One thing that is holding back many hot tub owners is the heavy cover. They are just a pain to remove. For those users, a hot tub cover lifter is the unsung hero for your tub. It is the best way to remove a cover efficiently.
Hot tub cover lifter, what are your options?
Generally, there are five types of cover lifters. The shelf cover lifter, the manual pivot cover lifter, the hydraulic cover lifter, the gliding cover lifter, and the last type is the automatic cover lifter. The shelf cover lifter is the most affordable one. The automatic cover lifter is the easiest, with just a button push. But it is the most expensive type.
In this blog post, I will explain the differences between the five cover types. It will also look at the question if they are worth the money, how much room a lifter needs, and why you should use a hot tub cover in the first place.
- 1 Hot tub cover lifter, what are your options?
- 2 Are hot tub cover lifters worth it?
- 3 Can you stand on a hot tub cover?
- 4 How much room do you need for a hot tub cover lifter?
- 5 Do you need a hot tub cover?
- 6 Why is the hot tub cover so heavy?
Hot tub cover lifter, what are your options?
There are mainly five types of hot tub cover lifters. They differ in the technology used, the effort needed to use them, and their cost. Not all hot tub manufacturers make all types, and you can also find companies specializing in cover lifters. They provide you custom covers depending on the size and type of your hot tub and according to the type of cover lifter you need.
– Hot tub cover type 1: The Shelf cover lifter
The shelf cover lifter is the most affordable option among hot tub cover lifters. It is usually fixed on the rear or the side of the hot spa. The tub cover is lifted off the hot tub and slid onto the shelf. In this type, users have to fold the cover and slide it onto the shelf manually.
Usually, the shelf-type cover lifter needs more clearance on the rear of the tub or on the side, depending on where it is fitted. Since it does not help much in lifting the weight of the cover, it may be suitable if you are on a shoe-string budget and are using a lighter tub cover. I don't recommend a shelf cover lifter in the case of heavy tub covers.
– Hot tub cover type 2: The manual pivot cover lifter
Unlike the shelf-type, a manual pivot cover lifter assists you to some extent in lifting the weight of the heavy tub cover. In a manual pivot cover lifter, a metal bar is fitted across the tub in such a way that the cover can be folded in two parts over the bar. The user has to lift the first part of the cover over the metal bar and then push the metal bar back to get the cover off the tub completely.
This type of cover lifter involves some effort to fold the cover and to push back the metal bar. However, it needs less clearance than the shelf cover lifter, as it is mounted on the tub.
– Hot tub cover type 3: The hydraulic cover lifter
The hydraulic cover lifter is a more high-end solution where hydraulic pistons help you lift the tub cover. It also works similar to the manual pivot, but the hydraulic pistons do the heavy lifting instead of the user. The downside of this type is that they are more expensive than the manual pivot type.
– Hot tub cover type 4: Gliding cover lifter
With a gliding cover lifter, you glide the cover of the tub after lifting and folding it. The gliding system makes it much easier, but it still needs some effort to lift and fold the cover. This type of cover lift requires minimal clearance compared to the shelf and pivot types.
– Hot tub cover type 5: Automatic cover lifters
In an automatic cover lifter mechanism, a motor lifts the cover, folds it, and moves it off the tub. This kind of cover lifter needs you to put no physical effort than pushing the button to open or close the tub. It is the most expensive option but an excellent choice for large and bulky tub covers.
Are hot tub cover lifters worth it?
Hot tub cover lifters are worth the money since they extend the lifespan of your tub cover and make you use your hot tub more often. When hot tubs are installed, the cover is relatively light. Eventually, moisture seeps into the cover and is absorbed by the foam, making the cover heavier. Over time it makes lifting the tub cover more difficult. A heavy cover may even damage when the user applies an uneven force to remove it. Apart from the hassle of lifting a heavy tub cover, it may cause discomfort and back injury to some users.
In the case of outdoor hot tubs, having an efficient cover lift mechanism is something I always recommend when you use it during the colder part of the year. Consider jumping out of 104F water into the freezing cold outside and then meddling to put back the heavy tub cover. Spending time in the cold weather to lift and fold the tub cover of your outdoor hot tub and put it back once a week for the chemical up-keep of the tub. The unpleasantness of such experiences can be brought down if you have an easy-to-use hydraulic or automatic cover lifter. It also keeps the tub insulated if it can be closed quickly, avoiding heat loss.
