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First Time Buyer -- What Tub Should I Get?


flamingoezz
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The house we bought had a 20 or so year old tub that just stopped heating. I'm thinking we're better off not putting money into a unit that old.

So we're looking at new tubs. We'd like something that seats 5-6 people and has a lounger. That is my favorite spot in the tub we have now, so that is my most important spot as far as comfort and jets. We're not really interested in sound systems, tv's waterfalls. any recommendations on brands that are reliable and have good efficiency? We're hoping to spend somewhere around 6K so we're open to brands other than the top tier -- but prefer one that has a good reputation. Are there any good value brands or specific models i should look at that suit my needs?

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I called a few places -- got jacuzzi quotes for 235 and 355 at $6500 and $8700.

Another place has some leftover models -- most interested in a Cal Spa 750L (seems to be discontinued?). Anybody have experience with this brand or model? They quoted $7500 for a 2015 model. Is that a good price? Do last years models generally have much flex in price? I really wanted to stay at 7K or under all in.

EDIT -- I think this may actually be a 2014 model..not much on it about it on the web.

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Its not to say that a brand isn't important- It always is. However, there are other aspects you've failed to mention. As I tell all of my customers: A hot tub is only as good as the company you purchase it from.

Yes- I am a Catalina Spas dealer. Obviously I am partial to that brand. But set that aside for the moment. Half of your decision should be "Who am I purchasing it from? Are they reputable or do they have a bad track record? How long have they been in business? How long have they carried that brand? Will they service it and stand behind the warranty?" and so on, so forth.

Not all spas are the same. The brands you've mentioned are all over the spectrum. I'd try to narrow it down to not a money decision. I know, that sound ridiculous but hear me out...

Ask yourself these questions:

Pick out a spot where it is going. Is there any size restrictions associated with it?

Do you want to have a lounger or all seats?

What is the price range you are comfortable with? Buy the best you can afford is my motto (Keep a budget but don't be cheap!)

Is this purchase for therapy or entertainment? Or both?

Who do you anticipate will use it over 80% of the time? (Once the novelty of the purchase wears off, that is your target audience.

Can you sit in the tub wet or dry? If you're not comfortable in it dry, you won't be comfortable in it wet.

From there whatever units/dealers are left over is where you begin to make the decision. A hot tub isn't a *need* buy so do your homework. Talk to the saleman. Hear his presentation. Get acclimated with the brand.

Once you have gathered all the information, narrow it down from there. Negotiate for the best deal possible and then you'll have your answer.

I hope this helps. I am sure there are others who may have additional advice for you on how best to make a decision.

Good luck moving forward.

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"Dan the Spa Man" gives you good advice. I'd only add one thing. He says that if you're not comfortable in the tub dry then you won't be comfortable in it wet. This is probably true, but I would take that one step further. Even if you are comfortable in the tub dry, this does not mean you will be comfortable in it wet. It is absolutely imperative that you wet test before you buy. Most people I know wouldn't buy a car without a test drive. Same thing with a tub. You just shouldn't buy without wet testing.

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thanks for the tips.

no size restriction where I'm putting the tub

definitely want a lounger

want to stick to 6000-7500 range

i would say it'll be used 85% for therapy and 15% for entertaining

i will be using it most of the time -- will make sure to wet test

are most leftover models available to sit in? -- it is not a floor model, still has wrapping on it

If i won't be able to test previous year models, i will lean towards something new (and probably wait for a holiday sale), so if there are opinions on specific models based on my info, that would be helpful. part of the problem is, every dealer is going to say their brand is the best so i would like input instead from people who OWN them.

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Be sure to look inside where the pump(s), etc., are. You can usually get an impression about the quality of manufacture from what you see in there.

Also, decide how much insulation you want under there. Some fill the entire cavity and some just spray the tub shell with a thin layer. There's pros and cons to both. Filled solid makes it tough to find and repair leaks, but offers the best insulation.

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Most tubs in the industry range from 7'x7' to 7 3/4 x 7 3/4 (Commonly referred to as 8' tubs). Think about physical spacing and allot for steps and a cover lift, as well as room for service work if it ever needs it.

You need to find a lounger that fits your body type. Do not skimp or settle when it comes to comfort: Isn't that the entire point of the purchase? When I lose sales to a competitor, as long as its a reputable competitor, Im at peace knowing the customer made the best decision for them and their body type.

