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An Honest Guide to Hot Tub Covers: ProLast VS. Covana VS. Smartop

Who would have thought that purchasing a new hot tub cover would be so involved?

There really is a lot to consider when choosing between the different spa covers available. The last thing you want to do is end up with an expensive cover that doesn’t fit quite right or a cheap cover that breaks within six months.

In this article, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about hot tub covers, from what they do to what to look for when buying one. We’re also going to review three of the top brands in hot tub covers: ProLast, Covana, and SmartTop to help make your purchase decision a bit easier.

Read on to learn more.

Hot Tub Covers 101

A hot tub cover is exactly what it sounds like—a cover for your outdoor hot tub. For some people, having a hot tub cover is an obvious part of owning a hot tub. However, not all hot tubs come equipped with a cover in their total sale, which is why some people don’t realize that they’re an essential necessity.

The typical hot tub cover is made out of dense foam and a marine-grade vinyl covering, also referred to as a jacket. The density of the foam ranges to fit all sorts of climates and settings, such as indoor or outdoor. There are also several different types of vinyl that serve as a foam jacket, but the marine-grade vinyl is the best since it was designed to withstand the sun and the elements. 

Hot tub covers serve two basic purposes. First, they keep the water in your hot tub nice and warm. When your cover is closed properly, it seals around the sides of your tub, preventing the heat from escaping. When your hot tub is open, the heat can escape, which means your heating system has to work that much harder to maintain optimal spa temperatures.

Aside from putting on extra wear and tear on your hot tub, this also jacks up your energy bill. Your hot tub cover will prevent this unnecessary wear and tear while keeping your energy bill on an even keel.

Second, hot tub covers keep out anything that shouldn’t be in your water. That would include, dirt, debris, grass, leaves, rainwater, bugs, small animals, and so on.

Open water sources such as a pool or a hot tub in your yard pose a serious safety risk. This is especially true for yards that are left unattended. Aside from small animals getting into the water and drowning, you also have to worry about your own children and anyone that may be passing through your neighbourhood deciding to take a dip. It’s rare, but it happens!

Something like this can come with serious consequences, especially if a child’s curiosity or a passerby’s quick dip results in an injury or worse—a drowning.

So, if you’re wondering, do I really need a hot tub cover? The answer is yes, you absolutely do.

Hot Tub Cover Maintenance

Hot tub covers aren’t something you just set and forget. Aside from choosing the wrong type of hot tub cover for your spa, poorly maintained hot tub covers will have you spending extra money on a replacement in about half the time.

That’s why all hot tub owners need to understand the importance of hot tub cover maintenance before purchasing their next cover. Luckily, that maintenance is minimal and very easy.

Here’s a quick hot tub maintenance checklist for you to follow:

  • Keep it clean: Regularly cleaning your hot tub cover every three months will extend its life while also preventing chemical build up and even mold. Never use bleach or any household detergents, as they can eat away at the cover’s UV protectant. Instead, opt for a preferred hot tub cover cleaner from your local hot tub supply store. If you don’t have any on hand, vinegar or mild soap can act as an ideal replacement. Use moderate water pressure to wash the dirt and cleaning solution away.
  • Use a UV protectant spray: The UV protectant on spa covers only lasts so long, which is why it’s necessary to purchase your own to spray your cover down for added protection after each cleaning.
  • Handle with care: When handling your hot tub cover at any time, be sure to keep it away from sharp edges and rough surfaces and avoid dragging across the ground. Installing a cover lifter onto your hot tub is a great investment, as it can help you lift and lower easily while staying attached to the hot tub, keeping your cover off the ground.
  • Keep your cover clear: Don’t let any snow or dirt pile onto your hot tub cover. The weight of it over time can cause the middle of the cover to sink inward, breaking the seal and allowing heat to escape. With this in mind, you’ll also want to keep pets and children off the cover as well.
  • Allow chemicals to breathe: After adding a fresh dose of spa chemicals into the water, leave the cover off for up to an hour. This will allow the chemical vapors to escape as they react while purifying your water, otherwise, the trapped vapors can build up and, over time, damage the inside of the cover. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the pH levels as well!

