There are so many hot tubs to choose from and understanding the differences between different kinds and the different features they offer will help you make the right purchase for your needs. One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want an electrical or regular hot tub.
Understanding electrical and regular hot tubs will provide you a place to start s you research which hot tubs you want to buy. All hot tubs require electricity. Regular hot tubs run on 110 volts, while an electrical hot tub runs on 220 volts. Electrical hot tubs will provide more power to the hot tub’s heater and jets.
People say “regular” simply because with a 110v hot tub, you can plug it into your normal outlet.
The volts that a hot tub runs on will directly impact its performance and will also impact what features a hot tub has and which can be used at the same time. Continue reading to find out all the differences between hot tubs that run on 110 volts and those that run on 220 volts. These will work well for either chemical if you want to convert to salt water hot tubs as well.
110-Volt Hot Tubs
Hot tubs that run 110 volts are sometimes called plug and play hot tubs because all you need to do to start using them is plug them in.
Plug and play hot tubs are easy to set up quickly and with minimal expense or hassle. You can plug a 110v hot tub can into a regular outdoor outlet, which means you probably won’t need to have an electrician help you with the installation of the hot tub, but the hot tub draws enough power that you will still need a dedicated circuit.
A dedicated circuit is an electrical circuit with its own circuit breaker that is used by a single appliance.
As long as the outlet you are using is on a dedicated circuit, all you need to do to install the hot tub is set it up on concrete or another level surface, fill it with water and plug it in.
Advantages of a 110-Volt Hot Tub
- They are easy to install.
- They plug into standard US household outlets.
- They are typically cheaper to purchase.
- They are usually cheaper to install.
Disadvantages of a 110-Volt Hot Tub
- They will take longer to heat up compared to a 220-volt hot tub
- The heater and pump will run longer, which means they will wear out more quickly.
- They may not have enough electricity to run the heater and the pump at the same time.
- If you live in a location that has cold winters and chilly autumns, a 110-volt hot tub may have a hard time keeping the hot tub hot.
- A 110-volt hot tub will usually consume more electricity than a similar model 220-volt hot tub because it has to run continuously to keep up the temperature.
220-Volt Hot Tubs
A hot tub that runs on 220 volts will have access to more power at any given moment, and therefore it can heat the hot tub faster and run all the different equipment like the heater, jets, and pump at the same time.
You can convert your 110-volt hot tub to 220 volts with the help of an electrician. By converting to the higher-powered option, you will improve the performance and efficiency of the hot tub’s heater, but it will not improve the power of the jets.
Advantages of a 220-Volt Hot Tub
- Hot tubs that run on 220 volts heat up quickly.
- They keep the water at the temperature you desire more efficiently and with more consistency.
- These hot tubs can have multiple pumps with no limit on their size.
- They give a more consistent and enjoyable spa experience.
- Most 220-volt hot tubs have extra features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- You will see a drop in your electricity bill if you convert your hot tub to 220 volts.
Disadvantages of a 220-Volt Hot Tub
- Hot tubs that run on 220-volts are more expensive to purchase.
- To convert a 110- volt hot tub to 220 volts or to install a 220-volt hot tub, you will probably need to hire an electrician, which will increase costs.
- Most 220-volt hot tubs are permanent fixtures in your backyard. If you move, you cannot take it with you.
Why Do We Use 110 Volt Electrical Outlets?
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages that these two different types of hot tubs offer, it is clear that the 220-volt hot tubs offer some very real advantages over 110-volt hot tubs. You may be wondering why on earth we bother with 110-volt outlets at all.
In the United States, most of our household outlets are wired for 110 volts. There are some exceptions, of course, like in the case of hot tubs, ovens, and clothes dryers, but overall, 110-volt outlets far outnumber the 220-volt outlets.
One the of main reasons that there is a preference for 110-volt wiring is that it is considered safer to work with. 110-volt wiring carries few volt and half as much current as 220-volt wiring.
