If you read our AirDNA review and the story about how we turned around our Airbnb/vacation rental property, you’ll understand the power of identifying gaps within your competition.
Hot tubs, in our area, was one of those gaps.
In fact, hot tubs will make a great addition to any Airbnb property and can make your property stand out from the competition in most areas. So which hot tub is going to be the best one to get?
The best hot tubs for Airbnb properties on a budget are the inflatable types such as the Coleman Saluspa or the Intex PureSpa. However, the custom style hot tub fares much better with wear and tear, such as the Bullfrog X6R and the DayDream Plug and Play. Be aware that all require maintenance.
If you seek a hot tub to upgrade your Airbnb property, and you are unsure which type to buy, here is a breakdown and a list of eight of the best hot tubs for Airbnb 2021.
What Is a Hot Tub and What Is It For?
Hot tubs have been around since the 4th century BC, where they placed heated stones in water for hydrotherapy purposes. Although some distinguish between hot tubs and spas as different according to use and location, the terms are generally used interchangeably. Jacuzzi is no different, being an iconic brand name of hot tubs.
Oxford Dictionary defines a hot tub as a “large tub filled with hot aerated water used by one or more people for recreation or physical therapy.” Hence, it stands to reason that portable hot tubs, in-ground spas, and Jacuzzis fall into the same definition.
And that last part, physical therapy, is an important “feature” to consider for your Airbnb.
Ever since we put in our hot tub, over 90% of the guests that we surveyed said that one of the deciding factors of choosing our Airbnb was because of the hot tub, with a few of them mentioning it being used for their Fibromyalgia or other therapy.
What Types of Hot Tubs Are There?
Hot tubs come in various sizes and materials to suit your budget and space requirements. Hot tubs are typically used outdoors, although you may choose to keep your hot tub indoors. The two main types of hot tubs are the portable and the custom/in-ground hot tubs.
Portable Hot Tubs
There are a wide variety of portable hot tubs, and they range from inflatable and foldable units to solidly structured tubs that can accommodate between 6 to 8 people.
Portable spas are self-contained, and the manufacturer includes everything that you need to operate the unit. The material used to make portable hot tubs differ considerably between models and can include:
- Plastic and Polyethylene
- Inflatable Latex or Vinyl
Most quality spas have an acrylic shell that may be one sheet or have a second layer of ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) plastic. These are generally much stronger than the earlier fiberglass variety that held toxic resins.
Portable spas are generally less expensive than their custom counterparts and are easy to install.
In fact, we chose an inflatable hot tub for our Airbnb property because of the temporary nature of renting an apartment and not being able to physically move one in. We did not want a permanent structure for a property that we didn’t own, and it needed to be easy to move should it not work out.
So the portable tub variety suits Airbnb owners who want to provide their guests with the option of hydrotherapy without high installation costs.
Portable spas are molded into various shapes to suit your space and provide comfortable seating for users with an assortment of therapeutic water jets for massage. Portable spas such as the Bullfrog Jetpack Therapy system allows users to customize their massage jets to suit their preferences perfectly.
Advantages of a Portable Hot Tub
The portable variety of hot tubs have several advantages, the most important one being the lower costs involved in the installation. You can provide an enticing feature in your apartment and stand out from your competition without the cost of an expensive custom installation. Other advantages include:
- Can be set up quickly without having to prepare surfaces
- Can be stored when not in use (the foldable varieties)
- No labor and installation costs
- You may take your hot tub if you move
- Low maintenance and easy to access mechanics
- Limited options for the shape of the tub
Disadvantages of a Portable Hot Tub
Generally, portable hot tubs are not as strong or as powerful as their custom counterparts and may suffer wear and tear and a decreased lifespan. Guests are not always responsible for features in an Airbnb home, and portable hot tubs of the inflatable variety will not stand up well to rough use.
In addition, we’ve had several comments from guests who voiced disappointment about the heating power of the tub, so you will want to set expectations accordingly.
Other disadvantages include:
- Portable Hot tubs generally run off a 120-volt electricity supply and lack the heating capacity of custom spas
- The water does not remain hot for as long as the custom hot tubs
- Can suffer damage being moved from place to place
- It can be challenging to get in and out, especially for children and the elderly
- They take a very long time (2-3 days) to initially heat up.
Custom or In-Ground Hot Tubs
Custom hot tubs are generally constructed of sturdy materials and set in place permanently in a property. They are built into the ground with the top of the spa flush with ground level and adapted to suit your living space and design elements for a more stylish and sleek profile.
Or there are more permanent structures that are built around the tub, such as decking and drainage.
