Softub vs Hot Tub: What Are the Key Differences?

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

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In your research phase of shopping for a hot tub, you've probably stumbled across a certain lesser known spa brand: Softub. These little round spas are lighter and cheaper than acrylic hot tubs, yet more sturdy than inflatable spas. But what's the catch? Are they all they're cracked up to be?

Softub spas have many of the same features as a traditional spa, but a Softub typically requires a lot less work to install and maintain than your standard hot tub. Softubs can be a great option for people who want to enjoy a relaxing soak without committing to purchasing and installing a hardsided acrylic hot tub.

There are many reasons to choose a Softub spa—and of course a few not to. Softubs may not be as popular or as well known as some of the big acrylic spa brands, but they are still worthy of your consideration, and can be a great choice for many people. A lot of that choice comes down to the features that are important to you, your lifestyle, and your available space.

Let's take a closer look to help you decide.

What are the main differences between a Softub spa and a traditional hot tub?

Installation and portability

One of the biggest differences between a Softub and a hot tub is how they are installed and how much you can move them.

With a Softub, you can easily install one anywhere—inside or outside your home—with minimal preparation. As long as you have a flat, load-bearing surface to put it on, you can get your Softub installed quickly and easily without needing a professional's help

At just 80 lbs empty, Softubs are small enough to fit through a standard door and light enough to be rolled around, which makes moving them very easy.

And if you change your mind and want to move your Softub somewhere else after a few weeks, months, or even days, you can easily do that too.

When you have a hardsided hot tub, you will need to choose a permanent install location. Most of the time, the installation must be done professionally as well. Depending on the location, you may need to have a specific cement pad or reinforced platform built to put it on, and you will be limited to only installing it somewhere that can bear a significant amount of weight.

Energy costs

Both Softubs and hot tubs will increase your monthly energy consumption, but the question is how much will your bill really go up with each option?

With a hot tub, you can expect to see your electric bill increase somewhere from $40-$100 per month depending on how big your hot tub is, and how hot you like to keep it.

Softubs are quite a bit more efficient than hot tubs, as they boast that they can maintain your desired temperature while only costing you about $15 more per month.

If keeping costs down is a priority for you, a Softub could be the way to go.

Power requirements

A Softub can be plugged into any 110-volt outlet without any additional wiring needed. Once you choose the location and plug it in, all the hard work is done. You will be able to sit back and enjoy your relaxing Softub quickly.

Conversely, hot tubs usually require a bit of advanced electric work for a proper installation.

You may need to add additional electrical power to the outlet for the hot tub and may require other complex configurations to power it. This can be done by an electrician, which is usually simple, but still an added expense to keep in mind.

Seating arrangements

The inside of hot tubs and Softubs are different as well.

Hot tubs are made of hard, molded acrylic that forms into different size seats and benches for you to sit on while enjoying your hot tub.

The seats in your hot tub are in a fixed position and cannot be changed or moved. Most of the time the seats are arranged for the jets so you can enjoy a massage while you relax.

As the name suggests, Softubs are made of a much softer, more flexible material.

Because Softubs don't have the molded seats that a traditional hot tub does, you have more flexibility with seating arrangements. You can sit wherever you want and even have room to do some stretches or exercises in the spacious tub.

Are Softubs cheaper than hot tubs?

In general, Softubs are about on par with the lower end of the hot tub market. Softubs and the cheapest hot tubs (often rotomolded) range in price from around $3,000-$7,000 on average. However, high-end acrylic spas cost a lot more.

So, it really depends on what you're looking for in terms of features and price. If you're just looking for a very basic hot tub, then a Softub is likely to cost around the same—at least for the tub itself.

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Where you might start to notice a price difference is in the installation and maintenance of the tubs. With a hot tub, you will likely need to bring in a contractor and an electrician to prepare your space for a hot tub. You also will most likely need professional movers to transport and install the hot tub in your home.

With a Softub, your only major investment is in the tub itself. You can generally install it yourself in your home, without any additional electrical work or other preparation needed. It is very straightforward and easy to set it up in most cases.

Do Softubs last as long as hot tubs?

It might be easy to assume that a hot tub must last longer than a Softub simply due to the construction. However, Softubs are surprisingly durable for being as simple as they are. Both Softubs and hot tubs can last as long as 15-20 years with proper maintenance and care.

To prolong the life of either a Softub or a traditional hot tub, make sure to clean it regularly, follow the service and maintenance instructions, and treat it with the proper chemicals. Doing this will help keep your tub in good working order so you can enjoy it for years to come.

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