Here is the very big question, are all Jacuzzi style Hot Tubs the same? Of course they are not as they do vary considerably.
One should always ask the question as to where the Spa is actually made.
If you are told that it is from the UK, it is probably from China as Spa Form is the only British company passed into liquidation at the beginning of 2009. Whilst the Spa Form line of products are still made, they are made by Teuco, an Italian company naturally in Italy.
Then if one is told that the pumps are made in Canada and that the shell comes from America (very doubtful) and the Jets are designed in Europe, it is pretty certain that it is made in China.
The best spas have electronic controls made by Balboa or Gecko, the two best control makers in the world.
Watch out for those cheap imports from the east, those that do not use proper Branded Acrylic with that essential layer of ABS that acts as a reinforcement to the shell with an added layer of hand laid glass fiber to provide some real strength.
ABS, or to give it the full name Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is the polymerization of Acrylonitrile, Butadiene, and Styrene monomers. This is a thermoplastic family of plastics which are called “terpolymers”. They involve the combination of three different monomers to form a single material that takes properties from all three. This material possesses, not only outstanding impact strength, but also very high mechanical strength, which of course makes it ideally suitable for tough consumer products. As a by product, ABS has good dimensional stability and inherent electrical insulating properties.
Some of the cheap imports are often constructed with a cheap stainless steel frame because the shell lacks the inherent strength that ABS provides.
I have seen examples where the fibreglass that is used to reinforce the acrylic is not correctly bonded or joined to the acrylic. It often feels damp as if it has not cured properly. This can, in a relative short time, cause shells to show signs of delamination, leaks and blisters.
The bonding agents that are used in this process are of course very expensive. If you use something cheaper, problems can arise and as this part of the spa is not easily visible and of course most people would not have a clue where or what it is, this is an ideal corner to cut quality so as to save money, particularly if you don’t warrant your products, or if you only warrant them for a short time.
The layer of fiberglass that is added to the acrylic to strengthen it should have a 10mm thickness.
Cheaper spas can some times have shells which are thin and they can flex or break under the weight of water and occupants.
These cheap spas are more often than not, constructed using the cheapest possible methods. The sole aim being to reduce the cost as opposed to constructing to a high standard of quality. As you can imagine, these imports are often made by unskilled workers who are unsupervised working in harsh conditions.
As with many things in life, it always pays to buy the best quality that one can afford, from a manufacturer who has been established for many decades as opposed to perhaps a cheap import. Remember the old saying, buying cheap can often mean that you end up buying twice.
So my best advice is that one should only purchase a product that is well designed and built by an American or Western, internationally recognized, producer of Hot Tubs and then there is every chance that the product will last and last and give very many years of faultless performance.
The reason is simply that the internationally recognized producer backs his products with a real guarantee, so if it has a fault it falls back on the manufacturer and not on you.
As you can imagine these manufacturers have had decades of experience and they build and design them with the proper parts and components so it will not fail and it is for that reason, and that reason alone, that they are prepared to provide a long life guarantee.
The Author markets luxury Hot Tubs in Portugal and for further information please go to his web site at Portugal Hot Tubs.