Hot Tubs vs. Pools: How You Can Save Thousands of Dollars

If you’re blessed enough to be considering a pool, then life must be going very well for you. However, if you want to use your money to its fullest advantage, you should consider a different investment for your backyard: a hot tub or spa.
While you may be thinking you’ll have lots of money left over, that’s part of the point. Pools are expensive beasts, costing tens of thousands of dollars to build and then racking up thousands more over the course of your ownership. Plus, most people end up only using their pool for a few months during the summer and the rest of the year it just becomes a big, expensive water feature.

But if you invest in a hot tub or spa instead of a pool, you can use all that extra cash to create a backyard living space that is beautiful, functional, and could quickly become the favorite “room” of your home. . For instance, you could build a larger deck or patio for a lounge area with an outdoor fireplace, or you could get a ramada installed with an outdoor kitchen and TV entertainment area. It will cost you a fraction of what a pool costs to maintain a hot tub, so the extra possibilities to invest in a true backyard living space are endless.

Here are some stats showing the average cost of installing and maintaining a pool vs. a hot tub or spa:

Installation costs

  • An average pool (normal size, normal shape, normal materials, etc.) will cost you anywhere from $25,000-$50,000 to install. But depending on your pool’s design, the materials involved, the builders, the equipment included, etc., you could easily be looking at a much higher price. For example, here in Arizona, you have to also consider the cost of adding in fencing around your pool as a legal requirement, which that initial $30,000-$50,000 doesn’t even cover.
  • An average hot tub or spa, on the other hand, will only cost around $6000-12,000. The make, model, and size will obviously be factors here, but you can get a very nice 2-person hot tub in the lower end of that range, or a much larger 6-10 person hot tub for the higher end. While this range doesn’t include any extra features or materials (like a spa cover), you’re still looking at a starting price of at least $15,000 less than a pool. Just imagine what you can do with those savings!

Maintenance costs

  • A pool can cost you hundreds of dollars a month to maintain. The average pool with a 1 ½ – 2 horsepower motor will run you anywhere from $40 to over $100 per month. Chemicals and supplies can be anywhere from $20-$60 a month, or a pool cleaning service can easily cost $80 to several hundred dollars per month. Assuming your pool is on the low end of these ranges, you’re still looking at a minimum of an extra $110 per month. This doesn’t take into account electrical and water costs; if you wanted to use your pool more than just during the summer, you could heat it. But heating will likely cost you another $300 or more each month. We also haven’t addressed water usage, since it’s very hard to determine because the size of the pool and evaporation affects how efficient the pool is with the water. Just know you’ll probably be tacking on another large chunk of cash there, even if your pool’s brand new and not leaking. None of this helps a state that is in a major drought.
  • A spa will cost you much less per month, likely only in the $12-15 range (even less). Here at Imagine Backyard Living, as the former owner of Paddock Pools in Phoenix, we have a long history with pools and spas, and we’ve continually seen spa owners deal with less hassle and costs overall. Our average hot tub or spa will cost you around $12-15 for electricity, with very little water loss from evaporation. Plus, with parts and labor warranties of 5 years, you can rest assured you won’t have any unexpected expenses for repairs. Chemicals and maintenance, even if you use our monthly Spa Service to do the work for you, it will substantially be cheaper because the size of a hot tub is far smaller than a pool.

As you can see, while a pool may seem appealing at first, the initial price is just the beginning of a wide range of expenses you’ll incur over the pool’s lifetime. A hot tub or spa, on the other hand, will not only be a much lower initial investment but will provide you with a product you can use every day of the year, and leave you plenty of money to upgrade your backyard living space. It’s a win-win all around.

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