Rebecca loves sharing what she knows about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and how to live a better life!
Look at this beauty!
Buying a Hot tub?
Buying a hot tub is a big decision. I'm no expert but I took my time reviewing a few brands. The first was Aquarest. Then came Viking, Bullfrog, and Hot Springs. I settled on Lifesmart which is made by Watkins Wellness. This is the same company that makes Hot Springs and Caldera Spa's. They are well known and have great reviews from spa owners.
There is a lot to consider when you buy a hot tub. I've wanted one since I was 20 so for me some of the things to consider didn't matter. But first is the obvious initial cost. If financing is an issue you may want to take out a small loan. Not a big deal to do as long as you have the income to make the payment. No one wants a hot tub repossession! I paid cash for mine. I just wanted it done and over with. But I was not willing to pay 8k for a hot tub, before knowing how committed I would be to care and maintenance.
The Lifesmart Coronado will run you about $3500-$6000 depending on when and where you buy it. I bought ours from www.outletspas.com, more on that later.
You also need to consider the features you want, location, the electric cost to install, operating cost, and maintenance. As well as any "extras" you want like a pergola or gazebo and tub toys!
When you own a hot tub it's similar to taking on another pet. You will have to invest time to balance the chemicals no matter what tub or brand you choose. You will have to spend some time cleaning it. And you will have to "feed" it chemicals and change the filters. But don't let these tasks dictate what tub you buy and don't downplay the commitment to owning a spa. Keeping your water balanced is very important for the health of yourself, your family, and your friends.
Carefully consider all of these things before you decide which tub to buy. Do your own research and don't let a spa dealer scare you from box store brand hot tubs.
The Lifesmart Coronado
Why I chose The Lifesmart Coronado
I chose this hot tub for so many reasons. One the cost. This is a decent entry level tub with no frills. It's easy to operate and maintain. It's fully insulated. It has a waterfall feature, ozone, and loads of jets. It also has a warranty. I looked at many owner reviews, almost all of them were positive. I needed a tub that can handle winter and stay hot without destroying our electric bill, so far the Coronado delivers. The MFG is well known and reputable and they seem smart for tapping into the big box store market.
I'm in a family of 3, so a 7 person tub is more than enough space. Really it fits about 4 huge adults comfortably. I can't imagine trying to stuff 7 people in it but if we did it would get interesting!
This tub has 1 filter. Which runs about $20 to replace. Depending on use it may need only replaced once a year. All of my chemicals to start were about $100. Steps I found on Amazon, but you can also check facebook marketplace and other places to find them cheaper. We are lucky to know a fantastic electrician that got my tub wired up dirt cheap. And we place it on an EZ pad instead of concrete. We chose that because eventually, we are going to build a deck.
The Coronado is 220v fully rotomolded and fully insulated to help keep electric costs down. It's only been a month since we've owned it and it looks like the monthly expense including chemicals will be $50 to maintain and operate. That is less than most cell phones!
With 65 jets, believe me, you will get the hydro massage you're looking for. Most of the time I don't even use the jets. I just happily float and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature.
I love my Lifesmart Coronado!
I don't care about dealer support and I'm not afraid to DIY
For me ordering a hot tub online was not a big deal. I'm very handy when it comes to most home or auto repairs and I am not intimidated by having to figure things out. Dealers get a commission on sales and sure they deserve it but I was not willing to pay it. I did all my research, I was not interested in being upsold, and I was firm in my price range.
Almost every dealer will help you with chemistry and check your water for free so don't think you have to buy your spa from them to get that support because you don't. Also because of the world we live in, any parts or supplies and filters can easily be found online and sent right to your home.
Always read the fine print on the warranty. Lifesmart spas have warranties and calling the MFG is not difficult to do.
Unless dealer support is really important to you, I wouldn't bother. For me it really doesn't matter. I am not easily intimidated by DIY projects and learning how to balance the water chemistry has been fun! I don't think I'd ever use a public spa again without some handy dandy test strips.
