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We are often found to be slipping out of one hot tub and into another for a good review. The Helsinki is another offering form renowned hot tub manufacturers, Lay-Z-Spa. As well as being an international success story, this firm is a world leader in inflatable hot tub and pool technology. Whenever we have a Lay-Z-Spa hot tub to review, we know it’s going to be a good one.
We’ve come across several lay-z-spa pools in the past. Let’s see how the Helsinki matches up in a comparison. Thinking of buying a home hot tub? Read this first!
Why Buy an Inflatable Hot Tub Instead of a Fixed Hot Tub?
But before we dig in, there is always this main question to be answered. Why would you buy an inflatable hot tub instead of a fitted one? To be honest, the answer depends on your needs.
An inflatable hot tub doesn’t need to be plumbed in. This is the first big plus. It means you don’t need to go through the horrendous building process, where you can’t use your bathroom for a week until it is fitted. It also gives you better outside hot tub capabilities, since most of us don’t have outdoor taps and pipework. We don’t need to dig up the paving and we don’t need to redecorate the wet room if we just use an inflatable hot tub instead of a piped-in one.
Is this your forever home or do you intend to move one day? If the latter is on your mind, then an inflatable hot tub will be better for you than a fitted one. An inflatable could be packed up and move with you, can be brought with you on holiday to the caravan park, and can be packed away if you need the space. When you have a fitted hot tub, on the other hand, it should increase the value of your home.
Next comes the issue of space: do you have enough bathroom space to give up a whole room to your new fitted hot tub? If the answer is no, then a fitted hot tub probably isn’t for you. If you get a portable, you can put it in the garage or outside. You can even put it in your bathroom if it’s big enough, then deflate when you need more room.
Last but not least, we want to talk about affordability. If you get a fitted hot tub it is going to cost you upwards of £2,000. If you get an inflatable, the start price for a fitted one will bring you the highest end of hot tub. Added to this, you get more features for your money.
At the end of the day, the choice is entirely yours. We would caution against diving in without thinking about it, but otherwise – you should go with your gut. And you definitely shouldn’t write off the inflatable hot tub without thorough consideration.
Quick Overview of the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki Inflatable
We like to do a quick summary for those in a rush. If you don’t have time to read the full article then don’t panic. This section contains the key takeaway features of the Helsinki inflatable hot tub.
- Suitable for 5-7 people
- 87 airjets blasting massaging spa-like warmth onto your muscles.
- Wooden effect outer liner that is attractive anywhere it is placed.
- Looks like a fitted tub
- Freeze Shield Technology which protects down to temperatures around 4 degrees.
- Tool free setup within 15 minutes, heats within 12 hours.
- 40 degree rapid heating system with safety control and energy saving timer.
- 2 years warranty if you register the tub.
- Huge capacity over a thousand litres
- DUAL OPERATING SYSTEM lets you have heat and bubbles at the same time.
- UK support team capable of helping you should something go wrong.
- Great affordability for a tub of this size.
- Still needs that 12 hour heat up time before you can use it.
- Nobody enjoys cleaning a large hot tub.
- The Freeze Shield technology only works if you leave the tub on at a low temperature. It’s a misnomer too, since it doesn’t protect in freezing temperatures. This frequently makes clients angry.
What Comes in The Box?
When your new Helsinki inflatable 5-7 person hot tub arrives, it will include certain parts which will come together to make one awesome product. Here is what is in the box…
A Setup DVD
It’s simple as pie to set up an inflatable hot tub. Nevertheless, Lay-z-spa include a setup DVD just in case you get stuck. If that doesn’t work – or if your setup kit doesn’t come with the DVD – then you can get further instructions on their website. There are plenty of YouTube videos that revolve around this, too.
You will receive both the inside and the outside liners, usually attached to one another. You do not receive a ground sheet with this one, so you may want to purchase one for longevity reasons. The outer liner is wood effect brown while the inner is an off-white, perfect for hiding any grime. The inner liners of a hot tub are unlikely to be pure white. This is due to the dirt and grease layer which may well build up inside your hot tub over time. That off-white colour will disguise it, although Lay-Z-Spa do sell individual pool cleaning tools.
The Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki comes with two separate lids. One is an inflatable lid which goes over the top to retain heat and keep out shrapnel if we are jumping out to refresh our wine. The second is a leatheroid cover made from the same sturdy dropstitch technique as the bottom liner is. It goes over the inflatable hot tub when you are not using it to keep small fingers, paws, and birds out of your hot tub. It is good for locking in heat, too. If you are trying to heat the hot tub faster, leave both lids on as it heats up.
