When installing a hot tub, one of the first decisions we'll have to make is whether to have an indoor or outdoor setup. An indoor hot tub might be your best bet if you seek privacy and control over your environment. On the other hand, if you're drawn to the idea of soaking under the stars or hosting social gatherings, an outdoor hot tub could be the way to go. 

Each option has pros and cons; understanding these is crucial when choosing between indoor and outdoor hot tubs. Remember, it's not just about preference but also practical factors like space, energy efficiency, and maintenance.

Indoor Hot Tubs

An indoor hot tub offers privacy and year-round accessibility regardless of weather conditions. People typically place these hot tubs in bathrooms, basements, or dedicated spa rooms designed to handle high humidity and water exposure. 

Critical considerations for installing an indoor hot tub include ensuring adequate ventilation to manage humidity and prevent mold growth and providing sufficient structural support to bear the significant weight of the tub when filled with water and users. Indoor hot tubs require waterproof flooring and drainage systems, such as floor drains or sump pumps, to manage overflow and prevent water damage. 

Indoor hot tubs offer the convenience of spa-like relaxation without leaving the comfort of your home, and they can significantly enhance the luxury appeal of your property.

Outdoor Hot Tubs

An outdoor hot tub is typically installed in a backyard, patio, or deck area. These hot tubs are famous for their ability to blend with outdoor living spaces, offering a relaxing environment under the open sky, whether it's for personal relaxation or social gatherings. 

Outdoor hot tubs come in various sizes and styles, from portable models to custom-built in-ground spas, and can include features like jets, lights, and entertainment systems. They require proper installation to ensure they are well-insulated and equipped with efficient heating systems to maintain water temperature in different weather conditions. 

Outdoor hot tubs also need sturdy covers to protect against debris and to help retain heat. Regular maintenance is crucial, as they are exposed to external elements like weather and foliage, affecting water quality and tub integrity.

Indoor Hot Tub Pros & Cons

Indoor hot tubs, whether part of a bathroom makeover or a standalone fixture in a home spa, offer a range of advantages, but there are also drawbacks worth considering.


  • Privacy & seclusion: Even in urban settings with closely packed houses, an indoor hot tub keeps your hydrotherapy routines exclusive to you. Say goodbye to bothering about nosy neighbors or prying eyes as you enjoy your hot tub experiences.
  • Climate-controlled enjoyment: The comfort of enjoying a warm soak without weather worries is a big plus. Rainy days, chilly winters, hot summer afternoons—no element can disrupt your plan for a soak. A climate-controlled environment ensures year-round use, making an indoor home spa a good choice for regions with harsh climates or strong winds and snow.
  • Unmatched convenience: The ability to step into a warm hot tub straight from your bedroom or workout room without stepping out into the cold underscores another significant advantage of indoor hot tubs.
  • A luxurious touch: An indoor spa can add sophistication to your interior spaces, acting as a feature that amplifies the overall aesthetics of your home. From customization options for indoor tubs to ease of maintenance, indoor hot tubs come with a rich array of boons.
  • Energy efficiency: Regarding home spa energy usage, indoor hot tubs are generally more energy-efficient due to lesser heat loss. However, careful thought must still be put into managing the humidity levels in the room.


  • Space limitations: You must ensure enough room to accommodate the hot tub, leaving adequate room for safe entry, exit, and maintenance access. Unfortunately, you may need to renovate or build an addition to your home to create ample enough space. 
  • Foundation requirements: Your home's foundation must be sturdy enough to support a hot tub filled with water, which can exceed 6,000 pounds. This may require additional structural supports or even a specifically designed base installation.
  • Necessary drainage system: Floor drains capture and redirect water away from critical structures, while sump pumps can help actively pump out water, especially in areas where gravity drainage is inadequate. These systems prevent water damage, mold growth, and structural decay.
  • Complex installation: The installation process for indoor hot tubs is more complicated and often more costly than outdoor counterparts. Due to their large size, maneuvering a hot tub down corridors and around corners can be tricky. Consider building codes and permits, as the installation requirements may involve plumbing and electrical work.
  • Maintenance challenges: Though indoor hot tub maintenance is generally more manageable as they're shielded from outdoor debris and weather elements, it can still present challenges. The scent of the chemicals may bothersome, and water changes and chemical adjustments, though less frequent, remain essential for preserving the hot tub's longer lifespan.
  • Ventilation & humidity concerns: An efficient ventilation method is essential to prevent damage to your walls, paint, plaster, or drywall. Heated spa water increases the humidity of the surrounding air, which can lead to mold growth. Installing a ventilation system or additional windows can combat these issues, ensuring your luxury doesn't become a liability.

Outdoor Hot Tub Pros & Cons

While indoor hot tubs offer unique advantages, outdoor hot tubs present a unique blend of practicality, comfort, and scenery, making them an attractive alternative.


  • Ease of installation: Outdoor hot tubs don't demand substantial alterations or renovations in your home. You can place them anywhere in your yard, given that you have a sturdy and flat surface, such as a concrete slab. This contrasts with potentially expensive construction projects to accommodate indoor hot tubs.
  • More straightforward regulations: Outdoor hot tub installations usually require less time and fewer permits than indoor hot tub installations, which require consideration of humidity control, ventilation for indoor spas, and adhering to specific building codes and permits.
  • Natural ventilation: One key outdoor hot tub advantage is the natural ventilation the great outdoors provides. Unlike indoor hot tubs, where substantial ventilation systems are required to handle the humidity and chemical odors, outdoor hot tubs have fresh air as an excellent ventilator.
  • Scenic views: An outdoor hot tub installation lets you soak under starlit skies or unwind amid birds chirping in your garden. This outdoor setting connects you to nature in a way that indoor hot tubs can't replicate. Imagine enjoying a soft, snowy day from the comfort of your warm tub or sipping on a drink on a summer evening, with the tub serving as your oasis.
  • Ample space for socializing: Your backyard offers more space for an enormous spa, gatherings, and BBQs. This extends your living space, adding to the charm of your yard or patio and creating a multifunctional entertainment area that you can enjoy year-round.


