But if you have a well-made gazebo or canopy you’re virtually immune to the vagaries of weather. Moreover, these will protect the hot tub itself (and other garden furniture) from weather extremes.
If you have a hot tub, you may have longed to jump in it on a hot summer day but didn’t fancy getting sunburnt. Or you and your girlfriend may have been in the tub for but ten minutes when you were sent scurrying indoors by a sudden cold rainshower. High sun, cold rain or stiff breeze – a gazebo will let you buck the weather and enjoy a soak in your hot tub, come hell or high water – proverbial or actual!
Do not confuse hot tub gazebos with garden gazebos. The former types of gazebos differ from the latter in that they are lightweight, portable, and are made of some or another fabric.
Hot tub gazebos and canopies have a common feature: they are relatively quick and easy to install or set up. Either and both not only shelter you and your family members, they protect your expensive hot tub (or garden furniture or outdoor barbecue), and do much else. “What else?” you ask? See section Benefits Of Using A Hot Tub Canopy Or Gazebo underneath.
Hot tub gazebos and canopies are available in a very wide range of prices but what is surprising is that they come in an even wider array of styles. You can get a budget-priced canopy that is attachable via four guy ropes at the corners or perhaps you’d plump for a costlier canopy that is mounted to a bolted bracket in the wall and can swing from side to side. Or you could choose between two portable gazebos which differ in colours, shape and structure, sun protection, ease of setup, adjustability, and even windows, with sidewalls included in one and optional in the other.
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Choices, choices! Let us guide you through five diverse products, underneath.
Though sidewalls must be purchased separately, Coleman’s gazebo is made of the finest quality materials and is as strong and sturdy as you can get.
A rugged product, Coleman’s Event Shelter ‘Medium’ covers an area 3 x 3 metres square. It is also available in two bigger sizes: 3.6 x 3.6 metres and 4.5 x 4.5 metres.
At first glance Coleman’s product may seem to be only and only a canopy but this impression would not be wholly correct. What you get as the base product is certainly only a canopy (albeit of the highest quality). However, it is extensible by means of optional extra sunwalls or sunwalls with door, which are quick and easy to attach. These add-ons convert this canopy into a portable gazebo.
High-quality materials manifest themselves. The frame is made of powder-coated steel, and the poles too are of rigid steel. The components connect via firm PVC plugs. And there are useful velcro tabs all over. The fabric is fire-retardant. This kit also boasts a few clever features. The feet have holes so they can be bolted to the ground, and if you’ve attached the sidewalls, the air vents will let out steam and moisture.
The canopy has a UV protection factor of SPF 50+ and it also has ‘WeatherTec’ coating to protect against ‘light rain.’ Coleman must be doing something right because it keeps out even pouring rain; for all practical purposes this shelter is almost waterproof as all you get is a bit of a leak here or there. The optional sidewalls will shield the enclosed space even in wind-driven rain. Properly pegged down, it can withstand fairly strong winds but in stiff winds it should be secured with weights. All said it is just about the sturdiest and most rugged kit you can buy at the price point.
Coleman’s canopy-to-gazebo comes with a smart and useful carry bag, and also with pegs and guy lines. It is bulky and weighs 15.5 kilogrammes (without sunwalls) but that’s the trade-off for getting both quality and portability. This tough kit is ideal not just for the hot tub but to take along (with sidewalls) on camping trips.
The carry bag has assembly instructions sewn into it but these are not very clear nor very useful. If you know exactly what to do you could erect it by yourself but for first-timers this is better done by two. Once you get the hang of it you’ll find it easy to set up. It is very firm and solid and will stay up until you want it to come down – which is easily done.
Coleman’s extensible gazebo is of superior quality, it is cleverly designed, and it is also durable. A gorilla of a gazebo, it edges Bunao’s kit, reviewed below, to win pole position in this set of reviews.
- Keeps out rain, protects against sun, and stands up to wind very well.
- Has some very nice design features and assembly is quite easy.
- Highest quality materials used throughout this strong and sturdy product.
- No sidewalls included; these must be bought separately.
- Assembly instructions are not the best.
Simple and cheap, Ankuka’s modest sunshade is well made and though it cannot protect from wind, it is great protection from the sun and light rain.
Quick, easy, and inexpensive, Ankuka’s 2 x 3 metre awning is meant to be tied with guy ropes to walls, poles, or any other stable structure. It is slightly concave along each edge so that if it is measured across along an edge it will be longer than if measured across at the middle. For those who have small, cramped yards in which there is no room for a ground-standing product, this sunshade is the ideal solution. It is also available in 3 x 4 metres and 3 x 5 metres.
The awning is made of a high-density 220 grammes per square metre poly-ethylene fabric that is water-resistant and offers UV protection. Though the fabric is lightweight, it is thick and made of robust material that is well up to the task. Each corner has stainless steel D rings securely sewn into reinforced loops.
