Every hot tub, whether indoors or outdoors, needs a good cover to keep it clean. Although there is no rule that says hot tub owners must have a mechanized cover lift, it is a great idea! Using a cover lift makes using the bulky, somewhat heavy hot tub cover much easier, which is important for people that are older, simply unable to deal with the weight or would just like the added convenience.
There are two basic options when it comes to choosing a cover lifter: Manual-Pivot or Hydraulic-Assisted.
Manual-Pivot Cover Lifters
Your average cover lift is designed with hinged metal bars that keep the cover neatly tucked to the side of the tub when it is in use. When it’s time to put the cover back on, this frame helps you do so with much less effort. Instead of pulling and pushing the entire cover back into place, the basic lift allows you to fold it back over the tub much like the mattress in a sofa bed. This kind of cover lift is the least expensive option, and it works with most types of hot tubs, from the 7-person Euphoria to the 3-person 322.
Hydraulic-Assisted Cover Lifters
A hydraulic-assisted cover lift technically works exactly the same way as a manual pivot lift, except that it features hydraulic shocks that do most of the heavy lifting. This way, you can cover and uncover your hot tub without straining your muscles doing so. Just as with large machinery, hydraulic-assisted lifts relieve the pressure on the metal bars and hinges and actually help the mechanism last longer. Hydraulic-assisted cover lifts are slightly more expensive than basic lifts, but not comparatively unaffordable. These lifts work anywhere that a basic lift does.
Choosing the Right Cover Lift
Choosing between hydraulic-assisted and manual-pivot lifts is not the only decision you’ll need to make when finding the best cover lift. Just as when you chose the hot tub itself, it is vital to take measurements of the space you are working with.
This is essential because when the cover is being lifted on and off, it will take up quite a bit of vertical and horizontal space. You’ll need to measure how much free space surrounds your hot tub, and then pay attention to the spatial requirements of available cover lifts that fit your needs.
Besides space, you’ll have to consider the stored position of the hot tub cover. Many lifts keep their covers stored in an upright position that is visible from within the hot tub. Others are hinged further down the tub so that the cover sits idle at the side. Some people prefer to keep the cover upright while soaking, as it can offer a little extra privacy from certain angles. On the other hand, upright covers can get in the way, and even ruin a well-thought-out design scheme. To avoid disappointment when you get the cover lift home, be sure to consider how each potential lift will look and feel in the space before you buy.
The Bottom Line
In terms of price, there shouldn’t be a huge difference between one cover lift and the next (unless you are comparing manual-pivot vs. hydraulic-assisted). If you notice that one lift costs a lot more than the next, ask the vendor why and make sure the answer seems on the level.
All in all, a hot tub cover lift will make your soaking and muscle therapy time a lot simpler. Do some thinking, measuring and planning, and not only will you have an easier time covering and uncovering your hot tub, but you’ll have a cover that works perfectly with your space.