What's the Best Hot Tub

Author Topic: I hate hot tub shopping.  (Read 815 times)

ejj

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I hate hot tub shopping.
« on: February 22, 2021, 09:36:55 pm »
This industry seems somewhat archaic. I have been spoiled with info on cars and other goods that are relatively transparent.  Iíve decided to buy a 7 foot open tub. Soaking with wife and daughters is my goal.  I value well-built quality.

C. Wheatley is a polarizing figure that throws out opinions all over the place.  Itís hard to trust him, as he is financially motivated, but so is every other expert out there. People seem to hate the Master Roadshow model, but we have an enormous Master dealer a few minutes away.

A few candidates: Legacy by Master, Jacuzzi J245, Hot Springs Rhythm, Cal Spas. All are available relatively soon in the Minneapolis. All have local dealers.  Are these all pretty similar? Do I just pick the one where my daughters feel most comfortable?

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I hate hot tub shopping.
« on: February 22, 2021, 09:36:55 pm »

A.O.

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2021, 09:46:16 am »
Just last month we took delivery of a Cal Spas Cancun. its a 93x93" spa, no loungers... LOVE IT. think real hard before you sign up for a 7 foot tub! Try to sit in one before you buy, even a dry sit, it will tell you how you fit.

cranbiz

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2021, 09:53:01 am »
This industry seems somewhat archaic. I have been spoiled with info on cars and other goods that are relatively transparent.  Iíve decided to buy a 7 foot open tub. Soaking with wife and daughters is my goal.  I value well-built quality.

C. Wheatley is a polarizing figure that throws out opinions all over the place.  Itís hard to trust him, as he is financially motivated, but so is every other expert out there. People seem to hate the Master Roadshow model, but we have an enormous Master dealer a few minutes away.

A few candidates: Legacy by Master, Jacuzzi J245, Hot Springs Rhythm, Cal Spas. All are available relatively soon in the Minneapolis. All have local dealers.  Are these all pretty similar? Do I just pick the one where my daughters feel most comfortable?

I just went thru this, my tub is due in the beginning of April. I went to at least 7 different dealers. In my case, I have a size limitation because of where I'm putting the tub so I had specific models that I was looking for.The first sold Vita, Bullfrog and American Whirlpool. I didn't feel comfortable with the dealer, a lot of bad info was given and the salesman was working off a 2017 catalog.  Gave me pricing on one tub but was using the specs of another to sell the tub. The PDC dealer didn't have any tubs on the floor, which put them out of the running. I went to two Hot Springs/Caldera dealers, one was decent but didn't have any of the models I wanted to look at and the other insisted on an appointment, which I set up then they blew me off. The Nordic/Artic dealers had tubs but they were cramped and just didn't feel right. The Aqua Living dealer was shady, wouldn't show me the insides of the tub and pushed to buy now and that they promised the world. I really only went there because they were close to a better dealer and to see for myself what makes a less than stellar tub. The Artesian dealer sold Marquis, the entire Artesian line and Cal Spa. They had a great selection on the floor, didn't talk down any manufacturer but appeared honest in his assessment on why they stopped carrying Master Spa and wasn't pushy. Their service department  has very good reviews. Based on what I was able to see, the availability of what they had coming in, the results of both the wet and dry tests that they were very accommodating with, I bought my Island Spa Nevis from them.

C Wheatley has his good points and bad points. If you can ignore his shill for Master Spa (because he is a dealer) he has a lot of good info and some bad info.

The dealer I ultimately bought from had a good selection on the floor, carried several different brands and we could wet test most of our choices. We were able to sit in multiple dry tubs which weeded out several of our choices due to size of interior, discomfort of seats when dry, etc. My dealer at one point, was a Master Spa dealer and they stopped carrying them. The comments were they had too many warranty issues and difficulty in getting parts in a timely fashion.

The hate for the Master road show is more about how they come in, undersell the other dealers and then leave their mess for the local guys to clean up. I can't blame the hate, it's bad for the industry in whole and all I am is a consumer who can see why it's bad.

Master may have upped their quality/quality control since then. You need to do a couple of things. Test the tubs of your interest, both dry and wet if possible. buy the one that has the features you want and the one that is comfortable.  Jacuzzi, Hot Springs and Cal Spa are all respected names in the industry. You will pay for that but a hot tub is a 15 year investment.