The Air Pump
The air pump comes with the digital control panels and features on the top of it. This is the point farthest away from the water and is therefore considered to be the safest. The air pump features a doubly sealed electronic compartment for extra safety. The air pump on the Helsinki gives you 87 airjets of massaging blasts.
Filter Cartridges and Chlorine
The pack will usually come with a filter cartridge to get you started off. Some of the lay-z-spa models come with chlorine and some don’t. We would advise that you buy in some chlorine tablets in advance of your hot tub arriving, just in case.
The filter cartridge makes sure that no dirt or debris gets caught in the workings of the inflatable hot tub. As such, you will have to wash it out every time you use it to ensure the best running of your hot tub. Chlorine should always be added to eliminate bacteria.
The Chem Connect System
Chem Connect is another Lay-Z-Spa research and development winner. This nifty little system is on the inside of the inner liner, and disperses chlorine evenly throughout the hot tub, over time. Top it up every 3 uses or so, depending on how clean you feel the hot tub is. Many people think home hot tubs aren’t clean but this is only the case for those who don’t use chlorine or salt to keep those bacteria at bay.
The Durable Base
Your hot tub should arrive with the sturdy base unit as a separate item. This contains I-beam construction which allows for a safer, sturdier, healthier and happier hot tub experience. It has been designed this way to add to the longevity of the overall tub. The ground sheet for placing the inflatable hot tub on when using it outside, is not included with this package. You will have to find one yourself. The good news is that they only cost a pound or two. You can also add softness to your hot tub floor by using child’s play mats instead of a tent groundsheet.
When your inflatable hot tub arrives, it ought to come with everything you need to get started on your mission to relaxation. From the air filters to the lid on top, the Helsinki has it all.
How to Set Up your Hot Tub?
When your hot tub arrives it will come partially in a box, with the air pump as a separate unit. Before you set it up, take it to the area you wish to keep it in because it will become difficult to manoeuvre once it is inflated. If placing it outdoors, be sure you have cleared the area of any debris and have rolled out a ground mat, or some other cushioning that will protect the material of your hot tub.
Setup of your Lay-Z-Spa hot tub is easy and takes about fifteen minutes. Simply connect the pipe of the air pump unit to the holes in the liners, then turn the air on. Be sure that you have not turned the heat on just yet. When the air is switched on, the hot tub will begin to grow in size. Once fully expanded you can run your hose into it and start filling it up.
Your Helsinki hot tub is fitted with the patented rapid-heating system that Lay-Z-Spa invented. This allows for up to 2 degrees of heat per hour of an increase. Although this seems slow, when compared to other hot tub manufacturers, it is actually one of the fastest.
A Bit About Bestway and Lay-Z-Spa
Bestway are a manufacturer of outdoor leisure items that have been in business since the mid 90s. At some point, they realised they were becoming too big to handle all their operations and split off into four separate sections. We are most concerned with the Lay-Z-Spa branch, or daughter company, since they are in charge of making all of the hot tub components.
Lay-Z-Spa have been in operation since the early naughties and are responsible for many of the patented technology we see used in inflatable hot tub production today. They were the first to coin the term ‘airjet’ for example, the first to apply a rapid heating system and the first to realise that both liners can be inflated at once.
As a result of all this, they hold more patents on more hot tub features than any other brand. On top of this, they have multiple outlets on an international scale. They have factories and offices in 110+ different countries. Here in the UK, they hold about a third of the overall inflatable hot tub market…. which really proves testament to the quality and efficacy of their work.
So if you want to buy an inflatable hot tub and you are looking around for a reliable model, Lay-Z-Spa should be on your list as a top contender. They have all you need and more, with features aplenty and even a full range of hot tub accessories. When it comes to inflatable hot tubs, you could do a lot worse.
Features of the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki?
Since it has been made buy these wonderfully high quality hot tub providers, you can be assured that certain features will come as standard. For example, it will always include that rapid heating system to try and get you bathing in it ASAP.
The Lay-Z-Spa hot tub range all come with a 40 degree safety cut off that doesn’t allow the water to get any hotter. They almost exclusively come in the outer liner, inner liner, and air pump constituent parts. Most models come with that Chem Connect chemical dispersal system, too.
