Brand Reviews


Arctic Spa – Brand Review
Video review, A look at Cedar Skirts, jetting, waterflow, insulation, clamps and cost.

Beachcomber – Brand Review
“This brand is a mixed bag. I find it really overpriced by a long shot, I saw the summer saver deal for 2017 and laughed so hard I almost cried. Some of the suggested retail prices are literally 2x what they are really worth.

That being said they build to the right standard. Balboa control and heating system, waterways jets, hand-rolled self-supporting shells, and glued and clamped plumbing lines. This is all the stuff I like to see in a Top Tub!”

Bullfrog – Brand Review
Bullfrogs, like most bands, are a bit of good a bit of bad and a bit of ugly. Those goofy pods really limit the area where the jetting can go. and are so expensive to replace $400-$700 that according to the dealers I have talked to very few people ever replace them. The whole premise is kind of whack, on any hot tub with good high flow Jetting you can change the Jets and customize a chair for $20 $40 a jet and you have more options because each jet can be swapped and it can be done simply and easily.

Strong Spas (Costco) – Brand Review
Video Review, one of my first videos and biggest hits, this one made the Reddit Front Page when it was posted! Check it out for yourself to see what we are all about.

Dynasty Spa – Brand Review
Video Review, I rank the electronic and flow control system, check out performance, price, insulation and plumping. Cradle supported which creates stress points! Great appearance but we take a look underneath and show you what is really going on.

Hydropool – Brand Review
“The next bit of misleading craziness is that they say that it is 100% filtration! This is just using a buzzword to fool you… How all filter systems really work is the water goes through a filter which cleans all the debris out of the water, then that water gets dumped back into the tub so right away it gets mixed into the unfiltered water… over time more and more water is filtered and after a few hours, there is no debris left. The only way to really have 100% filtration is to pump the water through a filter into another container, then once it is all filtered you can put it back into the hot tub… This is simply dishonest and they should not be claiming it is 100% filtration, it is marketing Spin all of it… ”

Master Spa – Brand Review
Video Review, Watch me take a look at my own Twilight Series 8.2 hot tub! High flow therapy jets, reverse molded neck jets, shell construction, parts, flow control systems and more.

7.5 Total Score

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  1. Reply
    Mark April 16, 2018 at 6:52 pm
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    Hi Chris – this is a great site! It’s been very helpful to cut through a lot of the marketing noise! I have already sent it along to a couple of friends who are also researching hut tubs….

    I’m in Whitby Ontario and am looking for a 5 to 7 person tub. I’ve been reading up on a lot of the brands out there and want to find a reliable local dealer – I haven’t locked down the brand/model yet, but I have decided to stay away from the web & big box store options.

    So my questions for you are:

    1. Thoughts on Salt water hot tubs? Are they worth the premium price?

    2. Could you please explain Ozone systems – are they standard within good quality tubs, or are they an add on?

    3. Who is a local dealer you would recommend in Whitby ON or in Durham Region?


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    • Reply
      admin April 17, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      My advice would be to stay away from The salt water systems. This is old Technology from the 80s being resold as innovation 10 years after everyone stopped using it. Most guys moved away from this stuff a long time ago. It’s high chemical between 1 to 3 parts per million of chlorine or bromine difficult to manage and unreliable. There’s much better technology on the market that can get you to 4 or 5 x lower chemical levels. read this article

      Ozone is standard on most tubs. and the reality is it doesn’t really do that much. To be effective Ozone systems would need to be a complex expensive system using p[re treated air, high output generators, multi-stage absorption chambers, and off-gas ozone destruct systems costing thousands of dollars… The reality is hot tubs use a cheap $150-$300 system that really has a marginal effect on overall water care and releases off-gas into the tub area which damages covers and pillows and can be a health risk.

      My buddy Griffin Ryan is out that way, I have known this guy personally for 5 or 6 years, he is a solid guy who stands behind what he sells.

  2. Reply
    Chris April 16, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I am looking at the Marquis Celebrity ‘Hollywood’ and the Tropic Seas ‘Rio’. The Marquis is an entry level tub with minimal insulation, it only has a layer of thermal blanket (silver metallic wrap). While the Tropic Seas comes with a winterization package if I upgrade to add the circ pump. The price is about the same $6000. Any opinions about these tubs?

    Also, what dealers would you visit in the Seattle area. I went to Kirkland Deck and Spa (tropic seas) and Seattle Hot tub (Marquis).

    Thanks for your input.


  3. Reply
    Rob K April 16, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Chris – What size pumps come with the Master Spa TS 8.25? In your video you mention two 6hp pumps but I can’t find any specs on the MS website. Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin April 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Rob

      They are 6 Hp but that doesn’t mean much 🙂 the hot tub industry uses HP and for water pumps, it really should be GPM or electrical motor amperage. That being said everyone typically uses the BHP rating so at least they are all reasonable comparable. 🙂 They Use a solid 56 frame US motor too which I really like, I find them beefier and longer lasting than the less expensive magnetecks and GE ones. its got good flow, you will not want for power in that tub.

      • Reply
        Rob K April 17, 2018 at 2:07 pm

        Thanks. I’m a little confused. I’m looking at a MS 8.25 and one pump is labeled as 56 frame, 12a, 1 sp, 3HP motor from US Motors. The other is a balboa 56 Frame, 12a, 2sp – no HP or BHP indicated. It seems that at least one is 3HP. I assume that you aren’t referring to “peak” hp when talking motor ratings as the peak isn’t continuous which you already know. Thanks,

        • admin April 17, 2018 at 8:19 pm

          Hey Rob

          Yer right it’s a mess how they rate pumps but it’s not master it’s how the industry does it they all quote break Hp cause it sounds good but it does not matter because for comparison purposes that’s how most everyone quotes it.

          I have seen guys put 6 Hp pump heads on 8 amp motors and call them 6 hp…

          You really can’t put anything much bigger than 2 x 12 amp motors… 2 motors are 24 amps the heater is 4-5kw so again 18-22 amps dude all spas run 50 amp supply any more and you blow the breaker and you need a percentage for surge so the most you can reliably run on any hot tub is right around 45 amps… it does not matter if you have 1 motor of 20 you still can’t draw any more power.

          and then it gets even messier because there are different performance curves form different pumps.. they might all draw 12 amps but there will be different flow rates and then the plumbing system will take that number and again effect how it affects the end flow out of the jets 🙂

          I have never found a good solution… the only real way would be to evaluate flow rates and pressure in each finished with diverters and different jets, it would nigh on impossible to get a comparison that’s much better…

          I always find the cheap little jets feel like they are hitting harder because it’s nailing a tiny area and mainly mashing your dermal layer where all the nerves are so they “feel” awesome but for long-term muscle relaxation you need to move the whole muscle mass so the high flow jets which do flow much more water have much more force and move the whole muscle mass… Man sit in front of those seats full of the big therapy jets which a whole pump turned on to just that seat and long-term do way more for muscle tension.

          read this article below the video.

  4. Reply
    Jerad April 10, 2018 at 5:13 pm
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    Hi, I’m looking at a new hot tub, and your reviews of the Hydropool are scaring me off. I’ve been comparing the Hydropool 7000 serenity and the coast spa 7B. So my target is a 7 person, no bells and whistle tub, that is energy efficient and easily maintained (for the cabin) out close to Edmonton. Thanks

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    • Reply
      admin April 11, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Jared I didn’t mean to scare anyone off, You got to understand I’m a bit of a fanatic, I want everything to be the best tech available.

      I get a lot of people out in Edmonton, I’m in Halifax!

      I scoured that area end to end, there is just nothing there I would buy but you have two solid independent service guys that are established there because I think they have a few big shows that have been going through there for a while and this has created a good solid service network on the ground, we are seeing this happening in some markets and it’s changing the way things have been.

      I literally sold two tubs there in the last couple weeks.

      you need r-value insulation out there dude. I use a simple rule of thumb. If it would not meet code in a house in a northern US state or Canada then it is simply not good enough. We don’t have silly arguments like this in the building industry… Why??? Because it’s regulated and has to meet scientific scrutiny. Mylar and other radiant barriers were all over the building industry in the 80’s with the same outrageous claims the hot tub industry uses today, no one uses this crap as a primary insulator in that industry anymore and most of the northern US states and the Canadian Mortgage Housing Authority all issued warnings about it back decades ago… This is old recycled technology and there are way-way better options out there.

  5. Reply
    K April 9, 2018 at 2:48 am
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    We really found your site so valuable to us when we decided to replace our 1994 Hot Springs Sovereign. We toyed with the idea of a Costco drop ship, a Hot Springs or a Garden Leisure. Knowing what we know now, because of your site, we decided on a Master Spa Balance 8. Hands down the best quality we have seen! We are so excited to get it. One question I have though is we did not choose to upgrade to the vac formed abs pan bottom. We put a call into our sales guy tonight and hope to hear back when the shop opens in the morning. We live in the Milwaukee suburbs and would love to know your recommendation. We are so thankful for this site!

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    • Reply
      admin April 10, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      The bottom pan is not an issue unless you have a really damp install sight the standard bottom has a heavy poly base.

  6. Reply
    Geoff April 9, 2018 at 2:31 am
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    Hey Chris, my wife stopped by a hot tub expo in our area since we started the purchase conversation this weekend and unfortunately they are a buy now type of location so she is throwing a lot of questions that I can’t answer and hoping you can give us some direction .We are a family of 5 but more than likely with the older ones not around as often will be using it with 3 or 4 people at a time and we’re looking at the Twilight series 6.2 and the Bullfrog A6L. anything between the 2 that I should pay particular attention to?
    They want $11,300 for the Twilight and $11,900 for the Bullfrog. Are these prices in line?
    Vancouver, Canada if that makes a difference.

    thanks, Geoff

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    • Reply
      admin April 10, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Hey Geoff

      Sorry for the delay in answering just so busy on here now!

      I just did a bullfrog review finally, I’m going to get ahold of one soon and dig in deeper but have a boo at this:

      Also look at the jetting, the top Bullfrog has a few of the good expensive hi flow jets and a lot fo little ones it is not going to perform like a tub that is full of the high flow therapy jets, Bullfrog does not a build a line like Twilight their top line would be more on par with the next one down health Living.

  7. Reply
    Mark from Ontario April 4, 2018 at 3:35 am
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    Very informative site Chris – kudos !

    I have an opportunity to purchase a used spa due to a home reno. Here are the details;

    Calspa Avalon 6 to 8 person – 2007 model year
    Set-up has been under a covered shelter so out of the weather and also maintained by reputable pool company. It seems like it is as good as any 10 year old spa could be and was not visibly neglected.
    2- 5 hp Motors (GE) runs on 240 V
    All new pumps installed last year
    5K Heater

    If I buy it I will need to de-commission it and store it for several months while our spa site is set-up and prepped (your site is proving to be very helpful for this too).

    Questions I have are;

    1) what do you think of this brand and model ? (quality, durability, parts availability, etc.) Obviously there will be no warranty backstop.

    2) Is it normal for the pumps to go after 10 years in your opinion ? Does that tell you something I may be missing ?

    3) how much has changed in the last 10 years insofar as efficiency and components, etc. ? Are there offsets in operating/ongoing maintenance costs that I need to consider as I try to assess the risk/reward here of the obvious saving in up-front cost ?

    4) Do you have any advice or best practices as to de-commissioning and/or re-installing a used spa ?

    thanks in advance – much appreciated.


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    • Reply
      admin April 4, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      On a 2009 you will be fine the parts I think are Balboa and the shell if it lasted this long will be fine. Look between the pump head and the motor for white buildup which will indicate a failing pump. I would suspect it has had a main pump replacement at least. Not much has changed in 10 years except the parts have gotten cheaper and poorer quality on a lot of things. the key to moving and storing is chlorinate and run a spa clean puck through before you empty then vac the lines and put it on its side or flat. Then just place it fill it and run it

  8. Reply
    Greg April 3, 2018 at 9:36 pm
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    Love your website. Incredibly helpful information. I’m considering a Master Spas TS 8.2. I have been quoted an expo show price of $9,700 for this spa. Is that a fair expo show price? Thanks for your insight.

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    • Reply
      admin April 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Pricing varies a lot by region, its really expensive to do business in LA for instance and cheap as chips in rural areas but That’s a good price for that unit anywhere

      • Reply
        Greg April 7, 2018 at 1:52 am

        How valuable do you think the ABS pan is? How much does it improve efficiency? Thanks!

  9. Reply
    Andrew April 2, 2018 at 9:30 pm
    Informative Article
    Share Worthy
    Would You Refer Chris?

    This site is amazing. Thabk you for providing such great information.

    We’re thinking about getting a Master Spa, but the Clarity line, particularly the Precision 7. We’re also looking at a Hot Spring Limelight Flash. Do you have a recommendation between the two? Just looking for a relaxation tub, not therapy.
    The Hot Spring dealer is much closer to us than the Master Spas, but we found dealers for each.

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    • Reply
      admin April 3, 2018 at 11:40 am

      So the Hot springs use a goofy parts list that you can only get from them, I am fanatical about one thing, get a good reliable easy to source parts list. For me, that makes it a no go brand. When something goes wrong I want an easy to source competitively priced part. You also want a removable skirt system, it’s more expensive to build but if you have any issues it will save you a ton. Building a hot tub with no access to the sides is insane.

      Clarity is a new shell like the open area with loads of room, the jetting is good and the build is right. It also uses a good reliable easy to source parts list.

  10. Reply
    Justin March 25, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Great job on this website. It has really made my research much easier! I’m looking at purchasing the Master Spa Phelps LSX 700. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I’ve received a quote for CAD $15,585 including the bluetooth sound system, cover, cover lift, steps, and delivery. I have two questions for you. 1) Is this a good price? I’m having a really hard time finding prices posted online, and we only have one dealer that sells Master Spa in my area. 2) I was just going to get the base filtration system (ecopure charge). Would you recommend upgrading to the Mast3rpur or quietflo systems? The sales rep I was dealing with recommended against these.Thanks in advance!

    • Reply
      admin March 27, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      It’s a crazy expensive spa order it without a circ pump and no to the Masterpur $15k is a solid number on that tub

  11. Reply
    Jason March 24, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I’m looking at purchasing the Master Spa 8.2 twilight series. They have the expo in my area this weekend, but none with the MasterPur Water Management System upgrade in them, I would have to order the spa and have it shipped at a later date to get that option.
    Is this something you would recommend or not for long term care?

    • Reply
      Steven March 30, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      REMOTE TEMP CONTROL? Chris – based on your site, I bought a Twilight 8.2 & started it up yesterday. It’s at our cabin – 45 minutes from home. Left it at 102 deg, thinking we could go up tonight. Turns out we cannot go for couple days… which made me wonder – IS A WIFI remote control module available, as an add-on to the Balboa controls, for allowing me to change the temp remotely? (Thx for sharing your knowledge on hot tubs!)

    • Reply
      admin March 27, 2018 at 1:24 pm

      Hey Jason sorry man I was so busy this week.

      I would not order the masterpur, go with an aftermarket system like aqua finesse or Spa Marvel.

  12. Reply
    Pam March 23, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for all your time that you have put into this amazing and informative site!
    Here’s where I need your advise:

    We have decided on the Master Spa Twilight Series and we can purchase a 2017 floor model or a brand new 2018 model.

    2017 TS 7.25 floor demo- $7700. (cover, steps, delivery, start up)
    2018 TS 8.25 brand new- $8200. (cover, steps, delivery, start up)
    Both have a 3 year warranty.

    The dealer is saying that if we order the 2018 model we should add a circ pump due to the severe cold conditions we can experience here in Ohio.

    My questions are:
    What’s your thought on these prices and does a circ pump help keep the hot tub any warmer during severe cold winters?

    Which of these 2 would you purchase?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Reply
      Susan March 24, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Hi Chris,
      We are in Toronto and looking to buy our first hot tub. Any recommendation on a good dealer in this area? For the cold winters, anything specific we should look for? Top priority for us is quality and comfort, not so much # of Jets.
      We were at a trade show and almost got caught up in the sales pitch and almost committed to a $17k (all in) 8’ tub. Can you get a good tub for $10k? Remember, that’s Canadian $10k! 😉What do you recommend? Appreciate any advise! Thank you. Susan

      • Reply
        admin March 25, 2018 at 11:22 pm

        Hey Susan. There’s a lot of brands I’m not a fan of, it seems the big built-up metropolises are mostly selling the big brands with the crazy advertising budgets and outrageous retail prices.

        It’s funny it seems like the good brands with, better backup support and better pricing are only in the burbs and beyond 🙂

        For 10k there are loads of good buys especially if the jetting isn’t a big deal for you…

        I don’t really see anything around your post go that I like. but I got a good buddy out there that I know personally that might be able to take care of you.

    • Reply
      admin March 24, 2018 at 12:53 am

      i would go to the 8 footer for the money and no do not order a circ pump, it has nothing to do with heat and is not a good option.

      the 2017 and 18’s are almost identical only the skirt and the jet had changed

  13. Reply
    Christopher March 22, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I’m having trouble finding a dealer in the Los Angeles area that sells Master hot tubs. Any leads?

    • Reply
      admin March 24, 2018 at 12:18 am

      LA is a funny market it is supplied by a regular series for tent sales, expos, and fairs and as a result, there are free dealers and the only ones I can find are the big flash marketing brands.

      The good side is there are loads and load of independent service guys so you can buy almost anything that uses a good easy to source arts list and have a good reliable experience.

  14. Reply
    Jonathan Rogers March 19, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Help, am I missing a quality option near me?
    My wife and I just began the process of buying a hot tub and I’m so glad I found your videos and this forum. I have always loved the research phase of making any large purchase and this one has been no different. Unfortunately now that I have read these questions with your answers and watched your YouTube videos I’m having difficulty finding one of your recommended spas near me. (SD 57252) Now granted, where I live there isn’t a lot near me in the first place, but usually we can get what we need in under a two hour drive and all I’m seeing are spas that don’t make your list. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Reply
      scott pendleburry March 21, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Hi Jonathan,
      It is a bit of a drive but I found a place near Aberdeen which carries Artesian Spas. I don’t know the dealer but the brand is one of the few I consider really good. Here is their website

  15. Reply
    Lisa March 10, 2018 at 12:56 am

    What a great site! We are in the market for a hot tub, probably for 6-8 people. I am really interested in the cool zone hot tub cooling system that I’ve heard about. We live in the Raleigh/Durham, NC area and it gets really humid in the summer. I’d love to have something cool to sit in during the day w/o going to the expense and extensive yard use of a pool. But I also love sitting in the hot tub at night to wind down with a glass of wine! Do you have any experience with this system? Can it be used with any hot tub or only certain ones?

    • Reply
      admin March 12, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Hi Lisa

      It’s not practical to raise and lower the temp on a daily basis.

      the costs would be astronimical in the $200+ a month mark and you just cant cool a spa quickly. a dual zone swims spa if your willing to spend the money is your solution.

      • Reply
        Lisa March 15, 2018 at 11:13 pm

        Thank you for the information on the cooling system. I doubt we want to go to the expense of the dual zone so I guess that rules out that idea. Do you have a preferred retailer in the Raleigh/Durham area?

        • admin March 16, 2018 at 1:17 am

          Dixon Pool & Spa, Inc.
          Dixon Pools & Spas
          122 Alamance Rd., Burlington, NC, 27215
          Phone: 336-221-0808

          Details from Google Maps
          122 Alamance Rd, Burlington, NC 27215

          +1 336-221-0808
          2.6View in Google Maps

  16. Reply
    Tim March 9, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Great Site! How do you feel about Coast Spas? I’m here in Austin, Tx. and visited Austin Spas and Pools and they carry this brand. Looking at the Zenith. Also, what is the best type of foundation/base to put a hot tub on? Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin March 12, 2018 at 3:12 pm

      Hey Tim

      I know coast is not in my tier one group, would have to reference why and im on vacation so yer getting the cheap and easy answers 🙂 never heard of Zenith.

      As for the base, dont get too caught up…

      Austin Spas and Pools
      Status: Unverified

      We don’t know these guys but the Carry Artesian which is on our good guy list.
      Details from Google Maps
      13748 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78750
      +1 512-335-5458

      or if you travel a bit:

      Atlas Spas & Swim Spas
      Details from Google Maps
      4801 W Park Blvd Unit 448, Plano, TX 75093
      +1 469-707-9004

  17. Reply
    Tess March 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    What a phenomenal site– thank you for providing such candid information. For a number of reasons, I’m not quite ready to invest 7-10K for hot tub I may find myself not using. I’m fortunate that I have the resources to service and maintain a hot tub– friends that are electricians and plumbing on the side! From what I can gather, your tier one category is Master and Marquis then Artesian. Thereafter, Cal and lower is Bullfrog. I’m in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and virtually all brands are available new, while I see more Hot Springs, Caldera, Sundance, Viking, and Jacuzzi available used. Anyway– a major consideration is to find the companies that use the Balboa elements (not have to buy proprietary components). Next, would be to identify which manufacturer has the best insulation/shell, as I would not ‘winterize’ as winter is the best time to use it! Anticipating upkeep with the purchase of a used spa, parts availability is a big factor. Any guidance on how old is too old to consider purchasing? What about what brand would be the easiest to upkeep?

    • Reply
      admin March 8, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Hey Tess.

      any of my recommended brands used should still have the right stuff for reliability and ease of getting parts.

      Age wise depends on how much you want to spend. and the condition of the spa. this guy is an independent service guy in your area, you might want to pay him to go look at the spa for you first.

      Pool Guy of Mansfield
      Details from Google Maps
      Mansfield, OH 44902
      +1 419-544-2881
      5.0View in Google Maps

  18. Reply
    Bill March 7, 2018 at 11:51 am

    Chris — I stumbled upon your site, I’m impressed! I was hoping you could help me out. I am clueless about hot tubs — and am simply looking for a brand/model recommendation. Here is what is important to me as well as what I don’t care about:
    1) Extremely reliable – I’d much much rather pay upfront for high quality and then not have to worry.
    2) I have a family of 4 — capacity from 4 to 6
    3) Most of the time, I would say the primary use is socializing but it would be nice if at least one area (chair?) to have strong therapeutic effects
    4) Will be in Michigan — and want to use it year-round.
    5) Simple to use

    Not Important:
    1) Music systems, elaborate lighting systems, other ‘gadgets’

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • Reply
      admin March 8, 2018 at 2:48 pm

      Hot Tub Store
      Status: HTU Approved

      We met with these folks and they are doing a bang-up job in their local market. We approve these guys which means if you buy from them you can call us if you have issues and we will stand behind you and use our big stick to wack them into compliance 🙂 “HTU APPROVED” must appear on the original invoice!
      Details from Google Maps
      8787 Hall Rd, Utica, MI 48317
      +1 586-739-9111
      4.3View in Google Maps

  19. Reply
    Craig Harland March 4, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    i am confused about Tropic seas Spas, I was told by the dealer Spa World in Phoenix , that is is an Artesian Spa , one of the brands that you tout. On Artesian website there is no mention of Tropic seas.

    I feel that we were sold on the full foam and construction of a south seas spa and then sold a neighboring Tropic Seas Spa Kona which may not have the same build quality. I have to make a decision to cancel by Tue March 6 but am hoping to make it by Monday.

    We were handed a South Seas brochure booklet and then a single page insert on the Tropic Seas Spas?

    What is your opinion of Tropic Seas, The website is a fairly generic wordpress site and I am not confident of the specs.

    • Reply
      admin March 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Tropic seas is not Artesian. I would not consider the tropic seas. and yes they totally are playing bullshit games with you… what dealer is it so I can notate the file?

      Phoenix Hot Tubs and Swim Spas
      Status: HTU Approved!

      These guys have my 5 start recommendation, I just spent 4 days with these the boys from Phoenix and they are doing all the right things. By from these guys and get HTU Approved put on your original invoice and you can use us if you have any issues and we will stand behind you and use our big stick to wack them into compliance 🙂 “HTU APPROVED” must appear on the original invoice!
      Details from Google Maps
      1746 W Ruby Dr Suite 104, Tempe, AZ 85284
      +1 480-389-9799
      5.0View in Google Maps

      • Reply
        Rich March 20, 2018 at 5:45 am

        I was also looking at a Tropic Seas (Rio) supposedly by Artesian. So after your research are you now saying Tropic Seas Spas get a thumbs up from you? or you still would not buy one?

        • admin March 22, 2018 at 9:18 pm

          Yep, they make a good spa man. I toured the factory this winter and they are doing a good job.

          With Artesian though you are wholly dependant on the dealer they will not deal with customers directly to make sure its a good dealer or you have a local service guy.

          I would check out Master they have their factory in ft Wayne and I think they sell direct through here:
          Master Spas Indianapolis (by Appointment Only)
          8070 Castleton Road , Indianapolis, IN, 46250
          Phone: 317-999-5922

      • Reply
        Craig Harland March 5, 2018 at 11:36 pm

        The dealer is Spa World in Phoenix. I did look up a phone number for Artisan in Las Vegas and spoke with an employee who verified that they do build Tropic seas , on same equipment as their other lines. It used to be a brand they build as a proprietary brand for one company but they now have the ability to sell it through other dealers as well. ??

        I am checking out Phoenix Hot Tubs as well per your recommendation. Not sure I can live with the layout of their 7 ft tub and their 8 ft is too large for my location.

  20. Reply
    Anthony March 4, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Hi Chris I live out in Oshawa Ontario. I have been looking at the Masters Healthy Living 8, the TS 7.2 and Marquis Epic. I’m leaning towards the Marquis. I would like to know more about their regular jets not the H. O. T ZONES. Not being Waterway are they still built with quality. How does this tub rate for therapy compare to the others. Thanks for this site cheers!

    • Reply
      admin March 5, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Hey Anthony

      From a build standpoint, I like all these tubs, they are very similar construction if you order the marquis with the full foam (standard on the other 2). All these spas have moved over to the CMP jets system. I have to say Im being converted, this system is working reliably and while traditionally I would have been all over click in jets being a bad thing and I still am for the ones with the tabs on them these new blades lock in well and I am just finishing up some research and about to start endorsing them.

      performance wise look a the jetting…

      The HL is the entry one here, it has no diverter and about 11 of the high flow therapy jets.

      The next is the Epic which has twin diverters and about 19 of the high flow jets, but no real neck jet system and no real foot jet system (those little low flow jets do not move anywhere near enough water to really do any good on feet). and a lot of the little inexpensive low flow jets.

      The TS series performance wise is by far the winner it has a dozen of the High flow jets and all the rest are the mid flow and there are none of the cheap low flow jets. It has an amazing wrap around neck jet system using 4 mid flow therapy jets and those massive jets in the floor are insane, you can divert an entire 6 hp pump to those jets and for feet, hips, legs and lower back those monster jets are the best.

  21. Reply
    Patricia Weiser February 27, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Found a dealer that carries Marquis, looking at the Vector 94L (44 jets – 2 – 2hp pumps) and all the other items you said to look for, which I really like or the signature series Euphoria. Also the Artesian island spa Captiva 46 jets or Grand Cayman. Which would you recommend and why. Thanks for all you help

  22. Reply
    Patricia Weiser February 26, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    do you know anything about California Home Spa & Patio 1621 E. Spring Street, Long Beach. Also what price range am I looking at for the Master, Marquis, or Artesian. 6 person, no lounger, 2 – 6hp pumps, waterway jets and balboa control. What would I lose if going with Nordic compared to the others. Are there any of these dealers in the long beach area or orange county

  23. Reply
    Patricia Weiser February 26, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Your site is very informative. Thanks for the info. I live in Anaheim (orange county) CA and looking for a new spa. My old one is a Grecian and has lasted 30 years, the spa is still in good condition but the shell is falling apart. What brand would you recommend and where to go to look for it. Looking for at least a 6 person spa with no lounger. Thanks for the help

    • Reply
      admin February 26, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Hi Patricia

      try these guys:

      Coastal Spa and Patio Store
      Status: Unverified

      We don’t know anything about the dealer and they carry a confusing group of brands… Look at the Marquis, they might try and bait and switch it by “upselling you to a Hot Springs or Caldera but I would only consider the Artesian.
      Details from Google Maps
      735 W Orangethorpe Ave, Placentia, CA 92870
      +1 714-693-3404
      3.5View in Google Maps

      Or these guys:

      Spa Tek
      Status: Unverified

      We know nothing about these guys but for entry level spas the Nordic brand is on our good guy list.

      Nordic does entry level well made spas.
      Details from Google Maps
      21401 Budlong Ave, Torrance, CA 90502
      +1 310-539-7727
      5.0View in Google Maps

      • Reply
        Patty February 27, 2018 at 2:15 am

        Hi Chris,

        About ready to pull the plug and purchase!

        Just watched all of your videos and have a few questions?!

        Can you please answer the following questions/concerns?
        1. Floor model/show model/warehouse model
        They quote a different price for each …what are the disadvantages/advantages?
        2. Hydrolic lift vs. rock it lift?
        3. Clarity vs. healthy living?
        4. High end rotomould suggestions?
        5. Recommended dealer(s) in our area?
        6. Options after base price? What to add and/or stay away from…..I.e. ozinator and circulating pump
        7. Mostly used by 2 people/lounger

        Thanks for all of your knowledge and help!


