You want to invest in a spa pool. It’s an exciting decision to make – one that means you’ll have instant access to warm, therapeutic waters whenever you want, and just steps from your own back door. You’ll also enjoy the wealth of benefits that spa pools offer. Unfortunately when a lot of prospective spa owners set their budget, they don’t look too far past the initial purchase. But they should.
The actual price you pay for your spa pool extends far beyond the upfront investment. Other considerations must be made; important factors such as running costs, ongoing maintenance and future trade-in value will have a huge impact on the total price of your spa pool over the course of its life.
The reality is that choosing a spa pool solely on the upfront cost can be one of the most expensive decisions you’ll ever make. On the flipside, a spa pool that seems like a significant upfront investment could prove incredible value when spread over years, perhaps even decades, of use.
In this article we’ll be looking at the key considerations you should be making to ensure you get true value from your spa pool purchase – a machine that will cost less in the long run, while delivering an incredible soaking and ownership experience.
What should I know before buying a spa?
The most important thing to understand about your spa pool purchase is that the sticker price tells the story of just a small part of the broader spa pool ownership experience.
As the longest and largest spa retailer in New Zealand, Hot Spring Spas have seen many spa brands come and go over the decades. We have met many spa owners from all walks of life and feel obligated to share our knowledge in helping new customers to buy with confidence and avoid possible buyer mistakes.
Let's say you’re trying to weigh up the options between two spa pool brands.
This spa appears to be quite a cost-effective choice at around $6,000 NZD. However the distributor is new and not that well known, the feature list is somewhat lacking and you can tell that the build quality isn’t as good as option two.
This spa costs around $20,000 NZD. While the upfront price is more, and it is a similar sized spa pool as option one, it comes from an established manufacturer, offers more spacious seating configurations, full foam insulation, higher specs and seemingly superior build quality.
Many consumers would understandably lean towards option one, reasoning that the apparently slight differences offered by option two don’t justify a tripling in price. But consider this:
- Option one isn’t well insulated and spa components are sourced based on lower price point. To heat the spa it requires a much larger heater, a blower and will on average cost a lot more to run per month.
- Option one is more likely to break down and replacement spa parts are only limited to 12 months as stipulated in its warranty (which also excludes labour.) So, should something go wrong during the lifetime of this spa, the spa owner may be without important spa parts, or worse, be forced to replace the entire spa.
- Comparatively lacking in smart technology, option one requires more maintenance than option two. Time is money and by choosing solely on a low price point you’ll have less time and less money.
- Even with proper upkeep, the lower build quality of option one means that it isn’t expected to last as long. In the end you may end up with two spas when you could have bought one.
- Option one depreciates far faster than option two. After five years it isn’t worth much, while the resale value of option two remains much higher.
In short, while option one may cost less upfront, it ends up being far more expensive in the long run. A spa pool has more in common with a car than a household appliance – it’s a long-term investment, not a one-off purchase.
The four key costs of spa pool ownership
What costs should you be keeping in mind when purchasing a spa pool? There are four main considerations that contribute to the total lifetime cost of a spa:
The upfront investment
This is an important factor, sure, not least for the fact that it will be the largest amount you spend in one hit. But it’s important to understand that the sticker price is far from the be all and end all. In fact, a lot of the time a lower sticker price should set off alarm bells, as this tends to equate to higher costs in the long run, as we see below.
The running costs
How will your water bill and power bill be affected by your choice of spa pool? How much will you be spending on spa maintenance products to keep your water clean and sanitised? The answers to these questions will be found in the quality and technology of your spa.
- Water use: Some spa pools need to be drained and refilled every 6-8 weeks, others just once a year due to smart innovative technology. With large spa pools holding as much as 2000 litres of water, this can turn out to be a huge cost if you make the wrong choice.
- Energy efficiency: High quality insulation makes all the difference in spa pool efficiency, and cheaper spas tend to fall down in this area, meaning you’re destined to face far higher power bills. The quality of the internal machinery will also have an impact on energy efficiency.
- Water care: Cheaper spa pools tend to be heavily reliant on chemicals to keep their water clear and clean. Higher quality spa pools trade endless chemicals for smart technology, such as the Hot Spring Freshwater Salt System.
The ongoing maintenance
Your spa pool will eventually require more than just a dash of chlorine. Over the years you’ll need to service your machine and replace parts from time to time. High quality spa pool brands usually offer equally high quality service, and as they design their spa pools to last, they will offer all the spare parts you might need. The same often can’t be said for brands that offer cheap and cheerful spa pools.
The spa trade-in value in 10 years
If a brand has proven its ability to make quality products, like Apple and Toyota, they tend to hold their value, as consumers have more confidence in purchasing it as a second-hand item. So, what will the resale value of your spa pool choice be in five years, ten years, or whenever you might be looking to upgrade?
In short, the upfront cost is often a red herring. In the world of spa pools, the distraction of short-term financial gains will often result in long-term financial pain. Smart spa pool buyers will take a more holistic view, seeing a spa pool as an investment spread over the life of the machine, rather than a simple one-off purchase.
Hot Spring: the best value spa pools on the market
At Hot Spring we pride ourselves on offering spa pools that are wise long-term investments. By placing quality and innovation at the centre of everything we do, we create spa pools that deliver the finest soaking and ownership experiences possible, and as a consequence of this commitment, we also lower the ongoing costs and increase the resale value of our machines.
Why choose Hot Spring?
- We create the most energy efficient spa pools in New Zealand, which cost as little as $1 a day to run.
- You get a long-term service commitment. We still offer spare parts for spas that are over two decades old – which no other spa brand does – and continually service all our spas, no matter their age.
- We offer parts for 20-year-old machines because unlike other spa brands, Hot Spring spa pools can actually last that long! This also means that our spas enjoy unmatched resale value – we’re a brand that Kiwis trust.
- Some Hot Spring spa models, like those fitted with the Freshwater Salt System, only need to be drained, cleaned and refilled once a year. Cheaper machines, meanwhile, need to be drained, refilled and cleaned 6-8 times a year, which means more water, more chemicals, more work and more money.