Having fun in a hot tub is excellent inexpensive entertainment for family or friends. However, in most cases, the number of people who prefer such relaxation simultaneously is 2-4 persons. That is why the portable small, inflatable hot tubs that provide hot water with bubbles are a good quick solution.
Bestway, Coleman, and Intex are the most famous manufacturers of inflatable goods with high ranks. All these tubs can be installed indoors and outdoors. The detailed comparison of these best small hot tubs will show their differences and similarities that always help to make a proper choice.
Comparison table of best small hot tubs
Last update on 2023-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Main Differences Between the Models
Even though we are comparing hot tubs under different brand names we see a lot of similarities. In fact, Bestway and Coleman companies are licensed partners, so Bestway produces hot tubs for Coleman under their brand name, and SaluSpa is actually the same spas, only with minor differences. Intex, meanwhile, is a separate company, so PureSpa represents another model of hot tubs.
So, the main differences between all these models are:
- The St. Lucia model is designed for 3 persons maximum, while the rest can fit 4 persons.
- The colors of all models are different.
- The number of bubble jets differs from 110 for the most miniature Bestway model to 140 for the largest Intex model.
- Intex 28439EP PureSpa is equipped with a wireless control panel; all SaluSpa models (Coleman and Bestway) have non-detachable integrated into a multi-functional pump digital panel. Moreover, only Intex tub can be controlled from a smartphone via a particular application.
- Only Intex 28439EP PureSpa has a hard water treatment system to decrease calcium formation in the hot tub.
- All SaluSpa models (Coleman and Intex) have Freeze Shield with automatic turn on heating under low temperatures to prevent them from weather damage.
- All models are equipped with different accessories (headrests, cup holders, a carry bag, and a LED light).
For a more detailed comparison of all parameters, please check section 4: Detailed face-to-face comparison of small hot tubs.
Models product overview
If you want to enjoy from time to time some spa experience, but you want to occupy only a little space with a stationary spa, then inflatable hot tubs are the perfect solution. These hot tubs are very close to regular and traditional spas, but are portable and can be deflated and removed for storage at any time. Their life expectancy is estimated at three years, but with careful use, maintenance, and storage, you can enjoy these hot tubs longer.
Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub Spa – Best Affordable Small Hot Tub
SaluSpa is a small inflatable grey hot tub for a company of four people. It has a multi-functional pump with an air jet system ensures a powerful massage of 120 bubble jets. The control function is easy and executed with the adjustable control panel with seven buttons and the LED screen on top of this pump. It is protected from kids with the lock button. The maximum water temperature is limited to health recommendations and equals 104 F (on the control panel, you can change the temperature unit from Celsius to Fahrenheit). Colorful LED lights make the night spa procedure enjoyable.
The control panel and the pump are equipped with Freeze shield technology to prevent water freezing inside the tube, corresponding panel, and pump damage. With this future, when the temperature goes below 32 F, the pump’s internal components are also heated. The tub could be used up to 14 F degrees during autumn or winter. To keep warm water for a significant amount of time, the insulation cover also helps.
One of the best features of this tab is the timer. You can set the time when you want your tub to achieve a particular temperature; the timer allows you to set settings 40 days in advance. This feature helps to save electricity and allows to heat the tub only when you need it.
Using the detailed manual, the installation process is easy. You do not need additional tools or devices; everything is included in the package. You need only to inflate the spa and fill it with water from the garden hose.
- Multi-functional pump
- Easy control
- Have small size and easy to move
- Timer for power saving
- LED light included
- 120 bubble jets
- Freeze shield technology to protect the pump from cold weather
- Control panel and cover help to protect from kids
- Cup holders on the pump
- No additional tools are required for assembly
- No locks on buckles, only clips
- Installation instruction is not detailed
- The heating process is slow (2 F/hour)
Coleman Ponderosa SaluSpa 2 to 4 Person Inflatable Round Outdoor Hot Tub Spa – Best Durable Small Hot Tub
Coleman Ponderosa SaluSpa offers equal the same comfort and ultimate relaxation as Coleman Tahiti SaluSpa as these models are the same apart from the color. Ponderosa is a round shape inflatable spa that fits four adults and could be installed indoors or outdoors. It is also equipped with AirJet System with 120 bubble jets to create powerful massage from the bottom to the top. The tub is made from DuraPlus material, creating stable construction to sit on the wall and keep forming even after many deflation cycles. The outer wall is PVC Tritech material.
