Hot Tub Base – Whats under your hot tub??

The Base of a hot tub is what it sits on and there are a lot of options from basic vapor barrier to ABS bottom pans and Fiberglass trays. Scare tactics like telling you your hot tub will fall apart without a good base and that rats and cats and elephants will nest in your hot tub if you don’t have one are all used to pull more money out of your pocket.

There are lots of what I like to call spin topics in the world, These are things that are spun up to be important usually to detract us from what is really important and in my opinion the base of your hot tub is one of those spin issues.


  1. CHRIS. I’ve never in all my time seen a person respond to so many people’s inquiries, and lots of times having to be repeating yourself time and time again, always seem to do it with a smile.. Your truly unbelievable .. I have been scanning your web site reading lots of information. I need to ask, Did I make a huge mistake by purchasing a 2016 Hot Springs Spa model called The Sovereign? I paid $9500 total cost installed,delivered, including running the 220 power from my basement electric panel about 70 feet to the spa.. The included warranty is 5 years with ALL parts and labor included for 5 years , except i pay a $60 deductable per each visit from a spa repair company if i need repair.. Sometimes as im reading through your
    Q & A forums or videos , I catch a feeling that your not a fan of the Hot spring brand. I can handle the truth whether it is a good or bad. I suppose I’m very interested if you know about certain parts going up on this unit or anything else that may be bad about it? I want to mention that I have owned three different brand of spas in the past 25 years. #1 was a Pacific Marquis #2 was a off-brand Home Depot brand with factory-installed Balboa spa pack guts . My last and current spa is a 2016 Hot Springs (sovereign) I had issues with all of them at one time or another with parts failing . BUT THIS IS MY LAST SPA , AND IM CURIOUS TO HEAR YOUR OPINION ON IT PLEASE.

    • Hi Joe

      No man yer OK as long as you have a good dealer that is used to working with the goofy intricacies of that line.

      My argument about buying that line is that it is marketed as a top tub and then has all these goofy proprietary parts. Then the non-removable skirt it just nuts! I had a customer throw out a 5-year-old top of the line Hot Springs spa because of leaks. they cut the hell out of the sides and then spent ages digging out all that cheap poly foam that had turned to a rock and in the end, they literally cut the tub in half to get rid of it. a simple $200 repair on any tub with Icynene foam and removable sides.

      I guess in the end it’s the duplicity that bugs me… these spas should be the middle price but because of the scads of cash spent on branding and marketing it costs 1/3rd more and that’s a 1/3 they could have spent on building a great spa, using better parts, and improving the insane access issues.

  2. Hi Chris,

    I am in Northern California and need help finding a dealer. We are looking to purchase a quality hot tub. Would you please recommend a dealer in our area (95709)? Thanks!

  3. Chris I have two options…both used tubs because I’m not looking at spending thousands of dollars. 1st option is a 2014 Viking Heritage 1 tub that boasts 61 jets 2 pumps (they claim 12 HP but I think they are really (2) 4 HP motors with breaking power of 12HP) one 2 speed the other single stage that boosts jet power. Internals made by balboa and waterway pumps. The 2 speed pump is bad and that’s the reason he’s selling. Cover is toast so that will need replaced as well.

    Option 2 is a 2002 Marquis Leisure series. Only has 14 jets and 1 pump… looks to be in excellent shape. Owner states it has been in storage for the last eight years because when they moved 8 years ago they never got around to hooking it back up. He’s willing to hook it up to show me everything works as it should. This is a smaller tub and I know the brand is a great brand.

    So my question is what should I be looking for? Have you any experience or advice on these specific tubs?

    • I would lean towards the marquis, from a build standpoint this is a great tub. the other one might perform better but will not be as reliable.

  4. Hi Chris– I love your blog. I take many notes since I am looking to buy a hot tub. I cannot find any information about the Costco hot tubs that they are pushing : Aquaterra Spas, Evoution Spas or Divine Spas. I’m not sure of the parts (are they made in China?) or quality. Do you have any info on those brands. thanks so much!–or-7-person-Spa.product.100239358.html

    • So the Evolution was the spa I reviewed in this video :


      The other one I am unaware of but all the jetting is the cheap bullet jets… mass merchants rarely do a good job at these speciality products.

      • Your website is GREAT! So hard to shop for and find a good quality hot tub. When shopping for hot tub at local dealer he seemed to get offended when asking about insulation and wondered why it would make a difference in efficiency of heating?
        We have narrowed down our search to your three top picks Artesian, Master spa, and Caldera. the artesian sells for less at $7000 for the Island Spa Elite Antiqua from a local dealer. Most recently searching online I found website that discussed similar hot tub quality issues. It offers what appears to be similar hot tub for less. What are your thoughts. Hottuboutpost the GCA brand GT326 model $5300. Seems to have good components, 2 4.5HP pumps, good chopped shell. There is local business in Asheville that does hot tub service but not sales. Is this a good option. As noted it is an online purchase usually not recommended. Thanks for your GREAT website. Bob

        • OMG the fact that a sales guy takes this stance on insulation indicates a total disconnect from reality in regards to this field.

          I would take Caldera out of the picture, im just doing a stdy on the number of people looking for help fixing spas on the discussion forums and the Watkins brands (Caldera part of the Watkins hot springs group) account for over 30% off all people asking help to fix their failing spas…

          either the master or Artesian are built well.

          The little regional guy im unaware of but typically these guys cant afford to compete they simply do not make enough money to innovate or even adapt to real innovation.

  5. Adrian Thornycroft

    Hey Chris,

    Two things:
    a) I am battling to get quote for Twilight 8.2 or 8.3 out of UK distributor. Have sent two follow up emails and a call and not getting much response. Anything you can do to nudge them along?

    b) I know Twilight 8.2 is your favourite. How close is Marquis Signature Epic? (Following your advice on going basics, have been offered pretty significant discount of RRP).


    • I love the marquis stuff from a build standpoint but they don’t build anything in the Twilight range.

      You got to appreciate that master is huge… they build like 10 lines of hot tubs and the Twilight line is really built to win all the awards and be a serious therapy monster… The top marquis line is more like the Healthy Living spas from a performance standpoint… most top lines have 4-6 of the expensive hi flow therapy jets and a pile of the inexpensive smaller jets… you never see the kind of jetting like the twilight has and the ability to put massive amounts of water through the Therapy seats.

      Dude if you are all about the Massage then the Twilight is for you.

      I’ll push this along and see if I can nudge them along…

  6. Hey Chris,

    I just bought the Hydromaster DLX – 7 person 65 jet tub. Please tell me I didn’t buy a dud?! The price was just too good to pass up as I guess they have now replaced this model with a newer version. I did buy the extended (additional 5 years) coverage of parts and labor. Any insight would be much appreciated!

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