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Above Ground Vs. Below Ground Hot Tubs: Which Is Right for Me?

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Above Ground Vs. Below Ground Hot Tubs: Which Is Right for Me?

Installing an outdoor hot tub can be an incredibly rewarding experience, no matter where in the country you live. There's no doubt that any time of the year you'll enjoy the relaxing, stress-reducing benefits a hot tub provides, whether it be in the freezing cold winter or the dog days of summer. Still, there are a few things you'll need to consider before you get carried away with daydreaming about those relaxing soaks in your new tub, most important of which is whether you prefer the price point and convenience of an above-ground hot tub or the aesthetic appeal of a below-ground model. To help you out, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about each type to allow you to make a more informed decision and hopefully ensure that you'll be happy with your choice.

Advantages and Disadvantages of an Above-Ground Hot Tub

Generally speaking, most people who choose an above-ground spa do so for one of several important reasons, such as portability, ease of installation and lower costs. Still, it's important to look at all the pros and cons of this type of hot tubs to see whether it's right for you.

Advantages

  • Lower costs, both for purchasing the unit and to operate it
  • Easy to install, as most units can be plugged directly into a 240-volt outlet
  • Portable and fairly easy to transport, meaning you can take it with you if you move
  • Simple to cover and can be equipped with an integrated cover for added convenience
  • Usually feature between 30 and 100 jets, ensuring everyone can enjoy a relaxing hydro massage
  • Low maintenance and easy to access mechanics, which are also protected from the weather for enhanced durability
  • Available with a range of smooth and contoured seating surfaces suitable for people of all heights and sizes
  • Can include added features like integrated stereo system and LED lighting

Disadvantages

  • Not as aesthetically pleasing
  • Can be more difficult to get in and out of, especially for the elderly or anyone with disabilities
  • Not as many options for size or shape
  • More limited options for interior surface materials

Advantages and Disadvantages of In-Ground Hot Tubs

The improved aesthetic look and more customizable options are what leads most people to choose this style of hot tub. That being said, in-ground spas also have their own drawbacks.

Advantages

  • Nearly unlimited potential to choose whatever shape or size you wish
  • Can be installed fully submerged or partially exposed above ground
  • Easily able to blend in with any existing outdoor theme or decor
  • Ability to integrate whatever features you wish, such as speakers, lights and even fountains or waterfalls
  • Numerous material choices available, ranging from stone and concrete to acrylic, tiles, vinyl and much more

Disadvantages

  • More expensive to install and maintain
  • Most contain only 5 to 20 jets
  • May be difficult or expensive to find a custom cover for any large or odd-shaped tub
  • Usually only contain bench seating instead of the range of seating options available with portable models, meaning short people could find themselves over their heads

Design Ideas
No matter which style of hot tub you end up choosing, there are a number of ways to ensure that it fits with your outdoor space. For instance, you can use skirting to build up the area around the hot tub to create an outdoor patio and seating area, allowing even those who don't want to get in the water to still enjoy the party. Another popular option is to build a simple gazebo-type structure around the tub, which gives you the added benefits of extra privacy and protection from the elements.

At the end of the day, you really can't go wrong with either style of hot tub. Both above-ground and in-ground models will still provide all the same benefits to your health, happiness, and overall well-being, making the decision to buy a hot tub one of the most rewarding decisions you'll ever make.