Used Hot Tub
Buying a Used Hot Tub
Is it a good idea?
Yes, actually, buying a is a FABULOUS way to get a high quality item at a fraction of the cost.
However, there are some things you should know before stepping into this venture.
Hot tubs are a proverbial “big ticket item” and you want to be sure you’re going about this purchase in the smartest way possible.
I’ve purchased new hot tubs, and s.
I’ve given away a hot tub for free on Craigslist, and purchased one myself through this venue.
I’m hoping this information will be valuable to you as you consider whether or not to go with a and to help guide you through the purchase and installation process.
Where to Purchase?
I’m sure there are many places to purchase a , but one of the finest sources I know of is Craigs List.
Google ‘Craigs List (your city)’ and do a search for ‘hot tubs’ and you’ll get a WHOLE SLEW of info will come up about people in your area selling their hot tubs.
Many of these ads, I have found, are from dealers who are looking to unload their hot tubs for whatever reason. Perhaps they’re discontinued, or a new shipment is coming in and they need to make room…whatever.
These folks can offer decent options for you if you are looking for brand new. The prices are much more reasonable than if you had walked into the store, and financing is often available.
BUT…I prefer the ‘for sale by owner’ variety myself. This is where you’ll find the finest deals.
The skeptic inside me naturally wonders why someone would sell a hot tub that’s in good condition, so I automatically assume that any s for sale on Craigslist are going to be crapola.
That’s not necessarily the case!
Some people just aren’t into them. They don’t have that draw to go and soak, or don’t have the time, or consider it a safety issue if they have small children.
So the reality is that you CAN find many good deals through these private owners on Craigslist.
What to look for?
Hopefully pictures are available on the ad, along with a good description of the unit, including any problems that currently exist.
We looked at many ads that included hot tubs in really visibly poor condition. The outside was scratched up, the cover was torn, or leaves and dirt were present in the water. (Even in the ad on Craigslist…can you believe it? Make it look presentable people!)
These are ads that I would personally pass up. If someone isn’t conscientious enough to present their product well online for sale, I’m thinking they’re probably not conscientious enough to take care of it, and you want a hot tub that has been cared for, or at least protected while not in use.
A good ad will include several pictures, ideally with water in the tub and the jets running, and will also indicate if there have been any problems with it.
For example, here’s the ad for the hot tub we just purchased on Craigslist:
2003 down east master spa. Seats 6 . Dimensions 7 feet 8in x 7 ft 8 in. 3 ft tall. New filters access step included . Cover needs to be replaced. We have small children and the tub never gets used. You pick up. $500
This ad struck us as being very honest. They did not try to mislead anyone about the age of the hot tub, and freely admitted that the cover needed to be replaced. There were also pictures of the tub with water in it and the jets running, indicating to us that it was working properly.
When we went to see the item, they had the hot tub filled with water, the jets were running, the heat was up, and they disclosed that the lights weren’t working.
All information was on the ‘up and up’ and so we felt comfortable making an informed decision.
In a nutshell, look for the following:
- The seller should freely identify any problems with the item
- The hot tub should be filled with water, hot, with pumps running during your visit
- There should be no water pooling around the edges of the tub (this would indicate there are leaks in the piping, and that can be expensive)
- Push all the buttons to see if they work, feel the jets, look at the filtration system…you are considering buying the item, so don’t be shy about this!
- The seller should be open to you hiring someone to come and inspect the item before purchase
Are you informed enough to make a purchase decision?
If you’re looking at a hot tub that appears to be in decent shape, that is warm and running, without any visible leaks around the tub, then you can probably assume it’s in decent enough shape to purchase.
BUT….it is also very wise to hire someone to make that assessment for you.
You may not know enough about pumps or jets to determine whether or not they are in good condition or will need immediate repair.
RJS Hot Tub Service in the Milwaukee area charged about $100 in 2014 for a service call and a 60 minute visit. Consider finding someone like this to give you their opinion on the purchase before you invest your money.
Then you will be fully informed about any issues that need to be dealt with once you have the item at your home.
What’s involved in the move?
The hot tub will need to be detached from the electrical source at it’s current location, and reconnected to an electrical source at your home. In addition, there may be issues that need to be dealt with at either the seller’s home or your home in order to remove and install the item.
When we looked at our hot tub, the sellers had it turned on with the water running, and the hot tub was sitting on a fenced in deck. The electrical source had to be disconnected at their house and a section of the fence needed to be removed.
This should be discussed during your visit. Ask them if they intend to have this done prior to move, or if they are expecting you to handle it. Ideally, your sellers will have this taken care of. Our sellers had a family electrician disconnect the electrical source, and then they prepared for the move by removing a section of fence.