However, there are some features that make a specific model stand out. If you are comparing home inflatable hot tubs, this section will help you to do so.
Standout features include:
- The Freeze Shield technology which should protect your hot tub against freezing over down to low temperatures.
- The huge volume – as a 5-7 person hot tub for your home, the Helsinki is massive!
- Dual Operation hot tub controls. You won’t need to turn off the heat to turn on the bubbles with this model.
- Wood panel effect which makes it look like a fitted tub. You have to physically touch it to know it isn’t real.
- Dropped Stitch material which makes for a denser fabric where the fibres interlock to ensure no tears in the material.
- Speedy setup – less than fifteen minutes to start filling it with water.
- 2 year warranty (6 months extendable if you register it)
Buyer’s Guide for the Helsinki inflatable hot tub
If you really are stuck over which model of inflatable hot tub is best for you, this section will help you discern the smaller differences between the Helsinki and other models. You can browse the full range of hot tubs provided by Lay-Z-Spa through our website, where you can check each section on each tub for comparison. We have the biggest collection of home hot tub reviews in the UK, so you know you will be able to find what you are looking for.
The Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki has a diameter of 180 cm. The length and breadth are the same while the height is only 66 cm. When not inflated, this model weighs about 33 kilograms. When inflated this is the same, of course, but it starts increasing the moment you start adding water. All in all, this model needs about 4 metres squared in space. It will need a well ventilated room but should fit under the lay-z-spa enclosure if you have one.
This model of Lay-Z-Spa has a wooden panel effect outer and an off-white inner. The inner disguises both dirt and discolouration of the water, while the outer reflects a plumbed in hot tub. If you put this in your garden, your neighbours will assume it is the real thing and think you splashed out on a real model.
Indoor or outdoor use?
Like all Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs, this model is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use. If using it indoors, make sure you have plenty of ventilation and that the room is large enough to leave a good metre spare of space about the edges of the tub. This ensures good airflow and will help your home hot tub not to overheat. Remember, you will need to place it downstairs or on a reinforced floor, since this model weighs more than a thousand kg when filled.
As for outdoor use, inflate it in the garden and run an extension cable to the house to power it. The hot tub can be filled with a hose and left to heat up. Be sure you keep the lid on it to stop dirt getting in and that you take it down in winter. You should also consider that enclosure since it is UV resistant.
The Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki inflatable hot tub model has a maximum temperature of forty degrees centigrade. This means you will never scald yourself harmfully. The hot tub turns off when it tries to go any higher as a safety feature, but can easily maintain that forty degrees for hours of bathing goodness. Some people find the forty degrees too high, which is fine. In this instance, simply turn down the heat and enjoy.
It is worth noting this is a dual operation hot tub for your home. That means it can easily run both bubbles and heat at the same time. Not all Lay-Z-Spa models have this.
There are 87 airjets on this model of inflatable hot tub. That’s enough to make sure that all the occupants have their fair share of bubbles. The airjets on any given Lay-Z-Spa were re-designed in recent years to disperse those streams of bubbles even finer all-round. This lets you get the true spa effect from the comfort of your own home.
The Helsinki doesn’t come with the colour changing lights or Wi-Fi connection that you get with other models, this one is built for size and value for money.
All Lay-Z-Spa models of inflatable home pool come with certain safety features. Those include that 40 degree cut off point and those two covers. The fact that it can’t overheat is excellent for your peace of mind, while the covers lock out little fingers. The top cover actually buckles down onto the hot tub, allowing for a seamless covering that children or animals won’t be able to open. The drop stitched fabric outer is a further safety consideration since it adds to the strength and durability of the whole. There’s also the 7 metre cable, which let’s you keep the outlet at bay while you bather.
Though we would normally caution that any children be accompanied by an adult in and around the hot tub, Lay-Z-Spa themselves say this model isn’t suitable for children under the age of 8. There is a risk of drowning, even with grown children, since the water will be at least a half meter deep.
The digital controls on this home hot tub are located on the top of the air pump. This means they are always kept separate from the water. Although the control panel does not prop up or separate as it does in the Milan.
The digital controls include an energy saving timer, a temperature control, and the switch between heat and bubbles – or both!
Frequently Asked Questions about the Helsinki Inflatable Hot Tub
We find we are often asked the same questions about these massive hot tubs. If you have a question, please check this section to see if it has already been answered.
Q) What does it cost to run a Lay-Z-Spa hot tub this big?
