Best Spa Pools In Australia - Top 6 Spa Brands Reviewed

As I usually do, I will start this article with a disclosure. I am the CEO of Spa World™ which retails spas, and Vortex Leisure™ which manufactures Vortex® and Fisher™ Spas.

I have also been involved with other spa pool retailers and manufacturers over the years and so have developed a pretty good eye for what constitutes not only a good spa but a good spa retailer.

In this article, I use brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article.

If you have been shopping for spas, you have probably been told by each salesperson that theirs are the best. The fact is that there are a number of great options for spas in Australia and fortunately, very few duds. 

I am going to attempt in this article to give you an objective view of the top 6 spa brands by volume, along with a bit of history about each of them.

HotSpring® Spas Review

I know HotSpring® spas well as our Spa World™ business sold them for a number of years in Australia.

HotSpring® is, without doubt, the largest spa manufacturer in the world and they make a very good product. They have been making spas for more than 50 years and for many years, actually had an assembly operation in Auckland - the only one outside of the US until they opened a plant in Mexico.

HotSpring® spas are sold through a small group of independent retailers in Australia.

HotSpring® offer various ranges of spas from Dream Maker™ plastic rotomold spas, through their mid-market Hot Spot™ and Limelight® ranges, to their premium HighLife® range.

The Hot Spot™ and Limelight® are made in their Mexico plant whilst HighLife® is still made in the US. Don’t read anything into this with regard to quality, as where a spa is made, has little to do with the quality of the product. Please read my post about where spas are made here if you want to learn more.

There is no doubt that HotSpring® Spas make a great product. They are reliable, very good quality, offer great hydrotherapy - particularly in the HighLife® range, and have very low running costs due to the use of ‘full-foam’ insulation.

On the downside, they are relatively expensive - particularly the HighLife® range, without offering a commensurate improvement in the above factors to fully justify the extra dollars. But if you have the budget, you will not be disappointed.

Something to be aware of is the claims about the Freshwater® salt water sanitising system. It is definitely an improvement over their previous A.C.E® system, but if you are looking for a chlorine-free system, this is not for you. The system simply turns salt into chlorine. To avoid chlorine, there are other chlorine-free options available to you.

Pros of Hot Spring Spas:

  • Quality 
  • Low running costs
  • Great hydrotherapy

Cons of Hot Springs Spas:

  • Higher prices
  • High consumable costs
  • Smaller dealer network than other brands

HotSpring® spa prices range from $13000 to $35,000. (Highlife® and Limelight®)

Jacuzzi® Spas Review

Spa World™ has recently started selling Jacuzzi® Spas and so I will attempt to remain unbiased.

Jacuzzi®, or rather the Jacuzzi brothers, invented hydromassage and spas as we know them some 64 years ago.

They had a business producing agricultural pumps when one of their sons was born with severe arthritis. They adapted a pump to be used in a bathtub and spa pools were born!

Jacuzzi® is the second largest spa manufacturer in the world (after HotSpring­™ Spas), and is based in California, again, with a factory in Mexico.

They offer several ranges of spas from their entry-level J-200™ series through to their premium J-500™ series. As you move up through the ranges, the quality remains high but you get more features and improved hydrotherapy. 

Apples for apples, Jacuzzi® spas are slightly less experienced than HotSpring® Spas and claim the same quality, features and hydrotherapy. Certainly, from our experience, the two brands are very closely matched in terms of quality, running costs and hydrotherapy. Jacuzzi® spas also feature ‘full-foam’ insulation as standard.

On the downside, Jacuzzi® still uses treated timber frames which most premium manufacturers have moved away from, but they claim to have no problems with them. We have seen no evidence of any failure.

One thing we have learned to love about Jacuzzi® is their patented SmartTub™ remote app control system. Other available apps available on the market rely on WiFi connections that often have inconsistent connections and can be hard to set up. The SmartTub™ system uses cellular connectivity which is much more stable and very easy to set up.

If you are looking for the best, you won’t go wrong with either HotSpring® or Jacuzzi®.

Pros of Jacuzzi® Spas:

  • Quality 
  • Low running costs
  • Great hydrotherapy
  • Cellular app connection 

Cons of Jacuzzi® Spas:

  • Higher prices
  • Treated Timber frame

Jacuzzi portable spa prices range from $11000 to $30,000. 

Signature® Spas Reviewed

Signature® Spas are one of Australia’s oldest brands having been in the market for over 30 years. Although Signature® Spas are made in Melbourne since 2018 after a brief experiment with manufacture in China. Signature® Spas was sold to a company called Catalina Hong Kong Limited, based in Kowloon Hong Kong.

Assembling spas in Australia does mean that you get a bit less bang for the buck because of the higher costs.

Signature® Spas are sold through the Just Spas® retail group which is a group of company-owned and licensed independent retailers. 

Signature® Spas have a number of good features. The quality is equal to anything else on the market (in the same price bracket) and they do have injection-moulded plastic frames. They use good quality components and our experience is that they provide good backup service.

On the downside, the Australian assembly does come at a cost with higher labour rates. As discussed in a separate article, the place of manufacture does not necessarily impact quality, but in this case, Signature® Spas continue to offer good value for money - albeit without some of the features found on HotSpring® spa, Jacuzzi® spa and even Vortex® Spas such as higher levels of insulation (which lowers running costs). Furthermore, if you are looking at the best hydrotherapy, you would be better to look at either HotSpring® or Jacuzzi®.