Consider your reasons for wanting a hot tub
Have you really considered the reasons you want to own a hot tub? I'm in my 40's so having a hot tub is more for therapy. I was already taking hour-long baths, which I still enjoy just not nearly as much. There is nothing better than jumping in the hot tub on a winter night to see the stars and get a nice massage. It's great for pre and post workouts, stress reduction, relaxation, and parties. It's great after a long day's work at the office or after you've done yard work. You can create your own 24/7 vacation in your own back yard.
If you plan to use your hot tub for entertaining you may want to consider a larger tub. For us the Coronado is perfect. Primarily three people use it except for when we entertain. I'm in the tub just about daily and I soak for hours at a time. You really want to consider how often you will use it because this is an appliance that will be running year-round, in most cases.
I cannot wait to use this in the summer and fall evenings.
Lifesmart Coronado Cons
Ok so for some these may be considered cons of this particular hot tub. For me they are not, they just don't matter.
This tub doesn't have cup holders. You can place a beverage on the filter cover and have no issues. You can easily place 4 drinks there and they are level and fine. They are just not "cup holders". Not a big deal. We plan to build a shelf.
This tub doesn't have headrests. What I found is that over time the headrests rot or dry out and crack. They also need additional cleaning. So for those reasons I did not want any. I can lay my head back in the designated headrest spot and it's comfortable. I have no issues with this.
This tub doesn't have built-in speakers or a sound system. When I was researching I read nightmare reviews about internal speakers breaking. For that reason, I did not want build-in speakers. Get yourself a portable waterproof speaker, bonus since it's not attached to the tub you can take it to other places. We take our speaker camping and kayaking. And if it breaks it won't be a nightmare to replace.
This tub only has 1 LED light. Personally, I would have liked more lighting but it's not a deal-breaker. The light it has is bright enough in the evening and in the dark, I just wish it had more. The problem will be solved when we get a pergola or canopy over it and I can add additional lighting. Again...if external lights break it will be easier to replace.
Some people have concerns that more jets in a hot tub are a sales gimmick. I have not found that to be the case. This tub has 65. It may be a concern down the road if they start malfunctioning but it was a chance I was willing to take. They are strategically placed and each seat has a different configuration so no matter where you sit the massage varies. There are also jets for your feet.
This tub has 1 pump. Some see this as a detriment. For me it's fine. It works great and the pressure and power are fantastic. 1 pump means 1 to replace if it should break. The Coronado has no issues keeping up with heat demand. When I use this tub in 20-degree weather it may lose 1 degree over an hour but the heater is quick to respond and keep the temp stable.
Full insulation. This tub is fully insulated to keep your cost down. However, if something internal breaks or leaks getting to the repair may be a disaster. I figured if I ever have to tear out insulation to repair something, I will just respray foam insulation back in. So another big whatever to that. Having it insulated initially is way more important when you are running it in the winter. Viking had me running away because they have such poor insulation.
Some people are put off by buying a hot tub from a big box store. I am not sure I understand why when you buy major appliances from the same place. As an example my refrigerator is a Samsung, Home Depot doesn't MFG it, they only sell and distribute it. Same thing dealers do. The same thing goes for cars. If my fridge goes out I have to contact Samsung, not Home Depot. Same thing I will have do to with my hot tub by contacting Watkins Wellness.
Big Box stores or online retailers deliver curbside. What does that mean? They will literally drop your tub off in your driveway. Sometimes you can tip the delivery men to put the tub where you want. But if this is not possible you will have to move and unpack it yourself. Again this was not an issue for us. This tub weighs about 500 lbs dry. 4 men moving it was no big deal. If you have health issues or other concerns such as restricted access to where you put it this may become an issue. Even still...delivery from a dealer does not mean they hook it up! Only an electrician can do that. They simply place the tub where you want it and usually for a hefty delivery fee hidden in the cost of your hot tub.
I love my Coronado!
I love our Coronado spa. It was exactly what we were looking for and fit our budget and lifestyle. I've read lots of reviews on this exact model and am certain with proper care and maintenance it will last for many years. I use the tub just about daily and only wish I would have bought it sooner.
I hope you find this review helpful. Feel free to comment with any questions, concerns, or opinions! Happy hot tubbing!