Adding a hot tub to your Calgary Alberta backyard is one of the best ways to get outside and use your backyard in call 4 season. When considering the purchase of a hot tub in Calgary, many people will ask, well, what is the average price of a good hot tub?" This question is as important as understanding the different types of insulation used in hot tubs, such as perimeter insulation versus full foam insulation, which we discussed in our previous blog post dated November 9, 2022.
The Cost Factors of Hot Tubs in Calgary
Just like the construction process of hot tubs, the pricing also varies based on several factors. While most hot tubs are made in North America, we are starting to see tub imported from China, and while some tub may start to rival the quality standards of the North American manufacturers in the coming years, to date we still recommend avoiding these spas. Beyond country of origin, other factors that will effect cost include the size of the tub, the number of jets, the quality of materials used, the brand, and the type of insulation, the quality of components like pumps, and the ancillary bells and whistles that the hot tub comes with like lighting, audio, WIFI control, and even TVs. In Calgary, where the climate can be a significant factor, the choice of insulation - whether full foam or perimeter - can also influence the cost.
Types of Hot Tubs in Calgary
Did you know there are different broad type of hot tubs? Each is made very differently from the next, and they represent different levels of quality, durability and price within the overall hot tub market.
Inflatable or Soft Hot Tubs - $400 - $5,000
Inflatable hot tubs, or soft tubs, are the most basic type of hot tub. They’re available often from big box retailers and can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. These tubs are not made for Calgary’s climate, and they’ll struggle to maintain water temperature when the temperature outside drops below zero. If you do decide to purchase this type of tub to determine if you’ll use a hot tub often enough to justify a real hot tub, we recommend that you put this in the basement or the garage. Also keep in mind that this type of hot tub will only have a few jets for circulation and the ergonomic will be almost non-existent. Essentially you’ll be sitting in a large bucket of water. It’s also important to keep in mind that these spas will often only last 1-3 years before needing to be replaced.
Roto-Molded Hot Tubs $5,000 - $9,000
This type of hot tub is a big upgrade from the inflatable style. These hot tubs, as the name suggests, are made in a large plastic mold, where plastic is injected and the mold rotates to get plastic into all the different areas of the mold. The interesting and cost reducing part of this type of hot tub is that the internal shell and the external cabinet are all created at once, and with minimal labour involved. The down side of this style of construction is that the insulation of the hot tub is usually limited to just a reflective thermal barrier blanker. As a result, we don’t love to see these hot tubs install outside. Instead, in a garage can work well, if you do choose to go this route. As this is a price point oriented hot tub, we’ve also found that the quality of components can sometimes be subpar in this type of hot tub. Though with proper maintenance, this style of hot tub can last many years. Most hot tub retailers will carry one roto molded spa. This is because the Canadian manufacturer of these hot tubs, has created a system where they have an exclusive mold for each retailer, rather than selling their product through one retailer in the city. At Backyard Canada we carry
Acrylic Shell Hot Tub $10,000 - $25,000
This is what most people think of when they imagine a hot tub in Calgary. There’s a smooth shiny internal shell, often in white, but also available greys, taupes and more. It’s interesting to note that the acrylic layer on the inside of the hot tub is only made by 2 manufacturers that supply the entire hot tub industry in North America, so a single pallet of colours are available across the industry. This type of hot tub, is made by vacuum forming the acrylic into a proprietary mold, and then in most cases, multiple layers of fiberglass are sprayed, then hand rolled onto the back of the acrylic to give it strength. This is very labourious and costly, and is part of the reason this type of hot tubs is more expensive. Once this step is complete, the holes for jets are then drilled by hand or by robots or a combination of both, before jets are then installed, and plumbing is attached to the back of each jet. In some cases, the manufacturer will use spray foam to insulate the shell, this is preferred by some manufacturers, because the spray foam also serves to support the shell, meaning they can apply fewer fiberglass layers, saving money, but also making the long term maintenance of the tub significantly harder and more costly. Alternatively, some manufacturers will make the shell strong enough to support itself without spray foam, and they will insulated the entire cabinet of the hot tub with rigid foam panels coated with a reflective layer to help insulate further. The fit and finish of this type of hot tub is important, because the air tightness of the cabinet and the fit of the foam panels in the framing makes a difference to overall efficiency. Perimeter insulation has two benefits, first, it allows the heat naturally created by the components, particularly the pumps which run at 60 degrees Celsius, to be captured into the water. Second, it means that all the components of the hot tub are protected in a warm environment, which is particularly important for Calgary Hot Tubs. Finally, not having spray foam filling the hot tub cabinet and covering the plumbing, means that should you ever experience a leak, it can be easily found and fixed in just an hour or two, compared to days of digging out foam trying to source a leak. This means that a fixing a leak after warranty will cost a few hundred dollars with a perimeter insulation hot tub versus thousands of dollars in labour in full foam tubs. In addition, many technicians won’t fix leaks of full foam hot tubs in your yard, they’ll require the hot tub to be moved to a shop with a bench, adding even more to the cost. Once these manufacturing steps are complete, the shell is attached to a frame and flipped over, so pumps, heaters and electronics can be added.
