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How to Move a Hot Tub

Whether you’re moving into a new home across town or simply renovating your backyard, read on to learn how to move a hot tub by yourself.

A round, wooden hot tub bubbles and steams next to a wet deck. iStock

If you’re moving to a new house and want to take your hot tub with you, there are two basic options: hire a moving company (or add the tub to the list for the company that’s moving the rest of your belongings), or move it yourself…

And I don’t mean try to move it all by yourself—you’ll need help, at least three or four friends with strong backs. An empty hot tub can weigh between 500 and 1000 pounds. The most important thing is to first devise your plan and route. If you can’t find enough helpers or if the route is too complicated, do yourself a favor and hire professional movers.

What you’ll need

Steps to Move a Hot Tub

  1. First, unplug the power cord from the tub. If it’s hardwired, you’ll need an electrician.
  2. Measure the dimensions of the tub so that you can rent or borrow the right-sized truck. Know that it’s possible to move a tub in two positions—on the flat or on edge. The first option is easier—positioned flat, the tub will be more stable when it’s being moved. The second option should only be considered if you can’t find a truck wide enough. Still, if you work carefully, a hot tub can be moved on edge.
  3. Drain the tub. Open the access panel and connect a garden hose to the drain, checking the tub’s manual for any instructions. Allow yourself ample time for all the water to drain out. Now’s a good time to clean the tub, too.
  4. Once the tub is empty, check the manual to remove the tub’s cover, and pack it separately. If you have to remove any screws, put them in a plastic bag and tape it to the cover so you’ll have them when it’s time to reattach the cover.
  5. Take time to plan your entire moving route so that it’s as direct and barrier-free as possible. Check any gates or other passageways to ensure that you’ll have enough clearance, both in the old and new locations. Plan carefully: a hot tub is cumbersome and heavy, and you want the move to go as smoothly as possible—for your sake, for your crew’s sake, and for your tub’s sake.

How to Pick up a Hot tub

When you’ve procured a truck, a crew, the necessary materials, and assured your route is clear, it’s time to move.

Moving on the flat

  • With as many helpers as it takes, lift one side of the tub high enough so that you can slip a 4x4 underneath the tub’s edge. Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Next, slide a furniture dolly under one end of the tub between the two 4x4s and slide the second dolly in place opposite the first. Remove the 4x4s. Using moving straps, tightly secure the tub onto the dollies.
  • Position a helper on either side to stabilize the tub and start to slowly roll it toward the truck. Maintain the balance by reassigning helpers as you go.
    Note: If you happen to be moving across an area of lawn, it’s best to place a sheet of plywood on the grass so the dolly wheels don’t sink into the ground. If you’re moving across an expanse of lawn, you can “leapfrog” the plywood sheets ahead of your progress as you go.
  • When it’s time to push the tub up the ramp into the truck, be careful to keep the dolly wheels on the ramp. Once the tub’s in the truck, secure it by tying it with ratcheting straps to the inside of the truck box.
    Note: Most rental trucks have rings bolted to the box sides for this purpose.
  • Cover the tub with moving blankets to protect it during the trip.

Moving on the edge

If you can’t find a truck wide enough for your hot tub, you may have to move it upright on its side.

  • Get half of your crew on one side of the tub. When you’ve raised it, you don’t want to have the weight of the tub resting on the access panels or electrical connections, so plan accordingly.
  • Place a furniture dolly alongside the chosen edge of the tub, and station two people at the dolly. Have everyone lift up the opposite side until the tub’s edge is fully resting on the dolly.
  • Secure the tub to the dolly with straps, and, monitoring the tub’s balance, start to move the tub as described above.
  • Once you have the tub loaded on the truck bed (assuming the truck is a pickup), use straps to secure it so it can’t move from side to side. To protect it, use moving blankets and drive slowly, exercising extra caution on sharp turns.
  • Before leaving, be sure to take with you all the 4x4s, plywood, and anything else that you’ll need to unload and move when you arrive at the tub’s new location.
  • When unloading the tub, make sure to have crew members stabilizing both sides of it as it comes down the ramp.
  • After you’ve wheeled the tub to its new location, reverse the dolly-loading procedure to offload it, and begin the installation. Then have a soak.