Think you need a spa cover lifter? Most spa cover lifters are simply a metal bar bent into a large U shape, that goes across the center of your spa. You fold your hot tub cover over the bar and then push it off your spa. These “Bar Lifters,” actually work great as long as your hot tub cover is not too heavy.
The spa cover lifter was an after thought, an after market solution to a product that was already in use. It works fine provided the Hot Tub cover has not begun to saturate. Most spa owners buy one because their spa cover is already heavy. If that’s you, the lifter won’t help. The bar lifter does nothing to help you get the cover open halfway. You still have to lift the first half of the cover up to fold it over the bar all on your own. If you can’t do that now, the lifter will do no good.
If you are strong enough to lift your heavy saturated spa cover over the bar it will either rip itself in two on the lifter or the bar lifter itself will be ripped from its own pivot points because it is not meant to handle the weight of a saturated cover. The center seam of the typical spa cover was never meant to handle its own weight once it gets saturated.
The bar lifter does make a nice place to hang the spa cover. Again this requires a light weight spa cover to work easily. That means, if the reason you bought the cover lifter was to avoid having to replace your heavy spa cover, this is not the answer. You will still need to replace your typical rigid foam filled hot tub cover every couple of years to make that lifter effective. Which in most cases is more frequently then you replace it now. If not, you will begin to use the hot tub less. The harder you have to struggle to get into it, the less priority it has.
If you already have a spa cover lifter, you probably know all this. Don’t despair. You just need to set aside enough money to replace that cover, like clockwork, every one to two years. When you buy the new cover, store the old one in a dry place somewhere. When the new one spa cover is one year old you can rotate the old one back onto the spa. It will have lost the weight of the saturation once you took it off the spa. You can get some extra life out of your covers this way but the fix is not permanent because all vinyl's will eventually crack and fall apart. If you add a new one every three years and throw out the oldest one, you can keep two drying while one is in use.
The other option for those that already have a bar lifter would be to buy a different type of spa cover that could still be used with the mechanism. I would recommend look for a cover that won’t end up heavy like a typical foam spa cover and that can work in a similar way to lay over the bar. Keep in mind the goal is to use your spa, not your lifter. Spa Cap Covers meet these requirements. The Spa Cap will stay light weight because they won't saturate and since there is no foam it won't break either. You may have to adjust how or where it pivots from to accommodate a different kind of cover, but if it makes getting in and out of your spa easy that is the real bottom line. Spa Cap Covers are the answer.