I'm interested in what people think about things that are BY other
Isn't the reason they don't sell their cheap models under their own
name is that they don't want to ruin their reputtation?
The only experience I have is with Sears, and I do believe in their
case, that's not the situation. Although I live a lone and don't use
my appliances much, my stove, refrigerator, dish washing and clothes
washer are all 27 years old and doing fine. And the clothese washer
does look, INSIDE, like a whirlpool, that I have had experience with
under that name.
But Sears is different from Walmart and many other places. OTher
than sears, I repeat the question in my second paragrapgh.
I'm still looking, but we do have limited
What Paul said, just below. That is, they would sell a greater number
of units. Almost as many of their good ones (Probably just as many,
because if they didn't sell cheaper ones, someone else would anyhow.)
plus the many cheaper ones they sold.
I also agree with Tony, that not all fancy features are worth having.
The guy who owned my house before me and bought the appliances bought
pretty much what he should have, somewhere in the middle, except for
the electric stove, which I think is at the cheap end. He paid extra
for the dryer that can go by how wet the clothes are, and I use that
all the time.
I usually buy a car when it is 7 years old and sell it when it is 14.
My current one is 11, and I was shopping for a new one about 4 years
ago, to buy in 2009, and sadly, none of the new accessories interested
me. I have a '95 car now that is loaded, and I've got little or
nothing left to look forward to in a new car. I don't want satellite
navigation. I suppose if the car has a satellite radio, I'll
subscribe, but I don't want music, only call in and talk radio (and
not Rush Limbaugh) and afaict, satellite doesn't have much.
My spa guy that I bought my spas from steered me away from spas that had
lots of extra things. A plain spa has far less to go wrong with it. Who
needs a stereo built in when you can buy a boom box?
I've purchased lots of products through Sears over the years,
including just about all of my major appliances -- Kenmore mostly, but
other name brands such as Frigidaire and Bosch as well.
Most of the appliances sold under the Kenmore name are, in fact, made
by Whirlpool, or at least that has traditionally been the case; I
understand Sears provided the initial start-up capital for Whirlpool
and has, not surprisingly, always maintained a close working
relationship with the company. It's fair to say millions of people
have bought Kenmore appliances over the years and millions more will
continue to do so in the future, because they're highly satisfied with
the product and, just as importantly, the way Sears stands behind it.
There's a strong sense of trust, respect and a true brand loyalty that
is largely unmatched.
In terms of spas, it's not uncommon for a manufacturer to offer two,
three or more brands that target specific groups of consumers at
different price points.... much in the same way GM markets its
vehicles through various divisions. Certainly the features -- and,
yes, as can be expected, the quality -- will vary alongside the price.
After all, you don't buy a Neon and expect it to perform like a HEMI
But there is always best bang for the buck. Paying more money does not
mean better product at some point. Lots of high end stuffs most often
just have more bells and whistles which is prone to give more troubles.
Specially electronic gadgets. How many times all this bells and whistles
are used routlinely?
You've certainly raised a valid point. There are a few expensive spas
out there that are, in terms of build quality, nothing more than a
costly bag of poop. Clearly, some consumers are being ripped off and
the manufacturer in question can get away with it because most of us
are conditioned to equate quality with price. Again, you have to do
In terms of technology, I tend to believe the benefits largely work in
our favour. For example, I have a bad habit of over inflating my
tires in an effort to maximize my vehicle's fuel economy. Normally,
it isn't a problem, except when the weather turns suddenly warmer or
I'm doing a lot of high speed driving. Now, I'm almost certain I've
blown two tires on my LHS because of this. My 300M Special has a
tire pressure monitoring system that shows me my current tire pressure
and warms me if it ever becomes dangerously low or high. Sure enough,
on Friday it warned me it was too high on two of my tires, so I let a
little air out. Since I wouldn't have known otherwise (I confess I
was never very diligent about checking this myself), I know this
system has saved my sorry butt on more than one occasion.
I don't like those either. I like the top manufacturers, and that then
limits you to a used spa. Yes, it is attractive to get a nice shiny new
one. But, what kind of parts and service department do WallyWorld and the
Borg have? With brand name spas, you can always get parts. I have changed
heating elements, blown fuses, pumps, and fixed hoses that have come undone.
Never had to pay for a $80 per hour service man. BUT, I was able to go to
the spa supplier and buy the parts.
It's hard to say which is the way to go for you. Just try to get the
most/best for your money.
Hot tubs are great. I enjoy ours a lot.
I'm not familiar enough with what the top brands are. I saw a
ThermaSpa advertisement last night and called for information, but I
don't know if they are a top brand.
There are only three people in our family, so we don't need one big
enough for seven. However, I want a lounge (most have them) and the
ozonator thing. Some of the lower priced ones seem to have too small
of a pump and heater. I read that you want 240V and at least 40 amps.
Thermospa is an excellent brand. Even though you have 3 people to use the spa, I
would recommend buying a bigger one. The operating costs are nearly the same.
The big difference is comfort. Most smaller spas are not comfortable. You want
one where you can really stretch out
Where do you live? Thermo Spas is in Central Connecticut, and they often have
"scratch and dent " sales. They knock about 40%-60% off of brand new tubs due to
minor cosmetic blemishes. And I do mean MINOR. They won't sell a Thermospas tub
that has a functional defect, like a crack in the shell where it could leak.
Mine has a tiny crack in the top coping near the champagne bucket. If no one
points it out to you, you would never see it. That 1 inch crack saved me about
$3500! They also sell off tubs that they have taken in trade. Some of those are
older Thermospas, where people have traded up to a bigger model, and some are
The truth is, as with most products, you pretty much get what you pay
for so, personally, I would shy away from the low end. A hot tub is a
major, long-term investment. It's not like a car that you might trade
every three or four years; once in place, it will likely stay there
for sometime to come.
