The best inflatable hot tubs you can buy

The best inflatable hot tubs you can buy
  • Enjoy a relaxing, soothing spa-like soak with an inflatable hot tub.
  • Versatile, practical, and portable, they're more economical than permanent versions.
  • The Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa is comfortable and durable with gentle bubbles, good heat retention, and tough walls.

Soaking in a hot tub is a healthy and natural way to unwind, relieve stress, reduce pain through vascular dilation, and improve sleep. Since ancient times, hot baths have been instrumental for self-care and socializing with others. Create a similar "spa spot" at home with a relatively inexpensive inflatable hot tub.

More than a mere kiddie pool, an inflatable hot tub is deep, holds clean water, heats up water sanitarily (again, not a baby pool!), and blows massaging bubbles. Its pump inflates and deflates it, providing flexibility to blow it up whenever you need it, put it wherever you like (with an outlet and enough space - indoors on a floor able to support its weight with water and bathers, outdoors in temperatures above 40-degrees Fahrenheit/4-degrees Celsius), and flatten it for storage.

Based on our findings, we narrowed down our list to five great options, including our overall favorite, the Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa. In addition, we provide information and tips on what to look for when shopping for an inflatable spa, how to use one, and how to stay eco-friendly.

Here are our top picks for the best inflatable hot tub:

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The best inflatable hot tub overall

The best inflatable hot tub overall
Strong, supportive, puncture-resistant, and portable, both models (77-inch and 85-inch diameters) of the Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa provide bubbly relaxation.

Both sizes of the Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa won accolades from review sites and customers. Home Hot Tubs Guide stated that the "ring of bubble jets around the base gives a powerful massage effect." Portable Hot Tub Finder qualified the praise with, "You can expect a light massage sensation. However, don't expect a deep tissue massage." Amazon buyers loved the bubbles emitted by the high-powered air jets (120 in the 77-inch model, and 140 in the 85-inch model) and were pleasantly surprised at the jets' strength, perfect for soothing sore backs.

Made with puncture-resistant, three-ply laminated material and fiberglass-composite construction, the Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa is strong, durable, and comfortable. One owner said, "I did not have to put any air in it the entire time I had it up. The sides are super sturdy for sitting on … the bottom is surprisingly soft [even when] sitting on concrete." Buyers also liked the rigid walls, which provide support for climbing in and out of the tub safely.

The Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa takes at least 24 to 48 hours to warm up its 210-gallon capacity of the smaller model (290 gallons for the larger. When the water reaches the desired temperature, the heater stays on to maintain it; the heater will shut off automatically after about 72 hours. After running continuously for 30 minutes, the bubbles turn off but can be turned on again manually. In both cases, the automatic shut-off helps save energy. Many people commented that the pump is quiet (although a small minority found it noisy). As with most inflatable hot tubs, the heater and air jets can't run simultaneously.

The Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa's smaller model (with a 58-inch inner diameter when inflated) is advertised as a four-person hot tub; the large model (with a 77-inch diameter when inflated) is marketed as a 6-person tub. Despite being named "Best 6-Person Hot Tub" by Home Hot Tubs Guide and Laze Up, the larger model was noted by users as being a bit crowded for a party of six; four would be more comfortable. People also felt that the smaller model was better for two to three people.

Easy to set up, take down, and move around, the Intex PureSpa Bubble Massage Spa is simple to maintain. Complete Home Spa commended its built-in hard water treatment system that "softens the water" to give "a softer-feeling soak and reduc[e] the damage to the inside of the tub." This model was "Editor's Choice" at Outside Pursuits and the top pick of Inflatable Hot Tub Center, EWash, The Pool Cleaner Expert, and Poolonomics. Sixty-one percent of more than 2,200 Amazon reviewers awarded it four or five out of five stars.

Pros: Powerful jets for bubbles, hard water treatment system, easy assembly

Cons: Water cools down when jets are on, no hydro jets

The best budget inflatable hot tub

The best budget inflatable hot tub
Durable, strong, and comfortable, the Bestway SaluSpa Miami AirJet is an excellent deal for a reasonable price.

