What is one of the best things you can add to your backyard to enhance your quality of life? A new hot tub, of course. Not only do hot tubs create a fun way to spend time with friends and family, soaking in a hot tub has been found to help owners sleep better and recover from exercise and injuries faster. But how much does a hot tub installation cost, and will it fit in your budget?
We’ll help you answer both questions. Read on for a detailed hot tub installation cost guide. Plus, if you’re worried about affordability, check out this guide to hot tub financing.
How much does a hot tub installation cost?
Ready to join the exciting world of hot tub ownership? You are likely wondering about the details of installing a hot tub and how much it will cost.
The total hot tub installation cost varies based on the hot tub you choose, the foundation needed, the delivery and transport requirements, the electrical needs, and the accessories you want.
Here we’ll break down all you need to know.
Hot tub cost breakdown
According to Home Advisor, above-ground hot tub prices range from $5,000 to $8,000. However, a portable hot tub can start as low as $500, and high-end options can reach up to $18,000. Here’s a closer look at the different types of hot tubs and their prices.
Inflatable hot tub
To go the cheapest and easiest route, you could opt for a vinyl inflatable hot tub. The prices on these average around $500, and they are easy to install on your own. All you need to do is clear out a level area on stable ground, inflate the hot tub, fill it up, and plug it in. These are often called plug-and-play or portable hot tubs and are great for someone on a budget.
Wooden hot tub
The next option is a wooden hot tub (typically round) made from cedar, teak, or redwood. These hot tubs range in price from $4,000 to $10,000. A big advantage here is that these often get delivered in pieces, so the hot tub installation isn’t too difficult (no crane needed). However, wooden hot tubs will require a strong foundation (spa pad) and a dedicated electrical setup which will increase the installation costs.
Acrylic hot tub
Lastly, you have acrylic hot tubs, which are heavier, more expensive, and harder to move. These range in price from $11,000 to $16,000. While very attractive and durable, acrylic hot tubs require a foundation, a dedicated electrical setup, and a more complicated installation process. They are on the high end of the hot tub spectrum and are more expensive to install.
The type of hot tub you choose will be the largest determining factor in your overall hot tub costs and will impact the following associated costs.
Hot tub foundations
Before you can install a hot tub, you will need a stable place to put it. The price range for a foundation can vary depending on the size and weight of your hot tub.
A mid-range hot tub can weigh from 400 to 1,000 pounds when empty and over two tons when full. It gets so heavy when filled and occupied you will need a solid foundation to support the weight.
Popular foundation options include a gravel patio, concrete pad, or specially-designed gazebo. A gravel patio has an average cost of $1,600, a concrete pad costs about $2,200, and a gazebo costs around $6,500.
It’s a good idea to talk to your hot tub dealer about the requirements for your model. For example, Home Depot advises you to have a load capacity of 125 pounds per square foot. Additionally, if you need to build a foundation, be sure to check with your county or city to see if permits or inspections are required.
A hot tub (aside from the inflatable hot tub options and those that come in pieces) will usually be delivered to your house on a trailer. Then, it will require either a crane or several hot tub installers to transport it from the trailer to the installation site.
The delivery and transport required to install a hot tub come with an average cost of $300, while a crane can cost an additional $200.
Whether your hot tub requires a crane or not will depend on how heavy it is, how far the distance is between the trailer and the installation site, and if there is an access route big enough for the hot tub installers to carry the spa to its final location.
You may also need to temporarily take down fencing during this process, which can add an estimated $300 or so to the hot tub cost.
Some spas can be plugged right into an existing outlet. However, many will require the installation of a dedicated electrical setup adding to the hot tub costs. When the latter is the case, it is highly recommended that you bring in a certified electrician.
According to Home Depot, the following set up is required:
- A 240 volt 50 AMP neutrally protected with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
- 50 AMP for your main breaker box/ service panel
- A hot tub bond wire directly connected to the control pack
- GFCI installed next to the hot tub on a wall at least five feet away
The total average cost for this electrical setup is estimated at around $600. Note that you may need to get a permit for home projects that require electrical wiring. Be sure to check with your local county or city.
