Hot Spring® Spas Review (Features, prices, pros and cons and more...)

Wondering if a Hot Spring® spa is worth the money? Want to know the difference between Hot Spring® and cheaper mid-market spas? In this in-depth article, we take a look at the Hot Spring® range and find out if they are worth the extra expense.

HotSpring® Spa review, prices, products, pros, cons

We’re often asked about Hot Spring® spas and if they're worth the extra money compared with cheaper mid-market spas.

We sold Hot Spring® spas at Spa World™ in Australia for many years and, while we no longer sell their products, we do know a lot about them. We also care about helping our customers make good decisions, so we wrote a quick article on the topic.

In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.

Who are Hot Spring® Spas?

Hot Spring® spas is a brand of US-based Watkins Wellness™, the world’s largest manufacturer of spa pools.

Hot Spring® were early innovators in the spa industry.

In 1978, the company introduced the first fully-insulated hot tub with underwater lighting and top-loading filters. Today, these features are industry standards.

In 1984, they launched Moto-Massage®, the world’s first moving hydrotherapy jet.

According to its website, the company now has the largest network of hot tub dealerships in the world, with authorised sales agencies and service locations worldwide - including in New Zealand.

Hot Spring® New Zealand is based in Auckland, where it has a warehouse, distribution centre, showrooms and service centre. It imports spa pools and swim spas directly from Watkins Wellness™ facilities in Mexico and the US and distributes them throughout Australasia and Asia.

What is the correct name? Is it HotSpring, Hot Spring, HotSprings, or Hot Springs Spas?

That's a great question! Here's the short answer: The correct brand name is Hot Spring® spas.

Fun fact. Even though this brand has been around for over 40 years, people still seem to have trouble getting the name right.

The most common misspelling we've come across is 'Hotspring' spas. We've also seen it incorrectly called Hot Springs and Hotsprings spas.

To be clear; there is such a word as hot springs, it's just that it isn't a spa pool brand – it's the word for a naturally occurring spring of hot water, also known as thermal springs.

What's the difference between hot springs and Hot Spring®?

While both hot springs and Hot Spring® are desirable for their relaxation benefits – as mentioned above, the former refers to a naturally-occurring spring of hot water while the latter is a popular brand of spa pool.

Who owns Hot Spring®?

According to the Hot Spring® website, Hot Spring® is owned by Watkins Wellness® – which is in turn owned by MASCO® Corporation.

Hot Spring® Spas New Zealand is a New Zealand Limited Company incorporated in 1980 and is a joint-venture with US-based Watkins Manufacturing, who is owned by MASCO – a US conglomerate that owns more than 20 companies. The managing director of Hot Spring® Spas New Zealand is Dale Paretovich.

Where are Hot Spring® spas made?

Hot Spring® Spas are made by Watkins Wellness® in the US and Mexico.

What spas does Hot Spring® sell?

Hot Spring® sells numerous spa models in a variety of sizes and with varying specifications.

Its spas are sold under six brands – the entry-level, Freeflow® and Fantasy Spas® ranges with plastic shells; mid-market Limelight® and Hot Spot® range; and premium Highlife range. Hot Spring® also sells Caldera Spas®, and Endless Pools® and Fastlane Pools® fitness systems.

Hot Spring® range of spas:

  • Freeflow® is Hot Spring®’s entry-level spa range. This range is manufactured from plastic.
  • Limelight® and Hot Spot® are its mid-market spas, which are made in Mexico.
  • Highlife® is its premium line and this range is made in the US and Mexico.

How much do Hot Spring® spas cost?

At the time of writing, Hot Spring® did not show prices on its website site. If seeing prices upfront is important to you, then there are many other spa retailers who show prices on their websites – including Spa World.

If you want pricing for Hot Spring® products, you will need to visit one of their dealerships or ‘request a quote’ via the Hot Spring® website by filling in a form with your name and contact details.

Spa World believes in transparent pricing which is why the Spa World web site clearly displays product pricing.

How much does a Hot Spring® Highlife® spa cost?

For this article, we will focus on the Highlife® spa range and if they are worth the extra price compared with mid-market brands of similar quality and specification; such as Vortex Spas®, Signature® Spas, Oasis® Spas and Galaxy™ Spas.

As mentioned above, Spa World used to sell Hot Spring® spas so we have a fair idea how much they cost. However, we cannot mention specific pricing in this article and Hot Spring® chooses not to display pricing on line.

