Every day at Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs and Outdoor Living, we are asked about the difference between in-ground custom spas and portable hot tubs. This is such a common question here in Orange County that we searched the internet for a good piece of information to hand out. None exists.
This article will cover the good the bad and the ugly of both In-ground spas and portable spas. Please note, we will give you the total truth as this comparison has no brand mentioned.
In-ground spas are a beautiful addition to your back yard. In Ground spas can be integrated into your existing pool scape so the design can look seamless with your existing landscape or poolscape. This solution can be customized to be virtually any size or shape you desire. We have seen spas that look like guitars, spaceships and all kinds of other shapes. View our hot tub installation gallery for inspiration and ideas.
An in-ground spas requires construction process which means permits, drawings and a lot of time. The construction requires digging a hole, running plumbing under ground to a corner of the years by your home. This is where the equipment will be located. The equipment is above ground and usually hidden by a small fence or building. You will hear the noise from the pump and heater as the spa is being used.
These spas can be connected to gas heaters in order to heat them quickly. This is great for when you fill it and want to use it the same night. However, in-ground spas are very inefficient, so most consumers only fill the spa and heat it when they want to use it. It becomes a hassle to keep turning the spa on and off and the electric bill can be enormous. (Insert pic of someone looking at a watch)
An in-ground spa offers some hydrotherapy that you may be looking for. You will experience basic hydrotherapy as there are three parts to hydrotherapy. Heat, buoyancy and massage are the three parts of hydrotherapy. If you analyze an in-ground spa you will notice that you get heat, the warm water, buoyancy, the stress relief resulting from being in water Hydrotherapy is the one component that is missing. In ground spas only have four to eight jets that shoot a straight stream of to one spot on your back. It’s like having someone hit your back with a garden hose.
Portable spas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As the name suggests the spas are portable. This simply means it can be moved. Should you decide to move the spa after it is installed, you can. Just like in ground spas, there are advantages and disadvantages to portable spas.
One perceived disadvantage is that portable hot tubs must sit above ground. Most portable spas look like a big unattractive box sitting on your patio. That’s what most of the customers think when they come into our store. However, depending on the hot tub you choose, it can be built into your landscape blend in. (pic of LX in a deck)
A big advantage of portable spas is they do not require any special plumbing or installation. The minimum requirement is a flat, level and hard service to set the spa. Connect electricity and fill it with a garden hose. You can be up in running the same day it is delivered.
As mentioned earlier, hydrotherapy is the biggest reason consumers want a spa. Portable spas offer varying degrees of hydrotherapy and massage. There are multiple hydrotherapy options available to you that are just not available in an in-ground spa. Take your time and look to see what it is out there and how you will find the relief you are looking to achieve.
Energy efficiency is also a big question we get in the showroom daily. Here is the interesting part. Portable spas are all regulated by the state of California to ensure the highest energy efficiency possible. Due to the California Energy Commission Title 20 regulations, all portable spas sold in California must meet the same energy efficiency requirements. This means your energy bill will be quite small depending on how often you use it. The energy bill for most portable spas will be less than the cost of dinner for two once a month.
Ease of use is another huge difference between in-ground and portable spas. Portable spas are built with easy access filters and usually have supplementary sanitizer as an option. You will not have to prime pumps, remove big filters are backwash a big sand filter. The amount of water you will save using a portable spa will be substantial.
It is my hope that this information was helpful to you. There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a spa for your family, like hot tub size and style. If you decide that a portable spa might be the right hot tub solution for you let us know. We would love to help you along your journey. You can click this link to get in touch with us.