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110 vs 220 Hot Tub: Which is Better?

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There are so many hot tubs to choose from and understanding variations from the different kinds and features that 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 a 110V or 220V hot tub.

Understanding the difference between the two powered hot tubs will provide you a place to start as you research which hot tubs you want to buy. All hot tubs require electricity. Some run on 110 volts, while other hot tubs runs on 220 volts. 220V hot tubs will provide more power to the hot tub’s heater and jets.

hot tub built inside wood deck

A 110V hot tub can also be called a “regular hot tub” simply because you can plug it into your normal outlet vs a 220V that will need to be hardwired into your home’s electrical service.

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.

Either one of these types of hot tubs work well if you want to convert to a 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 to a nearest outlet.

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. Do note that you will need a dedicated circuit for your hot tub outlet

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 your hot tub on a poured concrete pad, or a different level surface, fill it with water and plug it in.

You can also set your hot tub on gravel if pouring concrete isn’t practical in your backyard.

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 colder climate, 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 water 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

  • You’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to hardwire the hot tub to 220v junction box
  • 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 need to hire an electrician, which will increase costs.

The Difference installing a 110-Volt From a 220-Volt Hot Tub?

Most people might think that the only difference between the two different electrical hot tubs is a different plug to install into a different outlet, but that is not the case.

A 220 volt hot tub has to be hardwired into a metal disconnect box that has dedicated GFCI wiring. A 110 volt can simply be plugged into any outdoor electrical outlet. Those are two very different things to consider when purchasing a new hot tub.

A plug and play 110V hot tub is simple to install but not efficient electrically vs an efficient 220V that will require an electrician to install it increasing the overall costs.

The installation costs for a 220V hot tub can be become very expensive due to adding a 50 amp dedicated circuit in your house circuit breaker and running those wires near the hot tub location.

You’ll have to weigh the upfront costs to install a 220V vs the higher overall electric costs of the 110V over it’s lifespan to gauge which one your should purchase.

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 efficiency 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. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully we’ve given you a lot of information to choose between the two different electrical types of hot tubs and make the best choice based on your needs.

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