Hot tubs are a Godsend. They can literally turn any backyard into an oasis or relaxation, a wonderful retreat at the end of a long day or a perfect place to spend the weekend to charge your batteries.
Generally speaking, hot tubs are pretty expensive units that require professional installation because of all the wiring work to be done, but if you opt for a plug-and-play hot tub, you save money, trouble, and the tub is ready to use in minutes. Let’s discover more about these wonderful inventions as we explore the ups and downs of plus and play hot tub ownership.
Top 3 Picks
Best Overall: LS350DX Plug and Play Hot Tub
“Exactly what I was looking for. Size, color, easy maintenance. No leaks or delivery damage.” (Customer review)
Best for Large Families: Lifesmart LS450DX Plug and Play Hot Tub
While most plug-and-play hot tubs are designed rather small, the Lifesmart LS450DX offers seven seats for large families or for those that simply love to have some additional legroom.
Best for Two People: Select 300 Plug and Play Hot Tub
The Select 300 plug-and-play hot tub is a more affordable alternative for people who don’t have reason to spend $1,000 extra on a model with a larger seating area that won’t be put to good use.
What Is a Plug & Play Hot Tub?
The easiest definition would be “a hot tub that you just plug into a socket and enjoy its perks”. The name is very well-chosen, as “plug and play” is a computer-related expression that defines something that’s very simple to install. That’s basically the concept behind this type of hot tub: all you need is a socket and you’re good to go. This means that you don’t need to hire a plumber and electrician, since there is no actual wiring or plumbing to be done.
Pros & Cons of a Plug & Play Hot Tub
Naturally, just like every product on the planet, a plug and play hot tub offers both advantages and drawbacks, so let’s take a look at them before you decide what to spend your money on:
Pro: It’s easy to set up. As we mentioned before, there is no complicated installation process that requires calling in professionals to take care of the wiring and plumbing. With a plug-and-play hot tub, all you have to do is plug it into a 120v and you’re ready for action. This helps you save money by hiring an electrician and you get to enjoy spending time in the hot tub right away.
Con: Doesn’t have a lot of jet power. That means that if you’re interested in the message feature of a hot tub, plug-and-play models aren’t really for you. That’s because the wiring of these products will only support one pump instead of two or three, like regular hot tubs have.
Pro: It doesn’t cost as much. Due to their compact size and lack of power in certain aspects, plug-and-play tubs are less expensive compared to regular 240v models. If you want a spa where you can relax either alone or with your friends/family but you’re on a more restrictive budget, this is definitely the right product for you.
Con: They take longer to heat. It makes sense when you consider the fact that plug-and-play tubs don’t have as much power as 240v models. That means that these tubs will take longer to heat the water until it reaches your desired temperature. It’s also important to note that, with these models, the pumps and the heater can’t run at the same time, which means that it is more difficult for a plug-and-play hot tub to maintain the water at a steady temperature.
Pro: They are more portable. Well, 240v hot tubs are considered portable, but plenty of models are very difficult to move. You might not want to carry around the hot tub with you too much, but if you decide to change the layout of your yard, a plug-and-play tub will be one less struggle in the book.
Things to Consider
If you’re still pondering over the idea of whether or not to purchase a plug and play hot tub, here are some extra things that might give you a clearer picture of what to expect from these products:
- The majority of these tubs come with one two-speed pump, lack a circulation pump, and have around 10 to 30 jets. You decide if these features are important to you, we listed them so you’ll know what you’re sacrificing when giving up a hard-wired tub for a plug-and-play model.
- Plug and play spas are not powerful enough to run the heater and the pump at the same time but this isn’t a problem for most people, especially if you plan on using the tub during the summer and you’re not particularly concerned with the amount of time it takes for the water to start losing heat.
- Plug and play models aren’t just cheaper; they are faster to set up. In other words, not only are you saving money on the product itself and skipping the part where you need to pay a professional electrician to hardwire them, but you don’t have to wait around for anyone, as you can enjoy them right after you’ve connected them to a power source.
- These spas are perfect for relaxation, as the integrated jets can offer a nice and soothing massage. However, if you need a hot tub for further therapeutic purposes, these products are not the best choice.
Best Plug & Play Hot Tubs
Capable of fitting up to six people, the Graystone Elite 600 plug-and-play hot tub is one of the largest products in its category. It is constructed with 29 hydrotherapy jets made from stainless steel. It features foam insulation, offering comfort but also the ability to maintain the heat of the water for longer than lower-end models can.
The cascade waterfall backed up by LED lighting with nine exhilarating covers will make it super-enjoyable to relax in the evening without the need for additional outdoor lights turned on. The filtration system is pretty good too, as it is combined with an ozone purification system that looks to cleanse water with up to 75 percent of chemicals. It has a water capacity of 240 gallons and measures 2′ 8” H x 6′ 7” W x 6′ 7” D overall.
