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Help with new tub selection


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I have been lurking for a little while. For years I have been wanting a hot tub. Now, the moment has finally come. We have moved to a new house and we have proper space for a tub. We are looking for ~6 people hot tub with is roughly 7ftx7ft. I am steering away from loungers. There are 4 of us in the house that will use it. Me being the primary one. We want the hot tub for mostly relaxation. I have done my rounds with different Buffalo area dealers. Here is the list I came up with:

MARQUIS    V84 ($9,000)+  VEGAS ELITE ($8,200), NORDIC    JUBILEE LS($7,700), HOTSPRING FLASH ($11,800)+ RHYTHM($9,000), JACUZZI J345 ($9,700) ARTESIAN CAPTIVA ELITE ($11,100) D1  NAUTIQUE (waiting) SUNDANCE  HANOVER (780) ($9,900)+OPTIMA (880)($14,900 - a bit too pricey for us)

None were wet tested since most do not have many on display. We have sat down in several but not all. Most price tags come with steps, cover, ozonator (depending on the manufacturer), and delivery. I know most of these are very good brands but can you please help me narrow down my choices? 

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Buy from the dealer that you are the most comfortable with.  They are going to be your lifeline and main source of assistance and supplies. If you are not comfortable with the dealer, I would wait until you find one you are comfortable with. I went with the Artesian dealer because of the issues I had with the Hot Springs dealer when looking and because the Vita/Bullfrog dealer really didn't know their tubs when we stopped there to look around.

If you can't wet test, at least try to find one to sit in dry. Many models are similar between manufacturers, just with the same seat types but a lounger or no lounger. For example, the Artesian Island Antiqua is the same tub as the Island Nevis, just stretched about 6". Seating is the same, the foot well is smaller.

Most of the tubs you listed are good, solid tubs.  Out of your list, the Sundance is probably ones I wouldn't consider.  The Jacuzzi J345 is also a great tub. In Buffalo, I would want an open cell full foam tub. The Caldera and the Hot Springs are Watkins tubs. The Caldera is made in Mexico while the Hot Springs is made in California if that matters to you. I would try for one with Balboa controls as they are known for a bit better quality than Gecko although Gecko is a decent control system.

If you want it fast, try to find one that is in a dealer allocation or if possible, in stock. Otherwise you are looking at many months for delivery due to Covid shortages.

I had the same issues and ended up with an Artesian brand tub (May Manufacturing made in Vegas) that hit all my check boxes, was comfortable, fit in the area I have for it (and would fit thru the door opening I have) and was an unsold on a dealer stocking order (from August), which means it should be here in a week or so.

 

Best of luck to you in your search.

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I don’t know if you can check this ahead of time but it seems ours may heat up slower than others . Ours heats up two,  maybe 3° an hour and since it’s in a vacation rental and we have it serviced around 10 am when people check out, if it needs refilling it’s not  ready by 4:00 when new guests  arrive . Or even their first night. In winter,  water going in can be 40°. Our salesperson told us it would take 8 hours,  but it doesn’t . For personal use this may not be as important to you. 

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1 hour ago, cranbiz said:

Out of your list, the Sundance is probably ones I wouldn't consider.  The Jacuzzi J345 is also a great tub.

For the record, Sundance (one of my top ranked spa brands) was bought some 20 years ago by Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi immediately took the Sundance controls and put them in their new "premium" line. So the Jacuzzi you recommend is in fact a Sundance that you don't recommend under the hood, so to speak. It's like GM and Chevrolet. 

58 minutes ago, Susanj said:

heats up two,  maybe 3° an hour a

Your spa, wired at 240v on the heater, should heat 8-10 degrees per hour. I suggest you start a thread and we can address that.

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I sat in a couple of Sundance Spa's. To me and my wife they were not comfortable while the Jacuzzi J345 was a much more comfortable sit. My issue with the Jacuzzi was it wouldn't fit thru my opening to put it on the porch.

That's why I didn't like the Sundance.

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I appreciate all of the great feedback. My head is spinning with all the different options, models, etc. I looked over the design, fit, cost, and dealer (rating) and I was able to decrease my selection ever so slightly to Marquis V84, Hotspring Flash, Jacuzzi J345, and Artesian Captiva Elite. Is there another way that you can perhaps narrow down my selection? Perhaps based on warranty/insulation/reliability/customer service/parts availability/etc.? Thanks again. 

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9 hours ago, SHYNE264 said:

Is there another way that you can perhaps narrow down my selection? Perhaps based on warranty/insulation/reliability/customer service/parts availability/etc.? Thanks again. 

Absolutely!  Get personal with the dealers - research online reviews.  How long have they been in business?  Does the dealer sell multiple brands/products or do they sell one brand of spas exclusively?   The dealer, not the manufacturer is responsible for warranty labor costs (in many cases) so be sure to do your research on the dealer's and find out what their warranty covers.  Ask questions like free-callouts for service - industry average seems to be 6 months to three years, some dealers go above/beyond that to 5+ years free call outs for warranty service.   

I'm a Hotspring Highlife fanboy but from your list, I'd personally think the J345 will probably give you the best therapeutic massage but the Marquis V84 is a very sexy looking tub from a great brand.   Although Jacuzzi did update the J300 series for their 2020 lineup and they do look a lot nicer than the 2019 models I was looking at when shopping for my tub (at that time the J300 series looked extremely dated for price when looking at the competition).

Still, if you get a bad vibe from the dealer, walk away and find another one to work with - you don't want to get stuck with cavalier unresponsive dealer when you need help the most. 

In my case, I *really* wanted a Hotspring but got a bad vibe from my "nearest" dealer (basically a big backyard makeover store selling many big ticket items from multiple brands, sales rep on commission telling me what he thought I wanted to hear to make a sale that day) so I walked away and found another Hotspring dealer equidistant from my rural location and what a world of difference - white glove service, small family run business (selling/servicing one brand for decades), and best of all their pricing was 20% lower for the same make/model/color tub I wanted (same accessories/options included with both deals, no demo/floor model discounts).   I've met both main techs and feel confident in their skills each having more than a decade of daily experience servicing only one brand of spas - if I'm spending this much money, I better rest easy knowing they're fixing my tub correctly.  I don't have time to call techs out multiple times to fix something when it's wrong

Good luck with whatever you purchase, it'll be worth the wait!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I have narrowed it down to either Marquis V84 or J-345. Hotspring and Artesian I have removed because they are >$11k. Marquis delivery time would be sometime in June/July, while J345 looks more like mid to late Sept. Both will have full foam. V84 is a bit cheaper. J345 offers a better warranty (10yr shell structure, 7yrs surface, 5yrs equip./controls/plumbing) vs. V84 (5yrs shell structure, 2 yrs surface, 3yrs equip./controls/plumbing). 

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So I am still struggling. I have dry tested J345 however, I cannot find V84 anywhere near me. I am leaning towards V84 but I am concerned about different seat heights more specifically the seats to each side of the controller. They seem pretty high but maybe my perception is off. I am judging it by whatever pics I can find online. Am I overthinking it ? :)  After all its not a small investment. Thanks. 

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