You know as well as I do that keeping the heat in (and elements out) of your hot tub is no easy feat, especially if you live somewhere that gets rough winter storms.
The last thing you want is to return home to an open hot tub, full of leaves and other debris, that’s icy cold to the touch. What you need is a decent hot tub cover.
Protecting your hot tub with a cover is a smart move, and in this article today I’ll share your options for the best covers on the market, so your spa is always perfect for a soak.
We hand-picked the following hot tub covers based on their popularity, price-points and differentiating features.
A more complete review of each can be found later in this article.
Investing in a cover for your hot tub is a smart idea, for many reasons. Not only does it help keep the heat trapped inside (saving you money on your electric bill), a hot tub cover acts as a shield to ensure your spa is adequately protected whenever it isn’t in use.
Typically, your hot tub will come installed with an insulated cover specifically designed for the make and model of your particular spa. But you’ve then also got the option of adding weather covers or additional straps to keep this insulated cover in place no matter what mother nature has in mind.
Ultimately, a hot tub cover allows you to protect your spa, so it’s always ready for use, keeping it not only at the right temperature, but sanitary and safe for swimming.
Soft hot tub covers come in two varieties, some based on a foundation of insulated foam which is covered in vinyl to allow your spa to breathe while trapping the heat inside.
Others are merely a vinyl cover designed as a second layer of security to keep your hard-shell cover in place, during the most extreme weather conditions.
Soft covers are far more cost-effective than hard-shell covers, though you can find heavy-duty models that are reinforced with fiberglass panels and may even be strong enough to hold your weight.
The vast majority, however, are merely a vinyl cover that stretches over your hard-shell cover, with straps and clamps to keep it in place.
Hard shell covers are the most durable of the hot tub covers, often strong enough to stop your family members or children from falling in the spa if they’re climbing on the cover.
Typically constructed from a base of aluminum, molded fiberglass or plastic, these covers provide the highest level of insulation, and will stop almost anything from getting into your hot tub, whether it’s a little snow or your kids.
The durability comes at a cost though, as the added weight of the product will generally mean you’ll have to enlist the help of someone else when you’re using this cover. It can be rather heavy to move around on your own.
Solar hot tub covers are ideal if you’re wanting to avoid the hassle of a large and heavily insulated cover, with the added benefit of reducing your heating costs.
Constructed from a sheet of plastic resin, solar covers are readily identifiable thanks to the thousands of tiny bubbles on their surface, which serves to capture and magnify the light from the sun to heat your hot tub.
Quick and easy to throw on your spa, these particular covers are easy to trim down to the perfect size you need, though because they only float on the surface of the water, probably aren’t ideal if you’re in an area with bad weather.
If you live somewhere with a particularly harsh winter, seasonal covers are a smart choice to better protect your hot tub from the extremities of the weather.
Instead of being merely a “lid” for your hot tub, these covers add a layer of insulation around all sides, helping to protect against heat loss, saving you money on heating costs.
These particular covers will also extend the life of your hot tub, and are usually recommended if you’ll be exposing your spa to harsh winters in the outdoors.
Choosing the right hot tub cover for your spa is a straightforward process.
It starts with having a hard hot tub cover. These covers provide the best levels of insulation and ensure your heating bills and running costs for the spa are kept low.
But they don’t always stay in place. If you’re in an area with winter storms and strong winds, a soft hot tub cover provides an additional layer of protection to keep your hard hot tub cover in place, with extra straps and clamps to secure it.
Seasonal covers are usually only recommended if you’re in an area with an extreme winter, or you’re looking to maximize the energy efficiency of your spa. Not only do they help to seal in heat from every side of your hot tub, but they can also prolong the life of your spa.
Knowing which type to look for will narrow down your options, but it doesn’t help you measure the nuances that make or break a product.
Let’s go over some of the main criteria you should apply to your decision making process when looking for the right hot tub cover.
Choosing a hot tub cover that’s the right size is essential.
Hard hot tub covers need to be fitted to ensure the entire surface area of the spa is protected with the heavily insulated foam, to reduce heat loss and provide the best possible energy efficiency.
