We’ve owned our Helskinki hot tub now for just over a year and I’d like to share what we have learned about the product in this time. I’ll talk about the quality, ease of use, cleaning schedules and most importantly the actual running costs. The Helsinki is one of Lay-Z-Spa’s largest hot tubs which can fit up to 7 people. It differs slightly from other models in that it uses a premium drop stitch material for the outer walls. This Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki review should help you decide if this is the right hot tub for you.
Table of Contents
- Introduction – Helsinki hot tub ownership
- How long does it take to heat the Helsinki from cold?
- Lay-Z-Spa cleaning and maintenance
- Helsinki Lay-Z-Spa running costs
- How to keep hot tub running costs to a minimum
- Laz-Z-Spa Helsinki features
- Is the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki any good?
- Bestway Lay-z-spa Helsinki review conclusion
Introduction – Helsinki hot tub ownership
We’ve used the Helsinki regularly throughout the entire year and we’ve come to learn the pros and cons of this spa and hot tub ownership in general. In this article I’m going to talk you through our experiences of owning the Helsinki spa including the setup, routine maintenance, running costs and a few ideas of how you can improve efficiency. After all, rising energy prices are putting a squeeze on everyone.
We purchased this spa back in September of 2021 and set it up on the decking in our back garden. We have a south-facing garden so it gets direct sunlight throughout most of the day, which is a bonus as it helps keep the hot tub warmer than it would otherwise be in the shade.
Setting up the Helsinki spa
The Helsinki Spa differs from most of the Laz-Z-Spa range in that it has a drop stitch lining wall. This narrow-looking wall provides a more rigid structure compared to the other models. Despite being more rigid it does also feel soft to the touch so there isn’t ever any bashed shins when getting in and out.
We purchased a separate thermal floor mat for our spa. This provides a protective and thermally insulating surface for the tub to sit on.
Lay-Z-Spa Hot Tub Floor Protector
10 Piece Protective Pad Set
- 10 Piece Protective Pad Set for Spa and Pump (Fits All Models Except Maldives)
This hot tub needs to be inflated using the provided hand/foot pump. (Which differs from the others in that you can use the heater pump system to inflate the tub.)
The correct pressure is listed on the side of the tub. (0.48 bar / 7 Psi) We find that the hot tub needs more air adding every 6 months or so.
The water pump heater module then simply screws onto the side of the tub. Think carefully about where you would like the control unit as it also acts as a drinks holder. Once you have filled the tub with water it can’t be moved until emptied again.
I like the way the display can be tilted upwards for ease of access.
Filling the tub with water can take a little while. Ours took 15-20 minutes. It’s important to make sure the water level reaches the minimum fill line but doesn’t go over the max fill line.
The filter can now be placed into the holder and screwed into position. Heating the spa can take a fair bit of time. Ensure the lid is on and secured in place to heat the pool more quickly.
How long does it take to heat the Helsinki from cold?
Depending on the water temperature and air temperature it can take between 10 and 26 hours to get to 40 degrees. (The maximum temperature) See the below image from the Helsinki manual.
We usually warm ours to around 38 degrees, which helps to reduce the heating time compared to the previously mentioned duration. Before purchasing, we weren’t aware of the significant heating time required for a hot tub, which was quite surprising for us. We had assumed it would be a quicker process, akin to filling a large bathtub. This is an important point to consider – it’s necessary to think ahead and plan accordingly.
Using the Helsinki – a quick guide
The spa is very straight forwards to operate. The heating function is operated with the heat button and the temperature can be adjusted with the up/down buttons. The massage button turns on/off the bubbles. The filter button turns on/off the filter and must be used whilst the spa is in use.
The display and all buttons can be locked by holding down the lock/unlock button for three seconds. You can switch the temperature unit display between Celcius and Fahrenheit with the button under the power button.
Finally, there is a timer button which can be used to delay the startup of the heater function. We don’t use this feature as it seems a bit pointless. It’s just a delay start feature. Unless you upgrade to the Wi-Fi version you have very little control over the start/stop schedules. It’s a manual task on the Helsinki.
Lay-Z-Spa cleaning and maintenance
If you’re thinking of buying a hot tub spa you should understand the rigorous cleaning schedule involved to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. This is an important part of hot tub ownership; failure to do so will cause the spa to become dirty and malfunction.
We use eco-friendly products in our spa and change the filter every week or two, depending on how often it’s used. We use this Eco3Spa kit for our hot tub as it is far less harmful than other brands on the market. It’s chlorine-free, hydrates your skin and protects from irritation and dryness. It also prevents damage to the equipment.
Eco 3 Spa Watercare Kit
- Keep your hot tub water clean, clear and chlorine-free for at least 3 months.
- No skin irritation.
- No unpleasant smell or toxic side-effects.
- Biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
- Used product may be safely discarded onto your garden.
