In Ground Hot Tub Costs

Having an in-ground hot tub installed can be very rewarding. However, the cost may astonish you.

If you're looking to get an in-ground hot tub, you can expect to spend anywhere between $5,000 on the low end and $25,000 on the high end.

If you're looking to enjoy all of the benefits of a hot tub, yet can't afford to spend that much, come with us as we explore the alternative above-ground spa option and why you might consider going this route.

Above-Ground Vs. In-Ground Hot Tubs

There are many reasons why one may choose to go with either an above-ground spa or an in-ground hot tub.

As for above-ground spas, you get lower initial costs, portability, and easy installation.

When it comes to in-ground hot tubs, you get a more aesthetically pleasing look that fits with your backyard decor.

In-Ground Hot Tub

Of course, if it comes down to price and value, you'll spend far less going with an above-ground tub rather than an in-ground hot tub.

See our in ground hot tub vs portable above ground spa page for full details. 

Why Buy An Above-Ground Hot Tub

Lower Costs

When To Buy A Hot Tub

One of the main reasons why people choose to go with above-ground spas rather than in-ground hot tubs is that the initial hot tub cost is a lot less.

You can expect to spend, on average, anywhere from $3k to $12k for a high-quality above-ground spa model compared to an in-ground hot tub model.

As we said before, an inground hot tub can run you well up to $25k or more depending on the size and the features that you decide to go with, which is almost as much as your standard inground pool.

Beyond the initial cost, above-ground hot tubs don't require as much energy to operate compared to in-ground hot tubs, meaning you won't have to deal with insanely high energy bills.

Easy Installation

Unlike in-ground hot tubs, above-ground hot tubs are very easy to install. There is no construction necessary. Simply place your hot tub in a spot where you can plug it into a dedicated outlet. Of course, you will still have to perform special wiring if you decide to go with an average 240v above-ground model, though you can choose to go with a plug n' play 110v above-ground spa model if you want to save some cash and operate your hot tub without having to hire an electrician.

To install an above-ground spa, all you need is a concrete slab, concrete pad, or existing patio.

With in-ground hot tub models, you will have to dig out a hole in the spot where you want to place your hot tub. If you have a swimming pool in your backyard already, it will likely be connected to that. In-ground hot tub models take a lot more preparation on your part, which can be costly and time-consuming.


If you don't plan on living in your current home forever, having the portability of an above-ground hot tub can be very beneficial. You may end up moving in the future. With an in-ground hot tub, it becomes part of the home. An above-ground spa model can be transported to the next home on the back of a truck, meaning the commitment is far less significant.

Even if you plan on doing some landscaping at some point in the future, having a hot tub that you can place in different parts of the yard can be wildly beneficial. It's simply flexibility that you can't get with an in-ground hot tub.

To check out the hot tub cost for portable hot tubs, click the button below:

Easy To Cover

Taking care of your hot tub is very important if you want longevity.

When it comes to above-ground hot tubs, they are much easier to cover up than an in-ground hot tub model, meaning it is easier to keep them clean and free from dirt, debris, or wild critters.

They are often much safer for homes with children and pets as well, as you won't ever have to worry about your loved ones accidentally wandering into the spa water.

Cover Valet

In-ground hot tubs can be very dangerous unless you put up a gate around them. Even then, in-ground hot tubs can pose a risk.

Most above-ground hot tubs, unlike in-ground hot tubs, already come with integrated covers anyway, meaning you don't have to spend any more money to keep your unit protected.

Tons of Jet Options

Because there are so many ways that hot tub manufacturers can design above-ground models, there are plenty of jet options to pick from. Whether you want a simple hot tub with 20-30 adjustable stainless steel hydrotherapy jets or a 100-jet model with footwell jets, neck jets, shoulder jets, back jets, and more, the choice is yours.

Some companies even give customers the ability to completely customize their jet designs as well, meaning you can have complete control over the kind of hydrotherapy that you get. In-ground hot tub models often have standard jets spaced evenly throughout the interior, meaning not everyone gets access to a deep hydrotherapy massage. Plus, most in-ground hot tub models only come with around 5 to 20 jets in total, meaning there are fewer jets all around.

With so many jet options in above-ground models, everyone who decides to sit in the hot tub for the night will get to enjoy the wondrous benefits of relaxation.


Above-ground spas are very easy to maintain compared to in-ground hot tubs. Often, the mechanical components are much easier to reach compared to in-ground hot tub models, as they typically sit inside a small door on the exterior of the shell. If you ever need to troubleshoot your system, doing so is incredibly easy.

Plus, many newer models come with durable, weatherproof acrylic shells and quality cabinet materials, making them far stronger than your typical in-ground spas. These custom spas are far more energy-efficient as well, perfect for those who don't want to crank their heating systems constantly.

Read our how much does it cost to run a hot tub page for exact numbers. 

Free Hot Tubs Quotes from

Tons of Design Options

Hot Tub Benefits

The design options for above-ground modes seem almost endless when compared to in-ground spas.

There is a wide variety of ergonomic seating options to pick from, including captain's chairs, deep soak chairs, or other unique contoured seating surfaces.

No matter what shape or size you are looking for in a hot tub, you will be able to find it in an above-ground model. Plus, there are multiple materials to choose from as well.

While there is a lot of design potential for in-ground hot tub models as well, you end up spending an arm and a leg for true customization. The downside of in-ground hot tub seating is that most of the time you'll have to deal with bench seating exclusively. If you're short, you could find these types of simpler seating arrangements pretty uncomfortable.

While many people go with standard acrylic hot tubs when it comes to above-ground models, you also have the option of going with traditional wooden hot tubs as well. Wooden hot tubs add a unique aesthetic to any backyard and come with many of the same high-quality options found in acrylic hot tub models.

To find out more about the cost of wooden hot tubs, click the button below.

Plenty of Unique Features To Pick From

When you decide to go with an above-ground hot tub, you can pick from a wide range of unique features to install. From LED lighting to waterfalls to stereo systems and beyond, there are plenty of ways to customize your hot tub to make it your own.

With in-ground hot tubs, the features can be very limited. If you're looking for the most flexibility in terms of customization, in-ground spas might not be the best choice.

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, both styles of hot tubs have their own pros and cons.

For starters, you will still receive all of the same health and relaxation benefits from either one of these options.

In-ground hot tubs can be great if you're looking to build something that matches your swimming pool or works perfectly with your backyard.

Of course, if you're looking for versatility and low-cost options, we highly recommend going with an above-ground spa.

Free Hot Tubs Quotes from

Make sure to speak with your local hot tub dealers to find out more about new hot tub installation.

To consider all types and styles of hot tubs, see our hot tub prices page. 

Wondering what your above-ground hot tub cost might look like? Select your preferences below! You'll get the lowest quotes on hot tubs with your desired features sold by dealers near you.

Tyler Connaghan

Contributing Author