Should My Hot Tub Be in the Sun or Shade?

Owning a spa is all about relaxation, so you’d likely assume that your hot tub should be placed somewhere warm and sunny. But is this true?

For the majority of users, it’s better to keep a hot tub in the shade. The three reasons for doing so are to protect sanitizers from UV light, to protect the insulated cover from wear and tear, and to protect your body from direct sunlight for added comfort while bathing.

If you can’t find a shaded spot in your backyard, then there are plenty of options when it comes to shelter. Which option is best for you will be discussed right after we’ve taken a closer look at why you want to avoid direct sunlight.

3 reasons why your hot tub should be in the shade

1. Protect sanitizers

When it comes to hot tubs, one thing you need to consider is where to put your spa in order to protect the sanitizing chemicals. UV rays can reduce the effectiveness of your sanitizer, so it’s important to keep your hot tub in a shady spot.

UV rays can destroy chlorine by breaking down the chemical bonds that hold it together. When chlorine is broken down, it becomes less effective at sanitizing your hot tub. This can lead to bacteria and other contaminants thriving in your spa, so it’s important to keep your hot tub in a shady spot to protect your chlorine levels.

2. Protect cover

Another reason to keep your hot tub in the shade is to reduce the amount of wear and tear on your cover. Sunlight can cause fading and damage to the material, so it’s best to keep it under shade.

Prolonging your hot tub cover’s life is important because it will save you money in the long run. A new hot tub cover can cost anywhere from $200 to $600, so it’s worth it to keep your cover in good condition away from sunlight.

3. Provide comfort

When you’re relaxing in your spa, you don’t want to be in direct sunlight. Shade provides a more comfortable environment for you to enjoy your hot tub.

If your hot tub is in direct sunlight, you’ll likely need to use sunscreen to avoid getting burnt. Oily sunscreen will introduce contaminants into the water, meaning you’ll have to add extra chemicals to balance the water chemistry.

How to protect your hot tub from the sun

If it’s difficult to find shade where you live, then there are plenty of ways to protect your hot tub from the sun’s rays. Here are 6 options for you to choose from.


If you want to get the most out of your hot tub, you may want to consider building a gazebo right in your yard. This will provide shade for the hot tub and also create a comfortable space where you can relax and enjoy the tub.

Alternatively, you could get a prefabricated gazebo that is designed to go over a hot tub. This option may be more expensive, but it will provide better protection from the sun. Popular materials include wood, vinyl, and metal.

Gazebos can be small enough to cover little more than a spa or large enough to create an outdoor room with other furniture, lighting, and decor.

Gazebos can provide a number of benefits for hot tubs, including:

  • Protection from the sun’s rays
  • Protection from other weather elements
  • Privacy
  • Aesthetics


A canopy is another great enclosure for protecting your hot tub from the sun’s rays. Canopies are structures that you can easily move around. The main difference between a gazebo and a canopy is that the former is a structure by itself, while the latter is typically used as a roof on a frame, such as a cabana.

Think of a canopy as the roof of a structure, it relies on a frame to support it and to allow it to function. A gazebo is an entirely freestanding design. For maximum hot tub protection, you want to get a canopy with sturdy, durable, and high-quality frames that can be bolted to the ground.

It provides shade for your hot tub and is perfect for withstanding the wind and other elements. Furthermore, you can leave the canopy up all year round because of its ability to be bolted down. You also want to get a canopy with a strong roof that can prevent rain and snow from falling into your spa. You can place the canopy on your patio or in your backyard.

Suppose you’re looking for something that can protect your hot tub from the sun and other elements and still provide privacy from your nosy neighbors. In that case, you should get a canopy with weather-resistant curtains.

Some common types of canopy kits include:

  • Retractable canopy
  • Hardtop canopy
  • Fabric and steel canopy


A hot tub umbrella might not provide the same level of privacy as a gazebo or canopy, but they are still very effective at protecting your hot tub from the sun. Additionally, they add an element of style to your outdoor space.

