Look for hot tub manufacturers that have been in business for a while and have a proven record of reliability. The Internet is a great place to start. Check out the company’s website and do a quick search for independent reviews of their products.
You can also ask friends or family members with hot tubs about their experiences with particular models. You should also take into consideration where the manufacturer is located (e.g. in or outside of your province, in or outside of Canada) this makes getting parts and service a lot easier if for what ever reason the retailer stops carrying the hot tub brand that you purchased and ensure they are supported by a reputable retailer and distributor.
Also, investigate whether the products they offer are covered by a reasonable warranty. Look for companies that don’t charge extra for Trip fees when doing a warranty call also be careful of the small print a lot of warranties are pro-rated in the industry. A good warranty would consist of a 10 year structural warranty, 5 year acrylic surface and 3 year parts and labour warranty. When it comes to hot tub retailers, many of the same criteria apply. Investigate how long the store has been in business and whether it is a member of any professional associations. Research the company online to determine its reputation, including a search for customer reviews, referrals or complaints.
Of course, visiting the store on a fact-finding mission can also be helpful. Speak with a salesperson to see if they take the time to determine what hot tubs would best suit your particular needs, or just push products on you without asking questions. Check to see if the store has an onsite water testing lab and either an in-house or outsourced service department for ongoing maintenance support. Also inquire about the store’s warranty policies—always look for a written warranty and be sure to ask whether the retailer charges an extra fee on every warranty service call. If you decide to buy from a sales representative at a home show, parking lot sale or other type of one-off event, be sure to ask whether the seller has a bricks-and-mortar retailer that can support you with a warranty and service department.