110 Volt vs 220 Volt Hot Tubs
When shopping for a new hot tub, you will need to know whether you want it to run on 110 volt or 220 volt electricity.
The 110 volt hot tub is the easiest to install because it plugs right into your standard US household plug-ins as long as it is a dedicated circuit. All you have to do is place it on concrete or another solid surface, fill it with water, plug it in and enjoy it once it is heated up. The 110 volt spas are typically cheaper to buy because the have to be fairly simple so they don’t overload the electrical supply. The down side is that the 110 volt spa will take twice as long to heat as the 220 volt spa so it may be a while from the time you fill it up until the time you can jump in and enjoy it. Since the heater runs twice as long, the pump also runs twice as long so both the heater and pump are getting more wear and tear. If you are in a really cold climate, the 110 volt hot tub may also find it hard to keep the temperature up, especially if you have the cover off. Another problem with the 110 volt spa is that they typically don’t have enough electricity to run both the heater and the pump at the same time which creates additional heating difficulties. Because the 110 volt hot tub has to run almost continuously to keep up the temperature, it costs more than the 220 volt hot tub.
A 220 volt hot tub will heat the water much faster and it will keep the water at your desired temperature, up to 104 degrees, even in the winter months. If you don’t already have a 220 volt outlet in the area you want to put the hot tub, you may have to call an electrician. You can usually get a free estimate but it usually doesn’t cost a great deal to have an electrician extend your service for a 220 volt spa. An electrician would be an additional expense but it would be worth the cost if you want a hot tub that has very many options at all. The 220 volt electricity allows you to have a hot tub that has multiple pumps and you aren’t limited to the size of pumps either. Some hot tubs have as many as 5 pumps that are as big as 6 hp. The extra power offers a more therapeutical spa experience. It also allows you to have more pumps, many jets, lights, a stereo, and even a TV and DVD player if you choose.
If money is an issue and you need an inexpensive spa and don’t want to pay an electrician, you should choose the 110 volt spa. If, however, you want a spa that has enough power to run everything simultaneously while maintaining the desired temperature, with a lower montly electrical bill, the 220 volt hot tub is for you.
California Cooperage has the 101, 102, 103 and 104, all of which can go 110 or 220. The 101 is too small so doesn’t sell well for us. The 102 is a corner spa so it appeals to a lot of people. The 103 is round and some people, for whatever reason just want a round spa and this is a good one that is 35” deep. With it being deep, you are better submersed in the water and feel more therapy. The 104 sells well because it isn’t very deep so the older people can easily get into it without fear.
Clarity Spas offers the CLS 360 which is a round spa, with a 120v plug-in. This is similar to the 103 but it’s a little shorter, at 33”. They also offer the CLS415 with a 120v plug-in. It is similar to California Cooperage 101 in that it is too small. Master Spas hasn’t sent me the specs on these yet so I don’t know if they are also 220v.
Most of the 110 volt spas are very small. Some people just want a small spa “because it’s just me” or “it’s just the two of us” but it’s a water displacement problem, similar to the bathtub in your home. The water level is perfect until you get in and then it’s overflowing. And then, of course, when you get out, you have to add more water for it to filter properly. Some people think it’s easier to keep if it’s smaller but I always remind them that the contaminants, such as lotions and sweat are more diluted in a larger body of water and therefore, the bigger the spa, the easier it is to keep. We typically upsell them from these because the 110 is more expensive to run and you don’t have the power to run both the pump and heater at the same time. Also because of water displacement.