My wife and I tested about 5 different brands of spas. We did a "wet sitting" in the top 3. After the wet test the choice was rather simple : Hot Springs simply make the best spas around.
Recommend this product?
The spa was set up and leveled for us in the backyard. We had to wait a few days for an electrician to install the 220 line. (Go with the 220 instead of the 110, it's worth it.)
We went with the Soverign because it has a recliner seat. It also was about middle of the line as far as price goes. It was the best one for our family.
We've had the spa for about 2 years. We still use it quite a bit. It has held up wonderfully and we have not had any mechanical problems yet. The spa cover is still in good shape too, though one of the plastic snaps has broken.
The thing we liked most about the Hot Springs was the fact that each place you sit has totally different types of jets. Whereas most other spas have the same jets just in different locations, the Hot Springs has unique jets for each place sitting.
The Moto Massage jet is great. We thought it might not be that good and just a catchy selling point, but it works fantastic.
One of the things I don't like is that you cannot turn on every single jet on at once. I would like to have the option to have them on all the time. I think, at minimum, the 2 foot jets should be on a separate control so they can be used with any of the other combinations.
The other real gripe is the depth of the tub. It's probably the shallowest of any we tested. It's only a matter of a few inches, but it does make a difference.
Despite these shortcomings, the spa really is everything we expected. It was about $500 more than the next competitor for a similar tub, but it was worth every penny.
Spa maintenance is pretty simple. We do not have the ozone addition, yet it is still simple to maintain. I get the water tested about once a month. Depending on usage, I add chemicals about every 3rd day or so. I'm not very mechanically inclined and I haven't screwed the chemical additions up yet, so it is as close to idiot-proof as you can get.
The filters do need to be cleaned every month, more often if you use if frequently. It's amazing just how much it can affect the performance of the spa by having dirty filters. It only requires a good hosing to clean them off then a cleaner every other time, but it makes a world of difference.
My suggestion is to find one or two you really like then bring a bathing suit in and sit in them. Spas are a significant investment and the wet test allayed many of our fears about which spa was the best for the money.