Inflatable Hot Tub vs Regular Hot Tub (Which One Do You Need?)

Decided to get a hot tub? That’s amazing! So, which one are you going for–an inflatable hot tub vs a regular hot tub? There are many differences between these two. But, in a nutshell–

Inflatable hot tubs cost less than regular hot tubs, but the regular hot tub has lower running costs due to high-quality isolation.

But, that’s not all. To help you understand better, we have put together this extensive, well-structured guide to help you find the best hot tub based on your requirements. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

What are Regular Hot Tubs?

Regular hot tubs are often called jacuzzies. The regular hot tub is designed to hold a few people at the same time.

It can come with a hard shell and cannot be moved around when not in use. You may find powerful jets in hard shell tubs as part of the massage feature.

Regular hot tubs are heavy, and you can’t move them around.

Related Read: Jacuzzi vs Hot Tub?

What are Inflatable Hot Tubs?

Inflatable hot tubs are like jacuzzies, but you pay approximately half the amount that you’d pay for a regular hot tub. You can inflate them on a cold day and deflate them whenever you’re done. They are easy to install and come with their fair share of features.

If you’re someone who likes to relax occasionally in a hot tub, these wonderful tubs are perfect for you. They don’t take up a lot of space, can be set up wherever you want, and are a lot cheaper than hard-shell hot tubs.

Related Read >>> Chlorine vs Salt Water Hot Tubs?

Inflatable Hot Tub vs Regular Hot Tub: Head to Head

While these two products are almost the same, there are a few differences. Here are the top features compared:


The first thing you should check before buying a hot tub is the price. Regular hot tubs tend to cost more than inflatable hot tubs.

There are 3 types of regular hot tubs (based on price): entry-level hot tubs cost around: $3,000-$5,000, mid-tier hot tubs cost $4,500-$9,000, and luxury hot tubs cost $7,000-$15,000.

On the other hand, inflatable hot tubs cost around 400-600$.

Installation And Setup

The installation process of the hot tub is very time-consuming, and it’s very difficult. Regular hot tubs are harder to install than inflatable hot tubs.

With regular hot tubs, you need to have a solid base/place that can hold the hot tub. You also need to install the plumbing, arrange the power. All of this has to be done beforehand.

On the other hand, inflatable hot tubs don’t require you to do this. You can set up an inflatable hot tub within 30 minutes. Most of the inflatable hot tubs arrive with long power cords and all you have to do is to fill the inflatable hot tub with water.


The maintenance process is almost identical. You need to add chemicals to both regular and inflatable hot tubs. You need to keep the pH levels between 7.2-7.5 pH, clean the filters very often, and add sanitizers.

Heat Up Time

Regular hot tubs in comparison to inflatable ones have better heat retention. They are well-insulated and typically made for cold weather.

This also means that regular hot tubs are way more energy-efficient since they heat up quickly and maintain the temperature better thanks to the insulation.

Inflatables on the other hand will leave you freezing when used outdoors on cold days before they start getting the water warm. With regular hot tubs, you won’t ever be cold as they are much quicker.


Inflatable hot tubs may cost less, but they aren’t as durable as regular hot tubs. You can except 5-7 years of use for an inflatable hot tub, and 20+ years of use for a regular hot tub.

Inflatable hot tubs are made of TriTech technology. While this technology contains 3 layers of plastic, it can still be popped. So, an inflatable hot tub will last 5-7 only if you are careful enough, same applies to regular hot tubs.

Related Read: Can You Use Inflatable Hot Tubs in Winter?


Over the years, hot tubs have evolved greatly. From Bluetooth speakers to Wi-Fi connectivity, you can get many exciting features with it. Of course, premium features will cost you more, but they are worth it. This is where inflatable hot tubs lack.

You won’t get basic features like jets in inflatable hot tubs. The most you can expect from inflatables are lights and air jets. So, you can kiss goodbye to the remaining high-end features only available with regular hot tubs.

It comes down to your budget and preference. If you’re simply looking for a portable hot tub, get an inflatable tub.


How often are you going to use the tub?

If the answer is not much, we strongly recommend buying an inflatable hot tub. It won’t take up a lot of space and you can enjoy a hot tub experience whenever you want.

But if you will be using it more often, it is a good idea to invest in a regular hot tub. It may come with a higher price tag but is way more budget-friendly in the long run.

Related Read: Round vs Square Hot Tubs?

Available Space

Do you have a lot of room to fit a jacuzzi permanently?

If yes, there’s nothing better than a hard-shell hot tub. It is thoroughly insulated, and you won’t have to worry about blowing it up every time you want to use it.

However, if space is a constraint, inflatable hot tubs should be your go-to option. Simply inflate it when you are in the mood for relaxing and deflate it for easy storage.

Jets & Comfort

You are buying a hot tub to relax, so comfort should be one of the first things you check. Inflatable hot tubs don’t come with seats.

You have to sit on the bottom of the inflatable hot tub at a 90-degree angle. If a lot of people are using the inflatable hot tub at the same time, then all of the legs will meet in the middle of the inflatable hot tub. Some of you have to rest your legs on top of someone else’s legs.

On the other hand, regular or hardshell hot tubs are larger and taller. They also come with seats and are far more comfortable than inflatable hot tubs. It also comes with leg, foot, back, neck, and hand massages while the inflatable hot tubs come with 0-4 jets.

So, in a nutshell– regular hot tubs are more comfortable than inflatable hot tubs.

Maintenance Cost 

Regular hot tubs are well isolated and can keep the water hot for a while. Inflatable hot tubs aren’t well isolated, meaning that they will leak out their heat, and the water gets colder faster.

The faster the water gets, the more you have to use the hot tub heater and the more electricity/money you spend.

Inflatable hot tubs have low-quality filters, the water quality isn’t good. The inflatable hot tub filter may miss debris, dirt, or bacteria, especially if you haven’t cleaned them for a while. The dirtier the water gets, the more chemicals you have to use.

On the other hand, regular or hardshell hot tubs are equipped with high-quality filters. These filters catch everything including dirt, debris, and bacteria, and keep the water clean.

So, in the long run, regular hot tubs have lower running costs (due to quality insulation) if compared to inflatable hot tubs.

Final Words

There is no definite answer to this question. It depends on your personal preference and requirements. If you have enough room and the budget for a hard-shell hot tub, go for it. If not, inflatable hot tubs are a feasible alternative.

Remember all the merits and demerits we discussed and list down what you need in the tub. Only after considering the basic factors should you decide what type of hot tub suits you the best.

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