What's the Best Hot Tub

Author Topic: First Time Buyer  (Read 972 times)

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
First Time Buyer
« on: October 30, 2019, 03:29:25 pm »
I am one that likes to dig into a lot of details and put it all in spreadsheets to do my research and comparison.  We are looking for a 5-6 person spa in the sub $10,000 range is where I feel comfortable.  My wife and I both have decided our priorities are lounger, lighting, jet power, water feature.  With that being said, I am guessing I am in the mid-level range with most manufacturers based on a little research of that price point and what series were considered mid-level.  There are 9 brands within 30 minutes of me and that have good store reviews or personal feedback from friends.

Great Reviews online and Friends Feedback Dealer Brands (2 Dealers)
Marquis - Celebrity Elite, Vector21
Artesian - South Seas
Hot Springs - Limelight
Bull Frog - R Series
Viking - Elite

Great Reviews online Dealer Brands (2 Dealers)
Sundance - 780/880 Series
Caldera - Paradise

Good reviews online (1 Dealer)
Vita - Didn't really see series with these
American Whirlpool - Didn't really see series with these

My guess is I am going to drop the bottom dealer, but it is the closest one to my house (within 5 minutes), which is the only reason I have left them on here.

Can anyone tell me if the series I have listed above would be correct for the price range I am looking in?  Or if I am missing any series as I start to do a lot of my research?  I plan to do wet tests, but don't want to wet test 20 different hot tubs, so I'd like to get it narrowed down to maybe 3-5.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2019, 03:35:58 pm by schielrn »

Hot Tub Forum

First Time Buyer
« on: October 30, 2019, 03:29:25 pm »

bud16415

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 752
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2019, 08:45:43 am »
Lighting is nice as are water features but in a short time I have found you leave the lights set to one color and donít bother with the waterfall.

As you like to study before you buy I have found some tubs are more therapeutic and some more social. For a tub to have the very powerful jets the seats need to be designed to hold you in. social tubs can be more upright. Our tub is a Caldera Geneva and of the 6 seating locations 3 are therapeutic 2 are social and 1 is the cool down seat that sits a little higher, it also is the flattest seat bottom and makes the safest spot to enter and exit the tub and where we have our steps.

Think about location and views and where the steps want to go and also where the cover lifter will be attached and where the cover ends up blocking the view. I donít like having the lifter attached to the access door/hatch for the equipment area.

We bought our tub 6 person but 95% of the time there is only 1-2 of us in it. we move around between the 3 seats and get a full massage taking about a half hour by that time you will be getting hot and it is nice to set the flow on the slow whirlpool setting and sit in one of the upright seats and just talk and drink some water.

People use their tubs in different ways and we use ours different summer to winter even. Try and think it thru good and welcome to the world of hot tubs.

All the major brands you have listed are well received here.   

swilly1000

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2019, 08:53:20 am »
First time buyers (including me at first) are enamoured by loungers but they take up a lot of space especially in the footwell area and lots of people tend to float in them.  Be wary of that in your wet testing.

I agree with bud on the lights and water features. Nice but they diminish in importance over time.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 10:48:21 am by swilly1000 »

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2019, 09:02:04 am »
Thank you both for the feedback.  The more you say it the more I think about the water feature being cool at first and losing its luster.  Probably same can be said for lighting.  We just had a new patio and fire pit put in and I think the wife thinks we are going to party every weekend now lol.  I more plan to use it most evenings after work to wind down and relax and realistically probably use it for parties/gatherings maybe every other month, so maybe 6 times a year.

I do plan to wet test to see how the loungers really feel, but we have another friend that said they would not do the lounger if they get another tub since it takes up so much space, but I know when we go away to gatlinburg or other places I sit in the lounger for a good 15-20 minutes each night while on vacation.

BullFrogSpasMN

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 765
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2019, 03:55:17 pm »
Bullfrog R7L...it's the best spa on your list, a wet test easily proves this...Good Luck!