      • Reply
        Patricia Weiser February 26, 2018 at 9:29 pm

        do you know anything about California Home Spa & Patio 1621 E. Spring Street, Long Beach. Also what price range am I looking at for the Master, Marquis, or Artesian. 6 person, no lounger, 2 – 6hp pumps, waterway jets and balboa control. What would I lose if going with Nordic compared to the others

  24. Reply
    Stephanie Davison February 19, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Hi there!
    We are buying a hot tub for the first time. I found your website and really appreciate the information.
    Any suggestions on brands/dealers in Springfield MO? 4-5 person tub.

    • Reply
      admin February 20, 2018 at 3:47 pm

      You have loads of good options:

      our number one rec would be:

      Dougs Pool & Spa
      Status: HTU All-Star
      Endorsed Brands: Master Spas

      Met these guys in Fla good bunch with a great brand –
      Details from Google Maps
      5121 S Campbell Ave, Springfield, MO 65810
      +1 417-882-7665
      5.0View in Google

      or these guys

      Le Dipping Parlor Spas
      Unknown dealer – Endorsed Brands: Nordic, Non-endorsed brands: Sunrise
      Details from Google Maps
      2461 S Campbell Ave, Springfield, MO 65807
      +1 417-881-0898
      4.8View in Google Maps

      or these guys:

      American Pool & Spa
      Unknown dealer – Endorsed Brand: Marquis
      Details from Google Maps
      3237 E Sunshine St A, Springfield, MO 65804
      +1 417-887-0577
      4.4View in Google Maps

      • Reply
        Michele Wiltchik February 20, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        Hi Chris –
        Can you please give me recommendations for purchasing a hot tub in Phoenix, AZ? Looking for great customer service and best quality brand for $10-12k budget? Much appreciated!

        • admin February 21, 2018 at 7:29 pm

          Phoenix Hot Tubs and Swim Spas
          Status: HTU Approved!

          These guys have my 5 start recommendation, I just spent 4 days with these the boys from Phoenix and they are doing all the right things. By from these guys and get HTU Approved put on your original invoice and you can use us if you have any issues and we will stand behind you and use our big stick to wack them into compliance 🙂 “HTU APPROVED” must appear on the original invoice!
          Details from Google Maps
          1746 W Ruby Dr Suite 104, Tempe, AZ 85284

          +1 480-389-9799

          Spa World
          Status: Unverified

          These guys carry Artesian spas, good solid well built spas, the retailer is unverified, have them contact us to become a hot tub University approved center and get extra back up from us on your hot tub purchase!
          Details from Google Maps
          4357 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85008

          +1 602-275-3036
          4.3View in Google Maps

        • Tracey Jacobson February 21, 2018 at 9:16 pm

          Thanks for this terrific site! I hope your wife is doing better. We live in Asheville NC and are about to buy our first hot tub. The brands we have found locally are Hot Springs/Caldera (I understand you’re not a fan, too much hype and too little horsepower/jet/quality for the price), American Whirlpool (insulation questions) and Artesian (which you seem to like, but we’ve heard about customer service problems). If you have some advice on the best value 2-3 person tub for life in the mountains we’d be grateful. Thanks much.

        • admin February 24, 2018 at 3:09 pm

          Hey Tracey

          I toured the Artesian factory this January.

          These guys are building right and making a great hot tub.

          That being said they are small and growing quickly in a large part due to this site and they do not have the back end to handle customers. So you are restricted to your local dealer. I have heard this both from existing, and past dealers and experienced it while trying to arrange to see their factory. That says a lot because through my recommendations about 170 people bought Artesian last year and they cant even return my calls 🙂

          But that’s not all bad, just make sure you have a solid source for good information and there is on the ground service support.

          or go see these guys:

          Davids Home Entertainment
          Details from Google Maps
          2566 Asheville Rd, Waynesville, NC 28785

          +1 828-452-5534
          4.0View in Google Maps

        • David February 24, 2018 at 3:25 pm

          I just ordered an Artesian Barbados?! I hope they treat me well? Spent a lot of money!

          I don’t like it when companies ignore their customers and don’t return calls!!!

          Maybe I should cancel my order?

  25. Reply
    Rob G February 18, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks for providing such a great resource, it’s very tough sifting through all the BS which comes with buying a hot tub, especially our first one! We are having difficulty settling on the best manufacturer for a new hot tub, given there are so many where we are (Barrie, Ontario). We are trying to weed out the facts from the marketing hype and having difficulty. We would like an outdoor tub that comfortable seats 4 -5 people with a lounger (will predominately be used by 2 of us), is quiet, easy to maintain and energy efficient. We’re not looking for anything too flash or gimmicky, but want to make sure we buy something which isn’t junk either. We’ve looked at Beachcomber and wet tested a Hydropool which had a nice layout, though I’m not convinced on their insulation. Please help!

    • Reply
      Angie February 22, 2018 at 4:39 am

      Hi…we’re in Minnesota and found a dealer who represents Coast Spa hot tubs. Leaning towards it! Wondering what your thoughts are on that? Did you choose a mfr yet? 😀

      • Reply
        admin February 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm

        Hi Angie

        We don’t really want to choose a manufacturer we support a way of building hot tubs that we know through experience is going to be sustainable for you the end user.

        Several brands fit the bill.

        check these guys out:

        Master Pool & Spa
        Master Pool And Spa
        6415 Wayzata Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN, 55426
        Phone: 952-543-0220

    • Reply
      admin February 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      there are lots of the usual suspects out here.

      sorry for the lack of response, my wife is sick.

      I would check out the Masters here:

      Premium Wholesale Home & Leisure
      Status: HTU ALL STAR

      These guys are a big operation with a good service and backup support staff. Carrying Master, Twilight, H2X and MP legends, personally viewed the operation and met the people.
      Details from Google Maps
      17 Manitou Dr, Kitchener, ON N2C 2J6
      +1 519-895-0606
      4.5View in Google Maps

      Or I would go see the marquis spas here:\

      AquaPRO Pools & Hot Tubs
      Status: Unverified

      The dealer is unknown to us but the Brand Marquis is well built. They range from entry level to mid upper performance.
      Details from Google Maps
      18025 Yonge St #1, Newmarket, ON L3Y 8C9
      +1 855-905-7665
      4.2View in Google Maps

  26. Reply
    Tim February 17, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Hey Chris, you really seem to know your shit about Hot Tubs. I have read a lot of your discussions and answers to people’s questions. Very Helpful! I read about a guy asking you for the “go to” hot tub with no budget restraints. I am in the same boat since I am redoing my entire back yard and the cost of the tub will only be a fraction of the entire project. I have never owned a hot tub before, and want the best of the best since it will be with us for a long time. Since it appears that your highest brand recommendations are Master, Marquis and Artesian, what are your top 2 or 3 models from these manufacturers that will not leave someone asking for more? Also, any recommended dealers in New England?….I’m in RI(02818) Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin February 20, 2018 at 2:16 pm

      Hi Tim

      Sorry for the delay in responding, my wife was hospitalised Friday and I’ve been a little preoccupied.

      Man, I have a few guys in the area but none that do really high-end stuff, they all are entry levels brands. I do have a guy for service there though and we might be able to arrange something through him, Frankly, none of the brands near you I would have on my short list, the nearest marquis, Artesian or Master guy i can find is 56 miles which should be in the ok range for a good dealer

      check these guys out:

      Crocker Sales Co Inc
      These guys have helped a pile of HTU customers and I have had nothing but good feedback from them
      Details from Google Maps
      9 High St, Woburn, MA 01801
      +1 781-933-2006
      4.2View in Google Maps

  27. Reply
    Tommy C February 13, 2018 at 4:12 pm


    Have learned a lot from this site, we are just getting started in looking. We love in Bardstown KY, Louisville and Lexington are about the same distance. Can you recommend a dealer in this area.

    Thank you

    • Reply
      Carol S February 15, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Thank you for an informative, objective website! We are having difficulty settling on the best manufacturer for a new hot tub. We are trying to weed out the facts from the marketing hype and having difficulty. We live in London, Ontario, Canada. We would like an outdoor tub that seats 4-6 people (no lounger), is quiet (2 pump system), easy maintenance and energy efficient. We are also unsure if we should use a salt water system. We have looked at Jacuzzi and Hydropool. Previously we had an Arctic Spa but had issues with the pump and the jets. Help!!

      • Reply
        admin February 16, 2018 at 3:41 pm

        Hi Carol

        The Arctics I don’t like for the same reason I don’t like the jacuzzi’s… lots of cheap goofy parts that they have made to just for their spas so they own you for life. I would never consider a brand without Balboa heating and control system. Hydropool has a good parts list but the shell is a thin cradle supported shell and that Mylar insulation is junk… I can’t believe after we finally got rid of that stuff in the home building industry it’s rearing its ugly head 20 years later as some new miracle tech… It’s cheap and low R-value.

        Beachcomber is a good tub but stay away from the goofy Hybrid option get it with the integrated pumps under the hot tub, but man they are so overpriced and the Performance is upper mid at best.

        Beachcomber Hot Tubs London
        Status: Unverified.

        These guys are an unknown to us but the carry Beachcomber which in the non Hybrid Model is in our good guy list.
        Details from Google Maps
        754 Wharncliffe Rd S, London, ON N6J 2N4
        +1 519-681-0249
        4.9View in Google Maps

        for higher end go to these guys:

        Premium Wholesale Home & Leisure
        Status: HTU ALL STAR

        These guys are a big operation with a good service and backup support staff. Carrying Master, Twilight, H2X and MP legends
        Details from Google Maps
        17 Manitou Dr, Kitchener, ON N2C 2J6
        +1 519-895-0606
        4.5View in Google Maps

        • Carol S February 18, 2018 at 2:33 pm

          Very helpful! Thank you for your valued insight!

        • David February 16, 2018 at 8:16 pm

          Can you please tell me your thought on the Artesian Barbados Spa? Is it worth it to get the Frog system, WiFi, better cover and fancy lights? Price tag w tax about 12,800 dollars


        • admin February 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm

          Good Tub High price. But NY is pricey.

          Frog is a zinc copper or silver Ion, it works well with aqua finesse or an enzyme system. better cover yes lights are nice and inexpensive

    • Reply
      admin February 14, 2018 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Tommy

      Man, that’s a busy area this month, you are the fourth person out there and there is just not a lot of good choices unless you go to Cinci.

      There must be a big state fair or a big yearly hot tub sale in the area because there are 4 independent service guys right in your area.

      The only semi-local option I would have on my shortlist is these guys:

      Tim’s Pools & Spas
      Status: Unverified

      We do not know the dealer but they carry Artesian which is a good reliable spa.
      Details from Google Maps
      1065 Reading Rd, Mason, OH 45040
      +1 513-777-3833
      4.6View in Google Maps

  28. Reply
    Limor February 12, 2018 at 9:33 pm

    Hi Chris,
    What an amazing resource you built! Thank you for all your frank reviews and comments.
    I was wondering what you think of Nordic brand?
    I am considering the Encore model.
    I am very open to any other brands you recommend at a mid level pricing in Long Island, NY (zip code 11954).
    The most important features for me are low maintenance, durability and good insulation.
    I am planning to use an aftermarket mineral system or enzymes as I want as low water toxicity as possible.

    • Reply
      admin February 13, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Nordic builds a good tub. It’s my number 2 on the Rotomould spas and the only reason it is isn’t number one is the insulation and even that’s not terrible, they use a bit of foam and then a blanket inside the skirt.

      It shows you in Manhatten if that right then checks out these two guys below if not email me on

      East Coast Spas
      Status HTU ALL STAR

      I met with these guys several times and they just do a great job they have helped out at least 15 or 20 HTU customers, they carry Getaway very similar to the Nordic with better insulation.

      Details from Google Maps
      1424 Easton Rd #300, Hatboro, PA 19040
      +1 215-420-7106
      4.1View in Google Maps

      I don’t know these guys but they carry Marquis which is a good all-round hot tub brand.

  29. Reply
    Sonja Aldridge February 12, 2018 at 4:31 am

    I need help on Premium Spas in St. Petersburg, Florida. I can’t find any component information on their brochures or website. Do you know anything about these spas? Anything will help.

    The local dealer will add on an additional pump and jets which seems uncommon in North Florida – but desirable.

    • Reply
      admin February 12, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      I’m not a fan of Premium in general, Not a brand I would sell or buy.

      go see these guys, they do Marquis spas, a good well built reliable spa with a good easy to source parts list. They also do some really dodgy brands, they might be using the Marquis to get you in and then “upgrade” you to the other stuff…

      • Reply
        Sonja Aldridge February 12, 2018 at 8:09 pm

        Thank you for your response. Is the issue or issues with Premium Spas the Shell, Jets, Pumps, Plumbing, Insulations, Controller, the noise…etc? Or all?

        I am in the market for a 91″x 91″ or larger with two loungers. Any suggestions would be great!

        As for the pumps, what are a few good brands?


        • admin February 12, 2018 at 8:55 pm

          Sonja, I am assuming you mean Premium Leisure. I’m pretty sure these guys got bought by an outfit in Tenn recently.

          Last time I looked they were using gecko heating and control systems, I’m really hardline on having a Balboa system. I also think they use a radiant insulation system.

          for the pumps, I like the Waterways or the Balboa.

          I cant find much in the area to recommend to you I looked at all the dealers there and can’t find any of my goto brands 🙁

          I also see 3 separate independent service guys, when a market has this many independents it usually means either there are some service issues from the retailers or a lot of people are buying from out of the market at tent sales or state fairs. if you look at those options email me and ill call the local service guys and see if they know what they are doing.

  30. Reply
    Sonya Leverton February 11, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Thank you so much for all your information. My husband and I are looking to buy our very first hot tub. We are in Central Texas. We’ve looked at Hot Spring and Marquis. Any suggestions? All we want is 3 to 4 person tub with a lounger. Don’t want to get ripped off and watching and reading your blogs I see there is a ton of crap. Any dealers here (Waco to Austin) you recommend? ? Your advice is greatly appreciated!

    • Reply
      admin February 12, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Hey Sonya!

      It’s a jungle out there!

      Definitely the Marquis over the Hot Springs. Marquis is one of my goto brands and HS i would never consider selling or buying, goofy proprietary parts and non-removable sides with old poly based foams are just three huge strikes in my book.

      these guys carry Artesian, they make a great spa.


      these guys carry Marquis, and Nordic again solid well built spas.—Austin-v2-207.html


      • Reply
        Sonya Leverton February 12, 2018 at 4:50 pm

        Thank you SO much for your response!! So you think Nordic is a good solid tub too? I will definitely looks at these dealers.
        You have helped so much with removing all the shiny, distracting CRAP for sure so I feel so much better buying a hot tub!

  31. Reply
    Jennifer Parker February 9, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Hi! It’s my birthday and I’m gifting myself a hot tub (no one else will). I live in Greensboro, NC. 27455 is the zip. Who would you go to in this area?

    • Reply
      admin February 11, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Happy birthday to you! Happy… aww crap I’m on vacation and just can’t type the whole thing out on my phone!

      via GIPHY

      There! sorry for the delay… I had to find a girl who would have my baby then make the giff… exhausting…

      Nothing around you I would buy, but there is a guy a little away.

      you also have a pretty good independent service industry there so state fairs or out of area sales events might be a scenario as long as you stay away from the brands with goofy proprietary parts.

      check out these guys…

      Spa & Pool Outlet
      Status: Unverified
      We know nothing about these guys but the carry Artesian and Marquis spas, 2 of our goto brands they also have some junk lines which always makes me wonder what the hell they are doing…

      Details from Google Maps
      7963 Fayetteville Rd, Raleigh, NC 27603

  32. Reply
    William Tyler February 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for providing such a great service for hot tub buyers. I am looking for a small tub that I will mostly use by myself. The best rated dealer in my area sells Hot Springs products (Highlife, Limelight, and Hot Spot lines). Any suggestions for balancing dealer and product in this case?


    William Tyler
    Santa Cruz, CA

    • Reply
      admin February 4, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Hi William.

      I’m not a fan of that brand at all, their branding is awesome, their marketing is spot on and the tubs are full of goofy proprietary parts so they can lock you in forever at whatever price they dictate… and some of the models don’t even have removable skirts! it’s insane…

      Man get something with a good reliable easy to source parts list, they last longer, work better and are competitively priced because you have tons of sources to buy the parts.

      I looked around the Santa Cruze area but to be honest I don’t care for any of the brands out there.

      There is a crazy high number of independent service guys though (5 separate companies). Its a really developed market and sometimes we see this where a lot of the tubs in the area are coming form Expos or state fairs.

      It can be a good thing, these little independent guys are usually good, competitively priced, and if there is someone to handle your calls for the information and the back end of the parts end you can have a good level of care.

  33. Reply
    Ryan C January 31, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Hey Chris –

    Your site has been awesome to help me sort through all the BS and deal with the initial onslaught of information that is out in the market. Thanks for the education…

    We are first time hot tub buyers, looking to stay below $7k in the St. Louis, MO market. I think I have called or visited all dealers in the area. Was hoping to get some further insight into our finalists:

    – South Seas 748L by Artesian – $6,695 with everything needed included
    – Celebrity Hollywood by Marquis – $6,595 with everything needed included
    – Master Balance7 (Clarity line) – $6,999 + probably more – honestly didn’t like the dealer here
    – American Whirlpool 271/ Vita Spa Prestige – $6k with all options I would want

    I really like the dealer for the South Seas and Celebrity, very good reputation around town. The South Seas is fully foamed, but I’m not crazy about the layout. Celebrity has a perimeter insulation system which I know you aren’t crazy about, but I like the layout better than the South Seas.

    My favorite layout and dry test so far has been the American Whirlpool 271, made by MAAX, but I understand your thoughts on their “Bluemaax” insulation system. But it is a good price and I get a good feeling with the dealer.

    I liked the Clarity by Master, but honestly didn’t get a warm and fuzzy from the dealer, and is the most expensive.

    Other than that, they all use Balboa controls and Balboa or AquaFlo pumps, so what I believe are quality components. All have warranties of 2 or 3 yrs parts and labor.

    Which way would you steer at this point?


    • Reply
      admin February 1, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Any of the first 3 are good buys. I do really like the new shell design on the Clarity, that’s a brand new mould and the foot room is epic, you can really pack a ton of people in it.

  34. Reply
    ryan foster January 31, 2018 at 4:44 am

    what model/brand would you recommend for a maximum dimensions of 76×76?

    • Reply
      ryan foster January 31, 2018 at 4:48 am

      also at a 110 voltage thanks

  35. Reply
    ryan foster January 30, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Hello, I’m currently tub shopping and have seen some great prices on “home and garden spas” from LPI and they have great features, but I have read some very mixed reviews on the products and the company itself, leaving me confused on their integrity. What are your thoughts? Thanks

    • Reply
      admin January 30, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Hey Ryan

      This group has bought a few mid-range retailers. Not on my go-to list this is mid to entry level and would not be something I would sell a customer.

      I’ve been goofing on this google map customization thing I found so I did your area.

      Have a boo… None of these pricks are paying me anything yet but they are doing good things 🙂

      The dealer I know there sells Getaway spas, its a good roto with good parts and good efficiency.

      • Reply
        ryan foster January 30, 2018 at 7:29 pm

        thanks for the info! I actually live in Orlando, FL though 🙂

  36. Reply
    Shawn Milam January 28, 2018 at 1:52 am

    I had an Elite Spa for 12 years and got tired of dumping money into. I just bought a Master Spa Clarity Precision 8. Spent $7400 flat and that includes delivery, 4″ cover and tax. Did I buy a decent hot tub at a reasonable price?

    • Reply
      Patty January 29, 2018 at 2:06 am

      How do you feel about Hot Springs tubs?

    • Reply
      admin January 28, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      You could do a lot worse.

      Its a good build, good parts, and the price is good.

      I love the big open spaces in that line, they just did those designs a few years ago and it really addressed the idea that big open spaces are great for a water environment.

      • Reply
        BP January 29, 2018 at 7:42 pm

        We live in Detroit Michigan and have owned and enjoyed a Dimension one spa for the past 15 years, but the last 3 years is started to have a slow leak

        Currently we are looking at the Jacuzzi J-375, Coast Spas-Cascade Horizon, Hot Springs or Maxx Spas

        We are open to any other suggestions

        Thank You,

        • admin January 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm

          Hey BP

          Back 15 years ago everything was built reasonably well, its funny as our tech gets better or bullshit machine gets better too, it seems like we know how to make something last just long enough 🙂 I liked D1 but Jacuzzi is on a bizarre buying binge buying up these goofy brands and D1 is one of them.

          So Jacuzzi and Hot Springs are a no go for me… goofy parts that are nowhere near as reliable as the good OEM stuff and you are held for ransom for ridiculous prices on replacements because they have you by the balls, they are the only guys who can get you parts… It’s the oldest trick in the book, build a mid-grade spa spend scads on branding and marketing and use a goofy proprietary parts list so you own the customer forever. access issues, and just overpriced for what it is… Never buy a hot tub without the Balboa heating and control system on it.

          Coast, the issue I have is pressure side filtration… old tech being reintroduced as innovation, there are a lot of downsides and no upsides… You absolutely want the water filtered on the suction side before it goes through the heater and pump… and crap insulation.

          Maxx the insulation is a joke… This Bluemaxx insulation competes with the best batton / celulose style insulation out there is around R-3.5 per inch or about a quarter less than 1″ of Icynene expanded foam… Now I always go back to the building code… in a house, this insulation type would need to be around 6″ think to meet code, so why is it ok suddenly in a hot tub to have 1.5 to 2″ of it???? It’s not… in fact a hot tub needs better insulation than your house because heat loss is all about tempo difference.. the bigger the difference the higher the heat loss so on a hot tub which is so much hotter than a house you need more than a house…

          Check out these guys:

        • Steven January 31, 2018 at 2:58 pm

          (Cannot figure out how to start a new post)… there is a Master dealer 90 minutes from me in Waynesville, NC. I do not know anything about them. How do I figure out whether they are a good dealer who will be around AND respond well to warranty issues, etc?

        • BP January 30, 2018 at 1:48 pm

          How about these guys

  37. Reply
    Team Mustard January 24, 2018 at 1:51 am

    I live in Battle Creek, Mi and ready to pull the trigger on a tub. The only dealer that I’m aware of sells Hot Springs. However, in Kalamazoo, MI the Watson’s store offers a Michigan made Hot Tub from Viking Spas. Have you heard anything about that brand? Or are there any recommendations for my area?

    • Reply
      admin January 24, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      So Hot springs is one of those guys spending way to much on the branding and marketing and not enough on the build, the use of proprietary parts ensures you are locked into them for life cause you cant get the parts anywhere else, this is a great strategy for profit for them but a bad position for the end user to be in.

      Viking is not a brand I would consider, don’t like the plastic shells and the insulation and they don’t even clamp the plumbing. keep looking…

      I would go see these guys first, they carry Master, they are doing all the right things. they also have broad ranges from rotomolds a the entry level right through mid high and even into the outrageous level.

      Master Spas Of West Michigan
      2055 28th St Se, Grand Central Plaza, Grand Rapids, MI, 49508
      Phone: 616-475-7770

      These guys cary Marquis which is built right nd covers the mid to mid upper in the performance ranges

      Leizure world
      5213 Airline Rd | 5213 Airline Rd | Muskegon MI 49444

      Phone: 231-865-1208

      • Reply
        Mame January 25, 2018 at 8:30 pm

        We are buying our first tub and live in Denver. I am doing lots of research but finding contradicting advice. You appear knowledgeable and trustworthy. (maybe those who know you would say otherwise 😉 We’ve narrowed it down to a refurbished Cal Spa XL series and full of spray foam, a Balboa Contractor series with foam blanket (bad), a Artesian South Seas 735 with 35 jets, an American Whirlpool 271 or a Cal Spa Patio Pacifica 732L. They range from $3,800 for refurbished and the others are between $6,000 and $7,000. They are all 7×7 and around 35 jets. Thanks so much for taking the time to help!
        Show less

        • admin January 27, 2018 at 3:06 pm

          Hey Mame

          I get so many people In the Denver area, I swear I should set up a service centre there… The people who know me would say I’m erratic and ADD as hell, My wife would say “He doesn’t no much but he knows too much about hot tubs” 🙂

          For the Used ones, the order would be… Artesian, either Cal spa, but so much depends on general condition on a used tub, look at the motor where the shaft goes into the back of the pump head for big white deposits that could indicate a bad water chemistry history. check jets remove a couple and give them a squeeze if they break they are brittle… again indicators of trouble down the road. Look at the base, if the wood is rotting or weak it could be indicative of leaks or an installation in a wet area.

          If you go new see the Artesian guys here: Colorado Custom Spas
          5270 BROADWAY
          Denver, CO. 80216 US

          Telephone: 303-468-8827
          Categories: Garden Spas, Island Spas, Platinum Elite, Service and Repair, South Seas Spas, TidalFit

        • Mame January 28, 2018 at 7:37 pm

          Thanks so much for your time and advice! We sat in a dry Artesian but didn’t like the fit. The molding of the air filter and a seat at the end of the lounger got in the way. Ayer all the research and spas we’ve looked at, we are now going to wet test a Maax American Whirlpool 271 with a lounge. It seems to have a good frame, features, size and decent insulation. But, I’m trying to remember if you don’t like that brand. (and I can’t look it up right now) It is a 7×7 for $6,400. Thoughts?

  38. Reply
    Kristin Moffat January 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    This is all such great information but I’m in the beginning of my research and finding it so overwhelming! I really appreciate your feedback.
    We live in North Bay, ON Canada and our winters are very cold and hard. We really want the most energy efficient and durable tub we can find that’s a crucial factor for us. We aren’t looking for tons of jets…I actually turn them off most of the time and I’d love to hear what you would recommend to us.
    Places around us seem to offer Arctic and Beachcomber and boast low operating costs but none of that matters if there’s an issue with parts being available or costly maintenance and service.
    What do you think?

    • Reply
      admin January 22, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Kristin

      The Beachcomber for sure out of those two, I am not a fan of Arctic at all.

      if you go beachcomber go with the non Hybrid model, I know they will tell you the other one is better but it is not…

      These guys carry Marquis spas, one of my top brands. but stay away from their other brands.

      • Reply
        Steven January 24, 2018 at 4:35 pm

        Just like Kristin… overwhelmed. Thought about trying a used hot tub. There is a “recycler” 30 minutes away that gives a 1 year warranty. What would you think about a 6-person 2014 Sundance delivered & set up, started-up with cover, for $4,200 ?

        • admin January 24, 2018 at 8:13 pm

          Its a little high for a 4 year old spa, and sundance is a goofy parts list, I would try nd find somthing with balboa controls and make sure the cover is in good shape.

        • Steven January 24, 2018 at 11:31 pm

          Heard – thanks much!

      • Reply
        Kristin Moffat January 22, 2018 at 1:33 pm

        Thank you so much!!

  39. Reply
    Steve Kelly January 15, 2018 at 3:15 am

    Thank you so much for the informative videos, paragraphs and the help you provide people.

    My philosophy on ‘major purchases’ is: “buy once, cry once – then enjoy.”

    Based on your review of Master Spas Twilight, I went to a (dare i say it) “Expo” today and ordered a Twilight 7.2. I’m near Pensacola Florida with no Master Spa dealer in the area that I’ve found, so I am a bit concerned about support, but I’m pretty handy and hopefully won’t have to use any skills on this spa.

    I did 24 years in the Marine Corps and when Indiana Jones stated “it’s not the years, it’s the mileage” truer words were never spoken. I need some serious hydrotherapy massage and your review of the proper shell (hand rolled), giant jets, two 6 hp pumps, and top of the line components took all the guess work out of my decision.
    Thank you again so much for your website and the work you do.

    • Reply
      admin January 15, 2018 at 7:48 pm

      Hi Steve.

      If you have any questions ping me

      Enjoy your hot tub!

  40. Reply
    Matt January 14, 2018 at 3:12 am

    Hi Chris,
    I am honing in on a spa purchase and have narrowed it down to D1 Latitude vs Marquis 660 (each in the $8-8.5K range). I am also looking at an approx 10 yr old Artesian Piper Glen–“perfect condition, rarely used,” listed at $3k. I haven’t priced the next line up from D1, but the Epic/Euphoria are more than I want to spend (quoted $11-12K).
    Couple details I am curious about: value of adding “full insulation” if not included (central California climate); and same for adding ozone or mineral sanitizer if not included.
    I’d love to hear what you think of these options!
    (PS–looked at Master, but nothing in the right size for my installation.)

  41. Reply
    John January 11, 2018 at 4:39 am

    I have owed an Artic Spa for close to 20 years.. I am in the market to upgrade and I was considering a Hydropool. I live in Toronto Canada.

    Your thoughts on these guys for my cold climate would be appreciated.

    • Reply
      admin January 15, 2018 at 2:44 pm

      Hey John

      I am not a fan of the brand at all. Old style pressure filtration, old style floor suction rebranded as “Self-cleaning” and worst of all radiant barrier insulation…

      There is not a good case for these inexpensive Radiant barriers being effective in this application.

      All we have to do is look at the building industry back in the 80’s when these radiant barrier systems came on the market, almost every single northern US state ended up issuing warnings against it, you notice you never ever see this shit in the building industry where they have to meet code regulations?

      These systems are good at reflecting heat away from something but they are crap at containing heat in a system because they have no thermal mass.