You will also need a source of water nearby for filling the hot tub and cleaning it. A garden hose will typically do. Further, you’ll need to choose a sanitation system (more on that below).
You may need a sturdy set of waterproof stairs for easy and safe entrance and exit from the spa. The average cost for these ranges from $150 to $350. Alternatively, you may opt for a pump to quickly and easily empty the spa, which runs about $100.
Next, a cover is required to keep the spa water clean, keep heat in, and protect the spa from the elements (especially for an outdoor hot tub). But how much does a hot tub cover cost? Typically around $225.
Then, there is the cover helper. This is a piece of equipment that makes it easier to open and close the hot tub cover. It prevents the cover from being damaged and eases the operation for users. Estimates for these usually land around $200.
Then, there are the add ons. You may want to add other touches to your spa-like a bar, mood lights, speakers, and more. All of these add ons will add to your total cost.
Hot tub installation costs
Having trouble keeping a running tally of all the prices? Don’t worry. While all of the following may not apply to you, here is an extensive itemized list of hot tub installation costs.
How much does it cost to install a built-in hot tub?
What if you are looking at in-ground hot tubs?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 total, according to Home Advisor, to install a built-in hot tub.
Bruce Wettstein, the pool builder at Blacks and Pools, says, “The major components of in-ground hot tubs would be dig (excavation), steel, gunite (shotcrete), tile and coping, plumbing, electric, equipment installation, plaster, and start-up.”
You can also cut out some of those steps (steel, gunite, tile and coping, and sometimes plumbing) by opting for a prefabricated hot tub shell, typically made of acrylic.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs.
Excavation for in-ground hot tubs can be charged on a project-by-project basis, or it can be based on the yards of dirt that need to be removed. The average cost per yard of dirt is $100, while the average project cost is around $2,842, according to Home Advisor.
An inspection will be required to get an accurate quote, as it can vary widely depending on the size of the hot tub, your location, the type of terrain to be removed, the presence of trees/rocks, and the machinery that will be required.
If you go this route, you will buy the shell, which is then installed into the excavated area. Therefore, there’s no requirement for customizability offered with a concrete hot tub.
However, you may be able to save on costs and time. According to Cost Owl, acrylic shells range from $3,000 to $12,000, and an installation service can add another $3,000 to $5,000 to the project.
Concrete hot tub
This is similar to an in-ground concrete pool, just on a smaller scale. It includes the materials and labor for the steel, gunite, plumbing, jets, equipment, plaster, excavation, and start-up.
Fixr estimates you can expect costs to be around $72 per square foot. A hot tub that is 7′ by 7′ and 3′ deep would cost about $10,500.
Tile and coping
River Pools and Spas estimates that coping can range from $6 to $55 per linear foot on in-ground hot tubs, depending on the type of coping you choose. Common types include brick, paver, natural stone, and cantilevered concrete. As for the waterline tile, you’re looking at an average price range from $600 to $800 for a hot tub.
The electrical installation for a new hot tub will be similar to the above-ground spa and will cost around $600, on average.
And that’s it. Here’s a summary of the electrical installation prices:
Wettstein says, “I used to build pools for a nationally-known health club, and my prices could vary by 15K within 20 miles. Just crossing over into another zip code where labor (and some materials) were much cheaper made a huge difference.”
Being so, it will be important to get a quote in your zip code.
Frequently asked questions about hot tub installations
Next, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about installing a hot tub and the costs.
Do you need an electrician to install a new hot tub?
Whether you need an electrician to install your hot tub or not depends on the electrical requirements of the model you choose. Models that only require 110V are often referred to as plug-and-play hot tubs. Why? Because you can plug them into an existing electrical outlet and hop in. Models that require 220V will often require a certified electrician to run the wires from your electric panel to the hot tub and ensure you have enough power.