As a sunshade Ankuka’s inexpensive product is excellent. On hot sunny days, it is palpably cooler underneath this sunshade. You are shielded from the sun yet at the same time cooling breezes are not impeded by this awning. Though it will not stand up to an out-and-out thunderstorm and cannot offer protection from angled, driving rain it does shelter you from moderate rain admirably well. In sum, it keeps sunlight away and the rain at bay. If you live in a warm and sunny locale, and children spend a lot of time in the yard, Ankuka’s shade is the perfect shelter – not only for you and your family, but also for garden furniture and such.
The instructions are helpful and complete. The easy-to-follow instructions make for an easy-to-setup canopy. Installation is a key factor. The sunshade should be tethered at an angle so that rainwater runs off and does not pool on top; otherwise it may leak through the seams. The trick is for diagonally opposite corners to be secured several centimetres higher than the other two opposing corners.
It comes in a fairly decent zippered transparent carry bag. Four guy ropes are included. Fasteners are not included (and Ankuka does not suggest they are). If you need them a very good set is available for separate purchase. It comprises of wall brackets, snap hooks, and turnbuckles.
This modest, simple sunshade does the job so admirably well at such a fantastic bargain price that it is our Value Pick by some distance.
Ankuka provides a ‘30 days hassle-free refund and 1-year guaranty.’
- Affordable, simple and straightforward sun shelter that is easy to set up.
- Smart choice for small or cluttered outdoor areas.
- The price makes it a can’t-miss bargain buy.
- Cannot shield from the wind.
- Cannot protect against driving rain or thunderstorms.
- Fasteners, if needed, must be purchased separately.
Ideally designed for most Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs, the poles can shatter into shards but it’s an inexpensive privacy shield and shelter against the weather.
Lay-Z-Spa’s hot tub canopy is designed ‘for all Lay-Z-Spas Bestway from 2017 to date except the Siena’ per the marketing material. In actual fact, it fits some of them, such as the New York model, very well, but is a loose fit for some others, while it is a tight fit and hard to set up for a few, like the Palm Springs model.
It is made of a waterproof fabric that offers sun protection of UPF 30+. At the rear are two mesh windows, each with a ventilator slit. It weighs a very moderate 889 grammes. This compact kit provides a bit of privacy and works very well as a sun shelter on hot days and as a ‘warmth lock’ on cool ones. As long as the wind blows cold but it’s not stiff and gusty, it offers wind protection as well.
Lay-Z-Spa claims that this ‘easy to set up’ canopy simply clips on to the tub ‘once the tent poles are in place.’ And therein lies the rub. The tent poles are made of inferior materials and are fragile; they are easily broken – and when they do, they snap into shards and splinters. Therefore, the tent poles must be handled with due care, perhaps even with gardening gloves on.
Aside from the caveat on the poles, assembly and set up depends on the Lay-Z-Spa model you use this for. On some models the procedure is fairly straightforward but on others it is definitely not easy and can be a bit of a struggle. Of course, you cannot close the lid on the tub with the canopy attached so, in order to do that, the canopy has to be removed, which too is a bit of a hassle.
Two detachable guy lines are included. These can be attached to reinforced loops at the edges of the canopy, and they noticeably stabilise it when the wind is wanting to blow it away.
Rain protection, convenience, and compatibility with Lay-Z-Spa hot tubs are this kit’s plusses, but robustness, durability, and the safety hazard caused by the tent poles are the question marks hovering over this product. It is inexpensive; however, it cannot be called a good value for money.
- A no-brainer choice for those who have a Lay-Z-Spa hot tub.
- Light, compact, and perfect as a privacy shield and sun shelter.
- Simple and easy to set up and attach to most Lay-Z-Spa hot tub models.
- Tent poles are made of fragile and flimsy materials.
- Under little-to-normal pressure, tent poles can shatter into splinters and shards.
- Cannot be used for or with hot tubs other than Lay-Z-Spa’s.
Bunao’s clever design makes set-up and teardown simple, and solid materials and fully-enclosed kit provide 360-degree shelter against the elements.
A new item that is proving to be very popular, Bunao’s offering is a smartly-designed fully-enclosed portable gazebo measuring 3 x 3 metres. It is available in several colours including a bright scarlet. Our linked selection is in slate blue.
It has four sidewalls: the ‘front wall’ has a vertical zipper down the centre, two have good-sized windows, and the ‘rear wall’ is a solid wall. And all four are detachable – use one, use all. These sidewalls are also adjustable: they can be lowered fully or rolled up fully or partially to any in-between point. The zippered front wall can be parted from the centre and tied to each side, ala hallway curtains. The walls and roof are made of lightweight 210D (denier) Oxford cloth. The canopy is silver-coated on the underside; this silver coating is said to make the gazebo waterproof and it also acts as a sunscreen.
The collapsible frame is made of steel as are the telescoping legs. This latter feature lets you set the gazebo’s height to 2.1, 2.2, or 2.3 metres. The gazebo’s upper corners (along each vertical edge) have D-rings sewn into them so that the structure can be tethered with guy lines; furthermore, the feet have holes so that the legs can be bolted into the ground. However, it is the frame’s collapsing skeleton that wins top marks – because of it, a big sturdy gazebo is simple to erect, quick to pull down, and convenient to carry. It can be erected or packed away by two persons.