This spa is also designed for temperatures from 40 to 104 F. During the cold season, Freeze Shield Technology turns on the automatic heating of inner components with water to prevent their breakage. Using a spa with an ambient temperature below 39 F is forbidden. The heating system has an automatic stop/start timer that not only allows to start heating in the required time but also turns off the heating after reaching the temperature to save power. The aluminum foil, in addition to the inflatable cover, helps keep the warm water longer.
All comfort is also available with one touch of a button on the control panel integrated into the multi-functional pump. The pump and filtration system keeps clean water with an actual water flow of 350 gallons per hour, meaning the water is changed in the spa twice per hour (spa capacity is 177 gallons). Each package includes a repair patch to fix small PVC material ruptures. The tub can be quickly deflated with an additional exhaust fitting to be stored afterward.
- Multi-functional pump
- Digital control with soft-control panel
- AirJet System with 120 bubble jets
- Two grab handles
- Cushioned floor
- Power Saving System with heater timer
- Freeze shield to use with temperatures above 39 F
- LED lights
- Cup holders integrated into the pump
- A repair patch is included
- Slow heating process (2F/ hour)
- No ground cloth is included in the package
- No additional filters included
Intex 28439EP PureSpa Plus 77 Inch Diameter 4 Person – Best Innovative Small Hot Tub
Intex PureSpa hot tub is another perfect relaxation inflatable spa designed for four persons. It has a wireless control panel starting massage with 140 high-performing bubbling jets. From Fiber-tech construction, the tub has received 48 fiber-tech beams ensuring enhanced wall stability even to sit on the spa walls.
It has an energy-efficient spa cover that saves up to 50% of power, keeping water warm longer than the standard spa. It also protects the spa from punctures, scratches, weather precipitations, debris, and unauthorized access. Belts with locking safety buckles protect the spa from kids. The spa is equipped with a heater start and duration timer, making the spa usage more comfortable. The water circulated in the spa is gentle to the skin because of the built-in electronic hard water treatment system. It automatically starts working with a standard filtration system and requires only 10W. The water circulation system and chlorine dispenser keep the water clean; the flow rate is 460 gal/ hour, while the total spa water capacity is 210 gal.
The spa is compatible with the Intex smartphone application, where filtration and heating schedules can be set. The smartphone app also doubles all control panel functions – turn on bubbles, heating, circulation, and shows water temperature. However, the Spa control base supports only a 2.4 GHz network. Therefore, the spa can be used at a temperature not lower than 39 F only if the water inside the circulation system is higher and not frozen. In addition, the temperature barrier mat should be installed between the spa floor and the ground to protect the equipment.
- Wireless control panel with easy touch buttons
- Built-in hard water treatment system to reduce calcium formation
- Enhanced strength with 48 Fiber beams
- Locked buckles in the energy-efficient cover
- 140 bubble jets
- The ground cloth is included
- Easy-to-replace cartridge filters
- A carry bag is included
- LED lights
- 2 premium headrests are included
- Cup holders should be purchased separately
- No protection from water freezing inside the equipment
- No repair patch in the package
Bestway SaluSpa St. Lucia AirJet Inflatable Hot Tub Spa – Best Small Hot Tub for Massage
Another representative of SaluSpa hot tubs is Bestway St. Lucia. It is one of the smallest SaluSpa tubs and is designed for three adults only. But it has all innovated functions as bigger models. The tub is made from ultra-strong Duraplus material consisting of three layers. This material increases the spa’s durability, prevents damage, and makes the walls strong enough to handle adult weight during sitting. Although it is not standard PVC (only 60.1%), it is 33% more tear resistant and 56% more stretch resistant because of the addition of ABS (12.8%) and PP (2.4%). If the spa is torn or punctured, this material can be easily repaired with a repair PVC patch and glue (not included in the package).
The person sitting inside is surrounded by 110 air jet massage bubbles controlled by one button on the control panel integrated into the multi-functional pump. The massage has a 30-minutes turn-off feature. The panel also has a power-saving timer button; this mode helps to avoid unnecessary water heating. You can set the time when you want the heating process to be started. Water circulation and heating start from one button, but the filtration system also starts when the heating system is activated. After the heating process is finished, it will continue to work.
The spa can be used for temperatures upper 40 F. To reach this temperature from 86 F of water temperature (ambient temperature is the same), 7-15 hours is required. To decrease heating duration, cover the spa. Switching the heating off for the spa full of water is not recommended when the ambient temperature is lower than 43 F (Freeze shield technology).