Deemed a "best buy" by Home Hot Tubs Guide, the Bestway SaluSpa Miami AirJet "offers hot tubbing on a budget. This tub is not going to break the bank, but still offers a pleasant and relaxing bubble jet experience." Portable Hot Tub Finder described it as an inexpensive "option for someone looking for an entry-level inflatable hot tub. Although it lacks a few bells and whistles, it still rates as a solid performer."

And solid it is. Made of Tri-Tech, three-ply reinforced material featuring a polyester mesh core encased in two layers of PVC, the tub is extremely tough. The Pool Cleaner Expert "tested it with the most lively of kids; it stood its ground and passed with flying colors." One Amazon customer's German Shepard jumped into the Bestway SaluSpa Miami AirJet several times without damaging or collapsing it! Because of its I-beam construction, bathers can feel secure in leaning against, sitting on, or grabbing the tub's walls to climb in and out without bending or buckling it.

The Pool Advisors noted that the tub "has a heating system that warms the water quickly and efficiently but also a water-filtration system that ensures that the water in the tub is as clean as it can be." Many users reported heating water up to 104°F (40°C) rapidly — in as few as two to six hours on a hot day and as much as 24 to 48 hours in colder conditions. An automatic start/stop timer-controlled heating system helps save energy.

Although the 60 air jets can't run when the heater is on, they are effective in emanating bubbles from the tub's perimeter. One Amazon user described them less as air jets and more as "air bubblers" that push out along the walls "a LOT of rolling bubbles and when you lean back … [you feel] not the 'flesh pounding' you'd get with the professional grade [Jacuzzi] but … a light massage on your back and neck."

Although the manufacturer advertises that the Bestway SaluSpa Miami AirJet holds up to four adults, it is actually more comfortable for two adults. Complete Home Spa described the tub — with a 71-inch diameter, 26-inch height, and 177-gallon capacity — as "ideal for couples or individuals looking for a bit of luxury."

The Bestway SaluSpa Miami AirJet was ranked among the top five hot tubs on Complete Home Spa, The Pool Advisors, The Pool Cleaner Expert, Portable Hot Tub Finder, Poolonomics, and PoolJudge. Sixty-eight percent of more than 630 Amazon reviewers gave it four or five out of five stars.

Pros: Economical, sturdy, heats up quickly, easy to set up and use indoors or outdoors, has padded floor

Cons: Can't run bubbles and heater at the same time, potential leaks (of tub, heat/pump container, hose connection), crowded for four adults


The best small inflatable hot tub

The best small inflatable hot tub
The Coleman SaluSpa (71 inches by 26 inches) Four-Person Hot Tub is small but mighty; it sports a sturdy frame, heats up quickly, and produces effective bubbles.

As Complete Home Spa noted, the Coleman SaluSpa (71 inches by 26 inches) Four-Person Hot Tub's "product information says it can fit four people but it's best for one to two people." Amazon customers had varying opinions — some felt four people fit in comfortably while many others thought the tub best suited for two people. One owner wrote, "Two people: perfect; three people: okay; four people: only if you know everyone well!" In any case, this cozy model with a capacity of 170 gallons reportedly fit in small spaces (e.g., on a houseboat, on a porch).

Constructed with Tri-Tech technology, the tub has strong walls made of three-ply reinforced material with a sturdy I-beam design. You can sit on the comfortably cushioned floor and lean up against the stable walls or even sit on top of them and still feel secure.

This Coleman SaluSpa model heats up at an advertised two to three degrees F per hour. It reportedly takes about 24 hours to heat up all the water to 104°F and less time if the water is already warm or on a hot day. The heating time is shorter than expected (and pleasantly surprising) for some owners but still too long for others, who like the tubs but only wish it warmed up faster.

What many owners can agree on is soothing bubble action. One person described "very powerful bubbles stream[ing] from a ring of perforations in an air chamber that circles the bottom of the spa. As the air bubbles rise and expand, they generate a powerful massaging activity and a turbulence throughout the tub. The bubbles are great for lower back to neck massages." Unfortunately, when the bubbles are on, the heat turns off and the water temperature drops.