Once up and properly secured, Bunao’s gazebo is surprisingly strong and sturdy. It withstands stiff winds very well. It also impresses by being waterproof against normal rain through to stiff downpours. The velcro straps around the canopy should be beefier – in general straps should be longer – but these are minor gripes that do not affect the essential usability of this gazebo. You may well purchase it for your hot tub but end up using it as an all-purpose event shelter.
Setup instructions are sewn into the carry bag, not that you should need them because this gazebo’s smart design makes setting it up and pulling it down quite easy to figure out; indeed, intuitive.
Besides the very handy (and long) carry bag, 8 tent pegs and fairly strong rope are included so you’re ready to go. Bunao’s excellent kit gave our Best Pick, the Coleman Event Shelter, a real run for its money.
- The smartly-designed collapsible skeleton makes set-up and tear-down a breeze.
- Strong and sturdy in structure, and also feature-rich in design.
- Full gazebo, complete with sidewalls, pegs, rope, and carry bag all for one price.
- The canopy’s velcro strap should have been stronger.
- Straps should also have been longer.
Though expensive, Norfolk Leisure’s ‘deluxe’ canopy fully justifies its price as it is elegant, super-sturdy, and adjustable through 180 degrees.
Norfolk Leisure’s offering is a deluxe wall-mounted canopy and sunshade that measures 2 x 2 metres. It is made of 220-gramme polyester and is reinforced by 14-millimetre ribs while the frame is of powder-coated aluminium. This very well-designed sunshade even has an air vent at the top. The canopy is a very pleasing shade of silvery grey that will combine well with just about any colour.
This outfit is mounted on a wall by way of a cantilever which is connected to two L-brackets which are bolted to the wall in question. The supplied bolts will pass through a combined thickness (i.e. bracket and wall) of 10 millimetres.
A crank handle just beside the wall bracket opens and closes the sunshade. When closed, it can be locked shut right there on the wall in a neat and tidy fashion. More importantly, the arm very conveniently pivots from side to side for a total angle of about 45 degrees but the respective outer edge of the parasol will nearly meet the wall flush when the arm is swung to either extreme, so this parasol provides almost 180 degrees of coverage. To release the catch you pull down the plastic clutch-knob at the base of the bracket, and move the parasol laterally to the desired position. With the clutch engaged, the wind will not swing the parasol around. Unfortunately, just occasionally this plastic clutch-knob simply breaks.
This ‘sun and shower proof’ kit protects its owner extremely well from strong sun and pouring rain as long as it is not wind-driven. Norfolk Leisure’s product is an excellent parasol but is still only a parasol; as such, it provides no lateral protection and it cannot shield you from a blustery wind or from temperature extremes. Of impressive quality, this parasol is admittedly expensive. It is surprisingly lightweight yet also surprisingly durable.
Norfolk Leisure helpfully supplies all the fittings including expandable bolts. However, mounting this parasol is not a job for the casual DIYer, especially if the vertical surface is a tricky material like stone or drywall in which case you’ll need rawlplugs too. It is a good idea to install it with a helper. You may feel that the included bolts are not of the highest quality so be prepared.
It comes with a zippered cover whose design is intelligently thought out: a rod-like handle is included; this is attached to the zip to make it reachable. A pole is also included; it is inserted into the cover so that it can be lifted up and over the parasol. This kit looks elegant – and plays the part.
- From the wall brackets through the ribbing to the sunshade itself, top quality materials are in evidence.
- Excellent design includes easy opening and closing, and even a cover manipulable by a rod.
- The side-to-side rotation on the pivot provides an effective 180 degrees of coverage – brilliant.
- Cannot provide any protection from the wind or driving rain.
- It is quite expensive.
- Mounting this parasol is not a job for the inexperienced DIYer.
Benefits Of Using A Hot Tub Canopy Or Gazebo
A canopy or gazebo is one of those elective purchases that you may buy for one particular reason – and discover two or three benefits you had never even thought of. Consider—
- The weather is getting chilly but the gazebo will do double-duty: keep the chill-out and also trap in the spa’s heat.
- The weather’s good enough but you may well get a summer cloudburst – but no prob, that’s just what the canopy is for.
- The weather’s great – too great – the blazing hot sun would have given you a skin-peeler of a sunburn without your lifesaving gazebo.
- You’re having another couple over for a dip in the hot tub at night when the kids will be in bed – and you don’t want to give them any reason for coming to their window . . . .
- Your front yard faces a couple of tall apartment buildings and you’d rather those flat-dwellers not have a direct view of your wife and daughter in their swimsuits.
- A canopy will protect your investment in your spa and keep it in tip-top condition by safeguarding it against weather extremes.
- A gazebo over your hot tub will cocoon you in from the world outside and thus create a private, intimate atmosphere.
Perhaps you could add a few more benefits!
Can You Use A Hot Tub In The Rain?
If it’s really raining and not just drizzling, then, no you can’t – it will defeat the purpose of getting in the hot tub, lower the temperature of the water, and feel quite uncomfortable. Also, if you’re having a warm soak under cold rain, you run the risk of catching a chill. Just getting out of the hot tub will cause considerable discomfort due to the temperature shock.