      We know that the best we can hope for in an ideal final assembly is about R-4.7 per layer… But in a hot tub, we cant get anywhere near ideal assembly parameters and the reality is we are likely looking at about R-2 per layer. the actual Mylar film is only R-1 but again the final assembly which means the way it is installed can in ideal parameters (in an attic or on the bottom of duct work) can increase that to a maximum of around R-4.7 which is still way way less than the R-20 we can get with expanded foams.

      What we need for Ideal final assembly of a radiant barrier system for Max R-value :

      1. Horizontal installation: It simply means that we need the reflective surface lying horizontally. The further off horizontal we get the more we start creating convection currents as the heat rises along the surface of the radiant barrier, this dramatically reduces the final assembly R-value… In a hot tub, you have to install them vertically which is the worst case.
      2. They need to maintain a specific gap between the reflective surface and the thing you are trying to insulate. The recommended gap is 1/2″ to 2″ On a hot tub, the distance between the reflective wrap and the hot tub ranges from 0 to 6″ so again nowhere near the requirements for good R-value for the final assembly.
      3. If the reflective barrier touches the heat source (hot tub shell or pipes) it completely stops being an insulator at all and becomes a conductor!!! When they wrap the shell like they do at Hydropool the radiant barrier touches the pipes all around the spa creating tons of places that are not only not insulting at all but actually actively conducting the heat through the radiant barrier!!!
      4. The reflective barrier needs to be sealed along all its edges. so again on a hot tub they would need to seal the radiant barrier to the shell at the top and the floor at the bottom sealing ai9r tight around the shell… this is not even possible and on that spa its not sealed at all which means the convection currents just cause the heat to rise and escape around the top of the radiant barrier.

      Nobody uses this in the building industry anymore because it is simply not effective at containing heat in a system and the fact that some Hot Tub companies are now flogging this 3o-year-old tech as the next new hi-tech thing is in no way changing those facts.

      Its cheap.

      Read this for links to the real hard data

  42. Reply
    Chad Morgando January 7, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    I’m really looking to buy hot tub soon. I live in St louis just wondering what brand?I’ve been looking at the caldera cantabria.

    • Reply
      admin January 8, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Chad

      These guys do Master, they are one of my top recommended brands, Hand-rolled shells, full foam, clamped plumbing and good parts go with the high flow filter system.

      If you are looking for entry level try Nordic spas from these guys

      Everything else is Hot Springs and Jacuuzi brands like caldera, Sundance and they all suffer from too much money spent on marketing and not enough on the tub… goofy proprietary parts that are no where near as reliable as the Balboa stuff and you can only get from one source.

      I cant find any Marquis or Artesian dealers near you they would be two other brands that would be good.

      I’ll dig a little deeper and get someone in touch with you.

  43. Reply
    Craig January 6, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    We are looking for a 5-7 person hot tub. We are in Tucson AZ. We have looked at the Hot Springs NXT, the Jacuzzi -355, The Vita Envie. We still have the Marquis models to look at. I have watched your videos and Read most of your articles. Having a tough time deciding. I want quality and fit. I can not find a Master dealer in Tucson. These are the only brands we have been able to find in Tucson so far.

    Any recommendations?

    • Reply
      admin January 7, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      Hey Craig

      The Marquis for sure man.

      These are in entirely different leagues, the HS and jacuzzi spend a ton on branding and marketing and are arguably the best guys out there for this end of the business but the build standard and parts list of the Marquis is miles above all three of those brands.

      I’ll see if I can find anything else local and ping you.

      • Reply
        Craig Harm January 8, 2018 at 10:16 pm

        thanks for the info. Our problem is the configurations. We are leaning towards the Jacuzzi. What are the main pros and cons of this path?


        • admin January 10, 2018 at 11:56 pm

          Jacuzzi, is middle of the road, the problem with these big corporate guys is they know the most profitable business model is to build a mid grade spa, use lots of goofy proprietary parts so the can own your ass for ever and send lots on spin, branding and marketing… I would not buy a spa that did not use Balboa control and heating system, hand rolled fiberglass shells and glued and clamped plumbing this si the bare minimum for a great hot tub.

      • Reply
        Eddy January 7, 2018 at 10:00 pm

        I’m currently in the market for a 6-8 person hot tub. Dont really have a budget but i also don’t want to go crazy on a tub. I went to a home show yesterday and saw a Coyote Laredo. They guy was going on and on about how great the tub is and how i can buy it for $6100 vs the 8-9k it usually costs. Could i get your thoughts on this and could you also give me some suggestions on other tubs that you like more if this isn’t a tub you would recommend? Looking for something that can be versatile; one for social use and therapy. Thank you

        • admin January 8, 2018 at 2:30 pm

          So Coyote is Arctic lower end and I’m not even a fan of their upper end 🙂

          The Arctic stuff is a lot of smoke and spin and a lot of cheap Chinese parts, no clamps on he plumbing and hardly any R-value but the good thing is they have a magic fairy that lives under there and makes free heat to offset all the thermal loss through the R8 insulation 🙂

          I checked every single dealer in the area the only brand around you that i would put on my floor would be these guys.

          These guys carry Artesian, well-made spas with good parts.

          You also have 2 good independent service centres out there that fix all brands this opens up so more options for buying out of the market which can be really good for pricing. you can always ping or call us for advice and help 🙂

          Ill have a look around and get in contact if I find anything.

  44. Reply
    Patty January 2, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Hi Chris,

    I have read most of you articles and watched some of your videos. I can’t believe I am going to ask this but here it goes……We have a limited budget ($6,000) to spend but WANT a spa and need/ respect your opinion. Should we go with the Aquaterra Fairfax spa because of cost and hope for the best or just not buy one at all? Suggestions?! We leave in Northern California…zip code 95709.

    • Reply
      Patty January 22, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      The hubby has released $ to get a quality spa. Can you please recommend a dealership in my area (95709). Thanks again!

    • Reply
      Patty January 15, 2018 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Chris,

      Help!!! Looking for a reputable dealer in our area. Empty nesters…2-6 person spa. We will be placing it on our deck. Want to purchase soon! Need your advice for our area! Keep up the great work!

      p.s. i see where i can reply…but not post…I hope you can see this post! 🙂

    • Reply
      Patty January 14, 2018 at 4:26 am

      Hi Chris,

      The hubby has released some more money from the savings after sharing your articles and videos with him! Yeah! Can you please recommend a dealer in our zip code (95709) where we can purchase a hot tub.


      • Reply
        Patty January 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm

        Hi Chris,

        Help!!! Looking for a reputable dealer in our area. Empty nesters…2-6 person spa. We will be placing it on our deck. Want to purchase soon! Need your advice for our area! Keep up the great work!

    • Reply
      Patty January 4, 2018 at 4:05 am

      Hi Chris,

      It is me again….I sent you question concerning my limited budget and whether I should purchase a the Aquaterra or not. So now my question is….. at what base dollar amount can I purchase a quality hot tub that is not a roto moulded spa? Again, I am in the 95709 zip code of northern California. (2-4 people, lounge seat) Looking for suggestions for tubs and dealers. (the last one you recommended is 75 minutes away). Thank you again for spending your time answering my questions. I truly appreciate it!!!!

    • Reply
      admin January 2, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Patty.

      The 6k budget is a tight one you need to be super careful because most of the stuff at that price point will be cheap junk.

      I would go to a roto moulded spa, super durable and you save a ton by going to the roto moulds. look for a getaway Hot Tub Bar harbour, you might be able to order one through these guys.

      Hottub Emporium
      6620 Lonetree Blvd. Suite 500, Rocklin, CA, 95765
      Phone: 916-705-7727

      • Reply
        Chad m January 6, 2018 at 2:13 am

        I have a question looking to buy a hot tub but really unsure of best one to buy? I really am considering a caldera cantabria what are your thoughts on that brand or is another that compares better

        • admin January 6, 2018 at 10:04 am

          Caldera is part of the Hot Springs group. a lot of goofy proprietary parts and a lot of people on the forums asking for help to fix them. I always want a balboa heating and control system…

          You have a few good choices out there.

          These guys have Master one of my go to brands.

          These guys do Artesian, again one of my goto guys

          these would be the two on my short list.

          happy hot tubbing

  45. Reply
    Susan McMullan Eden December 31, 2017 at 1:44 am

    I found another one year old tub called a signature spa ss5 plus. Any info you can offer is helpful!

    • Reply
      admin January 2, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      Balboa controls and the full foam insulation is good, find out if they clamp the plumbing lines and how the shell is made.

  46. Reply
    Susan McMullan Eden December 31, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Your site is sooooo helpful!! We have 6 kids and need s hot tub but do not want to spend much. Of course. Lol l just found someone selling a Viking Legacy I in my area for about $2500 and they purchased it new from Watson’s in Louisville in Spring. Any thoughts?

    • Reply
      admin January 2, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      Viking has been around forever but never really became a serious player, the problem is unless you get big enough you can’t afford to build everything to the top spec. While the parts are good, I don’t like the plastic shell, I really want a good Hand rolled fibreglass shell. The pipes are not clamped, and the insulation is not my recommended system. all in all its what most spas are, some good, some bad and some ugly…

  47. Reply
    Shannon December 10, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Rick, We are looking to purchase a large hot tub for our TALL family of 6 (4 family members 6’+). We are a military family, and finally live in our own home after 11 years of military housing. Just moved to Clarksville, TN and have plans to build a deck for a 6+ person hot tub (back yard is very sloped). Recently made a trip to Nashville to Family Leisure… and are considering the Tahiti model of Tropic Seas Spas ($7800) What is your opinion on this line, and / or what do you suggest as an alternative. Not looking for a lot of bells and whistles, just want good family time and therapy for husbands bad back. *Really don’t want to purchase a nightmare. Thanks so much.

    • Reply
      Ben December 11, 2017 at 4:54 am

      Whats your opinion on the aspen hottubs out of st louis, mo

      • Reply
        admin December 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm

        Hi Ben

        never heard of them until you asked.

        Had a quick boo and right off two big issues would make it a no go for me.

        1. no idea what that control system is but it is none of the big well made brands, I would simply never have anything but Balboa on my spa they are just so much better than the rest there really is no second…

        2. The insulation is cheap Mylar reflective with a bit of foam, man these radiant barriers are bad tech, they were all the rage in the 80’s and thousands of home owners got duped before the government in the norther n US states basically issued warnings about its cheap and has no thermal mass, and really only works effectively at reflecting radiant heat away from things it is no good at containing heat in a system.

        • Ben December 11, 2017 at 5:09 pm

          Thank you for the info! My choice before i went to aspen spas in st louis was a 860l south seas! Its an artisian i think?? Its a showroom spas with a scratch on the shell so i can get it for 7k and it has the updated lighting?? What do you think? And thanks in advance

    • Reply
      admin December 10, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Hi Tony!

      lol I know Shannon… Im Chris 😉 but you can call me rick or you can call me Tony, just don’t call me late to the BBQ!!!

      Tropic |Seas is the entry level line form Artesian, good spas comparable tot he Clarity spas by Master or the Marquis entry levels line, you are doing good, on the right track.

      because you husband and you sacrificed so much for the country i did a bit of digging here are your non nightmare guys and you just let me know if anything goes wrong and ill ring their bell for you 🙂

      here are your good guys:

      The Master from these guys (This is my go to brand)

      Vicki’s Pool And Spa Place
      1134 College Street, Clarksville, TN, 37040
      Phone: 931-645-9786

      the Marquis spa from these guys (stay away from the Hot Springs and their other brands)

      The Artesians from these guys: (again stay away from the other brands)
      621 Muci Dr
      Antioch, TN 37013
      (615) 641-7665
      Email Store

  48. Reply
    Ash December 8, 2017 at 4:00 am

    Hey, thanks for the comprehensive info.
    We live near Toronto, ON and our 15y old BC is leaking about 1.5inch per week.
    Question for you:
    If I were to get a new one, should I go with a Clarity, a Celebrity or a South seas.

    • Reply
      admin December 10, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      Hi Ash

      the Clarity or South seas are good spas but man that new layout on the Clarity is awesome, so much usable space, and 2 pump with lots of jets, its hard to beat in that class…

  49. Reply
    Dan December 5, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Ive read your reviews and decided on the Marquis e series 545 model. I take delivery in 2 weeks. What are if any your thoughts on this model.
    Thanks Dan

    • Reply
      admin December 5, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Hey Dan

      Congratulations and I hope you enjoy the spa.

      Not up on that model in particular but in general the marquis stuff is well built and reliable.

  50. Reply
    Rick December 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    Chris, first off much thanks for the site and your attention to it. Excellent information!
    I am in California and looking to replace my 15 year old Diamente Atlantis. One of my issues is weight on my deck. I need to keep the filled weight Below 3500 pounds. Both Master and Maxx tubs hold much less water than others (both are around 300 gallons). Based on your reviews and what I have read I love the Master Twighlight 7.2, but there are no dealers anywhere near me and I would need to buy unseen. Also, there would not be a local shop for repairs, etc. and to top it off, the reviews for Master’s service are not very good. The Maxx dealer is 5 miles from me and has great reviews.
    Will you please give me feedback on Maxx hot tubs. Any thoughts on Master’s service issues and specifically how it relates to being in California. Any other 6 person low volume spas you recommend (we have a local Artesian dealer, but the spas are all much heavier). Thanks!!

    • Reply
      admin December 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      Hey Rick

      master is hated int he industry because they do these big expo sales where they come into local markets and sell hundreds of tubs and leave 🙂 drives local dealer nuts so there is a ton of backlash on rating sites, forums etc… read this article

      The artesians are good spas and if you have a local dealer then go with them.

      The Maxx stuff is middle of the road… but being in suny calif where you don’t get real cold weather that shitty blue maxx cheap insulation is not such a factor, the shells are mid grade and steel frames are noisy esp on an elevated deck.

      The weight should not be an issue because you should be restructuring the deck for any tub and to go from 300 gallons to 400 is very little cost difference for that structure work.

      these guys have Marquis and Artesian! both good goto brands

      these guys carry marquis so you can get some competitive prices

      You also have 4 independent service guys which means you can buy any brand out of market with a standard parts list and be well taken care of, frankly these independent guys usually have better service than the retailers because its all they do…

      • Reply
        Rick December 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        Chris, just a couple more question for you: how does the Master Twighlight 7.2 compare to the Master tub in your video? Master Customer service told me it was the same exact tub just smaller? Does the 7.2 have the ability to send all the power to one seat? Are the pumps the same size? Any nonstandard options you would highly recommend? Thanks again!

        • admin December 5, 2017 at 11:51 am

          Hi Rick

          he is correct the same spa same specs smaller shell, it actually has a bit better performance because a few less jets, and less water to move around and the same power plant, you still have that insane captains seat with the ability to put the whole 6 HP pump to it.

        • Rick December 10, 2017 at 3:52 pm

          Chris, Thanks for all of the information and help!! Very much appreciated. I’m going to go with the TS 7.2 and will be getting the new 2018 model. It will be around a month till delivery, but looking forward to it. I will let you know how it goes after it is here.


      • Reply
        Rick December 2, 2017 at 4:17 pm

        Thanks Chris for the quick reply and info and for the obvious research you did for my area. The spa is going on a roof deck which we have already reinforced and cannot reasonably make any stronger. The engineer we worked with recommends not exceeding 3500 pounds max standing weight and prefers we go lighter. It is also directly over our bed (i like to think if the big earthquake comes at least I will die covered in warm water), so noise is a factor. So a few questions:
        Will the Maxx tub be loud with more vibration and noise?
        Can I buy the Master hot tub from the independent service guys?
        I am familiar with both retail shops you listed, but not the independent service guys. Will you give me their names and contact or guide me where to find it.
        Will the independent service guys work under the Master warranty?
        The 2 tubs I am looking at are the Maxx R70 and the Master Twighlight 7.2. Interestingly the prices I have been quoted are almost exactly the same.

        • admin December 5, 2017 at 11:54 am

          The Max steel frame generally makes them a bit nosier, also the Twilight has the new NRS system which suspends the pump in a rubber hammock and is 150% quieter than most spas, it works really well.

          And from a performance standpoint the Maxx is more like the next line down, the jetting package and performance on the TS 7.2 is miles and miles better than that Maxx.

  51. Reply
    Angie November 27, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    What do you think about American Whirlpool tubs
    Still deciding in Boise,ID

    • Reply
      admin November 28, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Angie.

      Yer in a tough spot there is not a brand i can recommend out there, lots of small regional stuff that just not built right and lots of big equity investment firm brands with goofy cheap parts lists and fancy shmancy marketing and BS but no real gems…

      That being sadi you have no less than three good independent service centers that just fix hot tubs!!! no wonder with all the crap being sold out there 🙂

      The upside is we could likely get you several good brands and partner with one of these local guys and get you a great spa at a great price with great backup… Ill ping you with some options.

  52. Reply
    Bob G November 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    How important is it to have the ability to add air to the jets? Also which brands do the best job in insulating the their tubs?

    • Reply
      admin November 19, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Hi Bob.

      All spas have the ability to add air to the jets and it makes a massive difference to the velocity of the water stream.

      Use common sense when it comes to insulation, you want the cavity filled with expanding foam but you want an open-celled foam that does not harden and stays soft in case you need repairs down the road.

      • Reply
        Chris Benjamin November 27, 2017 at 1:27 pm

        We are considering a Bullfrog hot tub. I wasn’t able to find any reviews and was hoping you could share your thoughts. This is a great site by the way!

        • admin November 27, 2017 at 2:19 pm

          Hi Chris

          It’s not a Nightmare spa it’s a bit of the good and a bit of the bad like most spas…

          They use Balboa controls, that’s my number one rated heating and control system and IMHO an absolute must on a hot tub. They also glue and clamp the plumbing, and use the full foam open-celled insulation which is again the most expensive highest R-value system on the market.

          The Shell, on the other hand, is an ABS plastic shell, these were all the rage in the 90’s but had high failure rates. they are nowhere near as good or as expensive to build as a good hand rolled self-supporting fibreglass shell with a vinyl ester resin core… they have tried to overcome the weak shell structure by putting pedestal supports under it to bear the load, but it’s a band-aid solution and takes them out of my recommended brands.

          They have done a great job with the marketing and the pitch is all about scaremongering you into believing that all spas are leaky nightmares… the reality is good full foamed spas with glued and clamped plumbing rarely leak. the whole pod chair things are goofy and really limit where the jets can be, and cost a fortune to replace whereas with a good regularly jetted spa you can swap individual jets out easily and cheaply…

          I love real innovation that offers real tangible advantages but I hate this “create an issue so you can put some gimmick out to solve the issue you created”… this is not innovation its a gimmick and offers no real advantage and some serious drawbacks…

        • Chris November 28, 2017 at 4:52 am

          Thanks for the reply. I found a dealer locally for the Artesia spa. What should I expect to pay for Piper Glen Platinum Elite? Again, thanks for your help. It is great to have a consumer advocate on our side!

        • admin November 28, 2017 at 2:20 pm

          not really up to date on pricing issues, it changes so much depending on regions… sorry 🙁

          happy hot tubbing!

      • Reply
        Bob G. November 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm

        I’ve noticed that some brands require that you step up a series in order to get air injection. I know Sundance does that and they add another pump. I had a 15 year old Catalina that injected air and only had one pump in total.

        • admin November 21, 2017 at 9:24 pm

          Wow, that is such a scam.

          the air injection is on every jet housing and the handle and plumbing to control it is peanuts, I can’t believe the scams some people pull…

  53. Reply
    Michael November 18, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    First off, you’re the man! Appreciate what you do here, as someone who’s a first time buyer and extremely skeptical of the industry, it’s been epic.

    Down in San Diego, and headed to look at some Masters today. I did look at the Caldera line and was pretty impressed by the Vanto. 2 questions for you,

    1) How much weight to you attribute to Caldera having so many repair questions on the forum. Do you think that is more a factor of how many they sell, or that the mechanisms are getting worse over time? You mentioned it below as 2nd brand on your list still. Would you hesitate to sell someone a Caldera these days?

    2) suggestions of locations to check out

    Thanks man

    • Reply
      admin November 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm

      IMHO the Watkins line is a mid-grade spa with a lot fo less expensive proprietary parts and the requests for help fixing them is way disproportionate to the sales volume. I would not sell the line, in fact, I turned them down when they came to see me, I am fanatical about not having these cheap proprietary parts, I don’t want myself or my customer having only one source for parts… I think the Watkins, jacuzzi master brands are very close from a market share standpoint so the numbers of people asking for help is wholly disproportionate also Caldera is not thier big line Hot Springs is.

      Caldera is not my second line, Marquis or Artesian or Masters are my tier one brands, then beachcomber, Cal spa.

  54. Reply
    Justin November 11, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Hey, looking at getting an arctic spa, is there anything other then the foam being on the frame only you don’t like about them?

    • Reply
      admin November 13, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Not big fan of this brand, they simply don’t spend enough on the construction and a lot of it is spa and marketing.

      Shell is good hand rolled self-supporting and it has a nice bottom but don’t be fooled you still need to do proper ground prep or the tub will not sit level so really it’s a side track issue and of very limited real value. see this video.

      They used to use Gecko control and heating system but they have gone to a cheap no-name brand likely from China. I hate these proprietary parts, they don’t work as well as the good stuff like Balboa and you can not get parts anywhere except through them which is simply a bad idea, I want a parts list that is competitively priced, readily available and better quality.

      They do not clamp the plumbing lines, they just dip glue them.

      The salt systems is old regurgitated tech, these systems are 1-3ppm chlorine or bromine and you are breathing that in, most guys went away from this tech a decade ago now because no one is using it some guys are re-introducing it as new tech… you can get 6 times lower toxic chem levels with aftermarket systems.

      The spa boy again is all gimmick… they say its automatic but you still need to do weekly tests and adjustments, it only telly you PH (you can buy an electronic ph meter for $20) you still need to dip and test alkalinity and test slat levels.. there are easier healthier and more reliable systems out there for much less money than this gimmicky outdated tech.

      The insulation is about R-8 and that crazy pitch about big air spaces being insulation is silly, these perimeter systems are just cheap simply as that.

      Taker all this into account and then ask why it’s so expensive? it with a cheap parts list, cheap plumbing, and cheap insulation it should be a mid-priced spa but the new business model is to build mid-grade, lock the customer into buying parts from you forever and spend lots on brand awareness and spin and marketing.

  55. Reply
    Bob Garland November 7, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Lookng to replace a 15 year old Catalina Cl700 that finally gave up the ghost with something of similar size (approx 82 x 82″) and simplicity. Could you comment/ rank: Artesian, Marquis, Sundance, Hotprings, Dimension One, Caldera, Jacuzzi ? Any others to consider?

    • Reply
      admin November 7, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      My list goes:

      1. Master
      2. Marquis
      3. Artesian
      Sundance, D1 Jacuzzi, all the same company, mid-grade shell loads of p[[arts you cant buy anywhere but through them, great marketing and branding
      caldera, Hot springs same group same problem.

      • Reply
        Diane March 17, 2018 at 4:24 pm

        Hi. Looking at Marquis and Master….3 seater. Which models would you recommend for decent hydrotherapy. Thanks for all the info. you provide on this site….invaluable.

        • admin March 17, 2018 at 6:57 pm

          I haven’t seen the Marquis 3 seater and I’m in the middle of a 4-week stint chaperoning fourteen 15-year-old boys and I’m losing it so you are getting the abridged version 🙂

          Typically I love both brands from a build standpoint but the Twilight is the top therapy massage spa out there. just look at the jets… when it comes to massage bigger is better.. they cost more, flow more water, and move bigger masses of muscle…

      • Reply
        Doug Smith November 22, 2017 at 3:56 am

        HI. In this list you put Caldera as number 2, but in another post you indicate that Caldera is not in your top category. I am considering a Caldera Marino versus an Artesian Rio 751L or Artesian 748L. Which one of the three would you recommend?

        • admin November 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm

          Hi Doug, sorry Typo.

          Caldera is not on my good guy list, just the parts alone would make it a no-go for me Then the shell, I would never buy a shell that was not a hand-rolled self-supporting hull, these Polly and ABS backed shells were all the rage 20 years ago but they just did not hold up as well all the top stuff went back to good old glass with a vinyl ester resin core and hand rolled layers of glass.. expensive but indestructible. Def the Artesian of those two.

        • Doug Smith November 23, 2017 at 5:34 pm

          Very good. Given your expertise and passion on hit tubs, I will go with Artesian. I appreciate the fast response.
          Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Reply
        Bob Garland November 19, 2017 at 5:45 pm

        In this list you rate Master #1, Marquis #2 and Artesian #3. Master not available in area. I’ve also seen your stats about repairs that show Caldera is the worst. Would you chose Artesian or Marquis ahead of the Sundance group of brands and the Caldera group of brands?

        • admin November 21, 2017 at 9:25 pm

          For sure, the marquis and Artesian use a much better parts list and hand rolled self-supporting shells. they are miles and miles better from a build quality standpoint and ahead or on par from a performance standpoint.

      • Reply
        Alaine Flynn November 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

        Hi Chris, We are looking to replace a 32 yr old Sundance that we have loved to death!! Literally…LOL I’m not seeing too many good reviews about sad. We are in Reno NV, so we dont have a ton of choices. Could you recommend? Looks like we have dealers for Hot Spring, Caldera, Sundance, and Cal Spas….that I’m aware of.. Thankyou for your very imformative site! Kuddos to you!

        • admin November 13, 2017 at 3:30 pm

          yeah Sundance used to be good but they got bought out by big investment equity firm and now its all about margin spin and branding 🙁

          Cal is the only one of the group that uses the good parts list but they seem to have a lot of issues in the build consistency. almost 5% of the requests for help on the forums from a customer with broken spas in Cal and they are a bit player so it’s really a lot of people trying to get help… always a red flag. I’ve been analysing data from the discussion forums (not what the “experts say” but specifically how many people are asking for help0 with which brands. The data is totally backing up what I have been saying for years. I analysed 20 pages (around 500 posts) and the big branded spas were crazy for breaking down.

          Watkins (Hot Spring Caldera etc) accounted for nearly 35% of the broken spas needing help, The jacuzzi group (Sundance, jacuzzi Dimension 1) were over 20% yet the biased experts will tell you they are the best spas :-), meanwhile Master Spas gets hammered on the forums mainly because they do these expo events in local dealers areas and take millions out of their markets so the experts hate them have 0 requests for help.

          I’m just working on an article about it now…

          go see these guys, the Marquis is a way better-built spa than anything else I found out there, its the only brand in your area I would put on my floor.

      • Reply
        Sandy November 7, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        No Marquis or Bullfrog?

  56. Reply
    Joe November 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Can you give me your thoughts on the Artesian Rio Spas?

    • Reply
      admin November 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

      I like Artesian in general, they build good spas the way they should be built. the Rio is the island line which is the entry level so the jetting is fairly pedestrian, very few of the hi flow therapy jets and loads of the little inexpensive ones so its certianly not a high end therapy massage spa but I would say a good middle of the road performance with great build quality.

  57. Reply
    Peter Mayhew October 29, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Nothing I love better than to see someone with passion about what they do….and that’s what your site looks like!

    First time buyer here but have always wanted a hot tub. I have 2 dealers in my area (Newnan, GA – a little south of Atlanta) bullfrog and hot springs, and a rec warehouse. I had settled on the bullfrog but something just didn’t feel right when I started asking a few detailed questions so I figured I’d google about and see if I could find something better, and whammo hit your site. This is more frustrating than buying cars!

    Basically I’m looking to stay around 10k, cheaper is better, but anything is doable. I want something that I won’t be second guessing for the next 10 years. Was even considering something from but still on the fence there. It’s just me and the kids so would like to have something therapeutic and fun. Have even considered building my own (bought the custombuiltspas guide) but not sure I have the time to get into all that as a single parent.

    • Reply
      Sandy November 4, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      Due to my installation area, I am looking for a tub that has auxiliary control(s) on opposite side of tubs where master control/acess panel are located. I know Bullfrog has one and Marquis does as well. Anyone else? Also, what is minimum width of decking recommended to get in/out of tub recessed about 26″ into deck? Thanks!

      • Reply
        admin November 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm

        Hi Sandy.

        The Artesian for sure out of those two, that plastic shell on the Bullfrog I am not a fan of, they have all these stupid pipes under neath to hold the shell together because its too weak to support its own weight with water and bathers.

        you really want to frame the deck out a foot on each side and make removable panels, that way no matter what happens you have access…

        • Sandy November 6, 2017 at 8:40 pm

          Thanks, and I figured a minimum of 1 foot of decking on side of tub would work.

          Interested in your perspective on Bullfrog spas. I found idea of jetpaks and less plumbing intriguing, and I didn’t realize the tub itself was flimsy.

          Is this a product from which I should steer clear in favor of Marquis?

          And how do you feel about Hot Springs? They have always performed solidly for me.