The Coleman SaluSpa (71 inches by 26 inches) Four-Person Hot Tub was named among the top three models for two-to-four-person tubs by Home Hot Tubs Guide. The Pool Advisors chose it as the best model, Poolonomics placed it second, and Complete Home Spa third. Among more than 1,800 Amazon reviewers, 71% rated it positively (four or five out of five stars).

Pros: Heats up quickly for many, bubbles effective in massaging, cozy, sturdy

Cons: A bit too cozy for four people, water warms up too slowly for some, heat turns off when bubbles are on

Buy the Coleman SaluSpa (71 inches by 26 inches) Four-Person Hot Tub on Amazon for $369.99

The best square inflatable hot tub

The best square inflatable hot tub
Stretch out your legs, lean back, and enjoy robust bubbles in a less-than-ordinary hot tub, the square Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet.

Designed for the outdoors, the comfortable and good-looking Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet is the perfect place to stretch out in the sun or under the stars. It's advertised to fit four to six people; The Creative Mama commented, "This makes it great for family use or if you're planning an outdoor party for the future and want to give your guests a relaxing inflatable spa experience." Some Amazon customers noted that four people fit comfortably in this tub and that it's good for tall bathers as well.

This tub heats up fairly efficiently; reports of warm-up times ranged from as few as nine hours to as many as 36 hours under different conditions (e.g., initial water temperature, surrounding climate). Especially notable is the Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet's Salu-Massage System: 114 all-surrounding air jets that emit massaging bubbles even while the heat is on. One Amazon user noted, "It's hard to tell but the bubbles are heated which helps keep the hot tub warm. This is the only one on the market that does this [where] you could run the bubbles and the filter and heater at the same time." While a few people report running the bubbles for as long as 15 minutes without the water temperature dropping a single degree, others concede that the heater can't maintain the temperature over a longer period of time. The bubbles themselves are "shockingly strong and provide a full body massage." Owners also like the automatic start and stop timer that controls the heating.

The Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet is 71 inches wide, 71 inches long, and 28 inches tall with a capacity of 210 gallons. With durable walls constructed of Tri-tech material, this tub requires no tools or professional installation for set-up. Many reviewers, however, complained of confusing and frustrating installation instructions.

The Creative Mama named Bestway SaluSpa Hawaii AirJet its top model, Outside Pursuits included it within its top five, and Pool Advisors within its top ten. Seventy-seven percent of 70 Amazon reviewers awarded it four or five out of stars.

Pros: Ample room and ideal shape for stretching out legs, robust bubble action, designed tough enough for the outdoors

Cons: Confusing assembly instructions


The inflatable hot tub with hydro jets

The inflatable hot tub with hydro jets
Luxuriate with massages from both bubbles and shooting water with one of the few inflatable hot tubs to feature hydro jets — the MSpa Elite Baikal Jet and Bubble Spa.

Living up to its name, the MSpa Elite Baikal Jet and Bubble Spa offers both caressing bubbles and hydro-massage in a beautiful round midnight blue tub. Home Hot Tubs Guide — which named it "Best Hydro Jet Hot Tub" — proclaimed, "This inflatable hot tub that has really raised the bar for quality and innovative design and visual elegance." Outdoor recreation expert and product tester Chuck Linton of Linton's In the Garden rated this model the number one choice of MSpa Tubs, a company he described as "one of the leading manufacturers of inflatable and portable hot tubs because of their constant innovation and numerous patented technologies." These innovations include four hydro-massage jets (with chrome ports) that can be individually adjusted for water flow and direction, 118 effervescent air jets, and a variable three-speed pump that can change bubble massage intensity from mild to invigorating.

With strong air and water massages, you really can enjoy a therapeutic home physiotherapy session for relieving tense and achy muscles as well as improving circulation. And in terms of the heat versus bubbles conundrum common to many hot tubs, one Amazon reviewer wrote, "I definitely recommend the water jet feature if you use this in cold weather as it does not affect the water temperature anywhere near as much as the air bubbler does. Spending the extra money for the water jet is the way to go."

