Once regarded as just an imitation of the real thing, inflatable hot tubs are fast becoming a very popular alternative to a built-in spa.
If you’re looking for a great spa experience at a fraction of the price of a high-end one, then look no further.
In a hurry?
=> See the Best Deals on Inflatable Hot Tubs
Coleman inflatable Lay Z Spa hot tubs can be set up and ready to go in 24 hours, possibly less if you follow one of the tips later in our review.
The ease with which they can be emptied, moved and then set up again means that no longer are you stuck with just the one location either. If you don’t like where you put it, or want to move it indoors for the winter, with one of these models, you can do just that.
What Are The Top 2 Market Leaders?
You may have found your way here as you’ve already decided to buy a portable spa but needed more information. If so, you’re in luck as we’re going to review two of the market leaders so we can help you decide which one to get.
Both products are “Lay Z Spa” systems which is a brand name also used by Bestway (USA) Inc, who manufacture the Miami model inflatable hot tub for Coleman. (see video below)
Coleman has a long history as leaders in outdoor and recreational goods. Their reputation for supplying durable and long-lasting products is well known. You will be happy to know that their inflatable spas are no exception.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the top 2 Coleman hot tub reviews.
Coleman Lay Z Spa 4-6 Person Inflatable Hot Tub
This Coleman Hot Tub model is our top recommendation and has almost identical features to the Miami (we review below) with just a few differences.
Our favorite hot tub comes in the traditional Coleman green color. The pump unit that sits beside the tub also comes in the same green for a smart looking setup.
Sold as a tub that can fit 4-6 people, we feel it is being a little bit hopeful to get 6 adults in! If you were all very good friends you might not mind, but assuming most people would want their own ‘personal space’ then the maximum we would suggest is 3 or 4 adults. You might be able to fit 2 children in as well but that would be the limit.
This model is the most popular Coleman portable hot tub on Amazon with over 700 customer reviews with a 4.5 star rating!
Measurements and Weight
This spa measures 77 inches in diameter and has a depth of 28 inches when inflated. This gives it a capacity of 254 gallons of water, which will take you around an hour to fill up with a hose from a cold water tap.
With that much water, you might not be surprised to learn that the tub has a filled weight of around 2,700 lbs so make sure that the floor or surface you locate your tub on can take that much weight. Check the user manual that’s included for further recommendations and advice on this.
When the tub is empty, it weighs just 88 lbs so is very easy to move around which is what makes these inflatable spas so great, they’re just so portable!
Video On How To Set Up The Coleman Inflatable Hot Tub
Inside the Coleman Hot Tub
The inner liner on the Coleman Inflatable Tub is a plain white color, unlike the Miami model we review below which has an attractive mosaic pattern. Many would prefer the patterned liner but we do not see it as a deal breaker.
Around the edge at the bottom is where you will find a ring of 120 air holes that the Lay-Z-Massage pump system pushes air out of when in spa mode. Not the powerful jets you might find in a permanent spa, but gently soothing instead.
Finally, you will find a drain plug at the bottom for easy draining of the spa for winter storage or moving location.
Materials, Construction & Comfort
Most reviewers on Amazon find the Coleman Hot Tub very sturdy, in fact, you can sit on the edges or lean against the sides without them collapsing, which is remarkable for an inflatable.
This strength is all due to the I-Beam construction inside and the tough, triple-layer TriTech material used outside, both of which make for very strong walls. The material has a soft fabric covering for comfort when sitting in the tub and is particularly puncture and wear resistant.
This hot tub, unlike the Miami, comes with an insulated groundsheet to put under the tub when setting up. This is a heavy-duty bubble wrap material and provides extra cushioning as well. Just remember to put it down before you start filling the tub with water!
The Pump System
The egg-shaped pump unit that sits next to the spa once it’s set up, is the heart and brains of this system. It provides functions for inflating the tub, heating and filtering the water and pumping air for the bubbles.
The unit will need connecting to a suitable power outlet so make sure you put the hot tub within reach of one.
