What's the Best Hot Tub

Author Topic: Opinions needed in deciding: Bullfrog 2013 A6L -or- a 2021 A8 for ≈$325 more.  (Read 318 times)

Davekro

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Thank you all for such a fantastic hot tub forum!

[ Sorry, I had not anticipated writing a novel here!  ;) ]

I've been researching and shopping for a used hot tub for a few weeks. I've been to a local, well regarded dealer who sells Caldera and Aquaterra (what Costco sells). I was looking at his Aquaterra Ventura for $7,500, but don't care for the brands squishy reputation, can’t wet test it, and it has wall to wall foam (future leaks nightmare). He has a 2013 Bullfrog A6L SS (as printed on the OEM s/n label), which he was willing to fill for me to wet test the next day.

Bullfrog A6L SS (2013) wet test: (anyone know what the SS in the model # on the OEM label means?)
I loved the feel of the Jets (4 JetPaks, not 3), and I love the Lounge.
He is firm on $3,900 (+ $350 Sales Tax) for this used 2013 A6L SS. + $500 if I want it delivered. In the equipment area it has (1) 2-speed jet pump and one Circ-Master Aquaflow 1/15th HP Circ. Pump. A new Ozone generator he just installed. Balboa BFBP20 Heater.

When I see A6L specs on the web, it says the base A6L come with (3) Jet packs, with optional upgrade to (4) JetPaks along with a 2nd 2-speed jet pump. Maybe it was different in 2013 because this tub has (4) JetPaks, but only (1) 2-speed jet pump. The dealer said it had one pump (+ Circ.) and I can see that that is the case.  The JetPaks are:  Neck Masseuse, Alleviate, Oscillator, and RainShower.

Bullfrog A8 (2021): Asking $4,500. This one is from a private party, 1.5 hours away. I have not made the trek there to see it. The ad has very little info, just: “Used, like new. 49 Jets, (2) Pumps, MP3, Multi Color LED Lights, Cover, Step.” The three pictures posted look very good. When I asked what model, she replied it was an A8, manufactured in 2021. This looks like a Great price for a two-year-old A8, but it has been listed for 9 weeks. That makes me wonder why it has not sold in 9 weeks. The seller did not answer my follow up Q’s asking for a few more pics and if it has (2) Jet Pumps. Bullfrog 2023 specs shows the A8 comes with (2) 2-speed Jet pumps and Circ. Pump optional. Is it doable to add a Circ. Pump to a tub?

My Thoughts and feelings as best I know from the info I have gathered on these two options:

A6L from Local Dealer: The A6L is a for sure available option.
I just LOVE the A6L’s Jets and Lounge. Even knowing the Bullfrog is a top quality spa, the 2013 already has 10 years used on the Jet & Circ. Pumps (+/- $500ish each?), the Balboa BFBP20 Heater (≈ $200 element tube or $1,050 for entire assy.) The four head rests on the JetPaks are weathered and dull gray (as is the plastic surrounding them.), which is to be expected.
-   What are the odds of needing to replace either the Jet or Circ. Pumps, or Heater in the next 5 years?

A8 from private party: Before I pursue trying to inquire more on the 1.5 hour away ‘possible great deal’ on the A8, I’d like to get this community’s opinions on the Pros and Cons for me on these two tubs with regards to:
-   Obviously, the A8 has NO LOUNGER. Is it likely that 6 vs 4 JetPaks -plus- the peace of mind of a 2 year vs. 10 year old tub would overcome my desire for a lounger “if” all else was equal (which they are not in the case here ;o) ?
-   If the 2021 A8 ($4,500 + $75gas) wasn't so cheap being only ≈ +$325 more than the A6L (3,900+350tax), I would not want that big of a tub. Maybe 1–2 times per year, more than 2-4 in tub. 85% of time just two of us.
-   I have a 14’ box truck with a lift gate, so I don’t have a problem hauling the A8 from a distance.
-   How many able bodies is a good # to move an 808 Lb, 94” x 94”x 38” tub?
-   But, if I decide I do want to consider the bigger A8 after getting thoughts from forum members’, I think it would be best to invest a half day to check it out solo w/o the big truck. That way, if it is a go, I can plan the body count needed on the pickup end. I have lots of prior experience years ago moving 800 lb Coke machines, not too concerned about the moving logistics (except for # of bodies practical on that end, then this end.


IF you made it this far…. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you are willing to share on my choices.

Dave

PS. Are new members not allowed to upload photos right away? What's the trick to uploading pics?

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cranbiz

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If you have room for the A8, to me that is the one I would pursue. It's newer which means a lot on the shell and the plastic fittings inside. The likelihood of needing something major is way less than a 10 year old tub.

As for the lounger. I like them but I do tend to float a bit in them. I have a weight belt that keeps me in place. I do find myself using the captains chairs more than the lounge after a year of use. Then again, my wife lives in the lounge but if we didn't have it, she would make due in a captains chair.

4 strong guys and a couple of furniture dolly's work well if on flat smooth ground. The tough part is finding a trailer to put a 96" tub on a d fully support it.

Davekro

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cranbiz,
Thanks for the reply. I guess my big concern would be if I'd regret not having the lounge. I think the 8 years newer thing may outweigh that. I did read one other member say he was able to get used to not having a lounge. I guess that is my big concern. The '8 years newer' part is very significant. We do have room for the larger A8 Bullfrog.

I have a 14' box truck with a lift gate. The box is 8' wide. I would set the tub on its side on the lift gate and use four straps to securely snug it to the box. Years ago, I moved 800 lb Coke machines like this. The Bullfrog interiors are solid foam on three sides. Not sure if it is best (or matters) to place the backside face down, with the equipment side 'up'. -or- the equipment side face down.

We recently added solar to accommodate a hot tub, so slightly higher energy use is not an issue for a bigger tub.

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