          Much appreciated……S

    • Reply
      admin November 2, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      IKR? at least the car industry has regulations that keep them in the real world, this is the nightmare industry where spin and marketing rule…

      The bullfrog is like most… some good (parts, insulation) some bad (ABS shells) and loads of gimmicks (those goofy pods lmao)

      but better in my mind than the HS, I always stay away from anything with a goofy proprietary parts list designed to own your ass for ever…

      Go see these guys

      Atlanta Spa & Leisure
      4305 Ne Expressway, Doraville, GA, 30340
      Phone: 770-939-8000

      • Reply
        Brandon March 30, 2018 at 9:18 pm

        Hi Chris

        Stumbled across your YouTube videos and finding them very useful. I am in the process of purchasing our first hot tub so looking for as much information as I can get. As there is not much options here in Scotland for hot tubs I have decided to go with my local dealer who sells the Watkins range. Would you be able to share your thoughts on the Signature 3 not sure what model this will come under in the US. Thank you and keep up the great content

        • admin April 1, 2018 at 11:25 pm

          I’m not really a big fan of the Watkins group. It’s typical of the equity investment companies that spend so much money on brand awareness marketing and advertising but there’s not enough left over to build a great hot tub with. Things like nonremovable sides goofy parts list that you can only get from the manufacturer and old school poly based foams makes this a no-go brand for me.

          go see these guys they do Master, much better build quality and a better price.

  58. Reply
    Eric Guerino October 22, 2017 at 1:29 am

    HI, I was wondering your thoughts as to the Master Spas Healthy Living 8.5 tub? I was at a expo here in Phoenix, and this tub caught my eye. But from reading posts about how you can get ripped off at one of these events, what is the ballpark price I should be looking at with this tub? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Kevin G. October 29, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      What do you think of wind river spas in Colorado?

      • Reply
        admin November 2, 2017 at 4:30 pm

        Alot of misinformation on the videos turning non-issues into issues to scare you,

        They make a big deal about circ pumps which is a low flow filter system, I don’t like them. The modern 2 speed systems are quiet and efficient and give you the option of being able to filter 5x more water that these circ systems if you have a party or need to clean up the spa. all spas have an option for a circ pump.

        They talk about CD ozone as being a big plus, most tubs have them and they really don’t do that much for long.

        They spew alot of outdated information to justify a less expensive insulation system read this article…

        They use ABS backed acrylic, this was big 10 years ago, and most people went away from it, it’s cheaper to build but does not hold up well. the idea was that you could just vacuum form it and go, which is what they do… because of the issues we started fiberglassing the the ABS sheets and in the end went to Vinal ester resin with glass and acrylic, it’s strong and lasts.

        Its not a tub I would consider selling, a lot of spin and misinformation and really just a mid-grade small regional manufacturer that because of the volume can’t afford to the tech to do it right so he spun all the old tech into a pitch that makes it sound new and innovative.

        • Kevin G. November 3, 2017 at 3:19 pm

          Thanks for the info. Is there a big drop off on the artesian lines? it looks like they put less into the South Seas compared to the Platinum and Island. I’m looking for a tub that can’t be more than 68″ – 70″ in width. South seas has the 743D but looks like less foam and less other things that the Platinum and Island lines have standard.
          Also looking at the Master TS 67.25 and Marquis Spirit and V65L (marquis look more like 3 person and this is for a condo that will be rented so looking for more of a four person tub even if a bit cramped and one that is durable for the abuse renters can inflict). thanks for your help.

    • Reply
      admin October 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      HL is a good line, i think they went to click in jets but apparently its a new design and they are hoping to avoid the usual problem with these jets of breaking.

      other than that it is well built and well insulated and should be a good spa, price wise I would expect around $10-11kish

  59. Reply
    Gary Hattan October 19, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I live in Southwest Michigan and am looking for a hot tub for myself and occasional visitors. I have not need for the hydrotherapy but I love to sit, soak and enjoy a scotch and a cigar.
    I wonder if you could recommend a manufacturer for under $8K and a local dealer near South Haven.


    • Reply
      admin October 23, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Look at the Getaway and Clarity lines

      Master Spas Of West Michigan
      2055 28th St Se, Grand Central Plaza, Grand Rapids, MI, 49508
      Phone: 616-475-7770

      • Reply
        Gary Hattan October 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm

        I made a trip to Master Spas of West Michigan and I got a great deal on a Clarity Precision 7. Thanks for the tip and all the good info that you provide for all of us novices.

  60. Reply
    chris October 18, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    This site is awesome thank you. I am looking for a first spa for my house. I live the san francisco bay area, and want one that has the best jets and features. have no idea where to start looking, Don’t really care about how much, redoing my whole backyard so it is a drop in the bucket,

    • Reply
      admin October 23, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      hey Chris

      The best performance spa out there is the Twilight series by master.

      check out this video, its a massage machine and its built as good as they get.

  61. Reply
    Jamie October 16, 2017 at 2:37 am

    I’m probably making the whole hot tub purchasing experience more stressful than necessary. Caldera and Jacuzzi offer financing incentives; whereas, Master Spa doesn’t at the two local showrooms. That leaves us with the option of getting a nice hot tub or if we go with a Master Spa brand, going with a Clarity line. Are the Clarity line “nice” or will it feel a bit too adorable by compromising quality? I worry that we might get what we pay for, subpar, since it’s their lower grade hot tub. Should we just wait until we can afford a Healthy Living or Twilight or would a Clarity offer us years of satisfaction? In your opinion of course.

    • Reply
      admin October 20, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Dude do not get me started on financing…. its a gimmick and the governments are arseholes for letting the financial world make crazy rules….

      So say I can get a customer 7% financing….

      The honest person says “the finance rate is 7% and is clear and open about their dealings.

      The next person says I can get you 5%

      The last person says Ill give you 0% for 3 years…

      Wow one of these people is great…

      the other two are playing you…

      If i pay the interest difference to the finance company you get the 5% deal

      If I pay the finance company the interest for 3 years you get zero interest.

      Its always built into the price man don’t be stupid…No one is giving you zero interest they are simply paying your interest and making sure they have the profit in the deal to cover it…. Haven’t you ever noticed the final cash price is always high in the zero interest deals?

      From a trust standpoint the guy telling you what yer really paying is the honest guy the others are playing the edges…

    • Reply
      admin October 20, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      Dude do not get me started on financing…. its a gimmick and the governments are arseholes for letting the financial world make crazy rules….

      So say I can get a customer 7% financing….

      The honest person says “the finance rate is 7% and is clear and open about their dealings.

      The next person says I can get you 5%

      The last person says Ill give you 0% for 3 years…

      Wow one of these people is great…

      the other two are playing you…

      If i pay the interest difference to the finance company you get the 5% deal

      If I pay the finance company the interest for 3 years you get zero interest.

      Its always built into the price man don’t be stupid…No one is giving you zero interest they are simply paying your interest and making sure they have the profit in the deal to cover it…. Haven’t you ever noticed the sticker price is high in the zero interest deals?

      From a trust standpoint the guy telling you what yer really paying is the honest guy the others are playing the edges…

  62. Reply
    Shawn Malcolm October 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Chris, I love your site. Thanks for all of your helpful information. My wife would like a spa because she has a lot of neck and back pain, so we have been shopping around. We live in Oshawa. We also have two young kids (9 and 5) who will use the spa. May I ask your help in selecting a good quality tub? We would like a roomy spa, open seating, good therapy jets, but mid-range ($12-13k) price. Is there a specific model that you might recommend? Do you happen to know a local dealer that sells good brands? Thanks Chris.

    • Reply
      Paul October 17, 2017 at 2:23 am

      Hello. Looking at replacing a 14 year old hot springs that held up well over the years. We live in Geneva IL. I haven’t had any success find a Master spa dealer near. We have close access to marquis, hot springs/caldera, jacuzzi and Nordic. I believe there maybe a artisan dealer 20 miles away. Suggestions?

      • Reply
        Ann Darwicki November 2, 2017 at 10:20 pm

        Hi Chris. I am looking at purchasing a Artesian South seas spa here in Delaware for $6700- that is all inclusive. The detailer has excellent reviews for several years. What are your thoughts on this brand? Also I am interested in a chemical free system- I have heard about copper- I wondered what your thoughts were on this also?

        • admin November 3, 2017 at 6:21 pm

          I like Artesian well built spa with a good insulation package and a great parts list.

          copper ion is ok if it comes free but dont spend extra on it… go to spa marvel or aquafinesse

      • Reply
        admin October 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm

        Marquis, the best of that bunch for sure.

    • Reply
      admin October 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Hey Shawn

      Those are old stomping grounds used to MTB the Rouge River Valley although I’m sure its developed by now…

      You Have loads of options out there but again if it is higher end therapy massage then the Twilight, in My opinion, is the best tub in the world right now. all around… good parts and build and more high-end therapy jets than almost any tub out there and you can put the whole 6hp pump through the captain’s chair… I’m broken and battered and it is my morning goto place.

      See the video I shot on my spa.

      try Grif, he is 50 miles away but he has good service levels and will take good care of you.

      Premium Wholesale
      , Toronto, ONT, M5A 1N1
      Phone: 519-895-0606

  63. Reply
    Ryan October 9, 2017 at 5:37 pm


    Thanks again so much for all the great information! I did a dozen hours of research before I really dived into your site, its been invaluable and it seems to line up with most things I’m finding.

    I did have one question in regards to Coast / their NorthWinds brand. I’ve read some other reviews where you list your critiques of them. I’ve been looking at both the NorthWinds 8C and Zenith – leaning more toward the 8C now. I took these and posed them as questions to my local dealer (they have great reviews and seem genuine in all the ways I’ve been researching that you want….been with that brand for about 10 years but many more with other brands before). Anyways, here were the responses: (1Q) Pressure filtration or are any suction based? Side skimmers or floor suctions? (1A) Suction-based (2Q) Heating elements under the bottom of the mold or just drainage? (2A) Heater is in-line 4kw titanium alloy (3Q) Do you know if the parts are generic or proprietary/unique? (3A) Balboa controls (4Q) Do you know the manufacturer of the jets? (4A) Waterway jets (5Q) Are the pipes clamped / adhered in any way? (5A) Jets barb clamp and glue (6Q) What is the power source requirements / specs for the pumps? (6A) 50 amp / 220volt.

    Those answers seemed to address many of the concerns you had listed for Coast….but still a bit worried. I was quoted about $6k for the tub (426 gallons, 40 jets, 2 pumps at 3hp each…have full other specs).

    I also did research / have available Viking (Legacy II), Bullfrog (X8), Jacuzzi (J-245), and Hot Spot (Rhythm). I also looked at Caldera but found their offerings for my price point (around 6k to 7k) to be sub-par compared to others. Unfortunately there are not Master or Marquis dealers near me (Rochester NY 14534), so don’t think I can get those.

    Essentially I’d very much appreciate any further advise you can provide whatsoever (be happy to show you the ton of research / notes I already have compiled if it helps). Basically trying to spend 6k to 7k (semi-flexible) for >4 person tub, no lounger, for hydrotherapy (great jets).

    Thanks again Chris!

    • Reply
      admin October 11, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      assuming the info is correct on the zenith and if the shell is a self-supporting shell its an ok price… the performance is going to be fairly lacklustre… it will feel like its doing a lot but all the jets are the inexpensive small jets and a few of the midsize but none of the hi flow expansive therapy jetting…

  64. Reply
    Janet October 8, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Hi, thank you for all of the information you have provided on this site. My husband and I are looking to buy our first hot tub for relaxation and health reasons. Although the information was helpful I feel even more confused on what brand is best. Not sure if this matters but we are oon well and septic, and our water is very hard, although we have a softener. We live in Valparaiso, IN. Thank you for your time!

    • Reply
      admin October 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      go see these guys:

      Spas Factory Direct
      3919 Grape Road, Mishawaka, IN, 46545
      Phone: 574-272-2160

  65. Reply
    Jamie October 7, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Hi there– what’re your recommendations for a hot tub dealer & brand(s) in Spokane WA or Coeur d’Alene ID? We’re looking for 4-person tub, w at least 1 deeper seat (tall-torso spouse). Thx much– really appreciate your webpage & advice!

    • Reply
      admin October 11, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      I have looked in the area before and not found a lot of good choices, all the big brands with their mid-grade spas wrapped in the cosy warm blanket of branding and spin but none of the really solid well built brands. 🙁

      • Reply
        Jaime Schmidt October 12, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        Thx Chris– that’s what I was afraid you’d say… My local research wasn’t coming up with anything different. Do you see any of these options as more preferable than the others: Jacuzzi, D1, Hot Springs, Caldera or Bullfrog? Arctic is also available in Spokane, but it sounds like they’re clearly off your list. Thx.

        • admin October 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

          Its funny I get mired in the minutia 🙂

          None of these brands are total nightmares, just none of them are awesome 🙂

          D1 used to at least use a non-proprietary parts list but it was gecko and man iI love a Balboa System, these guys have some key patents that keep them in a class of their own. The Problem i have always had with the Hot Springs, Caldera is the damn Invensys control system.. man they have had sooooo many heater relay board and spa side controller failures it is insane… you look on the discussion forums and go to the thread where people ask for help fixing their spas… This is the only place on those forms that are not all bullshit industry people and guess what… there are a crazy high number of people asking for help on the Watkins spas (Hot Spring, Caldera, Limelight, hot spot)… The only one of the group using the good parts is the Bullfrog but they use that damn plastic shell with pedestal supports… Man I hate these things, they were all the rage 20 years ago and most guys went away from them because they just don’t hold up like a good hand rolled shell…

  66. Reply
    Valerie Knudsen October 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Looking to buy our first spa. Looking for 5 – 7 person and up to $10K in price. Located in Rhode Island, quite a few dealers for out tiny state, it seems. Have been most impressed with Vita Spas, Caldera brand and today looked at Strong Spa. Like I said we really know little about them. SE Connecticut is also in our range of dealers.

    • Reply
      admin October 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Man, I get a lot of fo requests from this area.

      You have the regular stuff down there:

      You have the guys with goofy parts list which is an absolute deal breaker for me, I never would sell or buy a line that did not have the North American top OEM parts so that takes the Sundance, caldera, Arctic, Jacuzzi off my list.

      Then you have the Bullfrog with the good parts but I am not a fan of the ABS shells… any shell that is too weak to support its own weight with water and needs pedestals to carry the weight is a no-no for me.

      The Strong looks good on paper but that was a strong spa in the Costco video that went viral…

      Vita is middle of the road, in my opinion, steel frame I do not like, its a gimmick and noisy.

      The biggest problem I have is the reflective insulation system, it’s cheap and not very effective.

      There are a lot of different reflective surfaces but the truth is it does not change the fact that they are reflective insulation only dealing with radiant heat and the backing has minimal thermal mass.

      The problem with radiant insulation is that it is just not that good at containing heat in a system, especially when installed in a hot tub. Radiant barriers work well at bouncing heat away so in Florida they are good in attics to keep the heat out.

      There are enough studies out there to make a good solid scientific case against these radiant systems used to contain heat in a system and the reality is some hot tub company with some marketing spin is in no way changing that scientific data.

      copper, whiteboard, Bi pet foils they are all the same theory.. reflecting infrared spectrum back… Changing the reflective material has almost no effect because it’s not the quality of the reflector that is in question it is the science of reflective insulation systems being applicable to this application that is in question.

      The only guy I know is 2 hours away which for a good dealer is doable and that’s crocker sales 9 High Street, Woburn, MA, 01801
      Phone: 781-933-2006

  67. Reply
    David Dumas October 2, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    In the market for a hot tub and came across you website and have been using it to research. Unfortunately I do not have access to Master Spas on Vancouver Island. We have access to Coast, Jacuzzi, Arctic, Nordic and Maax. Based on your previous comments none of these are a great brand. I have been leaning towards Maax as they have Balboa components but could not tell if they use Waterway. I know you aren’t a fan of the insulation, but I’m wondering what else I should worry about with a Maax. Thank for your feedback.

    • Reply
      admin October 3, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Man in Vancouver it’s too cold to scrimp on insulation… It always amazes me… I could not use a couple of inches of blue max in my house… it would not come anywhere near to code yet I can put it in a hot tub and claim its awesome 🙂 A tub needs better insulation than a house because it’s hotter so the temp dif is higher so the heat loss is higher.

      funny I don’t get a lot of action in Canada but I do on Vancouver Island… I know you have a couple good guy there that do independent service which means you could buy out of market…

  68. Reply
    Mike October 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I’m in the market for a spa. Visited a reputable dealer and really like the the Lanai model(2-3 person) by Tropic Seas Spas. The sales person told me it was an Artesian Spa but cannot find any supporting evidence to this claim. Is this a good spa? What 2-3 person spa would you recommend?

    • Reply
      admin October 2, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      I don’t know for sure, I’m trying to find out f they build it our licence the name or if its a separate factory and build standard… no luck so far, I’ll try calling them again,

      • Reply
        Dan November 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        Lanai is part of tropic seas spas-made by Artesian May manufacturing

  69. Reply
    BrandoB October 1, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Do you have thoughts on the “legacy Whirlpool” brand by Master Spa? We are looking to replace our old tub and a local expo had these in their mix of Master Spas. They referred to it as a Master Spa and the paperwork made it seem like it checks all of the boxes. It would be buying from a local Master Spa dealer as well. I am just a little concerned that since it’s branded as “Legacy Whirlpool” by Master Spa that they may have cut some of the manufacturing steps/corners when building. Until we left I thought it was a Master Spa. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin October 2, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      It’s a Limited edition built on the healthy living platform with an open seating style… bang for the buck one of the best buys out there right now but they are done… Sept 1st was the last date to order them, they are like hens teeth!!! grab it

  70. Reply
    Brian September 28, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Hey Chris, thanks for the the site and all the info…I live in Moncton, nb and the only dealers with good hot tubs carry beachcomber, coast spa, or maxx. What would you choose….I can get the best deal on the coast spa…and the dealer gets the extra spray package….and they are a good dealer….the beachcomber does seem overpriced a bit…..but I want to get the best tub for the money in terms of quality, thanks! Brian

    • Reply
      admin October 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Dude you are in my backyard!

      I never get people from my neck of the woods, everyone is from away 🙂

      Ill ping you

  71. Reply
    David Dubose September 27, 2017 at 11:39 am

    My wife and I are looking for our 1st hot tub here in Tuscaloosa Alabama. Not really sure where to begin. Between all the different manufactures it’s hard to narrow down to 1 or 2. We are currently looking at family leisure place but we also have a few other stores to look. The main question I have is an Artesian tub a reliable long lasting tub? We are looking for a 4-6 person tub. Price range 4-7K. Or is there a recommended place to go look at them in this area?

    • Reply
      admin September 28, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      You have two brands there.

      the guys at Allstar Pool & Spa do Master they are my goto brand and the guys at Family Leisure Birmingham do Artesian a close second, if you are looking for anything other than the crazy hi end therapy massage spas either line will keep you in the good world, if you are after therapy massage spas then the Twilight line at Allstar is way above anything else out there…

      Allstar Pool & Spa
      1821 Tin Valley Circle , Birmingham , AL, 35235
      Phone: 205-655-8870

      Family Leisure Birmingham
      7701 Ludington Lane
      Birmingham, AL 35210
      (205) 951-0707

      • Reply
        David September 29, 2017 at 2:59 pm

        Thanks, what about buying a used hot tub? I’m looking at a 2012 luxurious m series morgan. I think it’s made by master spa. Original price was 13k. Guy selling for $3500. No issues that I’m aware of.
        Better to buy new or take a chance with used.

  72. Reply
    Ed September 26, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Chris, got a price for a Master Precision 7 for $8K including steps, cover, cover lift, starter pack and delivery. Is this good? I have a vacation rental property and not sure if this model is the right one. What do you think?

    • Reply
      admin September 27, 2017 at 11:24 am

      perfect for a vacation home, lots of room that shell is the roomiest 7′ tub I have ever seen, you can pack people in and it will work well.

      • Reply
        Ed September 27, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        What do you think about the price? $8K?

  73. Reply
    JS September 25, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Hello there,

    Many, many thanks for taking the time to post all this great info. Am studying and learning lots!

    First time middle aged potential spa buyer here – looking for help with re-occuring muscle pain issues and overall wellness.
    Have a question.

    I live in eastern Long Island, New York. Am looking for a 2 person triangle shaped spa for hot water therapy and massage. Was considering putting tub on top of a timber tech deck in corner next to house.

    Would greatly appreciate any feedback around good dealers nearby, brands, tub placement, noise of pump next to house…

    • Reply
      admin September 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm

      if you want a real high-end therapy triangle spa your choices are very limited.

      the best would be the twilight 240 massive jetting and power in a small tub.

      these guys can help

      East Coast Spas Inc.
      , , , 10606
      Phone: 203-460-0514

  74. Reply
    DZ September 24, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    This is a great site! Dan you tell me your thoughts it hot springs high life envoy ? Salt water?

    Is their an Artesisn dealer in Long Island NY?

    Thank you

    • Reply
      admin September 26, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      don’t like the parts list on the envoy, these guys having less expensive parts made that just fit their spas instead of sticking to the ultra-reliable OEM parts makes this a no go brand for me.

      cant find an artesian dealer but there is a Master dealer near you.

      East Coast Spas Inc.
      , , , 10606
      Phone: 203-460-0514

  75. Reply
    David September 22, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Ok, so like many people on here this will be my families 1st hot tub purchase. Here in Alabama it seems we are limited on where to buy unless you buy from a box store. It’s really so overwhelming I can’t even ask the right questions to make a decision. I’m worried about going into a store and the salesman hook line and sinker me and my wife. Not that I’m a pushover when it comes to buying, but when you have no clue a good salesman can sale you anything. I don’t want that to be us. I’m trying to do research and semi narrow the search down. We are looking at family leisure for our purchase. (Looking at an Artesian Rio 500). They do offer a 5 year parts and labor warrenty with local contractors. Which I think is good. I have seen a lot of comments on other brands. Is Artesian a good brand? If I shop at family leisure do you recommend a particular brand or should we shop somewhere else? It seems as if you could please give us dummies your top 5 things you have to look for. We are looking to spend around 7grand. I almost feel like I should leave you my number so we can communicate through phone instead of text. Hahaha! Any response would be greatly appreciated.

    • Reply
      admin September 28, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      dude artesian is one of my goto brands built well and doing the right stuff.

  76. Reply
    Greg September 22, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Thanks Chris for the awesome insight! I live in Ft Worth, Dont seem to have alot of options for a mid to high end tub ($6k to $11k). I looked inside a Marquis and it looked like a cheap frame. Other options are Bullfrog, Hot Springs, or Dynasty. And not being in a super cold climat, is 2-3″ of the foam sufficient insulation?

    • Reply
      admin September 22, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      The frame in a good hand rolled shell is just to hold the skirt on… When you see a big beefy frame it is because the shell is crap and they need a frame to hold it together 🙂

      2-3 inches of foam in a warm climate is not that big of a deal, but it still costs more…

      Out of that group, the only one I would put on my sales floor would be the Marquis… see the video on the dynasty in the spa review section

      • Reply
        Greg September 23, 2017 at 12:59 am

        Thank you!

    • Reply
      Greg September 22, 2017 at 5:02 am

      Also found Bahama and D1.

      • Reply
        admin September 22, 2017 at 7:33 pm

        Still the marquis is my bet

  77. Reply
    Eric Purvis September 22, 2017 at 1:42 am

    Hey Chris,

    Wow so glad I foumd your site. Incredibly insightful for a first time hot tub buyer. I just bought a place at Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. I’m looking for my first tub and wondered if you had a recommendation for a quality/efficient tub in the $5-6k range?


    • Reply
      admin September 28, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      man, there is very little out there, Hotsprings with their Master of Confusion parade and everyone else is miles away.

      unless you are or know a good handyperson and buy out of the market you really don’t have any choices…

  78. Reply
    Mike Stevens September 21, 2017 at 12:14 am


    I live in Massachusetts and looking for recommendations on a spa with out lounge chairs that fits 6 and is energy efficient. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


    • Reply
      admin September 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      from you IP I would say go see these guys and look at a Twilight or healthy living, top spas, well made.

      Peaceful Pool and Spa, Inc.
      25 College Highway (Rt 10)
      Red Rock Shops
      Southampton, MA 01073

      Phone# (413) 527-1358

  79. Reply
    Meagan September 20, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    First time buyer and my options are Arctic Spas, Caldera, Bullfrog and Beachcomber. From what you have said Arctic Spas and Bullfrog are out for me but what would be the better purchase between Beachcomber and Caldera?

    • Reply
      admin September 21, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Beachcomber, the only bad thing about that brand is the stupid Hybrid pump outside deal… and I think you can order it without that hybrid option, they are also ridiculously overpriced. but they are built well, use a great parts list and have clamped and glued plumbing.

  80. Reply
    Manny F. September 19, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I bought a D1 Spa in 1997. Aurora, first models made. Now it’s leaking a bit and I was thinking of upgrading to the exact same.. Not sure if something out there in brand names would be a better upgrade? What have you heard about the @Home brand they have? I know they are all blanketly owned by Jaccuzi.
    I’m hoping to get the next spa and have it last for 20 years like my current one.

    • Reply
      admin September 20, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Hey, Manny! 20 years ago all spas lasted 20 years 🙂 now they are engineered to fail like everything else 🙂

      Dude I looked at like 15 places and none are carrying the brands I would put on my floor, there was a guy selling the garden spas by artesian but I haven’t seen those yet and am not sure if they are built like the regular line.

      This is the closest but he is aways away trying and gauge his service out there, it might be he has a local guy in the area…
      Your local Master Spas dealer is 126.3 miles away.

  81. Reply
    CE September 16, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Hi.. we are looking to buy a new hot tub. My husband had one years ago, so is very familiar with them in general. He’s also a plumbing contractor and will handle any repairs that may come up. A local dealer has a 2017 Caldera Marino for $6400 (inc stairs, cover, delivery/setup, maintenance for a year and a few other things). I know Master is a great choice, but is going to be out of price range. We have Coast Spas, Artesian, and Marquis locally as well, although Marquis may be out of range too.

    Question.. is this a decent price for the Caldera or should we avoid it and keep looking? We won’t spend more than $6500. Preferably less.

    • Reply
      admin September 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      $6500 is a good price but I just can’t endorse putting yourself in the position of being stuck with a proprietary parts list with no competition for pricing and no options except the manufacturer for parts.

      • Reply
        CE September 18, 2017 at 6:34 pm

        I’m looking at a couple different Marquis spas, the Vector v77L ($7k) and the e-Series 435 for the same price. Any thoughts on the two models?

  82. Reply
    Karin seth September 16, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Hi, I am so thankful I found this website as otherwise we would be the sad owners of a hydro pool hot tub!
    We are located near fenelon falls in the city of kawartha lakes, Ontario, Canada. The nearest Masterspa dealer appears to in Mississauga not in Peterborough as indicated on the Masterspa website. Assuming we cannot easily purchase a Masterspa what alternative brands would you recommend for our neck of the woods?
    Thank you, Karin

    • Reply
      admin September 18, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      You have nothing out there within an hour, this means you really need a good dealer with strong communication and a good local handy person. which also means you can buy out fo market…

      The reality is a great dealer is not about proximity it’s about knowledge and communication, I have over 100 hot tubs over 3 hours away (some over 5000km away) and all of those people would call me a good dealer because when they call we know the information to give them and the reality is getting a local handyperson to swap parts is not hard to do…

  83. Reply
    sawyer1370 September 16, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    We are interested in a spa, and my wife saw the Everlast 90 jet spa at Sam’s club. It seems to have very good reviews, but I don’t know anything about the actual manufacturing of the spa. It seems to be similar in it’s size and jet configuration to the Caldera Geneva that I like. I’d love to get any feedback on this spa. We live in the Phoenix area, and the spa will be outside in our backyard.

  84. Reply
    Gail Heck-Sweeney September 16, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    I am looking for a small spa that will retain heat for winter usage in Spokane, WA. I was told a 110 v unit would lose heat quickly while being used and I should install as 240 v for faster and better temp control. Does it make a difference?

    • Reply
      admin September 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      yeah a big difference, in cold climates like yours you can only stay in a plug and play for 10-15 minutes and its getting too cold.. the 240v will have a heater 4 or 5 times bigger…

  85. Reply
    Steve September 12, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Great site. Thank you are making me more knowledgable about my buying decision in an otherwise crazy industry. I’ve learned that it’s just as important, if not more important, to look under the tub than to focus on the finished surface. We are going to purchase a tub for installation in a new home near Hendersonville, NC. It looks like we have a good service/installation guy down the road, so I’m not focussing solely on locally available tubs. The local guy sells a tub I’ve not heard of: Alps Spas. Do you have any opinions on this tub. Thanks again for all your help.

    • Reply
      admin September 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      So I had a chat with a nice old guy at Alps spa factory, then a sales guy… You owe me some social media love dude I spent a lot of time on this one 🙂

      They use a 1/2″ open cell foam on the shell and then a 3/4″ foam with mylar on the skirt, I’m not a fan of these systems, they are inexpensive and low r value and reflective foils are not good at retaining heat in a system, they have no thermal mass and when installed vertically create a lot of convection.

      Good electronic and heating systems mid grade jetting.