- Chlorine and Bromine free
If you live in a hard water area and notice limescale forming it’s best to deal with the issue before it gets anywhere near the tub by installing a water softener. Limescale is a major hassle when it comes to cleaning your hot tub. In addition to making the tub look terrible, if the problem is ignored, you may discover that it harms both the hot tub’s internal parts and its outer shell. With the installation of a water softener, it will remove the calcium and magnesium minerals found in hard water that causes limescale. This will aid in the prevention of scale formation, make maintenance easier and save money on costly repair expenses caused by limescale damage.
The cleaning schedule
- First-time use – After filling the tub with water we added 300ml of the water conditioner followed by 4 scoops of the sanitiser granules.
- Every time we use the spa we add 2 scoops of sanitiser granules. (or two tablets)
- A further 300ml of water conditioner is added to the tub every month (or two).
- Every 3-6 months we empty the hot tub and clean it with the hot tub cleaner.
- Once clean, we fill with fresh water and add 300ml of water conditioner, followed by 4 scoops of (step 3) sanitiser granules.
This cleaning cycle ensures the water pH levels remain steady and prevents the build-up of foaming, scum lines and water balance problems.
Before every use, I remove debris with a pool scoop and Lay-Z-Spa vacuum. This only takes a couple of minutes and will prevent bits from getting into the filter system. We place two scoops of Water Sanitiser Granules into the tub and turn on all the air and water pumps for a couple of minutes.
The filters can be cleaned and re-used but you can never get them back to their original colour. You can buy a pack of two for about £8 but it’s much cheaper to buy them in bulk for greater discounts. We buy ours here on Amazon for even more discount. Just £23 for 12 filters.
As you can see, several tasks are required to clean and maintain your hot tub. Although this might seem like a lot of effort, it’s not that bad once you have a good system in place.
Helsinki Lay-Z-Spa running costs
Lay-Z-Spa does quote running costs on their website. However, here is a close look at our usage and a good indication of how much it actually costs to run a hot tub like this.
How much does it actually cost to run the Helsinki?
With this being the coldest time of year, running costs for the spa are obviously higher. In the below examples you can see our standard energy usage and then a spike in usage when we turn the hot tub on.
The below information was when electricity was costing us 20.53 pence per kWh. (24.43 pence per day standing charge)
It was taking about 24 hours for the tub to heat up to 38 degrees. (From about 10 degrees) During the heating period of the hot tub, our daily usage rose from an average of £4 up to about £14.
This heating process normally spanned two days. So based on our usage we calculated the cost to heat the tub was around £10.
Average running costs to keep the hot tub hot (once heated) worked out at about £5 per day. This February chart shows two spikes in usage. The first was where we had it on for just one weekend. The second is where we used it for a week during the February holidays.
The next chart shows usage for one full week during May. It was still pretty cold outside and this is reflected in the peak heating time and then average running costs once heated.
It was costing about £9 to heat up and £4 per day to run.
We had the hot tub running every day during August. Whilst the weather was much warmer it was still costing us on average £2.80 per day to keep the hot tub running.
The spa was heated up in July during the warm weather so it only cost about £7. You can see the spike in usage on the 22nd of July.
In conclusion, the energy usage for the hot tub differs throughout the year. It definitely helps that we have the hot tub located in our south-facing garden in direct sunlight. We also have a thermal floor mat which helps keep the bottom of the tub insulated.
|Average heating cost||Average running cost (per day)|
These costs are a close estimate based on our daily energy usage reports from our energy provider. @20.53 pence per kWh
Quoted running costs from LAY-Z-SPA website
This is a screenshot from the LAY-Z-SPA website.
If you want to make a direct comparison with Lay-Z-Spa’s quoted running costs you need to bear in mind their testing is done with one of their smallest hot tubs, the Miami – which has a water capacity of 669 Litres (177 Gallons). So the running costs are going to be lower than the Helsinki which has a water capacity of 1123 Litres (297 Gallons), nearly double. So it’s not a like for like comparison.
Calculating future running costs as energy prices increase
With energy prices due to increase again in the future, it’s important to understand how this will affect the running costs of the Helsinki hot tub spa. (or any other hot tub)
We know the heating element in the water pump is a 2000w unit. Meaning it consumes 2 kilowatts of electricity every hour. 2kWh
We are paying 20.53 pence per 1 kilowatt hour
So for every one hour of heating, we are paying 2 x 20.53 pence. That’s 41.06 pence per hour.
It takes about 24 hours to heat the tub to 38 degrees, so that’s 24 x 41.06 pence. That equals £9.85.
You can apply this to your own electricity costs. Find out what your supplier is charging and
Use this formula 2 x (c) x (h) = (rc)
(c) is cost of electricity per kWh
(h) is the amount of time in hours to heat the hot tub (~24 hours in winter and ~18 hours in summer)
(rc) = Total running costs
So, if you are paying 30 pence per kilowatt hour (30p kWh) we do this: 2 x 30 = 60
60 x 24 = 1440 (£14.40)
Now let’s take a look at keeping the hot tub warm during a typical day. In this example, I’m going to show you my energy usage chart from a day in September.