The Hot Tub Cover Buyer’s Guide Simplified

The best hot tub covers are usually the ones that come with your spa at the time of purchase. Of course, if you didn’t maintain that one properly or something happened to it, you’ll need to know what to look for in your next cover.

The first thing you want to look at is the foam core density and thickness. Put simply, the higher the foam density, the better the insulation. The density you require will mostly depend on the type of climate you live in. You’ll also want to check the material—100% virgin closed-cell polystyrene foam is what many quality covers are made of.

Next, you’ll need to take a look at the vinyl covering. As we mentioned above, marine-grade vinyl is your best bet because it was designed to brave the sun and the elements. However, you’ll also want to check the weight of the vinyl to determine its strength. The rule of thumb here is that the higher the weight per square inch of vinyl, the stronger it’ll be.

Another important thing to consider are the manufacturing details. Aside from marine-grade vinyl, you’ll also want to ensure that the cover was manufactured with heavy-duty stitching and sturdy, adjustable straps to ensure stability in inclement weather. Safety locks are another feature worth looking into, especially if you have young children.

Lastly, you need to make sure the hot tub cover is the right fit. Remember, your cover should fit perfectly over your spa, sealing in the edges to trap in heat and keep all the other stuff out. It won’t matter how well-made a spa cover is—if it’s the wrong fit, it won’t work.

Of course, there are other things to consider when purchasing a new spa cover. For example, there’s the option of the hot tub lift cover, which comes in several styles including a hydraulic lift. However,  it’s not the most important thing to consider for your purchase decision.

Just make sure you avoid cheap hot tub covers such as the ones you find on eBay, Amazon, or in Home Depot at all costs. These tend to fall apart easily and they’re much less efficient at trapping heat.

Comparing the ProLast Vs. Covana Vs. SmartTop

Some of the top names in spa covers are ProLast, Covana, and SmartTop—and we’re going to review them all, including the pros and cons for you to help make your next hot tub cover purchase decision easier.

Let’s dive in:

ProLast

ProLast hot tub covers are manufactured by Take a Break Spas & Billiards, which is a family owned and operated business based out of Utah.

The ProLast hot tub covers come in three options: Extreme, regular, and standard.

The ProLast extreme was designed for colder, harsher climates, with extreme durability in mind. They’re double stitched using UV resistant threads with added foam density for maximum protection from heavy snowfall. They’re also angled to encourage run-off, making it next to impossible for rain or snow to remain puddled up in the middle. Each extreme cover comes with a water, strain, and UV-resistant coating for optimal protection and easy cleaning. 

The ProLast regular hot tub cover is a custom-fit cover with the same superior durability as the extreme, only 25% lighter for easier handling. Both the regular and the extreme come with a three-year warranty and a marine-grade vinyl jacket. 

The ProLast standard cover is your basic spa cover, made with a durable vinyl construction with some UV protectant. This one comes with a two-year warranty, and all three cover options come in black, gray, and sienna.

Pros:

  • There are several affordable options
  • They’re custom-fit spa covers
  • They’re lightweight
  • They use marine grade vinyl and durable materials
  • They come with a warranty

Cons:

  • The basic option doesn’t offer water resistance
  • They only come in three colors

Pricing:

You must inquire about pricing through the company or certified retailer.

Covana

Covana hot tub covers can easily be considered a luxury item as all of their models are automatic covers. Each model also has the option for a gazebo attachment, offering more privacy to those who seek it.

The Covana spa cover models include the Horizon, the Evolution, the Oasis, and the Legend.

The Horizon has been labeled an avant-garde tilt spa cover, as it lifts on a tilted system. This allows you to enjoy your spa while still being shielded from direct sunlight as well as rain.

The Evolution hot tub cover is a model that offers ease of use, as it lifts directly upwards with the turn of a key. The height of the lift can be adjusted to shield bathers from rain and sunlight as well.