220-volt wiring is capable of carrying more current, which increases the risk of serious, life-threatening injury when working with it.
How Different is a 110-Volt Outlet From a 220-Volt Outlet?
Most modern 110-volt outlets have three different wires running to them.
- A hot wire
- A neutral wire
- A ground wire
This is easy to understand as the plug has three prongs, the outlet has three holes, and each corresponds to a different wire.
Things get a little more complicated when it comes to 220-volt outlets because there has been a shift from a three wire set up to a four wire set up. The older 220-volt outlets also have three wires – two live wires and one ground. However, 220-volt outlets are not switching to a four wire set up with two live wires, one neutral, and one ground.
If you look at a 110-volt wall outlet and a 220-volt wall outlet, it will immediately become apparent that these two types of outlets and plug are not interchangeable. So, to answer the question, 100-volt outlets and 220-volt outlets are completely different.
How to Convert a Hot Tub to 220-Volts
Converting a hot tub to 220-volts will improve the performance of the heater and create a much more enjoyable experience for you and your family or guests, but it is not a job that can be done on your own unless you are very knowledgeable about electrical work.
When you convert your hot tub to 220-volts, you need to do the following:
- Run new wiring to the hot tub
- Change out the circuit breaker
- Update the ground fault circuit interrupter
- Hardwire the hot tub
When a hot tub is 220-volts, it typically does not use a plug at all. Instead, it is hard wired to your homes electrical system.
Cost Difference Between 110-Volt Hot Tub and 220-Volt Hot Tub
Hot tubs are big investments, but if you take good care of them, they can provide many years of entertainment and relaxation.
The price will depend on the following:
- Size: Larger hot tubs cost more than smaller ones because they require more resources to make.
- Features: The cost of features like powerful jets, touchscreen control panels, cover lifters, and improved filtration systems will add up.
- Quality: Remember, your hot tub will be outdoors, where it will be a constant companion to the sun, rain, snow, and ice. A quality spa should be built to stand up to the elements over time, but it will also cost you more.
- Design: The aesthetic component is an important factor when you are putting it in your backyard oasis. An attractive, high-end design is going to cost more than a basic one.
- Geographic location: How far does your hot tub have to travel before it makes it to your backyard? A quality hot tub is heavy, and shipping it will not come cheap.
According to Hot Spring, a hot tub can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the factors above. Different types of hot tubs will cost different amounts. The hot tubs we will look at here are…
- Entry-level hot tubs
- Value-priced hot tubs
- Premium hot tubs
- Luxury hot tubs
Entry-level hot tubs will cost between $3,000-$5,000. These hot tubs will generally plug and play that run on 110-volts. They tend to be portable, lightweight, and easy to set up. All other hot tubs will likely run on 220 volts.
Value-priced hot tubs will cost between $4,000-$8000. These hot tubs are generally more high end and better made than the entry-level hot tub. They will have some extra features like extra jets and spa seats. At this price range, the hot tub may look nicer, but the component that performs the work of a hot tub may not be the best quality. Manufacturers have to recuperate costs somewhere.
Premium hot tubs will cost between $6,000-$10,000. These hot tubs are typically a well-rounded option. They offer a high-end look, a variety of features, spa seats, high jet counts, and quality parts, construction, and energy efficiency. Hot tubs in this price range typically offer longer warranties.
Luxury hot tubs cost between $9,000-$16,000. Models in this range are the envy of all the other hot tubs. They will contain high-quality components, durable construction, one-of-a-kind- jet systems, top of the line filtration, lowest energy costs, minimal maintenance, and a hot tub that should last more than 20 years.
Is It the Same Cost to Own a Hot Tub Everywhere and What Affects Cost?
It was noted earlier that upgrading from a 110 volt to a 220 volt hot tub will decrease one’s electricity bill given one uses the 220 volt the same amount of time. This begs the question, what affects the reflected electricity bill cost of my hot tub? According to hotspring.com, there are 5 factors that affect this cost.
