Hot Tub Shops Buying Advice | Above ground & inground spas
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Do I want a regular luxury spa or swim spa?

If you regularly swim and like the idea of being able to do so whenever you want in the comfort of your own backyard then a swim spa is worth considering. We have a separate swim hot tub buyers guide that can help you here.

Please remember that if you buy a swim spa and you regularly want to have hot spa bath soak sessions then you should consider buying a separate hot tub (with a greater choice of seating and massage options) or a “dual zone” swim spa (with separate spa) as it is costly and time consuming to heat a swim spa with such a large body of water.

Inground Spa

  • Difficult and expensive to install
  • Equipment must be placed externally
  • Less power to the jets due to longer plumbing
  • Higher running costs
  • Manual push button controller
  • Can’t move or sell it
  • Noisier
  • MAJOR problems if the outdoor spa leaks (tree roots etc)
  • Restricted lighting options + no stereo option
  • Limited choice of suppliers and installers

Do I want a portable hot tub or inground
spa?

Inground spas (either in the ground or in a deck) used to be very popular and they can look great when incorporated into a landscaped outdoor living area.

In the past people would buy a spa “shell”, dig a hole and plumb it to the pump and equipment which would be placed separately away from the spa (like a pool).

These days we would recommend using a portable spa bath and either building this into your deck or sinking it into a “pit” in the ground (and then decking around it). This is due to the many benefits offered by portable spas, as detailed in the next column.

Portable Spa

  • Simple to Install
  • Everything is located under the hot tub for easy servicing
  • Maximum power and hydro massage
  • Lower costs due to better insulation
  • Programmable filtration and heating
  • Can move or sell it at any time with minimal cost
  • Quiet as all equipment built into the cabinet
  • Easy to repair as the cabinet is fully removable
  • Full lighting and stereo options
  • Heaps of choices, options and accessories

What level of outdoor spa bath luxury do I want?

Once you have decided on either a portable or in-ground spa, you then need to decide what your preferences and your needs are which will directly affect the cost. You need to choose between…

  • An affordable entry level spa – mainly for cooling off or soaking in hot water
  • A mid price “all rounder” – that has more features and offers a good level of hydrotherapy
  • Top quality “hydro-massage” hydrotherapy luxury spa bath with premium features and usually more jets, power and therapeutic benefits.

This decision will determine your everyday bathing experience, the price you’ll pay and the power supply you need. If you want a therapeutic hydrotherapy spa then make sure the jets are positioned to provide the massage you want.

What is the best size hot tub for my needs and location?

This will depend upon

  • The size of the area you have available.
  • The number of people you want in it at one time.
  • If you like a feeling of roominess in your hot tub or don’t mind if people are close together.
  • The style of seating you want – as recliners take more space.
  • The size of the people who will be using it.
  • Running costs – as the larger it is, the more water you have to heat.
  • Your budget – large spas are more expensive.

Remember that just because you have lots of people at your house doesn’t mean they all want to be in together.

What seating layout do I want? (and how much do I want to spend)

Above ground and inground spas have four main types of seats.

Recliner Lounges are designed for lying down and are perfect for when you want to fully relax. These seats often have jets along your legs and on your feet as well as on your back to provide a “full body” hydrotherapy spa massage – but remember they do take the same amount of room as 3 upright seats.

Therapy Seats have lots of jets which target muscle groups on your back (and often your feet) to provide therapeutic relief for aches and pains.

Neck and Shoulder Therapy Seats have jets that are located at or above the water line to target your neck and shoulders. They can be very deep and can also be restrictive for tall people so make sure to sit in them before buying.

Bench Style and Other Upright Seats These seats often have less jets and are best for children and socialising as they are usually shallower, upright and allow you to fit more people in your outdoor spa bath.

If you are unsure about what is best for you, sit in some spas – or even better, ask for a “test soak” at your nearest Oasis Spa store showroom (there are Oasis hot tub shops / retailers across Australia).

Be aware that some people (women especially) tend to “float away” in recliners, especially if the recliner is quite flat. Make sure the recliner(s) have a pronounced well for your bottom or moulding around your knees – so look for this when you go out to buy a spa.

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