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How to Measure a Hot Tub Cover

Are you having difficulty measuring your hot tub cover? Is estimating the radius of the corners weighing you down? (Pun intended).

If so, you’re not alone, many hot tub owners find this task complicated and annoying.  And for good reason, with all that’s going on in your life, the last thing you want to do is struggling with the innocuous measurements of a hot tub.

Well, today you’re in luck because, in this post, you will learn how to measure a hot tub cover, as well as why covers are so important for the protection of your investment.

The Importance of a Hot Tub Cover

Your hot tub cover is an essential element to keep your tub running smoothly. In most cases, hot tub covers should be replaced every 4 or 5 years.

So if you’ve had yours for a while, be on the lookout for any signs you may need to replace your hot tub cover.

Why is this so important? Here are just a few of the advantages that a properly functioning hot tub cover will provide you with:

A Cover Keeps the Heat in your Tub

Your hot tub cover acts as an insulator, retaining the heat and trapping it in. This will go a long way, especially in the cold winter months when you have the temperatures testing your cover’s ability to perform properly.

Insulation has already been built into the walls of your hot tub, however, heat rises and will always look to find the easiest way to escape. Your hot tub’s insulating value is not likely to change much over the year but a hot tub cover’s insulating value does lessen over its 4 to 5 years lifespan. This will cause you to use more electricity to keep replenishing that heat loss. Don’t allow the heat to get away! It will cost you unnecessarily.

You can lower the hot tub operating costs by having a high-quality hot tub cover!

An old Cover could damage your Tub

Most hot tubs incorporate a cover lifter which assists the user to easily remove and replace the cover. Covers will start by folding them in half and are then pushed off the hot tub where the cover lifter holds the cover at a “resting position” so the tub is uncovered without the cover sitting on the ground.

As hot tub covers get older, they absorb water and become heavier. A heavy cover is not only hard to flip in half, it is also hard for the cover lifter to bear all that additional weight. One advantage with changing your hot tub cover sooner than later is to keep unnecessary weight off the cover lifter which avoids damage to both the lifter and the hot tub. You won’t save any money if waiting means you have to buy a cover and a new cover lifter which almost doubles your purchase price. Replace your cover to keep it easy to lift and prevent other expenses at the same time.

A Cover Keeps Your Tub Clean

A secure hot tub cover will keep debris, leaves, sticks and even small animals out of your tub. Just like your car, you can open it without wondering what else has been in here since the last time you were in the tub. This keeps your water clean, lowering the chemicals your hot tub needs so you can enjoy it without worry.

A Cover Keeps Your Hot Tub Safe and Secure

Small children get into everything! An uncovered hot tub is no exception. Most hot tub covers can be snapped, and even locked, into place.

You can breathe easier, knowing your children and pets won’t get into your hot tub.

How to Measure a Hot Tub Cover

Now that you know all the benefits of a hot tub cover, how do you get precise measurements? Hot tub measurements should be fairly accurate, guesstimating is not a good idea. Here are a few steps to figure out the particulars of your cover:

  1. Assess

Begin by determining if the current cover is snug and secure. This is your chance to make adjustments if the existing cover is too big or too small. Keep in mind, hot tub covers are usually 0.5”-1” larger than the tub will measure. This is to make sure the cover and the skirting rests nicely on the tub. Just like clothes, it’s always better to have them a little too big vs too small.

  1. Determine the Shape of the Cover

More often than not, the cover shape will be in the form of a rectangle or square with round corners. However, covers also come in other shapes like a circle or even a hexagon. At this point in the cover ordering process, you just need to select the cover shape. Note that a rectangle and square cover both use the same selection.

  1. Determine the Thickness of the Cover

Hot tub covers come slightly thicker in the middle where the seam is. Just like a roof, they taper off to the edges so there is a slant allowing water and debris to runoff which avoids pooling. The most popular thickness sizes are 3”-2” tapered, 4″-3″ tapered and 5″-4″ tapered, with 4″-3″ being the thickness we usually suggest as it performs well in our climate of Ontario. For those that need a reinforced cover so they can walk across it without fear of breaking their expensive cover, the 5”-4” has a Walk-On optional upgrade to strengthen the cover so you can travel across it, which is something you want to avoid entirely with standard hot tub covers. Just remember covers get heavier over time so we don’t recommend the thickest (and heaviest) 5”-4” cover unless there is a need for it as it will be much heavier than a 4”-3” cover when it comes time to replace it. 