Custom hot tubs come in a wide variety of materials such as:
- Stainless Steel
Custom hot tubs are generally more pricey than portable tubs and have higher installation costs, but they are also much more powerful and heat up the water faster.
From the perspective of aesthetics, the custom spa can’t be beaten and maybe a stand out feature in your Airbnb home. They are also neater as all the mechanical equipment to run the tub are stored neatly away from the bathing area.
Advantages of a Custom Hot Tub
Although they are more expensive, custom hot tubs are generally hardier and stand up better to wear and tear, which is excellent for Airbnb rentals. They are more difficult to damage and have a longer lifespan than the portable variety. A custom hot tub’s design elements add value to a rental property and can be a draw feature to potential guests.
Other advantages include:
- A wide variety of shape sizes and styles
- Blends easily with existing decor and design
- Can be integrated easily with speaker systems, lights, waterfalls, or fountains
- Hot tubs Come in a variety of finishes such as stone, acrylic, tiles, or vinyl
- 240-volt heating
Disadvantages of Custom Hot Tubs
Despite their durability and design, custom hot tubs are costly to install and maintain. Custom hot tubs generally use more electricity than a lighter portable version. If you decide to change your mind, you face the task of removal (and the hole in your property).
Other disadvantages include:
- Expensive and time consuming to maintain
- May be difficult to find a custom to fit irregular-sized tubs
- Generally have bench seating, which does not accommodate all size occupants
Best Portable Hot Tubs for AirBnB/Vacation Rentals
The Coleman SaluSpa is an affordable and durable inflatable hot tub made to seat 4-6 people. The spa is made of UV resistant triple-layer Tritech to prevent sun damage and ensure that the material does not retain dents once unfolded. The unit comes with 114 bubble jets that release massaging bubbles from the tub floor to those seated.
The unit comes with a reinforced cover with safety clips to enhance insulation and pump to make inflation labor free. The SaluSpa pump also heats, runs filtration, and controls the massage system. The tub has a chemical dispenser that maintains cleanliness by keeping stable chlorine levels in the water.
Coleman Features at a Glance
- Airjet system, rapid heating, and water filter
- Dimensions 77 x 77 x 28 inches (195.58 x 195.58 x 71.12 centimeters)
- Seats 4 to 6 adults
- Letheroid tub cover
- Chemical dispenser
- Digital soft-touch control panel
- Heats up to 104°F (40°C)
- Durable Tritech triple-layer walls
- 114 air jets for hydromassage
- A ground fault circuit interrupter
- A heavy-duty patch kit and comprehensive DVD
- Installation and maintenance video
This is the unit that we purchased and it’s still in use to this day.
The Intex is an affordable and comfortable home spa solution that seats up to 6 people. The easy-to-use control panel allows users to activate 170 high-powered bubble jets and even choose 7 Led colors for nighttime illumination. The adjustable heating system enables users to select from 68°F to 104°F( 20°C – 40°C).
The PureSpa uses Fiber-Tech construction, a puncture-resistant, three-ply laminate material that is durable and comfortable. The kit even boasts a built-in hard water treatment system that is gentle on your skin. The replaceable filter cartridges make maintenance a breeze, and the kit comes with an insulated lockable cover. The spa comes with a carry case for easy transport.
Intex PureSpa Features at a Glance
- Dimensions 77 x 77 x 28 inches (195 x 195 x 71 centimeters)
- Weight 87.2 lbs (39.5 kgs)
- A built-in hard water treatment system
- Insulated cover with lock
- Easy to replace cartridge filter
- Fiber tech three-layer material
- Heat adjustable 68°F to 104°F ( 20°C to 40°C)
- 170 high powered bubble jets
- Includes chemical dispenser, thermal ground cloth, carry bag, inflation hose
- Seat up to 6 adults
The Goplus Spa is a great portable option for both indoor and outdoor use. The hot tub can accommodate up to six people and cleans easily with replaceable cartridge filters. The 360° all-around bubble design is perfect for a body massage. The unit is ultra-lightweight and weighs only 50lbs (22.6 kgs), making it highly portable and comes with easy to grip handles for easier moving.
Unusual for a freestanding hot tub, it offers the unique feature of heaters built into the sidewalls, giving the tub a more sleek profile. The kit provides a hard water treatment system, which makes the water more gentle on the skin. Another stand out feature is that the Goplus has a rapid heat function, which raises the temperature .2 – 3°F/h (1.0 – 1.5°C/h)
The tub is easy to maintain with replaceable cartridges that keep the water clean, and it comes with a durable cover to keep out debris and aid the hot tub in heating up quickly.