Topdog

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2019, 09:59:17 pm »
Your search sounds very similar to mine. Wanted a lounger and good therapy and foot jets.  We wet tested probably close to 20 spas, Marquis, Hot Springs, Master, Sundance... You mentioned Artesian - South Seas, have you looked at their Island series?  We wet tested the Artesian Antigua Elite and it fit the bill in most every area. Really like the separate pumps for individual seats so if only one person in - you only use one pump, two people two pumps, or engage them all for the neighborhood party. Plus they're variable speed so no need to get out of your seat to adjust a diverter to change the pressure or air flow.  It was also one of the only loungers  that we didn't float out of. Also had the best foot blasters and great neck and shoulder jets in the captain's seat. The Antigua is a 7' tub but we wanted a little more room (and have an 8' slab poured  into our paver patio), so went with the 8' Grand Bahama Elite which is the same layout with a larger footwell. It's actually being delivered tomorrow!  We paid 11.3k out the door with all the normal accessories, plus ozonator startup chemicals and installation. Believe the Antigua was around $9.5k.
I know you've heard it here over and over but I'll say it again... WET TEST!
Good luck, I'll post a review (and pix) on our Artesian soon.

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2019, 02:17:12 pm »
Thanks Bullfrog and Topdog.  We are getting out to our first dealers tomorrow to just get some ideas and ballpark figures.  Once we narrow down the models we will definitely be wet testing.  I had figured the Island Series may be out of our price point, but it sounds like it isn't, so I will definitely add that as a consideration.  It's just hard to really get ballpark figures that are meaningful on hot tubs.  I am kinda perplexed that hot tub buying is still such a mystery and such a commission game when many other things have gone away from that approach.

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2019, 12:42:10 pm »
We got out today to just talk to the dealer and get a feel for him.  The plan was to go to 2 places, but the kids unfortunately ruined that experience lol and only got to the Marquis/Artesian dealer.  We have decided not to go with the lounger, so that cuts our original list of 54 down to about 23 now.  We liked the Vegas Elite the way it felt with a dry test and plan to do a wet test, but wanted to narrow it down more.

Today's pricing came out at:
Marquis Vegas Elite 7,499
Artesian 860B 7,499
Artesian 850B 6,799
Artesian 748B 5,899

Tomorrow we will hopefully get to the dealer with Bullfrog, Hot Springs and Viking.

I would guess that # of jets doesn't make one better or worse seeing as the Vegas Elite only had 41, but they were larger, but then the 860B had 60, but they were smaller.  The 860B has one more pump, but not sure what the benefits of a smaller or larger jet would be and I am guessing the more pumps the more power?

Thanks!

d00nut

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 676
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2019, 01:14:03 pm »
Jet count is irrelevant, as the feel is what is important. 

The Wizard of Spas

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2019, 02:12:42 pm »
Numbers on hot tubs are tricky:  Jet count is only as good their ability to deliver water, which is only as good as the motor(s) size, which is only as good as the impeller's ability to handle the water flow, which is only as good as where the motor is placed inside the spa, which is only as good as how efficient the plumbing is. 

Just look at how motors are sold / presented between your Artesian and Marquis hot tub options:  One goes by horsepower (BHP) while the other goes by gallons per minute (GPM).  Which one is correct?  Well, if we were being picky (or petty, or snarky), I could say they're both being deceiving as break horsepower is what it is rated for for a few seconds when starts up but then it lowers to a smaller number, and GPM is its ability to pump that much water, but does the plumbing, impeller, and jets actually deliver that amount?  See how convoluted it can get?

Use things like jet counts, motors, etc. as a guide but make the comfort and feel of the spa the priority, then the quality and reputation of the dealer.  I hope this helps. Good luck moving forward.


swilly1000

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 210
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2019, 03:07:59 pm »
As has been mentioned already it really comes down to your personal preference which is why the wet test is SSOO important.

My personal preference is massage therapy and so I favour strong jet power.  The smaller jets will  deliver high pressure low flow while the bigger jets will be low pressure high flow.  The bigger jets will get deeper into your big muscles which is right up my alley.  The smaller jets can actually become irritating and make you itchy. You may be like others who favour the soak more than the massage so again personal preference.