If you have an Artesian dealer in the area, look those over also. You can get a lot of bang for the buck with Artesian as well as getting a well built tub. Remember, every manufacturer can have a lemon, it's how they take care of you and how the dealer takes care of you that matters. However a manufacturer that has a lot of lemons would not be someone that I would buy from no matter how well the dealer takes care of the end user.

You are shopping for both a good hot tub AND a good dealer. You first of all want a tub that you all fit in and are comfortable with the seats. You want a tub with a good warranty, good manufacturer support and a dealer that you feel comfortable with and has a good reputation. Pricing is also usually a concern and that's the hard part. Almost no pricing is available on line. I get it, the dealers set the price they want to sell at but it can be frustrating. I needed a specific size and wasn't going to spend more than $10K. Knowing a ballpark sell price would have made my shopping easier. Bigger is better with a hot tub. I would have gone bigger if it would have fit thru the opening I have to put it on my enclosed porch. I got the biggest one that would fit thru the opening that was comfortable for us.

Spatech_tuo

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2021, 11:51:00 am »
1) The distaste for the Master Roadshow is both for the way they sell/pull up stakes after the show and that the Manufacturer does not have a great reputation for Quality and backing of their product (plus in this case its double troubling since the Manufacturer runs the road show). After the idea of who makes the product and how well they back their product (warranties can be similar on paper but often vary greatly on how well they're honored), certainly dealers matter greatly so if you are in the position where you have few options beyond Master AND you really like the dealer then I get it, maybe your area options are limited but otherwise there are too many better options out there than Master IMO.

2) I wouldn't put Cal Spas in the same category as Hot Springs or Jacuzzi as spa manufacturers go but again, that's IMO. Visit the dealer multiple times if needed and get a feel for which will be there for you after the sale.
220, 221, whatever it takes!

ejj

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2021, 12:26:38 pm »
Just last month we took delivery of a Cal Spas Cancun. its a 93x93" spa, no loungers... LOVE IT. think real hard before you sign up for a 7 foot tub! Try to sit in one before you buy, even a dry sit, it will tell you how you fit.

Space is an issue for us. I'm the biggest in my family at 165lbs.


You are shopping for both a good hot tub AND a good dealer. You first of all want a tub that you all fit in and are comfortable with the seats. You want a tub with a good warranty, good manufacturer support and a dealer that you feel comfortable with and has a good reputation. Pricing is also usually a concern and that's the hard part. Almost no pricing is available on line. I get it, the dealers set the price they want to sell at but it can be frustrating. I needed a specific size and wasn't going to spend more than $10K. Knowing a ballpark sell price would have made my shopping easier. Bigger is better with a hot tub. I would have gone bigger if it would have fit thru the opening I have to put it on my enclosed porch. I got the biggest one that would fit thru the opening that was comfortable for us.

Good advice--I just have a hard time determining who is a good dealer and has a real service dept.  thanks!

cranbiz

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2021, 03:41:45 pm »
One method of determining if a dealer is good is to call their service department and make up a service call for a tub that doesn't have a dealer nearby. See if they are willing to answer questions or give advance troubleshooting tips. See if there is any issue with getting a service appointment. You don't actually have to set one up but you want to see if they will, whats the lead time between call and potential service date.

If the service department balks at coming out to service something like a Dr Wellness X2, ask why? Is it because they won't work on it, is it because they may not be able to get prospective parts, is it simply because they only will do their brands. That may actually be a big deal. Why, you ask? Because what if they change a line of tubs. Now they don't sell them and could possibly, not service them.

The Wizard of Spas

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2021, 04:26:10 pm »
"C. Wheatley is a polarizing figure that throws out opinions all over the place.  Itís hard to trust him, as he is financially motivated, but so is every other expert out there"


I find myself with cognitive dissonance in terms of this. 

There will always be some form of bias and people are in this business to make money.  He is a private citizen doing what he feels is the best.  He has a business model and he utilizing his experience, skills, and capitalizing on a deficiency in the market.  And he seems to be doing quite well.  He has positioned himself as an expert and lays out his credentials.  All of this is fair and seemingly above board.

However, he also positions himself as an unbiased / trustworthy to the general public. 

The brand I work for has been misrepresented flagrantly numerous times with statements that are flat out false in his Q&A sessions.  I have contacted him and offered to correct him , but if we are not interested in paying for him to review our spa, he is not interested in learning about it.  If he was to make statements based on opinion and label them as such, that is one thing. 