Goplus Features at a Glance
- Dimensions inner/outer diameter 55’’/71’’ (139.7cm/180.3cm) Height 26’’ (66cm)
- Weight 50lbs (22.6kgs)
- Rapid heating system 2-3°F/h (1.0-1.5°C/h)
- 360° all-round bubble function
- Durable puncture-resistant material
- Heats up to 104°F (40°C)
- A replaceable cartridge filter system
- Easy-grip handles
- Cover included
The square-shaped Saluspa is another high-quality portable hot tub option that is perfect for Airbnb/vacation rental spaces. The square shape allows users to spread out more comfortable and offers more back support than the round shape. The tub comes with an easy to reach digital panel that allows you to adjust the water temperature and engage the 114 air jets for a bubbly spa effect.
The power-saving timer also enables users to adjust the spa’s temperature up to 72 hours in advance. The temperature setting reaches up to the standard 104℉ ( 40°C), and the reinforced cover provides insulation for faster heating. The tub is easy to inflate with its pump and folds easily into storage when not in use.
The spa is made of Tritech three-layered material and is durable, yet easy to deflate and reinflate.
Bestway Saluspa Spa Features at a Glance
- Dimensions 71’’ x 71’’ x 28’’ (180cm x 180cm x 71cm)
- 114 air jets
- Power saving timer
- Reaches 104°F ( 40°C)
- Durable Tritech material
- Easy to transport plus easy-grip handles
- Square shape support
- Pump included
- No extra tools needed for set up
Best Custom Hot Tubs for AirBnB/Vacation Rentals
The Aspen-880 is a premium spa that seats up to 7 to 8 people and has a 66 jet system perfectly arranged for enhanced hydrotherapy. They have a patented Accu-Sage set that provides deep immersion massage for the neck, back, wrists, and calves. The Aspen offers a unique bench seat with enough space for two people to sit next to each other and enjoy a back, hip, and foot massage session.
The Sundance patented Clearray technology and filtration neutralizes waterborne pathogens and ensures sparling, clear and safe water. Each spa comes with a filter, weir, pump, and a micro clean horizontal filter.
The Aspen has some great Sundance features such as multi-glow LED lighting, a waterfall, and backlit grab bars for stunning night visuals. To top it off, the Aspen offers aromatherapy releasing air jets and exterior corner accent lighting.
The premium Sundance Spa prices vary according to customizations, but Sundance gives potential customers the estimated pricing guideline between $12,000 to 15,000.
Aspen-800 Series Spa Features at a Glance
- Dimensions 91″ x 110″ x 41.5″ (2.31 x 2.79 x 1.05 meters)
- Volume 520 US gal (1,968 liters)
- Weight 1,154 lbs (523 kg)
- Air Control/Massage Selectors 8
- 2.0 Wireless Spa Stereo System with Auxiliary 3.5 mm headphone jack connection
- Bluetooth compatible, 4 premium speakers and a powered subwoofer
- Multicolored Sunglow LED Lighting System
- (2 Waterfall, 2 Footwell, 8 Air controls, 2 Massage Selectors,
- 5.5 kW With Titanium Element heater
- Patented Fluidix jets and backlit grab bars
- iTouch Control Panel
- Ten-year shell structure warranty.
- Seven-year shell surface warranty.
The X6R is a great entry-level offering from the highly rated Bullfrog range that can seat 5 people in the round-shaped tub. This feature-packed spa is an above-ground tub with the neat dimensions of 6′ 7″ x 6′ 7″ x 36″ (2.01 x 2.01 x .91 m).
The 100% wood-free frame is made of a patented EnduraFrame material that is durable and solid. The X6R has a layer of insulating foam that protects plumbing and saves on electricity costs. Great visual aesthetics masks the sturdy construction with a backlit water feature and four full colorsLED lights.
They offer a host of customizations and color o[ptions as well as an option CloudControl application allowing you to operate your tub from your cell phone. The Bullfrog spas prices depend on customization, but they estimate their X range to the public as $6,695 and up.
Bullfrog X6R Features at a Glance
- Dimensions 6′ 7″ x 6′ 7″ x 36″ (2.01 x 2.01 x .91 m)
- High-density insulation
- Comfort pillows
- 21 hydrotherapy jets
- Four LED lights
- Seats up to 5 adults
- Patented durable frame
- Optional Bluetooth audio package
- Enhanced water sanitization, carbon filter
The six-seater DayDream spa offers a stylish above-ground option for your Airbnb/vacation rental. The hot tub is made of a tough Eco-Duralene uni body shell made of 100% recyclable polyethylene, making it durable and tough.
