Best hot tubs of 2021: bring the spa to your backyard

The best hot tubs and jet spas to soothe, soak and relax in; from the top two-person hot tub spas to the best inflatable hot tubs

best hot tubs Lifesmart LS450DX 7-Person 22-Jet 110V Plug and Play Spa with Waterfall
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(Image credit: Home Depot)

Looking for the best hot tubs? You're in good company. When the first humans stumbled upon hot spring centuries and centuries ago, it must have been an experience they would never forget. Imagine, a boiling hot spring that soothed their hardened bodies. Perhaps it is no surprise then, that humans have figured out a way to recreate those ‘hot spring experiences’ in their own backyards – with hot tubs.

Muscle and stress relief are just a few benefits to soaking in the best hot tub spas. Some studies have even connected it to better sleep, pain relief, cardiovascular health, and increased calorie burning. 

It doesn't matter why you want to discover the best hot tubs  — we want to make this dream a reality for you. We’ve pulled together our favorite spas on the market so you can have all the information on the best hot tubs in one spot. 

Looking to create the perfect backyard oasis? Make sure you have the best BBQ grill for entertaining family and the best outdoor furniture to eat it from.   

best hot tubs Select 400 4-Person 20-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub with LED Light and Waterfall

(Image credit: Wayfair)

1. AquaRest Spas Select 400 4-Person 20-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub

Best overall hot tub: A great size, good price, and easy set-up makes it the perfect spa for all

Specifications
Seats: 4
Jets: 20
Cover included? : Yes
Extra perks?: LED backlit waterfall, 5-year warranty
Reasons to buy
+Set up is as simple as plugging into a 110 V outlet and filling it with water+20 hydrotherapy jets+LED waterfall with 9 different colored lights+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Some reviewers say that the inner material is rough on skin

The AquaRest Spas Select 400 Hot Tub takes the top spot for a number of reasons. Not only does it come in three different colors to match various outdoor patio set-ups, but it has an almost stone-like exterior which is very on-trend. At only 240 lbs, it’s fairly easy to move and has an uncomplicated set-up. Just plug it into a 110 V outlet and enjoy!

The EZ Kleen Filtration system ensures you have 100 percent water filtration, while the included cover and full foam insulation means this spa to use less energy than others. 

This particular hot tub fits four people and has 20 stainless steel hydrotherapy jets for a phenomenal therapeutic experience.  Adjust the jets with dual side air controls so the massage is exactly how you want it. With the lumbar arch support and multi-level jet placement, you'll get a full massage on all the achy spots on your back.

To make the spa experience even more special, this AquaRest hot tub has a LED-backlit cascading waterfall that comes in nine colored light settings.

best hot tubs Bestway SaluSpa Helsinki

(Image credit: Walmart)

2. Bestway SaluSpa Helsinki AirJet 7 Person Inflatable Hot Tub

Best inflatable hot tub: Surprisingly stylish and incredibly large for the hot tub enthusiast on-the-go

Specifications
Seats: 7
Jets: 83 air jets
Cover included? : Yes
Extra perks? : ChemConnect dispenser, two-cup holder, power-saving mode
Reasons to buy
+Wood panel print exterior is stylish+83 air jets create a bubbly experience+Pump can be used to blow up the hot tub and the cover insert 
Reasons to avoid
-Unable to use in weather below 40 degrees Fahrenheit -Seven people might make for a tight fit

Enjoy a spa-tastic soak no matter where you go with the inflatable Bestway SaluSpa Helsinki Airjet Hot Tub. The exterior has an attractive wood panel print and the drop stitch material allows the hot tub to have a rigid thin shape, so it looks more like a spa (and less like an oversized blow-up pool as some other inflatable hot tubs resemble).

The hot tub pump —which has a double cup holder and a digital display— doubles as an air pump, so setting up the hot tub is quite easy. (A manual air pump is included in the packaging if you need it.) Don’t think that just because it’s an inflatable hot tub, that it isn’t outfitted with the right gear — because it is. A ChemConnect dispenser can be used to release chlorine slowly, and two filter cartridges are included. Plus, it comes with a cover with locking straps to keep the heat contained.

This is a fairly large hot tub, and while it advertises that it'll fit seven people, it might get a little tight depending on the people. A group of five can comfortably enjoy temperatures up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and a bubbly massage from 83 air jets.

Last but not least, the power saving button lets you set a timer for when you want the spa to heat up, saving you a bit of energy when the hot tub isn't in use. 

best hot tubs Lifesmart LS450DX 7-Person 22-Jet 110V Plug and Play Spa with Waterfall

(Image credit: Home Depot)

3. Lifesmart LS450DX 7-Person 22-Jet 110V Plug and Play Spa with Waterfall

Best hot tub for large parties: Party hardy with seven people in this fully-decked out hot tub

Specifications
Seats: 7
Jets: 22
Cover included: Yes
Extra perks? : Waterfall, plug and play, underwater LED lighting, 110 V plug and play
Reasons to buy
+Waterfall and LED lighting create a festive mood+Use fewer chemicals with ozone water care system+22 jets in a seven-person hot tub 
Reasons to avoid
-450 lbs so may need assistance with set up 

Your house will quickly become known as the ‘party house,’ with the Lifesmart LS450DX 7-person spa in your backyard. Even better, this hot tub has a quick and easy set-up. Plug it into a 110 v plug, fill it up, and you’ll be on your way to hosting seven adults comfortably in the square-shaped tub. The multi-colored underwater LED light and waterfall are fun features, while the 22 jets are designed to offer a soft or deep tissue massage for a fully relaxing experience. 

In addition to a 1.0 HP pump, the spa comes with an ozone water care system which helps to keep the water cleaner with fewer chemicals. In fact, Lifesmart Spas are all about ‘using less,’ like less energy. The foam insulation and thermal locking cover help to retain heat so that your electric bill won't be too high.

