If you're looking at taking the plunge and purchasing a spa, you may have begun your search online. The tremendous amount of information about hydrotherapy spas, swim spas and spa pools available on the Net can be more than a bit overwhelming, so we've put together a helpful list of the top five essentials that the perfect spa should offer:
1. Optimised Energy Efficiency
Be sure to investigate the energy efficiency of the hydrotherapy or swim spas you're considering before making any decision.
For optimal heat retention and cost savings, you need intelligent thermal tuning that intuitively avoids unnecessary temperature drops to reduce 'on-demand' heating. Perimeter insulation in the cabinet instead of the usual 'foam on shell' application lets the unit recycle heat from the pumps and equipment and retain heat in the plumbing, as well. An added benefit is a quieter operation, which equates to a more relaxing spa experience.
Does the unit you're looking at come with power saving software which schedules heating and filtering when power costs are at their lowest? The advent of the smart meter makes this an essential and forward-thinking feature. Another key consideration should be a hybrid heat pump that multiplies single units of energy into several units of heat, which can cut running costs by as much as 50%. An added perk is that hybrid heat pumps keep the water in hydrotherapy spas and spa pools refreshingly cool even when outdoor temperatures soar.
2. Multi-faceted Water Filtration
To enjoy your new spa fully, you'll want to ensure it contains only clear, clean water. The best way to guarantee this is to include microfiltration to trap water-borne particles as small as 5 microns, instead of the 50 microns of conventional filters.
UV sterilisation that kills 99% of viruses and bacteria such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium is also vital, as is an ozone clarifier that utilises a mixing chamber to maximise the effectiveness and safety of the process. Whilst employing these methods will dramatically reduce the need for chemicals, don't forget they should be backed up with an auto-dosing chlorine-free sanitiser such as Sanosil to you'll always step into incredibly clean water.
3. Uncompromising Quality and Durability
Hydrotherapy spas or spa pools aren't spur-of-the-moment purchases for most; they are investments. That's why the quality of construction is paramount, so only give serious thought to spas that offer a top-quality shell, preferably a 4-layer one crafted in a Thermabond process.
Ensure that it's made with unibody construction that binds the shell with the spa frame for added torsional strength and rigidity.
Low maintenance bearing-less jets with stainless steel spindles are also essential, as well as tough, long-lasting Duraflex flexible PVC plumbing which eliminates any right angles to diminish pressure, and the risk of kinks.
A top-notch heating unit should come standard; one that is properly housed in marine-grade stainless steel tubing, with Incoloy elements protected by a generous corrosion-resistant Teflon coating.
4. An Ultra-Pampering Spa Experience
A big part of the experience with hydrotherapy or swim spas is the sheer luxury that comes with ownership. To get the absolute best, look for a company that offers features such as dual ergonomically designed lounger seats, therapy collars that target sore, tired neck muscles, and multi-directional hydroflow jets for maximum pressure and a choice of both broad and soothing massage actions.
For those who crave a well-rounded spa experience, look for dynamically adjustable lighting options including flood and jet lights, backlit drink holders, waterline illumination and access lighting. And let's not forget a surround sound entertainment system that incorporates a built-in dock for your iPod and the ability to wirelessly stream music from your mobile phone, iPad, stereo system or computer. Or, how about an LCD TV monitor that lets you view your favourite sports or other programmes wirelessly via your home systems whilst you enjoy a relaxing soak?
5. Easy Care for Unparalleled Enjoyment
Daydreams of owning a hydrotherapy or swim spas usually revolve around the utterly relaxing and pleasurable experience to be had, and a spa that offers easy care will make those dreams come to life. To that end, ensure that your spa of choice offers an intuitive, easy-to-master controller to give you maximum flexibility paired with one-touch operation, along with a state-of-the-art water treatment system and disposable filter.
Add in an easy-to-clean thermoclad cabinet, and your desired mix of pampering perks, and you'll garner the utmost in carefree enjoyment, whether you're considering a compact or family-size hydrotherapy spas, luxurious spa pools, or spectacular units that combine both. One vital consideration that can't be overstated is how well a company backs its products; don't settle for anything less than 10-year non-prorated structural and 5-year jet guarantees to assure you of truly blissful, hassle-free spa ownership.
What other features do you think are important to have in a spa or swim spa?