New Iconic Spas line tries to reinvent the hot tub
Strong Spas is bringing something brand new to the hot tub market this February. Developers say it will serve as a much-needed shot in the arm for an industry lacking innovation.
Iconic Spas is the latest Strong Spas line, which has been turning heads since its official announcement at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center in November 2022.
The line consists of four hot tubs: Two lounger-style tubs, measuring 85 inches by 85 inches and 91 inches by 91 inches; and two non-lounger style hot tubs, available in the same two sizes. Strong Spas has not released their names as of this writing, but what makes these tubs stand out are a blend of popular features from other Strong Spas lines, and new-to-Strong-innovations. These include a new jet layout through their patent-pending HydroPod system.
The HydroPods are individual seating units with an acrylic back, prebuilt in various jet configurations, sitting in pockets of the Iconic Spas’ shells. Their plumbing connects directly to the shell via ports in the sides of the pockets. This will mean that instead of drilling multitudes of jet holes in the shell, jet holes will be mostly limited to the HydroPod units.
Besides the HydroPod system, other new features include centralized trunk line, an integrated soft cover and galvanized steel frames. Wade Spicer, founder and CEO of Strong Spas, says the reason they chose to go with all galvanized steel instead of wood is because of the built-in cover lifter systems. “We’ve been known for making hardcover systems for many years,” Spicer says, adding that in order to make the integrated lifter cost effective they needed the precision that steel provides. “Now everything is stainless steel — external and internal parts, all the bars and handles.”
Consumers can choose between no cover lifter, or one of three possible cover lifters: A built-in manual cover lifter, a built-in semi-automatic cover lifter or a fully automatic built-in cover lifter.
“You can hit and hold your remote control and this cover will automatically open and close for you,” Spicer says. The fully automatic lifter also has a manual key-locking option.
Iconic Spas retain popular features from other Strong Spas products that have been integrated into the Iconic series, creating an all-in-one line that ticks all the boxes. For instance, there is an insulated DURA-BASE system, which the company says is 10 times thicker than the base of most spas, making it immune to pests, rotting and rusting, and affords a highly efficient thermal barrier that recycles heat.
Spicer calls the line revolutionary and says more than five years of research and development resulted in a line with multiple patents and pending patents, and features that have never been combined into one product until now. “It’s a combination of different things that separate it as far as you can separate one hot tub from another,” Spicer says. “These are highly engineered products — similar to an automobile. We wanted to come up with a high value, extremely precise product.”
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Sony Banga, executive vice president for Strong Spas, says the motivation behind the Iconic Spas creation was to reimagine the whole manufacturing process. “The idea was to completely rethink how we currently build spas and how we can do it better,” Banga explains. “How can we make both the consumer experience better but also make it better from a manufacturing perspective?”
The idea was to completely rethink how we currently build spas and how we can do it better.”
Sony Banga, Strong Spas
Banga says the three ideas they considered during development were how to increase performance, how to decrease service liability and how to further innovate their current hot tub cover systems. The answer was to overhaul it all.
To increase performance, the company drastically reduced the amount of plumbing. “We have 80% less hose length in this particular product,” Banga explains. “Less distance means less friction, fewer restrictions and higher performance.” According to Banga, by reducing that amount of plumbing, service liability goes down as well. “The simpler the plumbing, the fewer joints, the fewer things to go wrong,” he says.
In a buyer’s market, where customers have a smorgasbord of hot tubs to choose from, Banga says the Iconic Spas are exactly what the market needs.
To Banga, the industry has been plagued by a lack of innovation. “In the hot tub industry we’ve always tried to make differences out of splitting a hair, right?” he says. “Trying to create differences out of stuff that’s not all that different. We hear from consumers all the time, who say, ‘I know you guys all think you’re different, but to us, they all really look the same.’ ”
When customers ask why they should buy these tubs and what makes them different, Banga says the products will speak for themselves. He says retailers are looking for ways to set themselves apart from each other, and Iconic Spas will help them do just that.
“This was not just an exclusive color, or some trademark or feature set,” Banga says. “It’s an entirely reengineered product from top to bottom. The shell, the stainless-steel frames, the base, the cover system, the way in which we deliver the water — Iconic Spas give you a lot to talk about.”