  • Potential privacy concerns: Unlike the privacy in indoor hot tubs, in an outdoor setting, you might feel the prying eyes of neighbors. This is more likely if there's an open view between your property and nearby residences. However, appropriate landscaping, privacy screens, or strategic positioning can mitigate these concerns.
  • Weather exposure: The impact of weather on hot tubs can undoubtedly lead to increased wear and tear compared to an indoor installation. A cover will help protect your outdoor spa when it's not in use. Still, regular maintenance is critical to ensuring your spa's longevity and a consistently enjoyable experience all year.
  • Accessibility challenges: Unlike indoor hot tubs, where the climate remains constant, an outdoor spa might pose a hurdle when trudging through snow or heavy rainfall to relax. However, with proper insulation, accessories like heating lamps or an adjacent fire pit, and sturdy stairs and handrails, you can significantly improve accessibility and convenience.
  • High energy costs: Having an outdoor hot tub can increase your home's heating costs in winter, particularly if it is not well-insulated or used frequently. Heat loss from the water surface, especially in colder climates, requires the hot tub's heating system to work harder to maintain the desired temperature, thereby consuming more energy.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Hot Tub: How to Choose

Picking the perfect hot tub location can seem daunting – but it doesn't have to be. You can make an informed choice by considering your lifestyle and weighing the pros and cons.

Consider Your Lifestyle

When privacy is paramount, an indoor hot tub offers benefits. Enclosed within the comfort of your home, you can enjoy a soothing soak away from prying eyes. If you're set on an outdoor spa but also want privacy and have the budget for landscaping, it may be worth installing fencing or tall plants. Suppose you often host events like BBQs or family gatherings. In that case, an outdoor spa boosts the fun quotient, adding an element of luxury to your backyard. 

Consider Your Space

Your current space's limitations and appetite for renovations are significant factors. If you'd rather work with what's on your existing property, an outdoor hot tub might be preferable. Indoor hot tubs require drainage systems, which only some homes already have. On the other hand, if you're willing to invest in your dream spa setup, additions like a new outdoor deck or a dedicated room for your hot tub are both possibilities.

Consider Nature

Are you a fan of nature or not? Outdoor hot tubs can present a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape, making them perfect for nature enthusiasts. That said, outdoor hot tubs also mean challenges around weather conditions. To ensure year-round use of outdoor hot tubs, be ready to handle elements like wind, rain, snow, and debris. 

Consider Maintenance

Indoor hot tub installations and maintenance checks can be complex since they require exceptional drainage, ventilation, and more. On the other hand, a hot tub that's open to natural elements may require more frequent maintenance. Consider how much time or resources you're willing to invest in servicing your spa or having it serviced.  

Consider Energy Use

When discussing energy efficiency, indoor hot tubs often win the comparison. As indoor spaces typically are better insulated, indoor hot tubs can retain heat more efficiently. In contrast, outdoor hot tubs require more energy to keep the water warm, particularly during colder months. Ask yourself how important it is to keep down your home energy costs.

Health Benefits of Hot Tubs

Whether indoors or outdoors, hot tubs offer a broad range of health benefits, including physical and mental aspects. Sharing the joy of luxurious relaxation, improving cardiovascular health, relieving stress, promoting more restful sleep, and soothing aching muscles are just a few advantages both indoor and outdoor hot tubs provide. 

Having a hot tub indoors does lend itself to light control, allowing for a more personalized ambiance conducive to stress relief and effective hydrotherapy. An indoor hot tub also makes it easy to go from a workout to a soak and then to your bedroom for a solid night's sleep.

On the other hand, outdoor hot tubs offer the unique benefit of nature's surroundings. Being outdoors promotes a deeper connection to nature, enhancing the relaxation and stress relief aspects of hot tub use. Scenic views in outdoor hot tubs can uplift your spirits and provide a refreshing perspective. In tandem with a hot tub's relaxing properties, nature views can increase feelings of rejuvenation and harmony.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a hot tub need to be on a slab?

A hot tub can be on any firm, level surface, such as wooden decks, spa pads, graveled areas, and paver stones. However, you must ensure the surface will remain stable and not affected by moisture or weight.

How far does a hot tub need to be from the house?

A hot tub should be at least 5 feet away from buildings to prevent potential flood damage. The more space, the better. Positioning it near a home entrance or providing a changing area will be convenient during winter use.

Is it a good idea to put a hot tub inside a house?

Placing a hot tub inside is a good idea if privacy is your priority. This shields you from prying eyes and offers maximum convenience. However, remember that indoor hot tubs require efficient humidity control.

Do hot tubs increase home value?

Yes, a hot tub can increase your property's value, especially when it's well-incorporated with exterior landscapes. For instance, a hot tub with well-matched hardscaping elements like a stone pathway, gazebo, or deck appeals more to potential buyers.

Is it better to have a hot tub outside or inside?

Both options have merits. Outdoor hot tubs offer natural ventilation and drainage and can capitalize on scenic locations. The breeze helps dissipate humidity, and a convenient drainage location is just a hose length away. However, indoor hot tubs offer more privacy and customization settings.

May 09, 2024 — andrei newman