There have been reports of some household circuits not being able to handle anything else running on them at the same time, so check with the manual and your electrician for advice if in doubt.
How Does the Control Panel work?
On top of the pump unit is an easy to use control panel that allows you to control all the functions of the pump. Although it sits below the edge of the tub, you can still reach it safely when sat in the spa.
The different function buttons include:
- Lock/Unlock (padlock symbols) – the panel auto locks after 5 minutes. To unlock just press the button for 3 seconds.
- Timer function (clock symbols) – allows you to set a time for the heater to stay on (from 1 to 48 hours). This also allows you to set when the heater turns on, up to 24 hours in advance.
- Water filter (revolving arrow symbols) – turns the water filter function on and off. The water filter pump is also turned on when the heater comes on and continues after it goes off.
- Temperature display (C/F symbol) – toggles between displaying Celsius and Fahrenheit
- Heating system (flame symbol) – activates the heating system. This heats the water up to 1 deg C above the set temperature and then turns off. When the water temperature drops 2 deg C below the set temperature it restarts
- Lay-Z-Massage system (bubbles symbol) – activates the massage system. This will shut off automatically after 30 minutes
- Up and Down arrows – used in setting the temperature and timer
Note that the system auto hibernates after 72 hours if no buttons are pressed. Remember to check it or you may come out to a lukewarm spa! It’s easy to wake up the system, just press the unlock button on the control panel.
How Does the Water Filter System Work?
The pump unit also houses and controls the main part of the water filtration system whilst the filter cartridges are located in the two outlets inside the pool. The manufacturer recommends checking and cleaning the filters every day, dependent on usage.
They are quite easy to clean under a tap or with a hose but once they become discolored, it’s time to change them. There are two filters included but you can easily buy more. Note that the manual recommends changing these every week, but again, that depends on how often you use it.
No chemicals are included in the hot tub kit so you will need to source those from your local pool shop or online. There is a float provided to hold the chemical tablets that makes it easy to add chemicals to the water.
Inflatable Cover and Warranty
An inflatable cover is provided with an aluminum foil backing that attaches to the sides with straps. Note whilst this might be a child deterrent, adult supervision is always required when children are near the hot tub.
The cover provides great insulation to help keep the water up to temperature and also provides protection against debris, leaves etc.
A 1-year warranty on the pump is provided together with a 6-month warranty on the spa itself. Register your product straight away following the guide in the manual to get the best service.
Finally, a setup DVD is included in the box which has easy to follow instructions on how to set things up. There is also a special plastic wrench for the air valve on the spa wall together with a heavy-duty puncture repair patch included just in case.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Coleman Inflatable Spas?
- Quick and easy to set up – no tools required
- Tub fills quickly with a standard garden hose
- Easy to move when empty
- Sides are very firm once inflated – do not sag or buckle
- Very quiet in operation, even with the bubbles on!
- No steps needed to climb in
- Comfortable seating
- Good customer service from Coleman
- Can be used indoors as well if a suitable area is available
- Takes 24 hours to heat up to maximum temperature from cold
- Not recommended for use outside in temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit
- Filters need changing depending on how much you use it
- Auto shutoff after 72 hours could be annoying
Coleman Miami Inflatable 4 Person Portable Outdoor Hot Tub Spa
The Miami is a great tub that will fit in even a small backyard or basement.
Sporting a stylish gray-black color on the outside with a white and blue mosaic design inside, it will look good anywhere.
Although it’s billed as a 4 person tub we think that probably means 2 adults and 2 children. If you had 4 adults in there it might be a bit cozy, but still possible!
Measurements And Weight
The spa measures 71 inches in diameter by 26 inches deep when inflated and holds 192 gallons of water. When filled, it weighs 2,261 lbs. so make sure that wherever you are going to put the spa is strong enough to hold it!
The average deck might not be up to the job without some additional support. We recommend locating it on a flat, stable surface such as grass or a concrete base.
Inside The Miami Hut Tub
The inner liner has that nice mosaic pattern mentioned earlier and the floor feels thick and padded. It’s so comfortable to sit on, many people prefer it to the hard seats in a permanent spa!
