The Cost Breakdown of Installing a Hot Tub

Getting a hot tub is an expensive venture, and knowing the full cost behind installing one can help plan and decide if a hot tub is right for you. There are many things to consider, from above-ground to in-ground, to the material of the hot tub itself and even if you want saltwater or chlorine water. 

The cost of hot tub installation depends on a variety of factors, including whether it’s above or in ground, its material, and size. You also have to consider professional labor, maintenance, potential upgrades, and electricity use. The average tub costs $6,000, but it can run you up to $35,000.

Installing a hot tub is not an easy task, and it certainly isn’t straightforward with figuring out the cost either. There are so many different options and ways of having a hot tub installed that the true cost can become muddled, which is why having a layout on how much a hot tub will cost every step of the way is important.

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Hot Tub?

Small Wooden walkout deck with hot tub

There are many factors that go into determining how much the installation of a hot tub will cost. Generally speaking, it can range from $5,000 to $35,000 with the average being roughly $6,000. Before even considering the actual hot tub, there are several costs that add up just by owning one and getting it delivered. 

Inside or Outside

The first thing you need to decide is where you want to put the hot tub. To install it outside, the foundation it will sit on is vital. You will need to have a concrete slab, pavers or decking to provide a solid and stable surface for the hot tub to rest on. A concrete slab can cost roughly $5 to $10 per square foot. 

With outside installation you’ll also need to consider the wiring of electricity. With high voltage you’ll need to hire an electrician and have a GFCI outlet (on Amazon) installed. The electrical installation can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,600. Depending on the model of your hot tub, it may require a 240volt hookup, adding to that install cost. 

However, if you need to upgrade your electrical panel to accommodate this high voltage you can expect an additional $1,200 to $3,000. 

Installing a hot tub indoors will require a ventilation system to avoid warping wood with the added heat and humidity. A ventilation system can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200.

On top of a ventilation system, installing a hot tub indoors will most likely involve remodeling the space to accommodate slip and water resistant materials to stop mold and mildew from growing. This costs $15 to $60 a square foot.

Plumbing will also need to be reworked for the hot tub which can cost $400 to $1,900.


Actually getting the hot tub to your house will also have a cost. Some companies charge an extra $0.50 to $3.00 per mile if you are located in a remote area. On top of this there will most likely be delivery charges since you will need to utilize a crane. A crane can cost $800 to $1,500, though if it is an exceptionally large hot tub it can go as high as $2,500.

If a crane isn’t required then you are looking at $200 to $500 for delivery charges.

Another thing to think about are the required permits. In most municipalities an in ground hot tub requires a permit that can range from $100 to $250.

What are the Costs of Different Materials? 

The type of hot tub you get also plays a major factor in determining the cost of installation. 

Inflatable Hot Tub

This is the cheapest option, with examples like the Intex PureSpa Plus (on Amazon) costing in the $500-$800 range. This relatively affordable cost does come with some liabilities. You could easily puncture or damage the hot tub and it won’t last as long as some of the other options.

Portable Hot Tub

A hard-sided portable hot tub is a little more expensive than the inflatable at $2,000 to $6,000 but it is more durable and energy-efficient. Remember it’s a lot of work to actually move them though. Portable-ish.

Wood Hot Tub

An above-ground wooden hot tub can cost roughly $3,000 to $7,000, depending on size. Wood hot tubs are gaining in popularity for their affordable prices and rustic aesthetic. 

Acrylic Hot Tub

The most popular and commonly seen hot tub is the acrylic. This comes at the hefty price of $4,000 to $11,000. However, it is durable, long lasting and can handle colder temperatures, which bodes well if you plan to install it outdoors. 

In-Ground Hot Tub

An in-ground hot tub can offer a year round stylish feature to your home but it comes at quite the price tag of $15,000 and up. 

Saltwater vs Chlorine: Which is Better? 

There are many benefits and drawbacks for each type of water from the harshness of chemicals on your body to the corroding nature of salt. So determining which is better depends on the type of hot tub you want to install and your individual needs.