Hopefully that sheds some more light on why the number of jets isn't a factor.

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2019, 06:19:21 pm »
Thanks Wizard and Swilly for the information and thoughts.  That does help with the jet explanation.

We are going to Wet Test our options on Monday, November 11.  None of the places we are going have the specific tubs I am looking for with water in them.  But they all told me they have tubs with similar seating and jets in the brand we are looking at to get the feel of them.  These are what we are going to wet test and we still need to go to the Sundance Dealer.  The sales people at the first 2 dealers seemed great and they have great reviews online and we have some friends that have recommended them.  We have no personal recommendations on Sundance, but their reviews online are great as well.

Marquise Vegas Elite 7,499
Artesian 860B 7,499
Artesian 850B 6,799
Artesian 748B 5,899
Hot Springs Flash 8,299
Hot Springs Rhythm 5,799
Bullfrog R7 8,299
Bullfrog R6 6,799

I am going to do some more research as a cool down seat is a high priority for my wife and I need to mark which of these have those and also which ones would have feet jets.  If anyone knows off the top of their head before I go back and ask the dealer that would be great, but I am also looking at the layouts on the respective brands site.

Thanks for all your help so far and hopefully we are ordering a hot tub sometime next week.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 08:55:07 pm by schielrn »

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2019, 10:26:41 pm »
Some other things I thought about that I remember them mentioning.

1. Is the Ozone features worth the upgrade?
2. Is MicroSilk worth the upgrade?
3. Are there things that are optional that I should consider upgrading on these models?  Our budget could allow us to do some of the upgrades if they are worth the price.
4. I am trying to look at the manufacturer websites, but not all of them spell out if there are cool down seats or not and it isn't always easy looking at a birds eye picture of it.
5. Is it typical to only have a few models to wet test and can you get a good feel if it isn't your exact model?
6. Are any of these models easier or harder for maintenance or getting to filters to change them or anything else I should be aware of for maintenance?

Thanks for all the help so far.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2019, 11:59:54 pm by schielrn »

Spatech_tuo

  • Mentor Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6167
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2019, 10:58:09 am »
Some other things I thought about that I remember them mentioning.

1. Is the Ozone features worth the upgrade? Ozone is a good add but it just depends on how much if its not included as standard.
2. Is MicroSilk worth the upgrade? Again how much? Those who sell it may say its worth it to add but is that salesmanship? Those who don't sell it may say its not worth it but is that salesmanship?
3. Are there things that are optional that I should consider upgrading on these models?  Our budget could allow us to do some of the upgrades if they are worth the price. I roll my eyes that some brands have "extra insulation" as an option because IMO that extra should be standard but if its an option take it no matter where you live.
4. I am trying to look at the manufacturer websites, but not all of them spell out if there are cool down seats or not and it isn't always easy looking at a birds eye picture of it. A cool down seat is a raised seat that typically in the front of the spa where you see the controls. Its really there because the pumps are under it and they need extra space. Look that at the overhead pics and you should be able to see a raised seat if you look closely.
5. Is it typical to only have a few models to wet test and can you get a good feel if it isn't your exact model? Its typical and depends largely on the size of the store. The jet feel tends to be similar for models within the same family within that brand IMO but one thing that is different is the feel of the seats from model to model.
6. Are any of these models easier or harder for maintenance or getting to filters to change them or anything else I should be aware of for maintenance? Should be similar.

Thanks for all the help so far.
220, 221, whatever it takes!

schielrn

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 11:27:42 am »
Thanks spatech_tuo.

If Ozone or MicroSilk isn't included do you have a price point where you think it is worth it to add it?

Hot Tub Forum

Re: First Time Buyer
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 11:27:42 am »

 

Home    Buying Guide    Featured Products    Forums    Reviews    About    Contact   
Copyright ©1998-2019, Whats The Best, Inc. All rights reserved. Site by Take 42