Hot Spring® spa prices

As we've already mentioned, Hot Spring® does not show prices on its website.

If you're wondering: "How much does a Hot Spring® Spa cost?"; or want to find out what Hot Spring®'s prices are, you will need to request a quote via the Hot Spring® website or visit a Hot Spring® showroom.

Hot Spring® Highlife® vs mid-market spa: Price difference

Wondering what the price difference is between a Hot Spring® Highlife® spa and a mid-market spa of roughly the same size and seating capacity?

The fact is that Hot Spring® does not publish pricing for the HighLife® range on its website – Hot Spring® leaves the pricing up to the discretion of its dealers, therefore you will need to contact a Hot Spring® dealer to get prices for any of their spas.

To give you an idea of what a premium spa pool might cost, you could look at the the Jacuzzi® J-400 series, which is comparable to the Hot Spring® Highlife® range.

The RRP price of the Jacuzzi® J-400™ series ranges from $27,995 for the J-445™ to $34,995 for the J-495™ . You can find the latest Jacuzzi® Spas pricing on the Spa World web site..

A mid-market comparison that is a similar size to the 5-seater Hot Spring® Aria™ spa in the Highlife® range, would be the Vortex™ Nitro™ which is has an RRP of $11,499.

Once you have the Hot Spring® pricing, you'll need to determine which has the features and benefits you prefer, and which offers the best value for money.

To help you decide which brand and model of spa is best for you, download our comprehensive Spa Buyer's Guide below.

Hot Spring® Highlife® vs mid-market spa: Running costs

There is little doubt that Hot Spring® spas have very low running costs.

All Highlife® spas feature full-foam insulation and a low-power filtration pump.

Hot Spring® takes great pride in the fact that all of their spas have independently-tested running costs and these costs are certainly among the lowest in the market.

Other spas with low running costs include Bullfrog® and Jacuzzi® Spas which also feature high levels of insulation. If low running costs are important to you, you should check out these brands too.

How to reduce spa pool or hot tub running costs?

If you are buying a mid-market spa but want the low running costs of a Hot Spring® spa there are a few ways to achieve this.

  1. Upgrade to a higher level of insulation. Insulation is one of the most important features of spas and swim spas as it's the main influence on heating costs. In theory – the better the insulation, the lower the running costs. There are three main ways spas are insulated – each with their own pros and cons. Most spas come with some insulation , although its effectives varies. Some retailers offer the option of ugrading to higher quality insulation – such the 'Artic Insulation upgrade' offered by Spa World. Learn more abbout different types of spa pool insulation and what to look for.
  2. Upgrade to a spa heat pump. Testing has shown that using a spa heat pump instead of the spa's inbuilt electric heater, can save you up to 75% on your heating bill. Spa heat pumps range in price from $2,000 up to $4,000 – depending on the size and brand. When the cost of the mid-level spa is combined with the cost of the heat pump, it may be a more cost-effective solution for you. Another major bonus with a heat pump is that you can actually cool the spa water as well – making it ideal on those hot summer days.

Hot Spring® Highlife® vs mid-market spas: Construction and quality

When it comes to comparing quality, there are several parts of a spa to consider.

Let’s break them down:

  • Shell construction. Hot Spring® spas use ABS backed acrylic in the construction of their Highlife® shells, whereas the mid-market spas mentioned above use fibreglass-backed acrylic. Most of the brands mentioned offer a similar shell warranty, a good indication of quality and manufacturer confidence in a product.
  • Framing. Hot Spring® Highlife® spas now feature an injection-moulded plastic frame (they call it a Polymer structure), which is considered the benchmark for spa pool frames as there is no chance of rotting. Vortex® and Signature® spas also use injection-moulded plastic frames.
  • Pumps and equipment. Hot Spring® use LX® jet pumps and Laing® circulation pumps, whilst Signature® spas use Aqua-Flo® pumps, Vortex® uses SpaNet™ SMARTFLO™ pumps and Oasis® Spas and Galaxy Spas use LX® pumps. Jacuzzi® Spas – one of the world's best spa manufacturer's – uses it's own proprietary jet pumps and control system. In our experience, the quality of all of these pumps is similar. Hot Spring®, like Jacuzzi® Spas, have their own proprietary control system – whereas Vortex Spas™ uses SpaNet®; and Signature®, Oasis®, Galaxy® spas all use Gecko® control systems. All are top notch and are of similar quality.
  • Jets and control valves. Hot Spring® jets and control valves are very high quality. However, in our experience, the jets and control valves used in the other brands listed are of no lesser quality.

