In-Ground Hot Tub: Cost Analysis and Consumer Guide

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

Who doesn’t love to take a good, long soak in a hot tub?

Many homeowners dream of just that. Building a hot tub is at the top of the list for many homeowners; they are great for hosting your loved ones, relaxing with your partner, or for simply soaking solo with a glass of wine at the end of a long week. No matter what the reason, hot tubs are popular with pretty much everyone.

But that is stuff we already know. The real question is what will an in-ground hot-tub cost you?

There are two types of in-ground hot tubs — prefabricated and custom. There are pros and cons to each which we desire in this post, but expect to pay $10,000 to $20,000 for an in-ground hot tub. In this article, we will look at the costs associated with installation and maintenance and will help you determine if a hot tub is the right choice for your home.

In-Ground Hot Tubs Overview

Nothing is more relaxing than stepping into a warm, frothy hot tub. Not only does it feel good, but it has many health benefits, too! A nice soak can soothe your mind, help lower stress levels, and gently relax aching muscles and joints. Additionally, a high-quality, professionally installed, and designed in-ground hot tub can raise the resale value of your home, too.

Cost is one of the main concerns for many homeowners who are thinking about adding a hot tub to their homes. The cost of your hot tub will depend on many different factors, including what kind of hot tub you get, where it will be located, if it is being added to a pre-existing pool, and so much more.

In-ground hot tubs are usually excavated next to an already existing pool, made with concrete, and offer much more personalization because they can be designed exactly to fit your individual needs. (Related article: Ultimate Relaxation In Your Backyard: Hot Tubs Types And Costs)

In-ground spas can be built either as a standalone amenity or as a great addition to your swimming pool. Additionally, because they are all custom-built, you can choose exactly what aesthetic and features are right for you. These are particularly a great option for a new build or if you are putting in a pool at the same time.

Types of In-Ground Hot Tubs

There are two main types of in-ground hot tubs. Let’s look more closely at both types.

Factory-made Acrylic or Stainless Steel Hot Tub

Factory-made, prefabricated hot tubs are typically made of stainless steel or acrylic shells. They do come in a few generic shapes, such as square, kidney, round, and oval. These shapes, however, are much more limited than what you can achieve with custom builds.

Furthermore, these shells usually only sit ten people maximum. The main advantage of these prefabricated in-ground hot tubs is that they usually have many hydrotherapy jets and are pre-plumbed.

Concrete In-ground Hot Tub

This is the kind of hot tub that we will focus on in this article is the customized concrete-based in-ground hot tub. This type of hot tub is usually made of gunite, a type of concrete. Although you can customize many more aspects of the designs on these tubs, they do tend to have simpler seating arrangements. You're more likely to see a simple bench layout with fewer jets.

On the bright side, these hot tubs are usually much larger than their prefabricated counterparts and have a huge amount of design options such as decorative tile, colors, and more.

Wooden In-ground Hot Tub

Although very rare to see these days, there is a third kind of in-ground hot tub. In the 1960s and 1970s, wooden hot tubs were popular.

Wooden hot tubs can be either prefabricated or custom-built, depending on the style you are looking for and the designer you use. These wooden in-ground tubs have become mostly a thing of the past, however, and are very rarely seen as an option for today's homeowners.

For our purposes, we are going to focus on the first two types of in-ground hot tubs; factory-made acrylic and concrete.

Up-front Hot Tub Purchasing Costs

The two main kinds of in-ground hot tubs we will be focusing on in this article are the prefabricated in-ground hot tubs and the customized concrete in-ground hot tub.

  • Factory-Made Acrylic or Stainless-Steel Hot TubsFactory-made or prefabricated hot tubs typically cost much less than customized concrete in-ground hot tubs. The average cost of prefabricated in-ground hot tubs is somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000.
  • Concrete In-Ground Hot TubsIn-ground hot tubs can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 upfront. It is hard to put an exact cost analysis for in-ground tubs since they are always custom-designed to fit your space. This means that they can range widely when it comes to features, materials, design aesthetic, and more.

Hot Tub Installation Costs and Considerations

Maybe you already have a pool, and you would like to add a hot tub? Installation can be expensive and tricky, requiring a contractor and a lot of labor. Typically, adding an in-ground hot tub to a pre-existing pool install ranges from $6,000 to $15,000 when you decide to build them simultaneously. And if using a prefabricated model, those costs are in addition to the price of the tub itself.

Installation costs can vary widely based on the design of your hot tub, the materials used, your contractor, where you are located, and so much more. Let's look deeper into the process of installing an in-ground hot tub.

Factory-made Acrylic or Stainless Steel Hot Tub

If you choose to install a factory-made acrylic or stainless-steel hot tub shell, you should typically set aside an additional $3,000 to $5,000 for installation.