110V plug-and-play hot tubs come out ahead when it comes to energy efficiency and energy costs as they use as little energy as possible. However, 220V hot tubs come out ahead when it comes to retaining heat, heating up quickly, and being able to power multiple functions at the same time.
How can you install a hot tub as cheaply as possible?
To keep your hot tub installation costs as low as possible, your best bet would be to buy an inflatable hot tub and install it on an existing cement slab. This way, you can plug and play without the need to worry about the foundation or a special electrical setup. Of course, they have their pros and cons but are the easiest way to get a hot tub without breaking the bank.
Inflatable hot tub pros
- Hot tub cost savings.
- Easy to move.
- Use indoors or outdoors.
- Shut it down when you don’t want to use it.
- Soft and comfortable.
Inflatable hot tub cons
- May not have seats.
- Slow to heat up.
- It can cost more to heat and keep heated.
What do you need to do to the spa water in a new hot tub?
Once your hot tub is all set up, the next step is to fill it with water. You can do so using a regular garden hose. We recommend using a hose filter to keep our impurities like calcium, metals, and too many minerals. Also, place the hose in the filter well or filtration system area, so you get the benefits of the hot tub’s filter.
Fill the bottom portion where your feet go, and then run the pumps for a minute or two. Many manufacturers put antifreeze in the plumbing, so this will get it out. Empty that out and then fill the hot tub all the way up.
Once full, wait until the water reaches 80 degrees Fahrenheit and then add the chemicals according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Do you need a concrete pad for a hot tub?
A concrete pad is an excellent foundation for a hot tub, but it’s not your only choice. Hot tubs can also be set on paver stones, gravel beds, spa pads, or reinforced wooden decks. They should not be placed directly on soil, grass, or decks that can not support the weight once water is added. Remember, hot tubs often weigh from 3,000 to 6,000 pounds when full of water.
Which hot tub sanitizing systems are best? What are the pros and cons?
There are different ways to keep your water sparkling clean. Hot tubs generally come with filtration systems, but you will also need to implement a sanitizing system. The commonly used systems include:
- Bromine tablets: The most popular sanitizing solution, Bromine tablets, are often inserted into a floating dispenser to continuously sanitize the water. The pros are that they are effective, affordable, and easy to monitor. The cons include that they have an odor, can cause dry skin, and degrade upon exposure to sunlight.
- Chlorine: Chlorine can be used to shock hot tubs but is not great as a stand-alone solution because the granules dissipate too quickly.
- Mineral sanitizers: Mineral sanitizers use silver or copper ions to clean the water. They appeal to many because they are more natural, don’t fade swimsuits, have no odor, and are low cost.
- Saltwater systems: Salt can be added to the water and used in combination with a system that generates a mild electric current through the saltwater to generate chlorine. The pros are that these are highly effective and low maintenance, but they can be more expensive than the other options.
Your sanitization system will be part of your hot tub installation, as well as your ongoing upkeep costs.
How can I find hot tub installation help near me?
If you need help with your hot tub installation, you can look for local pool and spa care companies. You may also be able to get referrals from companies like Home Depot and Home Advisor. Be sure to read reviews online to find a reputable company with experience and competitive prices.
Finance your hot tub costs
Now that you have an idea about the costs of installing a new hot tub, it’s time to figure out how to pay for it. If you are interested in financing projects like this, there are several online personal lenders that make it simple.
Find out more about your financing options below.
Online lenders have changed the lending market by offering competitive interest rates, flexible terms, and an easy application process. The task you’re left with is figuring out which lender will offer you the best deal on your new hot tub installation project.
To find out, head over to SuperMoney’s loan offer engine, answer a few questions, and voilà! You will know what you can expect to pay without applying individually with a dozen different lenders.
Then, you can use our Personal Loans comparison tools to get preapproved offers and find the best deals. Before you know it, you’ll be lounging in your very own hot tub!
Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, The Simple Dollar, Interest.com, Commonbond, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, Guardian, Personalloans.org and many others. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and fun.