Buy from a reputable spa dealer, not a mass merchant that knows little
about the products they sell or how well they might fit your specific
needs and expectations. Bear in mind, mass merchants can change
manufacturers/brands at anytime, as they typically source from the
lowest cost supplier and routinely put these products up for bid.
Likewise, I would avoid buying from anyone that sets up a tent at the
local fair ground, then pulls up the stakes to move on to the next
town. I can tell you that no matter how well built your tub may be,
there will be issues/problems that will arise from time to time and
you will, of course, require various replacement parts (e.g., filters)
over the life of the product.
Ask your friends, colleagues, neighbours, family members, whomever you
know who owns a hot tub what they like and, in particular, don't like
about their tub. Ask them how their dealer treated them. Was it with
respect? Did the salesperson ask questions in an effort to better
understand what they wanted in a tub (and actually listened to their
answers), or did they simply try to push a particular model? Did they
bad mouth a competing product or local dealer (always a good time to
make a bee line for the door). Are they happy with the after sales
service and warranty support?
Be careful not to rush into a purchase or fall victim to high-pressure
sales tactics; take your time and do your homework. Try to sort
through all the conflicting claims (trust me, there will be plenty).
And don't put a whole lot of weight on the "we have more horsepower",
"more jets", "more what have you" pitches. After all, you only want
to relax in your hot tub, not have the skin literally ripped off your
It's absolutely critical that you get inside as many tubs as you can
and see how each one feels. Move from seat to seat and pay particular
attention to the amount of foot room -- this is one area where a lot
of tubs fall down badly. Can you comfortably stretch out without
playing footsies with the person across from you? Get a sense of
where the water level will be, for all family members.... we're not
all built the same and you don't want to resort to snorkel kits, nor
do you want the upper two-thirds of your body exposed to air.
Some of the tubs that claim to accommodate six to eight people, simply
don't (what do they think we are, midgets on diets?). Take the number
of gallons/litres and divide by the number of seats to get a true
sense of the amount of room they offer per person. And by all means,
do a "wet test"; a good dealer will be happy to arrange a time that is
convenient for you to come in to their store and try out their
products. These dealers know 90 per cent of their business is through
referral and word of mouth, so it's in their interest to ensure you're
absolutely happy with your choice.
To be helpful, here are a few things I would personally look for in a
tub (this list is by no means exhaustive, but it should be sufficient
to get you started):
- a good, no hassle, warranty. Pay special attention to the
limitations and exclusions or "weasel words" as I like to call them.
You don't want a heater, say, to fail and then have a finger pointed
at you and be blamed for not properly maintaining the water (sadly,
this sort of thing happens all too often).
- synthetic skirting. Real wood looks good initially, but over time
it will fade, crack and become stained by water and chemicals.
Synthetic skirting continues to look good year after year and requires
virtually no maintenance (and since your hot tub is likely to become
the focal point of your backyard or deck, good appearance is
- a fully foamed tub with high-density, closed cell polyurethane
foam, for four good reasons: superior heat retention, structural
rigidity (so the spa shell doesn't weaken under the weight of the
water and the stresses of people getting in and out), quieter
operation and, perhaps most importantly, to cradle and support the
internal plumbing (without this support, the weight of the water in
these long lines can put considerable stress on the joints and this,
in turn, can increase the likelihood of leaks over time). Also,
closed cell foam doesn't absorb moisture as does open cell, so it
won't lose its efficiency and it won't support mould and mildew. It's
more expensive, but definitely well worth it. BTW, ever heard people
complain about how their spa covers become heavy over time or musty
smelling? Now you know.
- an ozone system to help keep the water fresh and clear. Avoid the
type that use UV lamps as they produce relatively little usable ozone.
In addition, these bulbs have to be replaced when they burn out
(roughly 15,000 hours or every year and half), which results in an
ongoing maintenance and expense. Corona discharge systems produce far
more ozone, use a fraction of the electricity and should last the life
of your spa. And contrary to what some might suggest, ozone systems
doesn't eliminate the need for a water sanitizer -- they're only there
to help support it.
- good filtration. Perhaps one of few times when "more" truly is
"better". In a hot tub, your body sloughs-off skin cells, body oils,
hand creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and other things
you simply don't want to talk about. You want to get all this "stuff"
out of the water as quickly as possible and that's the job of the
filter. Keep in mind that during certain times of the year when there
is a high amount of pollen in the air, smaller filters can clog up
pretty quickly. I've purposely avoided recommending specific brands,
but I should note that Hot Spring is the only hot tub that filters
every single drop of water before it comes out of any jet, 100 per
cent of the time ; all other hot tubs employ "by-pass" valves that
allow the water in your spa to "by-pass" the filter when the jets are
turned on (they simply can't force that volume of water through their
filters due to their smaller size). Needless to say, it's precisely
when everyone is *in* the tub and the jets are on that you want these
filters to do very their best. Water filtration may or may not be all
that important to you but, for me, I want my spa water to always look
good and I want it to be as clean as possible at all times. Not to
belabour this point, but the filters in most Hot Spring spas last
seven to ten years and can be cleaned in the dishwasher; standard
paper filters, by comparison, typically last two to three years and
are cleaned by soaking in a chemical solution for ten to twelve
hours.... a huge difference in terms of convenience and ongoing
This has been a long post and I apologize for that. I guess the one
thing I would like to emphasize is that you take your time, do your
due diligence and speak to as many people as you can before you make
your purchase. Believe me, the time you spend upfront is well worth
On Fri, 14 Apr 2006 22:53:13 -0400, Jud McCranie
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