prices where you live, but they should be easy enough to arrange.
It's also important to remember that some of these options may require you to transport the hot tub to the hot tub store or town dump yourself, so you may need to rent or borrow a vehicle that can transport something that large if they will not pick it up from you—assuming you don't have one already.