Pool Accessories

The Best Hot Tub & Spa Cover Lifters in 2021

Obtaining the ideal replacement hot tub cover.

By Allen Hayward

When you buy a cover for your spa, think of it as an investment. Don’t be afraid to spend extra money on a good quality cover because it could help extend the life of your hot tub. However, a lot of people who purchase hot tub covers end up not using their spa as much. They may even put off cleaning the water or conducting chemical tests on it.

Why does this happen? Perhaps it is because people don’t feel like lifting up a 50+ pound cover just to access their hot tub water. If you want a more convenient method for removing your hot tub cover, then you should think about purchasing a spa cover lifter.

What is a Spa Cover Lifter?

The shape, size, and weight of your spa cover will determine how much trouble you have moving it on your own. Most spa owners need another person to assist them in lifting their spa cover because of all the awkward bending and strength required. If you attempt to lift something like this by yourself, then it could possibly injure your back severely.

But what do you do if no one is around to help you lift it? Your only solution is a spa cover lifter. It’ll allow you to remove the cover and add the cover to your hot tub without much effort needed.

What’s even worse is that your cover will retain additional water over time because of evaporation. This will increase the weight of the cover and make it even more difficult for you to remove it. Eventually, the cover will need to get replaced once it becomes saturated with a lot of water.

In the meantime, a mechanical cover lifter will make lifting the cover much easier. You can open the cover immediately to hop into the water, clean the cover, or test the water without any hassle.

Types of Hot Tub Cover Lifters

There are three main types of spa cover lifters available. Before you choose which one that is right for your spa, you must learn about their functionality and the benefits they offer.

Shelf Cover Lifter

Here is an affordable and convenient way to move your spa cover. It is basically a mountable shelf that goes on the side or back of your hot tub. After you fold the cover, there are rollers which let you slide the cover onto the shelf quite easily. 

Be prepared to make room for the shelf cover lifter because it consumes a lot of space. Keep your spa in a location with plenty of room to move around. Otherwise, everything will feel tight with the shelf mounted on the spa.

On the downside, the weightlifting assistance of the cover lifting is not found here. A shelf cover lifter merely makes it easier to remove the cover and stow it, but the weight is still put on you. As a result, you’ll need to use some muscle to fold the cover. If this is a problem, then you might not like this cover lifter.

Manual Pivot Cover Lifter

If you need cover lifting assistance while on a budget, then your best choice is a manual pivot cover lifter. It consists of a lengthy metal bar which is installed in the center of the hot tub cover. The ends of the metal bar are mounted onto a pivoting bracket. After the cover is folded in half, you lift up the cover and then push it back. The cover hangs vertically on the bar, like how slacks are put onto a hanger.

The only negative thing to mention about this cover lifter is that the cover sticks up too high when you take it off. Then you won’t get to see the view in front of you. If you’re okay with that, then this cover lifter might be suitable for you.

Hydraulic Cover Lifter

If you’re willing to invest more money in a cover lifter which does all the heavy lifting for you, then you’ll want to purchase the hydraulic cover lifter. It utilizes pistons and arms to carry the heavyweight of the cover so that you don’t need to exert yourself at all.

You use the hydraulic cover lifter almost the same way you use the manual pivot lifter. Brackets get installed on the cabinet of the hot tub, and an arm is mounted onto the center of the cover. Once the cover is folded back, the hydraulic arms will start to lift the weight as you guide the cover upward and backward. You’ll only need one hand to manage this cover lifter.

Some hydraulic cover lifter models will obstruct the view on one side of the spa, just like the manual pivot cover lifter. However, you can find other models of the hydraulic lifter which give you a clear 360° view of your surroundings. The cover must be at ground level to do this.

The Spa Cover Lifter Installation

The specific installation instructions of the cover lifter are dependent on the type of cover lifter that you purchased and the model of the lifter. All the other points regarding the installation are virtually universal.

Installing a Shelf Cover Lifter

Use a marker to mark the areas on the hot tub cabinet where the drilling will take place. Conduct measurements to find these locations. A minimum of 4 screw holes will be needed, 2 per bracket. Look at the recommendations provided by the manufacturer to get a better idea of where the holes should go.