A) Reviewers estimate they spend up to £10 per week on the extra electricity, should their hot tub be perpetually on.
Q) Can you run both heat and bubbles at the same time with the Helsinki hot tub?
A) Yes, you absolutely can. This is a great value model because of this combined with its impressive size.
Q) What sort of construction does it have?
A) This is a circular I Beam construction hot tub. The base is strong and sturdy and the inner liner is cushioned in the floor part.
What Customers Liked About this Model?
There isn’t much else to tell you about the Helsinki inflatable hot tub, except what other reviewers thought of it. We have detailed the things people like most, then we will move on to what they liked least, all within this category.
The Wood Effect
Customers loved fooling their neighbours into thinking they had installed a fully fitted tub. They put this down to that wood panelling effect outer, which makes it look plumbed in.
Not only do the lids keep stray hands out of the hot tub, they also keep the heat in. This makes for less money on your electricity bill, which brings us to the next point…
As well as being the best possible price for a home hot tub capable of housing 7 family members: it’s super cheap to run. If you can afford the ten pounds a week running costs then why not take the plunge?
At the end of the day, the inflatable hot tub is a luxury item that we buy to improve our quality of life. Verified purchasers on Amazon claim that this is one of the best purchases they have made in this regard.
40 degrees is more than enough heat for most buyers. There are some who prefer it hotter but they are few and far between. The reality of the situation is that most like it cooler than the full 40 degrees. You are free to set this tub as you see fit.
Those that chose the inflatable over a fitted tub were ultimately delighted with their decision. The portability and high versatility the inflatable models bring to the party is limitless.
You get so much for your money with this hot tub for your garden or garage. You can fit 7 people in it, it has great massage options and even comes with all the heat you need.
If you can’t afford a showy model of Lay-Z-Spa, get this one and slowly build up your accessories. Many reviewers added lights to the convenient fitting, some added the table, and some stuck to the drinks holder.
What customers Didn’t Like About this Model?
Just as there were a bunch of things consumers loved about the Helsinki model from Lay-Z-Spa, there were a few things that they didn’t like quite so much. Some of these are as follows.
It isn’t hard to clean your home hot tub if you have the right tools. These are sold separately via the Lay-Z-Spa brand. If you keep the chlorine topped up your pool will be safe. Although a full cleaning isn’t often necessary, it’s still annoying.
The Water Capacity
It takes far longer to fill this hot tub, and to heat it to a usable temperature, than other models. This is down to the huge size and water volume it contains.
The Freeze Shield technology
The freeze shield tech itself isn’t bad, it’s that it doesn’t really protect you against freezing temperatures. As such, you end up with a tub that may well freeze over if you leave it out in winter – despite the name.
Who is the Helsinki Inflatable Hot Tub Best For?
We have examined every inch of this inflatable hot tub and we can safely say that it is best for big families, large groups, and those gatherings where you need a little space. If you entertain a lot, live in a cold country (like Scotland, England, Ireland or Wales) and need to relax more, then this hot tub will suit you. Keep in mind that it is a big hot tub with a big capacity for both people and water. If you need to go large, this model will do nicely.
Although it is a high capacity, high volume tub, it isn’t best for young families. The Helsinki is deep and dangerous for little ones. Children under the age of 8 should enjoy a paddling pool, instead.
The Final Verdict on the Helsinki Inflatable Hot Tub
What do we think about the Helsinki model? To be honest, it favours size over features and is therefore a little plainer than other Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs. It is ideal if you want a big hot tub for more than five people, but that doesn’t burst your bank account… or its fabric.
This is a durable model with a great look. We love that it fools your neighbours with its clever wood panel effect pattern. We like how warm it gets, with 40 degrees being a little on the warm side for our taste. We like the space you have to luxuriate in, even if there are 6 people in the tub. We love the warmth, the fun, the safety features, and the fact that you can accessorise this hot tub until your heart is content.
What we don’t like about this tub could fit in a matchbox. It’s a bit big if you are only a single couple. It’s too much if you have a young child in the house. It doesn’t come with the mod cons of other models, such as Bluetooth connectivity and flashy lighting.
What the Helsinki hot tub does have is the space for everyone. It’s got plenty of shelf life in it, will do you a few summers at least, and will keep your teenage kids amused every weekend forever. It’s also good for your muscles, soothes your aches and pains, and lessens your stress levels. The inflatable hot tub is a wonderful addition to any home.
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