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Why buying a cheap spa can be a risk | HotSpring Spas

Why buying a cheap spa can be a risk

In today’s society we live in a disposable culture. Everything from disposable drink bottles, food packaging, electronics, smartphones, clothing we wear, there are few products marketed to consumers that are designed to last. But what many spa consumers don’t realise how this throw-away trend is also appearing in the spa industry today.

For some manufacturers, creating products that aren’t meant to last is a very viable business strategy as this means consumers will eventually need to buy replacement products, parts, servicing, again and again – costs that add up over time or ultimately end up in landfill.

With so many spa brands on the market promising and advertising the same thing. How do spa buyers know if they’re getting a genuine deal that will deliver beyond its promise year after year, well after the sticker price has been forgotten?

Let’s look at the key differences to consider when choosing a spa pool…

You Can't Pay A Little And Get A Lot

For most people buying a spa, price is a significant factor. That makes sense – most of us don’t have unlimited funds and need to make sure we’re not overspending. But it’s important that the sticker price isn’t the only factor when choosing a spa – otherwise, you could end up with a low-quality, poorly-designed, cheap manufactured spa pool that costs you more in the long run.

Unfortunately, many low-cost, cheap spa companies don’t meet these standards. If you opt for a cheaper spa, you could end up spending more on installation, repair work, water costs and heating. These costs aren’t insignificant either – just the electricity required to heat a poorly insulated spa can cost up to $2,000 more a year!

Hot Spring entry level spa pools such as Freeflow Spas® and the Hot Spot® Collection are some of the best entry-level spa pools in the New Zealand spa industry market. Offering great value for money with full-foam insulation to provide maximum efficiency and low monthly operating costs – proven and third-party certified.

Manufacturing And Maintenance – Quality Counts

When you’re selecting a product that should last for decades, quality manufacturing is essential. Cheaper spas tend to be manufactured in unregulated markets, which means you have no guarantees on its quality. This means you could run into problems with materials cracking or degrading more quickly than you expect. Worse, many low-cost manufacturers don’t supply spare parts, which can make it impossible to repair or maintain your spa.

Our Hot Spring spas are manufactured in the US and must meet high quality control standards to achieve our ISO9001 rating. US regulations also require us to keep spare parts available for 20 years, for every spa we make. We do better – we have spare parts (or workable equivalents) for every spa we’ve ever made. This means you’re sorted if your spa needs replacement components.

Warranty Is Only As Good As The Company That Offers It

In New Zealand, spa pools are covered under the Consumer Guarantees Act, which means you should be able to get a repair, replacement, or refund if anything goes wrong. Although companies should technically refund or replace if the spa breaks, many low-cost, cheap spa retailers try to get around the act by offering a very short warranty period – or none at all.

This puts you in a tough spot if something does break down. You can avoid these issues by checking the warranty before purchasing your spa. Some warranties at least convey the impression of quality with their extended structural warranties, however won’t cover high exposed areas such as the acrylic spa shell and the surface for colour and discolouration. The chances are, if it’s not in the warranty it’s likely to breakdown. Most importantly if warranties cover parts but not labour, then if something does go wrong, it could get very expensive!

For this reason, it’s important to read the fine print and ask these questions upfront to avoid these risks later on. Even a repaired or reconditioned spa should come with at least a year-long warranty, and most should have longer warranty periods.

At Hot Spring Spas, we guarantee our shells for between 5-7 years, and other parts for 2-5 years, all parts and labour included and backed by a public-listed company of 40 years, meaning we supply parts. Peace of mind, guaranteed. Learn more about the Hot Spring spa pool warranty.

Long-term Running Costs

The real expense of a cheap spa isn’t the sticker price, it’s the ongoing spa running costs per month. Most spas will last for years, if not decades, if properly maintained. This means that yearly electrical and water costs add up over the life of the spa.

A modern, well-insulated spa – like a Hot Spring Spa with solid foam insulation, not just a lining – costs around $1 a day in electricity for an average family of four – and you don’t need to just take our word for it. We’ve had this independently tested and published. Poorly insulated spas lose heat and need far more electricity to maintain their temperature – in fact, they can end up using five times the energy of a well-insulated spa. Added up over the course of a year, that can turn into around $2,000 extra. As the only spa company in New Zealand and Australia to have had their spa running costs independently tested and published - use our Spa Energy Calculator to determine running costs of a Hot Spring spa. 




Water is also a key factor of owning hot tubs. Most cheap spas need to be emptied and refilled every month, so they go through a lot of water. Not only that, but the water needs to be heated at every refill, which is a huge drain on electricity. In contrast, Hot Spring Spas with our FreshWater® Salt system let you go for up to 1 year between spa water refills*.

Spa Safety Certified

Safety issues can also arise with cheap manufactured spas. All Hot Spring Spas are fitted with certified plumbing suction outlets for safety. These units prevent children’s fingers, long hair, or clothing becoming trapped in the intake outlet by releasing suction when they sense a blockage. Without this feature, your family could be injured while using your spa.

It’s important that you check that the spa you are purchasing has this feature! Ask your Hot Spring Sales professionals to supply ours we keep a repository of spa certification for suction outlets and spa covers. 

Installation And Electrical Issues

Spas are a bit more complicated than many other consumer products and goods. The reason is you need a place to put them, a water supply and a power source. Most Hot Spring Spas are pre-wired, which means you can take them home, plug them in, fill with water and you're ready to soak.

Many low-cost spas are not so simple. If you buy a spa without pre-wiring, you’ll need an electrician to come and install it safely. This can cost up to $1,000, depending on the age of your house and the type of spa. 

You also need to consider electrical certification. Wiring in a new spa requires certified electrical approval, but this isn’t well enforced. If your spa doesn’t come with electrical certification, you could end up voiding your insurance if the wiring on your new spa causes a fire. 

As a Hot Spring customer we offer free onsite inspections to ensure your spa area is ready, as well as the management of your spa pool delivery and installation process from start to finish. No third-party drop off's at your front door because Hot Spring are committed to providing our spa owners the Absolute Best Spa Pool Ownership Experience™ long after the spa transaction.

Ask First, Avoid Issues Later

Of course, all low-cost spas are not created equal. Sometimes, you may be able to get a true bargain without astronomical ongoing costs. The key is knowing what to look for and what to ask the retailer. It’s important to look at independent reports and certification – don’t just believe whatever the salesperson tells you.

Before you buy, ask for:

  • A test report for electrical approval
  • A certified, independent report on running costs
  • Proof of suction outlet safety
  • A list of dealers that carry spare parts
  • A comprehensive written warranty that covers parts and labour at least 12 months
  • Information on installation costs

If your retailer isn’t able to provide these things, it’s worth looking elsewhere – no matter how tempting the low sticker price is. Cheap manufactured spa pools can be much more expensive than they seem. Make sure you do your due diligence and to help, we have more information of the true cost of running a spa pool - you'll be surprised by just how affordable it really is. 

Looking for a high-quality spa with low running costs? Get in touch our friendly team at Hot Spring Spas now.

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