Things to consider when choosing a cover for your spa or hot tub
Cover shape and dimensions
It's important to make sure you choose a spa cover that will be a good fit. Hot tubs and spas come in lots of different shapes and sizes, so you need to find the right for your particular spa. The most common is square although there are some that are rectangular, circular and even oval-shaped. In the US, companies will quote dimensions in feet and inches, but in Europe they are often in metres and centimetres. For square tubs, 7' x 7' and 8' x 8' is quite common. Other popular sizes are 94" x 94" and 86" x 86". Some circular tubs have diameter 72"-96", and for oval tubs 7' x 8' is a popular size. You take the measurements yourself, but if you are unsure you may want to check with the original manual that came with the hot tub or contact the manufacturer to get the official dimensions for your unit.
When buying a cover for your garden spa, you may be quoted 3 dimensions e.g. 96" x 96" x 14". The first two dimensions are the length and breadth, while the last number is the height of the cover lip. The cover lip is the part which stretches over the edges of the tub to secure it in place. The size of the lip isn't critical, but a larger lip will make the cover more secure in theory.
Spa Cover thickness
The thickness of a spa cover will determine how well it provides insulation and heat retention. This is important because it is reckoned that 70% of heat loss in spas occurs due to evaporation. The thicker the cover the better the cover will prevent heat loss and evaporation. Typical thicknesses can be from less than 1" to 4". The thickness of the cover can make quite difference to the price. Prices for hot tub cover range from about $30 upwards to $200.
Some rigid covers have a slope of at least 2" difference between the centre and the edge to allow the rain to run off. If you live in an area where the rainfall is quite high this is something you may want to consider, otherwise a flat cover should be fine.
Some covers may come with their own securing straps other won't. If you are planning on buying a cover isn't elasticated or you are used to having high winds where you live, then it is advisable to get straps for your spa cover. If you have spent your hard earned money on a nice new cover, the last thing you want to be doing is chasing is half way across the country!
Taking a cover off and putting it back on again can be a bit of an ordeal, especially if you have a large hot tub. A mechanical lifting bar can help and is worth considering if you think you might struggle to get the cover on and off.
Hydraulic hot tub cover lift
Some folks may want to go for the full works and buy a hydraulic cover lift which can certainly make it a lot easier to remove the cover and put it on again. The hydraulic lift takes all the hard work out of lifting the cover off and on. If you can afford it, definitely worth thinking about. Prices at time of writing start around the $150 mark.
When buying a cover for your hot tub or spa, you want to think carefully about what kind of cover you want and what kind of accessories you may need. Hopefully this article will have been helpful to you in making your choice.