What to look for when shopping for a hot tub

Written by

11 May 2021


6 min read

If you’re in the market for a hot tub there’s much to consider. A good place to start is with Colonial Hot Tubs. Whether you’re wanting an off-the-shelf product or a beautiful bespoke model, they have the expertise to create the ideal solution for you.

Soaking in a cedar hot tub is one of the most luxuriously soothing natural experiences you can have. But buying a hot tub can be confusing. Where do you start?

Charles George owns the Colonial Hot Tub company, which handcrafts high-quality, Canadian cedar hot tubs using the traditional coopering process.

Charles advises you should narrow down your choices by considering how many people you want it for, how often, and exactly how you want to use the tub.

Fast or Slow Heat Vs Energy Consumption?

Possibly the biggest consideration that affects the overall cost is your power supply. How are you going to heat the hot tub? It’s all about the power supply and how much energy it uses to heat up.

Charles says: “About 99 per cent of people want the hot tub to be hot all the time so that it’s ready for them and their guests to enjoy whenever they wish. If that sounds like you, you’ll want a dependable, efficient heat source, which means a heat pump or electric element heater.” A heat pump also has the smallest carbon footprint.

Charles explains that a heat pump typically has an output of between 4 to 6kw of heat but the sky is the limit for heater size. However 6kw is plenty to warm a hot tub in around 10 hours, depending on size. Once the water has reached the desired temperature, the heat pump can then maintain that temperature easily and cost effectively.

While a heat pump is the cheapest way to heat a tub, the unit has to go somewhere nearby and the fan emits a low noise when in use. For customers who are all about a quiet ambience and creating a calming experience, the options are pushing a few buttons to switch from the heat pump to the electric element heater, or a gas heater solution.

A further advantage of powerful gas heaters, which use natural gas or LPG, is that they can bring the water temperature up from cold to the optimum heat really fast so the hot tub can be ready for use in a few hours.

Additionally, if internet connectivity allows, either heat source can be controlled from your phone or device, giving you the ability to control the hot tub from any device anywhere. “You can turn it on from home so that the hot tub is ready for a relaxing soak by the time you arrive at the bach.”

Want to soak in the ambience while soaking in your hot tub? Consider an electric element or gas heater option for heating your hot tub without creating any noise to detract from the surroundings.

Keeping clean

Sanitation is another important consideration. A cost and time-effective way to keep the hot tub clean is with bromine. Although many customers don’t want chemicals touching their skin, it’s such a small amount that goes into the pool when used in conjunction with ozone gas, it can hardly be detected and it is not as harmful as people think, says Charles.

He adds, “There’s a minefield of pretenders out there who claim you don’t have to do anything to the hot tub to keep it clean. ‘Just add some fluid and walk away.’ But that’s questionable,” he adds.

“We’ve trialled ways of making it easy using ozone gas and UV and a low dose of chemicals that keep the water clear and odour free.”

It’s a combination of things that makes a good sanitation system, not just one solution, says Charles.

“Our big thing is customer service. When we install, we can be there to show people the best way to manage their tub and chemicals. It depends on how they stand on this one. We will help your preference become a reality.”


Then there is the location of your hot tub—where will it be installed? And how accessible is it from the house?

The further away from the house, the less it will be used, also if it has a fence around it with steps to get to it, even less so.

“We know the pool fencing regulations and can make it work without a fence—within reason of course. Sometimes, it comes down to budget.”

The other aspect of location is drainage. The water in the tub needs to be changed intermittently so you need to think about where the water can go. There are many simple solutions to this question.

Incorporate a cedar hot tub into your backyard landscaping scheme to create a true lifestyle experience.

Quality is key

“When you’re looking at hot tubs, make sure you select a good quality tub with wide boards that make for a far more stable unit. Anyone that knew my brother will remember the quote: ’no one regretted buying quality!’“.

Charles says, his tubs are designed like a wine barrel with stronger bands that wrap around the body and hold it tightly together.

When you purchase from Colonial Hot Tubs, you’re gaining a commitment to customer service plus knowledge of how to build tubs from the ground up.

“We’ve been building tubs for 50 years now so we know our stuff. When customers make an enquiry, we personally see them through the entire process. They can call any time and we’ll advise what they should do. We want the right outcome every time. We want the hot tub to look good and be functional.”


While the instant gratification of a plug-and-play tub is right for 90 per cent of people, there are those who want a bespoke solution that complements their architectural project, both aesthetically and mechanically.

“We’re happy to think outside the circle for people and to build innovative, fully customised heating and sanitation systems. That’s actually our background and we’ve completed all manner of installations, including a tub for a rooftop installation with views over Lake Wakatipu in a high end apartment at Eichardt’s Hotel in Queenstown. We’ve even installed a self-maintaining hot tub in sand dunes surrounded by a subterranean plant room with high-end sanitation systems and WiFi connectivity.

“We love it when customers want to push the envelope to achieve their vision. These are the projects we enjoy building the most. So come to us with your ideal scenario and we’ll make it happen.”

Learn more about incorporating a cedar hot tub into your next project.