For most hot tub buyers, comparing prices is the most important way of figuring out which tub is best for them. Surprisingly, hot tub prices vary quite a lot, even for models that seem to be virtually identical. It helps to know what affects pricing when comparing hot tubs in order to find one that really does represent good value for money.
The biggest factor affecting hot tub prices is size. Generally speaking, small hot tubs for private use (two or three people) typically cost $1,500-$2,500 new. The more extras you want, the higher the price will climb (as you'd expect). At the other end of the spectrum, large hot tubs that seat 8 adults comfortably can cost over $10,000 when purchased new.
Regardless of the size of the spa, the number of jets will also affect the price. The number can vary a lot! Basic hot tubs can have as few as four or five jets, while the big, luxury models might have eighty or more. Bear in mind the fact that more jets does not necessarily mean a better hot tub experience. For people with skin, muscle, or joint problems, fewer jets are actually preferable because they produce less turbulence to aggravate their conditions. If you don't suffer from a condition of that kind, a higher number of jets will usually produce a more enjoyable and soothing hot tub experience.
Another important consideration when comparing hot tub prices is the type of heater. A lot of modern spas use electric heaters, but natural gas and propane heaters are still in widespread use. Solar powered heaters are around, but are not conducive to locations that don't enjoy a lot of sunshine. You can even use a wood-fired hot tub heater, but this is becoming rare in North America. Generally, wood heaters are the least expensive (several hundred dollars), with solar powered being a bit more costly, electric heaters next, and finally gas heaters at the upper end. However, this is just the cost of the heater - you also need to take the energy costs when you are running them on a daily basis into account. Be sure to factor in the cost of electricity, wood, and natural or propane gas in your area. Solar heaters are essentially free in that respect, so they're worth looking into.