There are a lot of differences between these two types of hot tubs that can cause confusion for those that are looking for a solid purchase. Since inflatable hot tubs have come a long way over the years, they are really starting to cover a lot of the features that portable hot tubs have already covered. This means that deciding between the two has become more difficult than ever since they have a lot of the same pros and cons. Neither one is necessarily better than the other, so it isn’t as easy as saying that portable hot tubs are better than inflatable hot tubs. Below is a short guide on how to differentiate between the two when deciding on a purchase so that you can narrow it down to what you really want.
The more expensive of the two would definitely be portable, not only for the higher grade materials but also factoring in shipping weight. Portable hot tubs tend to weight more than 100 pounds and depending on where you want to put it may need special planning beforehand. This is because you have to factor in doorway size if you are putting it inside, and let’s not forget taking it up a flight of stairs. A lot of people opt to have a friend help, so there is a couple of bucks in that transaction as well-unless you have a really gracious friend that doesn’t mind helping you carry a 100+ pound hot tub with weird dimensions up a flight of stairs.
Also factor in the mechanical portion and that the parts inside serve a bigger role when in use, so are usually multi-mechanical beasts that have a lot of expensive internals. The more internal moving parts you have, the more expensive the product is, regardless of its origin. It should be noted that although most portable hot tubs end up in the medium to high price point, inflatable hot tubs are not that much cheaper than the bulk of portable hot tubs if you remove shipping costs.
And this is the biggest misunderstanding between the two. There is a huge debate on the durability of inflatable hot tubs, but the fact of the matter is that they are now built with materials that make them as dependable as portable hot tubs. The reason inflatable hot tubs had to improve on their design is because they are moved twice as much as portable hot tubs.
Portable hot tubs either need to be dissembled to move or have to be moved as a whole, which can be a really big pain. If it can’t be dissembled, moving it even twice a year can turn into an all-day affair. Moving an inflatable hot tub isn’t an issue, and deflating it and inflating it again in the new location is all part of the quirks. Since it is moved so often, the material is made to be tough to withstand a lot of the bumps and bruises that the portable model would get when being moved from place to place. Rips, tears and any type of damage that would poke a hole is minimized if proper maintenance and handling instructions are followed.
This is where the portable hot tub may have a problem if it isn’t the type that can be dissembled. Carrying around a full sized hot tub to a new location in or around your home is not fun if you can’t break it down into smaller pieces. There will also be places that no matter what you do, it will never be able to go. This can be avoided by purchasing an inflatable system or a portable system that can be taken apart easily.
The soft but non flimsiness of inflatable hot tubs may be a hit or miss depending on the consumer. But a lot of people who have sat in $6000+ hot tubs have actually preferred the softer feel of inflatable tubs to the concrete, plastic and other mashups of portable hot tubs. Inflatable hot tubs are soft but firm, and really provide a relaxing feel compared to portable hot tubs. This is of course based on individual tastes, so take that with a grain of salt. Inflatable hot tubs also inflate and deflate pretty quickly, so that is less time waiting around for it to reach max capacity so you can start filling it with water. But portable hot tubs don’t have this waiting period at all, and if you’re the type that is in a rush that extra time it takes to inflate can really make a difference.
In a worst case scenario the part that blows up the inflatable hot tub can malfunction, meaning that you’re left with a deflated piece of strong plastic. Portable hot tubs provide a great sense of security in that their main parts are the control panel and the heating element, which are all built into the tub itself. With inflatable hot tubs having a separate heater/blower, it takes something as simple as a person forgetting to pack it or that piece short circuiting to ruin everyone’s fun.
Consumers will also notice that the premium jets are not available in an inflatable hot tub, but are always available in portable hot tubs. Inflatable hot tubs can simulate the jets, but does not provide nearly the same massage quality as the real thing. The last thing to point out is the control panel, which will be a toss-up depending on who you go with. Most makers put the control panel in place so that you don’t have to leave the hot tub to use it. In an inflatable hot tub there are less functions to play with so it inspires the plug and play attitude. So if you’re looking for ease of use, then inflatable hot tubs wins in this department.
There are some real winners between inflatable hot tubs and portable hot tubs, but they are both great products. If you’re willing to spend a little more money, then a portable hot tub is a great choice. But having an inflatable hot tub as a permanent solution has its perks too, so don’t be too hasty in that regard.