What's the Best Hot Tub

Author Topic: Costco vs Dealer  (Read 417 times)

dtraist

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Costco vs Dealer
« on: February 09, 2019, 09:36:29 am »
Hi and thanks for any help.    I'm looking at local dealers have plenty in the $10-12,000 range.  They sound good. 
ex.   https://www.calderaspas.com/shop/paradise/makena


But Costco has some that actually sound way better for $7000. 

ex.  https://www.costco.com/Divine-Hot-Tubs-Sinclair-115-jet%2c-6-person-Spa.product.100338547.html

The Costco's have double the jets:  115  vs. 45.   And it comes with the cover lift and Bluetooth built in.  Those are extras with the Calera / local dealers. 

What am I missing?  What's wrong with the Costco one?  It has more features and is less.  I know install is not included, but I could pay the local expensive dealer $500 for that...

Thanks!

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Costco vs Dealer
« on: February 09, 2019, 09:36:29 am »

castletonia

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2019, 01:30:41 pm »
The simplest answer is quality and after sale support.

Using the Caldera Makena as the comparison.  Better build quality, better insulation, more efficient, probably better layout, better warranty, support after the sale, etc.  More jets do not mean better.  Take away the 16 jets on the calves, the other 99 could probably be replaced by 30-40 and offer better massage.  You also cannot try before you buy at Costco.  You also probably will not find a local dealer willing to install your Costco hot tub, they are prioritizing their customers.

Tman122

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2019, 07:25:52 pm »
Costco.....a box of swirling hot water

Caldera....A hydrotherapy machine

Now that doesn't mean a box of swirling hot water isn't good enough for you.

Personally, I would have to do a wet test to find the right feel for me.
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Hottubguy

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2019, 07:32:56 pm »
So the Costco tub isn’t a divine brand hot tub. That brand doesn’t exist. That is a tub made by Clearwater Spas. This was there entry level model. Lots of jets not much performance, not well insulated at all and the factory is on the difficult side to deal with. I used to sell this brand but got rid of them A few years back.  You could buy a very similar line from a dealer for roughly the same price. Agree with you it looks really good on paper until you actually sit in it and compare it to a quality tub which I would consider the Caldera to be. Funny thing is is I got rid of Clearwater for Caldera. Great factory support. Few warrantee claims and a
Much better experience as a dealer

Spatech_tuo

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 09:45:15 pm »
All jets are not alike, all controls are not alike, all warranties, all dealers, all manufacturers... a true comparison is needed and you won't get that by looking at a spec sheet which can be very deceiving (sometimes the truth comes with a wink).

« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 07:59:30 pm by Spatech_tuo »
220, 221, whatever it takes!

bachman

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 05:13:17 am »
Hi and thanks for any help.    I'm looking at local dealers have plenty in the $10-12,000 range.  They sound good. 
ex.   https://www.calderaspas.com/shop/paradise/makena

But Costco has some that actually sound way better for $7000.
 

What am I missing?  What's wrong with the Costco one?  It has more features and is less.  I know install is not included, but I could pay the local expensive dealer $500 for that...

Thanks!

It does seem so simple on paper.
It really is a mixed bag because you'll see some happy customers that review the big box tubs and are happy with them. Each experience is it's own set of circumstances and my guess is these big box stores are selling the fluff. We don't know what that last person or next person wants or expects out of their purchase or how the next few months or years play out for how well it holds up or who comes to fix it etc.... My guess is the long-term ownership as a happy customer ratio 2 to 4 years out is 50% lower than that of the top tier brands - at best. The excitement of getting something like that new is most of the 'sizzle'.

In sales and marketing, these used to be referred to as a "me too item" ie; A tub is a tub !! Me Too product lines differ in the technology and integrity but simply exist to take some market share away from the front-line branded products. They can be a risky investment because many of these marketing brands lack the knowledge, expertise, track record and history necessary to create a competitive product or stand behind it. They are mostly for the "Price customer". Price rarely = value.

They'll have shiny chrome jets that look as nice or nicer than some of the premium brands but it in these cases, it's just façade. If you know going into it you are not being fooled, then really you are just rolling the dice on what your 7 - 8 grand buys you. For me, it might be tempting if I were a young parent wanting a tub and some entertainment venue for a family with a few kids and more of a play thing.
At my age and a few decades of shopping experiences, I don't leave much to chance anymore and do fully want, appreciate and need the hydro therapy of a quality hot tub/ spa. Not everyone does. 

These are big brand new shiny tubs that look and act in every way just like any other - when sitting on the sales floor.
When you look at how they are built and the basic parts that go in them then get covered up by the nice décor and exterior, it seems a pump is a pump, as a jet is a jet and some spaghetti plumbing underneath, they all appear the same.

To get quality parts since all pumps and jets or plumbing assembly, fittings and workmanship are not the same, the process is much different and this is what sets the company's apart. You see it reflected in the customer testimonial's, warranty, workmanship, brands of hardware, methods of securing plumbed fittings, access and thought-out design for service needs, insulation, attention to details like fit and finish, dealer experience and installation, delivery coordination etc...