The Oasis hot tub cover was designed to look like a gazebo to bring in that extra luxurious aesthetic. This automated cover also raises directly upward, within 20 seconds, to shield you from the elements while also providing retractable shades for additional privacy. The Oasis also has the added perk of an LED lighting system of seven carefully chosen colors for ambiance.

Lastly, the Legend hot tub cover was designed to be an all-weather cover. Just like the others it raises up with the turn of a key in just a few seconds.

All of Covana’s spa covers were designed with maximum efficiency and durability in mind. These luxury covers were built to last beyond the three year minimum, while also offering robust insulation value and an impenetrable seal. Not to mention, ease of use.

Pros:

  • Ease of use (they’re automatic so you don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting yourself)
  • Gazebo options for more privacy
  • They’re beautifully crafted
  • Some models offer LED lighting
  • They can fit hot tubs of all shapes

Cons:

  • Higher price point
  • Materials used aren’t listed on the main product website
  • Warranty is undisclosed

Pricing:

Pricing ranges between $6,000 and $10,000 depending on the model. This does not include accessories or installation fees.

Smartop

Smartop spa covers are considered to be the toughest covers on the market. These covers feature a patented design as well as strong and resilient materials that rival the traditional marine-grade vinyl. The brand also boasts that their covers are maintenance-free.

The overall design of Smartop spa covers include interlocking panels that shield the interior insulation from vapor runoff, a hydraulic lifter for hassle-free opening and closing, a UV-resistant polymer surface, and aluminum support channels for an impenetrable design that can support a load capacity up to 800 pounds.

With thermal super-seal gaskets, a durable rubber skirt, wind-lock bar, tapered layout, and its proprietary Owens Corning Foamular Rigid insulation foam—which has a closed-cell structure that is designed to withstand the tests of time—these spa covers were designed with zero water retention and ultimate protection in mind. Unlike your standard vinyl spa covers, Smartop covers won’t tear or allow any moisture in, allowing it to last five times longer than any other type of spa cover on the market.

Basically, the engineer behind the Smartop decided to eliminate any and all problems that could possibly occur with a spa cover. There are several options for Smartop covers to match any type of hot tub—but they all maintain the same impenetrable and long-lasting design.  

Pros:

  • They last five times longer than any other spa cover
  • All their materials are durable and tested
  • They come standard with a hydraulic lift for ease of use
  • They’re virtually maintenance free

Cons:

  • They have a higher price point (that’s all we could come up with!)

Pricing:

For Smartop spa cover pricing you must get a quote from a certified retailer.

Which Hot Tub Cover Is Right for You?

All of the above listed spa covers—Smartop, ProLast, and Covana—are excellent choices. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, and each brand has something for everyone. You’ll have to choose the hot tub cover based on your needs and budget, keeping how long they’re meant to last in mind.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Hot Tub Cover

We cannot stress enough how important it is to choose the hot tub cover that will fit your needs, lifestyle, budget, and home aesthetics. Not to mention, the right fit for your spa’s size—hence the reason you should never buy a spa cover anywhere other than from a certified retailer.

The last thing you want to deal with is losing out on money because you ordered the wrong spa cover and the company won’t allow you to return it, or they make you pay ridiculous shipping fees.

If you end up with the wrong hot tub cover, you run the risk of it not only breaking it, but also damaging your spa—and those aren’t cheap to fix or replace!

Just think of it this way: The best hot tub covers are the ones that are best suited for your hot tub, period. Of course, you also need to consider the materials, but you get the point.

Contact Jacuzzi Ontario Today

If you’re in the market for a quality hot tub cover, contact Jacuzzi Ontario today. We’ve got our team of experts ready to guide you through our selection to help you find the best hot tub cover to fit your budget, needs, and aesthetic preferences.

We also specialize in hot tubs, all season pools, saunas, and gazebos, so feel free to check out our online showroom while you’re at it. Or, visit our owner’s resources page to find more information on our services, warranties, and more.

If you’re also interested in learning more about at home spa benefits and overall health and wellness, there are some great articles up on our blog. We post frequently, so be sure to check back for the latest in health, wellness, and spa news!

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