Inground Hot Tub vs Above Ground Hot Tub Buyers Guide

If you are planning to install a new hot tub in the near future, you are probably excited about the possibility of adding one to your home. But you’ll need to choose which type and size that you want along with additional features and add-ons.

Deciding between an above ground and inground hot tub can be challenging. Each type has its own benefits, downsides and considerations. Below are some of them to help you make a decision.

Benefits of an inground hot tub

1. Luxury

Inground hot tubs are widely considered to the most “luxurious” hot tubs that you can buy. They nicely blend into your outdoor features and aren’t an eyesore like some above ground hot tubs can be.

They are similar in their look to an inground swimming pool and don’t clutter up your property.

It’s often a good idea to install one at the same time that you have an inground swimming pool installed in order to save money on your installation costs.

Ask your pool builder about a custom inground hot tub to come along with your backyard pool.

2. Fully customized

They can be designed exactly the way that you want, with your preferred size, specific number of jets, LED lighting and other features. They typically have 5 to 15 jets, but can be custom installed with more.

3. Looks better

They can sit at ground level or also be elevated. They can be integrated with other landscape features such as water fountains or pools.

4. Wider choice of material

You’ll also have the widest choice of materials to use for their construction including stainless, concrete, tile, acrylic, or vinyl. They’re an incredible selling feature for your home, and will add tremendous value to it.

Inground hot tub warranties will vary depending on the manufacturer, but they come with typically 1 year warranties for parts and labor.

A professional installation is necessary to ensure that they operate properly and to reduce the chance of future issues.

Custom pool lighting

Beautiful backyard pool with hot tub. Credit: Design Custom Home Concierge

Disadvantages of an inground hot tub

A Bit More Expensive

Inground hot tubs are usually more expensive because of a more extensive installation and a higher upfront cost. They typically must be pre-heated prior to using them.

They lack a cover lift option which means that it will usually require a few people to remove the cover.

Maintenance and installation for an inground hot tub

The luxurious look of an inground hot tub comes with a few extra maintenance requirements. Your monthly cost will vary depending on your desired features and the size of your hot tub.

You can typically expect to spend a little more money per month than you would on an above ground hot tub.

They will require winterization if you live in a cold climate or plan on shutting them off for an extended period of time.

Installation is complex and requires a multi-day project. However, once it is completed, the in ground hot tub is a permanent part of the property.

Benefits of an above ground hot tub

1. It’s cheaper

Above ground hot tubs are typically less expensive than an inground hot tub.

They often come with ergonomic seating which is designed for people of all heights.

2. More jets

They are economical to operate and come with anywhere from 30 to 100 jets in most spas. The seating is smooth and comfortable, and the equipment is designed to be protected from the weather so they don’t require winterization.

3. Longer warranty

Warranties for above ground hot tubs are usually 3 to 5 years, although it depends on the manufacturer.

4. Usually comes with a cover lifter

Cover lifters are available on them which allows the spa cover to be lifted by just one person. This can be particularly important for those who have mobility issues.

Inground spa covers can be very heavy and often require more than one person to lift them. With a cover lifter, an elderly or mobility challenged person can potentially lift it on their own.

Disadvantages of an above ground hot tub

1. Doesn’t look as good

Bulky above ground hot tub

One of the primary disadvantages of an above ground hot tub is the fact that they just aren’t as attractive as an inground hot tub.

They are large and bulky looking and don’t integrate into the surroundings in the same way that an inground hot tub can. Some types of above ground hot tubs may require maintenance such as those with exterior wood skirt.

2. Limited options on material

There also aren’t as many options for interior surfaces, usually just thermoplastic or acrylic. Exiting and entering the hot tub can also be tricky without spa steps compared to an inground hot tub which is often easier.

They don’t add nearly as much value to a home as an inground hot tub.

Maintenance and installation for above ground hot tubs

Above ground hot tubs cost around $30 per month to run on average. There are fewer maintenance requirements with these hot tubs compared to inground hot tubs.

They are always kept at one temperature and won’t need to be preheated prior to using them. Installation is very easy, with many above ground hot tubs having plug and play installations.

Click here to read more about our pool and hot tub maintenance service.

Custom inground hot tub

One Comment

  1. Mark Windsor July 17, 2017 at 1:08 am - Reply

    Good article nice balance of weighing the pros and cons

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