Wood Fired Hot Tub Comparison Guide
Wood fired hot tubs are very popular among cabin and rural home owners alike. The reason? They're fueled by good old fashioned fire. No electricity or fancy get ups required. Owners save on electricity and repair bills by simply lighting a fire and letting the water heat up in a matter of just a few hours. It's honestly that simple.
The primitive nature of wood burning hot tubs is in fact what makes them so special. In a world where the noise of new iphones, software updates, apps and plugins, cookies and data collection, the latest tech has become exhausting. City slickers and country folk alike feel utterly refreshed by the simplicity of getting back to basics. It really is as simple as filling the cedar hot tub with water, lighting a fire in the wood stove, and hopping in to enjoy the fruits of your labor once the water reaches 102 degrees.
Unfortunately, some retailers are cutting corners, and they're doing it at the expense of unassuming customers who aren't aware of what to look for when buying a wood fired hot tub. Some wood fired hot tubs are made poorly, and atleast 10 customers every year approach us to replace a hot tub they purchased somewhere else, or attempted to make on their own.
We designed AlumiTubs with great attention to detail, and we manufacture them ourselves to ensure they're meticulously built every single time. We use only the strongest, most durable and well-made materials, and we never cut corners to increase our profit margins. We have a long track record and hundreds of customer testimonials to prove it. So that you know we're not just tooting our own horn, we encourage you to reach out to our customers on our Facebook page.
Whether you choose an AlumiTub or not, it's important to know what to look for when buying a wood-fired hot tub.
1. The absolute most critical component: An interior liner.
This is so important. Many wood-burning hot tubs are made only of cedar or some other kind of wood. Without a liner, the constant swelling of the wood will eventually lead to a number of issues. Among them, algae growth, leaks, and rot. Not just that, but they are next to impossible to clean and remove bacteria from, they don't retain heat as well, costing you more in wood and requiring more effort to maintain hot-tubbing temperature, and they are time-consuming to assemble. Many handymen and women report it took them over 9 hours just to get the hot tub set up, let alone ready to soak in. Because there's no liner, the temperature doesn't hold as well (they'll drop atleast 15 degrees over night compared to wood fired hot tubs with liners) because there's no room for additional insulation. And even the most well-cared for wooden hot tub will leak without a liner. When you're conserving water at the cabin, you don't have any to waste.
Wood-fired hot tubs that include a liner are more durable, easy to clean and maintain, and are very unlikely to leak. They also by nature arrive pre-assembled. The drum is just one piece, and the wooden slats surround it are a piece of cake to put into place under the steel bands. The liner also ensures better and longer-lasting heat retention, allowing you to save wood and spend less time tending to your firebox.
Wood fired hot tubs should have an aluminum or steel liner. Plastic is often chewed through by rodents, creating holes that lead to leaks, and if you fill the tub with salt water it will leak in a matter of years. The benefit of marine grade aluminum wood fired hot tub liners is that it's 100% recyclable, lightweight, it's a pre-assembled unit, it allows you to include insulation between it and the wood slats, creating more heat efficiency and shorter heat times, it's super easy to clean, and it will never leak.
2. An internal wood firebox.
Internal wood-fired hot tub fireboxes are safer and they create better heat than external fireboxes. The reason for this is that the firebox is immersed in water, and therefore takes less time to heat. The wood fired heat in a hot tub with an internal wood stove will also last much longer (usually days longer) before returning to ambient temperature. While they do take up some room in your hot tub, there's still plenty of room to comfortable seat 4+ adults in a 6ft tub with a submersible stove.
3. Internal depth.
No one wants cold shoulders. Many wood-fired hot tubs cut corners by skimping on size. They do this not just because it saves them money in materials, but because they're cheaper to ship (because they can be loaded and stacked on a truck). But that doesn't offer you an ideal hot tubbing experience when the tallest person in your family is cold from the waist up. AlumiTubs have an internal depth of 38 inches, big enough for a 6ft person to comfortably enjoy, right up to their shoulders. Even if you have small children, you're better off asking us to add a higher seat (or doing so yourself if you prefer), so that everyone in your family can enjoy the hot tub equally.
4. Made with premium materials and quality craftsmanship.
Now this is really important. We've all heard that old adage, "you get what you pay for". It's usually true. As a consumer, you may not have the full scoop on where each component of your wood fired hot tub came from, or why the seller charged what they charged. Price hunting here is not always a good idea, and that's because those who can afford to offer you a lower price, are doing so for one of two reasons. 1. The materials they use are cheap enough that they can afford to offer you a lower price, or 2. The labour is cheap enough that they can afford to offer you a power price. Neither are great for you. Canadian Western Red Cedar is the preferred wood for wood burning hot tubs because it's long lasting, durable, beautiful, and smells amazing. But it's not cheap, and nor should it be. Every piece we use to build our handcrafted wood fired hot tubs is sourced locally, built by our own two hands, and pressure-tested for quality. That's right, we've actually filled your hot tub before it was sent to you, to triple check that there were no errors, and that you can enjoy it for many years to come. In fact, we hope your AlumiTub becomes a family heirloom that your grandkids can enjoy long after you're gone.
Ok, so this one is really just a preference. We pride ourselves in being 100% Canadian made, and that's because we value quality and precision. That's not to say other countries can't make a great hot tub, because surely they can. But we're Canadian, and we love that we can share something with families across the globe that comes right from our hometown on the Sunshine Coast.
It is also worth noting that some countries make products on the cheap using cheap labour and cheap materials. What you'll be left with is something that won't last a lifetime. Also be aware that some people may say "canadian made" when in fact, just part of the product is made in Canada. AlumiTubs are designed, operated, hand-made and built in Canada, and that's pretty cool to brag about.
Now again, this is a preference, but think about what happens to your wood-fired hot tub if it's no longer usable because you went with one that has the possibility to leak (and let me assure you, this is eventually every wood fired hot tub that doesn't have a liner). AlumiTubs are proudly made with 100% recyclable materials, and that's going to be just as important when you pass this heirloom on to your grand kids one day.
7. Authentic Reviews.
This is probably the most important point of all. Companies can fudge their reviews by hiring someone to write a bunch of stuff on fake social media or review site accounts. It's true. It's deceitful. And it's common practice. The best way to discern real reviews from fake ones are to request photo's of the company's customers using their hot tub. We're extremely proud to have received so many customer photo's over the years, and we hope it helps to authenticate our reviews. You'll find images that are almost 20 years old from our very first customers (you'll be able to tell from the photo quality - those Kodak moments don't lie!).
What do you like/dislike about your wood fired hot tub? We'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below!