The hot tub has aesthetic appeal with a multi-color LED backlit waterfall and offers five open seats and a lounger. The 45 stainless steel jets with dual air controls deliver an enhanced hydromassage with lumbar support and multijet level placement.
The Ozonator keeps water sparkling clean and reduces the need for chlorine or bromine up to 75%. This feature not only makes it gentle on your skin, but it increases the longevity of your spa. The spa has a 120V/15A plug and plays ready with a 1KW heater that can be converted to a 4KW (electrician required).
DayDream Plug and Play Hot Tub Features at a Glance
- Dimensions 81.5 x 81.5 x 34 inches (2.07 x 2.07 x .86 meters)
- Weight At 430 lbs (195 kgs)
- Tough, recyclable Eco-Duralene shell
- 45 stainless steel jets
- 3.0 HPR 2-speed high-performance pump
- Ozonator disinfects the water and reduces chemical consumption
- 120V/15A Plug and Play ready
- Exterior LED cabinet lighting
- EZ Klean 100% water filtration
- Multi-color backlit cascade waterfall
- 5-year shell warranty
The Jamaican Spa is a luxury tub with a host of features for you and your guests to enjoy. The tub boasts 90 jets with an Econo Boost heat recovery system that saves you in energy cost and carbon footprint. This system recycles heat and returns it to the spa. The LuciteXtra Acrylic shell is durable and can withstand the punishment of regular use.
The Spa also has a quaint starburst LED mood light for a romantic glow, and the 90 stainless steel jets provide a relaxing hydromassage. The tub has onboard speakers and a sound system to enjoy your favorite tracks while you enjoy your massage under the nights sky.
Jamaica Hot Tub Features at a Glance
- Dimensions 36’’ x 72.3’’ x 73.2 (.91 x 1.84 x 1.86 meters)
- Water Capacity: 475 gallons (1,798 liters)
- Overall Product Weight 595 lbs (269.89 kgs)
- Econo-Boost heat recovery
- 4.2 HP BT energy-efficient pumps
- 90 stainless steel jets
- LED mood lighting
- Stereo provided
- Seats up to 8 people
- Ozonator included
- 1-year warranty
What to Consider When Buying a Hot Tub for Your Airbnb/Vacation Rental
- Space. First and foremost, ensure that you have enough space and have the necessary permits according to your local building permits and zoning laws. Also, ensure that there is access according to your model voltage needs.
- Running costs. Consumer affairs estimate that a hot tub costs around $1 a day to operate unless you buy a specific low energy consumption model, which would cost around $20 a month. You need to add the cost of chemicals and maintenance, which can be up to $40 a month, depending on your filtration type.
- Maintenance. Investing in your Airbnb Spa does require maintenance and the longevity of your hot tub is dependent on the care you put into its upkeep. As an Airbnb owner, you will need to decide if you are willing to put in the time to disinfect and clean the hot tub after each guest.
- Liability. Unfortunately, offering a hot tub to attract more guests for your Airbnb/vacation rental isn’t without its risk. Hot tubs introduce an electric shock and drowning hazard to your property, so you will want to have a good insurance policy.
Important Maintenance Items for Your Hot Tub
Now that you’re excited to have a shiny new hot tub on your property, at some point you’ll realize that it isn’t all fun and games once you start having to maintain the unit and keep it in presentable condition for each guest. In fact, if you deal with a lot of same-day turnover then you will need a way to deal with the maintenance very quickly.
A lot of people don’t know this, but I am a (former) water treatment specialist so maintaining a hot tub is quite easy for me to do. However, I realize that not everyone has the background that I do and can get overwhelmed quite easily.
To make your life easier, maintaining your hot tub can be as simple as implementing a cleaning routine after each guest – but it involves some equipment. You will need:
- Chemical Test Strips
- Chemicals (Disinfectant, Alkalinity, pH up/down, coagulant, etc.)
- Underwater Vacuum for cleaning debris
- Surface skimmer
Here is my process that you can implement for yourself.
1. Chemical Test Strips
Before you’re able to make any changes, it’s important to know what the chemistry of the water looks like. You need to know where you’re coming from before you can determine how long it will take to get to your destination, and chemical test strips provide that insight.
As a (former) water treatment specialist, Hach is a company that I am very familiar with and would thus recommend their water test strips (Amazon). In the water treatment field, their testing chemicals and equipment meet the standards set by the regulatory agencies, which have strict guidelines and procedures.