Concrete In-ground Hot Tub

Most homeowners will install an in-ground tub as part of the process when they are building an in-ground swimming pool; however, you can also build it separately if perhaps you don’t have the room for both on your property or you live somewhere where a pool may not be as practical as a hot tub.

As we mentioned above, the cost to install an in-ground hot tub can add around 20% to the cost of the swimming pool you are already building and depends on the layout and design of the hot tub.

Are you planning on adding the spa to the interior of the pool so that it shares two walls with the pool walls already being built? Or will it be more of an exterior design, as in your hot tub is designed to be built on the outer perimeter of your pool and shares, maybe only a small portion of its wall with your swimming pool?

All of these are important considerations to assess when thinking about the overall costs of your hot tub installation.

Hot Tub Installation Process

An in-ground hot tub's installation process is almost identical to that of a swimming pool.

First, a hole must be dug. You (or your contractor, we hope!) will need to excavate the desired area to accommodate your new hot tub, which has been designed specifically for you. Second, rebar will be installed to reinforce the area. The third step is plumbing and electrical. You will need plumbing lines installed as well as electricity to run your in-ground hot tub, as well as specific fittings designed to coincide with the hydrotherapy jets depending on your custom design.

Once you have all that in place, a professional will come and spray the concrete material (usually gunite or shotcrete) using high-pressure hoses, they will spray this material to cover the excavated hole you have created as well as cover the rebar that is reinforcing it. Lastly comes the interior finish. Once your shotcrete or gunite has hardened, the interior will be covered with plaster, quartz aggregate, or pebble stones.

The beauty of an in-ground design is that the aesthetic will be exactly how you decide with your designer.

Electrical Installation Costs

Hiring a professional to handle the electrical of your hot tub is highly recommended. The cost to wire any hot tub other is approximately $600 to $2,200 and mostly depends on your current electrical setup, the location of your tub, and which type you choose.

Additional Cost Factors to Consider

Electricity Costs

Hot tubs can cost anywhere between $20 and $40 in electricity costs each month to run.

Water Treatment Costs

Although water maintenance on a hot tub is much simpler than on a pool due to the smaller volume of water, you can still expect to pay up to $20 per month to treat your water.

Maintenance Costs

No matter which types of in-ground hot tub you install, you need to be aware of the maintenance and cleaning costs that will also be incurred.

These costs seem small but can add up over time if you don’t stay on top of a strict maintenance schedule. You will most likely spend anywhere between $200 and $300 a year on chemicals and other related cleaning and maintenance costs.


Some standard lighting will be built in automatically for your in-ground hot tub, but you may want to talk to your designer about adding fun extras such as additional colors, make them dimmable, and more.

Safety Fencing

When talking about costs, you'll also want to take into consideration any safety fences you may need to install.

Make safety a priority; keep your pets, children, or just your local wildlife safe from falling in the water with a safety fence and a child-proof gate. You'll also want to add a lockable hot tub cover.

Legal Permits

Your contractor should be able to outline and comply with your local building codes. You will also need to obtain the following:

  • If you are adding a tub to a pool install, it will most likely already be covered under that permit; however, if you are doing a standalone in-ground tub install that requires extensive digging, you may need a permit.
  • All your plumbing will most likely require a permit, and you'll need to ensure that any fittings you use comply with state codes.
  • Is your home heated with a gas furnace? If you use gas to heat your water, you may need a mechanical permit as well as hiring only a certified gas installer to complete the gas fittings and connections.
  • You may also need an electrical permit, and the local codes will most likely require that you only hire a certified electrician to complete your electrical hookups.

In-Ground Hot Tub Designs 

There are many different shapes and sizes of hot tubs available for homeowners. Although custom in-ground tubs can be built in any shape or style you would like, there are still some standards they will need to be met. A good hot tub will be designed with elements that comply with all your local building codes, including but not limited to shell thickness, correct plumbing, and overall install.

If you do go with a prefabricated shell design to go in-ground, there are a few main shapes you’ll want to consider. Let’s take a closer look at these.

  • Circular Hot Tubs. Hot tubs that are round are common on the market today, as they tend to be less expensive and easier to adapt to in-ground designs. Just remember, these have less space to spread out, so if you're looking to host larger groups, you may want to consider another style.
  • Square Hot Tubs. The square hot tub is a classic for a reason and is the most popular style in the factory-made hot tub category. The nice thing about a square design is that it can sit in the corner of the pool, patio, or deck without wasting any space. Typically, these designs have more sitting space available, and you can stretch out a little more or invite more people over for a soak!
  • Kidney-shaped Hot Tubs. You will find kidney-shaped hot tubs are a common shape for in-ground tubs. They are a more sophisticated design that allows for more room.
  • Triangle-Shaped Hot Tubs. These hot tubs are more on the rare side. A three-sided hot tub is handy if you don't have much space to spare; however, you may feel a little cramped once you get in it.
  • Oval-Shaped Hot TubsOval-shaped hot tubs are nice if you like the idea of a circular tub but are looking for a little more room to stretch out.