- 110 bubble jets
- One of the smallest inflatable spas, only for three persons
- Easy control with several buttons
- Power-saving timer
- A special button to lock the control panel
- Freeze shield technology to prevent pump damage in winter
- No additional tools are required for assembling
- Durable ultra-strong material
- Reinforced cover holds heat and protects from unauthorized use
- A chemical dispenser is installed on the wall to provide constant chlorine level
- The installation manual is presented only with pictures
- No headrests in the package
- LED light is not included
- A repair patch is not included
- No ground cloth
Bestway SaluSpa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub – Best Cost-Efficient Small Hot Tub
Another hot tub from the Bestway SaluSpa family –Bestway SaluSpa Miami – does not significantly differ. In reality, the main difference from the St. Lucia model is the tub’s color and size. Other characteristics, such as easy maintenance, use, and installation, are the same for Bestway as for Coleman SaluSpa tubs. The only required for the functioning of this spa is a connection to the electricity and 177 water gallons from a garden hose every 2-3 months.
120 bubble jets surround four persons during their soaking in hot water. The tub’s height allows comfortable seating with both arms on the tub’s wall top. On the side of the tub is located a grey multi-functional pump with a cup holder and a digital control panel. Using an energy saving timer, you may set the heating 72 hours in advance. All functions are controlled from this panel with the possibility to lock it to prevent accidental touches. The panel is easy to access when you are in the tub; it also can be flipped up and down. With water freeze technology, your pump is protected from cold temperatures, and you can enjoy it during all seasons with temperatures up to 40 F.
The spa, as usual, goes with a multi-functional cover that protects from leaves, debris and an insulation pad underneath to keep the heat inside the spa. The cover comes with six clips to tighten securely. The spa material is super solid and durable for people sitting on the side walls. The chemical dispenser with ChemConnect technology keeps the water safe and healthy while a pump executes water circulation through the filter cartridge. In the package are two filters, one for installation and one extra for replacement.
- 120 bubble jets
- Timer for scheduling heating 72 hours in advance
- All details for maintenance, insulation, and usage are included in the package
- Easy clean and replace the cartridge filter
- Extra cartridge filter
- Protected cover with buckles
- 9 feet electrical cord with GFCI/RCD
- Tri-tech material with I-beam construction
- Wide temperature range for usage 40-104 F
- Easy deflation for storage
- A cup holder for two cups is integrated into the pump
- No ground or floor mat is included
- No headrests
- No LED lights
Detailed face-to-face comparison of small hot tubs
The easiest way to check if SaluSpa hot tubs from Coleman and Bestway are the same is to make a detailed comparison. Also, in this comparison, we will check the Intex PureSpa hot tub and define the best model for small hot tubs.
Design and Dimensions
Coleman Tahiti and Ponderosa are the same models of small round spas with dimensions (L x W x H): 71 x 71 x 26 inches. The internal size is 52 inches – enough to squeeze four adults comfortably. The only difference is in color. Both have an inflatable cover with six buckles to connect them safely to the tub. On the outer wall, there are two heavy-duty grab handles for moving the tub. It is recommended to move the pool only when the pool is empty. The Bestway SaluSpa Miami has the same size (71″L x 71″W x 26″H) and design as Coleman models. While the Bestway SaluSpa St. Lucia is the smallest hot tub from the described, but with the same design. Its dimensions are 67″L x 67″ W x 26″H, enough to relax only 2 or 3 people. The Intex 28439EP PureSpa Plus looks similar to Coleman Spa but slightly bigger – (L x W x H): 77 x 77 x 28 inches. So the internal size is also bigger – 57 inches – perfectly suitable for four persons.
All hot tubs have a cover the same color as the outer walls and a multi-functional pump on one side. The pump is grey for all SaluSpa (no matter Bestway or Coleman) and black for Intex.
Apart from the size, the main difference between all tubs is the color of the outer walls; the inner walls of all models are white. Coleman Tahiti and Bestway SaluSpa St. Lucia have grey outer walls, Coleman Ponderosa has orange, Intex 28439EP PureSpa has a Greywood color, and Bestway Miami has black.
Intex 28439EP PureSpa is the largest hot tub from the described, while Bestway SaluSpa St. Lucia is the smallest from the described. The other SaluSpa Miami, Tahiti, and Ponderosa are the same. There are no significant differences in the design of all models; they all have a pump on the side and an inflatable cover. Therefore, there is no winner in this comparison, as the choice depends on the size of your particular company.
All SuluSpa models (Tahiti, Ponderosa, Miami, St. Lucia) are made of durable, patented DuraPlus 3x fortified material, resistant to puncture and damage. While Intex 28439EP PureSpa is made from puncture-resistant 3-ply laminated material that can be used during all seasons and handles many cycles of storage and usage.
Both materials ensure a stable round spa shape regardless of the number of people sitting on the walls or inside. Moreover, the materials stay in perfect condition even after many inflation/deflation cycles. But it is not recommended to put the spas directly in the sun.
