Spa covers last for many years, but eventually – they become broken or water logged. Replacing a spa cover, or buying your first cover, can be a simple, fast and inexpensive purchase ~ if you know what to look for.
In this post, I’ll tell you how to quickly find your exact fit hot tub cover online, and how to decide on the many features and options – so you can compare spa covers from many dealers, and find the best price on the best fitting spa cover that best fits your needs.
Discover Your Spa Cover
Spa Cover Make & Model
Every spa or hot tub has a make and model, just like an automobile. “Make” refers to the manufacturer of the spa, and “Model” is the name of the spa. Most online spa cover stores will allow you to choose your Make, and then provide a list of Models made by the manufacturer.
This is by far the easiest way to order a spa cover. If you don’t see the Make and Model listed on the outside of the tub, open the service panel to look inside for a placard or sticker. Or, if you have the original spa invoice or owner’s manual or a brochure, this should also give you the information needed.
Spa Cover Shape & Dimensions
It happens that many folks can’t find the Make & Model of spa, so you’ll find that most hot tub cover sites will allow you to order a spa cover by choosing the shape of the spa cover and then filling in some simple dimensions.
Our website asks you to pick from 11 common spa cover shapes, and also has an option for “Unusual or Oversized” cover shapes, which are used more for freeform inground spas, than for portable hot tubs.
After you pick the shape of spa cover that you have, you will be asked to take 2-4 measurements – of the spa shell, not of the existing spa cover, but the outside to outside measurement of the spa shell.
We’ll also ask for the measurement of the existing spa cover skirt length and strap length. The skirt is the material that hangs down to help seal up the spa. Most skirt lengths are about 4″, but you can specify, from 2 – 6 inches. The spa straps are sewn onto the skirt, and these have clips that attach into buckles attached to the spa sides. 7 inches is standard, but you can specify longer or shorter spa straps.
Spa Covers Features & Options
So that you can compare Apples to Apples, you’ll want to understand the various features of better spa covers. Some of these may be included “standard” on your spa cover, or may be an optional expense.
Spa Cover Colors
A color choice is standard with all hot tub cover dealers. You should have at least 8 colors to choose from; at Hottubworks, we have 14 colors available, from Almond to Walnut. Choose a color that complements your patio decor, or your particular taste.
Foam Density & Thickness
Inside of your marine grade vinyl spa cover are rigid foam panels, which taper to a smaller thickness near the outside of the cover, to allow water to run off easily. The thickness of the foam panels will affect it’s strength and it’s heat retention ability. Thicker spa covers are stronger and keep more heat in the spa, but they’re also a heavier when moving. We have 3 thickness available – 4 inch tapering to 2 inches on the side, or a 5 inch tapering to 3″, or our thickest, a 6″ foam panel, tapering to 4″ inches.
Foam Density is another selection to make. Denser foams hor heat retention, and can resist damage more easily. Denser foam panels also resist water absorption better than a foam with more air pockets. We also have 3 Densities available – 1 lb. foam, 1.5 lb. foam and our 2 lb. foam density.
Hottubworks always use virgin foam core stock, made without any ozone depleting CFC’s or HCFC’s
Spa Cover R-Value
The R-Value of a spa cover is a measure of it’s thermal resistance. You’ve seen R-value on other products as well, such as windows, wall materials and home insulation. Essentially, the R-Value of a spa cover is it’s resistance to heat loss. I like to also call it the “Retention Value”, for how much heat a spa cover will Retain.
The R-Value for hot tub covers is influenced by 3 things – the Foam Density and the Foam Thickness, discussed above, and the Continuous Heat Seal, discussed below. Here’s a chart I made containing R-Values for spa covers, from 12 – 30, depending on the foam thickness and density.
Continuous Heat Seal
Every spa cover has a fold, and some larger spa covers can have more than one. At this junction of the two foam panels is a weak spot for heat retention. Most spa covers use two pads at each end of the fold, to keep heat from escaping, but this leaves a large gap through the rest of the fold. A Continuous Heat Seal keeps heat from escaping through the hinge, or fold of the spa cover. It’s a dense pad that runs the entire length of the hinge, sewn in place, and it really improves heat retention, especially in colder climates.
Double Wrapped Foam Core
The foam core on spa covers is wrapped in a thick plastic to prevent moisture from working it’s way into the foam. If you’ve ever struggled with a soggy, water logged spa cover, you know how important this plastic cover can be. Having a Double-Wrapped foam core simply means that the core is wrapped twice, for more moisture and vapor resistance and protection from accident prone people who may nick, burn or tear the plastic.
Spa Cover Dealers
Finally, to make the best comparison of hot tub covers, consider the expertise and reputation of the company that you are buying a spa cover from. There are many ways to make cheaper spa covers, simply by using cheaper materials, weaker construction and lax quality control. Using cut-rate shippers is another way that some spa cover dealers shave a few bucks off their cover cost.
Hottubworks uses computer aided design and manufacturing processes, top grade materials and quality construction. All covers go through a 16 point quality inspection and are shipped with national carriers that you know and trust.
Here’s Drake, from Hottubworks, with some video tips for you on How to Buy a Hot Tub Cover. You can see more spa cover videos on our YouTube Channel.