But he has built a brand, and an audience, and thus has created a demand and is leveraging that to extract money from manufacturers.  That seems disingenuous to me. 

Its things like this that make me empathize with you and anyone else looking for information on hot tubs.

Moving forward, as noted by others already, go for what is physically comfortable and couple that with the reputation of the dealer.  Whittle down from there (stay away from brands that are not locally available to keep your warranty intact, etc) and find the right price point.  From there the answer should be pretty clear, or at least the options should be easier to pick through.

I hope this helps.  Good luck moving forward.

EDIT - Clarity on the quoted header

CanadianSpaTech

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2021, 06:51:25 pm »
I have seen almost every sales ploy out there and HTU is just another. Anybody remember Cashable Vouchers

Sammi

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2021, 07:25:34 pm »
This industry seems somewhat archaic. I have been spoiled with info on cars and other goods that are relatively transparent.  Iíve decided to buy a 7 foot open tub. Soaking with wife and daughters is my goal.  I value well-built quality.

C. Wheatley is a polarizing figure that throws out opinions all over the place.  Itís hard to trust him, as he is financially motivated, but so is every other expert out there. People seem to hate the Master Roadshow model, but we have an enormous Master dealer a few minutes away.

A few candidates: Legacy by Master, Jacuzzi J245, Hot Springs Rhythm, Cal Spas. All are available relatively soon in the Minneapolis. All have local dealers.  Are these all pretty similar? Do I just pick the one where my daughters feel most comfortable?

I see you are in Minneapolis area. Are you looking at aHot Springs tub from Hot Springs Spas (local dealership name). If so I purchased from one of their satellite stores in the last 6 months. I have been happy with spa availability, price, and service (other than getting differing opinions from different employees on occasion). I'd purchase from their satellite (probably not the best term since it is a brick and mortar store - just not in the Minneapolis area) again.

Other than the short titanium salt stick lifespan which my dealer has backed each time under warranty I've been extremely happy with my HS Envoy.

Spatech_tuo

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2021, 10:49:10 am »
One method of determining if a dealer is good is to call their service department and make up a service call for a tub that doesn't have a dealer nearby. See if they are willing to answer questions or give advance troubleshooting tips. See if there is any issue with getting a service appointment. You don't actually have to set one up but you want to see if they will, whats the lead time between call and potential service date.

If the service department balks at coming out to service something like a Dr Wellness X2, ask why? Is it because they won't work on it, is it because they may not be able to get prospective parts, is it simply because they only will do their brands. That may actually be a big deal. Why, you ask? Because what if they change a line of tubs. Now they don't sell them and could possibly, not service them.

A service department will always prefer to deal with their own brand and don't have parts for every brand out there but that doesn't reflect on ability necessarily. I think you'll find many service departments at dealers who have sold many spas over the years just don't have the time to work on other brands. Its not that they can't and if they do change brands they can switch to servicing their new brand (and the previous one) but if they beg off its not typically or necessarily a bad sign though the key would be asking why and if its just "we don't have time/availability" then that's another story.
220, 221, whatever it takes!

ejj

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2021, 12:20:23 pm »
"I find myself with cognitive dissonance in terms of this. 

There will always be some form of bias and people are in this business to make money.  He is a private citizen doing what he feels is the best.  He has a business model and he utilizing his experience, skills, and capitalizing on a deficiency in the market.  And he seems to be doing quite well.  He has positioned himself as an expert and lays out his credentials.  All of this is fair and seemingly above board."

It is tricky since there is no Consumer Reports for tubs.  The best advice seems to be "Buy the Seller," 

Hot Tub University claims to make money purely on their buyer's service, but it also seems that they do affiliate deals.  And when they recommend a certain brand--say PDC, you wonder if PDC is compensating him in some manner.  He liked Marquis for a while--did they quit paying him?  Cynical ideas I know. 

Some brands trumpet that their parts are available everywhere--others trumpet the opposite--that their "proprietary" parts and system are designed in harmony (har-money?) with each other.  I realize I am looking at a pretty bare-bones industry standard tub, but I like to learn about my big purchases.  Don't get me started on full-foam, foam over, which foam, etc...

castletonia

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2021, 12:56:01 pm »
One method of determining if a dealer is good is to call their service department and make up a service call for a tub that doesn't have a dealer nearby. See if they are willing to answer questions or give advance troubleshooting tips. See if there is any issue with getting a service appointment. You don't actually have to set one up but you want to see if they will, whats the lead time between call and potential service date.

