Hot Tub Installation Guide – How to Install a Hot Tub at Home

A hot tub is a larger tub that gets filled with water that people use for relaxation or therapy, and you can put up hot tub enclosures in your yard to create a natural gathering point. This can be a nice investment that boosts your home’s curb appeal and value, and this can lead you to wonder about the hot tub installation process and costs. There are several health benefits associated with using a hot tub like improving cardiovascular health, sleep, weight loss, diabetes, and eliminating stress or tension to help you relax. They can be a great place to entertain your guests or to unwind after a long day. 

It’s important to note that there is a big difference in the hot tub installation process and price points in getting a soft-sided, freestanding option and a built-in, custom one. No matter if you plan to use it for health or leisure, you want your hot tub to be large enough for your needs without breaking your budget. There are various types, shapes, voltages, heating methods, occupancy rating, and safety features, and each of them will impact your final hot tub installation process and how much the company tears up the yard to get it into the correct place and maintain it. 

The average cost for hot tub installation will range from $4,000 to $8,500. Most people tend to spend right around $6,900 for their hot tub installation for a unit that fits four to eight people and is wooden in the design. This price includes the labor fees and any electrician fees involved in the project. You can get an inflatable hot tub to cut your hot tub installation process and price to around $1,000. The highest cost option comes with a cover lifter and an acrylic design that can fit 12 people for $12,000. For an above-ground unit, labor costs for hot tub installation range from $150 to $500, and a built-in unit ranges from $1,000 to $5,000. 

If you’re wondering about your hot tub installation process and costs, this is for you. We’ve picked out several big factors that will influence the price and process. Some are much more in-depth and expensive than others, so they’ll have a higher cost attached to it. Inflatable options are the quickest to set up, but they’re also the least durable. We’ll give you a complete price breakdown of this project, and you can decide if you should DIY or hire a professional to transform your yard with a new hot tub. 

1 New Hot Tub
Setting up a hot tub is one way to create a natural gathering place and focal point in your yard. There are several styles, sizes, and options to choose from, and the installation process is pretty straightforward.
Desert Hot Tub by R. Miller / CC BY 2.0

Prices for Different Types of Hot Tubs

There are several types of hot tubs available, and this can impact your hot tub installation process. The different types of hot tubs will come with different chemical systems, where you can install it, and how you install it. Each system has different attributes and costs, including: 

Custom-Made

You can choose to have a custom-made hot tub built right by your inground pool. You can customize the jet positioning, shape, materials, and installation location. You can make them out of molded material or wood, and you can install them in the ground, outside, or indoors. They normally get built into place instead of being portable, and they can take several weeks to build. The cost for your hot tub installation with this product will range from $5,000 to $20,000. The material and size will dictate the cost. 

Indoor

You can put an indoor hot tub into your sunroom, and they come in many types while providing safety, privacy, and climate control. You have to consider several requirements before you install them. The room you pick out should have proper ventilation to prevent condensation from building up, including a dehumidifier and fans. Doors and walls should be water-resistant to help avoid mold growth or damage. Having the correct foundation is also very important as hot tubs can be very heavy. They can weigh a ton once you fill them, and this applies pressure. 

You should place your hot tub on a concrete slab, and the flooring should be slip-resistant while providing great drainage for all of the water that spills out. With the proper foundation and ventilation in place, your hot tub installation ranges from $5,000 to $25,000. The location, materials, and heating all play into your total project cost and duration. 

In-Ground

An in-ground hot tub installation can be a large investment that requires a professional company. They can easily add a very dramatic look to your home if you build them into your patio or deck. They also allow you easy access to your backyard. They can take weeks to build, but they offer features with a lower energy-efficiency rating than above-ground options. 

In-ground models are usually made out of rotomold or acrylic because the soil won’t impact these materials. They won’t rot like wood will in the environment. Your hot tub installation costs are higher, and they’ll range between $15,000 and $20,000. Costs like electrical work, plumbing, excavation, and gas hookups all factor into this project. 

