Transporting a hot tub is like moving a piano. It usually doesn’t require a pro. But to do it safely, you’ll need a realistic understanding of your physical capabilities.
Depending on size, an empty hot tub can weigh from 500 to 1,000 pounds. You can definitely move it on your own, as long as you assemble a crew of friends or family to assist, and make plans and contingencies throughout.
What To Do Before Moving a Hot Tub
As with many things in life, invest the time to prepare properly.
Measure twice, at least
You know the old adage, measure twice, cut once? Follow the “measure” advice here.
Carefully measure any gates, pathways and truck entrances to ensure the tub will fit through them. Then do it again. And, of course, measure your hot tub. If you can’t access the tub ahead of time, check the manufacturer’s specs for dimensions.
If the tub won’t fit through a gate, you could remove a section of the fence, or rent a crane to move it up and over any obstructions.
Select a vehicle
If you’re moving the tub any distance, you’ll need a vehicle. This is another instance where the measurements come in handy.
If renting a vehicle from a vendor like U-Haul, contact them with the tub dimensions and ask their advice. They sometimes offer specialty hauling vehicles or auto trailers that are perfect for hot tub transport.
Ideally, the tub will fit flat inside a box truck. This is safer because it protects the hot tub from the elements and debris during transport. If that’s not an option, you can load the tub on its side, but spend extra time securing it so it won’t tip over.
Prep the end location
Prepare the end location to avoid surprise issues while you’re hauling the hot tub there. This is simple enough if you’re moving the tub across your yard. If you can’t inspect the final location ahead of time, find a place to store the hot tub while you’re preparing to install it.
What You Need To Move a Hot Tub
Here’s a list of general tools needed to move a hot tub. Your specific tub may require more to detach or protect it.
Garden hose (optional: wet/dry vacuum): For draining water out of the system.
Measuring tape: Vital for a successful move, for the reasons mentioned above.
Safety gear: Moving a hot tub safely requires forethought and working as a team. Invest in leather gloves and a back support brace. If you’re renting a truck, you purchase or rent safety equipment there as well.
Transport method and path: Determine how you’ll move the tub and what surfaces you’re moving it over. Is there smooth pavement between the original location and the destination, or an uneven lawn and gravel path? Are there steps or tight turns along the way? Your solution might be as simple as laying Schedule 40 PVC tubes over level ground, or setting down plywood so you can use a furniture dolly or pallet jack. Many pros use a specialized spa dolly, but that’s an expensive purchase for a single use.
Ratchet straps: Whether you’re securing the hot tub on a truck or holding it steady on a furniture dolly, ratcheting tie-down straps provide secure connections and flexibility.
People: It’s time to call in your friends! Generally, you’ll need four to six people to move a hot tub safely. When in doubt, err on the side of too many helpers. You’re better off having an extra person than not enough.
How To Move a Hot Tub
Again, the specific steps for your hot tub will vary, but these are good general guidelines.
Disconnect the electric
If it’s plugged into an outlet, unplug it.
If it’s hardwired, shut off the power at the electrical breaker panel, then disconnect the wiring.
Drain any water
Connect the garden hose to the tub and open the drain. This process can take some time, so you may want to do it a day or more before the move.
You can use a wet/dry vacuum to speed things up or flush the last of the water out of the system. This isn’t technically necessary, but no one likes being splashed with residual water halfway through the move.
Raise the tub
To keep things simple, we’ll go through these steps assuming you’re using furniture dollies over a relatively flat surface. Modify these directions depending on your specific situation and choice of transport.
If it’s on a flat surface, lift the tub and slide beneath it. The risers must be strong enough to support the weight of the tub while lifting it to almost the height of a furniture dolly. A common riser choice is 4×4 lumber.
Note: Lifting a hot tub is hazardous. Always work as a team, and use all appropriate safety precautions.
Boost the front of the tub high enough to side the dolly beneath it, then repeat on the rear.
If you’re transporting the tub on its side, stand it up with the heavy side (the one with the motor) closest to the ground.
Run a ratchet strap to secure the tub to the dollies, and you can smoothly push it away from the risers.
If the tub is a recessed installation on a deck, or otherwise not on a flat surface, assess the situation. Sometimes it’s possible to raise the tub up above the deck. Other times, you’ll have to demolish a section of the deck to remove it.
Transport the tub along the pre-planned path
Move the tub along the transport path.
Place the tub in its final location, or load it into a truck for transport.
If you rented a moving truck, use the truck’s loading ramp. If the truck doesn’t have one, lift the tub with help from your crew or use a piece of 3/4-in. plywood as a ramp.
If the project seems too large or complex for your comfort, don’t hesitate to call a specialist. Just as you can hire professional piano movers, there are companies that specialize in moving hot tubs. Here’s one example. You may need to do some searching to find a company in your area.