Inside the spa, you will find a ring of 120 holes near the base which is where the air comes out to produce the all-important bubbles.
Whilst not as powerful as a high-end spa system, this Lay-Z-Massage system still provides a very soothing, relaxing experience.
There is also a handy drain plug at the bottom that you can attach a hose to when emptying out the spa.
Stylish Material And Inner Construction
Constructed from a very strong material called TriTech, many people find the hot tub remarkably sturdy. TriTech is a triple-layer reinforced material that has a soft fabric covering and is made from a polyester mesh between two layers of PVC. It’s also puncture and tear resistant.
The Pump System
Inflation, heating, filtering and the bubbles are all provided by the egg-shaped pump unit that sits next to the tub once you have it set up. With this model, it comes in a nice light gray color.
You will need a nearby power outlet on a circuit that is rated at a suitable current. Most normal household circuits should be ok but if in doubt, check with your electrician. The user manual contains more information.
How Does The Control Panel Work?
All the functions are controlled from a digital control panel on top of the pump unit. This can be reached (and is safe to do so) from inside the spa. The function buttons include:
- Lock/Unlock (padlock symbols) – the panel auto locks after 5 minutes. To unlock just press the button for 3 seconds.
- Timer Function (clock symbols) – allows you to set a time for the heater to stay on (from 1 to 48 hours). Also allows you to set when the heater turns on, up to 24 hours in advance.
- Water Filter (revolving arrow symbols) – turns the water filter function on and off. The water filter pump is also turned on when the heater comes on and continues after it goes off.
- Temperature Display (C/F symbol) – toggles between displaying Celsius and Fahrenheit.
Heating System (flame symbol) – activates the heating system. This heats the water up to 1 deg Celsius above the set temperature and then turns off. When the water temperature drops 2 deg Celsius below the set temperature it restarts.
- Lay-Z-Massage System (bubbles symbol) – activates the massage system. This will shut off automatically after 30 minutes.
- Up And Down Arrows – used in setting the temperature and timer.
The system auto hibernates after 72 hours if no buttons are pressed. Some people have found this annoying but it’s easy to wake up by pressing the unlock button on the control panel. Just remember to check it or you may come out to a lukewarm spa!
How Does The Water Filter System Work?
The water filtration system is built into the pump device with the filter cartridges located in the two outlets inside the pool. Depending on how much you use it, the manufacturer recommends checking and cleaning the filters every day.
They can be cleaned under the tap or with a hose but once they become discolored then it’s time to change them. There are two spare ones included but you can easily buy more. Note the manual recommends changing these every week, but again, that depends on usage.
There is a float provided to hold the water treatment chemicals. No chemicals are included in the kit so you will need to source those from your local pool shop or online.
Inflatable Cover And Warranty
To keep as much of the warmth in and debris out when you’re not using it, an inflatable cover is provided that attaches to the sides with straps. Note whilst this might be a child deterrent, it’s not intended as a substitute for adult supervision.
Last but by no means least, a setup DVD is included in the box to provide clear and easy to follow instructions on how to set things up. There is also a special plastic wrench for the air valve on the spa wall together with a heavy-duty puncture repair patch included just in case.
How Does A Coleman Inflatable Hot Tub Work?
Now we’ve covered the features of the two inflatable spas let’s take a quick look at how you set one up and get it working.
The manual and DVD provided with the kit goes through everything you need to know, but here’s a quick overview.
First things first. Have your water treatment chemicals ready before you start. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Any spa will need water treatment to ward off nasty germs and diseases so sort this out right from the word go.
Location And Draining Your Inflatable Hot Tub
Once you’ve unpacked your tub, you need to locate where it’s going to sit bearing in mind the weight of a full spa. You will also need to consider where the nearest power outlet is and that there is suitable drainage nearby. That’s not just for draining the tub, people tend to splash water about getting in and out as well.
If you get the Miami without a ground sheet it would be best to at least put down a tarpaulin to place the tub on.
Other folk have also used foam underlay or a polystyrene sheet. Don’t worry if you don’t have anything, it just helps to insulate the tub from the cold ground.
