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6 Different Types of Hot Tub Covers

Learn all about hot tub covers to protect your hot tub from harmful elements and prolong your hot tub's life span!

Covered hot tub during winter.

After a long day of skiing, nothing feels better than having a beverage in the hot tub with friends. Many people choose to replicate their favorite qualities about apres ski at home, with their own hot tub on the deck or patio. Hot tubs are great for relaxation, and they can also have wonderful health benefits.

However, keeping the water warm in an eco-friendly and efficient way is essential for a soothing soak in the hot tub. Below, let’s examine some of the most popular types of hot tub covers, so you can make a better, more informed purchase regarding your next hot tub cover investment.  

Soft Covers

Hot tub leather soft cover.

Soft covers offer a convenient solution for covering a hot tub that is both affordable and easy to use. Most soft covers for a hot tub are made of vinyl fabric, offering plenty of durable protection. To install a soft cover, simply stretch the fabric over the top of the hot tub and secure it to the spa cabinets along the side.

Usually, an inflatable pillow is added to the water’s surface to support the vinyl cover. This inflated pillow can also prevent rainwater from pooling, keeping your cover in good shape year after year. Soft covers are beneficial because they are affordable and incredibly lightweight, making them easy to use.

Unfortunately, these covers provide zero thermal protection, so they don’t work well to trap heat inside the hot tub. Lack of thermal protection means you’ll pay more in utility bills to heat the water, and these soft covers should not be used in areas with cold temperatures. Plus, the longer your hot tub heater has to run to maintain the water temperature, the sooner your pump may wear out.

Hard Cover

Wood covered barrel-type hot tub.

Adding a hard cover to your hot tub is a popular choice, and by far, hard covers are the most commonly sold cover. These covers are usually made of vinyl material and contain a foam center. The cover is usually operated by a hinge located toward the center of the hot tub cover.

Hard covers are available in various sizes and shapes, so it is possible to find a cover to fit your exact hot tub model. Most hard covers are affordable, making them ideal for hot tub owners. The most significant benefit of the hard cover is the high R-value. The higher the R-value, the more insulative the cover is.

This characteristic means that a hard cover will be able to keep heat trapped inside your hot tub, keeping the water warm. Keeping the water at a steady temperature also means you will pay less on your utility bills. Also, hard covers are perfect for any weather or climate condition and well suited for cold temperatures.  

Unfortunately, hard covers are hefty and require two people to put the cover onto the hot tub and take the cover off. Plus, the foam interior on the cover can quickly absorb water, ruining the R-value and making the cover even heavier if it becomes punctured.  

Smart Top Cover

If you are looking for an easy-to-use hot tub cover, a Smartop cover may be the best option. These covers are made from aluminum, so they are incredibly durable and puncture-proof. The cover is insulated with foam which helps to keep the heat inside the hot tub. The aluminum cover prevents punctures, so you’ll never have to worry about the foam becoming waterlogged.

The surface of the cover is made with UV-resistant polymer, which is good in all weather conditions and will continue to look great for years to come. Plus, Smartop Covers can be used in any weather conditions or climate around the world.  

Compared to a traditional hard cover, these Smartop Covers are easy to operate and come with a hydraulic lifter. The lifter device makes it easy for one person to put the cover on and off and eliminates the hard cover’s challenges. While these covers will be a bit more expensive, the Smartop cover is incredibly long-lasting and the most hassle-free cover available for hot tubs.  

Aluminum Cover

Similar in style to a Smartop cover, an Aluminum cover offers durability and longevity. These hot tub covers are lightweight aluminum and have a Styrofoam core. The Styrofoam won’t absorb water, so these covers are built to last for years. Unfortunately, compared to some other foam alternatives, Styrofoam has a lower R-value, which means you’ll have a more challenging time keeping your water warm and may experience higher utility bills.

The aluminum option can also be pretty heavy, requiring two people to lift the aluminum cover into place manually. There are automated lifting machines available for a surcharge that can operate the aluminum style cover and make usage easier for a single person.  

Cold Climate Cover

Cold weather hot tub cover.

