Depending on your preference, hard or soft hot tub covers are used to keep outdoor hot tubs free of debris and rainwater, as well as to provide a means of safety. For families with small children, hot tubs need to be covered to prevent accidental fall-ins. Beyond that, a cover encloses the water-filled tub, making it something of an anticipated event when you remove it to climb in. As you will see, both hard and soft hot tub covers have their benefits. While you can appreciate the solid durability of a hard cover, you may find that the versatility and ease of a soft cover is the way to go.
Soft Hot Tub Cover
A soft hot tub cover is not worth buying if it is not well built. It should be double stitched with commercial quality, consisting of fiberglass panels and heat-sealed insulating foam on the interior. Soft covers need to breathe so water vapor can escape without saturating the underside of the closed soft cover. There are soft covers available that have no insulated foam core. Known as a tonneau cover, it simply consists of the vinyl covering and provides no durability, but there is no danger of the foam cracking or breaking. Another type of soft cover rolls in and out of position.
Custom-made soft hot tub covers can be customized to the exact specifications of your hot tub, including the overall size and shape of the corners. Many other add-ons are available. These include optional double wrapping of the foam core that protects it from water vapor, a heat reflecting shield installed on the underside of the cover to help trap heat and reinforced hinges, handles and tie downs. Soft hot tub covers are typically hinged through the center. When removing it, the first half is folded onto the second half before being fully removed.
Hard Hot Tub Cover
In terms of safety, hard hot tub covers are the best choice. Made of either aluminum or molded plastic or fiberglass, hard covers are insulated and prevent anything from falling in. In heavy snow areas, exposed hot tubs benefit from hard tops if snow tends to build up on them. While a soft cover will eventually become waterlogged as hot water vapor works its way into the foam, hard covers avoid this problem. Thus, they will last much longer than soft covers, although they are more expensive.
Hard cover removal is a bit more inconvenient than with a soft cover, which simply folds in half and out of the way. Hard covers may or may not be hinged to the side of the hot tub. Either way, they have to be lifted entirely off the hot tub and replaced with each use.
Consider safety, convenient, insulation and the price you can pay when deciding which hot tub cover to purchase. A cover should always be used at the very least to keep leaves and other debris out. Insulated covers keep heat in, which cuts down on the expense of heating the tub. If safety is your primary concern, a hard cover is the best choice, while a soft cover is better in terms of convenience.