As far as aesthetics go, this hot tub is quite pleasing to the eye. The rich brown slat design mimics a wood exterior and the white interior adds a touch of style.

best hot tubs Narada Harmony 7 Person 90 Stainless Jet Hot Tub with Bluetooth Stereo/Subwoofer, ozone and Real Stainless Heater

(Image credit: Home Depot)

4. AquaLife Narada Harmony 7 Person 90 Stainless Jet Hot Tub

Most luxurious: Enjoy a hydrotherapy massage and great tunes with built-in Bluetooth speakers

Specifications
Seats: 7
Jets: 90 streaming jets through 38 different stainless-steel jets
Cover included? : Yes
Extra perks? : Bluetooth, speaks with subwoofer, headrests, cupholders, ozone water purification system
Reasons to buy
+Large hot tub with 90 streaming jets+Bluetooth speaker with subwoofer+Three different energy modes
Reasons to avoid
-Requires a 240 V outlet

The AquaLife Narada Harmony Hot Tub far exceeds what many luxury hotels offer in a hot tub. It doesn’t matter where you sit in this seven-person spa because you’ll be able to enjoy 90 streaming jets through 38 different stainless-steel jets. In effect, you can have a full hydrotherapeutic massage in each seat. The jets are adjustable to get the pressure just right.

To further set the mood, there are a few cupholders, headrests, multi-color LED lighting, and a relaxing waterfall. The Bluetooth speaker is probably the star of the show, allowing you to connect your phone and play music through two built-in speakers with a subwoofer.

On the practical side of things, the Narada Harmony hot tub runs on three pumps and has an ozone water purification system, so you don’t need to use as many harsh chemicals to keep the water clean. You’ll need a 240-volt outlet to run this spa, which is something you might have to get installed. With the digital control pad, you can choose from three different energy modes — standard, economy, or sleep — to save energy where you can.

best hot tubs Premium 300 2-Person 20-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub with Stainless Steel Heater

(Image credit: Wayfair)

5. AquaRest Spas Premium 300 2-Person 20-Jet Plug and Play Hot Tub

Best two-person hot tub: it may be tiny but it's a relaxing and romantic experience for couples

Specifications
Seats: 2
Jets: 20
Cover included? : Yes
Extra perks: plug and play, waterfall, ozonator, LED lighting
Reasons to buy
+10 jets for each seat+LED lighting and waterfall creates a relaxing mood+Easy plug and play set up 
Reasons to avoid
-Only two seats

Make your hot tub experience an intimate one for you and partner with an AquaRest Spas Premium 2-person Hot Tub. As the name implies, it only fits two people but it's spacious with a two-chair design that has therapeutic lumbar arches. There are 20 jets, with 10 jets placed along the backside of each chair so you receive a full multi-level water massage. Utilize the dual side air controls to increase or decrease pressure.

The best thing about this hot tub is how it’s designed for an easy set up and to save energy. The hot tub is ready to go once you fill it up and plug it into a 120 volt / 15 amp outlet. The full foam insulation and included cover (with locking straps) help retain heat so you use less energy.

We have no doubt that you and your partner will enjoy many a night watching the cascading waterfall change between nine different colors as you sip upon drinks before placing them in the two cup holders and reaching across the short space to hold hands.

What to consider when choosing from the best hot tubs

Space
You’ll need a hard, stable, and even surface to install a hot tub in your home. The size of the hot tub will determine how large of an area you'll need. Hot tubs that fit seven people are naturally much larger than those that fit two or four people.

Outlets
Make sure you look at what type of outlet a hot tub needs — 110 or 220 volt — in order to function. If a hot tub is advertised as ‘plug and play,’ it’s likely to be a 110-volt hot tub, which is nice because most homes are outfitted with exterior 110-volt outlets so set up is quite easy. That said, 110-volt hot tubs don’t heat as quickly and the pump takes longer to circulate than 220-volt hot tubs. While pumps on 220-volt hot tubs run less and they can handle a lot more features like Bluetooth, lights, and speakers, you might notice that the electric bill is slightly higher.

Energy-saving features
Save yourself some money on your electric bill with a hot tub that has energy-saving features. You most definitely need a cover, as it will help retain heat. Be on the lookout for power or energy-saving modes that allow you to schedule when the hot tub heats up, which may save you some money on the electricity bill. 

Winters
Hot tubbing in the winter may be the best experience of all. However, some hot tubs are better designed for winter than others. Read the description thoroughly to see if the spa has creative design features to help with the cold temperatures. Inflatable hot tubs don’t do well in the winter months, so keep this in mind.

Maneuverability
A hot tub that can be easily moved could be a great perk. For instance, inflatable hot tubs can be taken on road trip vacations. Also — some hot tubs are designed with lighter materials so you don’t necessarily have to hire a moving crew to set it up where you want.

Maintenance
Owning a hot tub is going to involve some form of maintenance. Are you willing to take care of the hot tub in the way that it needs to be cared for? To know exactly what you’re getting yourself into, try to find the owner’s manual online before you purchase the hot tub. Wayfair is a great site for this in that they usually provide a downloadable version of the manual on each product page.

Costs
Gone are the days when hot tubs were for the ultra-wealthy. They’re fairly affordable now. Quality inflatable hot tubs cost anywhere from $700 to $1,500, while permanent hot tubs, can be as low as $2,500 and as high as $10,000. Find one that fits your budget, because a nightly soak in your very own spa is definitely worth the investment.

Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Mixed Latinx award-winning author and freelance writer based in Dallas, Texas. Her work in the home space has appeared in outlets like Real Homes, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Culture Trip, Neighborhoods.com, among many others. You can learn more about Alex at AlexTemblador.com.