This helped us out a great deal and saved us some money!
Once this was worked out, we had to arrange to get the beast at our home in one piece, AND we had to get rid of our old hot tub prior to the new one coming in! (This is a whole process in and of itself, and I address it below.)
Now….you may be thinking….hey, I’ve got some strong friends and a trailer that I can get that thing over to my place and save some money.
PLEASE USE CAUTION WITH THIS APPROACH! Hot tubs are fragile items, and the slightest amount of rocking can cause cracks in the fragile structure, rendering it not usable.
I would recommend paying the cost of having it professionally moved for you. This will ensure it’s safe arrival to your home. The cost can be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to over $1000, but it is money well spent.
Keep in mind that the movers will most likely not have the ability to connect the hot tub to your electrical source. This will have to be a separate service call for you.
Total of all costs!
So what are you actually looking at…bottom line:
- Cost of the hot tub
- Cost of electric disconnect and reconnect
- Cost of move
- Cost of any repairs
- Cost of preparing your site for installation (this is a whole topic in and of itself…if you don’t know what’s involved in making your site ready for a hot tub, please review this page! This may be the largest cost you incur!)
This was our final cost:
- Hot tub – $450
- They disconnected, our reconnect was $100
- Move – $360 (we got a military discount…YAY!)
- No repairs needed
- Site already had a hot tub, so was ready for installation
This brings our grand total to $910!!! Not bad for an awesome in great working condition!
The one thing I did do was email the owner at RJS Hot Tub Service giving him the pictures of the tub, along with descriptions of the item so that he could give us his assessment of it’s worth.
He indicated that if we could get this for anything below $1500 it would be well wroth it. He also indicated that he would be able to perform any needed repairs on that particular item.
Do some research, and connect with a hot tub repair company in your area prior to purchase. You will need to know who to call, and the cost involved of such, in the event your item needs work.
Do you have to get rid of your old ?
Will the wonders of Craigs List ever cease???
The whole reason we even had to purchase a was because we screwed up big time (ok, the finance did…I tried to tell him not to empty the hot tub before winter because I had been down that road before…but he didn’t listen to me….Can I do the “I told you so” dance now?? 🙂
I write up all the details of potential winter problems with a hot tub here.
Darlings…you can list anything on Craigs List. ANYTHING!
Now I haven’t had much luck SELLING anything on Craigs List, but when I wanted to give away a free broken hot tub, I had 3 offers within 5 minutes of listing that sucker online.
I’m not kidding!
Oh, I know what you’re thinking….FREE??? WHAT!?!? Why would I want to give away my for free???
Let’s talk about that. If you’re purchasing a new one, you need to get the old one out of there. You may or may not be able to sell it, and if you do sell it, you’re going to get a small amount of money, and you might have an angry buyer come back to you for purchasing a hot tub that doesn’t work that well.
AND you may have to pay to have that hot tub disconnected and disposed of!
The same moving company who was going to charge us $360 to get the new one to our house was going to charge us $400 to remove and dispose of our old one. AND we had to disconnect it ourselves, which would’ve cost another $100 for an electrician.
That’s $500 you’re paying to have your old one removed. So I thought I’d list it on Craigs List along with several pictures of the item.
Here’s how my ad read:
FREE to anyone who can haul it away! Beautiful hot tub that was purchased approximately 6-7 years ago, seats 6, and that is in good working condition (mostly). We would be soaking in it right now if we hadn’t let it sit out all winter empty which led to the pipes freezing and breaking. Many pipes will need to be replaced before it can be used, however jets are operational, and pump is working well. Like I said, we’d be sitting in it ourselves if we hadn’t done this dufus winter move. Hot tub is located on a cement slab behind the house, with easy access for removal. Text or email if interested!
Seriously, within 5 minutes….that thing was spoken for. Not only would these folks haul it away for free, but they were so excited about it, they arranged for an electrician to disconnect it….AT THEIR COST!
So they came that night to get the thing removed. I’m gonna tell you straight up that I have no idea how or IF it’s working in their yard, because they had 3 of their friends come and haul it away…dragging it across the cement and hoisting it onto this rickety trailer.
I don’t even know if they made it home without the thing falling off the trailer. But they got it for free so they were happy as clams, and we got it removed for free, so we were pretty happy clams ourselves.
Buying a is totally worth it!
Based on my experience I would say that buying a is really worth the extra hassle. The cost is much more reasonable, there is no need to finance the project, and you’ll likely get a much nicer hot tub than you could afford to buy new.
I hope this information helps you on your search!
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