If the service department balks at coming out to service something like a Dr Wellness X2, ask why? Is it because they won't work on it, is it because they may not be able to get prospective parts, is it simply because they only will do their brands. That may actually be a big deal. Why, you ask? Because what if they change a line of tubs. Now they don't sell them and could possibly, not service them.

I would disagree with this line of thinking.  I am a Hot Spring / Caldera dealer and for 2019 was also a Marquis dealer.  We only service Hot Spring / Caldera and the Marquis' we sold.  Doesn't make my service department inferior, it just means we take care of our customers.  I also do not have parts accounts with anyone else that would allow me to get parts for other brands.  I will give advice if I can over the phone and I will direct those with other hot tubs to my competitors who might be able to service them.

A reputable dealer will take care of their customer after the sale even if they no longer represent the brand.

cranbiz

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2021, 03:32:11 pm »
One method of determining if a dealer is good is to call their service department and make up a service call for a tub that doesn't have a dealer nearby. See if they are willing to answer questions or give advance troubleshooting tips. See if there is any issue with getting a service appointment. You don't actually have to set one up but you want to see if they will, whats the lead time between call and potential service date.

If the service department balks at coming out to service something like a Dr Wellness X2, ask why? Is it because they won't work on it, is it because they may not be able to get prospective parts, is it simply because they only will do their brands. That may actually be a big deal. Why, you ask? Because what if they change a line of tubs. Now they don't sell them and could possibly, not service them.

I would disagree with this line of thinking.  I am a Hot Spring / Caldera dealer and for 2019 was also a Marquis dealer.  We only service Hot Spring / Caldera and the Marquis' we sold.  Doesn't make my service department inferior, it just means we take care of our customers.  I also do not have parts accounts with anyone else that would allow me to get parts for other brands.  I will give advice if I can over the phone and I will direct those with other hot tubs to my competitors who might be able to service them.

A reputable dealer will take care of their customer after the sale even if they no longer represent the brand.

And your honest answers would be a huge plus in my decision. A dealer that would offer simple troubleshooting tips over the phone and gives me an honest reply as to why you don't service brands other than what you sell and then would refer me to someone that can service it gets higher marks than one that won't do that.

Having been in the computer service business for over 20 years (now in a different line of work in the computer field), I also couldn't always get parts for certain manufacturers. I would do exactly the same thing, refer them to a competitor that I knew could service their item. Therefore, you are the type of dealer that I want to work with.

Unfortunately, there are dealers that don't have your philosophy and that's where the problem is.

ejj

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2021, 08:26:21 am »
Lol the problem is that we canít all buy a tub from Castletonia!

Went to HS dealer last night and looked at the Rhythm. Nice looking tub. But $9300 puts it at the top of the range when shopping that category.

Maybe check out the Marquis dealer this weekend.

Sam

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Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2021, 07:31:55 pm »
1) The distaste for the Master Roadshow is both for the way they sell/pull up stakes after the show and that the Manufacturer does not have a great reputation for Quality and backing of their product (plus in this case its double troubling since the Manufacturer runs the road show).

What's really messed up is that it is not the manufacturer actually doing this.  It's master pool and spa out of MN.  Yet, they tell people at the shows that they are indeed the factory and then show the bbb page and "consumer affairs" reviews (bought and paid for) as their credentials.  However, when someone who got shafted by the show makes a complaint about the factory, their response is that they purchased from an independent dealer and that is who they should take up their problem with.  They want it both ways.  As a manufacturer, they know that this stuff is happening, however they make so much money from these shows that they turn a blind eye.

Look up the reviews/complaints of "master pool and spa" and bbb of "master spas" the manufacturer.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/master-pool-and-spa-minneapolis

https://www.bbb.org/us/mn/saint-louis-park/profile/hot-tub-dealers/master-pool-spa-corp-0704-96001920
29 complaints closed in last 3 years.  That's insane for a dealer.


The road show sales guys show the following bbb profile and say that they are indeed the factory.https://www.bbb.org/us/in/fort-wayne/profile/hot-tub-manufacturing/master-spas-0352-10011179


Here's a really good blog post that I found about them:

https://coloradocustomspas.com/2017/05/pool-spa-bbq-expo-legit-hot-tub-sale-scam/


Hot Tub Forum

Re: I hate hot tub shopping.
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2021, 07:31:55 pm »

 

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