Okay, popular clamor compels me to wax further eloquent about the softub.
Our home already had a hot tub built in, in the master bathroom, when we moved in. It was a 6 person job, pretty fancy, but needed filling every time from a very oversized water heater. It was nice, but it was a pain to fill, the bathroom is not the most congenial location for recreational hot tubbing, and as a result, it really didn’t get used much. It had a hard shell, and wasn’t that comfortable.
One day, I went to the local Softub spa store, to look for a seat for our hot tub. We thought that perhaps a more comfortable seat in it would encourage more regular use. But when I arrived there, and saw the softubs, I suddenly knew I had to have one!!
Why? Well, this one could be put right outside our bedroom, on the deck, overlooking the lake. And it was simplicity in itself, compared to other tubs I’d seen. Relatively easily portable, it could be placed on about any flat surface without special bracing (assuming the surface can hold 300 gallons of water plus a few people), filled with a hose, plugged in, and it was ready to run.
So I dragged the wife to see it, and surprise, she agreed! Had to have. Bought. Sales guy delivered, installed, showed me how to install (you need one screwdriver to connect 3 pipes. Filled. Added bromine (which we prefer to chlorine) and in 24 hours, it was warm enough to use.
And use it we did. An excellent way to relax and reconnect before dropping off to sleep, we’d slip into it in the evening for a few minutes. The jets were nice, it had bubbles too if we wanted them (but we don’t), and we could float and bob around in it to our hearts content. Summer, winter, it got used year-round. Weekly use of the special enzymes and adding some bromine and alkylizing agent at the same time kept the water clear. Clean the filter once a month (takes 4 minutes with a garden hose) and change the water when we felt like it, usually after heavy use by others.
The lid flips up to open half the tub if you want, nice and convenient if we’re dashing thru -20 weather to dive in. Or slip the lid off onto the bench at the side of the tub, and drag it on after we’re done. Easy peasy!
No infestations or inhabitations by bugs, slugs, or even fish. Sometimes some seaweed gets brought in from swimmers in the lake, but the filter grabs that pretty quick. Sometimes leaf debris gets in, if the lid is left off.
We do have to put a weight on the lid. When winds exceed 45 MPH coming off the lake, the lid did go sailing away in the past. Now that’s not an issue.
Easy to change the water, drop a hose in it and drain it, tip it out on its side, hose it out, and if I feel it’s needed, scrub interior with sponge/soap. Or not. Put it back down, fill it up again. Water change takes less than 2 hours, most of which is spent emptying or filling it. I use a hose from my water heater so it can be hot and ready to go right after.
Being left outside in temperatures ranging From -25 to 107 does take its toll. After 11 years, the motor was getting a bit iffy, so rather than replace it we traded up for a newer model. This one featured a seat in the tub, more jets, and not just an underwater white light, but also a colored disco-style light!!
Upsides: Low maintenance, ready to go in a moment’s notice, can move the thing around pretty easy (remember to remove water before moving), and the newer models have timers so it can heat during the lower electricity cost time periods. Edge strong enough to sit on. Lets you get outside in the winter at night (we sure see a lot of shooting stars now) and certainly encourages a couple to play together nekkid on a regular basis. Lid can be strapped down and locked if you really want. Same for hot tubbing partner.
Downsides: Vinyl covering needs cleaning on occasion, does weather and crack after a decade or so. Only 1 seat. Inside lining can get a bit wrinkly after a while. If you turn bubbles on you get rather a fine bromine mist rising off it (which does drive away mosquitoes but also hot tubbers.) Bubbles make the water a bit foamy when you turn them on too. Really need a heavy duty extension cord (one with a circuit breaker too). Disco underwater light is just stupid (IMHO).
Wife and I agree it’s the second best toy we ever bought. After 16 years of it, it still gets used 2-3 times a week on average. If it breaks, we’ll fix it or replace it.