Cover lifters make the whole hot tub experience smooth and hassle-free. My experience is that the easier it is, the more often you will use your hot tub. Particular when it is cold outside. And being able to open and close the cover quickly better keep the warmth inside.
A hot tub cover lifter helps extend the hot tub's life and its cover in many cases. Once installed, it is just easier for you to check the pH level of water more frequently. Its sanitization and addition of chemicals are also much easier to do.
Can you stand on a hot tub cover?
It would be best if you do not stand on a hot tub cover. Some manufacturers may claim that their hot tub covers can withstand the stand-on weight of an adult user. But I don't recommend it. Doing so increases the chance of damaging the hot tub cover, particularly when they get older. The sole purpose of the hot tub cover is to protect your tub from debris and to insulate the tub to save energy. They are not meant to support heavy loads.
However, some covers can carry heavy loads. These are called Walk-on covers. They are specifically built to carry the weight of one or more adults. Even then, it is best to avoid standing on to them if you want to maintain the durability of your cover. The Walk-on covers are more expensive than other high-quality covers. They are also heavier and are more challenging to lift.
Hot tub covers which can withstand heavy weight are suitable for outdoor hot tubs in areas that receive excessive snowfall. They are safe for pets to walk on as well. However, letting your pets or children walk on or rest on top of the tub cover for an extended time is still not recommended. Over time it can decrease its durability. Pets walking over the cover may also create scratch marks on the hot tub cover.
How much room do you need for a hot tub cover lifter?
The clearance needed for a hot tub cover lifter depends on the type of lifter and the size of the tub cover. You may need at least four feet of extra clearance on the rear or the side for a shelf cover lifter. For a hot tub cover lifter that places the cover vertically behind the hot tub, you will need about 18 inches of room behind the tub.
Pivot cover lifters lift the cover above the hot tub and save a lot of space. However, some hot tub lifters are installed separately from the hot tub. Those types are not connected to the hot tub directly, but they need around 16 – 20 inches of space beside the hot tub. These types use more space at the back and less at the sides. Always measure your available space before purchasing your hot tub cover lifter.
Do you need a hot tub cover?
A hot tub cover is essential for your hot tub. It increases the durability of the tub, improves insulation, and keeps it safe for unsupervised children and pets.
– Hot tub cover: Safety
A hot tub without a cover may lead to unpleasant and unsafe situations, especially if you have children or pets at home. A hot tub cover that carries an ASTM (The American Society of Testing and Materials) certification ensures that it will be a sufficient barrier to avoid pets or kids accessing the hot tub water when unsupervised. When the tub cover is fastened with strap locks, it makes getting in for children even harder.
– Hot tub cover: Energy Efficiency
Hot tubs without a cover are inefficient in keeping the water warm. A huge amount of energy is lost when the tub is open. It leads to the tub consuming more electricity to keep the water heated. A good tub cover offers excellent insulation and makes the hot tub more energy efficient, especially during winters.
– Hot tub cover: Water Conservation & Cleanliness
During summers, uncovered hot tubs lose water due to evaporation. Placing a cover on top of the tub reduces this water loss. Similarly, it keeps debris from falling in the hot tub water. This is particularly useful if your outdoor hot tub is surrounded by vegetation. A tub cover blocks other airborne particles like dust and pollen mixing in the tub water as well. It keeps the tub filters healthy and durable.
Why is the hot tub cover so heavy?
Some covers are just well built and have a higher weight than others. But your hot tub cover is also getting heavier over time because it is absorbing water and moisture. A hot tub cover has a foam core to improve the insulation, and this core is usually covered with plastic wrap. Over time, and with wear and tear, the steam moisture from the tub makes its way to the foam core. This moisture makes the cover heavier over time.
Another reason for the hot tub cover to be heavy can be water logging inside the cover, especially after the protective covering gets damaged by excessive chemical use. When you close the tub immediately after adding chlorine or bromine to the water, the chemical gases get trapped under the cover and slowly can damage the protective cover. This eventually leads to water-logging and a heavy hot tub cover. If your hot tub has additional features like a waterfall, it may also increase the chance of water slowly getting inside the cover.