What is a Portable Hot Tub?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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A portable hot tub is a small to medium sized tub that can be constructed and deconstructed easily for transport to a different location. Such tubs can be inflatable, or they can be hard-sided tubs that are built from slats of wood or other solid materials. A liner is placed inside the hard shell, ensuring the water does not escape. Portable hot tub varieties are often much cheaper than permanently installed hot tubs, but they are also typically smaller and less powerful. They usually plug into a normal home electrical outlet, though the heater and motor for the jets are often quite a bit less powerful than permanent hot tubs.

A hard-sided portable hot tub is sometimes known as a spa in a box, since they are usually shipped to customers in a box and built up from there. They are generally quite easy to set up, though they must be set up properly in order to support the weight of the number of adults specified for that particular tub. Like other tubs, a portable hot tub must be properly cleaned, or at the very least drained frequently so new water can be put in the tub. Spa chemicals to control alkalinity, pH levels, and water cleanliness should be used on portable hot tub models, just as they should be used in normal, permanent spas.


An inflatable portable hot tub is made from a nylon or plastic material that is durable and waterproof. While not as rugged as the solid-walled portable tubs or the permanently installed tubs, they are durable enough to hold several adults without collapsing. The bottom of the tub is often padded, since users will sit directly on the bottom of the tub--unlike permanent tubs, which feature bench seats or molded acrylic ergonomic seats. An inflatable tub offers less adjustability, but set up time is fast and the tub can be used for events or day activities without becoming a permanent fixture to work around near the home.

Many portable hot tubs look identical to permanent models and feature the same acrylic molded seats. The difference, however, is in the weight: a portable tub will be significantly lighter than a permanent tub, since the portable tub will more than likely need to be moved at some point. Permanent tubs weigh significantly more and need to be placed on a sturdy surface such as a concrete slab. Most portable tubs can be placed on any flat surface with reasonable support.



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