Soft and seasonal spa covers need to have enough leeway in their size so they can be easily slid over the sides of the spa, and locked into place with their straps and clamps. If the cover is too large, the clamps won’t stay put.
Too small, and you won’t even be able to pull it over your spa, so it’s critical you measure and order the right size.
In the same vein as the size, it’s critical your spa cover has the flexibility to fit the shape and any particular dimensions of your spa.
Often, spas have headrests, control panels and other unique features that may get in the way of the cover doing an effective job, which need to be considered before you buy.
When it comes to the thickness of a hot tub cover, you will find you have a trade-off.
The heaviest and thickest options are the hard covers, which also provide the best insulation, but these are often cumbersome to use, and difficult to remove on your own.
Soft hot tub covers are easier to manage, but they will not insulate as well, as they are generally designed to work in collaboration with a hard cover. If you’re looking for a thin and easy to use cover, a solar cover may be your best bet.
Because of the temperature a typical hot tub is heated to, it will give off a large amount of steam. This makes it critical to select a hot tub cover with a strong vapor barrier.
It needs to be watertight, so the steam doesn’t waterlog the cover and render it utterly useless after just a few weeks on your hot tub. A strong vapor barrier will also help stop any rain or condensation from entering the foam, and reduce the chances mildew will form.
Adequate safety locks are vital because you want your hot tub cover to stay put, no matter what happens. A storm with some wind, or a determined child, should not be able to breach and open the cover themselves.
One of the most critical aspects when locking down your hot tub is to ensure the cover is locked in place, and you need strong clamps, latches and a design that keeps it in place.
Finally, I just want to touch on one last consideration. The “R-Values.”
These particular ratings are given to the level of insulation a cover has, with the idea that the higher the R-Value, the slower the heat will pass through, so you have less heat loss.
The trouble is, R-Values are not always measured in the same way (so they’re not standard across the board) and they also don’t consider moisture levels or vapor presence, two particular elements which usually are quite prevalent in the area directly on top of a spa.
It’s a nice number to understand and use as a general guide, but I wouldn’t recommend using it as part of your buying decision when choosing a cover, as it’s just not accurate enough.
So far we’ve covered why you need a hot tub cover, the types available, and what features are important to focus on.
In this section, we’ll be looking at specific covers, each of which were hand-picked for review based on the same criteria I’ve outlined in this guide.
Let’s get right into it.
Designed by Classic Accessories, this particular soft hot tub cover is also known as a weather shield, acting as a UV stabilized cover to overlay the hard cover that came with your spa.
Featuring reinforced handles for easy use, this particular model is capable of fitting a hot tub up to 86″ long by 86″ wide, though they do have a larger model that will fit your 94″ square hot tubes. At each edge, the elastic hemmed toggle helps for a snug fit.
What I like best about this soft hot tub cover is it’s a cheap alternative to protect your heavy-duty insulated spa cover, with smart vents that reduce condensation. The only downside is it may not stay put during a large storm, with strong winds.
- Cheap soft cover to add another layer of protection to your hot tub
- Lightweight and easy to fit and remove from your hot tub
- Difficult to keep it in place during bad weather and strong winds
Designed by ULTCOVER, this is a soft cover for your hot tub that’s designed explicitly as another layer of protection for the hard, insulated cover that came with your spa.
Constructed from heavy-duty 600D polyester canvas, it’s UV resistant and not only will it stop the harsh rays of the sun damaging your hard cover, it provides a snug fit to keep your spa cover in place during high winds and storms.
What I like best about this particular cover is the guarantee it’s 100% waterproof, and it comes with specially designed vents to give ventilation and reduce mildew. The biggest downside is the color, and many customers have found it to fade quickly in the sun.
- Heavy-duty option for a soft hot tub cover that will last many seasons
- Backed by a 5-year warranty from the manufacturer
- Colors of the cover will fade quickly in direct sunlight
- Some customers found the corner clips failed to keep the straps tight
Designed by Pool Spa Part, this particular product is simple. A set of 1″ straps you can use to add a secondary safeguard for your existing hot tub cover during high winds and storms.