Pros of Signature Spas:

  • Quality 
  • Australian assembled (but Chinese owned)
  • Injection moulded plastic frames

Cons of Signature Spas:

  • Less ‘bang for the buck’ than some imported brands
  • Higher running costs than some premium brands

Signature portable spa prices range from $7000 to $15,000. 

Oasis® Spas Reviewed

The Oasis® Spa brand is owned and manufactured by Crystal Island™ Spas in China. Crystal Island™ is a very good manufacturer, making a product that is of good quality, with good features and average levels of hydrotherapy. Crystal Island™ also owns Spa Choice™ through which Oasis® spas are sold. Oasis® spas are also available through some independent retailers.

Oasis® Spas are available in two configurations, Classic and Platinum. Whilst the Platinum range almost matches Vortex Spas® and Signature® for features, the Classic range falls well short, so it's worth going for the upgrade.

On the downside, Oasis® does not offer timber free frames - although their timber frames are some of the better ones on the market. Overall, Oasis® offers good value for the price and their Platinum range sits (with Vortex® below) between the prices, quality and performance of Sapphire® and the US brands such as Jacuzzi® and HotSpring® Spas.

Pros of Oasis Spas:

  • Good Quality 
  • Quality features on the Platinum range

Cons of Oasis Spas:

  • Timber frame
  • The Classic range lacks many of the features of other brands reviewed

Oasis portable spa prices range from $6000 to $18,000.

Sapphire® Spas Reviewed

Sapphire® Spas, like Signature® Spas, is another Australian assembled brand but are also owned by an Australian company. This said, almost all of the components that make up a Sapphire® spas are imported from either China or the US. 

Sapphire® Spas have been manufacturing in Melbourne for over 20 years and make a good quality, rather basic product. They do use SpaNet™ equipment which is very good and highly featured. The shell construction is good as is the plumbing method.

On the downside, they do continue to use a timber frame, but otherwise, produce a good solid spa.

Pros of Sapphire Spas:

  • Good quality 
  • Australian assembled 
  • Australian owned

Cons of Signature Spas:

  • Timber frame
  • Higher running costs than some premium brands

Sapphire® portable spa prices range from $6000 to $18,000.

Vortex Spas® Reviewed

Vortex® Spas has been sold in Australia for a little over 10 years. Vortex Spas® are owned by the same Australian company which owns the Spa World™ and are the largest selling spa brand in Australasia.

Vortex® Spas are designed in Australia and New Zealand but like Oasis® Spas (and many other brands) are made in China. One differentiating factor, however, is that rather than buying from a third party manufacturer, there is cross-ownership between the manufacturer and the importer/retailer - being Spa World™. This does offer more control over quality and design decisions.

Vortex® Spas are sold in over 20 countries worldwide and are possibly best known in the industry for the Vortex® IKON™ spa which has won a number of international design awards including the Good Design™ Australia award.

Vortex® Spas strives to match the quality of the premium US brands but at lower prices to offer better value. Vortex® is recognised in the industry as being a design lead, innovative company and was the first to pioneer the use of UV sterilisation in spas and swim spas.

All Vortex® Spas feature injection-moulded Permaframe™ framing along with a raft of other premium features.

On the downside, Vortex® Spas do not have the same level of hydrotherapy performance as Jacuzzi® and HotSpring®, and, like Signature®, Oasis® and Sapphire®, would be more expensive to heat than the premium brands, unless you upgrade to the Vortex® Arctic Pack™ insulation system.

Pros of Vortex Spas:

  • High quality 
  • Australian owned
  • Very highly featured

Cons of Vortex Spas:

  • Slightly higher priced than some other mid-market brands
  • Higher running costs than some premium brands

Vortex® portable spa prices range from $5000 to $20,000.

In summary:

If you are looking at the value end of the market, consider an Oasis® Classic series, or Fisher™ Spas at Spa World (discussed in a future article).

For a mid-level spa, consider Vortex®, Oasis® Platinum, Sapphire® or Signature® spa.

If you are the sort of person who demands the best, look at Jacuzzi® and HotSpring®.

I would certainly recommend if you are looking at this level of investment however, you take the opportunity to wet-test each before you decide.

I hope this article has helped answer any question that you might have had and if you still have any questions, please chat with one of our spa consultants.

You can read more of my articles by clicking here.

If you want more information on what to look for when buying a spa or swim spa, download a copy of our Spa Buyers Guide:

Download The Buyers Guide

DISCLAIMER

The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World Australia Pty Ltd:

HotSpring® Spas trademark is owned by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation (Watkins).

Signature® Spas trademark is owned by Spa Industries Pty Ltd (SCS).

Oasis® Spas trademark is owned by Oasis Leisure Products Pty Ltd

Sapphire® Spas is owned by T & G Enterprises (Vic) Pty. Ltd.

Affiliations:

Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas and Spa World® are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd.

The Jacuuzzi® brand is owned by Jacuzzi Inc. and exclusively licensed for use to Spa World™ in Australia and New Zealand.