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Inflatable vs. Portable (Plug & Play) Hot Tubs

If you’ve decided to buy a portable hot tub, then you’ll discover there are two options on the market: the inflatable hot tub and the plug-and-play hot tub. This guide is to help you understand the differences and similarities between the two.

The inflatable hot tub is relatively new to the market, but is quickly gaining in popularity due to two main factors: portability and price. This type of spa comes in a box that is not much bigger than a microwave and often comes with a carrying bag, so you can not only move it around your place, but also pack it up to go camping, to the beach, fishing, etc. They are lightweight in comparison to other types of hot tubs, easy to move and install. Essentially, you’ll get the feel of a blow-up mattress, which makes them comfy to sit in, with their cushiony sides and bottom. If you wonder how the hot tub gets inflated - it has an air blower that is used to quickly inflate the chambers. All you have to do is place it on concrete or another solid surface, plug it into your standard 110 volt US household socket, turn on the pump to fill it with water, and enjoy it once it is heated up.

The material and vertical “I-beam” construction give the walls rigidity. The material is resistant to scrapes and punctures. It may not last the rest of your life, but you’ll have a plenty of time to enjoy it.

Spa cover. We encourage you to buy an inflatable hot tub with a cover. If your spa doesn’t come with one, you should purchase it separately. The cover will protect your hot tub from dust and debris, and also save time when you need to re-heat the water.

The price for an inflatable hot tub starts around $300 and goes up, depending on the size and features. Remember:  always get a hot tub from a reliable manufacturer, to ensure the quality of your spa.  


Inflatable Hot Tub Pros:

1. Light weight, portable, easy to move

2. Quick set up

3. Easy to operate

4. Puncture-resistant material

5. Comfortable cushion seating

6. Affordable price



1. No built-in seats

2. Usually not designed to be used in temperatures lower than 40F.

3. Highly recommended to be installed on a ground-level surface. Keep in mind that the weight of your hot tub, filled with water and people, will be between 2500 and 3000 lbs.

Your tub can last longer if you follow these simple tips: do not sit on the side walls, do not overfill it with water, and make sure it is dry when you pack it up.


A Plug-and-Play hot tub is another way to get a high-quality spa that doesn’t require costly installation. It is not inflatable, but is made from acrylic.

It is portable—however, these spas are heavier, which makes them unsuitable for camping, in other words, it’s not a “pack away” type. It also comes in one piece, so your delivery box will be bigger, heavier, and most likely more expensive when it comes to shipping cost. If you really need to transport it, you’d need a van or a trailer.

Plug-and-play models work similarly to the inflatables in that they do not need professional installation. The power is supplied by a standard 110v grounded cord and can plug into any wall outlet. Water comes from a standard garden hose, so there’s no need to have a plumber come and hook up anything.

One of the significant differences from the inflatables is that it has built-in seats, and can have high-end features like speakers, LED lighting, water-jets, a waterfall, etc. That’s a lot of fun!!

Another thumbs up goes to these energy-efficient plug-and-play hot tubs available on the market! So let’s summarize:


Plug-and-play hot tub Pros:

1. Easy to set up, no plumber/electrician required

2. Lots of possible additional features, such as speakers, LED lighting, water-jets

3. Portable

4. Material lasts longer compared to inflatable tubs

5. Energy-efficient models available

6. Can be used in winter!

6. Lower Maintenance

7. Looks prettier :)


1. If you need to transport it, you’d need a van or trailer

2. More pricey than the inflatables. Starts from $600 and goes up


We hope this guide helps you to make the right purchase for your needs. At the end of the day, there are three things to decide: whether or not you’d like to carry your hot tub with you when you go away, price, and additional spa features.

And yes, hot tubs can also be sustainable. How? If you buy a quality hot tub from a reliable manufacturer, it will serve you 5-7 years easy without the need to throw it away and buy a new one creating unnecessary waste. Water heating features keep the water hot enough without the need to refill it as often! These are just a couple of examples of how hot tubs can be eco-friendly.     

Please send us a note if you have any questions!


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