By Geoffrey Dixon
“Can I borrow your hot tub?” is a question most are not accustomed to hearing; it almost sounds out of place. Times have changed, however, and the roto-moulded portable spas available today have not only made it very easy for people to simply ‘borrow’ them, but also for dealers to rent them to customers.
Hot tubs have been around for thousands of years and the concept of a portable hot tub that is light enough to move is not new either; however, it was not until the last decade that other portable spa options—other than soft-sided and inflatable—became available, which lent themselves better to the rental spa market.
Many people at some point have experienced the euphoric effects of a hot tub, whether at a friend’s house or at a hotel while on vacation; yet, for those who do not own a spa, but are interested in purchasing one, they may have various questions and few definitive answers.
Dealers that offer a spa rental program can provide customers with these answers as well as insight into various other intangibles before investing in one. By allowing the customer to rent a spa and take it home, it can also provide simple solutions to things they might not even thought about.
Defining portable, ‘rentable’ spas
Advancing technology, particularly in roto-moulding, has made full-sized roto-moulded spas, or spas with a ‘unicast’ plastic shell, relatively inexpensive to manufacture.
The upside to this manufacturing method is the strength, durability and lightweight of the finished product. This is not to say soft-sided or inflatable spas do not have a place in the market, they do, but when it comes to ‘rentals,’ the longevity of the product, under multiple-use conditions, may stress the spa beyond its intended use.
For the purpose of this article, and to clarify some misconceptions, all ‘portable’ hot tubs are not actually portable, nor can they all plug into a standard 110-volt household outlet.
Some groups classify any spa that can be moved, regardless of the effort required, as portable. The roto-moulded spas discussed in this article are truly portable, which means two people can move the unit (without specialized equipment) in a pickup truck or with a light trailer.
A 225-kg (500-lbs) acrylic or fibreglass hot tub, which requires a 220-volt electrical connection to operate, is, for the purpose of this discussion, not portable. These hot tubs are generally too heavy to move without equipment and require specialized services to complete the install, usually in the form of a poured-concrete pad and the need for an electrician to connect the power supply.