Given not all inflatable hot tubs are suitable for cold weather use, if you are considering a portable spa for the winter months, it is important you do proper research before making your purchase. In today’s post, I am sharing the best inflatable hot tub I have found for cold climates along with my unbiased review of the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub ...
In the dead of winter, while a fire is most certainly nice, there is just nothing like a relaxing dip in a hot tub to warm aching bones and soothe sore muscles.
Wanting to create staycation vibes here in the screened-in-porch of my lake cottage, I knew as soon as I laid eyes on this covered outdoor space, that I wanted a hot tub.
While a traditional hot tub was initially the first idea that came to mind, after researching costs, I quickly determined that option to be a hell no (at least for the time being).
Not only was I not ready to invest thousands upon thousands of dollars into a hard shell spa, I was not exactly keen on having to deal with a major remodeling project.
You see…in order to get a solid jet spa into my screened-in-porch, I would need to pay a contractor to knock down a support beam on the back wall of my enclosed porch to allow adequate clearance for a conventional hot tub .
Adding to my reluctance of traditional hot tubs, I was not entirely convinced that one would get much use during the summer months as summers here in southeast Tennessee can be miserably oppressive.
This is when the idea of a portable hot tub really started to appeal to me.
Not only are the inflatable options a small fraction of the costs of traditional spas (I got mine for less than $450), if hot water therapy isn’t needed in warmer months, I can always drain the inflatable tub and store it away until next winter- allowing for more floor space and less clutter on my covered porch when not in use.
Can you leave an inflatable hot tub out in winter?
Before thoroughly researching various inflatable spa brands and styles, I had assumed all hot tubs were suitable for cold and/or freezing temperatures.
Unfortunately, this is not the case as not all inflatable hot tubs are designed for cold weather use.
What I quickly realized during my research is that while many SaluSpa iterations are marketed with “freeze protection” technology, if you read the fine lines in the product specs, you will see that most of these portable spas are not recommended for use in weather under 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius).
While I had initially considered a wide range of brands including Intex, Bestway and Salu Spa, the inflatable versions of these products came with a disclaimer in very small print which stated most models were not recommended in freezing temperatures- making such options of no use to me when I needed them the most (during the winters here in Chattanooga). Womp ..Womp..
Ultimately, this is what led me to the Coleman brand.
**For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links. As a Reward Style and Amazon affiliate, I earn commission on sales at no extra cost to you.**
The Best Inflatable Spa for Cold Winter Weather:
With budget, customer reviews and winter functionality in mind, I went with the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub Spa, 2-4 Person AirJet Spa.
Not only was it the most budget-friendly option for my needs, the product came with a Freeze Shield feature. In the specs, the manufacturer lists that the spa can be used in freezing temperatures as long as the ambient temperature is above 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
As far as inflatable models are concerned, this was the lowest freezing threshold that I could find.
From personal experience, I can attest to this guarantee as my inflatable tub as already been exposed to 7 degrees Fahrenheit and I have yet to have any issues with the inner components freezing.
Please keep in mind, however, that my hot tub is located in a covered porch, so it is not entirely exposed to outdoor elements like direct rain, sleet or snow.
My Honest Review of the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub:
So now that you know why I decided specifically on the Coleman Saluspa Tahiti model, I wanted to share my unbiased review of this product.
While I am sure you can find plenty of reviews on inflatable hot tubs out there, please be aware that many of these reviews are paid posts.
Unlike many influencer and blogger reviews out there, no one is paying me for this article, so you can rest assured I am giving my honest opinion.
Set-Up and Assembly:
When my Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub arrived at my house, it came complete with all of the following :
- air jet spa inflatable tub (177 gallon water capacity) containing 120 built-in jets
- digital control panel with power-saving timer, temperature control and jet control
- spa pump that is also used to inflate the actual tub
- set of 2 cup holders housed on top of pump
- battery operated led lights (batteries not included)
- reinforced, insulated hot tub cover
- chlorine dispenser (chlorine/bromine not included)
- water filtration system with 1 filter cartridge
Note: While no tools are needed to inflate the portable spa, you will need a garden house to fill the tub with water.
After reading the manufacturer’s instructions, I got to unboxing everything. To my delight, most all of the assembly was super straight forward.
After hooking up the tub to the multi-functional pump, it was fully inflated after about 20 minutes. Once the spa was inflated and filled with cold water from my garden hose, I covered the spa with the insulated cover.
From there, it took a full 24 hours to reach the max temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (this was with an outside, surrounding temperature ranging from 40 to 50 degrees).
*If you are in a colder climate, please note that it will take longer for your water to heat to the maximum temperature.
Good to know: While setting up the spa was, as a whole, a piece of cake, the only complaint I have is that the instructions did not show you were to place the LED lights. With trial and error, my husband found out that in order to use the lights, you have to disconnect the wall-mounted chemical dispenser and screw the lights into that same receptacle.
Additional Purchased Needed: While the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti comes with just about everything you could need, you will still want to consider these additional purchases:
- Chemical Supplies-To ensure your chemical levels are properly maintained, you will want to purchase PH strips and chlorine or bromine tables for the included dispenser (which is mounted to the wall of the spa but can also be removed and used as a floater when you want to use the LED light) .
- Rug or Mat- You may also want to consider purchasing some kind of groundcover to go on the bottom of your spa – not only to provide better insulation in cold weather, but to also reduce the risk of slips and falls.
- Manual Air Inflation Pump- While the air filter pump also inflates the empty tub, once your spa has been filled with water and needs additional inflation, you will have to use a hand held pump (unless you want to completely drain the water out of your spa and start from scratch)
Inflatable Hot Tub Maintenance:
If you have never owned any kind of pool or spa before, there may be a slight learning curve when figuring out how to maintain optimal chemical levels, but once you get the hang of it, maintenance is pretty simple.