  1. Measure the Dimensions of the Cover

Time to pull out the measuring tape! This part can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for but we’ve made it easy with these points below:

a) Measure the width and length of your cover. One of these measurements will run alongside the cover’s center seam. This determines the direction the cover folds which will be important in our last measuring step (d).

b) If the cover has rounded corners, measure the radius of those corners. If you have a drafting square, this is the time to use it, however, most people don’t own one of these. If that’s the case, then just take two rulers and a measuring tape. Place one ruler on either edge of the hot tub so they reach past the corner and meet at a 90-degree angle. The radius measurement is the distance between where the 2x rulers touch and where the ruler meets the outside edge of the cover. Common hot tub radius is 2”, 4”, 6”, 8” and they go up to 16”. If you are uncertain of what your radius is, always use the smaller radius (ex. a 4” radius will cover a corner that is 6”, but a 6” radius will not cover a corner that is 4”)

c) Measure the skirt length of your cover. Use a ruler or measuring tape to determine the length of the thin vinyl material hanging off the sides of the cover. Measure from the stitching where the cover and skirting meet, to the bottom of the skirt where the material ends. Common measurements are anything from 1”-5”. It should cover the rolled lip of the interior hot tub shell so the shell is not visible when the cover is closed.

d) Opposite fold or standard fold from Step A? If the center seam of your hot tub cover runs parallel to the longer side of your cover, it’s an opposite fold. If the seam runs parallel to the shorter side of your cover, it’s a standard fold which is the more common of the 2 options.

  1. Select the Cover Colour

The colour of your hot tub cover gives it personality and compliments the aesthetics of your backyard. With over 20+ colours you are sure to find what you are looking for. Colours include both a standard vinyl option as well as an upgraded “Ambassador Series” vinyl upgrade which is more supple allowing it to last longer.

  1. Select Cover Quality – Standard, Deluxe, or Ultimate Upgrade

We offer 3 quality levels for our custom hot tub covers. The Standard Upgrade is included with all cover orders, however, you have the option to enhance your cover quality by selecting the Deluxe Upgrade (recommended for its excellent value) or for those looking for the best cover we have the Ultimate Upgrade. See the features below for these 2 options:

Standard Covers:

  • 2mil vapour barrier
  • Rubber evaporation centre seal
  • 2 end sealing pads, no centre seal


Deluxe Upgrade Covers:

  • 4mil vapour barrier (prevents water invasion)
  • Overlap skirt at the centre (prevents heat loss at the 2 end bumpers)
  • Full foam centre seal (prevents heat loss through the center seam down the middle of the cover)


Ultimate Upgrade Covers:

  • 6mil vapour barrier (prevents water invasion)
  • Overlap skirt at the centre (prevents heat loss at the 2 end bumpers)
  • Full foam centre seal (prevents heat loss through the center seam down the middle of the cover)
  • Triple stitched webbing reinforced locking straps (prevents the handle or strap stitching from ripping prematurely)


  1. Underside Liner Upgrade

All hot tub covers typically use a black or grey vinyl material seen on the underside of the cover. Over time this material can fade, discolour or even bubble up from ageing or the impacts of water chemistry. You can upgrade the underside of the cover to a reflective material that is resistant to fading, discolouration and bubbling. Not only will this make the cover last longer and look better, but it also helps to reflect heat into the hot tub saving on energy costs.

  1. Other Notable Features

Some spa covers will need special features to fit your hot tub properly. Here are a few examples:

  • Swim spas or hot tubs that are longer than 96” need special covers
  • Some hot tubs, (such as the Dynasty Spas – Trident model or select Jacuzzis) need speaker flaps to cover the elevated part of the tub where the speakers stick up
  • Skirt lengths that are more than 6”
  • Walk-on covers that people can walk on without the fear of damaging them (available in 5”-4” tapered)


You’re one Measurement Away From a New Hot Tub Cover

Now that you’re familiar with how to measure a hot tub cover, you can feel more confident in getting the data that you need to send us to replace your hot tub cover.

Regardless of its current condition, we’re here to assist you with making it even better. So contact us directly to speak with a member of our team who can help you with your order.

Because here at Lakeshore Pools & Hot Tubs, we got you covered!

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