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An in-ground hot tub vs a portable hot tub? You’ve certainly come to the right spot. In this ultimate comparison, we’re going answer every single one of your burning questions so you can make an informed decision on whether an in-ground hot tub or a portable hot tub is the best option for your needs.

In-ground Hot Tub: Advantages


The most obvious advantage of an in-ground hot tub is that it’s extremely practical. Portable hot tubs must be emptied and moved regularly and take up a lot of space when they are not in use. In-ground hot tubs eliminate the need for this with a permanent feature that can remain in one spot virtually forever.


Portable hot tubs don’t offer any added security, while an in-ground hot tub can be covered with a secure and locking lid. This will add an additional layer of safety and keep kids, pets, and unwanted guests out of the hot tub area.


In many cases, an in-ground hot tub is designed and installed to blend seamlessly into the overall design and décor of the space. This is particularly true in the case of an in-ground hot tub that is installed to integrate with a larger pool or spa area.

In-ground Hot Tub: Disadvantages

Installation Costs

This is one of the primary drawbacks of an in-ground hot tub. It will typically require professional installation, which can be complex and costly. The installation process involves more than just dropping a hot tub into a pre-dug hole and must adhere to various building codes, so hiring a professional is a must.

Maintenance Issues

An in-ground hot tub requires ongoing maintenance just like a pool. The water must be tested and balanced on a regular basis, and the filter, pump, and other key components must be serviced and cleaned. This ongoing maintenance means added costs and inconvenience.

Cold Weather Concerns

In-ground hot tubs can’t easily be moved indoors, so cold weather and harsh winter months can create unfavorable conditions. Pipes can become frozen, and the extreme cold can dull the hot tub’s enjoyable effects.

Portable Hot Tub: Advantages

Cost Effectiveness

Generally, a portable hot tub will cost much less than an in-ground model. With a portable option, you can be up and running in no time and at a fraction of the cost.


Portable hot tubs don’t require any installation and can be taken down and moved with relative ease. This can make them appealing to renters and those who like to switch up their spaces from time to time. And since portable hot tubs are compact and lightweight, they can be transported without any additional lifting tools.

Temperature Control

Portable hot tubs are equipped with a digital display and thermostat, which helps you regulate and easily maintain temperature control. With a portable hot tub, there is no need to struggle with complex wiring because the unit plugs into a standard AC outlet.

Portable Hot Tub: Disadvantages

Limited Size & Shape

The biggest disadvantage of a portable hot tub is the limited size and shape. While the size of an in-ground hot tub is almost unlimited, a portable hot tub is limited to a single shape and size.

Limited Durability

With a portable hot tub, you’re relying on temporary materials, so it won’t be as durable as an in-ground model. Portable hot tubs are mainly constructed with vinyl, which is much more susceptible to wear and tear.

Short Lifespan

Portable hot tubs typically don’t last as long as in-ground hot tubs because of their limited design and construction. Meaning, you may only get five to seven years of use, whereas an in-ground hot tub may last for decades.

People Also Ask

Q: What is the cost difference between an in-ground hot tub and a portable hot tub?

An in-ground hot tub typically costs more to install and maintain than a portable hot tub. However, a portable hot tub may require more frequent repairs or replacements since it has limited durability.

Q: What is better, a portable hot tub or an in-ground hot tub?

It depends on your individual needs. If you’re looking for more of an integrated feature that’s one-time cost and generally easier to maintain, an in-ground hot tub may be the better choice. But if you’re looking for something with a lower upfront cost, more convenience and flexibility, a portable hot tub may be the better option.

Q: Which type of hot tub is more energy efficient?

In-ground hot tubs tend to be more energy-efficient since their designs allow for better heat retention. Portable hot tubs rely on less powerful jets and pumps in order to save energy, but their heat retention capacity is limited.

Q: What is the weight capacity for a portable hot tub?

The average weight capacity of a portable hot tub is approximately four to five people or 400 to 600 lbs. However, the exact weight limit depends on the specific model, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s documentation for each one.

Q: Does a portable hot tub need a cement pad?

No, a portable hot tub does not require a cement pad. However, it is recommended to place the portable hot tub on flat and even surface to ensure that it is stable and level.

Final Words

Whether you choose an in-ground hot tub or a portable hot tub, you’ll have to consider all the advantages and disadvantages of each before making a final decision. Portable hot tubs offer the convenience of easy setup and transportation, but tend to have a shorter lifespan and don’t offer the same features that an in-ground hot tub does. On the other hand, an in-ground hot tub offers added security and a more permanent option, but comes with added installation and maintenance costs. Ultimately, it’s important to weigh all your options before deciding which is best for you.