4 toasty tips for setting up your hot tub in winter


4 toasty tips for setting up your hot tub in winter— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

An outdoor hot tub in the winter may be one of the best places to spend a chilly afternoon or evening. Even when little flurries start filling up the sky, all you need to do to escape is sink deeper into the steam and bubbles.

But, getting the most out of your watery winter retreat means more than lifting the lid and hitting “on” for the jet streams to take action. We’ve gathered a few expert tips on how to maximize your hot tub area’s potential through thoughtful design and prep.

1. Wrap up in warmth

A comfier heated towel warmer bucket.
Credit: Comfier

Keep your towels toasty.

Keeping things toasty while you’re soaking is paramount. This is why Annette Grant, a Columbus, Ohio-based professional short-term renter and designer with Thanks for Visiting, considers heated towel racks a must for winter hot tubbing.

“Despite being exposed to cold air, heated towel racks will keep your towels cozy and warm while you're enjoying the crisp winter air in your hot tub,” she explains.

Setting up a mini-fridge that also boasts a warming setting can keep other items like small facial towels, soothing aloe gel eye patches, and even thermos of hot cocoa nice and toasty.

2. Create a space for entertaining

A Diveblast inflatable entertainment floater.
Credit: Diveblast

Don't have a lot of storage? Consider a floating drink holder.

Sipping on your favorite winter-weather cocktail or classic mug of hot cocoa is more relaxing when you have a place to set it down.

“We love hot tubs that have wrap-around side tables that can also serve as a bar area with extra seating,” says Grant. “There are products out there that can be attached to your hot tub to provide extra space or you can DIY or hire a handyman to build a custom side table … providing you the ultimate entertainment space no matter the temperature outside.”

You can also look to inflatable trays to hold drinks and snacks, but clearly only in still waters.

Get the Diveblast Premium Floating drink Holder at Amazon for $21.97

3. Use a cover-up—on the ground

Close up of a printed dark rug.
Credit: Ruggable

Keep your feet from slipping with a rug.

Similar to losing hot shower Zen by stepping out onto a cold tile floor, wet wood deck planking (or even grass) is anything but cozy. Keep your tootsies toasty by adding a rug to the area for when tub time ends. Be sure to buy an outdoor rug so it will stand up against weather as well as splashing. Bonus: A rug helps prevent slipping.

If you use your hot tub all winter long and want to splurge, try a more permanent solution.

“Our favorite thing to suggest to homeowners who have hot tubs they can enjoy in the winter is to make the trip to the tub more pleasant by using either hydronic or electric radiant heat under your patio or paver walkway,” says Grant’s business partner, Sarah Karakaian. “Not only does this keep you safe because a warm walkway will eliminate ice buildup, but it feels so good on your feet as you make your way from your home to the hot tub.”

Get the Outdoor Gemma Lattice Black Rug at Ruggable for $219

4. Offer easy access to drinks and towels

Close ups of a wooden bar cart.
Credit: West Elm

Turn you bar cart into a drying station.

Whether it’s a summer pool party or a winter hot tub splash, an outdoor rolling bar cart is your best friend for gathering all your needs in one place. This handy and versatile item can play host to everything, from extra towels to mugs for hot cocoa to snacks. Keep one within arm’s reach to cut down on trips back and forth into the house.

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