The information that we want to know is:
- Free Chlorine (1-3ppm)
- Total Hardness (100-150ppm)
- Total Alkalinity (80-120ppm)
- pH (7.2-7.8)
I’m not too concerned with testing Total Chorine levels since that is a way to measure the chlorine demand, which is relevant in drinking water and predicting how many disinfection biproducts are in the water, among other tests which are a topic for a different site.
2. Hot Tub Chemicals
Once I know what the chemistry of my water looks like, I will make my adjustments starting with pH, Alkalinity, and hardness. In layman terms, pH deals with how acidic or basic the water is, alkalinity deals with how easy or difficult it is for that pH to change (like a buffer), and calcium hardness deals with minerals and whether your water is scale forming or not.
Here are links to the products I use:
- pH UP
- pH DOWN
- Alkalinity Increaser
- Calcium Hardness Increaser
- Calcium Hardness Reducer
- Chlorine Tablets
- Concentrated Chlorine Bleach
- Leisure Time Polymer
- Catfish Pool Vacuum
- Surface Skimmer
In order to have the most pleasing water possible, there is a healthy balance between all of these chemicals that you need to maintain. Yes, we are going to be making drinking water for your hot tub!
I’m most familiar with dealing with Chlorine as my disinfection agent, although you can use Bromine, Ozone, etc. as well. It’s important to note that although Ozone does disinfect water, it does not leave behind a residual for ongoing disinfection.
Chlorine is cheap, easy to use, and widely available, so that’s what I recommend using.
3. Vacuum For Cleaning Debris
I’ve tried several different methods of removing the debris on the bottom of the hot tub, and nothing makes this process easier or faster than the Catfish Pool Vacuum. Use it, you’ll thank me later!
4. Surface Skimmer
This should be standard for every hot tub owner for removing debris that is floating on the surface. However, it is also necessary for quickly removing the scum layer formed by the polymer that we are going to be using.
There are many different styles of skimmers, and I don’t recommend using the ones with a big basket. Instead, I recommend using this type (Amazon) so that you can quickly fling the debris out of the tub.
My Procedure for Great Spa Water After Each Guest
This sounds complicated at first, but after a few times it will become routine and you will be able to have your chemicals adjusted within 30 minutes or less once you get the hang of it. Here is the procedure:
- Add Polymer. Turn on the air bubbles and add 1 or 2 capfuls of the polymer. Let the bubbles mix things around for about 5-10 minutes and use the surface skimmer to remove the scum that is floating on the surface. This step is important because the polymer will make all the very tiny particles clump together so they can be filtered and vacuumed out, as well as reducing the chlorine demand.
- Vacuum debris. After using the hot tub, there will likely be quite a bit of small debris on the bottom.
- Test chemicals. Get a baseline of where your chemicals are. It’s normal to see low chlorine levels after use.
- Adjust pH. If required, you will need to adjust your pH levels up or down so that it is between 7.2-7.8 ppm. Calculate the dosage and add to the water, mix with a paddle or surface skimmer. Let sit for 10-30 minutes. Test the water and repeat step if necessary.
- Adjust Alkalinity. If required, use the Alkalinity increaser to get levels between 80-120 ppm. Chlorine reduces alkalinity and pH over time, so using an alkalinity reducer may not be necessary. Calculate the dosage and add to water, mix with paddle or surface skimmer. Let sit for 10-30 minutes like previous step.
- Adjust hardness. Determine if you need to adjust your hardness levels and proceed as with previous step. This step is important if you have a lot of minerals in your water and you need to extend the life of your equipment by reducing scale formation.
- Disinfect water. After the hot tub is used, I like to “shock” disinfect the water with about 1 cup of liquid bleach. Simply add it to your hot tub, evenly dispersed, and mix with your paddle or surface skimmer. Wait approximately 10 minutes and test chemicals. If chlorine is low, continue adding, mixing, and waiting until “breakpoint” chlorination, or when the Free Chlorine residual is stabilized at 1-3 ppm.
- Add Chlorine Tablet To Feeder. I think it’s important to note that the chlorine tablets aren’t necessarily for shock disinfecting your water, but for slowly dissolving and maintaining a chlorine residual. I usually only need to add a single 1″ tablet to my feeder to maintain the chlorine to be between 1-3 ppm, which is ideal.
And that’s it! You should now have hot tub water that is the envy of your area, and hopefully guests from afar will make the journey to experience it!
Hot tubs are a great feature to offer your Airbnb guests, and in our case we were able to attract more bookings. But they require regular maintenance and can be an expensive investment.
However, a beautiful hot tub on your property might earn its value in increased bookings within the first year. Whether you would like a portable version that you can move if you wish, or you want to invest in a custom hot tub, make sure you find the one that suits your space and budget.