The pricey-but-worth-it MSpa Elite Baikal Jet and Bubble Spa is made of rhino-tech, six-layer reinforced PVC. It measures 71 inches in diameter and 28 inches in height, and has a capacity of 186 gallons, and holds four adults comfortably. Home Hot Tubs Guide described it as "big enough for four adults, but to really enjoy the full benefit of all the jets we think just two would be perfect." The tub comes with a zipped cover and lock, a ground cover, an inflatable bladder to place atop the water to reduce heat loss, and more. Unlike many other hot tubs, this model has an integrated ozone generator that Linton's In the Garden said "ensures that the water in the tub is smooth and great for your skin."

The MSpa Elite Baikal Jet and Bubble Spa garnered 80% positive reviews (four or five out of five stars) on Amazon.

Pros: Hydro jets AND air jets, robust and comfortable massaging bubbles and water streams

Cons: Expensive

When researching inflatable hot tubs, consider the following factors

  • Size: How many people can it fit comfortably? Do you plan to use it by yourself, with a partner, or for hosting a party? Some models fit two to four adults; larger ones accommodate six or more adults.
  • Capacity: Capacities range between 175 and 275 gallons. Bigger isn't always better: the greater the water volume, the heavier the tub becomes and the longer (and costlier!) it takes to fill up and heat.
  • Shape: Although most are round, there are square and rectangular models; they can offer more leg room and fit well in corners and against a wall.
  • Construction: Most inflatable hot tubs are made of layered vinyl PVC. Some have walls reinforced with polyester, nylon, vinyl, or a blend. For additional sturdiness, some models' walls have a segmented design, reinforced with an interior vertical I-beam structure.
  • Heater: Look for a heater that raises water temperature efficiently (within 12 to 24 hours) and maintains it between 89°F (32°C) and 104°F (40°C). Some heaters run on timers for energy-saving auto turn-on and shut-off.
  • Air Jets: Powered by the pump, air jets shoot out bubbles to give bathers a tickling sensation. Find out how many jets a model has and where they are located. Higher-end models have hydro jets that spray streams of water for massage. Often–but not always–jets and the heater can't operate simultaneously.

Before diving in for a delightful dip, read these important tips

  • Plan ahead. Most models require about 12 to 24 hours to heat up the many gallons of water; you won't be able to fill a tub and jump in right away.
  • Hydrate. Drink water before and after your bath.
  • Don't heat the water above 104°F (40°C). 100°F (37°C) is the maximum safe temperature for pregnant women. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,soaking in 106°F (41.1°C) water can raise body temperature and induce heat stroke.
  • Supervise any children using the hot tub. Don't bring in babies/infants.
  • If you have any heart, circulatory, diabetic, or blood-pressure issues, consult your doctor before using a hot tub.
  • Don't take anything that induces drowsiness (e.g., tranquilizers, anti-histamines, excessive alcohol, etc.).

You can enjoy your inflatable hot tub and still be eco-friendly with these easy "green" practices

  • Fill up the tub with only the amount of water you need.
  • Don't run the heater unnecessarily. Heat up the water only when you plan to use it (of course with enough time for preheating). Use the heater's timer; if it doesn't have one, use an egg timer or your phone's timer.
  • Use programmable pump and heat controls to save energy. One owner outlined a good strategy: "after I go in the spa at night, I shut down the heater and set the timer to turn the heater on in eight hours to heat for two hours. That way it'll be ready and hot for me in the morning before work. After I get out in the morning, I set the timer to turn the heater on in eight hours to heat for two hours; that way it'll be ready for me when I get home from work. … This way, you're not eating up energy just keeping it hot when it doesn't have to be."
  • Choose a dark-colored tub for better heat retention.
  • Keep the cover on while heating the tub and in between uses. The cover also safely keeps kids out and helps prevent accidental drowning.
  • Clean the tub and water without harsh chemicals. Check with your tub's manufacturer for recommendations.
  • Never drain used tub water into a storm drain or natural body of water (e.g., stream). Chemicals and contaminants from untreated water can kill plants and fish and enter the drinking water supply. Drain the used water into a sanitary sewer.
  • Recycle tub water by using it to water your lawn and plants BUT only after leaving off the cover to let it cool down as well as dissipate and reduce chlorine or bromine to a level around one parts per million. Use a hose to disperse the water and prevent flooding.