What is an inflatable spa and should I buy one?

Looking for a quick and easy spa pool solution? Considering buying an inflatable spa pool and want to know more about them?

In this article, you will learn

  • what an inflatable spa pool is
  • how an inflatable spa compares to a portable spa pool
  • how much an inflatable spa costs
  • where you can buy an inflatable spa and
  • the best inflatable spas for sale in New Zealand

After reading this article you will hopefully have a better understanding of inflatable spas, what they can offer and if they are the right fit for you.

What is an inflatable spa?

An inflatable spa has walls that are filled with air so the spa can hold heated water. Inflatable spas usually have a round, square or octagonal shape and equipment such as the control box and spa pump are connected on the outside of the spa.

What is an inflatable spa made of?

An inflatable spa can be made from several materials, depending on the quality of the product, brand and model. You will find several brands use multiple layers of material for the spa walls. These include polyester mesh, PVC (polyvinyl chloride which is a synthetic thermoplastic), a UV protection layer, drop stitch fabric, laminated fabric and some brands market their fabrics as being frost and tear resistant.

The control box needs to be water resistant because it connects on the outside of the spa.

It’s important to keep in mind that inflatable spas don’t have a hard acrylic or fibreglass shell or hard base pan like better quality portable spas. This means an inflatable spa can be more vulnerable to sharp objects on the ground such as rocks, twigs, toys, sports equipment and loose nails in a deck which can puncture the soft shell.

How does an inflatable spa work?

When you buy an inflatable spa, one of the first things you’ll need to do is inflate the spa and its cover. Once that’s done, the next step is to attach the external pump to the spa. Then you will need to fill the spa with water and heat it to your desired temperature. The spa will need to be maintained to keep the spa water clear and healthy and the tub and components in great condition.

Like a portable spa, inflatable spas can be used indoors. However, setting up an inflatable spa inside is considerably faster than a portable spa. They don’t need a certain amount of space for delivery and machinery, such as a crane (if required), to lift the spa into position.

Some inflatable spas will come with a pump that allows the inflatable spa to be used year-round, a massage system, LED lights, backrests and more. The number of features included with an inflatable spa will depend on the brand and if it’s considered to be an entry-level or top of the range model.

Are inflatable spas expensive to run?

If you’re thinking of buying an inflatable spa, this could be one of the first questions that comes to mind. It’s hard to give a straight answer to this question because there are several things to think about such as -

  • What is the outside or inside temperature?
  • How often will the spa be used?
  • What is the quality of the spa?
  • What type of ground is the spa lying on?

However, if you choose a spa with quality insulation, your running costs will be reduced. If a spa can limit heat loss from the water, the less heating it will need to maintain the water temperature. Portable spas are likely to do a better job of insulating spa water and reducing running costs.

An inflatable spa’s heating and control systems can also influence running costs. The more effective and efficient they are at heating and reducing power usage, the lower your electricity bill will be.

If you want to insulate an inflatable spa, you’ll find that some brands sell insulating accessories such as a heat preservation mat, inflatable bladder and spa cover. Using these could make a difference to your power bill.

To get a more certain answer on running expenses for an inflatable spa, it’s best to contact the inflatable spa retailer, company or salesperson you have been speaking to.

What can I put under an inflatable spa?

Keeping an inflatable spa away from sharp objects on the ground or from above will help protect your spa from punctures.

According to photographs displayed on several inflatable spa brand sites, inflatable spas are commonly placed on a level area of either grass, a wooden deck, tiles, concrete and more.

You will find some inflatable spa brands offer heat retention mats and floor protectors that can be placed under the spa. However, as mentioned above, these mats are not as strong, durable and sturdy as an upturn base pan that can be found on quality portable spas pools.

Do inflatable spas have seats?

Inflatable spas generally don’t come with individually molded seats that you would see on a hard shell portable spa. However, some inflatable spas come with a cushioned floor and inflatable backrests. Some brands offer accessories such as spa pillows and booster seats.

Where can I buy and how much does an inflatable spa cost in New Zealand?

The price for inflatable spas can vary, according to brand, quality, size and where you buy it from. Generally prices range from around $599 to nearly $2,000.

In New Zealand, some retailers and stores that sell cheaper priced inflatable spas include -

  • 1 - day® - $599 to $949 (offer Lay-Z-Spa®)
  • GrabOne® - $775 (offer Lay-Z-Spa®)
  • Mitre 10® - $899 (offer Lay-Z-Spa®)

In New Zealand, some retailers and stores that sell higher priced inflatable spas include -

  • Trade Tested® - $999 to $1,299 (offer Lay-Z-Spa®)
  • Container Door® - $999 (offer Lay-Z-Spa®)
  • FitnessWorld® - $995 (offer Lay-Z-Spa®)
  • TradeMe® - from $899 to $1579 (offer Lay-Z-Spa® and Intex®)
  • Portable Spas® - from $1,789 to $1990 (offer MSpa®)

What is the best inflatable spa brand in New Zealand?