Inflatable 

These hot tubs are getting more popular, and they’re a solid pick for people who want flexibility. Instead of a traditional solid tub, you can break these inflatable models down and move them around your yard. They also cost less to run because they need lower voltage. They don’t use jets, but they do have fans that blow the air around the water. They do tend to lose heat much quicker than traditional hot tubs, and you’ll heat them for often. Your hot tub installation ranges from $1,000 to $4,000. 

Molded

Rotomold or rotationally molded hot tubs come made from polyethylene. This is very similar to the material you’ll find on refillable water bottles or kayaks. They usually look duller and lack the sparkling look that you’ll get with acrylic models. They come in a single piece and don’t offer any customization options like jet upgrades, shelves, and cabinets. There are fewer color options, and your hot tub installation costs will start at $2,000 and go up to $5,000. 

Portable

Any hot tub that doesn’t get anchored or built into your landscape in some way to your pool, deck, home, or ground is considered portable. This category includes soft-sided tubs, inflatable tubs, molded tubs, or wooden tubs that don’t fit into a deck. If you can drain the hot tub, unhook it, and move it, it’s a portable model. Your average hot tub installation costs range from $1,000 to $9,000. 

Saltwater

Saltwater systems are gaining in popularity, and this model uses a salt cell to help produce a solution of pure chlorine. They have a very nice ease of use, and it can give your skin a silkier and softer feel each time you use them. They have a simple maintenance process, and the initial purchase price with the hot tub installation prices is higher. 

With time, you can offset this initial cost by getting lower costs for water and test kits because you don’t need them for saltwater systems. Buying a generator system for a saltwater setup ranges between $600 and $1,700. You can also add them to many tubs, including molded and soft-sided models. They can cause damage to wooden tubs. Your hot tub installation costs start at $2,000 and go up to $20,000 for this system, depending on the tub and brand. They need more expensive generator systems if you build them in, and above-ground models are more cost-effective. 

Soft-Sided

This is a relatively new option, and they utilize high-density foam to make them portable and lightweight while still being highly durable. They’re available in several colors and shapes, and the foam holds the heat very well from the water. This makes them energy-efficient, and they give you several of the same benefits like lights, jets, and controls. However, you get a unique look with very rounded, thick sides. Your hot tub installation costs will run between $4,000 and $6,000. 

Swim Spa

If you like to exercise before you relax, a swim spa and hot tub combination are great. This is actually a very small exercise pool that utilizes jets to give you resistance to swim against. It doesn’t take the same amount of space as a traditional pool. You can turn on the heater and alter the jet’s positions to turn it into a hot tub. They usually have less area for seating, and they usually use acrylic or get molded and installed as a freestanding unit. Your hot tub installation cost ranges from $15,000 to $40,000. 

Wooden

A wooden-style hot tub can be gas-powered, electric, or wood-fired. They usually sit above the ground and offer bench-style seating. They’re a lot deeper than rotomold or acrylic tubs, and you can get a few controls, lights, and jets. Cedar, redwood, oak, cypress, and teak are popular wood choices, and gas or electric-powered are the most popular items. Depending on the wood, power type, accessories, and size, your hot tub installation costs range from $3,000 to $9,000. 

2 Hot Tub Types
Picking out a type of hot tub is one of the biggest factors that influence the price and your hot tub installation process. Some are more complex and time-consuming than others, and this can make your project costs go up very quickly.
Enjoying the hot tub by Tobin / CC BY-SA 2.0

How Occupancy Affects Prices

Type and material will play a role in your hot tub installation costs, but occupancy rate also factors in. The bigger the setup is, the more it costs. How many people do you want to accommodate at one time? If you have six people in your family, the hot tub should hold at least six people. If you entertain a lot, you may want a larger setup. The occupancy recommendations and prices are: 

Two People

Hot tubs that can hold two people are among the most economical and smallest you can get. They come in several shapes and materials, with triangular and rectangular being the most popular. You can stretch out and relax, and your hot tub installation cost will run between $1,000 and $4,000. 

Three People

Three person hot tubs are rare, and most will come made for an even number of people. However, some come with a design that sits one person in the center and two along the sides at opposite ends. Your hot tub installation costs range from $2,000 to $4,000. 

