How much does a spa cost in Australia? (Spa prices, considerations and more)

Thinking about buying a hot tub or spa,and wondering: "How much does a spa cost?". You may also be asking: "Why is there such a huge range in spa pool pricing?”.

After all, you can spend $2,999 on one spa or $29,999 on another and – on the surface, they look pretty similar. But are they?

What is the best spa for the money?

Working out how much to spend on a spa can be confusing.

After all, you can spend $2,999 on one spa or $29,999 another and – on the surface, they look pretty similar. But are they?

For example, if you compare three different spas from Spa World™ with (on the face of it) similar specifications you will find a big difference in prices.

Three similar looking spas, three very different prices:

The spas above are all 2 meters by 2 meters, seat 4-5 adults, have a circulation pump (filtration pump) and a single jet pump, and have 35-40 jets – so why the price difference?

Well, if you look at the technical specifications of the spas mentioned above, you'll see they have some key differences that set them apart. We explain more below...

Why are spa prices so different?

When building a spa, manufacturers have many options to choose from and all these can affect the quality and ultimately, the price.

Here are some factors that can have an impact on the final sale price:

  • Where the spa is made?
  • How is it made?
  • What parts are going to be used to make it?
  • What to put in and what to leave out?
  • What kind of warranty and after-sales service is offered?

Why does it matter where a spa is made?

Spa pools are very labour intensive to make.

Most of the process is not automated and therefore the cost of the labour in the country of manufacture, ultimately influences the price (but not necessarily quality) of the spa.

Many of the best quality spas in Australia (and certainly the best value spas) are made in China, Mexico and Eastern Europe where labour costs are lower than in developed countries. Learn more about spas and swim spas made in China.

It is important to note that where a spa is made is not a guide to quality.

Some of the best spas on the market for quality and value are made in developing countries; Jacuzzi® Spas and HotSpring® Spas have plants in Mexico. Oasis Spas™, Lifestyle Spas™ and Vortex Spas™ are made in China.

What are the most important parts of a spa?

The average spa has hundreds of components and manufacturers have options for every one of them.

Put simply, cheap parts lead to a cheaper spa. They also lead to breakages, failures and buyer remorse!

Using quality components can easily double the manufacturing cost of a spa pool, which in turn leads to a retail price that is twice as high. As an example, look back at the difference in price between the three spas mentioned earlier in this article.

Listed below are some really important things to look out for when choosing a spa.

  • A moulded base with an upturn. This stops water getting into the inside of the spa’s cabinet when it rains.
  • A treated timber, or plastic frame. Ask to see absolute proof of the timber treatment as many suppliers claim their frames are treated when in fact they are just painted. Also, don’t be fooled by ‘stainless steel’ frames. It is usually very low-quality stainless steel and we have seen many rusted steel frames.
  • US-made acrylic shell. If it doesn’t state US-made, it isn’t. No one outside of the US makes decent quality acrylic sheet yet.
  • A recognised brand of control system. The big ones are Balboa, Gecko and SpaNet. HotSpring® Spas make their own and these are also very good. Once again, if the supplier is not claiming they use one of the above brands – steer clear!
  • A decent warranty on the jets and plumbing. This should be 2-5 years.
  • The quality of the cabinet. Ask the retailer to remove it for you so you can assess the weight and integrity. The cabinet is going to get hit with years of UV rays and poor quality cabinets will quickly fade and warp, turning your new spa into an eyesore

Using quality components can easily double the manufacturing cost of a spa pool, which in turn leads to a retail price that is twice as high. As an example, look back at the difference in price between the three spas mentioned earlier in this article.

Just be aware, it is almost impossible to build a quality spa and bring it to market for less than $5000 and even then, it would have very low functionality (see below).

Should I upgrade to a spa with more features?

The more features a spa has,the more enjoyment you are likely to get from your spa. As mentioned above, a spa with better components will cost more but the extra expense now can save you money down the track.

Here are some top features to look for in any spa you buy:

A circulation pump.

Circulation pumps lead to cheaper running costs, better water quality and a quieter spa than a two-speed pump. A spa with a circulation pump would be at least $1000 more than the same spa fitted with a 2-speed pump.

An automated sanitising system.

Ozone (which clarifies the water) is a must. UV (which sanitisers the water) is preferable, and any spa with multi-stage filtration is going to be easier to maintain than one without. A very good automatic sanitising system can easily add $2000 to the price of a spa when compared to the same spa without.

Good levels of insulation.

The bare minimum should be insulation of both the shell of the spa and the inside of the cabinet, but ideally, choose a spa with ‘full-foam’ insulation as these have the lowest running costs - see this article on how much a spa costs to run. Full foam insulation can add $2000 to the retail price of a spa but the savings over time on running cost could be considerably more, making good insulation a great investment.

A heavy cover.

A thicker, higher density cover is better for reducing heat loss and therefore running costs. Choose a cover lifter to make removing the cover easier.

A treated timber or plastic frame.

Once again, ask the retailer to remove the side of the spa and show you.

Big water jets.

Manufacturers will often inflate the jet count of a spa by using lots of little water jets or air jets. The bigger the jet, the better the massage. Some of the best hydrotherapy spas on the market including Jacuzzi®, Hot Spring® and Bullfrog® have relatively low quantities of jets. More jets is not necessarily better. What is important is the way the jets are designing into the spa. Spa companies with great design and engineering teams will generally produce a spa with superior hydrotherapy, but this does come at a cost. It is one of the many hidden costs that is not recognised, but certainly contributes, to a better spa ownership experience.

Other things to consider with spa costs...

The above points are reasonably easy to look for but there are some other aspects of a spa that are harder to spot.

We have already mentioned things like the acrylic, the framing, the controller type and the insulation; but there a couple more to pay attention to.

The first is the amount of resin that is applied to the acrylic shell. This is probably the single biggest determiner of spa life span. Discuss this with the retailer, but if you are brave enough, try to pick the spa up under the lip. If you can lift it, even an inch, don’t buy it!

Lastly, check the type of piping that is used in the plumbing. Clear plastic tubing is not good. You should be seeing a ribbed flexible PVC plumbing. This type of plumbing has been specifically designed for hot, chemically treated water.

Learn more...

Hopefully, after reading this article you now have a better understanding of why spas that look the same on the surface, can vary so much in price.

For more information, visit the Spa World product pages where you can see all of our spas, swim spas and prices.

Or visit your nearest Spa World store or contact us now, for advice and tips on buying the best spa for you!

DISCLAIMER

In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™.

All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (8 July 2020) and may change without notice.

The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd:

Oasis Spas® trademark is owned by Oasis Leisure Products Pty Ltd. Artesian Spas™ trademark is owned by Artesian Spas Bullfrog Spas® trademark is owned by Bullfrog International, LC Signature® Spas trademark is owned by Spa Industries Pty Ltd (SCS). HotSpring® Spas trademark is owned by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation (Watkins). Lifestyle Spas® trademark is owned by Lifestyle Spas and Leisure Sapphire Spas® Alpine Spas®

Affiliations:

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

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

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