While you can use bromine or chlorine with the included chemical dispenser (which can either be used as a floater or mounted to the wall of the spa), my husband decided to go with bromine tablets. This is because bromine withstands higher temperatures more effectively than chlorine.
As far as changing the filter, the digital control panel will actually start to beep and give an error message when it is time to remove the filter and rinse out the buildup. You can clean the filter cartridge using water from a hose or faucet.
While we have only owned this inflatable tub for over a month, with pretty heavy use (3 to four times a week) , we have to clean the filter about once a week. However, we have yet to replace the actual filter cartridges. We have also not yet used any shock or defoamer, but will probably do so in the future.
Durability and Functionality:
Overall, I must say I am pretty darn impressed with the functionality of this Coleman Inflatable Hot tub.
The 120 included air jets sitting at the perimeter of the bottom of the tub, kick out some pretty powerful bubbles.
The only downside to the high-powered bubble jets is that they cause the max water temperature to decline by about 2 degrees every 30 minutes (going from 104 degrees to 102 degrees pretty rapidly) .
Because the jets do not have an actual deep massaging effect like that of a hard shell hot tub, I rarely turn them on. In fact, I much rather prefer to have the higher water temperatures than bubbles. However, my kids think they are a fun feature!
As far as the durability of the inflatable walls, before actually purchasing the spa, I was super concerned that I would not be able to sit on top of the wall without it deflating or losing its shape. As you can see in the picture below, the durable material holds my body weight just fine (I am 5’6” and 132 lbs).
According to the manufacturer, the spa is constructed of DuraPlus material which will withstand considerable weight pressure and consistent disassembling and reassembling.
As far as this model being advertised as a 2-4 person spa, I would say that the maximum amount of adults that will comfortably fit in this tub is only 3. I personally believe 4 adults is a bit of a stretch (unless you don’t mind getting up close and personal).
Although my husband, myself and both of my children have gotten in at one time, I prefer only two adults in at once or one adult and 2 children max- this leaves plenty of space!
Tip: If you are a social butterfly looking to fit more adults in the spa all at once, there are more expensive models designed with a larger capacity of 4-6 people.
Just keep in mind that if you are wanting an inflatable tub for winter use, you will need to make sure it can handle cold weather. The Coleman Tahiti model is the only one I found explicitly suitable for freezing weather (14 degrees and above) .
While I have only owned the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub Spa, 2-4 Person AirJet Spa going on two months now, I am highly impressed with this low cost, portable option.
With everything the spa comes with, I consider it to be an incredibly great value, and I seriously cannot believe it was only $430.
While winters in southeast Tennessee aren’t exactly brutal, within 2 weeks of purchasing this tub, we experienced record-breaking lows.
In fact, when we found out temperatures were dropping below the recommended minimum ambient temperature (14 degrees Fahrenheit), looking back, it probably would have been a good idea to disassemble the tub so that the multi-function pump was not exposed to temperatures that could potentially freeze the internal components.
Nonetheless, we took a chance and left it outside (in a covered space) in frigid weather (7 degrees to be exact). Luckily, we never had any issues with the product.
And while I certainly believe the Coleman Saluspa Tahiti model is one of the best inflatable hot tubs for cold weather on the market today, I want to summarize this review with an accurate representation of both the pros and cons of having an inflatable version.
My hopes of this review is to give you realistic expectations, so that you can be empowered and informed before making your purchase…
- Easy Set-up
- Built in Water Filtration
- Durable Construction
- Freeze Shield technology allows for very low ambient temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit and above-making it best for winter use.
- High-Powered Air Jets for Bubbles
- Power Saving timer with digital controls
- Rapid Heating function gets to max temp of 104 degrees relatively fast. At an ambient temperature ranging from 45-55 degrees, it took 24 hours to heat 177 gallons of cold water to 102/104 degrees.
- Insulated cover is easy to remove and does a great job keeping the water hot when not in use.
- Handles on the sides allow for ultimate portability.
- With the water heater only 110 volts, you will have lower heating costs with an inflatable version than compared to that of a traditional hot tub at 220 volts.
- Does not come with chemicals.
- After removing the cover, max temperature will eventually decline about two degrees after about an hour (even faster if you run the air jets or are in extremely cold weather).
- Does not have a true capacity of 4 adults (more like 3).
- Jets are not a legitimate massage system, but merely a fun bubble feature.
While I do wish the Coleman SaluSpa Tahiti Inflatable Hot Tub Spa would retain it’s max heat a bit better, I have never seen it dip below 100 degrees. However, to help maintain the maximum temperature, I always secure the cover back on top of the spa as soon as I get out.
My only other minor complaint is that the cupholders that come with the pump and digital control panel are not wide enough to fit a real wine glass (wino problems..I know).
All joking aside, given the low price to high value ratio, I would recommend this inflatable tub to anyone wanting some hot water therapy on a chilly, winter day.
Even my husband, who is super picky about quality and construction, will not stop going on about how happy he is with this purchase.
Come to think of it, this hot tub has already paid for itself as we have saved hundreds on restaurant/bar tabs by staying in, building a fire, mixing our own cocktails and soaking in our spa- every single weekend since we bought it!
At last, staycation vibes have successfully been achieved in my screened-in-porch thanks to this portable spa! I mean…why leave the house when everything you need is at home?
Updated June 2023- Be sure to read my new step-by- step post How to Care for an Inflatable Hot Tub where I share exactly how to properly clean and maintain your spa. I also give a few troubleshooting hacks for the Coleman model.
I hope this review helped inform anyone on the fence about inflatable hot tubs. It would mean the world to me if you could share this post with a friend or on social media. Thanks for paying it forward! …
Now get out there and design some good vibes along with a fabulous life!