It’s not uncommon for people (often hot tub dealers) to vehemently advise against buying Chinese built hot tubs, with promises of poor quality, unsafe hot tubs.
A quick Google will do nothing to dissuade those fears:
You’ll probably see a couple of images of burnt down hot tubs thrown in for good measure.
But half the products we use are made in China, probably including the laptop of phone you are currently reading this on, and we don’t question the quality of those.
So, what makes a hot tub any different?
Are the assessments of Chinese hot tubs fair?
Should you avoid buying a hot tub made in China?
At this point I’d like to say we don’t, nor have we ever sold hot tubs made in China. Our hot tubs have always been made in North America (Canada or the USA).
Most of the dealers that stock North American made hot tubs won’t even acknowledge Chinese built hot tubs as competitors.
But the truth is they are.
The number one reason that people choose an alternative hot tubs supplier to ourselves is price. And with hot tubs starting as low as £2000, that’s one area that Chinese built spas excel.
But I think it’s important to acknowledge that:
A) Not everyone has the budget/wants to spend a lot on a hot tub.
B) Not everyone wants to or can buy from us
➡️ Related content: Why hot tub manufacturers need to talk about price
At Eagle Leisure we are firm believers in sharing all of the information, so that you can make the best decision for you.
So, while we don’t sell Chinese made hot tubs (we sell the wonderful Artesian Spas), and this isn’t necessarily going to be a blog singing their praises, it will be a blog looking objectively why Chinese made hot tubs get such a bad rep, and how you can ensure that you get a good quality one if you do decide to go for a Chinese built hot tub.
➡️ Related content: How much does it cost to buy a hot tub
Are hot tubs made in China any good?
The answer is that it depends🤷♀️
There are good hot tubs built in China.
And there are bad hot tubs built in China. It’s true that, when Chinese built hot tubs first started flooding the market they weren’t nearly as good.
They didn’t look as good, they used poor quality Chinese made components and they were not build or held to the same high standards.
This meant they had a tendency to break down more and in some instances have been highly unsafe ie. control boards have melted and burnt hot tubs down (you’ve probably seen pictures of these floating around warding you off buying).
But have things changed?
I’m not saying that badly built Chinese hot tubs don’t exist, of course they do. But badly built hot tubs can be from anywhere.
Chinese built hot tubs are better than they used to be, and you can get a decent quality hot tub that’s built in China.
Most of the Chinese made hot tubs now use the same parts as American built hot tubs, so you will see them using things like Balboa control.
This doesn’t mean the build quality is the same (we’d argue that it isn’t), but they are using similar parts, and the potential is there for them to be built well.
As well as selling hot tubs we repair and service hot tubs. We have found that 9/10 hot tubs that we get call outs for in the first 18 months of their life are NOT of American origin. This doesn’t mean that American made hot tub aren’t breaking – maybe the supplier is just carrying out the warranty work so we aren’t hearing about it.
But, then that really is one of the most important considerations when deciding on which hot tub to buy.
How to make sure you buy a good quality hot tub
As a dealership we have decided to stick with hot tubs made in the USA, not only because Artesian Spas (which we sell) have an amazing track record, but because we believe in the warranty and after sales support that they offer. If we aren’t backed up by our manufacturer then we can’t offer support to our customers.
Good dealers and good suppliers go hand in hand 🤝
My #1 tip to ensure you end up with a good hot tub is to find a good supplier.
Find a company that you trust, that you get a good feeling from, and that comes highly recommended.
You supplier ultimately will be responsible for maintaining your hot tub. And as such, a good supplier will work with a good manufacturer.
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How to avoid a bad hot tub supplier
While it’s not true that all Chinese hot tubs are bad, it can be argued that most bad hot tubs are Chinese.
This is less to do with country of origin and more to do with the manufacturers and the suppliers that sell them.
One of the main problems in the hot tub industry is that online hot tub suppliers pop up and sell hot tubs cheaply online.
They sell at low price, high volume and low profit margin. Ultimately they don’t make enough money on each hot tub to offer after sales support – and that is part of what you are paying for when you buy a hot tub.
They end up closing down, or becoming a Phoenix company (they close, and the directors open with a different name, while continuing to operate in the same way as before), and if that happens your warranty is not upheld – and you’ll need to pay out of your own pocket to fix your hot tub.
Should you buy a hot tub made in China?
This is a very personal decision and the answer will be different for each person.
For us, it’s all about longevity. We don’t want to sell a hot tub that lasts you a couple of years, just so we can sell you another.
Well for one, even if your hot tub has been on the cheaper side they are still a lot of money. We want to make sure that we are providing a quality product that lasts a long time.
I know I wouldn’t be happy if I paid thousands for something only for it to break down and need replaced a couple of years later.
Secondly and, in my opinion, very importantly, hot tubs are wasteful. They are made almost completely of plastic. They don’t tend to use recycled products as these are more brittle and don’t stand up to the heat and pressure of a hot tub. A lot of people have an almost throwaway mentality with Chinese built hot tubs.
If it breaks I’ll just replace it
This is something we as a company as opposed to and why we would rather invest in hot tubs that have a proven track record, and that we know will last a long time.
➡️Related content: How long will a hot tub last?
Of course, as I’ve said that might not be the case with all models and all manufacturers of Chinese built hot tubs. And, ultimately things can go wrong with ANY hot tub no matter where it is manufactured.
But that is why it is so important to ensure you have a good supplier that will uphold the warranty and make sure that it lasts as long as possible.
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Some manufacturers will have you believe that ALL hot tubs made in China are bad. But, to generalise with this blanket statement might be a mistake.
We personally, continue to chose to supply only North American made hot tubs for the moment, and we don’t see that changing any time soon. We believe the hot tubs that we supply from Artesian are high quality, well built and have the support to back it up. We’ve found that the hot tubs we supply can generally last for 10+ years, and make the money worth it and don’t contribute to the landfill waste.
But the most important thing is to find a good, well-recommended supplier who will uphold your warranty and make sure that if anything goes wrong it will be fixed so your hot tub lasts as long as possible.