Lifters for spa covers and hot tub covers consist of large U-shaped metal bars which go across the center of the spa or hot tub. The spa cover or hot tub cover is then folded over the bar to push it off the spa or hot tub. Such bar lifters actually work well, as long as the cover is not too heavy.
As an after-market solution to an already existing product, the bar lifter will work most effectively on covers that have not yet began to saturate. Many owners of spas and hot tubs decide to buy bar lifters mainly because their covers are already heavy due to saturation. However, these lifters cannot help to get the cover open halfway as you will still have to lift one half of the cover on your own before folding it over the bar. If you cannot already do this, then the bar lifter will not help you much.
In any case, the bar lifter does provide you with a great solution for hanging your spa cover. Of course, this will work easiest with a light weight spa or hot tub cover. All you need to do is adjust where and how it pivots from to accommodate a different type of cover. However, you will still need to replace your typical rigid foam filled spa or hot tub cover every couple of years in order to have the bar lifter working effectively. Remember that the last thing you need to have in your home is a spa that is a struggle to get into. And if you are forced to buy a new cover, you don't have to throw the old one out. Simply store it in a cool dry place to use it again after about a year or so, once the saturation weight has dissipated.
If you already own a bar lifter, it would be advisable to then purchase another spa cover which can still work with it. Go for a cover that will not end up getting saturated, heavy and difficult to manage as the typical foam spa covers. The cover should also be able to work in a similar way in lying over the bar without breaking apart. Whichever cover you opt for, the most important thing is that it should enable you to get in and out of your spa or hot tub easily, preferably without requiring a bar lifter.