Hot Spring® Highlife® vs mid-market spas: Hydrotherapy

The quality of the Hot Spring® hydrotherapy experience is very high. In fact, in our opinion, the only brand that comes close is Jacuzzi® Spas.

Both Jacuzzi® Spas and Hot Spring® are very large firms that have been operating for decades and in that time, they have certainly developed deep know-how in how to maximise the hydrotherapy benefits of their spas for massage, muscle relaxation and reducing tension.

The other mid-market spas we've mentioned also have very good hydrotherapy when compared with entry-level spas on the market, but they wouldn’t reach the standard of Hot Spring® or Jacuzzi® Spas.

Does Hot Spring® spas’ superior hydrotherapy experience justify the price difference? It would be hard to say objectively.

It comes down to your personal preference and needs. We would recommend that you ‘wet test’ a range of spas and make your own decision.

Hot Spring® Highlife® vs mid-market spas: Automatic water maintenance

Hot Spring® Highlife® spas feature its FreshWater® Salt Water Chlorine System as a standard feature.

There are two factors that we would like to point out about the FreshWater® Salt Water Chlorine System.

  1. The first is that it is not chlorine-free. It is a system that turns salt (NaCl) into Chlorine (Cl). If you wish to own a chlorine-free spa, then there are other options available.
  2. The second, is the replaceable titanium cathodes that turn the salt into chlorine; increase the maintenance cost and overall cost of ownership of a Hot Spring® model that uses this system.

Remember too, with this system you will still need to test your water balance regularly and adjust the system to avoid over chlorination that can damage your spa.

In contrast, the likes of Jacuzzi® Spas and Vortex™ Spas, feature a combination of ozone and UV automatic sanitisation.

You will need to use a santiser with these systems and you will need to follow the recommended dosing instructions on the back of the sanitiser container. There are non-Chlorine free sanitiers available.

Hot Spring® Highlife® spas vs mid-market spas: Filtration

Filtration is another area Hot Spring® does very well in. They use proprietary TRI-X® filters which are long-lasting and machine washable.

We recommend comparing the price of TRI-X® filters with filters used on other spas that you are considering.

Are Hot Spring® spas worth the money?

Hot Spring® are very good quality. There is no doubt that Hot Spring® Highlife® spas are, in many respects, better than the mid-market spas we have mentioned.

We recommend considering a few brands and comparing the upfront price, ongoing running costs, cost of consumables (replacement parts) with other other spas you are considering. It is also a great idea to visit the showroom and try out the spas you like to see if they are a good fit for you.

In summary:

  • Hot Spring® will certainly provide lower running costs than a mid-market spa. Depending on a number of variables, a mid-market spa with a heat pump might have a comparable running cost plus the added bonus of being able to cool the water for relief from hot summer days.
  • Most would find the quality of hydrotherapy (particularly the powerful Moto-Massage® jet) in a Hot Spring® spa better than a mid-market spa. It depends on personal preference, so you should ‘wet test’ the spa to decide for yourself if it is worth the extra investment.
  • The water maintenance and filtration system in the Hot Spring® is excellent. We recommend comparing the price of consumables such as filters and cathodes, with a sanitiser and UV/ozone combination.

In conclusion

Hot Spring® Spas, along with Jacuzzi® Spas and Bullfrog® Spas, are exceptional brands.

However, if price is an important factor for you, it might be worth considering a mid-market alternative.

Overall, as we often say – buying a spa is a very personal experience. It's up to you how much more you need to spend in order to get the best spa experience for you.

Take the worry out of buying a spa. Download Our Spa Buyers Guide to will help you make the best decision.

DISCLAIMER In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™.

All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (20 July 2020) and may change without notice.

The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd: Oasis® Spas trademark is owned by Oasis Leisure Products Pty Ltd. Artesian Spas™ trademark is owned by Artesian Spas. Bullfrog® trademark is owned by Bullfrog International, LC. Signature® Spas trademark is owned by Spa Industries Pty Ltd (SCS). Hot Spring® Spas trademark is owned by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation (Watkins). Galaxy® Spas.

Affiliations: Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas and Spa World® are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd. The Jacuuzzi® brand is owned by Jacuzzi Inc. and exclusively licensed for use to Spa World™ in Australia and New Zealand.

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