It can be tempting to purchase a hot tub from a big box store like Costco. Lots of jets, reasonable price, Costco’s reputation… I came across this great video review of an Evolution hot tub from Costco and thought it would help people understand why mass merchant spas may be cheaper than those at a hot tub dealer. To get to Costco’s price point, corners have to be cut.
There are a few things he failed to mention. First and foremost, you don’t have the chance to see the spas in person, kick the tires, sit in them or possibly even “wet test” them. There isn’t anyone at Costco that knows anything about the spas so you can’t ask any questions. Once you have the spa, you will definitely have questions. Good luck with the water chemistry. Costco spas don’t usually have the same advanced water treatment systems found in brand name hot tubs.
Another thing they neglect to tell you is that a trucking company will drop the hot tub off at your curb and be on their merry way. You have to figure out how to get the hot tub to your backyard, patio, or deck, without breaking it or hurting yourself. Hot tubs are heavy and can easily weight upwards of a thousand pounds. Hot tub companies have specialty equipment and years of experience moving spas. They also have insurance in case something goes wrong. Once they get the hot tub in place they install the cover locks, lift assist, and any other accessories. They also provide an orientation and explain how to operate and take care of the spa. The value of all this is often underrated.
Then there’s warranty service. Like all mechanical products, failures do occur. Most hot tub stores have their own in-house service department. If something breaks, you call the store and they send out a technician. Costco does not have a hot tub service department. Their employees are not at all trained on hot tubs. This is the kind of thing you may not appreciate until you need it.
And as the video above shows, in addition to no service, you’re also getting an inferior product. In summary, don’t be tempted by slightly lower prices without understand why those prices are lower.