When you're shopping for a new hot tub, one of the big decisions you have to make is around what kind of seating you want. Lounge seats might seem like a great idea, but how do you know if you'll actually like one in practice?
It's important to get this right at purchase time, as lounge seats are not something you can change your mind about later; once you have a tub with one, like it or not, you're stuck with it.
Essentially, a hot tub lounger could be a good choice if you mainly want to enjoy a quiet relaxing hydromassage, either alone or with one or two others. It may not be your best bet if you share the tub with more than a few people, as loungers take up quite a bit of space.
But there are a few more things to consider. Let's take a look in more detail at this hot tub feature to help you decide whether to include or forgo it in your hot tub.
What is a hot tub lounger?
A hot tub lounger is a seat where you can lean back, having your head supported by a headrest and your feet up. This is a reclined seat where you can enjoy the warmth of the water up to your shoulders. Ideally, only your head is out of the water. Many hot tub models come in both a lounger and non-lounger version.
Of course, there are some real benefits to having a hot tub lounger:
- Greater ability to relax and increased comfort from being able to lie back in a fully relaxed position
- Full body massage with jets able to target the back of your legs as well
- You can stretch out more and get out of a seated position which many of us spend too long in during the day
Then again, there are a handful of drawbacks to having a hot tub lounger:
- You can fit less people in your hot tub as the lounger takes up space (often taking up space for as many as 3 seats)
- Can't necessarily target the specific muscles you need with the jets available
- You may end up floating in the chair due to the reclined position
How to decide if a hot tub lounger is right for you
Let's look at the important aspects you need to consider when shopping around.
Look at the specific model's design carefully
There are some features that you should consider in a lounger that will affect how it functions. The first feature is the position of the jets. Jets in certain places, particularly at the bottom of the seat, may make you float up and away through the force of the water. That is frustrating, and especially a concern for smaller or lighter people.
Jets on the bottom of the lounger should not be super high-power jets for deep massage. However, you probably do want some jets in the legs, especially if you want to use your hot tub lounger for things like workout recovery.
Additionally, every lounger has its own shape and size, so you will find that not all of them are comfortable enough for you to use for extended periods.
While many aren't optimally positioned for smaller individuals, causing you to float up and not be able to enjoy the lounger seat, some are better optimized to prevent this problem.
This could be through different angles, better jet placement, or providing somewhere to hook your feet as an anchor. These features are what you want to look for.
Go for a wet test
The overall design of a lounger seat is what makes you float or not—it has to do with where the seat places your center of gravity (the depth of the water and the recline angle will both affect this). This will be different for different spas though, so the only real way to know is to try it out.
A wet test is just what it sounds like: get your bathing suit and towel and take a hot tub for a test soak at a local dealership.
As we mentioned before, if a lounge seat makes you float, it's not fulfilling its purpose. This is the reason why the best you can do is try it at a showroom and confirm that you feel comfortable. Don't forget to have every family member test different seats, so you can choose the spa where everyone can find a seat that works for them.
Dealers often only have one model available for wet testing (often the most expensive one!) so you might have to shop around.
In a pinch, you can also dry test in a showroom to get a basic idea of size and shape. This won't tell you if you'll float or not though; only the wet test will give you the full experience of a particular tub.
If the model you want doesn't pass the float test, but you want the lounger for the massage benefits anyway, there is a quick and easy solution to the problem: you can buy a weighted belt to set across your lap to keep you from floating.
Consider your overall reason for buying the spa
You are planning to invest in a hot tub with a certain purpose in mind. There are hydrotherapy benefits, such as improved sleep and pain relief. But hot tubs are also a wonderful way to relax with friends or loved ones after a long day. Think about who will use the hot tub most often, and why.
Are you planning to use the hot tub on your own primarily for deep hydrotherapy massage? If that is the case, then a lounger—assuming it fits you properly and you don't float—could be a good choice for you.
Are you buying your hot tub more to enjoy on social occasions? A lounge seat takes up one entire side of a spa; often the same space as two or three standard seats.
If you want to make your hot tub an entertaining space, then consider leaving out the lounger to gain the extra seating. Keep in mind that they are also made for lying down, so they are not designed with face-to-face conversations in mind.