- Energy cost per kilowatt is location specific. Every region, locality and city has different electricity costs. These costs are determined by providers based upon many factors. Population density, low population density with difficult geography, and types resources used in the production process are big factors. The states with the 5 highest energy costs are Connecticut, Wyoming, Alaska, Georgia & Massachusetts.
- Your location’s climate is obviously an important factor. Regions that are much colder in the winters and or experience longer winters are going to have higher electricity costs during that part of the year than more temperate regions will. This is the same for highly populated regions that are very hot in the summers. Electricity costs used to cool houses will be much higher during these periods of time.
- The size of your hot tub will also be a factor that affects the electrical cost of the tub. Remember, the higher 220 volt lowers the bill in comparison to the 110 volt. The size of the hot tub refers to the amount of water it can hold. More water to heat up for a hot tub means more electricity which equates to added cost on the electricity bill.
- How well your hot tub is insulated is important as insulation determines how well your hot tub keeps the hot water hot. If you own a tub with poor insulation, the hot water, without more flowing in, will go cold much faster. Poor insulation would mean more electrical output.
- A well made, custom fitting cover can go a long way in helping to conserve hot water in a hot tub. Without one, the water will evaporate and its temperature will move towards the lower outside temperature.
If you are trying to rein in your hot tubs electrical costs, you are going to have to do one of two things. The first is you could look into upgrading your hot tub from a 110 volt to a 220 volt. This would be the easiest way to reduce your bill and save in the long run, but would require extra funds.
If you already own a 220 volt, or you are not interested in upgrading, you will have to rein in some of those factors we discussed above. Provided below are a few ways to help reduce the cost of your electric bill that can be attributed to your hot tub.
The first way to reduce cost by attempting to control the factors that increase cost, is by lowering frequency of use.
A second good tip is to invest in a high quality cover and clean your hot tub’s filters regularly. Doing these things will reduce electrical consumption by maximizing the heat retention as well as the efficiecncy of the pump.
Maintain water at a constantly high temperature to reduce your bill. Many people heat up their hot tub every time starting with the tub turned off. Butt its actually turning the hot tub on that causes a surge in your electricity bill. Keep the machine on at a very low temperature, and use a over as well as proper insulation to maintain hot water.
The History Behind Why Two Power Standards Exist in the United States
Below is a brief history of the reasons behind our system of power in the United States. According to energy.gov, It goes all the way back to the early days of the industrial revolution.
- In the late 1880’s, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were electrical power leaders, and were squaring off against one another in what became known as the “War of the Currents.”
- Edison advocated for his own company’s direct current (DC) electricity, which had a voltage standard of 110 – 120. This was the standard in the United States at the time. Edison’s problem was direct current did not convert well to higher or lower voltages.
- Tesla advocated for alternating current (AC) electricity, which had a voltage standard of 220 – 240. He wanted to takeover the east coast with his AC current system that could solve the problem of Edison’s direct current.
- Edison knew that his large royalty checks from his electricity empire could be at risk because of Tesla’s new alternating current, so he came up with a plan. He launched a campaign to attack and discredit alternating current, saying that AC was more dangerous than direct current. He even publicly electrocuted stray animals with alternating currents to put his point on display.
- In 1893, George Westinghouse beat Edison in a bid to power Chicago’s World Fair. Edison said he could power it with his direct current for $554,000, but Westinghouse countered saying he could power it with Nikola Tesla’s alternating current for only $399,000.
- Soon after the Tesla victory over the Chicago World Fair, Niagara Falls Power Company gave Westinghouse a contract to build a plant to generate power from Niagara falls. This plant powered all of Buffalo, and eventually the entire eastern United States. When General Electric eventually got on board with alternating currents, it appeared as though Tesla’s AC had won.
- Electricity today is still mostly characterized by alternating current. Some products such as computers, LED’s, solar cells and electric vehicles all run on DC power.
- So the War of Currents may not be over yet……