Drill the holes carefully to avoid cracking the cabinet.

Use a screwdriver to screw the mounting brackets into the holes.

Every shelf arm should be inserted into a bracket securely.

Look at the instructions of the manufacturer to see if the arms get folded down or inward.

Installing a Manual Pivot Cover Lifte

If you have another person around, the two of you can easily install the manual pivot cover lifter. If you’re alone, then it can be difficult to deal with the slider arms and bar.

Put the cover on the spa and align the corners properly.

While using the manufacturer’s instructions, measure out the location of the holes needed for the installation of the brackets. Mark these locations and then drill the holes.

Connect the pivot arm to the slider arm.

The slider arm gets inserted into the bracket.

Take the lengthy center bar and lay it over your cover down the middle. Each end gets inserted into its corresponding curved support arm.

The support arms get inserted into the pivot arms.

All the sections should be fastened. Follow the instructions of the product.

Make sure the cover lifter functions properly. Make any necessary adjustments.

Installing the Hydraulic Cover Lifter

You’ll need another person to assist you with this installation. A professional technician may actually be the best choice here because you’ll be dealing with an electronic mechanism.

Measure out the location of the holes needed for the installation of the brackets. Mark these locations and then drill the holes. Install the brackets. Some hydraulic lifters don’t require holes to be drilled. If that’s the case with your lifter, then you’ll first need to assemble the frame and base.

Take the lengthy center pole and lay it over your cover down the middle. Each end gets inserted into its corresponding support arm.

The support arms get inserted into the pivot arms. Use the brackets to secure them properly.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and perform the hydraulic arms installation. You might need to the assembly maneuvered. If you can’t do this yourself, have a professional help you.

Make sure the lifter functions properly. Troubleshoot the placement of the bracket.

Maintenance of the Hot Tub Cover Lifter

Most spa cover lifters are constructed from composite materials or stainless steel because they must withstand hot temperatures and sanitizing chemicals in the water. They must also have corrosion resistance too and be easy to take care of. Watch for any type of problems with your lifter. If you fix these problems early on, your cover lifter should last for several years.

Cover Lifter Component Inspection

As your hot tub cover lifter is used, see if the arms bend below the cover. The arms should regularly be inspected, especially if you have a shelf cover lifter.

Remember that waterlogging will cause your cover to get heavier over time. This will put your cover lifter under more strain. That is why the cover must be replaced if it gets to be too heavy. Otherwise, your lifter will get damaged to the point where you’ll either need to repair it or just replace the whole thing. It is so much easier to care for your cover to prevent damage altogether.

Every 3 to 4 months, you’re expected to drain your spa and clean it thoroughly. While you’re doing this, inspect the cover lifter and all its components. If any hinges or brackets need tightening, then use a socket wrench or screwdriver to do this task.

Cleaning the Parts of the Cover Lifter

All hot tub cover lifters must be cleaned to sustain their longevity. A simple multi-purpose cleaning solution will do the trick just fine. Use a soft cloth to wipe the arms and clean away any debris or grit on them.

If you hear squeaking noises coming from any of the moving components, then some water-resistant silicone lubricant spray will likely fix this issue. Don’t spray too much because you want to keep your spa cabinet protected. Use a soft cloth to protect certain areas from the spray.

DIY Hot Tub Cover Lifter

If you’re a skilled handyperson on a limited budget, then you could possibly create your own spa cover lifter. You need EMT (electrical metal tubing) conduit, conduit straps, elbows, screws, screwdriver, drill, level, hacksaw, and nylon webbing.

Some DIY plans online will mention PVC (polyvinyl chloride) rather than EMT. However, it is better to use EMT because hot temperatures and sunlight can diminish PVC material. Then your spa cover could get damaged.

The Top 7 Spa Cover Lifters

Not everyone is a handyman. Some people prefer to purchase their cover lifters rather than make their own. If that’s the case, then you should consider the following cover lifters for your hot tub. Each one is affordable and has its own unique qualities.

