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Best Salt Water Hot Tubs

Best salt water hot tub

A trip to the ocean can be an outstanding experience. Salt water beaches have a bit of tang to the air. Swimming in the water gives you some added buoyancy due to the salt. As an added benefit, the best salt water hot tub may need to have fewer maintenance sessions over the course of the year because many of them are self-cleaning.

Since salt water hot tubs typically costs up to 15% more than a standard hot tub, is the investment really worthwhile? Let’s take a look at what the benefits of this option happen to be.

The Best Chart for Salt Water Hot Tubs

There are several styles of hot tubs that can be converted into a salt water hot tub. Others are dedicated systems. These models are the best options which are available right now if you’d like to benefit from this type of setup.

PictureNameOur RatingPrice
PictureNameOur RatingPrice
Bestway Hawaii HydroJet Pro Inflatable Hot Tub4.9$$$$
Intex PureSpa Jet and Bubble Octagon Hot Tub3.7$$$$
Intex PureSpa Inflatable Portable w/ 6 Cartridges3.9$$

Do Salt Water Hot Tubs Require Less Work?

It is true that salt water systems require less overall work to maintain. You just have a different form of maintenance that you’ll need to handle when you own this type of hot tub. The salt in the water can lead to corrosion very quickly if any protective layer on the tub is scratched or scraped. You must be constantly vigilant while looking for damage to maintain the integrity of this hot tub.

One of the things you need to do with a salt water hot tub is clean out the “cell” which provides the balance for the water once per quarter. To clean it, a special acid solution must be used. This is less work than the 2-3 week cleaning that other hot tubs require, but it also means it isn’t as hands-free as some manufacturers may try to claim.

Here’s a short video that shows you how to clean one type of salt water system cell to see what the process is like. Different manufacturers may have different procedures and warnings that will need to be followed.

There is the benefit of smelling salt water in this type of hot tub instead of chemicals like chlorine. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you get to skip the chemical treatments altogether. If water sanitation levels get too low in even the best salt water hot tub, then the recommendation is to use regular chlorine and shock treatments at any time to restore the balance of the water. You may avoid the monthly chlorine costs here and there, but you’ve got added hot tub salt costs for which you’ll need to budget.

What Is a Salt Water Hot Tub Cell and Why Do I Need One?

The cell for the hot tub in a salt water system is connected with the main filter for your setup. It’s what helps to maintain the salt balance in the water so it may require less maintenance. It’s a fancy name for a product that is essentially a filter that surrounds a big chunk of salt. The typical cell will last 12-15 months before it needs to be replaced.

You’ll be replacing the salt 1-3 times per month based on how often you are using the system. Purchasing salt is about 50% of the monthly cost of purchasing the chlorine that is needed for other hot tub systems.

You know how a water softener that takes salt creates a smoother stream and feeling to the water you use for your laundry and throughout the home? The same is true for a salt water hot tub.

Here’s a pro tip: Only add half of the salt that is recommended by your system on the initial start-up of your hot tub. It’s a lot easier to bring balance levels upward with this type of system than downward.

The problem with this design is that your salt water system cannot produce its own chlorine when temperatures are low. If the water temperature drops into the 60s, then you’ll need to invest into some balancing chemicals to restore the hot tub. Many cells are designed to automatically shut down if water levels get too low as well, which can be an unpleasant surprise if you haven’t checked on your hot tub in a while.

And then there is the hype. Sometimes you’ll hear of “diamond coated” salt water cells. These are cells that have been given a diamond vapor coating on the cell itself. It wears down over time and has no ending value. When the cell needs to be replaced, you just throw it away. Don’t fall for the extra costs that may be associated with an over-hyped cell.

Get what you need and then slip into the warm relaxing comfort of your hot tub instead.

What Are the Prices of the Best Salt Water Hot Tub?

Salt water hot tubs are generally about the same price as their fresh water counterparts. Portable hot tubs tend to be priced in the $500-$1,000 range. This includes plug-and-play options which may be available in limited quantities. Permanent installations can be $4,000-$8,000 depending on the size of the hot tub, with the largest models often seating 6-8.

For hot tubs that can be converted to a salt water system, it may cost $600-$1,500 to purchase the conversion kit in addition to the initial price of the hot tub.

When you need to replace a salt water cell for this type of hot tub, you’ll need to budget an additional $300-$500. For many hot tub owners, this is a yearly maintenance cost.

The best salt water hot tub can help you relax in the way you prefer. These hot tubs create an experience where the water is less aggressive and more resistant to balance changes that naturally occur. Although no hot tub will be 100% maintenance free, this is the option that comes the closest to that experience. Choose your preferred model today and you’ll see why salt water might just be the best water for you.

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