Who wouldn’t want a hot tub at home? Soaking in your backyard is like taking a short trip to a private paradise. It relaxes your muscles, soothes your mind, releases accumulated stress. You can use it to help wake up in the morning, unwind after a long day, or host a gathering for family and friends.
And who wouldn’t want a great deal? Buying a hot tub can be a big expense for many families—one that takes planning and consideration. So, when a traveling hot tub show comes to town offering steep discounts on backyard spas, it can seem like the perfect time to buy. In fact, it can seem like an opportunity you don’t want to miss. But before jumping into a purchase from a hot tub expo, fair, or blow-out sale, make sure the spa you’re considering is really worth the pricetag—even at a discount.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE A HIGH-QUALITY HOT TUB
What details matter to you when shopping for a hot tub? “High quality” certainly means cutting-edge systems and overall longevity, but there are other elements you might not be thinking of. It’s critical to be informed. Having the whole list of quality features in mind when you shop will help you to narrow down your very best options and to know what costs to expect for real value.
- Durability. Made of tough, scratch-resistant acrylic plastic on the inside and weather-resistant paneling on the outside.
- Full insulation. Well-insulated to keep the heat in and your electricity bill low. Typically, dense foam insulation fills in between the inner shell and outer cabinet, and a base pan separates the hot tub from the cold ground.
- Made to last. Working components, such as the jet pumps, circulation pumps, and heater, should be powerful and made to last. A quality hot tub should provide years of continuous use.
- Pleasing design. A high-quality hot tub will also be carefully designed and pleasing to the senses. It should be beautiful enough to be the centerpiece of your backyard, with soothing curves, delightful colors, and fun features such as lights and water fountains.
- Real comfort. Seats will fit the contours of your body, footrests will keep you from floating, and every regular user should have plenty of room to stretch.
- Reliable dealer assistance. Hot tub owners supported by reputable, established local dealers will have access to knowledgeable advice and service. And they will, ultimately, get better use out of their spas overall.
If a spa matches these criteria, then add it to your list of quality hot tubs to compare.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOCAL DEALERS AND TRAVELING HOT TUB EXPOS
Now that you know what makes a hot tub of true quality, where’s the best place to buy? From a local dealer or at a traveling hot tub blow out? Are hot tub fairs and expos worth it? What these questions really come down to is the best value as it unfolds for years to come. As tempting as that too-good-to-be-true price tag may be, you don’t want to be looking at maintenance and repairs that you can’t manage—or a spa that doesn’t last long enough to be a real return on your investment.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A LOCAL HOT TUB DEALER
A great hot tub is made to last. And it will require periodic maintenance, such as systematized cleaning, chemical level adjustments, and repairs to systems worn down from use, lack of use, or weather. Local dealers will be there for the entire life of your spa to support you, answer your questions, and provide hot tub services you may need.
Many dealers offer various levels of service plans to take care of anything from accidental damage to routine cleanings. Even if you opt to make repairs yourself, the dealer is an excellent source of parts, advice, and experience. When it’s finally time to replace your spa, they’ll be old friends, happy to help you reevaluate your household’s needs in the years ahead.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A HOT TUB BLOW-OUT EXPO
In contrast, traveling shows are, by definition, not local. Once a blow-out expo has left town after a week or so, they won’t be available to answer questions, service your spa, or provide replacement parts. Instead, they claim low prices and a sense of urgency. They pressure you to make a quick decision and get a good deal before it goes away.
In some cases, the spas on display may actually be cheaper in the short term, but in the long term, these savings can be erased by high service costs and a shorter hot tub lifespan. As you may have heard before: buy cheap, buy twice.
HOW TO SHOP SMART AT HOT TUB FAIRS, EXPOS, AND BLOW OUTS
Outside of your local dealer’s store, there are a few places you’ll encounter hot tubs for sale “in the wild.” You may find special sales at a town, county, or state fair; at general outdoor and backyard expos; and at hot tub specific “blow-out” expos.
Let’s take a look at what you’ll typically see at each:
HOT TUBS AT FAIRS
An opportunity to start a conversation with local hot tub dealers in a relaxed and positive environment.
Fairs, carnivals, and other local festivals revolve around the thrills of rides, games, and other attractions. But there may also be great local resources to discover. Hot tub dealers would be one of these finds. It’s unlikely that hot tubs are traveling with the carnival. So, if you do see a hot tub dealer set up next to a fried dough stand or other attraction, there’s a good chance they’re representing a local business, renting space at the fair to promote their product.
Rather than pushing hard to sell you a hot tub on the spot, they are there to educate visitors about hot tubs, to exhibit a few of their best models, and maybe to offer a sale or financing option for customers who follow up by visiting their store.
HOT TUBS AT OUTDOOR EXPOS
An opportunity to learn about various local dealers and compare their hot tub options in the context of other home improvement inspiration.
Outdoor expos, such as Backyard Patio Shows, Home and Garden Expos, and Home Remodeling Expos, typically take place in convention centers and run for a week or so. Like at fairs and carnivals, local hot tub dealers often rent space at these expos to promote their products.
Since these events are more focused on home and backyard improvements than county fairs are, shoppers are more likely to see several different hot tub vendors and have a chance to compare products. Hot tub sale prices at outdoor expos may not be significantly different from what you’d find in the dealer’s showroom. But at this type of event, you have the opportunity to compare different dealers’ hot tub options side by side. And, most importantly, you’re still considering products that are backed and supported by a local shop that you’ll have access to long after the expo comes to an end.
HOT TUBS AT SPA “BLOW OUT” EXPOS
Traveling hot tub shows that prioritize attractive prices over quality products and that disappear, leaving buyers with no support or resources to optimize the life of their spa.
It’s important to distinguish between those outdoor expos that feature local businesses and “blow-out” expos that actually travel around to different cities, trying to offload as many hot tubs as possible along the way. These flashy events exhibit hot tubs but usually have no connection to the dealers in the area. They take the hot tubs with them from one convention center to another around the country. Often, these shows will exhibit spas from one brand only.
These blow-out sales put a lot of emphasis on low prices, but hot tubs purchased at these events may or may not be less expensive than those purchased locally. One thing is for certain: owners of these hot tubs will not have the same level of support as those who are in business with local stores. Buyers at blow-out sales will suffer from distant or nonexistent service options. Once these shows leave town, they’re gone.
SHOP SMART, SHOP LOCAL
Buying a hot tub at a local event, such as a fair or backyard expo, can be a great way to find a deal from a local store. One way or another, you want a product that is going to last for years of relaxing, invigorating soaks. In order to get a full life and good value from your hot tub, take a step back before you buy. Does the hot tub in question fit the criteria for quality? Will the person selling this spa even be here in a year or two when I need help and advice?
At Hot SpringⓇ Spas, we’re proud of our wide network of local hot tub dealers. Informed and helpful, our dealerships are always there to support their customers for as long as their hot tubs last. To locate stores in your area, find your local dealer.