In-ground hot tubs make every day feel like vacation
In-ground hot tubs might fall into the upper end of the price range for home spas, but their exceptionally great looks, durability, and potential for increasing home value make them worthy of consideration.
The large difference in price between in-ground hot tubs and free-standing models comes from the extensive yard preparation work that provides a solid foundation and integrates the tub with decks and other landscaping. Both kinds of tubs serve to bubble the stress away.
In-ground hot tub considerations
Unlike above-ground tubs, in-ground spas heat to desired soaking temperature quickly. Although they initially may cost more to heat than above-ground models, the natural insulation of the earth means they retain temperatures more efficiently.
Installation should be done by a professional since excavation, plumbing and electrical installation, and pouring any decking are not receommended DIY projects.
Pre-fab vs. custom tubs
In-ground hot tubs and spas generally fall into two categories: custom and prefabricated.
- Pre-fabricated in-ground tub: made of stainless steel, acrylics, fiberglass and composites; seats are contoured into the material and can fit up to six or eight people; comes in a variety of designs including ovals, kidney shapes, square or round; comes with jets installed and a range of heating options
- Custom in-ground tub: typically made from poured dry-mix gunite and may be lined with decorative tiles; seats have a step-design, shaped when poured, to accommodate 5-15 people, or more; jets are usually more powerful than ones shipped with pre-fabricated tubs
The custom tub will cost more, but often combines better materials and workmanship into the final product. Not that there's much to complain about with a prep-fab tub if you choose a high-quality product and a skilled contractor to handle the installation.
An array of styles and options
You'll find an assortment of attractive colors for all in-ground tub styles, including shades of green, blue, white, sandstone, black and gray from any of the following manufacturers:
You'll also find a range of metallic finishes. Lights and accessories can be tailored to fit your landscaping.
Pricing in-ground hot tubs
According to Hot Tub Cost, in-ground spas cost more because of the ground preparation; however, you should consider that you won't be spending the $1,000 to $3,000 on a concrete pad or $500 up to $15,000 to wrap a new wood deck around a free-standing hot tub.
Prices vary greatly by manufacturer, model, capacity, region, and backyard readiness. Here's a sample list of prices of in-ground hot tubs from a large custom model to a swim tub, subject to change by manufacturer or retailer:
- ThermoSpas: Custom from $4,000 to $22,000, depending on variables in size, number of jets, optional features, including deluxe LED lighting, bubbling systems and stereos
- Pool Warehouse: prestige in-ground spa, seats two adults, 6-10 jets, $1,499
- AquaSpa: Nine-foot-long swim spa, $6,399 including plumbing for nine jets
Maintenance involves monitoring proper spa pH, filtering, and the use of an enzyme scum eliminator. Adding an ozonator (available from most retailers) can greatly reduce your chemical use.
How to find a contractor
Work on an in-ground hot tub is extensive, and it may require your contractor to get necessary building permits, excavation equipment, and perform skilled electrical or natural gas installations. The length of your tub service life and validity of warranty may depend on installation and service by factory-trained technicians. One way to get started is to round up quotes from local contractors using the form on this page. Then, prepare to relax.