Four People

This is one of the most common types of hot tubs available, and they’re slightly larger without having huge costs for buying the unit and hot tub installation. They have a huge number of features, and your costs will fall between $2,000 and $10,000. 

Five People

This type of setup is also rare, and the people usually end up sitting across from one another. Every other person will sit on the opposite side to make sure everyone has enough room. They usually feature a rectangular design, and your hot tub installation costs will range from $4,000 to $8,000. 

Six People

This size is great for families of four that routinely entertain or couples who host guests. They give you enough space to easily spread out, and you can find a lot of different features. Depending on the features you want, your hot tub installation costs range between $4,000 and $12,000. 

Seven People

If you can find a seven person hot tub, it’ll be in a larger rectangular shape that will go in or along your concrete patio. If you have a need that requires this hot tub, it’s usually better to go with an eight person model or get something custom built. On average, the costs range between $6,000 and $20,000. 

Eight People

This larger size is available with various features and materials. They’re a good choice if you frequently entertain or have a large family. They’re nice if you have fewer people but want to spread out more when you get in. The average hot tub installation costs start at $10,000 and go up to $20,000. 

3 Occupancy Size
How many people do you want to fit in your hot tub? It’s always a good idea to go slightly larger than you necessarily need so you don’t end up with something that is too small for your family or friends to enjoy at the same time.
Hot tub installation continues by Tobin / CC BY-SA 2.0

How to Install a Hot Tub

Before you decide if this is a project you can take on yourself, you want to know what the average hot tub installation process is. There are a few things you have to do before you begin installation, and they include: 

Preparation 

Step One – Building Permit

You want to check with your local city or town hall to see if you need a building permit. Just like putting up a privacy fence, you will most likely need on before you start. This can cost between $50.00 to $500. If you hire contractors, many of them include the permits in their estimates. 

Step Two – Pick a Location

Any space you choose for your hot tub installation should be large enough to accommodate the hot tub itself with some room around it to give you space to maintain or get in and out. Ideally, you’ll set aside 10-feet by 10-feet around the hot tub, but it depends on which size hot tub you pick out. 

  • Double-check local building codes to determine how far away it has to be from your home. Many building codes state it must allow at least five-feet of clearance between your property line and home to fall within regulation. 
  • The setup should also be at least 10-feet from any power lines, and it should be five feet away or more from the spa panel. Electricity and water do not mix, and local regulations try to keep people safe. Following them will increase your safety while ensuring you don’t end up with fines. 

Step Three – Site Preparation

When you fill your hot tub, depending on the size, can weigh upwards of 3,000 pounds. This is why it’s necessary to have a solid foundation under them to allow it to support this weight. If you don’t, it’s easy to damage the setup or void the warranty. 

  • You can pour a concrete pad that is three or four-inches thick to help create your solid foundation. Concrete will give you a lasting space for your hot tub, but it may not be aesthetically pleasing. The slab will also be permanently anchored where you pour it, so moving it is impossible without pouring a new foundation. A concrete slab costs between $3,600 and $7,200. 
  • A second option you have is to buy a prefabricated spa pad. The pads come with interlocking grids that make it easy to install, and you can remove them to relocate the setup. They are less supportive than a concrete slab, but they’ll cost between $100 and $500. 

Step Four – Decide Your Setup

If you decide you want to put your setup on a deck or build a deck up around it, you’ll want to contact a general contractor. They’ll be able to tell you if your deck can hold the hot tub’s weight or not. The last thing you want to happen is to get your hot tub running and have the deck collapse when you perform your hot tub installation. This can be an expensive fix. 

Step Five – Create a Power Route

A lot of modern setups are self-contained, so you won’t have to worry about running plumbing to get it up and running. However, electrical wiring is a whole other matter. Cities and towns have codes that outline different conduits, so you want to get in touch with your building inspector’s office and decide if you want to run a conduit above or below ground. 

  • Most hot tub pumps need a hard-wired circuit, and this will be dedicated especially to the hot tub. You should be able to get away with a 50-amp, 240V GFCI for most hot tubs. If you have a tub with multiple pumps on it, you might need to upgrade to a 60-amp circuit. It’s best to call in an electrician for this part at $400 to $700 per hot tub installation project. 

