As spa sales have slipped, manufacturers of covers and removal systems have increasingly turned their attention to the replacement market. To increase appeal, they've incorporated new materials, increased thermal efficiency and in one case even eased removal by adding a remote control.
These new benefits join the old ones, making a rock-solid case for replacing old, worn covers. A fine-tuned sales pitch, up-to-date customer contact list and offering the latest lines of merchandise (which follow) are all that stand between you and an increase in cover and lifter sales in 2012.
Commercial Fabrics has been making spa covers since 1985 to protect customers' spas and save them money in heating and maintenance costs. Commercial Fabrics spa covers feature premium marine-grade vinyl and a range of tapers and densities. Cores are heat sealed in 4-mil-thick poly and double wrap is available for extra protection against moisture. Available accessories include cover lifters, spa steps, custom spa pillows and more.
Coverplay says its Airframe spa cover uses no expanded polystyrene foam and is constructed of a rigid aluminum frame with a banded core that insulates with layered chambers of air. It's designed not to retain water and to last for more than 10 years. The multi-chambered frame is covered in fitted, water-repelling and gas-permeable fabric rather than vinyl for durability, the company says. It uses no expanded polystyrene foam.
Be-Lite by Pool Covers Inc.
Be-Lite's spa covers feature compressed Styrofoam encased in heat-sealed aluminum. The covers hold 275 pounds of pressure per square foot and have an R-Factor of between 12 and 14, the company says. An aluminum cover won't puncture and get waterlogged, it will not fade and it stands up to harsh weather and harsh treatment by pets, Be-Lite says.
SpaCovers.com says it offers fast service, top-quality materials and workmanship and that it specializes in the kinds of custom-made covers others don't even want to attempt. Manufacturing is done in-house with computer-controlled cutting so speakers and freeform covers are not a problem.
Core Covers (also known as Robert's Hot Tubs) is both an OEM and an aftermarket supplier. The company says its consistent quality and value is derived from automation, in which all raw material components, including foam, vinyl, plastic, metal and boxes are produced using CAD-based cutting machinery.
The Easy Slider cover carrier, from A&B Accessories, is designed to make taking a spa cover off and putting it back on easier. To use, simply fold the cover once then glide back. The Easy Slider arms open with the friction of the cover against the arms. Push the cover back onto the spa, and the spring-loaded arms retract against the spa.
Prestige Spa Covers
Prestige manufactures custom-made spa covers, and offers a complete line of upgrades to choose from. The company's featured product, the Altima Cover, is manufactured with 5 x 3 tapered foam, four box "X" tie downs with keyed lock fasteners, aluminum channeling, four padded handles, reinforced top stitch hinge with nylon webbing, enhanced thread throughout, full-length steam stopper and a vapor barrier to help protect against chemicals, Prestige says. The Altima is available in 14 different colors and is shipped within five to seven business days.
Sterling Leisure Products
The Covana is an automated privacy gazebo and cover enclosure that rises above a spa at the turn of a key. With the Covana automated privacy gazebo and cover enclosure, Sterling says safety and privacy are no longer a concern.
The Cover Rx, from Cover Valet, is designed to work with all spa brands, models and shapes. The Cover Rx's unique design allows for installation within minutes on any of today's aboveground spas without screwing into the spa cabinet, according to the company. It requires only 14 inches of rear clearance to easily and safely remove the spa cover, according to Cover Valet.
Blue Water Spa Covers
Blue Water says its quality crafted spa covers can be shipped in three to five days, come in 17 different colors and fit all hot tub makes and models. The company also says it offers excellent shipping rates and that its covers meet ASTM safety standards.
SPAccessories markets a wide selection of hot tub cover lifts under the Cover Removal Systems (CRS) name. Models include easy-mounting foot-assisted and hydraulic lifts. The company's newest CRS is the Cover Roller (CRS-5). No assembly is required. It mounts easily to the spa and features maintenance-free fiberglass-reinforced polycarbonate construction. SPAcessories says the lifters help covers easily roll on and off the spa and that they're great for swim-spas.
The Thermo-Light floating spa cover, from Merlin Industries, is designed to provide a stylish way for owners of intricate or large hot tubs to retain heat and fend off debris. Thermo-Light covers feature an approximate R-value of 8, can be made to fit the contour of almost any spa and are available in 13 colors. Thermo-Light floating spa covers are not designed to be a safety cover.
Aquatic Specialty Manufacturing LLC
The Cover Butler has been the industry standard in removal systems for 20 years, Aquatic Specialty Manufacturing says. It's been redesigned to accommodated today's heavier spa covers, and installs in minutes, according to the company. ASM offers a POP display box to help dealers sell the units.
Sunstar Spa Covers and Accessories
Sunstar spa covers feature virgin foam cores covered by marine-grade vinyl with mildew- and UV-inhibitors and come with a three-year, non-prorated warranty. The covers feature 28 points of internal reinforcement, according to Sunstar. The company ships from the east and west coasts, and from the Midwest.
AccuLok Hot Tub Covers
AccuLok says its hot tub covers use patented technology that significantly resists water absorption and weight gain, with a 400 percent improvement in water vapor resistance over existing hot tub covers and a 7-year warranty against water weight gain. AccuLok covers also feature a patented "no-split" skirt design that reduces escaping heat from the cover by up to 30 percent, minimizing energy use over traditional cover designs, according to the company.
The Cover Company
The Cover Company's hot tub covers are available in eight color variations, and all covers are custom made and are available with a variety of upgrades and options. Quick ship times and competitive prices are available.
Auto Spa Cover
The ASC-2 Auto Spa Cover System utilizes a remote control for opening and closing the cover, allowing the spa owner to manipulate the cover with ease, the company says. It is specifically designed for anyone who has trouble lifting heavy spa covers. With the touch of a button a cover will open automatically.
Caldera says its custom-fit spa covers and exclusive cover lifters offer comfort, performance and style and are uniquely designed for Caldera spas. Four cover lifters, ProLift, ProLift II, ProLift III and ProfLift IV, provide a streamlined appearance and offer consumers a choice to fit most applications.
Hot Spring Spas
Hot Spring Spas says it pioneered the first rigid vinyl cover, creating a higher standard for energy efficiency. Each cover is custom-fit and built with superior construction, including 24-points of internal reinforcement. The company's exclusive retractable cover-removal system makes it easy to access the hot tub, and work for nearly any application.
Leisure Concepts says it builds the highest-quality line of spa cover lifts, steps and accessories in the industry. The company's stated goal is to deliver innovative, stylish and durable products designed to keep customers happy and dealers successful.
Barrett Kilmer, has been on the editorial staff of AQUA magazine since 2000. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and currently lives in Madison, Wisc.