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Purchasing a spa pool online? Here’s what to consider…

For most of us, researching a big-ticket item starts online. Spas are no different. It makes sense to scope out what you need and get a feel for what your options are. As with everything else, you’ll no doubt be looking for a bargain. Why should you pay more for the exact same thing… right? Right!

And therein lies the problem. No two spas are created equal. There’s cheap and premium and everything in between. The real question is how can you tell if you’re getting value for money?  Let’s look at some of the common elements to help you decide.

Spa Design vs Manufacturer

Designed in Canada, Australia, Germany, Scandinavia… they all sound good. The real question is where are they manufactured? Because made in China sounds a lot less good and the reality is that most of New Zealand’s cheaper-end spas (and accessories) are made in China.

Why should you care, if it’s the exact same thing? Agree. But what if it’s not?

Regulations concerning manufacturing, electrical safety and consumer rights vary considerably in different parts of the world. We’d say if you’re going to go with cheap Chinese manufacture for your spa, skip the middle-man and go direct to Ali Baba. Chances are the spa will still only last a few years, but at least you’ll have paid less to start with.

Spas Online is part of Hot Spring Spas NZ Ltd - a company that has a 37-year history in New Zealand and is the largest manufacturer of spas in the world! We’re talking world-class design, manufacture and distribution (in the USA no less!) to ISO9001 standards. Of course, that’s all backed up by 100% Kiwi delivery, installation and servicing with our own team of experts.

New to market vs long local history

Yep. We get it. It’s easy to think that ‘new’ means the latest and best technology. If it looks like a bargain it’s because they’ve got ‘new’ ways of doing the exact same thing – right? We don’t think so.

We see a common promise around “triple” insulation. It sounds awesome. But a thin bit of polystyrene, a reflective membrane and a polymer outer really don’t stack up against fully-blocked foam, which is what we use. That solid, single block of foam insulates far better than any triple layer of cheaper materials can. It also accounts for about a third of a spa’s cost so yes, less insulation does mean a cheaper spa… but less insulation also means a lot more expensive to run.

Purchase price vs running costs

It’s tempting to think that a couple of thousand dollars saved off the purchase price is a bargain. Yet it’s in the running costs where the real money lies. We can show you our running costs – they’re published in our brochures and are even assessed by the Californian Energy Commission.

Our own tests on other brands indicate that running costs can be up to five times higher. Let’s look at that. We know a well-designed, well serviced spa (including all chemicals, consumables and power) costs in the region of $500-600 a year to run. Any savings from a cheap purchase price can be quickly spent in running costs, potentially more than $2,000 extra dollars a year, every year!

For example, Ozone water systems range from $10 to $1,000. Cheap UV systems only work in clean water (in other words, they’re useless once you’ve used the spa) and replacement bulbs can be expensive. Our Corona Discharge Ozone System can last the lifetime of the spa (and yes, that’s 30-40 years!).

Length of life considerations

Another thing to consider when you’re looking at spas is how long you want it to last. Just to be clear, Hot Spring Spas have been in New Zealand for 37 years and we continue to trade-in and on-sell our earliest models!

That’s because, as a publicly listed US manufacturer we’re required to produce replacement parts for all our existing (and future) spas! That’s not the case with most of our competitors.

So many owners of cheap spas find that in as little as two years down the track, parts are no longer available. With every recession, more low-end manufacturers go out of business. No spare parts means jimmying potentially unsafe solutions or recognising that your cheap spa has become nothing more than expensive landfill.

Spa Pools Online – smarter savings for you

We understand that price is a real consideration and that’s why we do offer a cheaper online solution. Our Islander spas are available online at a discount along with all our parts and accessories, so you have affordable convenience.

The Islander models are designed, manufactured and distributed to the same high standard as our other models. They are available to inspect in Hot Spring stores all over New Zealand. To see the kind of quality you should expect, pop into your nearest showroom and see for yourself.