Saltwater Pros

  • Low average annual cost of $70 to $100.
  • Simple maintenance.
  • The lack of harsh chemicals is less irritating on the body, including in eyes, on skin, and in hair.
  • Great for acrylic and in-ground hot tubs.

Saltwater Cons

  • Saltwater cells require replacement every 5 to 7 years, costing anywhere from $200 to $800.
  • High upfront costs, including possibly needing to change an existing pool to saltwater.
  • Salt is more corrosive for hot tubs made out of wood.

Chlorinated Pros

  • Low upfront costs in comparison to saltwater.
  • Requires less equipment. 

Chlorinated Cons

  • Chemicals can be harsh on the body, and some people react poorly to high chlorine levels.
  • Requires more maintenance both in costs and work.

Installing Yourself vs Hiring a Professional

Installing a hot tub should always be left to the professionals. Saving a few thousand to try and do it yourself could void the warranty on the hot tub but it is also an extremely complicated task. One that can go very wrong if done incorrectly and not even save much. 

With the electrical wiring needed, it will have to meet code and hiring a licensed electrician will make sure that the electrical is done properly the first time. Water and electricity don’t mix and things could go very wrong if you try and DIY it. 

Professionals already know how to wire a hot tub to an electrical panel properly as well as the voltage needed, which prevents fire hazards. 

If saving money is your primary concern in wanting to install the hot tub yourself, you might be out more money in the end. Paying for damaged equipment because something was installed wrong can only put more of a dent in your wallet. 

Faulty wiring, fire hazards and personal injury are all instances that could cost more in the end. 

It’s not just the electrical side of things that’s a concern for self installation. A hot tub is very heavy and making sure it’s centered and accurately placed is a tricky feat. You will want someone who knows what they are doing to make sure your hot tub is safe and secure before moving forward. 

What About Upgrades and Add-Ons?

Customizing and adding onto the basic model of a hot tub comes with its own level of additional cost but it could very well be worth it to reach your needs. 

Some of the accessories you can purchase for your hot tub include a thermometer (on Amazon), a cover (on Amazon), vacuum (on Amazon) and things like stairs (on Amazon), cupholders (on Amazon) and headrests (also on Amazon), to make the hot tub uniquely yours.

In general, upgrades to your hot tub can be a bit more pricey, like waterfalls, a light and sound system, massage systems, and other fun additions that make the hot tub special. 

These features can cost anywhere from $500 to $10,000, depending what you want and how extensive it is. You could even get a hot tub TV or refinish the wood exterior. The upgrade possibilities are endless.

How Much are Electrical Costs?

Electricity can be priced quite high, depending what needs to be done to accommodate your hot tub. Generally speaking, it can range from $600 to $2,200 with the installation of a subpanel being $400 to $1,750. 

You will also most likely need at least one outlet which is $215 each. Though if you have one within five feet of the hot tub and can support 50 to 60 amps and 220 to 240 volts, then you can forgo this charge. 

If you’re looking to add an outside sound system to your hot tub set up, that can cost $250 to $300 on top of the other electrical charges.

Above-Ground vs In-Ground: How to Choose

Hot tub on deck

One of the most important factors to consider when wanting to get a hot tub is whether it will be an above-ground or an in-ground. Both options come with their share of pros and cons as well as different price tags. 

An above-ground hot tub installation can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 depending on the type of hot tub, size and location while an in-ground hot-tub just begins at $15,000. With an in-ground hot tub, excavation is required, which means heavy equipment and more skilled professionals. 

More often than not, in-ground hot tubs are connected to an already existing pool, which then requires skilled professionals to adjust the architecture of the pool, especially if going to saltwater. 

An in-ground hot tub will also cost more to maintain than an above-ground at $30 to $100 per month.

That being said, if you have the money, you could easily plan the custom-built, luxury hot tub of your dreams. In-ground hot tubs can be bigger and allow for other upgrades that an above-ground hot tub can’t have, like a swim-up bar.

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