Shopping for a spa pool is incredibly exciting. This is an investment that can deliver a wealth of benefits, enhancing your property, lifestyle, personal relationships, and health and wellness.
But when shopping for your spa you may be struck by what are often huge discrepancies in price. Two similar looking spas can come with very different dollar figures – one model might sell for $5K, while a seemingly similar model might cost $40K.
Why the difference? And which spa truly represents better value? In this guide we’ll look to answer those questions and more.
Understanding spa pool pricing
A spa pool is about as far from an everyday purchase as you can get, and many owners will only need to go shopping for a machine maybe once or twice in their lives (if they choose wisely that is!)
What’s more, spa pools are truly unique machines that feature technologies that most consumers will have never dealt with before, such as heaters, jets, pumps and water care systems.
This makes understanding spa pool pricing a particularly tricky task. And when you’re offered two similar looking spas, with one being just a fraction of the price of the other, the confusion only deepens.
The first thing to understand about spa pool pricing is that little insight can be gained by simply looking at a spa. Sure, high-end models will generally look better than those at the entry-level, but the untrained eye will still see two spas that look largely the same: a cabinet, a shell, and a certain number of seats lined with jets. Most of the value lies beyond the superficial.
The second thing to understand is that a spa pool shouldn’t be thought of as a cost, but rather an investment. By choosing the right model, you’ll enhance and add value to your property, your lifestyle, your relationships and your health. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of your purchase.
But back to the question at hand.
Why are spa prices so different?
There are two main factors that contribute to the often significant difference in spa pool prices:
Features and functionality
The levels of technology and innovation differ significantly between entry-level and premium spa pools. The price of a spa is generally reflective of the level of soaking experience, energy efficiency and upkeep a buyer can expect. Factors include:
- The number and sophistication of spa pool features.
- The water care system.
- Proprietary technologies (which demand significant R&D investment).
How long will a spa pool last? The answer to that question will be governed, to a large degree, by price. The more you’re willing to invest in a spa pool, the higher the quality of the materials, the technology and the build, and the longer it will last. Factors include:
- The beauty and design quality of the spa.
- The materials and construction methods used.
- Where the spa is made.
- The level of warranty and after-sales service and support offered.
- Brand reputation (if a brand has been selling spas for several decades, you know you can trust them.)
By comparing the factors above, you’ll begin to get a better sense of why one model might be priced so differently from another, and which is the right choice for you. In general, the cheaper the spa, the lower the quality of the soaking experience.
More surprisingly, the spa with the lower sticker price usually prove to be far more expensive in the long run…
Spa pool price only tells part of the story
You find yourself choosing between two spa pools. Both are four-seater models with a similar number of jets. One costs $6K, the other costs $25K.
But what if the $25K machine not only delivered a far superior soaking experience, but also turned out to be cheaper in the long run? This isn’t a hypothetical – it’s often the reality, and for a few good reasons.
The cheaper spa:
- Features lower build quality, having been made with cheaper materials and parts, so will be prone to breakdowns and is unlikely to last particularly long.
- Is less energy efficient, leading to high power bills.
- Lacks technology that automates upkeep, so demands a significant amount of maintenance from its owner.
- Depreciates quickly due to all the factors above, meaning a low resale value.
The more expensive spa:
- Is built by highly trained professionals using quality parts and materials – it won’t be prone to breakdowns and is built to last.
- Has high-end insulation that keeps more heat in, significantly lowering power bills.
- Is fitted with automated water care systems that demand less work and chemicals than cheaper equivalents.
- Retains its value for all the reasons above, resulting in a higher resale value if you choose to sell or upgrade.
If you choose the cheaper spa, any upfront savings that you might enjoy at the beginning tend to be eroded over time. When properly maintained, premium models will last years if not decades, over which time you may have to buy multiple entry-level machines. And in the face of high power bills, you may be hesitant to enjoy your entry-level model as much as you’d like to.
A spa pool is an investment, and you need to make sure yours is a good one.
What should I look for in a quality spa?
Let’s get into the specifics. What exactly separates the best spas from the rest? Modern spas can have hundreds of features and components, so it’s important to know which to focus on.
A few of the most important things to look out for when shopping for a spa include:
- A decent warranty: A warranty can be seen as a declaration of a brand’s faith in its own product. Look for multi-year warranties that cover all aspects of the spa and be wary of any brand that offers a warranty longer than they’ve been in business.
- A quality cover: A good cover is key to energy efficiency, as it keeps the heat in. Look for a cover that is fitted, insulated, and is higher in the centre to avoid water pooling.
- A variety of jets: Different parts of the body demand different hydromassage experiences. Look for quality over quantity – good spas will feature purpose-built jet arrays designed to deliver maximum relaxation and relief.
- A quality frame, cabinet and shell: The materials used in the construction of your spa pool should be UV resistant, rot-proof and be built to last.
- Quality insulation: No single factor will have as big an effect on the running costs of your spa as the insulation. By choosing a spa with high quality insulation like full foam or high density, the initial investment will quickly be paid back in lower power bills.
What high-end features are worth considering?
The more features your spa pool has, the more luxurious, efficient, customisable and enjoyable your ownership experience will be. Beyond the basics mentioned above, look out for the following features when shopping for your spa pool:
A circulation pump like Hot Spring’s SilentFlo 5000 system keeps your spa pool water moving 24 hours a day, provides continuous filtration and reduce wear and tear on your spa’s internal machinery while making it quieter and more energy efficient.
Automated water care system
Keeping spa pool water soft, fresh and clear was once a laborious task full of litmus tests and carefully measured chemicals. But modern spa pool water care systems, such as Hot Spring’s FreshWater™ Salt and FreshWater® Ozone systems, are designed to largely automate this process, resulting in less work and more play!
Entry-level spa pools tend to offer basic jets: a single size and design that doesn’t offer much in terms of movement or customisation. High-end spas, meanwhile, tend to offer a range of jets that can be pointed at problem areas or that may even move by themselves such as Moto Massage™, and that can be adjusted to your preferred pressure.
Lighting and water features
Your spa pool should be the showpiece of your backyard – something that adds to the look and feel of your outdoor area. It should also be a place where you can set whatever mood you like, from peaceful to party. A spa pool with built-in lighting systems and water features can do all that and more.
Another way to set the mood? With sights and sounds delivered through in-spa entertainment systems. From Bluetooth speakers to full audiovisual arrays, these additions can make your spa even more inviting, allowing you to pop on relaxing rainforest sounds, bop along to your favourite tunes or sit back and enjoy a movie and massage.
The true cost of a spa pool
When you purchase a spa pool, you’re making an investment. And the more you’re willing to invest, the greater the potential return.
The sticker price represents just a portion of the eventual cost. A complete view of the price is one that takes in the energy efficiency, quality, durability, soak and ownership experience of the spa pool. Paying less now tends to mean that you’ll pay more in the long run.
At Hot Spring we’re committed to making spa pools that use less power, demand less upkeep, last longer and deliver the finest soaks on the market.