Then it’s simply a matter of plugging in the pump unit and following the instructions to inflate the spa to the correct pressure.
Once the spa is fully inflated you will be directed to attach the pump and filter connections (very simple hose ‘A’ goes to connector ‘A’). You can then start filling up the tub.
Heating Your Hot Tub Is Easy
When it’s full you will then need to start heating the water. Even though the Coleman spas come with a rapid heating system (about 2-3 deg Fahrenheit per hour), this can still take a long time.
You should allow around 24 hours if you are starting from cold water to reach the 104 degrees Fahrenheit maximum temperature. If you are in a hurry you could try filling it up to half way with cold water. Then top up with hot water from a kitchen/bathroom tap if you have a hose connector to fit.
Some customers have reported getting up and running in 6 hours using this trick!
Once you are up to temperature and have treated the water, you can at last start enjoying your inflatable hot tub.
It’s fairly straightforward to operate. Just sit back and soak in the warmth, then press the button to activate the Lay-Z-Massage system.
All of a sudden you will be surrounded with lots of gently bubbling water.
You might become aware after 15 minutes or so of bubbly bliss that the water temperature starts to go down. It’s not a fault, the pump can only do one thing at a time, so when its making bubbles it can’t heat the water. It is also drawing in outside air so this will cool things down as well.
Are Coleman Inflatable Hot Tubs Expensive To Run?
With all this heating and pumping of air for bubbles, you will probably be wondering what’s the running cost of a Lay Z Spa inflatable hot tub?
It all depends on how much you intend to use the spa and where you live so costs can vary widely.
As a rough guide, heating up a new tub of water from cold will cost around $5.
How To Keep Heating Costs Down?
One tip if you intend to run this all the time is to set the temperature at 100 degrees Fahrenheit when not using it. It will take an hour or so to get back up to the optimum 104 degrees Fahrenheit when you do want to get in, but will cut your bill dramatically.
Also, don’t forget to use the insulated cover to keep costs down!
There are water costs as well of course, depending on where you live this could be around $20 for 200 gallons.
Filters cost around $35 for a box of 12 so if you follow the manual and replace them every week it will cost you about $23 per month.
You will also need a supply of water treatment chemicals at roughly $15 per month.
What Happens If There Is A Leak In The Hot Tub?
The Coleman range of inflatable spas are very robust but there have been one or two isolated reports of the spa liner springing a leak. So, if it happens, what do you do? Is the hot tub easy to repair?
The first place to check is the air valve. That might need tightening using the plastic wrench included in the spa kit.
If that didn’t solve it then you will need to hunt the leak down following the instructions in the manual or on the DVD.
Once you’ve found it then use the included puncture repair patch to seal it. It’s a fairly simple process to apply the patch although you will need to buy some PVC glue as that does not come in the kit.
If you’ve still got problems call Coleman on their contact number provided for customer support. They have proven very helpful to many people and will guide you through what you need to do.
How Long Do Inflatable Hot Tubs Last?
The Coleman inflatable spas are built to last and you should expect to get around 5-6 years usage out of one.
The better care you take of it the longer it will last obviously.
Using and storing the spa in colder climates will also take its toll. The plastics used in construction can become brittle at colder temperatures. The manual states it should not be used outside when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit as it may cause damage to the unit.
Always store the unit in a warm and dry environment as well to prolong its life.
Which Inflatable Hot Tub Is The Best?
As you will know by now, the two we covered here are very similar so one is only better than the other if it fits in with your lifestyle.
Maybe the color is a big thing for you so that may change your preference.
If none of these matter and you just want the best value for money then we recommend you go for the Coleman Hot Tub that fits 4-6 people. It has a few nice little extras and of course, is roomier.
How Much Are The Coleman Portable Hot Tubs?
Both are currently in the $350 to $400 price range and available with Free Shipping.
Whichever you choose, we don’t think you will regret buying a Coleman Lay Z Spa.
Especially when you are relaxing in your hot tub knowing it cost you around 10 times less than a built-in one!