Featuring adjustable buckles and stainless-steel screws to bolt the straps to your hot tub, the locking latches and keys make it an easy process to open your spa when you want a dip.
What I like best about these straps is they adjust from 48″ to 106″ so you can use them on just about any hot tub, though some users have had problems with the quality of the materials and that the clips and straps would fail under extreme weather.
- Simple to install with a few screws, these straps will keep your hot tub cover in place
- Clips make for fast and easy access when you want to open your hot tub
- Quality of straps could be higher as the clips have been known to fail
Designed by Prestige Spa Covers, this particular product is a complete replacement for your hard-insulated hot tub cover, able to fit any size up to 96″ wide.
The tapered foam core is 4″ thick in the center tapering down to 2″ at the edges, to help displace any collected water, and it comes with a 5-year standard warranty.
What I like about this particular spa cover is that it’s custom-made. You can buy the perfect replacement cover when you need it, though the quality is perhaps not the best. Some users have had problems with waterlogging, and that the final products received differ to the measurements sent to the manufacturer.
- Custom-made hot tub cover can be designed to fit your needs
- Somewhat convoluted delivery process, as the seller simply distributes the covers
- Some users have had sizing issues with the final product not meeting their specs
Designed by MySpaCover, this is another custom-made option you’ve got to replace a worn out hard-cover on your hot tub at home.
Featuring 10 different colors to choose, the final product is made from a highly durable 30 oz marine-grade vinyl, which feels thicker and more durable than many competing products in this particular category. You just know it will last.
What I like best is these are one of the most energy-efficient covers on the market (the insulation quality is through the roof), and they come with a 5-year warranty. The only downside is some customers have experienced problems with delivery, and in a select few products, they arrive defective, collecting water quickly before starting to deteriorate.
- Many customers believe these covers are higher-quality than the originals
- Extremely efficient at trapping the heat inside your hot tub
- Some customers experienced delivery delays and customer service issues
- A few products arrived defective and would collect water
Designed by Classic Accessories, this is a soft hot tub cover that primarily acts as a weather shield, giving your hard, hot tub cover another layer of protection.
Fitting spas up to 86″ wide by 86″ long, the material is entirely waterproof to repel any rain or snow, and just feels thick, durable and high quality when you touch it.
What I like best is the 3-year warranty, though where this hot tub cover lets us down is staying put, the elastic hem isn’t strong enough to keep it in place during high winds.
- Thick and durable construction to stand up to the elements
- If not weighted down it will fly off during storms and high winds
- Some customers found it deteriorated quickly under direct sunlight
Designed by Porch Shield, this is a soft hot tub cover that’s available in two sizes, 85″ by 85″ and 95″ by 95″ to fit most standard spas.
Constructed from a waterproof 600D polyester fabric, the laminated undercoating is completely water resistant to help fight off mildew and condensation, while keeping your insulated hot tub cover completely dry.
Backed by a 5-year warranty, what I actually like best is the multiple locking systems that help this particular hot tub cover stay in place during even the roughest weather. The only downside is the color, I’m not a big fan of the light shade, but you have no other options.
- Adjustable locking systems provide a great fit to hold up against high winds
- Completely waterproof to extend the life of your hot tubs insulated cover
- Comes with only one color choice
If you’re looking for a replacement cover to keep your hot tub insulated and cut down on your monthly electric bill, you need the Hot Tub Cover from MySpaCover. Built from highly durable materials, this is perhaps the single best option for replacing a worn-out hot tub cover, with every product backed by a 5-year warranty.
But you may not need to replace your entire hot tub cover just yet, and if that’s the case, the Porch Shield Hard Cover Protector is definitely a smart buy. Completely waterproof to fight off mold and mildew, the double-stitched seams add strength, and the multiple locking systems will ensure this particular cover isn’t going anywhere, even when the storms come.
Investing in the right cover for your hot tub is a smart choice, as it not only helps you cut your energy costs, it ensures your water is insulated and protected, so it’s always perfect for a quick dip.