Are you thinking which one should I get? An inflatable or hard shell hot tub?  Both, an inflatable and hard shell hot tub are a fantastic alternative to a pool if you don’t have enough space, or if you just want somewhere to sit and relax or exercise, whatever the weather. Below, we’ll look at the pros and cons of both solutions.

Inflatable Hot Tubs


  • The main advantage of an inflatable tub is that the initial investment / purchase price is much lower.

  • Inflatable hot tubs deflate and are easy to move and transport after they have been installed.

  • Because the tub is inflatable, you get a more cushioned experience.


  • You sit on the floor in an inflatable hot tub, similar to a paddling pool.

  • Some inflatable hot tubs do have jets, but these are air jets at the bottom of the tub providing a bubbly experience, rather than real targeted hydromassage jets.

  • Inflatable tubs do not have much insulation, therefore they take much longer to heat up and can’t maintain their heat between uses. This means you have to plan your hot tub sessions further in advance and you’ll use more electricity to heat it up.

  • Inflatable hot tubs don’t come with seats. You’d usually expect to be sat submerged up to your shoulders at least, but without a seat, you’ll have to crouch or prop yourself up using the opposite side of the tub, this would make an inflatable hot tub less popular if you feel you prefer to have seats.

  • With an inflatable hot tub, you lose far more heat because of the materials it’s built from, plus, the power restrictions make it hard to it to reach a premium temperature.

  • Even though an inflatable hot tub folds down, making it easy to relocate or pack away, it’s still a hard chore to empty the whole thing out and refill it. This wastes water and time.

  • Few inflatable hot tubs will come with any added features. If you want different jet types or the bonus extras you’d find on a regular hot tub you’ll be left disappointed.

Daily Running Costs

You should expect your inflatable hot tub to cost between £3 and £5 per day to run (estimate only – actual usage and energy tariff will affect this figure).

Initial Purchase

Inflatable hot tubs can be purchased from £399.


Inflatable hot tubs usually come with a 12 month manufacturers warranty.

Hard Shell Hot Tubs


  • A big pro of a hard shell hot tub is that they have built-in seats and loungers, providing a better level of comfort.

  • Targeted massage jets provide superior hydro massage, which will improve your level of relaxation and help to add a lot more to the quality of your hot tub experience.

  • Regardless of the temperature outside, because of the more permanent setup, you can enjoy the luxury of a fixed hot tub year-round.

  • Hard shell hot tubs are designed and built to last. Unlike inflatable designs, which can puncture, you can expect many years of enjoyment from a regular hot tub.

  • The running costs of a hard shell hot tub are generally lower.

  • A quick set up is available with many hot tubs. There is no need to wait for any plumbing up, simply choose your spot for installation. However, there needs to be a large enough power supply close to the site for the unit chosen, along with a suitable base to sit it on – we can sort this all out for you as part of our installation service!

  • You are able to add advanced features to improve your hot tub experience, this will depend on how much you spend on the different tubs available on the market. If you’d like different jet styles, lights and other features for spas, you won’t have to spend too much more to get them.


  • The initial investment is higher, but depending on your hot tub usage may ultimately be more economical.

  • The initial cost comes at a more expensive price.

  • Hard shell hot tubs are generally installed in one location and can be difficult to move, however, services are available should you require your hot tub to be moved.

Daily Running Costs

You should expect your hard shell hot tub to cost between £1 and £3 per day to run (estimate only – actual usage and energy tariff will affect this figure).

Initial Purchase

Hard shell hot tubs can be purchased from £4,700See our Hot Tubs »


All our Artesian Spas hot tubs are inclusive of a 12 year structure warranty.


Both these hot tub styles require chemical balance if you’re going to be using them long-term, leaving the water inside the tub. While an inflatable tub might be a short term investment, a hard shell or an in-ground hot tub is a more permanent investment for those who want the full hot tub experience, making far better use of the chemicals and maintenance.

If you can’t quite decide between a pool or a hot tub, you might consider the swim spa option, which gives you the flexibility of both options.

If you’d like to learn more about hot tubs and swim spas, or if you require help with maintaining and keep a chemical balance in your water, simply contact us at HBS Leisure and we’ll be happy to help.

Like the sound of a hard shell hot tub?
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