In-Ground Hot Tub Pros and Cons

In-ground hot tubs are a great choice for homeowners, especially if they are building a pool at the same time. Let’s look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages of an in-ground hot tub to determine if the costs and advantages are right for you.


  • Aesthetically Pleasing. Because your in-ground hot tub is designed and built specifically to your needs, it means that the in-ground hot tub will look stunning and seamlessly blend into your pool design. You’ll be able to choose the finishes you want, and the final product will be very aesthetically pleasing, something you as a homeowner can be truly proud of.
  • Adds Property Value. An in-ground hot tub is truly seen as a home improvement that will add value to your property over time. Just think about the multitude of home listings you saw the last time you were shopping for a home; what kind of price tag did a home have in your area that already had a built-in in-ground hot tub?
  • Lifespan. An in-ground hot tub built by a highly-rated local builder will last for decades to come. If you choose a concrete/gunite model, your contractor will often give you a limited lifetime warranty, something that is impossible to find with any prefabricated models.
  • Personalized Features. As mentioned before, in-ground hot tubs are designed specifically for you, which means you can choose to personalize the features of your hot tub. You can make your hot tub as simple or creative as you like when it comes to size, shape, as well as water features, and decorative lighting.  
  • Decorative OptionsWhen it comes to custom-designed in-ground hot tubs, you can choose a wide array of interior finishes and decorative touches. This includes choosing the color of your interior finish, any kind of tile used around your hot tub, and so much more.


  • Longer Installation Time. The construction and installation of an in-ground hot tub is not an overnight undertaking. Most homeowners would agree that it’s worth the wait, but if you are on a time crunch, an in-ground hot tub can take weeks or even months to complete.
  • Fewer jets. The average concrete in-ground spa will typically have fewer hydrotherapy jets than its prefabricated counterpart. However, if you are diligent with your designer, a good builder can create the right jets and seating arrangements for you, but it may increase the cost.
  • Covers Sold Separately. In-ground concrete hot tubs do not come with their own covers. You can purchase a cover separately; however, they will not typically look very aesthetically pleasing.
  • Pre-heat time. It is often difficult and expensive to keep an in-ground hot tub heated at all times. Usually, use of the spa will require pre-heating the water, making a spontaneous soak difficult. Again, my homeowners will see this as worth the wait; however, it is something to take into consideration when deciding on installing an in-ground tub.
  • Up-front costs. Installing a concrete in-ground hot tub is not inexpensive, however over time, you will be able to recoup most of those costs when it comes to maintenance, longevity, and the value it adds to your home.
  • Standalone installation may be difficult. If you don't have a pool built already, installation costs for an in-ground hot tub alone may be prohibitive. It makes the most sense to install an in-ground hot tub if you are either building or already have an in-ground swimming pool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need to add a hot tub to my homeowner's insurance?

As with any big purchase for your home, you should absolutely consult with your insurance company regarding your coverage. Most likely, to qualify for additional insurance to cover any damages or injuries related to your new hot tub, you’ll have to add it to your policy.

Can I get a tax deduction for owning a hot tub?

We always recommend consulting your tax professional, but you should be able to claim your hot tub as a capital expense. Additionally, you may be able to get another deduction for your hot tub if you can establish that it is directly for the purpose to cure, treat, or prevent disease.

My friend's health insurance paid for their hot tub. Can I get mine covered too?

Some insurance providers will provide some sort of financial break or incentive if you have a prescription from your doctor that you need the hydrotherapy to treat a medical condition. Talk to your doctor and contact your provider for more in-depth information.

Can I negotiate a lower price for my hot tub?

Hot tub dealers typically have a large markup, so there is plenty of room to haggle. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for seasonal sales, compare prices between sellers, and ask about delivery and installation!

What is the average lifespan of an in-ground hot tub?

Although the average hot tub pump lasts for 5 to 10 years on average, the hot tubs themselves can last more than 20 years if they are taken care of. Stay on top of maintenance, treat your tub right, and you’ll be soaking for years to come!

Final Thoughts

Choosing whether to install an in-ground hot tub is truly a personal choice and depends on many individual factors. The cost of an in-ground hot tub may seem like an expensive option based on the up-front cost and installation; however, it provides greater longevity and will even increase the value of your home.

Furthermore, your budget, geographic location, property layout, and whether or not you already have an in-ground pool will greatly affect the cost of an in-ground hot tub. At the end of the day, you will benefit greatly by being able to enjoy a soak in your new in-ground hot tub.

About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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