Don't be afraid to look at some $8000 tubs. After all: What is $500 over the life of 10, 15 years. That said- keep the majority of your inquiries in your price range. Again, the goal is to figure out what you don't want and what is left over is what you do want.

Therapy: Feel the jets. Some lessor tubs tend to make you itch after 5, 10mins of hydrotherapy. Also look for spots you want highlighted. Note that below the waist is the toughest part of the body to accommodate. Every tub has back, neck and should jets. But below the waist is less common and therefor less options are available. Not saying you wont find jets for those areas. You most certainly will. But not in the abundance in what you'll find for above the waist.

In my market, used tubs are such a coin-flip that I just don't trust it. Your market may be different. But, and I know this is self-serving to me, buying new is preferred in my opinion. You get a clean bill of health with a tub, a warranty, and more peace of mind. *IF* this was like the car industry, where you have hundreds of mechanics and fairly easily-available universal parts, I'd think differently. However, there are waaaay less universal parts in our industry and probably fewer places who can work on your tub.

As long as the product is "new" or a "demo model" I think you're fine. But this is merely my point of view, based on my specific market, and may not apply to your market.

And I am sure others will have additional information that may better help inform you.

Good luck moving forward. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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so i've been to a few dealers and scouted out some tubs. I think my budget and requirements have changed a bit as I learned more.

I'm looking now to spend (hopefully) under $9000. I think I need a bigger than 7ft tub also -- the footwells seems so small in 7 footers with loungers. I know 5-6 people tubs are in many cases really tight for even 4 people, but whatever tub we go with i'd like to fit 4 with relative comfort.

I think a few models have stuck out. Any opinions or things I should know about these models?

Jacuzzi J-355

Caldera Geneva

Artesian Quail Run (haven't gotten any prices yet so this may be out of my range)

Also, the dealers i went to did not have these wet -- do I just ask them to fill it for a visit?

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so i've been to a few dealers and scouted out some tubs. I think my budget and requirements have changed a bit as I learned more.

I'm looking now to spend (hopefully) under $9000. I think I need a bigger than 7ft tub also -- the footwells seems so small in 7 footers with loungers. I know 5-6 people tubs are in many cases really tight for even 4 people, but whatever tub we go with i'd like to fit 4 with relative comfort.

I think a few models have stuck out. Any opinions or things I should know about these models?

Jacuzzi J-355

Caldera Geneva

Artesian Quail Run (haven't gotten any prices yet so this may be out of my range)

Also, the dealers i went to did not have these wet -- do I just ask them to fill it for a visit?

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Jacuzzi and Caldera are solid brands overall. However, I am a huge fan of Artesian Spas (Also made in the USA, if that means anything, as the other two are not).

I like Artesian for the zoned pumps (they don't have the biggest motors on the market but they do have many pumps and they work in smaller zones with a smaller number of jets that they provide water to).

I am considering bringing that brand on in my store. However, and this is strictly my opinion, I think you can do fine with the Island/Island Elite units vs going the Platinum route. But again, that is just me.

Good luck. I think that all three brands are up there in quality. Artesian and Jacuzzi a neat and Calderra aint so bad as well.

Hope this works out for you!

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Don't know anything about the Caldera or Artesian, but I've always really liked the Jacuzzi J-355. That was the tub I would have liked to have, but because our tub was going on a roof deck, we had a size and weight restriction. Couldn't get the J-355. We ended up with the Jacuzzi J-345. It is just a little bit smaller and a little lighter, but was enough of a difference to satisfy the engineer. Don't get me wrong, we like the J-345 just fine, but if I didn't have those restrictions, I think we might have ended up with the J-355, although to be fair we never did wet test the J-355.

Please do let us know which tub you end up with and your impressions of the different tubs you look at. Good luck in your search!

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The house we bought had a 20 or so year old tub that just stopped heating. I'm thinking we're better off not putting money into a unit that old.

So we're looking at new tubs. We'd like something that seats 5-6 people and has a lounger. That is my favorite spot in the tub we have now, so that is my most important spot as far as comfort and jets. We're not really interested in sound systems, tv's waterfalls. any recommendations on brands that are reliable and have good efficiency? We're hoping to spend somewhere around 6K so we're open to brands other than the top tier -- but prefer one that has a good reputation. Are there any good value brands or specific models i should look at that suit my needs?

Check out this:

http://www.costco.com/Divine-Hot-Tubs-Deluxe-Leisure-Massage-76-Jet%2c-5-or-6-Person-Spa.product.100158208.html

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