Some umbrellas are versatile, meaning you can rotate them to cover either your furniture or hot tub, depending on their position in your outdoor space.

You can also adjust the umbrella’s angle so it can match the angle of the sun and act as a shade for your hot tub. So, it doesn’t matter whether you enjoy your spa in the afternoon or evening because you can have coverage at any time of the day.

Hot tub umbrellas come in various styles. You can choose one that matches the shape of your spa, or you can get one that hangs over your spa from a curved pole. Or you may even prefer an umbrella with a vertical stand that bends at an angle.

Regardless of the style you choose, what matters is that the umbrella is made of a high-quality material that can protect your hot tub from the sun. It’d also be great if the material has UPF+ 50 so it can also protect your skin from the sun.


A pergola is an open structure built on a framework of cross beams, vertical posts, and an open-lattice roof. Pergolas not only provide shade for your hot tub but also add a distinctive architectural design to your outdoor space.

Most pergolas are built out of wood. Some popular choices include redwood, cypress, oak, and teak. Pergolas are typically stained and sealed. This helps to maintain a natural look and protect your hot tub from sun and water exposure. You can also decide to paint the pergola.

When creating a pergola, you should take note of the morning and evening shadows. You should also take note of the sun’s position over your hot tub area. This way, you’ll be able to determine how best to position the pergola to protect your spa.

For an additional layer of shade, privacy, and beauty around your pergola, you can plant climbing vines around the base of each post. You can also add more privacy by using wood slabs, fabric curtains, or a decorative screen.

Some inspirational pergola ideas include:

  • Retractable canvas shade
  • Etched roof screens
  • Geometric screens

Gazebos, unlike pergolas, have a closed roof. Most gazebos are rounded and raised off the ground, while pergolas are rectangular in shape and connected to a hard surface like a patio. Other outdoor structures similar to pergolas and gazebos include arbors and trellises, which are generally smaller and used differently.


Awnings provide shelter for your hot tub, as well as added comfort. They come in various styles, fabrics, and colors that fit right into your home aesthetics and blend in with your property style. They’re protective, easy to install, and effective in giving you the privacy you desire.

The main difference between an awning and a pergola is that an awning can be a temporary structure, while a pergola is a permanent structure. A pergola has beams, columns, and rafters, while an awning is more like a canopy above a door, window, or deck.

Some common types of awnings include:

  • Pergola awning
  • Side awning
  • Freestanding awning

Pergola awnings are ideal for hot tubs located near a wall. They require less floor space than a gazebo. They are hot tub retractable awnings, meaning they can be installed with a retractable roof.

Side awnings provide more privacy than pergolas and freestanding awnings. They are designed to fit stylishly at the side of your outdoor area. They provide shade for your hot tub as well as wind protection. Side awnings can also be installed with a retractable roof.

Not all hot tubs are located near a property. Some are positioned in an open space and require freestanding awnings to provide shade from the sun. Freestanding models are long-lasting, waterproof, and can be fitted anywhere you like.

Shade sails

Shade sails are long pieces of high-density polyethylene fabric that stretch between a series of poles to create a shade from sunlight. In addition, they are water-resistant and can withstand strong wind and rainfall.

Shade sails come in different styles and colors. They are not difficult to assemble, and, unlike umbrellas, they don’t need a separate base or a permanent attachment to anything. They can be moved from place to place easily.

Shade sails can increase comfort for hot tub owners. On hot summer days, they can protect the hot tub from the sun, allowing the owner to manage the temperature of the spa. Meanwhile, during the fall season, shade sails keep leaves from falling into the spa water.

Shade sails come in different shapes: rectangle, triangle, and square. The best shape for your hot tub depends on the layout of your backyard and design preferences. You can also decide to install several sails at varying heights, creating an overlapping effect. When installing shade sails, you can mount sail posts or use nearby trees to hold the sail.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a seasoned hot tub enthusiast. With many years of experience in the industry, he offers valuable insights on hot tub maintenance, health benefits, and relaxation techniques.

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