We can see that to keep the water at 38 degrees the hot tub comes on for about 1 hour, about 7 times a day. That’s 7 hours total of heating. Using the formula above I can see that @ 20.53 pence per kWh it is costing me about £2.87 per day to run the Helsinki. (20.53x2x7=287.42)
Now, these costs don’t include any power consumption when using the air jets. The air jet pump consumes another 800w of power when on. So if you run the jets for 1 hour per day, that’s 0.8kWh of energy consumption extra. At our standard rate (20.53 pence per kWh) that’s an extra 16 pence per hour.
How to keep hot tub running costs to a minimum
We intend to use our Hot Tub more often but with the current running costs, this makes it difficult. That’s why I’ve been looking into improving the efficiency of the tub. Here is what I have come up with:
- Invest in a thermal cover. The cover will need to be removed when the spa is in use but during heating times it will insulate the whole tub and reduce costs by about 20%.
- Install one of the thermal floor mats for the Helsinki. It’s cheap, easy to install and will reduce thermal heat loss through the base of the tub. You can even make your own from thermal underlay rolls like this one. You could get serious and install a 100mm thick insulation board underneath the hot tub. These boards can be cut to size and shape to suit your hot tub location.
- Always replace the lid when not in use and when heating the tub. Hot air rises so make sure you trap it in there.
- Replace the filter when dirty. A dirty filter will constrict water flow through the heating element, making it work harder than it needs to. A clean water filter will ensure your hot tub is running at its optimal performance. You should change the filter once a week when the hot tub is in regular use.
- Invest in a floating thermal blanket. A floating blanket thermal cover will sit on top of the water and trap the hot water from rising into the air space above. These covers can be cut to size and are easy to install.
- Limit how much you use the air jet system. A simple no brainer to reduce running costs.
- Only use your spa in the summer. It’s cheaper to run your spa in the warm weather so you could retire it for the winter and save up for the summer.
You could take thermal insulation to the next level. I’ve seen some people build a decking area around their hot tubs. You could allow for extra thermal layering around and underneath your tub for the ultimate thermal insulation and cost saving hot tub. You could also chose to heat your hot tub with hot water from the boiler. Gas is currently cheaper than electricity so it can be worth it to save a bit more money.
Laz-Z-Spa Helsinki features
Here is a quick list of the Helsinki’s main features:
- Nordic wooden theme design
- Premium drop stitch material
- Space for 7 people
- Water capacity of 1123 Litres (297 Gallons)
- Freeze shield technology
- 2 year warranty
Is the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki any good?
We really like our Helsinki spa and would happily buy it again because it provides a relaxing space to unwind, entertain guests or enjoy quiet time with loved ones. It’s our little slice of luxury.
Our kids love it and enjoy playing together with their toys. We keep an eye on them when they use it and feel safe that they can’t use it whenever they want due to the safety clips on the lid.
The massage system is very effective and provides a nice even flow of bubbles around the whole tub. It can be very relaxing to sit back and enjoy a gentle massage.
My initial thought on the bottom of the tub was, that it looks a bit thin and therefore uncomfortable. But I’m happy to say it is perfectly comfortable. (Maybe the thermal floor mat helps)
We’ve had a couple of error messages pop up on the display but these turned out to be a simple issue of a blocked filter which reduced the water flow too much. Changing the filter quickly resolved the issue.
All in all, this is a good hot tub spa and we haven’t had any issues with it. I read a couple of bad reviews where people had mentioned the seems splitting but there is no sign of this happening at all. Maybe just one bad batch or something??
I genuinely like the Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki and the other spa’s in their range. (My brother and friends have owned different models.) I think they are a great budget alternative to a full-on hot tub and would happily recommend them.
Here is the cheapest I can find on the internet (new but opened box)
Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki 7 Person AirJet Hot Tub
- Holds up to 7 adults.
- Air blower.
- 180 air jets.
- 2 kw heater.
- 1123 litre water capacity.
- Size: Depth 180, Width 180, Height 66, Diameter 180cm.
Bestway Lay-z-spa Helsinki review conclusion
The Lay-Z-Spa Helsinki is a great product for the whole family with some pretty cool features. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy loved ones, friends and family time. It feels like a little slice of luxury. Despite the rigorous cleaning schedules and high running costs, I would say this is a price worth paying for the fun and relaxation we can have in our own back garden.
If you are considering buying a Helsinki or any other Lay-Z-Spa take into consideration the purchase costs, running costs, extra accessories you might require and the cleaning schedule you’ll need to follow. If this all seems fine to you then it’s worth shopping around for a bargain.
We purchased ours from B&Q. They often have sales at the end of summer so snap up a deal in autumn. See here for the latest deals.
Hopefully this post has been useful for you. Why not try one of my other reviews:
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