Installation 

Step One – Plan the Delivery Route

Unfilled, your setup can easily weigh upwards of 800 pounds. This is why it’s important to plan an easy delivery route, and many companies charge transport costs at $250 to $400. If you need a crane to deliver it, you’ll add another $200 to your hot tub installation costs. Ensure that it’ll pass through any foliage gates, or structures you have up like pergolas

  • It’s common for delivery drivers to help coordinate the delivery route. 
  • If the tub is bigger than obstacles, you may find yourself doing things like tearing down part of your fence, taking off a gate, or trimming a few branches to get the hot tub in and continue with the hot tub installation process. 

Step Two – Assembly

Most hot tubs use a voltage that is higher than home homes use, so you’ll need to call in a professional to install an electrical control box and a breaker. You can hire an electrician for this part, and your costs will depend on your location and what you need done. On average, electricians charge between $75.00 an $100 an hour. 

Step Three – Fill

To complete the installation process once you get the tub into place and get your electrical squared away, you’ll want to do the following to complete your hot tub installation: 

  • Switch the electricity off
  • Clean the hot tub’s interior
  • Check that the knobs and jets are in place 
  • Open the air valves 
  • Fill the tub with water from your expandable hose. You don’t need any special water. 
  • Switch the electricity back on and start heating the tub
  • Mix in the correct chemicals to sanitize the water

Electrical Needs

You want to ensure that you know that you can void some warranties if you don’t have the electrical circuits installed by a professional. It may also have to get approval from a local electrical or building inspector for $100 to $300. If you don’t and something goes wrong, your manufacturer won’t recognize the warranty as valid. 

If you do all of the wiring on your own, you have to put the hot tub on a dedicated circuit. It has higher electrical demands that standard outlets can’t keep up with, and no other items that require electricity should be on this circuit to prevent blowing it. 

Make sure your specs are right if you decide to wire your electricity on your own. If you forgo a licensed electrician to try and save costs, here are a few wiring items to keep in mind: 

  • Your wire size must be approved by local codes and/or the National Electrical Code or NEC. 
  • Copper wire is heavily recommended with a thermoplastic nylon insulation. All of your wiring should be copper over aluminum. 
  • The wire size you pick should come based on the length of space from the hot tub to the breaker box. The maximum current draw should also influence your wire size. 
  • If your wire is bigger than #6, place a junction box close to your setup. Then, run shorter lengths of #6 between the hot tub and junction box. 

Where to Find Hot Tub Installation Experts Near You

If you decide to use the services professional contractors provide for this project, you want to use local companies. This can help ensure you get someone reputable who is going to perform your hot tub installation without a problem. You can start looking here: 

Frequently Asked Questions 

4 Hot Tub Installation FAQs
Knowing basic facts about hot tubs can help you make informed decisions when you take on this project. It can help you justify the higher upfront costs and ensure you get the correct model, type, and size to meet your wants and needs.
Hot Tub by Micah Baldwin / CC BY-SA 2.0

1. What is the average lifespan of a hot tub?

Most hot tubs last between 5 and 20 years. The material quality is one of the biggest determining factors for the lifespan, and how well you maintain your setup is the second biggest factor. A well-maintained setup will naturally last longer. 

2. How much does a hot tub cost per year to have and run?

The total cost to run and maintain your hot tub per year will depend on the size, type of tub you pick, and how much you use it. On average, it’s around $240. 

  1. How much does it cost to remove a hot tub?

There is a slightly broad range for this question because the answer depends on the location, material, and size of your setup. You’ll usually pay between $50.00 and $500 for this process. 

Bottom Line

Your hot tub installation process is pretty straightforward, and it’s better to bring in professionals to help with the electrical work. This can increase your total project costs, but it’s worth it to keep the warranties and ensure everything is correct. We’ve listed out the basic hot tub installation steps along with some considerations you should keep in mind when you’re selecting the perfect hot tub for your wants and needs. 

Hot Tub Installation 1 Hot Tub Installation 2