      The shell is not a hand rolled fiberglass shell its an ABS backed acrylic, these were big 20 years ago and had a lot of issues the good guys all went back to hand laying glass…

      glued and clamped plumbing

      try these guys they carry master David’s Home Entertainment & Recreation
      2566 Asheville Road, Waynesville, NC, 28786
      Phone: 828-452-5534

  86. Reply
    Jeff September 12, 2017 at 10:26 pm

    Hi – I found your website very informative -but… no Master Spas dealers anywhere close to me in SW Colorado. Besides Cal and Sundance, there are Nordic, Dimension 1 and Caldera at dealers in Durango. A number of my friends have Wind River spas and all have had good experiences with them – although they appear to violate several of your rules. Looking for a 4 – 6 person, under $10k. I live at 7,200′ and it gets very cold here in the winter (typically 1 – 2 weeks below 0 F) and hot in the summer (mostly in the 80’s to 90’s, with a week or two bouncing into 100 F occasionally). Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      admin September 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Hi Jeff

      Yeah, I’ve looked at the WR stuff and both the shell and the insulation I am not a fan of, Parts wise and they are good and performance wise they are entry level to upper mid.

      I’m not saying it’s a nightmare spa it’s just what most stuff is… a bit of good, a bit of bad, and a side of ugly…

      Look at the Nordic, similar insulation package and the roto mould shells last for ever, also a good parts list and good plumbing system.

      Cal or even D1 would also be a better bet out of that group.

  87. Reply
    Rob L September 10, 2017 at 3:35 am

    Hi Chris- First time buyer. Lots of great information to review, very helpful and makes sorting through the dealer brands and information easier.
    We are considering the brand Artesian Spas, from what we see the insulation is described as you recommend, plumbing is glued and clamped, and a strong shell with a lifetime backing, and a local dealer. We were told it is American made but cant find information on availability of replacement parts. Your thoughts on the Artesian line and what do you know about parts.

    • Reply
      admin September 10, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      all good easy to replace reliable parts.

  88. Reply
    Jeff September 8, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    What’s your opinion on the Marquis E-series (the 545) hot tub? It’s about $7,300. Is it a good solid hot tub?

    • Reply
      admin September 8, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      Most of their stuff has the 4 things I like… not familiar with the model but the brand typically is well built.

  89. Reply
    Ed K. September 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Chris, I think I settled on Master spas but not sure what series: Twilight, Healthy Living, or Clarity. I have a vacation rental property in Scottsdale. I’d like something that is reliable but I don’t need tons of bells and whistles. Your thoughts?

  90. Reply
    Gina September 8, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Good morning,

    I live in Western PA and had a Dynasty Spa for the last year. Nothing but trouble. Thankfully there is a crack in the foot well and they are going to refund my purchase price. Obviously, I want to make the best choice after that experience. Do you have any insight into the Strong Spa, Hot Spring or Caldera brands? Appreciate any advice you could provide.

    • Reply
      admin September 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Gina!

      You dodged a bullet there, we took one in on trade and it was a piece of junk.

      the strong are no better…

      best I could find is far away there is a Marquis dealer 2020 BEAVER AVENUEMONACA, PA, 15061724-728-8888

      and a Master dealer: East Coast Spas Inc.
      1424 Easton Road, Suite 300, Horsham, PA, 19040
      Phone: 732-823-8606

      • Reply
        Gina September 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        Thanks for the information. Unfortunately Marguis discontinued King Pool’s liscense due to low sale volumes I did find another dealer and I will be visiting them tomorrow. Thanks again, this certainly gives me some piece of mind.

  91. Reply
    cj September 7, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    Hi – Love the videos. Its the reason I quickly moved off the Costco brands. I’m wondering about sudance’s insulation. They don’t talk much about it, other than to say they use 2 forms (both closed and open cell) and full foam. To a laymen, open and closed cell doesnt mean anything to me.

    Does the Sundance insulation roughly equate to your guidance on your insulation video?

    • Reply
      admin September 7, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Sundance which is the same group as Jacuzzi is not anywhere near my recommended list. They don’t hand roll the shells, they use proprietary parts, and they don’t fill the cavity with insulation… Typical of these Hot Tub companies that are owned by equity investment corporations… spend very little on the tub, spend lots on brand awareness and marketing and spin, and use inexpensive parts that only fit their tubs so the customer cant competitively shop replacement parts… This brand would never sit on my sales floor…

  92. Reply
    Lynda Frazier September 6, 2017 at 2:13 am

    I have heard a lot about the Bullfrog hot tubs here in Texas. They do sound “gimmicky” with the removable jet backs but at the same time my friends love theirs and I like the idea of exchanging the backs. What are your thoughts?

    • Reply
      admin September 6, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      mixed Bag, the shell is a cheaper plastic backed shell that needs pedestal support to keep it from breaking, IMHO you just can not beat a good hand rolled fiberglass shell.

      the rest is good but the packs are stupid.

      If you get a spa with lots of the big therapy jets you can totally change the jetting in the whole spa easily and cheaply, the packs just limit the placement and cost a fortune to swap out and there is no real advantage.

      Ask your friend to do me a favor. there have been a lot of issues with bacteria behind the jet packs, you can buy bacteria test strips for $5 you run them on the wall behind the pack and it tells you if there is bacteria. I’m curious to see if they have fixed this issue.

  93. Reply
    Heidi September 5, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Would you recommend a Marquis from the celebrity line or a Dimension 1 from the At home line? Looking to spend around $6,500 or less.
    Brands offered around here are Marquis, hot springs (hot spot), dimension one & Mira.

    Not looking for anything cheap that isn’t going to last long. Any opinions??

  94. Reply
    Ed K. September 4, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    I am a first time tub buyer. We bought a home in Scottsdale and can’t seem to find a dealer who represents the top brands you recommended with the exception of Artesian. The nearest Master dealer is in Tucson, over two hours away. I see other local dealers offering Vita and Maax bit I’ve never heard of them. I believe the dealer helps make the product succeed but you have to start with a good product first. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      admin September 5, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Ed

      depends on the dealer. the reality is what makes a great dealer has nothing to do with proximity it has to do with communication and knowledge… the actual trouble shooting of a part is nothing and getting the part installed is easy for any local handyman, electrician, or independent hot tub service guy. 2 hours is nothing for a good dealer. I have customer hundreds of miles away who rate me 5 stars on google..

      • Reply
        Ed K. September 5, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        I will do more research on the dealer. In the meantime, do you have an opinion about Artesian and Master products? Also, any opinion about Vita or Maax?
        Appreciate your help and thank you!

  95. Reply
    Heidi September 4, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Hi! First time hot tub buyer here: looking into the Marquis brand. We are looking at the Hollywood tub which is from the Marquis Celebrity line.

    Any opinions on this one?

    • Reply
      admin September 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      So celebrity is the entry level and I hope Marquis uses the same build quality through the lines.

      Performance it will be lower end with lots of the hi pressure low flow jets.

  96. Reply
    Kelly Grey September 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I am set to purchase a new plug and play, 5 person with lounger. We have considered the Aquaredt from Home Depot, Costco, Overstock etc., but now have recently looked at an Watkins Excursion.

    This Watkins would be purchased from a local (45 miles away) more local store, Allen Pools.

    We need some guidance as to which is the best for our needs. Pricing is looking around $4000usd.

    • Reply
      admin September 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Funny enough it’s the Only Watkins product I don’t dislike 🙂 except it’s ugly as sin…

      see if you can find a healthy living its a new line built right and the arguably the nicest roto-mould out there right now.

  97. Reply
    Carly September 3, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Hi Chris, if we have to settle for a hot tub with inferior insulation, is it safe for us to add our own? If so, what kind?


    • Reply
      admin September 5, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Sure you can.

      The best would be expanded foam but that would cost you $400…

      or you could get industrial garbage bags and lightly wrap batons of fiberglass pink or roxull into batons, fit them around the spa but leave a good open area where the motors are.

  98. Reply
    Lynn September 2, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful site! I hope you can help more struggling wannabe hot tub owner. The only Spa dealer near us is Atlantic Spas in Raleigh. We want a smallish tub just for two people and settled on the Jetsetter NXT by Hot Springs. We just found out friends of ours are moving and want to sell their Thermospa Park Avenue. They say they got all the bells and whistles and paid about $18K which seems a little crazy. But it has a lot more jets and features and they will sell it to us for $6000 but then we have to move it. Which of these is the better choice? I don’t know if this matters but we’d like to use salt water rather than chlorine or bromine.

    • Reply
      admin September 6, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Not up on thermos spa but 18 k is insane…. likely more like $12 from the look of it.

      But likely better than a Hot Springs… at least the Thermo has a good parts list that you can get replacements for anywhere.

      Salt water is the same as chlorine or bromine… it just makes the chlorine or bromine on board… its old tech and there are much better options…

  99. Reply
    Kim August 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Hi! What can you tell me about The Sunrise spa line? We have a local dealer selling them and also the south seas line(artesian).we live in Pensacola, FL and are looking for great product with great warranty.
    Thank you

    • Reply
      admin August 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Like most brands, they have a couple of good thing like a nice component list and glued, and clamped joints but a few bad things like a cradle supported shell and a questionable insulation package. In the building industry, the Roxul insulation is meant to be 6″ thick and then a vapor barrier around it, not 2″ stuffed in a bag. The R-value is not great and these perimeter insulation systems, even when done with Expanded foam, are mid grade at best.

      The Artesian spas, in general, are well built but I have not seen a South seas yet.

  100. Reply
    Joanne August 20, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    First off, this is a fantastic website! I’m a first-time hot tub buyer and I really don’t know what to do. I’m looking for a six person hot tub for use 12 months of the year in cold climate (Montreal). So far we are considering the Jacuzzi J Dash 345 model but I know proprietary parts might be an issue. We also have an option of Sundance spas model 880 optima or cameo. Another possibility would be by Max I were looking at the 5400, 4400 or 4200 models.
    It’s so very confusing! Any help you can provide would be really really appreciated!!

    • Reply
      admin August 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      So First off Sundance and jacuzzi are part of the same group and both have the parts issue and frankly, they are expensive for what they are. Maxx is good parts but the insulation is inexpensive and low r-value.

      I looked around and there is not any that hit my list of really great hot tubs…

      • Reply
        Jean warner August 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        First time hot tub purchaser. Living in northern Virginia – options are Marquis, Hot springs , caldera spas , Sundance. Over an hour away Masters spas in Maryland per the internet. I haven’t called to see if they service the nokesville va area. We are In our late 50’s and need it for muscle and Arthritis therapy but want it large enough for family. We Walked into a manassas outlet and prices were 12,000 to 18000 for a marquis – all other brands i listed came in under 13,000 for a 6 person tub. Help? Any recommendations? Any help would be much appreciated. Friends have old (10 years old) Sundance – love it I like the looks from a brochure of canatabria or tanitian but have no clue if price yet – we may be going out to visit this weekend. But if you could give us the low down on those -it would be much appreciated

        • admin August 26, 2017 at 12:47 pm

          the marquis or the master are good the big questiom is performance. both brand’s build good spas but marquis does not build anything that goes to the twilight spa level of performance… so if it’s a just a good hot tub with what every other brand bills as therapy massage then healthy living or vector 21 but if you really want top end performance the twilight

  101. Reply
    Nick August 20, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Looking at Marquis. If we went with an E-series are there any upgrades you would recommend (ozone, extra insulation, etc)? Or just spring for the signatures series?

    Would mainly be used as a soaking tub with occasional therapy sessions.

    Thank you.

    • Reply
      admin August 21, 2017 at 11:17 am

      I always want more insulation, and really once you have a brand you know will stand up and last the rest is personal… if you don’t care about massage get an entry-level unit with good insulation

  102. Reply
    Regina August 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Hi Chris,

    So happy to find your site, I am learning so much!

    We recently started looking for a hot tub in the Charlotte NC area.

    Have looked at Jacuzzi and Hot Spring so far, with husband liking the Aria model from Hot Spring the best.

    Other dealers in the area carry Bullfrog, Artesian and Tropic Seas.

    Of these brands which would recommend? If other than Hot Spring is there a similar model to the Aria you would suggest we look at with s different brand. I can not find a local dealer of Master.

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      mark August 21, 2017 at 1:33 am

      Hi Chris, lots of great info here, thanks a lot for the site

      A question:

      we are looking at a hot tub for the cottage, Parry Sound area, Ontario.
      We are considering this possible situation……. Middle of Winter, -30c outside, and the power goes out for 4 days. Very unlikely, but possible.

      Is there a tub out there that is particularly good at not freezing up in a power loss situation.

      Currently our favorite tub is the Jacuzzi J-470, How do you think it would do with no power at -30c
      I see your comments on Jacuzzi parts, but this really looks like a luxury tub, and we like the open seating versus the Arctic Spa Summit that is non-open seating but as lots to say about TP insulation and also claims they are good for 5 days with no power in -30c

      What do you think?

      • Reply
        admin August 21, 2017 at 11:32 am

        Wow Parry Sound!

        I spent my childhood every summer there, I know tons of people from there 🙂

        I am not a fan at all of the Jacuzzi or the Arctic. The first because of the goofy parts list and even the 470 jetting is mostly inexpensive small jets with only a few of the expensive high flow jets. A lot of the companies owned by big corporations spend so much on branding, marketing, spin that they can’t afford to build great spas.

        Arctic is again one I dislike… They spend the money on a good shell, but the parts are all inexpensive imports, they sure don’t spend the money on the foam insulation, they use like 1/4 of what a really well insulated hot tub uses and claim the big airspace is an insulator 🙂 That’s bonkers… in a thermopane window we either create a vacuum between the panes so there is no air there or we inject the area with a higher r-value gas… no other industry would try and say that big are spaces are great insulators… it’s just inexpensive… hell they don’t even bother to clamp the jet pipes… I just can not see where they justify the price on this tub…

    • Reply
      admin August 20, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      The problem with a lot of the big known brands is that they are private equity investor owned and that means they are going to follow the best business model for profit. The best profit model is to build a mid quality hot tub and spend a lot of money on Branding, marketing, spin, gimmicks, bells, and whistles, use less expensive proprietary parts that only fit their spas and now they have you locked in for life because you can only get parts from them…

      Of those brands the Artesian for sure…

  103. Reply
    Andrew August 17, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I’m in the market for a hot tub for therapeutic use after a hard workout to unwind and relax. Unfortunately, I cannot locate a Master Spa dealer here in San Diego. I’m looking at Cal Spas, Caldera Spas and Bullfrog. Any insight to which one you would recommend over the other and why would greatly be appreciated!

    • Reply
      admin August 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Man they each have pros and cons and none are nightmares. The cal uses some goofy old tech like pressure side filtration and questionable insulation system, the Caldera uses a goofy parts list which really locks you into them for life and the Bullfrog has a goofy pedestal supported shell

  104. Reply
    erick dillard August 13, 2017 at 1:00 am

    What are the best hut tubs with great warranties in North West Florida? I’m reading that Bullfrog Spas have the best warranties. Does Bullfrog back their warranties? The Spa & Tub Manufacturer in Chickasaw, AL (1 hour from me) has been in business for almost 30 years. What do you know about them?

    • Reply
      Anita August 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Chris. We are about to make our first hot tub purchase and want your thoughts. Our local dealers sell Bullforg, Hot Springs, Alps and Dynasty.
      The Bullfrog and Hot Sprigs Limelight are around 10k. The Dynasty leeward was $6600
      Bullfrog and hot springs both service their products while Dynasty does not.
      Alps sales person not available to explain product or services at that time.
      I have read a lot of your comments regarding bullfrog.
      Needig a 5-6 person unit for therapeutic purpose mostly.

      • Reply
        admin August 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm

        When you say “therapeutic purposes” do you mean the hot water therapy or specifically massage?

        Two groups near You can get a Marquis from Well built upper mid end performance

        Twilight series or Legacy from Atlanta Spa & Leisure
        4305 Ne Expressway, Doraville, GA, 30340
        Phone: 770-939-8000

        The twilight will be the top performer by a mile, the HL or Legacy will be on par with the Marquis. The clarity is great build but more like the entry level marquis.

    • Reply
      admin August 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Im not sure how good the performance of the Bullfrog warranty is but I have not heard bad things. I think they are over priced for what they are, Im not a fan of the jet packs, its innovation for a unique selling point more than for any real advantage and they have had a lot of problems… they also seem to shed dealers pretty fast , we had two guys carry and drop the line locally. The parts and insulation are good, the Shell I am not a fan of, it’s not strong enough to support its own weight like a good hand rolled fibreglass shell so it has to sit on pedestals.

  105. Reply
    Dwayne August 8, 2017 at 1:17 am

    I don’t have a Master Spa dealer in the area (Wilson, N.C.) so I wanted to ask what your top choices would be from the dealers I do have available?

    Lifetime Pools – Hot Springs
    K&B Pools – Cal Spas
    Rising Suns Pools – Sundance
    Atlantic Spas -Caldera and Jacuzzi

    1st and 2nd dealer are local and 3rd and 4th are about 50 miles away. I have a budget of around $8,000.00

    • Reply
      Nick August 14, 2017 at 7:52 pm


      So much info on this site, love it.

      I am in the market for an entry level spa and I have looked at a lot of them and am keeping all that I have learnt from your site in mind when looking at them all.

      Have it narrowed down to 3 and looking to make a purchase in a week or so.

      Marquis- Celebrity Series- Hollywood Model- $7000 + tax
      Sundance- 680 Series- Peyton Model- $6000 + tax
      Hot Springs- Hot Spot Series- Relax Model- $5695 + tax

      Do you have a favorite and why and what would be your second choice and why?

      I live in Southern California.

      So would appreciate your feedback.



      • Reply
        admin August 14, 2017 at 9:06 pm

        Man of that group the Marquis… good solid North American OEM parts list and they build them well. The other 2 have a parts list they had made just to fit their spas IMHO it’s done to cut the cost of production and lock you in so you cant source parts from anywhere but through them…

        • Nick August 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm

          Done – you made it easy for me, locally owned and operated for past 15 years.

          Last question- the entry level Marquis I am looking at has very little is no insulation. What is my best insulation option? Go with the ‘pink fibro glass in garbage bags’ for cavity areas, (away from pumps, etc.)

          Thanks once again.

          LOVE this site!!!

    • Reply
      admin August 9, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Man, they all suffer from either proprietary parts or bead insulation systems. I looked around the area and there are none that I love.

      You do however have an independent that does service of all brands so buying from a good dealer out of market might be viable. The reality is a great dealer has nothing to do with proximity it has to do with great communication and knowledge. The actual service part can be done through any handyman and parts only take a day or two to ship on the good brands with a compliant parts list.

      • Reply
        Dwayne Pierce August 15, 2017 at 1:35 am

        I was able to locate a Marquis dealer and a Bullfrog dealer close by. Would either of these be a better option?

        • admin August 15, 2017 at 2:52 pm

          Marquis is a good spa better than the bullfrog IMO

      • Reply
        Dwayne Pierce August 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I was able to locate two other dealers.
        Greenville Pool: sells Marquis
        Outdoor Leisure: sells Bullfrog and Nordic.

  106. Reply
    Bo August 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Hello from sweden! 🙂 we are thinkin about buying a spa from the master spas series either the balance 7 or evolution 7.3. These spas are in our price range what is your opinion of these tubs? We live in a cold climate (north of Sweden winter temp is sometimes below 20 degrees celsius)

    Thanks for any input

    • Reply
      admin August 9, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      The Balance 7 is a new design and I love the layout… loads of open space which is really what you want in a water environment. It’s built well and has all the main things… Hand-rolled self-supporting fibreglass shell with a vinyl ester resin core, Great parts list, glued and clamped plumbing lines and a good full foam insulation system with good waste heat recovery.

      • Reply
        Bo August 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

        What do you think of the master spas evolution 7.3 the seller says that it is comparable to the master spas healthy living 7 they just call the series evolution in europa. This tub is more expensive than the balance 7 tub

        At first i got confused that the evolution 7.3 is a costco tub but it seems to be a master spas tub.

        • admin August 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm


          evolution is a Costco tub from a different manufacturer and I Don’t know why they call it evolution in Europe and Healthy living here… but yes it is the same great build quality, just done for European power grid and standards.

        • Bo August 15, 2017 at 9:09 am

          Thank you for the input, we bought the evolution 7.3 we will will receive it next week. If you ever find yourself in the northern part of Sweden during winter ill hook you up with a spa bath watching the aurora borealis that would make a good review for the tube 😊

  107. Reply
    david August 7, 2017 at 5:01 am

    great site. Any recommendations on a booster seat that works for short people. Bought lxs 8000 master spa. deep seats.

  108. Reply
    Tim August 7, 2017 at 1:41 am

    We are looking to buy a hot tub. The two we like the most in our price range has been the Sundance Chelsee and the Dimension One Meridian. We live in the north and want to use it in the winter outside. Locally we have Jacuzzi, Bullfrog, Sundance, Dimension One, and Master Asia dealers. Which would you recommend.

    The Sundance and Dimension One were both priced at $8999. Sundance would not budge. The Dimension One said he could lowers it to $8499 and throw in the Bluetooth system for free, add a ladder, and the cover lift

    • Reply
      admin August 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Sooo… Jacuzzi, Sundance and Dimension 1 are all owned by the same group 🙂 they are all okish but I hate the parts list… all goofy parts they have made to just fit their spa so that you can’t cross shop parts 🙂 the D1 uses a more compliant parts list but not the top ones.

      Don’t Know what Master Asia is… unless you mean a Master dealer and an Asia dealer if you have a Master dealer go there…

  109. Reply
    john August 3, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    we are looking at getting our first hot tub first is the vita prestige spa and the maxx380 and the bull frogx6l whatbis your opinion ? we live in rochester ny and it does get cold in the winter we just want to make the best decsion our budget is 7k-8k

    • Reply
      admin August 4, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      So the Bullfrog is good insulation, good parts, but a thin cradle supported shell and the jet packs really limit where the jets can go and where a regular spa can change out every individual jet inexpensively you need to change the whole pack out at 10x the price.

      Maxx is good except the insulation is inexpensive and nowhere near the R value of a good expanded foam system.

      Vita has a good parts list but again not much money spent on the insulation… reflective systems just are not that good at containing heat into a system.

  110. Reply
    Jim July 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    What is your opinion of Cal Spas

    • Reply
      admin July 24, 2017 at 10:13 pm

      On paper good, they have all the right parts but an unshakable reputation for issues… no idea I need to look at a newer one but we had two local dealers carry then dump them that always speaks volumes.

  111. Reply
    Dennis July 19, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    On the subject of Canada I love the design of the Coast Spa with the infinity edge and the pressurized filter system. I am a little nervous of support and getting parts through customs. What’s your opinion about Coast Spa?

    • Reply
      admin July 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      On papper they are doing the right things, the reputation has a few scars from the factory support end but a good dealer should eb able to take care of you

  112. Reply
    Mike Pitts July 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Chris, you website is fantastic and we have gained so much knowledge from reading your responses and your videos. I recently posted a question on your blog, but think I should have put my question under Brand Review. Anyway, living in Lake Havasu City, AZ are choices are very limited. Of the few lines available we are looking at the Hot Springs Limelight Pulse or the Artesian Private Label Spa Tropic Seas Oahu Spa, We value your opinion and it seems the Hot Springs is not on your “favorite list”, but there is not a lot of conversation on Tropic Seas. Need to make a decision fairly quickly and want to make the right choice, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Reply
      admin July 20, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Sorry Im on vacvation this week and latng around on a beach drinking beer tends to make me slow 🙂

      i have not seen the tropic seas but i Like artesian in general.

  113. Reply
    Renae' July 16, 2017 at 12:17 am

    I do not have Master Spa or Marquis any where near me. I’ve found Sundance, Jacuzzi, & D1. I know the first two are out after reading your information. The D1 dealer has 2 models on the floor that I’m interested in, but I don’t feel like I know enough to make a wise decision. They have a 2016 Aurora for $9500, & a 2017 Latitude for $9K. I love the room in the Latitude, but wonder if the quality is better in the Aurora. Help, please!

    • Reply
      admin July 20, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      D1 is owned by the same paernt as Jaciuzzi but it does use a more standardised parts list.

  114. Reply
    Noel July 15, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Hi! Thanks for all the reviews on the site. I live in Middle TN and the only dealer in the area is in Murfreesboro and carries Caldera, Sundance, Nordic, and Fantasy Spas. My wife and I are leaning towards the Caldera brand. I have read mixed reviews on this brand both on this website and others. There is another dealer in the area that carries Dream Maker, Hotspring, and Sunrise Spas but I have not read or heard much about these particular brands. I was hoping you could offer some insight and if there was a better beat with any of these brands over the others. Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin July 20, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      isnt the four winds spas facotry in murphysborough? hell its as good as any of those brands and you can buy seconds direct from the factory likely

  115. Reply
    Ryan July 9, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Hello we are looking at a Marquis Reward for $9500. Is this a good spa for that price?

    • Reply
      admin July 9, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Price is such a hard thing to talk about. It costs a lot to do business in some markets a not a lot of others 🙂 reading CA is not on the cheap end so that certainly seems like a reasonable price to me.

      It looks like a well jetted upper-end performance wise hot tub and I like their build model.

      • Reply
        Ryan July 9, 2017 at 10:02 pm

        Thank you for the quick response

  116. Reply
    Daniel July 9, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I’m trying to decide between a used 2004 Master spa lsxs model or a 2007 dimension one chairman spa. My gut says go with the master spa because it is the King of tubs, but the other one is newer. Both are very well taken care of and have nothing wrong with them. Perfect working order. Very nice tubs. What should I do? Any opinion would be appreciated. Thank you

    • Reply
      admin July 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      I really think the LSX series is a better spa Even if it were just the Balboa system on the LSX vs. the Gecko system on the D1 that alone would be enough to turn me but the LSX also has more of everything…. D1 is a good spa and both these tubs are super high end and you will be well served by either.

  117. Reply
    Rob Klaskin July 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    We live in Whistler, BC. I’m interested in the most durable, reliable 6 man tub I can buy and I’m willing to pay for it. Unfortunately there are no Master or Marquis dealers near us. The closest dealers carry Maax, Jacuzzi, and Sundance. What should I do? I would rather have nothing than a tub that will be a headache.

    Thanks for doing this. Your site is the most informative I have found .


    • Reply
      admin July 8, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Hi Rob

      Tough call… there seems to be a big gap out there I have loads of people asking for solutions in the area and have even shipped half a dozen out there as there are lots of independent service guys in the area.

  118. Reply
    Anna July 6, 2017 at 12:40 am

    I live in a rural part of KY and my options for dealers are very limited. I am looking for a small (3-4) person hot tub. One dealer has QCA brand and the other has Nordic, Clearwater and Jacuzzi. Thoughts on any of these brands. I am 50 miles away from either Cincinnati and Lexington where my options get much bigger, but I am concerned about service, parts, etc.

    • Reply
      admin July 6, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      The Nordic brand is a well-made spa and not expensive.

      Clearwater uses a pedestal supported shell which just means the shell is not strong enough to support its own weight and a cheap insulation system.

      QCA uses the ABS plastic shell with props and supports… either get a roto mould or a fiberglass hand rolled self-supporting shell these plastic shells were all the rage 20 years ago and are rarely seen anymore, they just do not hold up well.

      My problem with Jacuzzi is mainly the parts list. P{ropritary parts are a not a good thing in my opinion.

      • Reply
        Anna July 7, 2017 at 12:47 am

        Thank you for the quick response. I might splurge for the Master Spa HL630 – do you have any dealer information in Cincinnati OH or Lexington KY area. I am about 50 miles from each city.

  119. Reply
    Brent Marcrar July 5, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Great site and info! Have you heard of Jeff’s quality spas in spokane? Says they build the with balboa board, waterway jets and 2 5 hP waterway pumps, Lucite acrylic tub, ozone purification system, Abs bottom/ polar pack R-16 thermal wrap insulation on bottom and cabinet walls (this seems like a low r factor) the diamond 50 sells for $5700. There are add on options UV sanitiser and circulation pump $1000 or air blower with 12 injectors for 300. Your thoughts would be appreciated thanks

    • Reply
      Brad July 5, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Really glad I found this site! We live in South FL and have been looking at a Premium Leisure LE 850 spa. Haven’t seen much info on the company or their spas. The dealer is within 30 minutes of us (The Spa King) and seems to have a good reputation. Priced at $7k with cover, cover lift, steps, bluetooth / mp3, leds, waterfall, etc.. Your info / opinion would be greatly appreciated!

      • Reply
        admin July 5, 2017 at 7:54 pm

        We had a guy sell a pile of these in the area and then went bust and left.

        the biggest issue is the poor insulation but living in Florida that’s not such an issue for you, the shell is cradle supported but the parts are good.

        This is a mid-grade spa with a bit of bad and a bit of good.

    • Reply
      admin July 5, 2017 at 10:43 am

      I have never heard of Jeff’s quality spas in Spokane. I agree that the R16 seems underrated and again thermal wraps are just an inexpensive way to insulate a hot tub.

      I would check to see if it’s a cradle supported she’ll just to see if there’s any props or supports underneath the shell also check your plumbing to make sure it’s glued and clamped the price is certainly attractive

  120. Reply
    Adam Ray June 27, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Mike – Love this website! so much valuable information and the videos are great. Of course, now my head is spinning.
    I looking for a solid 7-8 person tub – not rigid seating – mostly for socializing – large family.
    Bumped into Thermospas (10.5K for Gold Chesapeake with upgraded filter system ($800). I didn’t see any mention of this brand. With research I learned that Jacuzzi acquired different brads so it gets even tricker. They push the perimeter insulation, and the videos are well done.
    How does this brand compare?
    (They tout the warranty etc)

    • Reply
      admin June 28, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Yeah, the big equity companies are buying up the big guys, it’s frankly part of the problem. Between Watkins and the jacuzzi group they own, caldera, Endless pool, D1, hot springs and a few more.