Hot tubs are great in cold locations, like ski resorts and chalets. Having a hot tub cover designed for colder climates can not only keep your water warmer, lowering utility bills, but it can help keep your cover intact, especially with heavy snow pile-ups. There are plenty of hot tub covers explicitly designed for cold weather that feature a thicker foam center to help trap heat. These hot tub covers usually have 6-inch thick foam at the center, which tapers to 4-inch thick foam at the edges.

Not only does this offer a higher R-value, but it can withstand up to 300 pounds of snow and ice laying on your hot tub cover. The cold weather hot tub covers have a regular seam that runs along the edge of the hot tub, but it is possible to upgrade to a full-length seam stop along the hinge that helps keep the warm air trapped inside.  

Energy Efficient Cover

Heating a hot tub is expensive, especially if you live in a cold climate that requires plenty of energy to keep the water warm. Investing in an energy-efficient hot tub cover is a great way to keep your utility bill in check while keeping your water toasty warm. Energy-efficient hot tub covers have 2-pound foam insulation, offering a dense cover with an R-25 insulation value. The dense foam helps create a tight seal, allowing the hot air to stay in the tub rather than escaping outdoors.

Plus, the thicker foam helps to reflect heat into the tub, further lowering your utility bill.

Although the high-density foam is much denser than average hot tub covers, the overall weight of the cover isn’t drastically more than a traditional hard cover. These high-density foam covers usually weigh about 50 pounds, making it difficult but manageable for a single person.   

FAQs About Hot Tub Covers

Outdoor wooden hot tub, covered.

Having a hot tub at your home is a phenomenal luxury that allows you to spend hours relaxing in the hot, jetted tub. Finding the right hot tub cover for your hot tub can help you enjoy your tub more often and help save you money on costly heating utility bills. Below, we have outlined some of the most frequently asked questions about hot tub covers.  

What is the purpose of having a hot tub cover?

Covered outdoor hot tub during winter.

Hot tub covers are an essential part of owning a hot tub. From a physical standpoint, they are necessary to protect your water from falling leaves and debris that could cloud and disturb the water chemistry. Secondly, a hot tub cover is a great way to prevent evaporation and help keep your water warm. It can be pretty costly to heat the water in a hot tub, so using a cover to help prevent heat loss can keep your water hotter, prevent your heater from overworking, and help lower utility bills.  

Are hot tub covers easy to install?

Luxury hot tub with therapeutic massage system.

Installing a hot tub cover is an easy process that only takes seconds. Many hot tub covers require two people to maneuver and lift the cover into place if you do not already have an automatic lift. To install a hot tub cover, simply place the folded cover over half of the open tub. You’ll want to make sure the cover is even with the edge of the hot tub.

Then, lift the exposed half of the cover and cover the open part of the hot tub. Usually, hot tub covers will come with clips, brackets, or tie-downs to secure the cover into place.  

How do I maintain my hot tub cover?

Luxury hot tub set on the house's deck.

To keep your hot tub cover in good working condition, it is vital to keep the cover clean. You’ll want to clean the cover at least once per season or as needed when the cover is dirty. First, remove the cover from the hot tub to prevent possibly damaging the hot tub itself. Wash off the cover with a hose, using only light water pressure.

At this point, it’s a good idea to check for any tears or rips. Use a mild detergent or cleaning solution to clean the cover. Some people have luck with a DIY cleaning solution, such as mixing water and vinegar.

With a soft brush, gently clean the surface of the cover to remove any built-up dirt and pollen. Rinse the cover with fresh water and allow the cover to dry. When completely dry, place the cover back onto your hot tub to keep your hot tub and hot water protected.  

How much does a hot tub cover weigh?

Woman enjoying the hot tub with a glass of champagne.

The average weight of a hot tub cover is about 50-75 pounds, depending on the material the cover is made of and the type of insulation used. It is always a good practice to have two people help take the cover off and put it back onto the hot tub. If you do not have two people or adequate strength to move the hot tub cover, automatic lifting devices are available for hot tub covers.