Another outstanding plug-and-play hot tub is this one by AquaRest Spas. Also designed to hold up to six people, the construction and the features are impressive compared to what most people think they know about these tubs. It measures 2′ 10” H x 6′ 9 1/2” W x 6′ 9 1/2” D overall and has a water capacity of 318 gallons. It comes with 45 stainless steel jets, so there’s definitely a lot more massage and relaxation potential with this model. The jets are backed up by LED lighting for stunning nocturnal visuals.
The tub is equipped with the EZ Klean filtration system, meaning that up to 75 percent of water chemicals are removed to keep the water as clean as possible. What’s even more interesting is the fact that you can upgrade this from a 120v to a 240v hot tub by using a 30 or 50 amp 240-volt electrical service (yes, you’re going to have to bring in an electrician to make this modification).
Smaller in size, but still capable of fitting up to five people, the LS350DX plug-and-play hot tub is another product that’s here to show you how you’ve misjudged these fellows up until now. This energy-efficient spa comes with 28 jets for a generous massage, LEDs that light up the tub’s waterfall gestures, and an ozone water care system that looks to remove as many chemicals from the water as possible.
The tub is made with foam insulation to prevent the water from losing heat too fast. It comes with a thermal cover that can also be used to protect the hot tub when you’re not using it for longer periods of time. The tub has a water capacity of 315 gallons and measures 2′ 10” H x 6′ 9” W x 6′ D overall.
If you were amazed to discover that plug-and-play hot tubs can fit up to 7 people, your jaw will drop when you find out that the Lifesmart LS450DX offers seating for seven people. It comes with pretty much the features you’d expect to see from a higher-end plug-and-play hot tub, such as the waterfall feature, the ozonator that clean water by reducing the number of chemicals, LED lights available in multiple colors, and even a thermal locking cover. There are 22 jets for you to enjoy a nice massage. The tub measures 2′ 10” H x 6′ 9” W x 6′ 9” D overall and has a water capacity of 265 gallons.
If you want a plug-and-play hot tub for yourself or maybe one to share with a significant other, there’s no use in spending money on a six or seven-person unit. The Select 300 offers plenty of space for two people in a tub that measures 2′ 7” H x 5′ 8” W x 6′ 8” D. It features 20 jets that can provide you with a nice massage and coms with lumbar support to keep your lower back properly aligned. The filtration system is present in this model as well, promising to keep the water as clean as possible. It can hold up to 160 gallons of water and features a cascading waterfall lit by LED with nine colors.
Other Hot Tubs
Everything about the Adelaide hot tub screams luxury and quality. This plug-and-play hot tub is designed with 30 jets made from stainless steel, with each of them being adjustable to spray in the direction of your choice. It can seat around five or six people, offering plenty of space for those with larger families or those that like to have friends over for a wonderful spa day. It features adjustable LED flow control, LED-lit water columns, a tray and an ice bucket, plus a heavy-duty cover to protect the tub when not in use.
If you’re looking for something even more affordable, maybe an inflatable tub is the right option for you. It comes with a transparent inner wall painted with silver stripes that adds a nice and unique appeal in terms of visuals. Thanks to the quick heating system, you can have the water temperature reach up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in no time. There are 138 air jets in a tub that can support up to 245 gallons of water.
When it comes to inflatable tubs, Intex is a brand that needs no introduction. This hot tub comes in a four and a six-person version. It is designed to house 170 water jets that provide a pretty decent spa-like experience (I guess it’s better than no jets at all) in a water temperature that can go as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
It comes with a built-in water treatment system, LED lights (which require 3 AAA batteries to work), two headrests, two filter cartridges, a thermal cloth for placing on the ground underneath the tub, an inflation hose, a floating chlorine dispenser, and a carrying bag.
Are plug-and-play hot tubs any good?
If you check out the section where we discussed the pros and cons of buying and using a plug-and-play hot tub, you will get to see a more detailed answer to this question as we take a side-by-side look at the benefits and drawbacks of these spas.
Can plug-and-play hot tubs be used in winter?
Yes, but it will take longer to heat up the water. Always keep in mind that plug-and-play tubs are weaker stress-free versions of the regular hot tubs, which means they don’t have enough power to heat the water very fast when it’s really cold outside.
What is the best Plug and Play Spa?
There are plenty of brands that make and sell quality plus and play hot tubs, with some examples being LifeSmart, AquaRest, and Hudson Bay.
How much electricity does a plug-and-play hot tub use?
The standard voltage that these units need is 120v, as opposed to the usual 240v which are required for standard hot tubs.
Plug and play hot tubs are a wonderful addition to your yard when you’re on a budget and want to save money you would otherwise spend on hiring a professional to install them. These products can do a fine job in providing you with almost everything you need from a more budget-oriented option, and they should prove excellent purchases as long as you are fully aware of the limitation of buying this instead of a hardwired hot tub.