Coleman Lay-Z Spa Review
A Coleman Inflatable Hot Tub, like all their products, is guaranteed to be well engineered, sturdy and durable. They really do make things that last.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money you can still get a great Hot Tub experience with a Coleman Spa. The bubbles, the heat and relief are all there just like a much more expensive option. This is a powerful spa with many features included in the price.
With an inflated size of 77 inches and a depth of 28 inches it claims to be suitable for 4-6 people, however things might get a little intimate with 6 people. But hey.. maybe that’s a good thing!. Seriously though, in practice 4 adults is about the limit for optimum comfort and relaxation.
All sides are covered with a durable fabric that consists of 3 layers with a reinforced polyester mesh center. It feels good on the skin and is durable and puncture resistant.
The walls consist of a series of vertical beams, or pockets of air. This gives great strength. You can actually sit on the side without bending or crushing and subsequently feels very firm when leaning against when you’re treating yourself to a relaxing soak.
These pockets of air while providing great strength also provide excellent insulation. In terms of thermal insulation, trapped air is one of the best. The reason for this is that air molecules are spread out, making it harder for heat transfer to occur.
Although the sides retain heat very well, insulation on the bottom could be improved. The Coleman Spa comes with an air cushioned mat designed to sit underneath and provide a soft surface to rest on, but it's not very thick.
Tip.. You can however vastly improve heat retention by fabricating a simple base made from construction foam. You can buy these foam sheets from places like Lowes.Two 8' by 4' sheets should set you back around $30. Ideally you would cover these foam sheets with an outdoor carpet remnant, or perhaps even a patch of artificial turf. With a little tape and glue a nifty thermal platform can be built in as little as 30 minutes. If you don't like the idea, try to think of some other simple ways to stop heat loss from the bottom of your hot tub.
Remember better heat retention means less heating and that means you'll save on electricity by not running the heater as often.
The spa cover has an aluminum covering on the inside to ensure minimal heat loss when the Tub is not in use. Plus secure locking straps to ensure children cannot easily remove the cover. If the cover is fitted securely the trappped air sitting between the water and the cover will act as an efficient insulator. Most of the heat loss in any type of hot tub occurs at the top, with a large surface area of exposed water it is very important to always place the cover securely on your hot tub when not in use.
120 Jets create vigorous bubbles
You can expect a relaxing and therapeutic massage from this offering with 120 powerful bubble jets from the Lay-Z massage system. It packs a lot of grunt for a budget price. The water filtration system also works well and maintains a healthy water environment that is gentle on the skin.
Although there is no seating the soft padded bottom combined with the supplied cushioned ground mat is comfortable enough.
The Tub holds around 250 gallons of water and takes about 45-50 minutes to fill. Although the Tub alone only weighs 88 pounds the total weight when full of water is 1900-2100 pounds. For those thinking about placing the spa on a deck, please do the math first. Even a blowup hot tub can be seriously heavy when filled with water.
Controlling the lay z spa is easy
The hot tub controls are easily to use and easy to reach. All the features of this Hot Tub are controlled from the digital control panel, which sits on top of the large green egg shaped heating and pump unit.
The water filtration, bubble massage system and water heating are all controlled from here. You also use the control panel to inflate the Hot Tub. The unit also has a neat locking system, which will stop children from messing with your settings. When the heating system is activated the spa water will be heated until it is 1 degree more than the preset temperature. The heater will switch on again when the water temperature falls 2 degrees below your preset.
Many portable hot tubs that only require a regular household power point all have one slightly annoying feature. In order not to use too much power, you cannot use the heater and have bubbles at the same time. It's stricly one or the other.
Although this is a downside for the Coleman Inflatable you may still get around 30 minutes of relaxation before the heater kicks in. Of course this will depend on the ambient temperature. But many customers have described a satisfactory time of between 20 and 30 minutes of bubbles before the water temperature drops significantly.
You may struggle to maintain the heat in your hot tub when the mercury drops below 40 degrees. A well insulated base beneath your hot tub and a good cover will help considerably when things get cold. This photo shows a Salt Lake City "Coleman" enthusiast who uses his hot tub all year round. So folks its is possible with a little bit of extra effort.
Filter requires regular cleaning
The filter needs to be cleaned weekly in order to maintain a suitable water quality. This should not be neglected. If you leave it too long the filter will be much harder to clean and you may find that you need to clean inside where the filter sits as well. This can be somewhat fiddly and time consuming. A dirty filter also means less overall efficiency. The pump will need to work harder while the water will start to cloud. If you only perform minimal maintenance on your hot tub make sure cleaning your filter regularly is part of that routine
So.. that all sounds pretty good right?
Well not quite. There are some other negatives that should be mentioned. Customer reviews have indicated that the water heater maybe under powered. At the stated heating rate of 2-3 degrees per hour it could take up to 12 hours to reach 104 degrees. To best enjoy a blissful experience you need to plan in advance and factor in the heating time.
Tip..If you are impatient like me and don't want to wait all that time for your hot tub to reach a good hot temperature, one partial solution is too use hot or warm water from inside your house. Although this may not be practical for some, it does work well if you have convenient access to hot water. For the little bit of extra work required you will save hours of heat up time.
Heating requires the spa water to be circulated over the heating elements, this means the pump must also be running. Running costs will depend on the cost of your electricity. But as a guide, and based on 10.5 cents per kilowatt you could expect to pay around $40 a month when regularly using your spa.
One last thing that should be brought to the attention of any interested buyer is the handful of Coleman Lay Z Spa reviews from unhappy customers who complained about poor quality, or that the hot tub worked fine for a while then something went wrong. These types of criticisms are by far in the minority but worth considering none the less. Some comfort can be had from a 6 month warranty on the liner and a 12 month warranty on the electrical's like pump, heater and controller.
Lets sum it up
Setup is quick and easy. There is consistent positive customer feedback about the ease of setup. With solid level ground it can be up and ready for filling in under an hour.
The control panel is easy to use. With a clever layout of buttons for each function and a bright clear display.
Insulated secure cover. The spa cover does help to keep the heat in and can be solidly secured.
Extremely solid for an inflatable. The vertical beam construction creates a very sturdy structure that provides excellent support.
The separate cushioned airpad sitting underneath the hot tub helps with insulation and feels very comfortable to rest on.
Depending on your ambient water temperature, heating a full spa to 104 degrees could take up to 12 hours.
Cannot run the heater and the bubble jets at the same time.
Could be a power hog, with reports of monthly energy costs of $40-$50.
Only minor, but the control panel may be hard to read in bright sun.
Some minor critcism about overall quality.
A Coleman Hot Tub is easy to use. If you don't believe me take at look at this setup video.