Caldera, Jacuzzi, Allstate, Leisure, Sundance, Tradewinds, Hot Springs, Direct, Lifestyles, Thermo — well, you get the picture. There are so many brands and dealers to choose from. You can even order from big-box stores and get non-insulated knockoffs with fewer features, less quality, and no local support. If you like the idea of spending less to get less and having a semi roll up and drop a big, unmovable box in your driveway — that may by the way to go.
And don’t feel bad if you missed the recent Pool, Hot Tub and Spa Show at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi — or went to the show and still can’t decide which hot tub spa is right for you. Purchasing a hot tub is a major decision and a significant investment. While it is the time of year when many choose to make the dream of owning a hot tub a reality, it’s not the time for a hurried or uniformed decision.
According to Stephanie, the owner of Tradewinds Spas, a hot tub and spa dealer with locations in Novi and Utica, Michigan, “Pool, hot tub, home and garden shows are a popular option for seeing what the marketplace has to offer, but the show environment can be a bit overwhelming. In the end it’s more important to select a product that not only looks great but meets expectations long term. Bells and whistles are important too, but make sure your selection represents a lasting value. You want to be happy with your spa at the time of purchase AND for many years to come.”
“We actually encourage our customers to shop around and avoid being pressured into a decision they are not ready to make. We feel comfortable saying that, because the premium Caldera brand of products Tradewinds offers has earned its respected reputation for performance, appearance, ease of ownership, and value. Our customers want far more than a box-store product and experience. We know that if the customer really does their homework, we have an excellent opportunity to be their product and dealer of choice.”
10 Points to Consider When Choosing Your Hot Tub and Spa Dealer
- Size: How many people do you want your hot tub to accommodate and what are the dimensions and accessibility of the desired location?
- Comfort: To ensure the tub is comfortable sit in the tub. Look for seating depth and variety, foot-well space, lounge fit, access to controls, cushioned headrests and ease of entry and exit. If desired, a dealer who cares about their customer’s ultimate satisfaction with the product will be happy to arrange for a “soak test” where you can experience everything the spa has to offer.
- Hydrotherapy: Don’t be fooled by the jet count alone. What’s more important are the variety, placement and adjustability of the hydrotherapy system. A hot tub that maximizes the hydrotherapy experience will address all of the body’s major muscle groups.
- Options and Accessories: Does the brand and model being considering offer the options you are looking for such as color, music system, lounge seating, and ease of operation? Does the purchase price include accessories such as steps, cover, filter and water treatment supplies?
- Safety: Be sure that the hot tub you are considering is listed by a recognized independent testing agency such as UL or ETL. Make sure you understand the electrical requirements and use a qualified electrician to connect the electrical service to the spa. Review and adhere to all of the safety recommendations contained in the owner’s manual.
- Reliability: Look for a spa that is well built, uses high quality materials and is backed by a reputable manufacturer and dealer. How long have they been in business, and do they have an established reputation for the quality, durability and reliability of their products?Are they willing and able to stand behind the warranty?
- Ease of Maintenance: Most spa purchasers are looking for a hot tub that won’t require a lot of time and work to keep the water clear and clean and the tub looking like new. Consider tubs that offer a Corona Discharge (CD) ozone generator. Consider the type of filtration system offered and whether or not the unit has a circulation pump that creates continuous filtration and provides flow the heater for maintaining the desired water temperature. Is the exterior of the hot tub made of a technologically advanced, long lasting, low maintenance material or is it made of wood that will require staining and may rot over time?
- Energy Efficiency: Does the brand you are considering come standard with effective insulation for the tub shell and plumbing? Full foam insulation surrounding the shell combined with a custom-fit high density foam cover for the spa are essential to keeping the cold out and heat in.
- Cost of Operation: In addition to energy usage, what type and how many filters are required to keep your water clean and clear? How frequently must they be replaced and at what cost? Some brands incorporate multiple and “specialized” filters and may charge a hefty sum when it comes time for replacement. What chemicals are required to treat and maintain the water? Is the water treatment routine simple and easy to follow? Don’t be fooled by some who claim their product does not require chemicals for clean and safe water. Don’t lock yourself in to a brand that requires excessive, unique and pricy chemical products.
- Dealer Support: Look for a dealer that has been in business for a many years and has offered their brand for an extended period of time. Is the owner involved with the day-to-day operation of the business or are they absentee investors? Are hot tubs and spas their primary business or is their attention spread out over a variety of unrelated products? Do they service and support the brand they sell with their own delivery and service department? Do they offer site inspections and recommendations? Do they deliver and place the tub in its final location or leave the product in your driveway? Do they have convenient locations, and do they provide courteous and knowledgeable sales consultants?
Tradewinds Spas and Hot Tubs has served the greater Detroit area and Caldera clientele throughout Michigan for more than 30 years. For more information or to contact Tradewinds Spas, please visit www.tradewindsspas.com.