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In-Ground Spa vs. Portable Hot Tub – Best Comparison


Every day at Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs and Outdoor Living, we are asked about the difference between in-ground spas and portable hot tubs. This is such a common question here in Orange County that we searched the internet for a good piece of information to hand out. None exists.

This article will cover the good, the bad, and the ugly of both in-ground spas and portable spas. Please note, we will give you the total truth as this comparison has no brand mentioned.

In-ground spa

In-ground spas are a beautiful addition to your backyard. In-ground spas can be integrated into your existing poolscape so the design can look seamless with your existing landscape or poolscape. This solution can be customized to be virtually any size or shape you desire.

We have seen spas that look like guitars, spaceships, and all kinds of other shapes. View our hot tub installation gallery for inspiration and ideas.

An in-ground spa requires a construction process, which means permits, drawings, and a lot of time. The construction requires digging a hole and running plumbing underground to a corner of the years by your home. This is where the equipment will be located.

The equipment is above ground and usually hidden by a small fence or building. You will hear the noise from the pump and heater as the spa is being used.

These spas can be connected to gas heaters in order to heat them quickly. This is great for when you fill it and want to use it the same night.

However, in-ground spas are very inefficient, so most consumers only fill the spa and heat it when they want to use it. It becomes a hassle to keep turning the spa on and off and the electric bill can be enormous.

An in-ground spa offers some hydrotherapy that you may be looking for. You will experience basic hydrotherapy as there are three parts to hydrotherapy. Heat, buoyancy, and massage are the three parts of hydrotherapy. If you analyze an in-ground spa, you will notice that you get heat, warm water, buoyancy, and stress relief resulting from being in water Hydrotherapy is the one component that is missing.

In-ground spas only have four to eight jets that shoot a straight stream of to one spot on your back. It’s like having someone hit your back with a garden hose.

Portable Spas

Portable spas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. As the name suggests, the spas are portable. This simply means it can be moved. Should you decide to move the spa after it is installed, you can. Just like in-ground spas, there are advantages and disadvantages to portable spas.

One perceived disadvantage is that portable hot tubs must sit above the ground. Most portable spas look like a big unattractive box sitting on your patio. That’s what most of the customers think when they come into our store. However, depending on the hot tub you choose, it can be built into your landscape blend-in.

A big advantage of portable spas is they do not require any special plumbing or installation. The minimum requirement is a flat, level, and hard service to set up the spa. Connect electricity and fill it with a garden hose. You can be up in running the same day it is delivered.

As mentioned earlier, hydrotherapy is the biggest reason consumers want a spa. Portable spas offer varying degrees of hydrotherapy and massage. There are multiple hydrotherapy options available to you that are just not available in an in-ground spa. Take your time and look to see what it is out there and how you will find the relief you are looking to achieve.

Energy efficiency is also a big question we get in the showroom daily. Here is the interesting part. Portable spas are all regulated by the state of California to ensure the highest energy efficiency possible.

Due to the California Energy Commission Title 20 regulations, all portable spas sold in California must meet the same energy efficiency requirements. This means your energy bill will be quite small depending on how often you use it. The energy bill for most portable spas will be less than the cost of dinner for two once a month.

Ease of use is another huge difference between an in-ground spas and portable spas. Portable spas are built with easy access filters and usually have supplementary sanitizer as an option. You will not have to prime pumps, remove big filters are backwash a big sand filter. The amount of water you will save using a portable spa will be substantial.

It is my hope that this information was helpful to you. There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a spa for your family, like hot tub size and style. If you decide that a portable spa might be the right hot tub solution for you, let us know.

We would love to help you along your journey. Get in touch with us today.


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