Best hot tubs 2024: expert picks for outdoors

A hot tub might be the missing piece from your garden. Here's our selection of the very best you can buy

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

 Hot tubs bring all the relaxation of a spa to your backyard. A good hot tub can massage away the day’s stress stress, and keep a pool party going long after the sun sets. 

But the big problem with hot tubs is that they can be costly and confusing. There are lots of different types of tubs and they all have different features, so it’s not always easy to work out what you want. If you make the wrong decision, a hot tub can be an expensive mistake. 

I’ve spent my entire career testing and covering the best products for your home and garden, so I know exactly what makes for a good hot tub. I’ve spent dozens of hours scouring the internet to find you the very best. This curated selection features some of the best-known brands, as well as some picks from more niche manufacturers that I think are worth highlighting. With our rules for buying a hot tub, you’re sure to find a model that suits you.  

Best hot tubs 2024

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Historically, you'd have to splash out thousands of dollars to bring a hot tub into your backyard. If you're so inclined, there are still plenty of incredible, expensive models on the market, but there are plenty of entry-level inflatable tubs, too, which are ideal for a quick soak in the summer and easy to store during winter weather. It didn't feel quite fair to pit these low-cost options against high-end hot tubs, which is why I've split my picks into two categories. 

Best plug-and-play hot tubs

hot tub on decking with woodland view

(Image credit: sarahneal / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

The classic hot tub design is a plug-and-play. Also known as above-ground hot tubs, these are permanent, freestanding tubs made from hard plastic. They're called 'plug-and- play' because you can run them from an electric outlet, rather than having to get professionals to wire them in, which is the case with inbuilt hot tubs. All you need to do is plug them into a socket and fill them with water. 

Plug-and-plays feel sturdier and feel more luxurious than inflatable hot tubs, and unlike in-built hot tubs, you don't have to landscape to fit them in, saving you thousands of dollars in labor costs. The best plug-and-plays boast plenty of bonus features, such as dedicated massage pumps, LED lights, and even Bluetooth speakers.

Best inflatable hot tubs

An Intex PureSpa Greywood Deluxe Inflatable Hot Tub Set - 6 Person next to a pool

(Image credit: Intex)

Inflatable hot tubs are a more affordable alternative to plug-and-plays, made with cheaper materials and smaller pumps. They can also deflate for storage, so you can keep them out of sight when the weather turns in winter. 

However, the jets aren't as powerful as plug and play hot tubs and they often aren't as warm. They also lack bonus features like lighting, headrests, and dedicated massage pumps. Since they're inflatable, you're also at risk of punctures. 

In-ground hot tubs

An in-ground hot tub in a contemporary garden

(Image credit: Getty)

I haven't included in-ground hot tubs in this round-up for two reasons. The first is that installing these tends to be a local service. I couldn't go across the whole country to find the best hot tub installers in every county. The other reason is that they're such a jump in cost from plug-and-play. Prices for an in-ground, professionally-installed hot tub start at $15,000. It's a significant expense that you should discuss in person with a landscaping team, rather than online. 

Where to buy a hot tub

There are plenty of places to buy a hot tub, but I'd argue that Home Depot is best. They stock hundreds of tubs from different brands at a range of price points. The vast majority of their tubs are supported by a healthy number of reliable reviews. 

Wayfair are a close second. You'll find an even wider range of tubs, though they're often more expensive outside of sales periods, and the reviews are less reliable.

Costco have some good options but they start from more than $2500, and there are only about 20 to choose from. It also pays to be a Costco member, else you'll have to pay a 5% surcharge. 

How I chose hot tubs

A hot tub in the back yard of a suburban house

(Image credit: Getty)

Here at H&G, we like to test all the products we feature. I've got plenty of burn marks and nicks from years of trialling the best grills. Unsurprisingly, I couldn't convince my editor-in-chief to let me soak up the sun and enjoy all those hot tub benefits as 'research' for this article. 

Instead, I dove into hundreds of hot tub reviews, only selecting those with 4.5 or 5 star ratings, good design, and plenty of bonus features. I read countless customer reviews to see how these hot tubs held up over months or even years of use. Where possible, I chose the more affordable hot tubs. Once prices start to creep above $7,000 for a freestanding hot tub, you start to see diminishing returns.

Hot tub FAQs

What's the difference between a Jacuzzi and a hot tub?

There isn't one. 'Jacuzzi' is a trade name of a company specialising in hot tubs and baths. In the same way that 'coke' has become a shorthand for all colas, 'jacuzzi' is a shorthand for all hot tubs, but it's not technically correct. Some Jacuzzis are hot tubs, and not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis.

What temperature should my hot tub be?

We've written an entire article answering the question: what is the best hot tub temperature? Spoiler alert: your hot tub should be no hotter than 100°F, which is roughly body temperature. Any hotter and you risk overheating. If you feel ill or short of breath in your hot tub, then be sure to turn down the heat. 

How often should I clean my hot tub?

Even if you circulate the water every day, you should empty and refill your hot tub three or four times a year to stop the water from becoming stagnant. You should clean your filters around once a month, and you should wipe down the seats at least once a week to stop scum from forming. 

Final thoughts

Once you've bought one of the best hot tubs, it's important to take good care of it. It's worth learning how to clean a hot tub for safe soaking. First, you'll need to know how to drain a hot tub and fill it with fresh water. These tasks might sound intimidating, but they're easy when you know how. Lucky for you, we've outlined each process, step by step, to help you get the most out of your tub.  

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.