To buy an inflatable spa, or not?

Updated: May 15, 2020

So you have decided that your outdoor space would be even better with a hot tub. But you're looking at purchasing an inflatable hot tub.

After seeing an influx in the popularity of inflatable hot tubs we decided to carry out some tests and inform new hot tub users and buyers of the real facts about inflatable/disposable/blow up spas. With inflatable spas being reasonably cheap (usually £400-£600) it's understandable, there is a draw to these products due to the price. On top of this there's no real requirements for installation other than a flat stable surface.

However these positive reasons do not out weigh the huge number of reasons why we do not sell inflatable hot tubs. Keep reading to find out more.

Expensive running costs

An inflatable hot tub can cost up to 5 times more a day to run than a hard shelled acrylic hot tub as they are not insulated internally and also don't include an insulating cover. You would find out quickly that it is very expensive to keep an inflatable spa running and maintaining a usable temperature.

At First 4 Pools we tested one of the common inflatable spas to find out exactly how much an inflatable spa will cost you to run. To reach 37°c like you would any hot tub, we found that it cost us £20+ to heat from cold. Additionally it cost us £4-£5 + per day to maintain that temperature!!!!!! Also we found that the most efficient and cost effective way to maintain an inflatable spa is to keep the temperature at about 24’c which it will maintain easily when not in use and then up the temperature a few hours before use then wait a few hours to heat to full temp before every use! This is now becoming a chore not a luxury!

We found that we're spending more time raising and lowering the temperature and of course watching the electric meter spin than relaxing. In short the running costs per month are way more expensive than a finance offer on one of our top of the range Jacuzzi Spas. Browse our spas here.

Water cleanliness

If you had a 4 person inflatable spa filled with roughly 900 litres of water, that works out at 225 litres per person. With this capacity of water flowing through the smallest filter we've ever come across the water can become dangerously dirty extremely fast! Most inflatable spa brands will recommend changing the filter once a week! With one of our spas we would recommend you clean your filter once a week depending on usage and change the filter every 6-12 months.


Inflatable hot tubs are portable. BUT when used and transported more than a few times the vinyl or PVC becomes less supple and eventually breaks when folded. Usually rendering the hot tub unusable.

1-2 years life expectancy

Although fairly cheap an inflatable spa cost is not something you want to be spending every 1-2 years. Also these spas are essentially disposable as they cannot be recycled. This means that when you throw your spa away it will sit in a landfill. Eventually it would break down into micro plastics which would then make its way into ecosystems, human food sources and water supplies. (Acrylic hot tubs are also difficult to recycle but most acrylic spas will last much more than 10 years!)

Depth and size

Inflatable spas are not as deep as you might imagine. Only 22-24" maximum water depth for most models currently on the market. Combined with not being very deep, inflatable spas do not offer their users much leg room or moulded seats. Most models on the market won't comfortably fit the stated number of people. DISPLACEMENT IS REAL!!


Hydrotherapy involves the pumping of water through jets for soothing an aching body or speeding the recovery of other muscular ailments. Inflatable spas unfortunately do not pump water through jets. Most inflatable spas on the market will be warm water with air bubble pumps that create a bubbling spa effect. Therefore having no hydrotherapy value whatsoever.

At First 4 Pools we choose to only sell the very highest quality acrylic hot tubs. This aligns with our values of reducing waste, providing the very best customer service and always offering our customers the best product to suit their requirements.

#First4Pools #InflatableHotTubs #Disposable

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