      The insulation system is a perimeter system they will sell against full foam systems by claiming it is hard to find leaks and to service but with the Icynene foam its not the case, the truth is its just a lot less expensive to do perimeter systems…

      The controls are good but the fact that they still use an air blower is a big warning sign. air blowers are cheap systems that blow cold air into the tub (even the heated ones are too cool), they are noisy and are used because it ups the jet count and adds value when selling but the reality is no one really uses these anymore except usually mass merchants and on-line guys.

      The 10 year warranty is pro-rated which means you pay after the first year 100% coverage for the first (1) year, 75% for the next two (2) years, 50% for the following three (3) years and 25% for the remaining four (4) years

      Also the labour aspect is only one year… You would be better with a 3 year parts and labor

      • Reply
        David Minard June 28, 2017 at 3:55 pm

        This is a great site with lots of good info, thank you. I understand your trepidation with Hot Springs and the proprietary parts, etc. My question to you; Is there anything wrong with the spa itself, I.e., is it a well made solid product?

    • Reply
      Adam Ray June 27, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      I would add the Dealer (Ontario, CA) for MasterSpas has horrible reviews, so what options are there?

      • Reply
        admin June 28, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        The dealer there does a lot of expo sales around the country. These sales attract a lot of reviews from local dealers who are mad that they sold a bunch of spas in the market and in some cases customers who bought in areas where the service is spotty. You also have to consider that they do 4-5x more hot tubs than the top dealers so if they have 4 or 5 more comments then it’s really just a numbers game.

        If you are in their local market I wouldn’t worry

        I know them and they

  121. Reply
    David Mcconnell June 24, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    My family are new into the search for a hot tub and been looking online and research for a number of weeks now. We are looking to get a 4-6 person medium size tub for relaxation time with our two kids. Our budget for a first time tub is around $4k-$5k
    Looks to be limited choices in our area of Winston Salem (NC), but have a selection of Leslie’s hot tubs with Alantis and Oasis and AR brands, or backyard leisure with bullfrog, cooperage, vita and max.

    Can you make some recommendation on these brands (or sellers) with respect to quality, and value for money

    • Reply
      admin June 26, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      The hot tubs at Backyard Leisure are going to be a higher-quality tub and more expensive.

      I’m not overly fond of the insulation system used on The Cooperage, Vita, or the Maxx Spa these reflective insulation systems are just not that good at containing heat within a system and are inexpensive.

      The bullfrog is a big gimmicky I don’t like the jetpacks, it limits where the Jets can go and there’s really not any advantage to it and It’s expensive to change the jetting on. All tubs have removable and interchangeable Jets and it’s pretty easy to customise the jetting in a normal hot tub and if they’re taking the time to glue and clamp their plumbing leaks are usually not an issue. They also charge top dollar for this Spa by their own admission they’re saving a lot of money on plumbing and plumbing parts and they’re using a cradle supported shell and they’re still charging top dollar for the tub I think it’s a bit overpriced and I’m not a big fan of the brand

  122. Reply
    Holly June 22, 2017 at 3:06 am

    What great information! What are your thoughts about Celebrity, Freeflow, or Fantasy Spas? We live in the Springfield/ Branson MO area and are not able to locate some of your favorite brands. I’m torn between buying a very basic new spa and a used spa. Our budget isn’t much but I don’t need any bells and whistles. I’m happy just to be outside in hot water! I’m looking more for the relationship aspect for my family and friends.

    • Reply
      admin June 22, 2017 at 11:00 am

      of that lot the clebrity for sure

      • Reply
        Holly June 22, 2017 at 8:34 pm

        I know that isn’t comparing apples to apples. So, it seems my options around here are Sundance, Hot springs, Marquis if I want to invest $6500+. If I want to lessen my expense, free flow or fantasy. $3500ish a lot of the rentals use the later two. Is it because they are cheap or durable? No bells and whistles on those.

  123. Reply
    Leisha June 19, 2017 at 5:38 am

    Hi Chris, thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge with us. I’ve been trying to decide on a hot tub for months now, I’m about to drive myself nuts. I am really liking the Masters TS 6.2 and several times I have put in my info to try and find a dealer. It keeps telling me there is one 32 miles from me but will never let me get the address or anything. I live in Leitchfield, Ky 42754 can you help me find someone that sells Master Spas some what near me please? My husband stands on his feet 10 hours a day 6 days a week and I know he’s in a hurry for me to make up my mind, 🙁

    • Reply
      admin June 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      These guys do the swimmers and the LSX lines and might be able to get you a TS…

      Swim Spa International
      6228 Airpark Dr. Suite B
      Chattanooga, TN 37421
      Phone: 423-355-8930
      Fax: 423-744-8703

    • Reply
      Brian June 19, 2017 at 5:42 am

      Hi Chris,

      My wife and I are looking at the healthy living 8.5. we were quoted a price of 6500 USD for this spa including the pan, cover, set up, uv light, and circulation pump. good deal or not? your site has really helped me learn so much about spas as a first time buyer!

      • Reply
        admin June 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm

        Price is great.

        But I hate the circ pumps…

        Circulation pumps also called Hush Pumps, and silent flow pumps are sold as an advantage and often as an upgrade on Hot Tubs.

        The Pitch is that they are small efficient pumps that clean your water 24 hrs. a day and are quiet and efficient to run.

        It’s usually about a $500 upgrade and in my opinion, they are not as good a the alternative which is a high flow circ system.

        Although they use a small amount of power they run 24hrs a day whereas the high flow pump only has to run about 4 hrs a day to clean the same amount of water both systems use similar amount a power per day.
        They wear out more quickly because they run all the time.
        The tiny energy savings against the increased cost of replacement parts make them more expensive over the long run.
        They can only filter so much water a day. if you have a heavy bather load or a party or busy weekend of hot tubbing it can take them a while to recover whereas with a high flow system you can change how many hours the pump runs! So after a party you can throw it on 24 hr mode (or any other amount) and it will filter up to 6 times more water than a circ pump can over the 24hr period.
        Circ pumps are also low flow and this means you need to be very regimented with filter cleaning, if the filter gets too dirty they go into flow error easily, the hi flow systems don’t unless you are truly negligent.
        The new anti-vibration mounting systems make the good hi flow 2-speed pumps almost as quiet as the Hush pumps, there is very little difference.
        I’m not a fan I think they are sold to add margin into a deal or added value perception. It’s all marketing spin.

      • Reply
        admin June 19, 2017 at 5:55 pm

        Hi Brian

        all good except get rid if the circ pump.. bad option, more trouble than they are worth , but don’t them I said so 🙂

  124. Reply
    Tim Conway June 16, 2017 at 12:33 am

    I saw a Master Spa Healthy Living HL 8 unit on sale for $10k. Do you know what is different between three Healthy Living and the Twilight series units and does $10K sound like a reasonable price for the HL 8?

    • Reply
      admin June 18, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      10k is a good price on the HL.

      Big difference between the 2 lines, HL is like everyone else’s top of the line, 2 pumps one running each side of the spa, and a mix of high-end therapy jets and regular jets.

      Twilight is all high flow therapy jets and has the unique ability to concentrate and entire pump into just the main captain’s seat or into the foot jets or the lounger… the flow rate out fo the seat is insane…

      Both are great from a build quality standpoint but the Twilight is a therapy monster truly in a class of its own.

  125. Reply
    Derek June 15, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Hi, we’re jumping into the hot tub game and trying to stay educated through the process. Just spent an hour digging through your posts and the comments – hugely helpful.

    My biggest confusion right now is around the insulation – it’s hard to even search for or interpret the correct insulation/heat recovery system combo on the product pages I’ve seen.

    We’re located in Central Oregon (Bend, Sisters, Remond, etc.) – do you know of a good dealer out here? I figure if I can get connected with a solid dealer they can help me navigate.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply
      admin June 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Insulation is the trickiest of the features to nail down.

      follow the money 🙂

      So filling the cavity with the motors under the skirt is expensive and lets you reclaim the motor heat effectively through the ozone system and venturis…

      Perimeter system use 1/3rd of the insulation and therefore cost 1.3 to make and have 1/3rd to 1/2 of the r value…

      reflective radiant heat insulation is cheap as chips and gets about R 4 per layer in an optimum installation perimeter but in a hot tub you are lucky to get R3 the reality is tall the science out there says this is not good for containing heat into a system, there is no thermal mass! so stay away, it is the cheap gimmick and is basically banned in cold climate house building as a primary insulator…

      • Reply
        Derek June 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm

        Thanks for the insulation tip. I think we’ve narrowed it down to an Artesian South Seas spa (thinking it’s our best option in Central Oregon) w/ the full foam upgrade.

        They’ve priced the 748B at $6100 and the 850B at $6500 (with cover, cover lift, steps, full foam, chemical kit, ozone and normal delivery.)

        Any other advice before we pull the trigger? Other upgrades we should be looking at?


        • admin June 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

          good price good spa.

        • admin June 19, 2017 at 5:53 pm

          Sounds like a good deal dude and no there are no other upgrades i would recomend

  126. Reply
    Daniel DuBose June 14, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Hi, thanks for your great reviews! Do you know anything about United Spas of Modesto, CA? I live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada so we do get some colder temperatures. We are about an hour from Modesto and have heard some good things about this company.

    • Reply
      admin June 20, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Yer making me work for this one. never heard of them so I looked online and here is the 2 cent review..

      Shells – really old designs, they have floor drains 🙂 its good to stay away from fittings and plumbing under the floor, big heat loss through conduction.
      – Hand rolled glass shell with good warranty.

      dont recognise the control system, but they do a good foam.

      sorry not much available online and they are closed 🙂

      • Reply
        Dan DuBose June 26, 2017 at 2:24 pm

        Thanks for your reply! Any companies you would suggest in our area?

        • admin June 27, 2017 at 9:49 am

          In Reno The Marquis spa is far and away your best bet. The rest are either small regional guys with old tech or the nightmare big brands with great marketing and totally non-industry standard parts lists…

        • Dan DuBose June 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm

          Ok, thanks!

  127. Reply
    Bill June 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks for all the great information. I live in the Cleveland area and I am looking for a 5-6 person hot tub that is energy efficient for use in winter. What are your thoughts on getting one with a lounger? The brands I’ve seen at local dealers are Jacuzzi, Sundance, Bullfrog X series, Caldera, and Tropic Seas (Artesian)? I’m looking to spend $7k or less. Thanks for your help.

    • Reply
      admin June 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Bill of that bunch go Artesian.

      if you press Ctrl f the find menu will come up type jacuzzi or any other brand to find more on specific brands…

      • Reply
        Jennifer July 23, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        Hi, I’m on the east coast. Looking to purchase a Lounge swim spa. What’s your opinion on coast spa wellness party 2 verses artic arthabascan?

        Thanks Jen

        • admin July 24, 2017 at 10:12 pm

          Hey Jen

          Not Impressed with the Arctic. Great shell, Inexpensive foreign sourced parts, No clamps on the plumbing, Inexpensive Insualtion system and man those cedar skirts!!! If you like the look of a cedar skirt in the showroom then dont buy a Cedar skirt… It dates your purchase, a good vynal skirt looks like a new spa forever.

          That being said Cal is just ok.

          Your IP shows you near Ossining

          if so go see the H2X, 60″ Deep, better flow rates, built well it’s a good swimmer. Master pretty much invented these things and the years of R&D they did with Phelps and his Coach Bob Bowman on the MP line had a huge trickle down to the H2X line. It’s a great swim spa.

          East Coast Spas Inc.
          , , , 10606
          Phone: 203-460-0514

  128. Reply
    Dragan Sarich June 6, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Hello, I’m just beginning my search for a 4-6 person hot tub. I’ve watched your videos and read thru relevant articles as well. I live in the Chicago suburbs and a budget of approximately $5000. Is there anything specific you recommend near that price range? I did make note of the “Getaway” hot tub which linked me to a seller not far from me called “Nationwide Spas” in Bensenville Il. Any input is greatly appreciated and thank you for all the information!

    • Reply
      Mark June 9, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Are there any getaway dealers around Toronto

    • Reply
      admin June 8, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Rotomoulds have come a long way they used to be ugly ducklings and poorly made and some still are :-)They are easy to move and if they use the right parts mix and glue and clamp the plumbing lines and use a good full foam they can be efficient good performing nice looking hot tubs.

      Nordic also build a good one but the insulation is not as good.

  129. Reply
    Mark Jacobs June 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I think this website is wonderful for consumers considering purchasing a hot tub for the first time. First, let’s say that they are no small investment for the consumer. I work as a salesman for a local dealer in my area and we carry MAAX Spas and Master Spas. First, I will say there are few resources out there to educate consumers about hot tubs, and they rely on either sales people or the Internet about the various brands of hot tubs. This brings me to my next point that manufacturers do very little brand hot tubs to consumers. Again, this leaves the burden on dealers, sales people, and the consumers. In my area, consumers ask me about Costco’s Evolution Spas, which is manufactured by Strong Spas. I simply point them to the video on this page and I make the sale. I tell them that they are more focused on volume versus quality and customer service is handed by the manufacturer. Therefore, the volume of complaints and issues of their Evolution Spa is placed into a cue. I am not fond of hot tub manufacturers that sell out to big-box stores for the quick buck from consumers and leaving them with negative impressions about hot tub ownership. However, it is about brand awareness within this industry. I hope the quality manufactures out there start realizing this and start being proactive and supporting their dealers and create some national marketing campaigns that can inform consumers of their choices. However, this is a great resource for consumers. Keep up the good work.

    • Reply
      Happy Artesian owner with a local dealer June 9, 2017 at 12:26 am

      “I am not fond of hot tub manufacturers that sell out to big-box stores for the quick buck from consumers and leaving them with negative impressions about hot tub ownership.” Yet you proudly sell Master Spas who’s M.O. It is to drop by the local fairgrounds, dump 30 spa’s in the market and leave town, leaving the install up to 3rd party providers with no local customer service?

      • Reply
        admin June 9, 2017 at 1:36 pm

        Lots of dealers of lots of different brands sell out of their immediate market at expos, shows, fairs, home shows etc. It can be good if they have local service, good online and or phone support or they can be a train wreck if its a dump and run artist…

        Just like buying from a local dealer… if you get a good one great! if he is a bad dealer then it doesn’t matter if he is 10 miles or a thousand miles away it’s going to be a shit show.

        I often sell over 100 miles away and I have BBB A+ and Google 5 start ranking because I’m a great dealer and answer questions and sell a great brand and service the hell out of my customers…

        There are no Manufacturers doing these shows, they are dealers, Your point is off the mark because the brand of the spa has nothing to do with the dealer… Although it is nice to get both and it sounds like you did 🙂

    • Reply
      admin June 8, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks, Mark nice to get some industry love back 🙂

      Have a great day!

  130. Reply
    Heather June 5, 2017 at 5:56 am

    I’m looking into buying a “Tuff Spa”. What is your opinion on them? If it doesn’t have clamps/insulation, can I add them?

    • Reply
      admin June 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      I love the solid lid except it blocks you view on 2 sides:-(

      They use Balboa heating and control and generally a good parts list but the insulation is cheap. This Bluemax, if used in a house, should be 4″ to 6″ thick to meet code. and because heat loss is directly proportional to temperature difference it makes sense that your hot tub should be insulated better than you house! There is just not a high enough R-value with 2″ of fibre insulation.

      Rotomoulded shells last forever and are inexpensive to make.

      That being said You are in so Cal and banning isn’t in the mountains so it’s not as big of a deal for you.

      Check around and see if you can Find a nordic or a Getaway hot tub, the Nordic has a similar insulation package and the Getaway hot tubs is full foam!

  131. Reply
    VR May 31, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I live in the Cleveland, Ohio area. This will be first hot tub. It will be used for relaxation. I think I need something rather basic and not looking to spend much more than 5k. Is this possible? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • Reply
      admin June 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Hi VR

      It’s a tricky price point there is a lot fo junk at this price point and a few Gems.

      The Roto moulded spas can be excellent value for the money and the top one would be the Getaway spa, it has more insulation, a nice external skirt and great parts and build list.

      They sell the getaway spas here:

      Best Buy Pools And Spas
      731 Beta Drive, Unit B, Mayfield Village, OH, 44143
      Phone: 877-493-5570

      Second best would be the Nordic spas, built just as well but not insulated nearly as well… they sell them here:

      Northcoast Spa Hot Tub Store:
      9040 Osborne Drive
      Mentor, Ohio 44060
      Tap: 888-772-2273
      Tap: 440-255-6620

  132. Reply
    Jon May 30, 2017 at 3:53 am

    First time buyer. Love your site! I live in Cincinnati, OH and I can’t seem to find any Master dealers in this part of the state. Are there other brands I should consider where there is a local dealer I can reach? Based on reading all your comments, I was sold on Master..


    • Reply
      admin May 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Hey Jon

      I like the Master stuff because it’s the whole package from the build, quality control, support, efficiency. They are hard to beat.

      But there are a few other brands that are in the good guy group. I looked at all the guys in your area the only two brands I like are both available from Tims… The Marquis and Artesian are both decent spas.

  133. Reply
    Mary May 29, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I am looking for a hot tub for my family of 7! Without breaking the bank. After spending hours of research on your website, among others – (thank you so much!) I felt confident enough to go out to my local hot tub shops and shop around. I went home discouraged. You are correct, the dealers only know what they are taught, and when I question something they tout as a good selling feature (such as shell frame support) a lot of selling jargon comes my way that really is only meant to befuddle the senses. In my area of Eastern Connecticut, on the border of Rhode Island, we have Hot Springs, Caldera, (same thing) Hot Spot, Vita, Nordic, and Bullfrog. (I tried for a Master Spa, but our “local dealer” according to their website is Pennsylvania).
    I am looking for a 6-7 person hot tub (no lounger) to fit everyone. After reviewing all these brands I feel as though I might be better off without a hot tub. Any way you could steer me in the right direction?
    Also, We just put in a really nice concrete patio, perfect spot for our outdoor furniture and hopefully our new hot tub. However, we had it slope away from the house so rainwater would not collect near the house and cause problems. Now the problem it seems is that the pitch (about 2 inches) is not the level ground that a hot tub needs. Any way to fix this issue besides having the concrete guy come back out? Is a 2 inch pitch really going to hurt the hot tub? Thank you for all that you do!

    • Reply
      admin May 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Mary

      It’s crazy Isn’t it?

      The reality most people selling spas don’t know much about them, they just regurgitate the pitch they learned, it’s not even that they are being dishonest, they drank the kool-aid and believe the pitch. In all fairness, it takes a lot of years educating yourself, and doing due diligence to vet the info, and having the first-hand experience of what is working in the field to sort the wheat from the chaff.

      I just spent 30 minutes going through every single store within 40 miles of you and there are no brands that I would put on my display floor but the best would be Dimension one from Pools and Cues.

      The reality is any further out that 40 miles and you might as well be 100 miles away 🙂

      I usually advocate buying local but you might consider buying out of the area if you are handy with tools and can use a volt meter or have a good local handyman.

      The reality is a good dealer is more about communication than proximity, someone that knows what they are doing and answers their phone will solve most of your issues then and there and for actual service will be easily able to diagnose over the phone. The parts themselves as long as you stay with the good OEM parts lists are easy to source and easy to install.

  134. Reply
    Leisha May 27, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    Not seeing my post, so trying again. We live in a small town and don’t have a lot of options for hot tubs, Nordic, Garden Leisure, Dynasty, Waters Edge and Jacuzzi. Looking for something to help husbands circulation problems. Any info on these would be greatly appreciated, Thanks.

    • Reply
      admin May 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Leisha

      Nordic is a good reliable spa, well made and good parts, and inexpensive.

      • Reply
        Leisha June 8, 2017 at 4:38 am

        Thanks for you reply Chris. I found a place that does sell the Marquis 🙂 I’ll have to say I’m really liking that Reward, but gosh they are high. I can’t seem to find anything on their site or anywhere how they are made, and I want to make sure they do all 5 of those things you talk about before I take such a huge plunge, I’ll have to say I’m almost terrified. Can you give me any info on these tubs please.

  135. Reply
    Kyle May 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I visited a hot tub show today selling Master Spas and they quoted me the Clarity Balance 8 with cover, lifter, and steps for $6500 delivered and set up. Is this a competitive offer? My friend is a huge believer of Nordic brand and is trying to steer me in that direction. What are your thoughts?

    • Reply
      admin May 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      The Nordic spas are good well built tubs, they use the same parts as the Master but the insulation is sub standard. They use a small amount of foam on the shell and then a fiber wrap, its about 1/2 the r-value of the Clarity. Also it is a plastic shell which is not bad from a durability stand point but it is a lot cheaper to build.

      The Price on the Clarity is good, The shell is much better and the insulation is way way better, plus it is a beautiful open seating design, this is a brand new line and they nailed it on the layout, I love the usability of this spa.

  136. Reply
    Devon May 25, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Wow, what a helpful site! We are JUST starting to look into hot tubs for our back deck. It’s just the two of us, nearing 40 in a few years and the husband has a bad back/shoulder. We’ve checked out a few brands, the bullfrog, the lifestyles? and then followed up checking out the Nordic. We live in the thumb of MI and we were told the Nordic is insulated for these areas as its made in MI. Not sure if this is true? The price point seems very reasonable, around 5000.00 but now Im wondering if a higher price point is needed? So much information out there, it’s overwhelming to two newbies!

    • Reply
      admin May 30, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Depends on what is important, the Nordic is well built and the insulation is middle of the road but it is a little shallow so if you are tall it might be an issue. They are also fairly basic jet wise so if you are looking for high-end therapy massage they really do not go to that end. Also there is a New brand by one of the big old Players called Get Away Spas, that is very similar to the Nordic spas but with better insualtion systems.

      Or go to they do Marquis which is one of our go-to brands.

      • Reply
        Devon May 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm

        Thanks so much for the reply. After doing research on your page I think we are leaning away from Nordic .. Not really wanting to deal with a tub with sub par insulation in MI .. The Master Spas you keep referring to are looking very nice in our eyes .. Hoping we can find one in our price range! Thanks again for all your time and info on this site, it is much appreciated!

  137. Reply
    David Minard May 25, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    We’re in south FL. The nearest Master dealer is 50+ miles away. Marquis dealer is > 100 miles away. The local “reputable” dealer Has Maxx and HotSprings. Another dealer sells Dimension One. I have not contacted the Master dealer to see if they would deal with us down here, deliver, install etc. Of the brands mentioned, other than Master, what would you favor?

    • Reply
      admin May 30, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Hey David, The Master or the masrquis are good solid tubs, did the master guys get back to you?

  138. Reply
    Penni May 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    This is a great website and I’ve learned a ton! I feel much more informed but my head is about to explode! Anyway, we live in Raleigh NC and just started our search. There are several dealers here in our area. We found one that sells a brand called South Seas Spas…any thoughts on the quality of that brand? He also sells marquis, which I can see you recommending over and over. After reading your site, I’m getting the feeling that in order to get a quality 6 person tub, I’m going to have to drop at least $10K but was hoping to keep it around $7-8K.

    • Reply
      admin May 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Hey Penni

      You can get really well-built spas in the 7-8k mark but they will be simple units and the message will be middle of the road, One of the things you need to decide is what is on your list of wants… is it just a good reliable efficient spa to soak in and relax? Or are you looking for a good therapy massage spa? because the reality is to get a good therapy massage spa y7ou need to go to the 10k mark…

      South seas are built by Artesian which overall is a decent brand. but be careful because they price it and spec it out with a few cheap options and then offer you the option to upgrade. I would say that by the time you upgrade your price is going to be in the range that you could buy a better line. I am assuming you saw the South seas at Spa & Pool Outlet? they also do the Marquis spas which are good as well. I looked at all the other guys and this is your best locally.

  139. Reply
    Kelley May 22, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Hey there, great site. In the market for a new spa, left our 15 year old Caldera when we sold the house. Husband recently had spinal fusion and I have arthritis. We were looking at the Hot Spring Aria but after reading this I am going to have a look at the Twilight. Aria is about 13k a bit more than we wanted to spend but want something that has good jets and will last. Also they would throw in the Ace salt water filter, after doing some digging seems pretty gimmicky, thoughts?

    • Reply
      admin May 23, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Yeah all the miracle onboard systems are a bit gimmicky 🙂

      The parts list on the Twilight is the best you can buy, Waterways and Balboa parts are pricey but super reliable and very competitive and easy to source, HS went and had proprietary parts made to just fit your spa, this saves then money and traps your business because you can only get the replacements from them at whatever price they dictate.

      Also, the performance, if you are looking for therapy massage, is insane on the Twilight, I have one cause I am broken and IMHO it is the best therapy massage spa out there.

  140. Reply
    Joanne May 12, 2017 at 2:30 am

    I’m trying to decide between Sunrise Paragon series Legend model and Caldera Tahitian. I live in Ottawa.
    Would appreciate any feedback.
    Thank you

    • Reply
      admin May 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Joanne

      Sunrise is a small regional guy out of Grimsby and while there are some good things about the spa (good shell, good parts, good plumbing) the insulation is ridiculous. Roxull is used in house but in 6″ thick batons which gives you an R-value of around R-4 per inch which means these batons in the bags that they use are only around R-6 to 8 and because they are just tucked in they can be p[rone to sagging over time and do not seal to the shell so there is going to be a lot more heat loss through inconsistencies in the fit and through convection currents. The bottom line is at about .50 cents a square foot it costs about $40 to do this insulation system compared to the investment of a couple hundred thousand dollars for a spray foam booth and then $200-$300 worth of expanding foam to fill the cavity and get into the R-30 range. This is not innovation, or a better system it is cheap. When we talk about heat loss the math tells us that the amount of heat loss is proportional to the temperature difference so it is even more important to have great R-value in a hot tub that it is in your house because the temp of a hot tub is so much higher. So Roxul themselves and the building code says we need 6″ in a house then we really need to look at the claims that this is sufficient because with the temperature difference and the increased heat loss because of this we need at least 1.5 to 2 x more R value in a hot tub so we really want to be in that R30 range.

      On the Other hand, Caldera (owned by the same parent as Hot Springs) is one of the brands that have these stupid special parts made just to fit their spas and I’m never a fan of this. These guys that do this do not do it to make a better spa, they do it to save money on the build and then to trap your business forever… a cheaper parts list with only one place you can buy it is never a good scenario… see this video…

      Let me see what I can find in the area…

  141. Reply
    Jason May 10, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I’m in western Canada, so our winters tend to be fairly extreme, which is the main reason I wanted to aim for a full insulated tub from a quality manufacturer.
    I’ve got a line on a new 2016 Master Spa HL8 for $8500, it’s got a couple minor upgrades, but has mostly been utilized as a floor model. This is our 1st spa for a family of 5.
    Is this a fair price and should I be concerned about anything?

    • Reply
      admin May 11, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Hi there

      HL8 for $8500 is a great price, even if it is a demo. I like the brand it is built right, has a good solid parts list, solid shell, clamped plumbing lines and is full foam… buy it

  142. Reply
    Andrew May 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    Hello, just picked up a master twilight 8.25 in California for 8k out the door. First, does this seem like a fair price? Second, I did not get the upgraded master pure system. Can I use the aqua finese with the standard filters? Thanks.

    • Reply
      admin May 10, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      Yeah, very good price the jury is still out on the Mast3r Pur I have my eye on 4 in the field and so far the response has been very good. It’s been a year in the field so ill get one to test this season and do a report on it.

      You can use AF on that spa.

      • Reply
        Andrew May 10, 2017 at 2:09 pm

        Thanks, do you recommend the bromine or dichlor for the aqua finese sanitizer?

  143. Reply
    NWmatt May 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Love your willingness to help people through the hot tub mine field. Hoping you can assist me. I found a good deal on a Clearwater Spa Tradition – Beachcraft model. They have some great marketing, but your site is making me wonder what the quality is like.
    It does have Balboa components but I’m not sure about the jets.
    I’m in northeastern WA, so cold winters are normal. The touted insulation system makes me wonder how good it really is.
    Can you let me know if this spa is worth bringing home? Thank you.

    • Reply
      admin May 10, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Hi There

      It is a typical middle fo the road spa, some good some bad some ugly…

      The Good is the Control system, balboa is the Bomb!

      The Bad is the shell and the insulation. There is nothing more expensive to build than a hand-rolled Fibreglass shell with a vinyl ester layer I have had bad experiences with the ABS backed acrylic with the rigidizing layer, this was a big thing 20 years ago and it is out of favor now, it is less expensive to build and the structure is not there so they need to use props and supports under the shell to keep it from falling apart. While you can sell this as a plus by saying its extra support for real durability the reality is its a less expensive way to build a shell and nowhere near as good as a hand rolled self-supporting hull see this video…

      The insulation is cheap and I am not a fan at all. This reflective system made a big splash ion the 80’s in the housing and construction industry and then all the northern US states and Canada issued warnings and in some cases banned it as the primary insulation in homes. It is good a reflecting radiant heat so to use it in a warm climate to bounce heat away from your attic it works well but it has little or no thermal mass and is just not that effective at containing heat in a system. read this article and follow the links in the reference section if you really want to learn about it.