Even though the spas are made from materials with different names, it is still modified PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Other additions to the PVC enhance the durable features of the materials. Although there is no clear winner in this comparison, both materials have shown excellent stability.
Filtration system and maintenance
Before using any spa, the water parameters should be checked: pH level, alkalinity, calcium level, and water temperature. pH and alkalinity are checked with test strips; water temperature with a thermometer. The chemical parameters can be changed if required using Chemical Balancer Maintenance Kit (purchased separately). All chemicals should be added when there are no occupants in the spa. The proper water chemistry is pH 7.2-7.8, Calcium Hardness 100-350 ppm, total alkalinity 60-120 ppm, free chlorine 2-4 ppm, and water temperature 68-104 F.
If the water in the spa becomes cloudy and the addition of chemicals does not make it transparent, you need to change the water and clean the tub. The spa water should be changed every 2-3 months. To clean the walls, you should use soapy water with a sponge to delete all visible stains. Abrasive cleaners and hard brushes are not recommended, as they can damage the spa material.
These maintenance rules are applied to all reviewed models of Bestway, Coleman, and Intex. While the filtration system of SaluSpa and PureSpa is different.
The SaluSpa (Tahiti, Ponderosa, Miami, St. Lucia) filtration system consists of one filter cartridge. This filter provides high filtration quality, is made from dacron fabric, and is easy to clean. The filter should be cleaned every day and once per month changed. On the side wall is also located the particular device for the insertion of bromide or chlorine tablets. The tablet is slightly dissolved to clean the water, maintaining a stable chemical level dispersion. The filtration process automatically starts with water circulation and heating.
The PureSpa filtration system consists of two cartridge filters, water circulation, and a hard water electric water treatment. The hard water treatment system decreases calcium creation on the spa walls and turns automatically with water circulation. Filter cartridges should be cleaned with a garden house once a week and changed once per month. Chemicals in the chemical dispenser floating on the surface should be regularly added to prevent bacteria creation while there are no occupants in the spa.
Maintenance rules for all spa models are the same. But the filtration system of Intex 28439EP PureSpa is better, as it consists of two filter cartridges and a hard water treatment system. So, Intex 28439EP PureSpa is the winner.
The core element of all spas is a pump. All SaluSpa hot tubs have the same grey multi-functional pump that executes all required procedures for comfortable hot tub operation. It is connected to the tub with an inflatable hose during assembling/disassembling and further with three ports for bubbling, water filtration, and heating. The pump works quietly. The pump also is equipped with cup holders for drinks and snacks. The pump is supplied with a GFCI interrupter on the cord. The pump amperage is 12 Amps, so a standard outlet is sufficient. The pump is rated: 110-120 volts, 60 Hz.
Intex 28439EP PureSpa has a black pump on the side of the hot tub and is multi-functional. It includes a pump, a heater, a blower, and a built-in water treatment. At the end of the pump, a GFCI/RCD is located on a power cord. It has a hose to inflate/deflate the spa tub and three ports to connect for regular use. The pump amperage is 13 Amps, so a standard outlet is sufficient. The pump is rated: 110-120 volts/ 60 Hz. The pump should be the only piece of equipment connected to the circuit breaker without extension cords. The pump standby power is 231 watts.
SaluSpa and Intex hot tubs have multi-functional pumps with similar functionality and similar technical requirements, so there is no winner.
The described five small hot tubs have an integrated control panel into a multi-functional pump. And as all SaluSpa tubs have the same pumps, the control panel is also the same. All control functions are executed from the digital control panel. There are special buttons for the rapid heating system, timer, air jet massage system, timer, water filtration, and temperature adjustment. The LED screen is also on the panel to check the current temperature and working modes. You can lock the panel with a special button to protect it from accidental touch.
This PureSpa model is equipped with a wireless touch display. The display can be charged in the port on a multi-functional pump. The panel has buttons to set timers, increase or decrease the temperature, to turn on water heating and circulation. Also, with one button, you can turn on all 140 bubble jets.
Furthermore, the panel has an indication of the battery and current temperature. All buttons can be locked as well with one button. In addition, a particular app with the same functionality as the control panel is created for this model.
The functionality of the SaluSpa and Intex control panels is the same, but as the PureSpa panel is detachable and wireless, this solution is more preferable for spa control from all points of the tub. The Intex 28439EP PureSpa is the winner.
