Modern inflatable spas come in a surprising number of shapes and sizes, but it might shock you to find out that they can also be made from different materials! Today we’ll look at a less common but incredibly durable construction method by asking, what is a drop stitch spa?
When we began this hot tub guide around ten years ago, most of the good inflatable hot tubs were made only from layered PVC. Whilst this remains the most common construction material, we’ve recently seen an increase in the number of drop stitch models on the market.
A drop stitch spa differs from a standard beam-constructed hot tub by using thousands of high-strength polyester threads to produce a more rigid and hard-wearing material. These threads are woven between an outer and inner layer of fabric to create a far stiffer shell than those found in a standard PVC spa which relies only on air to support the walls.
Which Brands Have Drop Stitch Spas?
Drop stitch spas have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their impressive puncture resistance and sleek-looking visual appeal. However, manufacturing drop stitch linings is much more time-consuming than layered PVC, so they’re often a little pricey.
Many big brands have introduced drop stitch hot tubs into their current ranges, with most dubbing these spas as “premium” options. Below you’ll find some of the most popular models.
- Helsinki: 1123L – 5-7 seater – 180 air jets
- Napa: 1123L – 5-7 seater – 180 air jets
- Singapore: 804L – 3-5 seater – 140 air jets
- Vancouver: 804L – 3-5 seater – 140 air jets
- Mono: 930L – 4-6 seater – 138 air jets
- Naval: 930L – 4-6 seater – 138 air jets
- Tuscany: 1100L – 4-6 seater – 138 air jets
- Rome: 950L – 6 seater – 120 air jets
- California: 800L – 4 seater – 120 air jets
- Cornwall: 1100L – 7 seater – 140 air jets
- St Ives: 800L – 3-5 seater – 110 air jets
- Waikiki: 1120L – 7 seater – 140 air jets
Is Drop Stitch The Best Material?
It’s generally accepted that drop stitch is the superior hot tub lining material compared to a standard layered PVC portable spa, though it is more expensive to produce.
Drop stitch is the most durable construction material used in portable hot tub manufacturing, allowing a spa to be inflated to a much higher air pressure than a standard PVC model. This means they provide a much more rigid shell with far superior durability and puncture resistance.
On average, a drop stitch hot tub can withstand up to ten times the pressure that a layered PVC spa can endure. Alongside being generally much thinner and easier to install in smaller gardens or patio spaces, this slim design also frees up more space inside the hot tub.
Are drop stitch options more expensive?
The main drawback of drop stitch is that it’s more expensive and time-consuming to create a hot tub using this material than a standard beam-constructed PVC shell.
To attach both an inner and an outer layer of woven fabric to each other using the high-density polyester fibres found in drop stitch construction, the materials must be hand-sewn and then welded together using heat fusion by highly skilled craftspeople.
This process requires specialised tools, trained workers and an awful lot of time, raising the overall manufacturing costs. In comparison, layered PVC linings only require pre-made sheets of treated PVC to be glued and pressed together, a procedure that can be entirely automated.
We hope that clears up all you need to know about drop stitch spas! The main difference between these hot tubs and standard PVC models is that drop stitch spas are much tougher, more rigid, and can be pumped up to a higher air pressure than your average hot tub!
By using thousands of high-density polyester fibres to hold their inner and outer walls in place, drop stitch spas are both incredibly puncture-resistant and able to withstand the roughhousing of daily use, whilst also having much thinner walls than you’d find on a beam-constructed tub.
The only real downside to using this material is that it’s considerably more expensive to work with, though you do get what you pay for in the world of hot tubbing. So, if you’re serious about your next spa purchase, we reckon it’s worth looking into a drop stitch model!