      The Ugly, Looks like rising dragon jets which is one of the cheapest you can buy.

      Boy I looked around your area and even into Coeur d’Alene and I’m not a big fan of any of the brands out there but you do have a robust community of independents that do service and parts so if you stuck to a good brand using the readily available parts list you might consider buying out of the market. You know I think a good dealer is critical but more and more the definition of a good dealer is changing, the reality is proximity is not as important as communication and knowledge. Frankly, most customer issues can easily be dealt with over the phone and most spas parts are plug and play so its pretty easy to get reliable parts installers. If you have a great shell and glued and clamped plumbing the reality is you will likely only every need parts put in as they wear out and if your spa is built with the top North American parts then its easy to source and install the parts…

  144. Reply
    Deborah May 8, 2017 at 3:11 am

    We’re starting out search…we don’t need a big spa (2-3 people), with decent jet strength. We live in San Jose, so not super cold (but great cool evenings). Our budget is around $4k, we saw a Maxx 102 (2016 model) that fits our space and budget. Would love your thoughts.

    • Reply
      admin May 10, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      Maxx is ok-ish but if you watch their video you will see they use supports under the shell which indicate they are using a cradle supported shell which is never a great idea, and the insulation is dodgy as hell but again in a cold climate it’s not the end of the world.

  145. Reply
    carla carvalho April 27, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for all this helpful info.
    First time spa buyers in Northern California. Here’s what we need:
    -it’s for a vacation rental – up to 10 people allowed on property, assume 6+ hotub.
    -We are remote owners, need app control to shut it off at curfew time (!)
    -want high quality, but don’t need 20 pumps and 50 jets.
    -+/- other bells and whistles, open to your thoughts…
    -actively seeking a rec, we have no reference points! If it were my own family I would buy a soft tub and call it a day, but this is a different thing!

    Thank you!

    • Reply
      admin April 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      For rental properties, you want minimal bells and whistles. you want simple… You also will need to have it maintained and checked bi-weekly with a log book to prove that the levels are ok.

      Shutting it off at curfew time will not protect you legally they can still sit in it, you need to bar access. Plus shutting it off for 12 hrs a day is not practical for the sanitation end of it. also for a vacation rental do you really need to control access? I would look into this and if you do need this from a legal standpoint then you need a gate that locks automatically or something else.

      it’s easy to have a wi-fi system that lets you see if anyone is using the jets but again the easiest might be a camera with a motion sensor but you might run into privacy issues.

      You also need to check local regulations you may very well need a commercial filtration system nd an overflow water recovery system…

      You need to talk to a commercial pool spa builder, a portable spa might not be your best option

      • Reply
        Cori J May 1, 2017 at 11:21 pm

        Hello! Thank you so much for all of the information you provide! We are just beginning our search for a Hot Tub. We are considering 4 brands as of now – Marquis, Dimension One, Master (only at expo center), and also a local brand named West Coast Spas. Do you know anything about the last brand? We were overwhelmed by the “solutions” out there for reducing chemicals in the water, and original thought saltwater would be easier / less maintenance, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Any advice on the brands and water treatment systems would be helpful.

        • admin May 2, 2017 at 11:14 am

          Hey Cori

          It’s a minefield out there 🙂

          Typically small regional guys are middle of the road only because their volume is not high enough for them to afford to adopt new innovation and build to a really high standard. That being said they are easily as good as a lot of the big “Top Brands” who spend more money on marketing and advertising and spin than they do on actually building a great spa! see this new video I did talking about the types of manufacturers and how it affects your Spa life…

          The sweet spot is that small group of players that spend most of the money on the Hot Tub…

          As for the miracle chemical free systems don’t buy your hot tub based on this, the truth is everyone has a decent onboard system but none of them are as good as the aftermarket stuff like Aquafinesse, Mineralux, spa Marvel… see this video I just did on the different chemical free systems and what to avoid.

          Of that group the master, then the marquis…

        • Cori J May 4, 2017 at 10:09 pm

          Thanks again.

          You mentioned something in an earlier post about not buying from Expos, but that is the only way Masters sells (at least here in Oregon). They said they have local service reps, but wanted to see what you meant by that post? You seem to love the Master Twliight.

        • Cori J May 3, 2017 at 10:44 pm

          Hi –

          Thanks again for all of your support!
          I have a couple of questions about some comments you have posted on the site. You seem to really favor Master – but all comment on NOT buying from an expo. That is the only option in our area (Portland OR). The rep said they have local repair techs here and they have been very helpful answering my questions. Should I worry about purchasing from an Expo?

          Our other choices are Marquis or D1, but the Marquis is a little out of our price range.


      • Reply
        carla carvalho April 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

        Thanks for this info. I guess I wasn’t clear, sorry. The curfew is the time that they should be inside the house (10PM), no legal reason for bar or commercial tub. There’s been an existing portable yucky hot tub on the property for years, past owner was a lawyer, no issues with city code. Just interested in best product for durability for this application. We have maintenance folks ready to go, in past were coming every week. Thanks!

  146. Reply
    Joe April 17, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    How much do you know about Maax/Vita line of hot tubs. There is a local dealer that carries these lines of tubs, but haven’t heard of them or seen too much in the way of info with my limited research. Any input you can provide would be most helpful and appreciated!

    • Reply
      admin April 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Hey joe, Imo Maxx are middle of the road spas, except the insulation which is just cheap and Low R-value, I don’t like steel frames, wood is quieter, better r value, as strong or stronger and typically when they pitch a steel frame it’s because the shell is not strong enough so they are using a steel frame to try and hold it all together.

      Vita is middle of the road, in my opinion, steel frame I do not like, its a gimmick and noisy.

      The biggest problem I have is the reflective insulation system, it’s cheap and not very effective.

      There are a lot of different reflective surfaces but the truth is it does not change the fact that they are reflective insulation only dealing with radiant heat and the backing has minimal thermal mass.

      The problem with radiant insulation is that it is just not that good at containing heat in a system, especially when installed in a hot tub. Radiant barriers work well at bouncing heat away so in Florida they are good in attics to keep the heat out.

      There are enough studies out there to make a good solid scientific case against these radiant systems used to contain heat in a system and the reality is some hot tub company with some marketing spin is in no way changing that scientific data.

      copper, whiteboard, Bi pet foils they are all the same theory.. reflecting infrared spectrum back… Changing the reflective material has almost no effect because it’s not the quality of the reflector that is in question it is the science of reflective insulation systems being applicable to this application that is in question.

  147. Reply
    John April 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I’ve read through your site in detail and yet one area I haven’t seen many people ask about is using particular brands in cold climates. It sounds like Master is the way to go for hitting all the major points but would any other brands be a consideration for year round use in northern New Hampshire?

    My primary use will be for hydrotherapy for arthritis and rarely for entertaining so I’m looking for a smaller unit. I’ve seen many websites and forums saying to never use Epsom salt in today’s spas for the corrosion related issues. Is there any brand or discussion in the industry that will allow for Epsom salt usage?

    • Reply
      admin April 12, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Hi John

      The insulation and running cost is the most misrepresented area in hot tub land, there is so much spin and marketing and bullshit it will boggle your mind.

      I always look at what costs the most to do… in other words how much the manufacturer actually spent building your hot tub is a great gauge of what is really the best method.

      So The cheapest in reflective foils, you can wrap a whole spa in the white, silver or copper reflective foils for around $20-$50 spin up some silliness about space suits and hi tech radiant heat reflection… This crap made big waves in the eighties and nineties in the housing industry until it was banned in almost every northern state and across Canada as a primary insulation for houses as it simply did not work worth a damn… and it does not matter if its copper or mylar bi-pet or anything else… read this… reflective insulation systems

      The next cheapest is perimeter insulation it runs from the crazy end with attic insulation in a bag to 3 or 4 inches of expanded foam on the skirt, again it only costs between $150 to $250 to put that much insulation in and it ranges from R10 to R-18 on the top ones. read this

      The most expensive are full foam, worth around $450-$500 and you get around R-30+ the good ones recover motor heat as well or better than the perimeter systems and hold heat in twice as well as the best perimeter systems.

      As far a Epsom salts go yer right stay away, but you can go to Mineral salt systems like Aqua Finesse that are great for your skin and really reduce the chemical amounts in your tub… frankly AF is better than the best onboard system for easy and good quality water in my opinion.

      • Reply
        Steven April 17, 2017 at 2:19 am

        Hi Chris, i feel like I dodged so many bullets in finding your website. We’re looking to buy a hot tub for the first time but have a much lower price point of $5-7K. What would you recommend? I’ve studied your site and am worried anything I buy will be junk. Would maybe buying a second hand Masters or other higher end tub be a smarter move and if so where do you find them?
        We’re in the long island/NY area and can find most dealers.
        Thank you, steven

        • admin April 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

          Hi Steven

          The $5-$7k mark is doable but you need to be careful at this price, 90% of the spas in this bracket are flash and very poor quality.

          look for simple, any spa at this price sith a stereo or any other goofy flash things is going to be trouble, you need every dollar spent on the build.

          There is a limited edition Legacy called the 730L which you can get into for that money, it’s a discontinued line that gets released as a limited buy every few years and although it is a simple spa, it is reliable and well insulated.

          If you have a Master dealer in the area ask them about it. A lot of dealers don’t carry them because right now the flash sells but bang for the buck its a great spa.

        • Steven April 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm

          Thank you. From reading your site that was where we were leaning. I’ll see if I can track down a 730L. We also went to a master dealer yesterday and are starting to narrow it down to a Clarity Balance 7 for about $6K and a bull frog (without the jet packs) for about $6,300. Both look comparable but is the Clarity a better buy?

          Masters also has a new Getaway Line for $4500. Smaller, fewer jets with a substandard shell and only 1.5HP motor but still the Balboa, waterway and foam. It’s $1500 cheaper but should I be concerned about the shell and smaller motor or would is that enough for only 38 jets?

  148. Reply
    Matt baumann April 8, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Thanks for great information provided. I have a question And maybe I’m just weird. We’re looking at master spa twilight 725 and also the master clarity precision 7… the twilight is almost 2000 more and appears much smaller only holding 300 gallon while the clarity holds almost 400 gallons and has a much wider look. Am I reading too much into the gallons. Is the twilight 725 that much better with the bigger pumps and jets?

    • Reply
      admin April 8, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Hey Matt

      Both good questions.

      The real difference is therapy massage… I love the open seating on the clarity and it really is a great roomy spa, perfect for entertaining and performance wise its right up there with the most of the top brands out there.

      Now Twilight is a therapy massage animal… if its all about the high-end massage then its worth spending the extra dosh on the Twilight, if on the other hand you want some good massage and party space for lots of people the clarity is the answer…

      • Reply
        Matt April 10, 2017 at 12:09 am

        Hello again,

        Using the wealth of information you’ve provided and I’ve decided on the Twilight 7.25 spa but I have a dilemma. To purchase this spa I’ve got to go against one of your keys to go a good purchase. The Master Spa dealer in my area (the ONLY one in my area) I was warned by other dealers to be careful of. They have nothing but good things to say about the brand, only the dealer. I looked on the BBB site and indeed they have recent open complaints on service, the purchase and even the delivery itself. If I go outside my area I’d guess the delivery and setup fees will be crazy. Do you have any thoughts or should I purchase my second on the list tub made by Artesian?

        • Sara April 25, 2017 at 11:36 pm

          Hey there Matt,
          Came across your question while exploring this excellent site. I have found that when I see bad reviews about a seller or service provider my best bet is to talk to the person about what I’ve heard. Their reaction will give you good insight into whether they are defensive or thoughtful, highly reactive or concerned. If I get a bad feeling, I pass.

        • admin April 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

          The reviews are so risky… The realities are there are so many things that are wrong with the systems used for ratings that that are basically useless.

          1. Only a certain type of person posts to rating sites.
          2. Many times a rating for a product is given and when you read the complaint it has nothing to do with the product, just the users lack of understanding of how to use it… a prime example is water issues, I laugh my ass off when a customer rants about the cloudy water or foul odor or about the tub being unable to keep the water clean…
          3. Every brand has the problem spa if you are a big producer and unlucky enough for a couple hi responders to get problem tubs it skews the reality of the product quality. if it’s even a real issue.
          4. There is virtually no accountability and even the sites that need credit card verification or other means of trying to prove you are a real customer are easy as hell to fool.
          5. MOST OF THE REALLY GOOD REVIEWS AND THE REALLY BAD REVIEWS ARE FAKE!!! It’s true, there are dealers posing as customers, and some manufacturers hire paid bloggers, the discussion forums and the review sites are worse than useless, they are misleading, spin and marketing couched as consumer feedback.

        • admin April 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm

          Hey Matt

          It’s hard to say, Matt.

          I do really believe in the power of a great dealer, I also believe in the power of a Great Manufacturer 🙂

          Ideally, you have both. I would do this… call the dealer tell him you have a second-hand Clarity spa don’t go into details and just ask if they can fix it. Say the breaker won’t stay on… if they start asking you questions trying to figure out what’s wrong or if they offer to send a tech ou,t or they get back to you within 24 hours or so it might just be fake reviews or one issue with a vocal customer.

          I am always leery about what other dealers say about their competitors and of the review sites and rating sites…

      • Reply
        Teresa C April 8, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        We too are new to the hot tub scene. We live in Waynesville North Carolina up high on a mountain so it does get quite cold here in the winter. Having read your comments, we ruled out a Jacuzzi brand. We are considering a Nordic but are concerned about the insulation issue you talked about. They offer something called a Nordic wrap. Is this something that might help with the insulation? There is also a Master Spa dealer in the area. Should we look there as well? we are not interest in therapy massage just a good quality hot tub for unwinding. Thank you in advance for any guidance you can give us.

        • admin April 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm

          Hi Teresa

          Go see the master guys, I love that brand, they spend more money building that spa than anybody.

          There is the limited edition Legacy series and the clarity hot tubs that are priced more reasonably and still built to the same high standard.

          Tell them you are there because I sent you 🙂

  149. Reply
    Nick April 5, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Master spa or coast spa?
    Who has more pros in terms of quality?

    • Reply
      admin April 8, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Master for sure, they do all the big 5 things… Top name brand parts (Balboa, Waterways), Full foam insulation, Glued and clamped joints, Hand rolled self-supporting shells, and easy access removable sides…

      Master is one of my go-to brand they do it all right, they spend the most amount of money on the hot tub than anybody does, they don’t piss your money away on spin and marketing they just quietly build top of the line spas. Here is a video where I tear one apart.

      • Reply
        Nick April 8, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        Thanks for input! Planning to check out the master spa twilight 8.2 on Monday.

  150. Reply
    Dean April 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Hi, I read your reviews and purchased an 8.2 Twilight Master Spa yesterday and feel much better about purchase. My concern is price. I did purchase at expo. What is purchase price of the unit with everything except sound system? I see Consumer reports say best by value at $9850. The expo had price was much greater than that with discounts that reflect that price. Other than that any parts issue that fail repeatedly or trouble area to keep an eye open to. Thanks for your time.

    • Reply
      admin April 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      The best thing about the consumers digest best buy awards is that it isn’t one of these awards that you can influence their decision on, You can’t advertise with them, You can’t pay them, and you can’t even offer advice. When a product receives a best Buy Award award you can be sure it is genuine and not influenced by money.

      The downside to a Best Buy award is how they get the recommended retail price is by calling dealers and asking how much they can buy that particular product for. So inevitably what happens is the sales guy on the phone quotes a ridiculously low price to get the customer to come into the shop. Then once you’re in the shop absolutely everything is extra from the Stainless steel jets, led lights, water features, skirt, cover, eco pure filtration, ozone, cover, etc etc etc… Which inevitably brings you to the real recommended price wich is more like $15 to $17k.

      Because consumers digest is fanatic about non-interference from the winners they will not take recommendations on the price from either the factory or the actual sales figures from retailers to get a true retail average.

      They have the best parts list out there and very little trouble. If you have never had a tub you will for sure have water issues because of over-use and inexperience but for the most part other than a heater and a pump rebuild at the 4-6 year mark you should be reliably in hot water.

      Enjoy you spa… it is a crazy machine that has performance off the charts!

      • Reply
        Nick April 4, 2017 at 7:42 pm


        We live 2 hours north of Toronto and are in search of well made hot tub that has a good reputation for hydrotherapy, parts, filtration, warranty.
        What would you recommend?
        We’ve gotten quotes for hydropool p695, coast spa radiance, arctic legend select, beachcomber 5 something, jacuzzi we didn’t even bother as customer service was awful.

        Is there a certain brand you highly recommend?

        • admin April 8, 2017 at 3:34 pm

          Of that lot the beachcomber for sure. everything is good from the Hand rolled shell to the glued and clamped plumbing to the Parts list, the only reason they are not a tier one tub is that stupid Hybrid system… its old tech rebranded as innovation and has serious downsides, plus they don’t have removable skirts which is a pain in the ass but its better that the rest.

          The Hydropool is a mess IMHO old tech rebranded as new. check out this review…

          Arctic spends more money on spin and marketing than they do on the tub, its mid grade with lots of spin, wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole myself.

          Coast is middle of the road, hard to say between them and the Beachcomber.

        • Nick April 15, 2017 at 7:09 pm

          One last questions: what are your thoughts on maax spas?

      • Reply
        Dean April 4, 2017 at 12:37 pm

        Hi, Thanks so much appreciate the time. I usually research the heck out of a purchase like this. Given what you said on price ,I paid 10 g for spa.. not to bad.
        In your expectance what is the warranty like with this company? Have had one spa in past was a older Hot Spring. Its been 4 years in between. With this unit any recommendation for water n chemical up keep.
        Thank you

  151. Reply
    Dwight April 1, 2017 at 12:37 am

    I went to our local Hot Tub Blowout event today, and it just so happens that it was a MasterSpa show and the tub I liked was the Twilight 8.2 that is reviewed here. They offered $10K for the tub delivered, with cover and stairs. That did not include the stereo or UV system. How good a deal is this? It’s kind of high pressure, so I came home to research, and was very happy to see this video. Thanks!

    • Reply
      admin April 4, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      10k is a solid price.

      List is closer to $15k and they routinely sell in the $12-$14k mark.

      And it is a mad spa, its the one i have here and the therapy massage is the best you can get, go buy it, dude you will not be disappointed

  152. Reply
    Scott Beard March 29, 2017 at 1:11 am

    Thanks for all the advice! We live in Northeast PA and have an older(14 yrs old) PDC spa that just had a pump fail (second service call in 6 months). The PDC dealer is out of business. The only dealer nearby is Star Spa and they sell Viking and Four Winds spas. I noticed your luke warm review of Viking, would Four Winds be a better choice? Or should we just keep repairing our existing spa?

    • Reply
      admin March 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      Four winds is not a great choice either, Rising dragon jets, and the shell is abs they have had a lot fo failures stick to glass shells, also they use a particle board base and these little 2×2’s under it and the bottom starts failing after a few years.

      I get so damn many requests for PA its insane, there is just so very little available.

      • Reply
        Katy March 30, 2017 at 3:03 am

        Chris, I’m a hot tub newbie and I’m so confused as to what tub to purchase. I live in a suburb north of Toronto, ON, so we get some frigid temperatures. I’ve looked at the Evolution at Costco (which had great reviews), the Beachcomber and HotSpring but after reading your blog it doesn’t look like I should purchase any of them. I want a 6 person with a lounger for relaxation and massage in the $6-9,000 CAD price range. Any recommendations would be much appreciated. Thanks

        • admin March 31, 2017 at 2:06 pm

          Hi Kathy

          Of that lot the beachcomber is the best but stay away from the stupid Hybrid system, its old technology remarketed as new and it is stupid… Why anybody would think that pumping your hot water out into a virtually uninsulated step in the winter would be a good thing is beyond me, not to mention you loose the ability to reclaim the motor heat and are way more prone to equipment freeze up in a power outage. No one does this anymore 90% of the market stopped this silliness 20 years ago and now that they are the last ones doing it the rebranded it “Hybrid” and tried to sell it as innovation…lol its spin and marketing for a unique selling feature and simply bad outdated tech.

          let me see what i can find in your area.

        • Katy April 1, 2017 at 12:45 am

          Thanks for your comments Chris.
          I’ve decided to steer clear of the big box.
          What do you think of the Dynasty Passport series with the upgraded insulation and stainless steel jets and 2 6-HP pumps?

  153. Reply
    Lisa March 29, 2017 at 12:12 am

    What do you think about the quality and pricing of the Saratoga spa’s? I have a Saratoga Grand that is 10 + years old. It is on its way out the display no longer works, there is a crack in the shell and one of the motors is not working. The dealer thinks it’s a fuse. Shall I stay with Saratoga Spas? I don’t really want to spend much more than 5 thousand. We live in mid NY n winterscan be rough so I know we rely on the insulation in our tub which I believe Saratoga spas focuses on. Looking for your opinion.

    • Reply
      admin March 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      Sorry I really don’t know much about the brand.

      they have been around awhile but never made it to the big leagues.

      The problem is with the small guys they just don’t do enough volume to be able to afford to built top spas, it sounds like the use an alternate shell material, you really want hand rolled glass. the fact that yer shell is cracked speaks volumes, shells should last forever…

      • Reply
        JohnA March 30, 2017 at 4:14 am

        Hello Chris, thank you for the education! We are getting ready to purchase and are torn between the Cal Spas Avalon EC-864L or the Artesian Spas, Antigua or Barbados. Finally, the South Sea Spas Deluxe Class 860 L. Any advice you can provide would be SO helpful. All the price points are close and the after service at both seem close to equal.

        • admin March 31, 2017 at 2:45 pm

          Hi John

          The artesian at that price point but you have the marquis factory right there in portland, let me see what we can do with them, they might do scratch and dets direct in markets where they don’t have dealers.

  154. Reply
    Bob Lee March 28, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    We have 2 products which you have suggested are good in one way or another. They are Artesian and Beachcomber. Any thoughts on which you prefer of the 2 and why. I live on Vancouver Island and there are no Master Spa dealers here.

    • Reply
      admin March 29, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Hey Bob

      You know Vancouver island has a couple good independent service guys.

      of the Two Id say artesian, the performance is better and i really don’t like the external pumps on the Beachcombers, bad old school tech that they have rebranded as new because nobody uses it and it gives them a unique selling feature and looks innovative 🙂 The BC’s are also underpowered, and they skirts don’t come off which is a nightmare if you have and little failures…

      Other than that they both use good parts and goos insualtion and good manufcaturing techniques.

  155. Reply
    Judi March 27, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I have read the previous postings and have researched the Hot Tub dealers in my area (Manteca CA). I do not see any that sell the tubs you indicate as some of the better quality.

    I am a single woman pushing 60. I have lower back issues due to a car accident and my stress tends to settle in my shoulders so my primary reason for a hot tub is for pain and stress relief.

    I already poured a pad and have run electrical.

    I live alone so I do not need a particularly large spa. My concerns are the price, the reliability, and to have good therapeutic jets.

    Can you provide me anyassistance in regards to reputable dealers in my area and hot tubs you might recommend?

    • Reply
      Ray March 28, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Marquis has a new dealer owned showroom in Livermore.

    • Reply
      admin March 28, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Go see the guys at

      The Twilight series is insane for massage one of the best in the world and these guys have a good reputation.

      Make sure you let them know who sent you!

  156. Reply
    Mark March 23, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for all the great info! Much appreciated! I’ve narrowed my choice down to the Master Twilight TS 6.2 or the Marquis Spirit w/ 240v pump (I’m space limited).

    Question #1: How do the Master and Marquis water filtrations systems compare? I’m hoping to use as few chemicals as possible, and of course, general ease of use is a concern as well.

    Question #2: How do these two spas compare performance-wise?

    Question #3: I’ve read the owner manuals for both and noticed that the Marquis Spirit has a rather strange valve system where ONLY either upper or lower body areas are targeted (valve settings 1 & 2), or whirlpool option via the opposing Hot Zone jets (valve setting 3). All jets on is not an option. There is zero info in the user manual for the Twilight TS 6.2’s zone controls. Can you give a quick overview of how the valve system works on the Twilight?

    Thank you!


    • Reply
      admin March 23, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      I like both these brands they are well-built spas.

      #1 Both tubs use the Microban filters which is nothing really, most studies have shown that there is little or no long-term advantage to micro ban filters vs. regular filters. The Twilight also has an active Copper Zinc Ion filter that kills bacteria, it is def going to be lower chemical… However, if you really want nice easy chem free water go to aquafitness on either spa… It’s amazing but pricey…

      #2 The 6.2 will absolutely blow the Spirit away… It’s a twin pump monster and the neck jet seat in particular is the best in the industry in my opinion. There are very few really high-performance small spas out there Twilight is hands down the winner in the small high-performance spa market.

      #3 Marquis uses a valve system because it is a one pump system, you need to be able to concentrate the water is different areas to get maximum pressure. the reason the 6.2 will kick its ass is because you have 2 pumps so you don’t need to move the water around… when you move up to a TS 7′ spa they then increase the jet count and then add the diverters to move the water around but 2 pumps on a 30 jets spa is crazy pressure already.

      • Reply
        Mark March 24, 2017 at 2:23 am

        Thanks for the quick reply! Final question: I am now wondering if the Master Twilight TS 7.2 is the better tub for me. I can squeeze it in the space (with one inch space to the fence on the lounge side). Any reason NOT to go w the 7.2 over the 6.2? Cost difference is only going to be $500. 95% of the time it’ll be just the two of us in there, but the third large seat will be nice. Can I direct all the flow to just the two main seats on the 7.2? Thank you!

        • admin March 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

          Dude if you can fit the 7.2 absolutely it is a way better performing deeper roomier your tub it has the ability to put an entire pump into the captain’s chair it’s a monster the 6.2 the great tub but yeah if you can take the space for that kind of money go for the 7.2

  157. Reply
    Jennifer March 22, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    This site is full of great information. Unfortunately, I still don’t know what do do…
    Looking to purchase a hot tub very soon. We have a concrete pad to place it on & or house was wired for a hot tub previously, so prep work is done. Main reasons for hot tub is for back pain for my husband. We also have children so would like to have enough room for 5. I did a quick search & can only find 2 local places to purchase a tub/parts. From what I can tell, the only brands they sell are: Jacuzzi, Hot Spring, Limelight, Hot Spot, & Free flow.
    Thoughts, suggestions? We don’t need all the big bells & whistles. My main concerns are comfort, cleanliness, durability, & ease of use.

    • Reply
      admin March 22, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Ooof I feel you pain. I just shot a video of why i really dont like the Jacuzzi, Hot Spring, Limelight, Hot Spots they all use a goofy cheap parts list to lock you in… have a boo at this video explaining why you want to stay away form this.

  158. Reply
    Mike March 21, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge. First time buying a hot tub. I have neck and shoulder problems. The tubs that we have looked at in our are are Hydropool 570 $9300, Caldera Utopia $12,00 and D-1 or Dimensions $11,000 Marquis Spirit for $10,000… Can you recommend one for Hydro therapy under $10,000?

    Thank You!

    • Reply
      admin March 21, 2017 at 8:04 pm

      Performance wise they will all be decent spas but build quality wise the Marquis is the tub.

      Hydropool is just a mess, so much old tech masqueraded as new innovation, The Caldera is a goofy parts list and really an over-priced mid grade spa they spend so much money on the marketing and bullshit that they nothing left to build a spa with 🙂 The D1 again is better but still lacking in the component list. The Marquis has the best parts, the best insulation and is the one to go to of that lot.

      • Reply
        Mike March 21, 2017 at 11:55 pm

        Awesome information! Thank you and I will also be looking into the Master Spa dealer near Boston.

        • admin March 22, 2017 at 7:58 pm

          Boston! that’s damn near my wife’s hometown 🙂

          Happy hot tubbing and make sure you tell them who sent you their way 😉 I need some love…

  159. Reply
    Brad March 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    I live in a small town, Chelan WA. The only spa dealer is offer us a Clearwater Beachcraft Series or an Artesian Antigua Elite. I don’t like the wood construction used in the Artesian, but it does have full insulation. I believe they both use Balboa controls. The Clearwater has the better warrenty (20 year structural) and uses no wood. What do you thing of these spas. Thx Brad

    • Reply
      admin March 20, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      Hey Brad.

      You don’t care about the wood or steel construction.

      The wood is more than strong enough and it’s quieter with better thermal properties, you want wood.

      And as long as the base is sealed you don’t even care if it is pressure treated. it’s spin and marketing fixing problems that don’t exist, a total side track issues.

      Under the skirt of a hot tub is not outside its inside, dry and warm…

      I dont like the shell they use on Clearwater, abs was a big thing a decade ago but the best shells are glass. See the pillar supports? thats what is called a cradle supported shell, the shell needs props and supports to keep it together. The insulation is also low cost and low “R” value, cool to see them putting the mylar on the floor though its one of the only applications where reflective insulation works, its good at bouncing heat away from things. But it has little or no thermal mass so it is not effective for retaining heat in a system. It has a good parts list, and it looks like the clamp the plumbing lines.

      The Artesian is a far better tub.

  160. Reply
    Kelly March 17, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Arctic Spa Yukon vs. Master Spas Twilight 7.25? There is a slight catch, I have a local Arctic dealer but not currently a Master dealer for support.

