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If you're in the market for a hot tub, then now is your chance to save some money.
What's the best time of year to buy a hot tub? What are some ways to find the cheapest hot tub deals? Can you negotiate the price of a hot tub, and what should you know before buying one?
These are all questions I'll answer in this article.
When is the best time of year to buy a hot tub?
Some times of year are better than others to buy a hot tub. For instance, the fall and winter months typically have fewer people shopping for a hot tub and manufacturers will offer discounts in order to keep their inventory moving.
Hot tubs see a slowdown in demand this time of year because people typically go indoors during the winter months. If you're looking for a great deal on a hot tub, take advantage of these promotions from around September to January when they'll be most prevalent.
Hot tubs are most often on sale around national holidays
There's year-round opportunity too, thanks to national holidays.
During these times, stores and manufacturers offer discounts on all sorts of large home and garden items—including hot tubs. For example, I was able to buy my current spa at a discounted rate during a Memorial Day sale.
Some significant US federal holidays to look out for are:
- Memorial Day
- July 4th (Independence Day)
- Labor Day
- Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
- New Year's Day
If you're not based in the US, the same should apply to the national holiday schedule in your country.
Sign up for manufacturers' email lists to get notified when sales happen.
You can also check out major spa retailers' websites or follow them on social media, as they will usually advertise sales and specials there too.
How to find the cheapest hot tubs at other times
Although it's worth looking out for sales at particular points in the year, that doesn't mean that they're the only time to buy. What about in between holidays?
Look for clearance or ex-display models
If you're looking at prices outside of the usual discount periods but not finding any great deals, you might want to ask your local dealer about clearance or ex-display models. What this means is that the hot tub may have been used in a store for demonstration purposes and is now ready for someone else to use.
This has a whole range of benefits:
- You're getting a new hot tub that's just as good as the full price model
- It will be cheaper than new models because it's been used for demonstration purposes, thus increasing your chances of getting a better deal
- Retailers will often give you the same warranty or guarantees that come with a new spa, and may even throw in some freebies
- You may be able to negotiate the price down even further by offering to take it off their hands for an even lower amount
- This will almost certainly be the cheapest way to get a new hot tub that you're going to find
However, there are some risks involved in buying ex-display or clearance items. You need to make sure that all of the parts and accessories are included and functioning, and that no damage has been done to the spa (if it has, you might decide that you don't care about the odd cosmetic scratch, but this should knock even more off the price).
Also be aware that if your heart is set on a particular model or specification of spa, it might not always make sense to go for an ex-display one even though it could save you some money, as your choices will be limited to whatever the dealer happens to have at the time.
Look for second-hand spas
If you're not having any luck with dealers, the next best thing could be a used spa.
You can often find really great deals this way because you're buying from a previous owner who, for whatever reason, is trying to get rid of their old spa. People often want to upgrade just because a spa is a few years older, so you can often find very high-end models at deeply discounted prices.
What's more, you can sometimes find spas on sale by owners who are moving and need to sell their hot tub quickly before they leave.
Here are a few places to look for used spas near you:
- Local classified ads
- Local hot tub stores often have listings of used spas for sale
- You could also ask friends if they know of anyone looking to sell their spa
A word of warning: you need to be very careful with this because if you buy a spa and the owner didn't tell you it had problems, then it could be an expensive mistake that will cost you in the long run.
My suggestion here is that before you buy anything, ask as many questions as possible about the spa. What kind of shape it's in, whether or not there are any problems with it, how old it is and why they're selling it. Also insist on seeing it filled, heated, and working, so you can test out all the features and check if anything seems off.
You might also be able to pay a local service technician to take a look at the spa with you if you're not mechanically savvy. That way you can feel more confident you're not being sold a dud.
Can you negotiate the price of a hot tub?
There are a range of different places you might buy a hot tub:
- Large national retailers, sometimes known as big box stores
- Stores that specialize in hot tubs and pools
- A locally owned specialty store
Whether you can negotiate depends on which of these you're shopping at. For instance, big box stores generally don't have a lot of knowledge on hot tubs or care about you much as a customer, and therefore won't be open to negotiation.
Can you negotiate spa prices in person?
When visiting a specialist spa dealer, don't be afraid to negotiate! It never hurts to ask if there's any way for them to knock off a bit of the price tag. This is especially true around the end of the year when most retailers are trying to work their way through the end of year inventory—even if they're not having an official sale.
Whether they are able to actually discount the price of a spa can depend on the manufacturer, as sometimes dealers are bound by pricing that's non-negotiable. But the worst thing they can say is "no".
Even if this is the case, they will at least usually have discretion to throw in extras like accessories, chemicals, or free delivery and setup.
Can you negotiate spa prices online?
If you're shopping for a spa online, unfortunately you won't usually have the same ability to haggle as you would at a local dealer. That's because when you're dealing with the manufacturer directly on a website that has no physical location, there's much less incentive for them to clear particular stock compared to a smaller local retailer.
However, websites do sometimes have coupons or promo codes for certain spa brands and models, in which case the price of the tub might go down when you use them. This can be a great way to save even if they won't discount prices via haggling.
If you are looking to buy a spa online, be sure to also look up the store's policies on returns and support before you buy.
What may seem like a good deal when you see it might not stay that way once you realize they will only deliver the spa curbside (read: dump it in the street) or when something goes wrong and you're on your own trying to find someone who can fix it.
I'm not saying it's always a bad idea to buy a spa online; just that you should always check with the store in advance about their policies so there are no nasty surprises later on.
I hope this article has helped clear up some misconceptions about the mysterious process of buying a hot tub, and given you more insight into how to find the best deals so that your next spa purchase will be a happy, healthy one.