Average Price Range
In Calgary, the average price for a good quality hot tub can range significantly based first on the type of hot tub you choose. Entry-level soft tub models typically start from around $3,000, offering basic features and simpler designs. Roto molded spas then range from $4,000 - $9,000. Before moving up to acrylic hot tubs, that can sometimes be found for $10,000 - $12,000. The majority of quality hot tubs, range from $12,000 - $20,000. With luxury hot tubs with all the bells and whistles ranging from $20,000 - $28,000.
Should I buy a hot tub at a Trade Show?
This is a great question. And the answer is often in the math. For a retailer to attend a trade show is very expensive. Because hot tubs are large, the space is expensive and so is the moving of product to and from the show. As a result of this added overhead you’ll often find that trade show deals, aren’t really a great deal at all. With inflated retails prices and inflated discounts created to give you the perception of a deal. If you’re looking for the best deal on a hot tub, your best bet is to shop a few store, and make a deal in the off season on something they have in stock. As most retailers are interested in moving floor stock in the winter, so they can replenish with new models in the spring.
Additional Costs to Consider
It's important to remember that the price of the hot tub alone is often not the only thing to consider. You’ll also need to consider the cost of delivery, which is sometimes included or alternatively is usually charged at $500 in Calgary. In addition to delivery, some retailers will also charge you separately for the cover, even though this is included by the manufacturer with the hot tub, and is 100% required with a hot tub, not only to insulate the water but also to prevent it from evaporating. If you encounter a retailer that charging you extra for the cover, run! Now, a cover LIFTER is an addition cost, and is recommended, so you don’t have to handle the cover, which can be heavy and awkward, and prone to damage when dropped. There are many types of cover lifers for different applications and with different features and these can range from as low as $250 up to over $700, your retailer can help you select the right one. And you’ll also want to confirm that they’ll install it as part of the delivery, as it can be frustrating to do the first time, and scary when you’re screwing holes into your brand new hot tub! Finally, you might require stairs unless you’re positioning the hot tub beside a deck or building your own, these range from $150-$300. You’ll also want to confirm if your hot tub comes with chemicals to start of you’ll need to purchase these in addition to the hot tub. This initial set of chemicals can cost $150 - $250. the initial purchase price is not the only cost associated with owning a hot tub. Installation, maintenance, and operational costs, such as electricity and water treatment, also play a role in the overall investment. In colder climates like Calgary, the choice of insulation can impact these ongoing costs. Perimeter insulation, for instance, can be more efficient in such climates, potentially leading to lower operational costs.
Making the Right Choice
When selecting a hot tub in Calgary, it's crucial to consider the retailer you’re buying from. As post sale service is essential when it comes to hot tubs. You’ll likely have some small warranty issue in the first few years, and you don’t want to be waiting for parts or service when it’s -30 outside. You also don’t want to be responsible for getting your new beautiful hot tub you’re your driveway to its final location, as is the case when buying from Costco. You’ll want to purchase from a store where you feel comfortable, as you’ll likely be calling with questions about your water at some point. Finally, don’t get pushed into buying by fake “only today” freebies like massage chairs. Trust us, the price is built into your hot tub anyways, and it’s not worth $9,000 or even $1,000. If you are in the market for a hot tub, go see one of our competitors first, and then come see us at Backyard Canada second, so we can show you how we have a better product, at better value, with better service. We’d love it if you chose us!
In summary, while the average price of a good hot tub in Calgary varies, understanding your needs and the long-term implications of your choice can help you make a well-informed decision. Whether you opt for a basic model or a luxurious spa, remember to consider factors like post sale service, insulation, component quality and availability, and ongoing maintenance costs.
If you’re looking for a quality hot tub in Calgary seeking, we recommend exploring options that offer efficient insulation, great water treatment technology, and a shell design that fits you comfortably. Adding a hot tub to your lifestyle is an investment in health, relaxation, better sleep, and pain relief. Plus it’s one of the few places you can connect with your loved ones without the distraction of phones, TV’s and iPads. When you’re ready to make the leap give us a call, we’d love to help!