All compared small hot tubs are designed for temperatures from 40 to 104 F. But, only all SaluSpa models are equipped with Freeze Shield to protect a pump from low temperatures. The water heating time generally depends on the initial water temperature and ambient conditions. The SaluSpa heaters raise the temperature by 2 F/ hour. The temperature rise during heating for the Intex tub is 2-3 F / hour. Therefore, it is recommended to use all spas indoors for temperatures below 60 F.
The designed temperature requirements are the same for all compared hot tubs, but as the temperature rises faster in the Intex tub, it is the winner.
All compared hot tubs have the same draining system. To quickly remove all water from the tub, two drain valves are near the pump. One is opened inside the tub, and the other is opened to the drain hose outside the tub (not included in the package). You need to open both to ensure water is going out from the spa. The drain valve on the outer wall should be pointed to where you will collect used spa water. Please consider this aspect during installation.
As there are no differences in the draining systems of compared models, there is no winner.
The assembling process of all inflatable spas (Intex 28439EP PureSpa, Miami, Tahiti, Ponderosa, and St. Lucia) consists of the same steps:
- Preparing the flat surface for installation indoors or outdoors. Put a protective cloth. The installation area should be capable of supporting a full spa with four adult occupants. Also, no sharp objects should be located nearby.
- Take out all parts of the hot tub from the box. Around the area where you plan to install the spa should be at least 1 m for proper assembling and maintenance.
- Inflate the tub and the cover with the pump. Install filters, dispensers, and LED lights if available.
- Disconnect the inflation hose and attach the pump with the main three ports. Make sure that all drain valves are closed.
- Fill the water with a garden hose. Check leakages in the joints with the pump.
- Start the heating process and close the cover.
The minor difference between the compared modes is a ground cloth to prevent heat losses from the bottom of the tub. In the Intex 28439EP PureSpa package, the ground cloth is included. For all SaluSpa, you need to purchase separately any PVC material to prevent damage to the surface from spilled water.
As the assembling process is the same for all models, but as a ground cloth prevents heat losses and protects the installation surface from water, Intex 28439EP PureSpa is the winner where this cloth is included.
The availability of accessories is different for all models from the compared models. Coleman Tahiti and Ponderosa hot tubs go with one LED light to plug in the particular port at night. The cup holders are integrated into the pump. Bestway Miami and St. Lucia have no additional accessories in the package; only cup holders are integrated into the top of the pump. Intex 28439EP PureSpa has one multi-colored LED light working from 3 AAA batteries (not included), and 2 inflatable headrests are included. For easy storage and transportation, one carry bag is included. The cup holder is not provided
The most considerable number of accessories goes with Intex 28439EP PureSpa, so it is the winner in this part of the competition.
Buyer’s Guide – How to choose the best small hot tub?
Even if you already have chosen the best small hot tub from the described article, take advantage of this part and check if all parameters for a proper choice of small hot tubs were considered.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Hard Water Treatment System from Intex PureSpa?
What is the life expectance of inflatable hot tubs compared to hard-shell ones?
Can the same multi-functional pump be used for other SaluSpa hot tubs?
Can I use the hot tub during snowfall or rain?
Can I leave my Intex PureSpa always on?
Except for the sizes, number of bubble jets, and accessories, there are no significant differences in the compared small hot tubs. Coleman and Bestway tubs are even manufactured at the same premises. All of them have high reviews and are comfortable for small companies. The most critical question you need to ask yourself when you choose between these hot tubs is how many people are in your company and what color of the tub you prefer. The Intex 28439EP PureSpa is the biggest hot tub for the company of four adults here, and it has a wireless control panel and a smartphone application for controlling all tub features. In addition, it has a hard water treatment system and more accessories in the package. So, the Intex PureSpa is preferable in this comparison, but nevertheless, all hot tubs here are the best small hot tubs – reliable, durable, and provide the best relaxing experience.
Hi! I’m Markus Robertson, and water is my passion.
Five years ago, I graduated from the University of California-Los Angeles and was going to become a professional marine biologist. However, my fate had other plans for me, and due to family problems, I had to find a more stable and well-paid job. I had only one wish for my job to be connected with water.
During this period of my life, I worked as a sales manager at Olympic Pool & Spa Supplies. The job helped me learn everything about swimming pools and related pool equipment, as well as how to choose the best option and what to pay attention to.
Having worked there for three years, I decided to start my own blog about pools, where I can tell people about the best new pool equipment models and share my knowledge and experience.
A marine biologist by education, I became a pool blogger by trade. Now I’m glad I can help the guests of my store and the visitors of my blog know a lot of exciting things about pools, their types, best pumps and filters, necessary equipment maintenance, and so on.
I welcome all people who want to choose a proper basin and the stuff to my blog! Hope you’ll find this information interesting and useful!