How Much Does It Cost to Run a Hot Tub? + Hot Tub Maintenance Costs

Short Answer: The cost to purchase and maintain a hot tub depends on the type of hot tub you buy, how large it is, and how often you use it. The initial purchase of a hot tub can cost as little as $300 for a basic inflatable model to over $10,000 for a large, permanent tub. You’ll also need a cover, which can range in price from $50 to $500. The electricity costs to run a hot tub range from around $15 to $100 per month depending on usage, tub size, and season. Maintenance expenses for things like cleaning solution and filters can run you between $150 and $600 per year. For more details on how much it costs to own and maintain a hot tub, see below.

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Hot Tub?

The first expense to consider when owning a hot tub is the actual purchase price of the hot tub itself. Hot tubs can range in cost depending on their size, type, and features — anywhere from around $300 for a simple inflatable hot tub to over $10,000 for something larger and permanent. The type of hot tub that you choose will also dictate the costs associated with running it.

  • Inflatable hot tub: $300 to $1,000 on Amazon (paid partner link)
    • This type of hot tub is easily portable and can save you money in temperature maintenance costs because it will not be continuously filled with water.
  • Portable hot tub: $1,000 to $2,000 on Amazon (paid partner link)
    • This type of hot tub does not come with any costs for in-ground installation, piping, or wiring, but it will require the same amount of maintenance as a permanent hot tub. Most portable hot tubs can be plugged into a standard wall outlet.
  • Wood-burning hot tub: $3,000 to $6,000 on Amazon (paid partner link)
    • This type of hot tub heats via a wood-burning stove instead of using an electric motor, which will save you money on energy costs. Some may also not be continuously filled with water, which can help you save on maintenance costs. However, you will need to factor in the cost of a steady supply of wood to burn.
  • Permanent hot tub: $2,000 to $10,000 or more
    • This type of hot tub requires year-round maintenance. Energy-efficient hot tubs can cost more upfront but will help you save on energy costs. Some energy-efficient modifications for permanent hot tubs include having two pumps (one is used only when the jets are turned on), having an economy mode for heating when the tub is not in use, and having quality insulation materials like high-density polyurethane foam.

Once you’ve selected the type of hot tub you want, you should factor in all possible operating costs. You can use the table below for a quick comparison, then click any item or scroll for more details.

Item Minimum Cost Per Year Maximum Cost Per Year
Energy (Heater + Pump) $180 $1,200
Filters $135 $405
Water Treatment Supplies $120 $180
Hot Tub Cover $50 (one-time purchase) $500 (one-time purchase)
Skimming Net $8 (one-time purchase) $20 (one-time purchase)

Energy

Many factors determine how much electricity a hot tub will need. In general, you can expect the size of the hot tub and the temperature at which the water is set to impact electricity costs the most. Note that the installation of either an indoor or outdoor hot tub must comply with National Electric Code requirements.

Heater

Most hot tubs use either a 120-volt heater or a 240-volt heater; a 120-volt heater uses between 1,500 watts and 3,000 watts (one-and-a-half to three kilowatt-hours), and a 240-volt heater uses between 6,000 watts and 7,500 watts (six to seven kilowatt-hours). The heater uses the most energy when the hot tub is in use, but will also run at other times to maintain the temperature.

According to the energy provider Direct Energy, you can multiply these kilowatt-hour amounts by the kilowatt-hour rate on your electric bill to find out how much it costs per hour to heat a hot tub. For example, if your electric company charges you 11 cents per kilowatt-hour — this is about the average price in the U.S. — it will cost you around 17 to 33 cents per hour to heat your hot tub with a 120-volt heater, and 66 to 83 cents per hour with a 240-volt heater.

If the heater runs for a total of 40 hours per month, it will cost you around $6.80 to $13.20 per month with a 120-volt heater and $26.40 to $33.20 per month with a 240-volt heater. If you live in a place with colder winters, your hot tub may need to run more during the winter, which will cause the heating costs to increase drastically in those months — as much as double the price or more than the more temperate months.

Keep in mind that the higher the hot tub temperature is set to, and the bigger the hot tub, the more energy will be required to heat it. This is especially true if there is a large difference between the outside temperature and the hot tub temperature. Usually, hot tubs are kept between 102 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit during high-usage months. You can mitigate energy costs by setting the hot tub to a lower temperature when it is not in use, more energy will be required to reheat the hot tub. If you use it frequently, it may be more cost-effective to maintain the water at your preferred temperature.

Pump

A hot tub’s pump also uses energy, but significantly less than the heater. Most hot tubs have circulation pumps that run continuously and only use about one-tenth of a kilowatt-hour to run, which translates to less than $8 per month. Some larger hot tubs may operate circulation pumps that use more energy, but these only circulate for a few hours per day, so the total energy cost is comparable.

Filters

An average-sized hot tub will require three filters, which cost approximately $45 each and need to be replaced one to three times a year depending on usage. This translates to a yearly total of around $135 to $405 for filters. Keep in mind that running a hot tub with old or overloaded filters will require pumps and heaters to work harder, using more energy and increasing costs.

Water Treatment Supplies

Water treatment chemicals and sanitizers are necessary in order to keep a hot tub free of contamination and bacteria. A hot tub should be cleaned approximately once a month, and there are a few key supplies you will need:

In total, you can expect to spend about $120 to $180 per year on water treatment chemicals and supplies.

Hot Tub Cover

In order to keep the temperature stable in either an indoor or outdoor hot tub, a good cover is critical. If there are gaps in the cover, up to 30% to 40% of the heat could escape, requiring more electricity to keep the water at the desired temperature.

A hot tub cover will cost between $50 and $500 on Amazon (paid partner link), depending on the thickness, size, and material.

Skimming Net

You’ll need a net in order to clean leaves, bugs, and other contaminants that may fall in the hot tub during routine use. A net will cost approximately $8 to $20 on Amazon (paid partner link), depending on the style you choose.

Professional Cleaners

If the above costs and products seem overwhelming, you can contract a full-service hot tub maintenance companies, with different packages available to suit hot tub owner’s needs. If purchased separately, all of the above components would likely cost around $200 to $1,200. Most professional hot tub cleaning services are available for a few hundred dollars depending on the size, age, and current state of your hot tub.

In Summary

The costs of owning and running a hot tub vary depending on what kind of hot tub you buy and how frequently you use it. In general, the initial purchase price of the tub will cost you anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a small inflatable model to several thousand for something larger and more permanent. Aside from one-time purchases like a cover and skimming net, maintenance costs will run you between $150 to $600 per year, and electricity can cost anywhere from $180 to over $1,000 per year, depending on weather and usage.

If you’re interested in more home spa and wellness information, we also cover the costs of a cryotherapy machine.

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2 comments

  • Diana Harvey says:

    If we have solar energy can we save the energy and run the hot tub off the solar in the evening?
    Can we run the hot tub off the solar during the day?

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Diana,

      It is possible to set up a solar-powered system to heat a hot tub, but depending on where you live and how much you use your hot tub, it won’t necessarily be easy (and it definitely won’t be cheap). Particularly when the jets are on, hot tubs lose heat rapidly — up to 1°F per minute — so quite a bit of power is required to maintain a steady temperature during use, especially when the ambient temperature is cool. Various solar energy hot tub kits are available, like the SunBank Solar Hot Tub, or if you know a bit about working with solar energy already, you can also consider building your own setup. Best of luck if you decide to pursue this option!