ABC Spa Cover Roller

This is the most affordable cover lifter on the list. It is basically like a cover shelf but with wheels attached. The top of each arm contains 4 rollers. After the cover is folded and pushed onto the arms, you’ll feel less resistance because of the rollers. Then you can move the cover more easily.

Even though a screwdriver is mentioned in the instructions, a drill is probably better for creating the pilot holes in the spa cabinet. Then you can install the screws while not causing any damage to the cabinet.

Blue Wave Low Mount Spa Cover Lifter

This is a manual pivoting type of cover lifter. It is a simple lifter which has ground level mounting. That allows the cover to be folded in the back of the spa, so you’ll have a perfect view of everything which surrounds you. The material of the lifter is powder-coated steel, which is resistant to corrosion and rust.

On the downside, you must have a rectangular or square spa that is no more than 8 feet and contains radius corners. If your hot tub does not have rounded corners, then you can’t install the brackets properly. Roughly 4 feet of clearance space is needed on the side where your cover gets stored. That way, you’ll have plenty of room to fold back the cover. You won’t need anyone to help you remove or stow the spa cover if these simple requirements are met by your hot tub.

Blue Wave Easy-Off Spa Cover Lifter Outdoor Solutions

This manual pivot cover lifter utilizes strong springs to bear the heavy cover weight while the lifter is in use. You can adjust the size of the poles to accommodate your hot tub size.

The installation is so simple because you are not required to drill holes or force screws into the spa cabinet. There are feet which slip below the spa. It is kept in place by the weight of the spa. That is why you should install this cover lifter after you empty the water out of the spa.

Smart Spa Cover Classic Bottom Mount Spa Cover Lifter

This aluminum cover lifter is powder-coated and shaped like a rectangle. It connects underneath or to the side of the hot tub. Eighteen inches of space is all you need. If your budget is limited and you have very little space around your spa, then this Smart Spa Cover Lifter is a good choice.

Even though your view from the spa will be obstructed by the cover, only a little bit of the cover will get in the way. The Smart Spa lifter is made for spas that are rectangular or square-shaped and no more than 96 inches in width. You can’t use it with inground spas or sunken spas.

Cover Valet 250 Spa Cover Lifter

There is nothing really space about this cover lifter, but it can do what it’s supposed to do. You can perform a simple installation too. It is easy to open and close the cover because of the lifter’s dual gas springs. As the cover is lifted, you can lock it securely in place so that it doesn’t fall back over.

Unfortunately, this cover lifter won’t give you a full view of your surroundings. But it is a safe and reliable cover lifter.

Smart Spa Cover Spa Cover Lifter Max Bottom Mount

This is made of sturdy powder-coated steel and is designed to tolerate tough outdoor conditions and environments. The installation is simple because you just mount the cover lifter right on the bottom side of the hot tub. Merely 12 inches of clearance is all you need. However, recessed hot tubs are not compatible with this lifter.

Rather than using hydraulics, you use your foot to press a lower bar which reduces the weight that you’re required to lift manually. This lifter may not be suitable for people with bad backs because you must maneuver the spa cover lifter.

The Cover Basket Side Mount Hot Tub Cover Lifter

You need at least 2 feet of room in the back of your hot tub for this cover lifter. The cover is easy to remove because of the design of the lifter. It is not compatible with rounded spas. The lifter contains curved bars which provide a lot of space for covers that are no more than 5 inches thick.

The cover lifter is used in the same way you use a shelf lift. It is folded and slid onto the curved arms. A little hydraulic arm will help to fold the cover toward the bottom side of the hot tub. However, the cover lifter does not fold all the way flat if you’re not using it. Plus, when you stow the cover, it blocks some of your surrounding views.


Any of these hot tub steps are better than none. They’ll prevent you or someone else from hurting themselves, and they’ll make it a comfortable and easy experience to get in and out of your spa. No more uncomfortable climbs over the spa walls with the risk of injury. Those days can finally be over.

Make sure you observe the weight capacity and material of the spa before you purchase it. You’ll want to choose a spa that is attractive, durable, and safe.




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