A woman relaxing in her riptide hot tub

Traditional hard shell vs inflatable hot tubs: which is the best?

If you’re thinking about getting a hot tub, you’re probably trying to decide whether to get a hard shell hot tub or a soft inflatable one.

You might already think you know which one you want, which is great but if you’re struggling to make the choice, we have compared the two types to help you make an informed decision, as it’s important that you choose the perfect one for you.


Hard Shell Hot Tub

First, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of the hard shell style.


  • Durable. – hard shell hot tubs are much more durable. All the materials used are solid and therefore there’s no need to worry about punctures. They have a strong base plate and the frame is either made from strong plastic or metal meaning they’re longer-lasting and can take a lot more wear and tear.
  • Features – jets, bubbles, lights, music, Bluetooth, the list of features goes on and most of these come as standard with a hard shell hot tub. They are often more technically advanced as they have more capacity to include gadgets and gizmos.
  • Heating – Hardshell hot tubs have much better filtration and heating systems meaning they can also be used during the winter months because the material and insulation mean that they retain the heat much better. This also means running costs will be lower.
  • Seats – another big advantage of regular hot tubs is that they often have built-in seats and loungers and therefore provide more comfort.


  • Higher initial cost - hot tubs like this tend to cost more initially but depending on your hot tub usage may still be more economical in the long run.
  • Not portable - if you plan on moving your hot tub frequently traditional hot tubs aren’t as easy to move, it requires a lot more planning due to their size and weight.

Inflatable Hot Tub

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of the inflatable hot tub.


  • Lower initial cost - the main plus point of inflatable hot tubs is that they are cheaper to purchase. This is attractive to buyers that don’t want to spend a huge amount to enjoy bubbles in the garden.
  • Easy to move - they are much easier to move and transport than traditional hot tubs because they can be deflated and moved accordingly.


  • Not as comfortable - inflatable hot tubs don’t come with seats and therefore you must sit on the floor. It’s really just a giant paddling pool with bubbles.
  • Higher running costs - inflatable hot tubs don’t have as much insulation and so don’t maintain heat as well between uses. They also take longer to heat up meaning higher running costs overall.
  • Not as many features - when it comes to features, inflatable hot tubs just can’t compete. Some higher range inflatables will offer lights and air blowers but very few come with jets, music systems, Bluetooth capabilities and the other fancy gadgets that traditional hot tubs come with.

Why not check out our hard shell spa range here? You are sure to find the perfect one for you. Or get in touch with us if you have any further questions.

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