If you are still on the fence about it, share more about why you want a tub and how you'll use it.
I like fluff to some degree as in these newer tubs with more features, cool LED lighting and 'farkle'.   Although my tub is a very basic looking box without any of the frills, I wouldn't trade quality or a known brand and reputation for all the fountains, brook sounds, built in "car radios" or rainbows of lighting that just any brand offers. I have a step light and one under the water... that's it !!  Plus, mine is coming up to 15 years old !  lol

Good luck out there, you've got plenty of options.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 09:54:54 am by bachman »

kies1

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 04:12:26 pm »
We purchased a hot springs flash and have had two very minor issues with it that the dealer has taken care of. Not sure it would have been that painless with a Costco or Home Depot purchased hot tub. This is a big ticket item and where you buy is as important maybe more important than what you buy. This was a big part of my decision purchase was to make sure I would get the proper after sales service which we have and to get a good quality tub from a respected manufacturer. You can get any product that may have concerns so this has to be part of your decision. Kudos to my local dealer for that they have been fantastic and we are loving the hot tub and the experience as a first time owner
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 04:16:25 pm by kies1 »

The Wizard of Spas

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 05:01:18 pm »
To piggyback on the excellent points made by all but specifically bachman:

Pitting any 2 spas against each other based on the number of jets is like saying one restaurant is better because it has 25 tables because the other place has 15. 

Stats need context.  A small wrist jet may push 3 gallons or less.  But it counts the same as a volcano jet that can push 70 gallons or more.  So one pushes 3 gallons while another pushes 35x the amount of water, but they both count as 1 single jet each. 

Then there is the delivery of water:  If you had the same number of jets, and all of them delivered the same volume of water, but one spa has 2 motors and the other has one (assuming the motors are the same size), which one do you think will better deliver water?

Or go the other route:  2 spas have the same number of motors, and the motors are the same size, but one spa has (say) 50 jets while the other spa has (say) 100 jets that are the same size as the one that has 50, which one will have stronger jets?

Then there is the whole process of identifying the quality of a product:  Cars all have wheels and doors and radios.  But there are several degrees of quality that cannot be overlooked or marginalized.

Finally, as properly noted by several on this thread, post-sale warranty work is something that does not have a quantitative monetary value but must factor largely in your decision.  I tell any new potential purchaser that half (!!!!!) of your decision is who carries the product.  This is not like a car where you go to the dealership and buy BRAND X car, and then can go to dozens of places to get it worked on later.  You'll likely be dealing solely with your dealer for the life of your tub. 

I hope this helps.  Good luck moving forward.

Tman122

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 06:04:16 pm »
And to clarify on that a bit more you would have to calculate output GPM of the pump (not the motor which is where they measure HP) And head loss for plumbing and then flow capacity a particular jet has.

Jet count and HP means absolutely nothing to the feel of the tub. Manufacturers who use these two things are cheating there customers.
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Sam

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 02:51:18 pm »
I have first hand experience with divine and clearwater.  They are absolute garbage and the factory support is terrible.  You cannot run all of those jets at the same time and even the ones that are on are low quality jets with not much power.  There are only 2 pumps powering all of those jets.  For reference, I have a 33 jet spa on my floor with 4 pumps.  I'd take the 33 jet spa over the divine hands down without a second thought.  Those 33 jets are powerful and therapeutic. 

Also, the quality of construction is terrible in divine.  They cut a lot of corners to meet a price point.  For awhile they used newport controls which are just a nightmare.  You can't get anyone to work on them and parts are hard to find.  costco doesn't help you when you have a failure.  You call clearwater and they try to find a local service outlet to do the repair.  If they can even find one, you then have to wait for parts to be sent because of course a random local service guy isn't going to stock their parts.  Then, that guy will put you as his lowest priority because you aren't his customer.  It could literally take over month to get your hot tub fixed due to this process.  Trust me that you will have a failure at some point and no local reputable dealers will touch a costco spa for service.  You are at the mercy of a clearwater in washington state and they have a terrible reputation for customer service.  I can attest that they are a nightmare to work with.


BullFrogSpasMN

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 03:42:58 pm »
And to clarify on that a bit more you would have to calculate output GPM of the pump (not the motor which is where they measure HP) And head loss for plumbing and then flow capacity a particular jet has.

Jet count and HP means absolutely nothing to the feel of the tub. Manufacturers who use these two things are cheating there customers.


It's like HP on a car advertisement....Turbo Charged with 375 Horsepower!!!! when in reality the torque rating/weight of the car/suspension/etc has A LOT more to do with the 'driving experience' than Horsepower does or ever will

swilly1000

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2019, 06:02:55 pm »
10 considered replies to OP's question and lots of good content but nothing more from OP who has only one post.

Whenever I see someone post for the first time my fake post radar goes up.

d00nut

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Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 11:33:02 am »
You cannot get more for less.  It doesn't exist.  You need to compare price points to price points.  One of my new employees originally bought her hot tub at Costco.  It wasn't bad for her, but she really wanted the hydrotherapy.  Plus, when her panels started warping, she couldn't get the manufacturer to send anyone out to take care of it for her.  She came back to me and we took her Costco hot tub back to Costco, and she got a Vanto (Caldera here.)  Much better for her, plus she has help.  Price point was less than what Costco is asking for that Divine. 

She likes us so much... she decided to work here!

Apples and apples my friend.  Not Apples and rocks

Hot Tub Forum

Re: Costco vs Dealer
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 11:33:02 am »

 

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