All around the US, there are 7.3 million hot tubs currently in use.
There’s no denying that hot tubs have become a staple in homes, hotels, and resorts all over the world.
While California, Texas, and Florida top the list for the most hot tub installations, what about the infamous in-ground spa? Yes, they’re different!
If you weren’t familiar with the differences between an in-ground spa and hot tub, then get ready to find out.
Understanding the differences between the two can help you make a more informed decision as to what’s best for your family and home.
In-Ground Spa vs. Hot Tub: What Are They?
Interested in investing in some sort of heated body of water to complement your pool? You’ve got two main choices: an in-ground spa or an above-ground hot tub.
Understanding the basics of each one can help make your decision a bit easier.
What is an In-Ground Spa?
A built-in spa is basically exactly what it sounds like. It’s a body of water that’s built into the ground, very similar to an in-ground pool.
The most common way you’ll see a spa like this is when it’s connected to an in-ground pool with hot tub. In fact, some pool companies might even market the package deal this way.
Even though they’re calling it a “hot tub,” if it’s built into the ground and connected to the pool, it’s an in-ground spa, or even a spool (spa and pool).
In residential areas, this is the most popular and practical design, as it makes the most sense to build the two bodies of water at the same time.
In-ground spas tend to have built-in benches or seats and lights or jets on the outer edges.
The biggest difference between an in-ground spa and hot tub, however, is in how long they require to heat up. In-ground spas take longer to heat up and require more energy to stay heated.
What is a Hot Tub?
When someone refers to a hot tub, they’re likely talking about an above-ground spa. These spas are completely self-contained, meaning that they require less energy and maintenance than an in-ground spa.
The main difference here, then, is in the construction. All of the plumbing and electrical components are inside of the hot tub cabinet, making the spa completely portable.
This means that to heat the spa, you’re not pulling energy or water from your underground pool system or home’s energy ports.
You simply fill a hot tub with a regular hose and drain it whenever you don’t want to use it.
This makes hot tubs a little more ideal for families who move around a lot or who don’t want to deal with the costs of cleaning and draining an in-ground hot tub.
On top of this, above-ground hot tubs can heat up a lot faster than in-ground spas. This reduces energy costs and ensures that the water will stay hot.
Comparing the Costs of In-Ground Spas and Hot Tubs
Just like an in-ground pool costs more than an above-ground one, you can expect that in-ground spas cost more than a hot tub.
This is because they require adequate planning, design, construction, and filling.
A hot tub certainly requires less money upfront for the initial investment. As well, they’re usually cheaper to maintain and heat.
Hot tubs are able to maintain their temperature between uses, which means that they ultimately consume less energy overall. However, to snag a hot tub like this you’ll have to pay top dollar for high-quality installation.
If you don’t plan on using the hot tub very often, you’re really paying for something you don’t need and won’t use
In-ground spas require that you heat them up every time you use them, which means they’re not really energy-efficient. This results in higher monthly energy bills.
But, if you’re getting good use out of the spa, then it pays off in the long-term.
How? Well, in-ground spas and connected pools can raise your home’s value by a whole lot. Not to mention, they just look much more aesthetically pleasing.
Also, you’re only paying for what you use. If you only use your spa once a year, then you’re only going to have to pay to heat it that one time.
When it’s not in use, it can make a nice small addition to the pool without even heating it.
Some homeowners opt to add custom spas to their pools in a manner that makes the pool area more lavish and relaxing.
A spillover spa, for example, makes for a great addition to a regular pool and can also act as a small swimming area for children.
In this way, you’re not paying for the heating costs but you get all of the benefits of an in-ground spa when it comes to long-term value.
When is an In-Ground Spa Right for You?
If you own your home and have plans to stay there for a while, or even eventually sell the house, then an in-ground pool and spa are right for you.
Experts note that an in-ground pool can increase your home’s value by up to 50%. Not only that, but they also report that an in-ground spa can add even more value.
A portable hot tub doesn’t add much value to a home because, well, it’s portable. Homeowners looking to increase the value of their home should look into investing in an in-ground pool and spa.
Not only do they look nicer, but they’re more functional when you build them together.
If you’re seriously considering adding a backyard pool to your property, then it makes sense to go ahead and invest in the attached spa.
You’ll likely want to add on to the pool in the future, and chances are that you’ll save lots of time, money, and hassle by having a company build and install them at the same time.
If you’re really into landscaping, then an in-ground spa is definitely for you.
With so many different design features and pool lighting options nowadays, you can turn an in-ground spa into a personal oasis if you know how to decorate the surrounding area just right.
When is a Hot Tub Right for You?
If you’re not quite sure about investing in an in-ground pool or spa just yet, then purchasing a hot tub might be right for you.
While they don’t add as much value as in-ground spas do, they’re certainly great for relaxing on a cool winter night or for a deep tissue massage at home.
Hot tubs are also great if you move around a lot and don’t have time to invest in the cleaning and maintenance of a regular in-ground spa.
Even though in-ground spas aren’t that hard to maintain, they do require a bit of attention, just like any other landscaping feature of a home.
If this sounds like too much, then invest in a hot tub. When you’re not home or don’t need to use it, you can easily drain it and let the hot tub sit there until you’re ready to use it.
When it comes to caring for an above-ground hot tub, you can expect to spend a few minutes a week tending to the spa.
You’ll need to balance the water when you start up the hot tub and add a certain amount of sanitizer every time you use it.
Lastly, if ergonomic seating is a huge factor for you, then opt for an above-ground hot tub. Because they are portable, they often come with a wider variety of features and options in regards to design.
Most high-end hot tubs nowadays feature ergonomic seating and a variety of different jet options, making them a bit more ideal for people who are making the investment for their health or as part of physical therapy.
Investing in a Pool and Spa
Deciding to invest in a pool or spa is a big decision to make. That’s why we recommend taking your time to weigh your options while also understanding which option fits your budget, lifestyle, and overall backyard space.
In the end, an in-ground spa is going to add a lot more value to your home while increasing the aesthetic value of your backyard.
If you already have a pool in your backyard, then there are unique ways to add a custom spa to the pool so that it naturally looks like a part of the swimming area.
Interested in finding out more about in-ground pools and spas? Get in touch with us.
Tell us about your needs and what you’re looking for.
Chances are, we’ve probably helped a customer with the same needs as you and can design something that’s exactly what you’re looking for.