    • Reply
      admin March 17, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Despite the Sparkles and fairy dust, there are only a few factors that really change from Hot Tub to Hot Tub.

      Most manufacturers do a few things really well and fail on a few others, very few do all the right things.

      Marketing and spin are often big effectors of the cost of your hot tub, The Master spa spends almost 20% more money on your hot tub and they are a much bigger and older company than Arctic spas so it’s not down do buying power, it is down to spending more on making the tub instead of more on marketing it…

      Performance Comparisons.

      Getaway spas – Coyote spas entry level
      Clarity spas – Coyote spas upper end and Arctic spas signature series
      Legacy spas- Arctic spas Signature and Legend series.
      Healthy Living Hot Tubs – Arctic spas legend series.
      Twilight series spas – Arctic spas legend and epic series.
      Michael Phelps Legend – Arctic spas Epic and above.

      But wait!!! arnt more pumps better????

      You might think so, and the spin and marketing would lead you to believe so but…

      Think about it… There is only so much electrical power available, it is limited to 50 amps and the 2 big pumps use all the available power.
      So if you have 3 pumps they have to be smaller.
      If you have 5 they have to be much smaller.
      There is no magic here folks there is only so much power available until the breaker trips… so whether you have 2 big pumps or 5 small pumps you still have the same amount of power and here is the catch.

      “The big pumps cost more and are almost 30% more efficient than the small pumps!”

      And you can flow way more water through the main chair with 2 big pumps and a diverter… in fact, the Twilight series 7 and 8 series can flow twice the amount of water through the main seat that the arctic or Phelps legend can… Because it can put a whole 6 hp pump into the main seat this is why it wins the consumer’s digest award every year…

      It’s a fact, research it… big pumps are always more efficient than small ones, every time, everywhere under every circumstance… so why do the Phelps Legend Hot Tubs and the Arctic Epic use 4 and 5 pumps???

      Because the average joe assumes that more is better, and we can charge you more 🙂

      1. Shell

      Both these spas use hand rolled self-supporting multi-layer fiberglass shells.
      That means there are no props or structural foams used to hold the shell together they are both the best-made shells in the industry.

      2. Heating and control systems.

      This system is $300 more expensive than the knock-off Chinese part.

      Master Spas uses Balboa heating and control systems, it is self-diagnosing and wi-fi enabled. It is the most expensive and the most reliable heating and control system in the world and the parts are readily available at very competitive prices from hundreds of sources. This part is used on all the top brands like Master and Beachcomber, Marquis, and Artesian. The only reason not to go to this ultra high end system is it is expensive.
      Arctic Spas moved from the number 2 system Gecko to a Chinese made system last season, they did it to cut the production cost of the hot tub, but they did not drop the retail price to you. They also did it to lock you in for life because you can only get parts for this proprietary part from them, at whatever cost they deem, for as long as they can get the part, and the failure rate on this part is much higher.

      3. Jets and fittings.

      The price on the jetting alone is almost $1000 more on the Master spa.

      Master spas uses the Waterways jets and high efficeny plumbing system. Again this is the most expensive and reliable system avaialble. The spinning jets use the same technology as everything else in your world that spins from the wheel on your car to the fan in your bathroom and the motor in your vitamax mixer… Stainless stell ball bearings in between two wheels… its reliable, efficient, and because it shares the friction between 30 or 40 surfaces it lasts. Also there is almost twice as much materialin a Waterways jet and it is a high end material.
      Arctic recently bought into rising Dragon jets in China. You can find this jet on many brands of spas, all the cheapest ones out there, no high end spa uses this jet… The price on the 5″ spinner from Rising Dragon is $15 The comparable Waterwasy jet is $45. It has replaced the proven reliable technology of ball bearing movement with Arctic spa new wonder technology of simply having a stick stuck through the middle of the jet that the spinner wobbles around on. yep just like your hot wheels car… and they claim they did this all to make a better spa??? This “ground breaking technology” costs 1/3rd as much to manufacture 🙂

      4. Insulation.

      The insulation system on a Master spa cost $300 more than the Arctic spa because it uses 3x more insulation.

      Master fills the wall of the spa, with icynene never hardening foam so you have super easy leak detection and repair. It has an R- value of around R-35
      Arctic uses 3-4″ of foam, with a crazy story about space between the skirt and the shell like being a house… It is a good analogy except the space between the skirt and the shell is the wall of the house and the spa area is the inside of the house. What house does not fill the wall with as mush insulation as possible? Also, big air spaces are not insulation, in fact in a thermopane window, they remove all the air from between the glass layers to make it efficient. It’s a crazy pitch playing on half-truths and misinformation to justify not spending the money to fill the cavity with expensive expanding foam insulation. The wall of the tub is 1/3 full and cost 1/3 the amount and has an R value of around R-18
      Dont get suckered into the fear mongering…. On the old style expanding foams that arctic uses it was hard to fix full-foamed tubs because the foam got so hard over time, but that was 10 years ago!!! The new foams do not have this issue as they never harden or break down and Arctic knows it but they still use the scare tactic to justify the inexpensive insulation system they use.

      Read this article …

      5. Motor waste heat reclaiming.

      Master uses intakes to suck the motor heat off the engines and inject it right into the water. super efficent, and if you discomnect the heater the tub will stay in the 80’s from the reclaimed waste heat…
      Arctic lets it float around in the wall where the insualtion should be and apparently there is magic that makes that free heat… It better be free heat because the r-value is half and therefore the energy required to keep up with the heat loss is twice as much as the Master spa

      6. floor of the spa.

      Master uses a vacume formed ABS bottom pan, nothing is getting through it, not moisture not vermin and because it is a self supporting hull the pitch is you dont even need a base you can put it right on the grass.

      Arctic uses a pressed fiberglass base nothing is getting through it, not moisture not vermin and because it is a self supporting hull the pitch is you dont even need a base you can put it right on the grass.

      They are both lying to you… You should prep the ground under antything heavy. It wont hurt the tub to throw it on the grass but it will not settle evenly, the tub will end up out of level and look stupid. We prep the ground under things like houses and sheds and hot tubs because they are heavy and we want them to stay level… if you throw them on the ground you will likely need to fix it later. guess what??? this means both these guys high tech bases are a waste of money because for around $250 worth of material you will have a 2″ think solid concrete patio stone base that nothing is getting through and will always be level 🙂

      7. Chemical Reduction Systems

      Master spas has Master Pur, and eco pure that uses minerals and ions and UV and ozone. it sis simple to use reliable and the water only has drinking levels of chlorine in it. It is Super healthy, super easy and super low chemical.
      Arctic has a salt generator that makes chlorine called Onzen and although they say it is easy to use read the owners manual… It’s not easy at all, it just makes chlorine, and the failure rate on the anodes is epic. this is old tech redressed up as now, most hot tub companies abandoned the tech years ago.

      8. Plumbing

      Master uses 2″ high flow pipe with external fitting for a true 2″ flow and instead of 90 degree angles it uses ultra efficint sweep corners that offer 40% less restricion. They also Glue and Hand Clamp every line so they never leak.
      Arctic dip glues only, they are notoriously leaky spas. Then they use a 2.5″ pipe and claim higher flow rates but again its a half way system with half truths and a healthy dose of BS. First even the super big pumps can’t flow enough water to outperform a 2″ pipe so the extra size is meaningless and they use internally glued fittings so it gets reduced to 2″ at all the connection points! It’s a total gimmick as the best flow you get is dictated by the smallest section that the water goes through 🙂

      9. Cover

      both spas can have the frp cover with the shiny middle and the ability to walk on or they can both have a regular cover… any spa can have any cover… again anyone before or after the sale can order a cover made to any specification, the difference in price is $200 for the walk on cover but they are super heavy so unless you are going to walk on it, dont bother. but either way, it has nothing to do with the hot tub…

      10. Skirt.

      Master uses a 2 part fully removable skirt, It provides great access and it is sealed to the shell so you have no areas where rodents or bugs can get in. They use composite skirts that are lifetime guaranteed and zero maintenance and look like new forever.
      Arctic uses cedar, it is a one pices skirt with acess hatches and it is really hard to get to the corner jets when they leak, and it requires tons of maintenance and looks like hell in a year… if you like the look of cedar skirts in the showroom then dont buy a cedar skirt.

      So why is the Arctic so expensive?

      They spend a ton on marketing, that’s real money folks and it affects he cost of the hot tub as much or more than the actual building of the hot tub. Master spends more money on thier hot tubs than Arctic does and bulds a way better tub that out performs, outlasts and is more efficient.

  161. Reply
    Jackie March 16, 2017 at 12:35 am

    What is your opinion on Viking, CalSpa, and Sundance spas?

    • Reply
      admin March 16, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      The biggest problem I have with Sundance is instead of using these ultra-reliable and expensive OEM parts they went and had cheap parts made that only fit their spas. They did not do it to make a better spa, they did it to make more profit on the spa and to lock you into them for parts for life 🙂 Every time you have an issue there will only be one place you can buy your parts from and that is them at whatever price they decide for as long as they can get the part! Brutal!!! You end up getting a cheaper part and you loose the flexibility to buy parts anywhere on the competitive open market. Frankly, it is never a good scenario when you need something and only one person can sell it to you.

      Viking has been around forever but never really became a serious player, the problem is unless you get big enough you can’t afford to build everything to the top spec. While the parts are good, I dont like the plastic shells, the pipes are not clamped and the insulation is pants.

      Cal spa seems good on the surface is ok but there are so many bad reviews about backup… with a good dealer…

  162. Reply
    Sarah Mathieson March 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Amazing advice THANKS. As hot tub newbies (as we’re just here from the UK where the weather doesn’t really make them an option!), I’m super nervous of buying the wrong one. I see you recommend Master Builds, Artesian and Marquis so I will look into them – any suggested retailers in Marin County/San Francisco area? And is it even possible to get a good one for $8k or am I being unrealistic?
    Thanks again

    • Reply
      admin March 16, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      Hey Sarah

      You have lots of good options at that price, and lots of landmines!

      Let me see what I can find in the area.

  163. Reply
    Larry March 15, 2017 at 4:16 am

    We are considering the Yukon model from Artic Spas. We live in Utah so the winters aren’t too harsh but it will be exposed to the elements. Any thoughts on this brand or recommendations for a better brand? Thanks for your site.

  164. Reply
    Larry March 14, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I am considering an Arctic Spa, Yukon model. I live in Utah so not real harsh winters. Positives and negatives? Do you have a better brand recommendation?

    • Reply
      admin March 17, 2017 at 4:19 pm

      1. Shell

      Arctic spas use hand rolled self-supporting multi-layer fiberglass shells.
      That means there are no props or structural foams used to hold the shell together they are both the best-made shells in the industry.

      2. Heating and control systems.

      Arctic Spas moved from the number 2 system Gecko to a Chinese made system last season, they did it to cut the production cost of the hot tub, but they did not drop the retail price to you. They also did it to lock you in for life because you can only get parts for this proprietary part from them, at whatever cost they deem, for as long as they can get the part, and the failure rate on this part is much higher.

      3. Jets and fittings.

      Arctic recently bought into rising Dragon jets in China. You can find this jet on many brands of spas, all the cheapest ones out there, no high-end spa uses this jet… The price on the 5″ spinner from Rising Dragon is $15 The comparable Waterwasy jet is $45. It has replaced the proven reliable technology of ball bearing movement with Arctic spa new wonder technology of simply having a stick stuck through the middle of the jet that the spinner wobbles around on. yep just like your hot wheels car… and they claim they did this all to make a better spa??? This “ground breaking technology” costs 1/3rd as much to manufacture 🙂

      4. Insulation.

      Arctic uses 3-4″ of foam, with a crazy story about space between the skirt and the shell like being a house… It is a good analogy except the space between the skirt and the shell is the wall of the house and the spa area is the inside of the house. What house does not fill the wall with as mush insulation as possible? Also, big air spaces are not insulation, in fact in a thermopane window, they remove all the air from between the glass layers to make it efficient. It’s a crazy pitch playing on half-truths and misinformation to justify not spending the money to fill the cavity with expensive expanding foam insulation. The wall of the tub is 1/3 full and cost 1/3 the amount and has an R value of around R-18
      Dont get suckered into the fear mongering…. On the old style expanding foams that arctic uses it was hard to fix full-foamed tubs because the foam got so hard over time, but that was 10 years ago!!! The new foams do not have this issue as they never harden or break down and Arctic knows it but they still use the scare tactic to justify the inexpensive insulation system they use.

      5. Motor waste heat reclaiming.

      Arctic lets it float around in the wall where the insulation should be and apparently there is magic that makes that free heat… It better be free heat because the r-value is half and therefore the energy required to keep up with the heat loss is twice as much as the Master spa

      6. floor of the spa.

      Arctic uses a pressed fiberglass base nothing is getting through it, not moisture not vermin and because it is a self-supporting hull the pitch is you don’t even need a base you can put it right on the grass.

      They are both lying to you… You should prep the ground under anything heavy. It won’t hurt the tub to throw it on the grass but it will not settle evenly, the tub will end up out of level and look stupid. We prep the ground under things like houses and sheds and hot tubs because they are heavy and we want them to stay level… if you throw them on the ground you will likely need to fix it later. guess what??? this means both these guys high tech bases are a waste of money because for around $250 worth of material you will have a 2″ thick solid concrete patio stone base that nothing is getting through and will always be level 🙂

      7. Chemical Reduction Systems

      Arctic has a salt generator that makes chlorine called Onzen and although they say it is easy to use read the owners manual… It’s not easy at all, it just makes chlorine, and the failure rate on the anodes is epic. this is old tech redressed up as now, most hot tub companies abandoned the tech years ago.

      8. Plumbing

      Arctic dip glues only there are no clamps on the joints!, they are notoriously leaky spas. Then they use a 2.5″ pipe and claim higher flow rates but again its a half way system with half truths and a healthy dose of BS. First even the super big pumps can’t flow enough water to outperform a 2″ pipe so the extra size is meaningless and they use internally glued fittings so it gets reduced to 2″ at all the connection points! It’s a total gimmick as the best flow you get is dictated by the smallest section that the water goes through 🙂

      10. Skirt.

      Arctic uses cedar, it is a one pices skirt with access hatches and it is really hard to get to the corner jets when they leak, and it requires tons of maintenance and looks like hell in a year… if you like the look of cedar skirts in the showroom then don’t buy a cedar skirt.

      So why is the Arctic so expensive?

      They spend a ton on marketing, that’s real money folks and it affects he cost of the hot tub as much or more than the actual building of the hot tub.

  165. Reply
    Cameron walton March 14, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Looking at two used hot tubs currently about 10 years old. What’s your opinion on Sundance VS Cal Spa? Sundance has two pumps, 1 circuit pump and feet jets. Cal Spa has 1 two speed pump and also feet jets. Other than that the same features.

    • Reply
      admin March 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      10 years ago there was not as much difference and really if they have lasted 10 years its good…

      Look at:

      1 pump seals, look for water between the pump and the motor or white residue which indicates pump is getting near end of life
      2 evedence of rodent damage
      3 look at the heater terminals again residue means near end of life.
      4 covers are expensive are they in good shape?

  166. Reply
    Scott March 12, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    I’m in ohio, local dealer promotes Coast and Northwind spas. How do you rate those?

    • Reply
      admin March 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm

      Both these tubs are very similar and mid grade at best.

      I spoke with a dealer last year and they are getting out of the Coast line, apparently they have a lot of issues with the spa right out of the box, mainly pumps not working, it could be isolated but when an established dealer is dumping a line it raises red flags. Also, our local guy here changed out the Coast line for another brand last season. We have a few services on them and it’s mainly been pump replacement.

      They Coast uses a fiberglass shell I would like to see a layer of Vinyl ester resin to address the osmosis issue so you don’t get blistering down the road. It’s an expensive step and according to their website they don’t do it. I also get a little nervous about the steel in the shell, if they were hand rolling and doing enough layers there is no need for this so it’s either a gimmick or it’s a thin shell propped up with the steel. the Northwind uses a multilayer shell but I’m unsure if they use ester resin or if they hand roll.

      Both brands glue and clamp joint which is good.

      Both these brands use an outdated pressure filtration system that they have resurrected and rebranded as new and improved….a lot of times manufacturers will resurrect an old outdated technology that non one uses anymore because a clever marketing guy can put a good spin on it and if it convinces the customer that it is new and good then all of a sudden they have what is called in marketing circles a “unique selling Point” Often times things are not really done because they are better, they are done because they are less expensive and they have a good “spin” to them which means you can make people believe in it, and if people believe it and you’re one of the only guys doing it then you have a unique selling point and that can close deals!

      The first example of this is the filtration system, It is an old pressure filter systems and the “spin” these guys have put on it is great!! People love the sound of a “pressure filter” housing, heck it’s filtered under pressure! It must be good! The reality is almost all of the industry has moved away from this filtration system and moved on to “suction side” filtration.

      There is one big difference between the two systems: On older “pressure filter” systems the water is filtered on the pressure side of the pump and on suction side filtration it is filtered on the suction side of the pump! That means that on this older pressure filter system the water goes through the pumps and through the equipment before it gets filtered!!! The accumulation of debris in the pumps and in the heater elements can cause damage and it just makes sense to filter that water prior to it going through the equipment! That is exactly why 95% of the industry abandoned these old pressure side filters decades ago and moved to suction side filtration, it filters the exact same amount of water but it does it before the debris goes through the heater and the pump.

      Another pitch they use is that when you remove the filter the debris from the filter won’t fall into your hot tub water. It’s silly because the debris falls into the filter housing and when you put the clean filter in and turn it on half of that debris gets blown into the tub anyway 🙂 not that it matters, the little bit of debris that falls into a hot tub or the filter canister when changing the filters gets re-trapped in a few minutes…

      Both these guys also have plumbing under the floor for floor drain or foot domes. Most guys have moved everything out from under the base of the spa, not only is it a heat sink as you now have water flowing under the floor where there is almost no insulation but floor drains in general, are a big source of leaks. The other reason why 95% of the industry has abandoned floor fittings is it causes a weakness in the floor both from a structural standpoint and especially from an insulation standpoint!!!

      Underneath the floor of a hot tub is very little room so we’ve only got a couple of inches of insulation under there, with a floor suction you need to put a fitting in the floor and then put a pipe running under the floor. There is no insulation now where that pipes running which means you are flowing all that hot water right across the cold ground and bleeding tons of heat through conduction! Most manufacturers have gotten away from putting any plumbing under the floor of the tub for that reason, also it’s the number one source of leaks because everyone is always stepping on the floor suction and it gets loose and starts to leak.

      They use the Balboa on their high end but make sure they are using Balboa on the mid lines as well.

      There is a lot of misinformation around the pump sizes… they claim to have 2 x 7hp or 3 x 5hp pumps but they claim to run off a 50 amp breaker which means the pumps have small motors on them… This might be why the dealer I spoke to said they have motor issues, you tend to go through motors if you try and drive to big of a pump head with too small of a motor. Our service records indicate the service we have done on them have been primarily pump replacements but we don’t have many in the area, they guy here only sold them for a year or so and he was a small dealer.

      In general, there is a lot of marketing and spin around the tubs. Steel in the shell, oversized pressure side filters, oversized plumbing, and amped up pump sizes. Most of this is stuff that is done more for the pitch than any real advantage in my opinion.

      Both brands have lot of old tech dressed up as modern innovation. The reality is it costs a lot of money to upgrade the shells and systems and once everyone else moves on to better tech you can pitch the older tech as new and make it sound like you are the innovator without spending any of the money required to update!

  167. Reply
    Mike March 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I appreciate the information you are sharing on the website, I am learning several Items I had not not fully understand before.

    I have two questions for you. On the master spa twilight is the 8.3 worth the extra cost over the 8.2? I see you have an 8.2, wondering why you chose that over an 8.3.

    Secondly, I am comparing the MS Twilight to a Passion Spas (out of Michigan) Admire. Wondering if you have heard of or seen a Passion Spa and what your opinion is.

    Thank you

    • Reply
      admin March 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Ya know mike its a funny one, people always think more pumps means a better spa and it is not true… Check out this article many small pumps vs fewer large pumps

      • Reply
        Mike March 13, 2017 at 1:27 pm

        Thanks. I saw that article after I posted my question. I should have edited this question. My mistake.

        Any feedback on the Passion Spa manufacturer?

  168. Reply
    Tracy March 6, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Just beginning the hot tub research and know that we want to buy from a local dealer… lines they carry are: Maax, Dimension One, Jacuzzi from one dealer and Marquis from a dealer and Hot Spring from a 3rd. Where would you go…

    • Reply
      admin March 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Marquis for sure. They are doing all the right things

      Stay away from the guys who don’t use the Top OEM parts like balboa and waterways, jacuzzi and hot springs have the parts built just to fit their stuff, the parts are not nearly as good or as expensive and they own your ass because the only place you can get replacement parts from is them.

      If You have standard parts you can go anywhere for parts and that means better pricing and they are better parts so longer lasting…

      These guys didn’t go to these parts for any other reason than to cut costs and lock the customer into buying from them forever… Smart business for them bad for the consumer.

      • Reply
        Ray Thibodeau March 17, 2017 at 3:58 am

        Dimension One or Marquis? Dimension One about 20% less expensive. Dimension One also claims with their filtration system, you don’t need chlorine. How is that possible?

        • admin March 17, 2017 at 4:54 pm

          It’s not possible its marketing spin… the Marquis for sure…

      • Reply
        Tracy March 6, 2017 at 10:13 pm

        Ugh, I need a hot tub just to destress from all this decision making. Down to Vita Spa Envie at $7600 and Marquis E545 for $7k… Vita has much better financing options though. Any suggestions on the side by side comparisons? Seem pretty similar.

        • admin March 7, 2017 at 9:06 pm

          The Marquis.

  169. Reply
    Dan March 6, 2017 at 3:13 am

    How are Strong Spas , DuraSpas.
    They are resin and look to be perimeter insulated.
    They claim to be very efficient with a triple heat capture system and motor heat reclaiming and substantial base insulation.
    From reading several of your great articles I’m not so sure.
    I was looking for a quality, reasonably priced spa, but also realize operating costs of a cheap inefficient spa can quickly add up and cost more then a quality well insulated spa.
    Any guidance or recommendations would greatly be appreciated.

    Dan from the NY

    • Reply
      admin March 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      This is a strong spa in the Costco video. needless to say I am not a fan 🙂

      Duirasport I am not too familiar with.

      Let me see what i can find for you.

      • Reply
        Charles Freeman November 30, 2017 at 11:58 pm

        The “strong Spa” you keep referring to is NOT a Strong Spa, but an off brand buying a specified assembly service from Strong. The Strong Spa made under their own name look pretty good. I saw one of those “How it’s made” shows, and was reasonably impressed. The one they showed had a very strong cover and full insulation. Not at all like what you keep calling a “Strong Spa.” At least do them the courtesy of basing your opinion on a spa they put their name on.

        • admin December 1, 2017 at 12:35 pm

          lol OK but we don’t usually let guys hide behind private branding 🙂 and they do put thier name on it… says strong right in the costco ad on the owners manual and contact details,,, Ill refer to it as the spa made by strong LMFAO.

          I have seen those covers, made out of the rotomould they are great, tell Strong to send me a spa and we will do a review of it, the review by the way will be what they always are, my honest opinion but if they are building to a better standard then the review will reflect that.

  170. Reply
    Sherry March 6, 2017 at 12:10 am

    So glad I found this site! My husband and I have just started looking for a hot tub and I can not find any information on the brands our local dealers had. We want something to seat 5-6, looking for good quality and of course energy efficient. The one dealer had Mira M700 series for $5695. (83″ x 83″ x 36″ 2 pumps, 46 jets)
    We also liked the Clearwater Spas Orlando model which is $13,000 (92.5″ x 92.5″ x 39.5″, 4 pumps, 107 hydrotherapy jets). I’d like to be somewhere between the two but want a brand I can trust. Can you give any information on either of these brands?

    • Reply
      admin March 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Clearwater is like most of your hot tubs. In 2013 they changed from a good full foam system to a reflective foil system, it’s a cheap insulation system. It has good control and heating system but a thin shell that is supported by pillars to keep it from cracking. These ABS backed shells were big a decade ago. They were hailed as the inexpensive good shell but there were a lot of problems, most guys have moved away from this.

      • Reply
        Sherry March 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

        Thanks for the info. I don’t want to spend $13,000 for something with a cheap insulation system. Mira seems too cheap to be good quality, do you know anything about them? Can you make any brand recommendations? We live in southern New Jersey and we don’t have a lot of local dealers.

        • Chris Williams April 16, 2017 at 4:33 pm

          hi Sherry…We live in Williamstown,NJ.and just bought a ‘Marquis’ hot tub from Atlas pools and spas…There are plenty of spa options in South Jersey from Hot Springs, Sundance, Artesian, and Marquis to name a few…Good Luck in your search!

        • Sherry April 18, 2017 at 2:43 pm

          Thank you! I searched for hot tubs but so far haven’t found anything near me offering the brands recommended on this site. I wanted to stay local in case of any issues. I’m near Vineland, I’ll check out Atlas.

        • admin April 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm

          Hey Sherry and chris.

          the marquis would be the best of that lot, in fact I would actively stay away from the others with the possible exception of the Artesian

  171. Reply
    Kathy March 5, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Such a good website – I’m learning! We are getting recommendations from an installer about Tropical Seas. Have you any thoughts on this brand?

    • Reply
      admin March 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      It’s hard to find much information, they have an option for an upgrade to a full foam insulation package and the control system is Balboa which is good. The standard insulation is a reflective system which I am not a fan of.

      As for the shell or the plumbing i cant find anything.

  172. Reply
    Christian March 3, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the great site! Bullfrog and HotSprings we’re both on our short list, but after reading your recent comments we’re definitely reconsidering.

    What’s your favorite brand, and what would you recommend for someone in Southern California?

    Thanks very much!

    • Reply
      admin March 6, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      There are a few Brands I really like.

      I think Master builds a great product. For all the reasons I’ve stated in my Video’s, Good OEM parts list, Nice fit and finish, Top Insulation package and a Hand rolled self-supporting hull.

      I also Like Marquis and Artesian for the same reasons.

      So, Cal is an issue, helped a few people down there.

  173. Reply
    Justin March 2, 2017 at 12:35 am

    How are Bullfrog hot tubs? I live a few miles from their headquarters and can buy directly from the factory.

    • Reply
      admin March 2, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      Bullfrog has had a lot of issues, I have rarely seen a dealer carry them for any length of time, we had two local guys carry then drop the line.

      My opinion is its a gimmick with no real advantage and a couple big downsides.

      First, there was the problem with all the stagnation behind the jet packs, big health issue, I know they are working on a way to flow water back there but I’ve have heard there are still issues.

      Second, the whole pitch is about leaks and the ability to change the jetting. leaks are most common on the floor suctions as they are in the footwell and get stepped on and abused more than any other fitting and this spa still has to have those, second a good spa with glued and clamped joints does not leak anyway, so there is no real advantage.

      Third, The pitch about being able to change the chairs and the jetting is silly… First off you can change all the jets in any tub, move them around and go between pulse and dual and rotors with easy for around $25-$45 a jet, and most spas already have a mix of chairs and guess what no one even does that, I would love to see the number on how many people actually fork over $300+ to buy and change out the packs on these things but I bet it is low single digit percentage.

      Fourth, the jet pack restricts the jets to a tiny area of your body, so to counter this they started putting jets into the shell which was the whole reason they went to jet packs in the first place!

      This is not innovation, its change to give them a unique selling feature and frankly there is no value at all to this system and a lot of problems…

      • Reply
        Michael June 2, 2017 at 4:14 am

        Hi, thanks for all the comprehensive reviews, it’s very helpful but somehow I feel even more confused now…

        I am looking for a hot tub for our ski condo in Windham, NY. Our season is November through March, with some very cold days. The Hot tub will mostly be used on the weekends for a family of five, looking for something that is about 7’x7′ large. Any advice? There is a bullfrog dealer in town, I wasn’t too impressed with the jet packs, but they have a ‘value’ series that comes with fixed jets instead of ‘jet packs’. Reading reviews online, I saw a complaint that the heater that comes with the x-series Bullfrog wasn’t up to the job in cold climates. What models would you suggest? More for relaxation and family fun than for hydrotherapy. Would love to stay under $10k.

        • admin June 2, 2017 at 11:49 am

          I agree with you on the Bullfrog packs. I hate gimmicks and this tub is gimmicky as hell, and I can’t figure out where they get the justification for the price they are not spending much to make this tub, thin cradle supported shell hardly and plumbing so they are saving a ton there It’s cheap to build it should be cheap to sell, but again we are all hearing the name so I guess they and spending a lot of your money on branding…

          The only other brand around you is PDC and the insulation is that cheap gimmicky reflective system… Man, I thought we had heard the last of this crap when the building industry dumped in the 90’s after all the northern States and the CMHA all issued warnings about how ineffective it is at trapping heat in a system but it seems to be all the rage in our industry now… Cheap and not suited to the purpose for so many reasons.

          these guys carry marquis But they are far away, at this distance you might just go buy out of the market and find a local handyman to take care of you, you can save a lot sometimes buying from a dealer further away if they know you are going to handle your own service.

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