If you are looking for a quality inflatable spa, there are several options on the market that could satisfy your needs. However Lay-Z-Spa® hot tubs appear to be a leading and popular inflatable spa brand that’s available in New Zealand. This is based on the number of retailers in New Zealand that sell Lay-Z-Spa® pools as well as reviews posted to retailer websites.

What is Lay-Z-Spa®?

Lay-Z-Spa® was established in 2007 and offers a range of portable spas. According to its website, Lay-Z-Spa® operates on behalf of Bestway Inflatables & Material Corp. The spas are available under two brand names, Lay-Z-Spa® (most common worldwide) and SaluSpa® in the US.

Do I need to build a fence or a building consent for an inflatable spa?

Consent and fence requirements may vary, depending on where you live in New Zealand.

Several councils in New Zealand have similar requirements and according to building.govt.nz -

  • If an inflatable spa can hold water to a depth of 400mm or more, it must have a barrier that prevents access from young children when spa is filled or partly filled with water
  • If an inflatable pool has a lockable safety cover that meets the standards, it can be considered the barrier for spa pools. The pool would also not be required to undergo an inspection every three years.

Before purchasing an inflatable spa, it’s a good idea to contact your local council and find out what requirements you need to meet. Once you have this information, this will help you decide if the inflatable spa you’re considering is the best spa option for you.

Inflatable spa vs portable spa vs hot tub. What’s the difference?

A portable spa, also known as a hot tub, above ground, Jacuzzi® or freestanding spa, can be installed into a deck or pit in the ground. Key components such as pumps, heaters, and control systems are contained within the cabinet.

Although both inflatable spas and portable spas are essentially tubs full of heated water and can be moved around, one of the basic differences between the two is that an inflatable spa can be drained, deflated and stored. A portable spa cannot change shape.

Are you still deciding if you should buy a portable or inflatable spa? Read this article to learn about their pros and cons.

Should I buy an inflatable spa? Are inflatable hot tubs worth the money?

Inflatable spas are becoming a popular option for people looking for a cheap and simple spa pool. However, it’s important to bear in mind that they are not built to last and you may find yourself purchasing multiple inflatable spas over the same time you can expect to own a portable spa for.

An inflatable spa may be a good option if you want a spa pool that is

  • Portable
  • Cheap
  • Can be stored away when you’re not using it to free up space
  • And comes with the basics you'd expect from a spa pool - warm water, bubbles, space, a place to relax or socialise

However an inflatable spa pool may not work for you if you want something that comes with

  • individually molded seats for comfort and hydrotherapy
  • variety of jets designed to target different areas of the body
  • made with highly durable and insulating materials
  • will last more than a few years

If you were thinking of buying an inflatable spa and now think it may not be the option for you, perhaps you may want to consider a cheaper entry level spa pool or even look at finance options and buy a better quality spa pool that’s built to last.

Fisher Spas™ is an entry level spa brand that combines lower prices with quality and energy efficiency. By clicking this link, you can learn more about these products that are available at Spa World™.


We hope this article has given you a better understanding of inflatable spas, their key features, how much they cost in New Zealand and which stores or online sites they can be purchased from.

Inflatable spas have their perks. They’re affordable, they can be moved between indoor or outdoor locations and they’re pretty straightforward to set up. An inflatable spa could be a great choice if this is your first spa purchase, you need a short-term spa solution or you’re on a tight budget.

However, inflatable spas won’t last as long as a quality portable spa, they’re more vulnerable to punctures from sharp objects, unlikely to retain heat as well as a portable spa and they don’t come with loungers and back massage seats that take hydrotherapy to the next level.

If after reading, you decide a portable, hard shell spa pool is a better fit for you, there are lots of great options out there to choose from.

You can learn more about portable hard shell spa pools or swim spas, in this detailed article on what to look for in a spa pool. You can also take a look at the product pages on our website, visit us at your local Spa World™ showroom or download our Spa Buyers Guide.

Diclaimer- The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd: Lay-Z-Spa® trademark is owned by Bestway Inflatables & Material Corp. MSpa® trademark is owned by Oriental Recreational Products (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. Portable Spas®. Trade Me® trademark is owned by Trade Me Limited. Fitness World®. Container Door® trademark is owned by Container Door Limited. Trade Tested® trademark is owned by Trade Tested Limited. Mitre 10® trademark is owned by M10 IP Holding Company Limited. Grab One® trademark is owned by Grabone Limited. 1-day® trademark is owned by Torpedo7 Limited. Affiliations: Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas and Spa World® are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd.

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