If you haven’t already fully educated yourself on all the ins and outs of hot tubs you might not know there are both 110 volt and 220-volt models. The major contrast between these differences in voltage is that a 110-volt hot tub, also known as a plug-and-play unit, can plug into any standard three-prong electrical outlet. On the other hand, a 220-volt model will likely require a new electrical installation to accommodate the higher voltage. If you’re asking the question, “Are 110-volt hot tubs any good?” we’ve put together a list of differences between 110 and 220-volt hot tubs.
As touched upon in the introduction, electrical considerations are the biggest difference between 110 and 220-volt hot tubs. A 220-volt hot tub requires a 50 amp breaker and a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) which aren’t normally standard installations in a house. The plug of a 220-volt model won’t fit into your average wall socket which means you’ll need an electrician to install a proper receptacle. 110-volt hot tubs, on the other hand, require a 20 or 30 amp breaker which most houses already have. They can also be plugged into a standard 3 prong electrical outlet. If for whatever reason, you can’t hire an electrician to come in and wire your house for a 220-volt hot tub, the 110-volt model is a great alternative.
110-volt hot tubs are generally portable. They aren’t hardwired into a GCFI and are typically lighter and smaller than 220-volt models. This means if you move house you can easily take your hot tub with you. This makes 110-volt hot tubs great for renters or those who move around a lot.
110-volt hot tubs are generally cheaper than 220-volt models. When comparing a range of hot tub prices you’ll typically find the 110-volt models at the lower end of the scale. This has to do with the size and number of water pumps, the number of jets, as well as the options and extras that are available for each model. If your budget is your primary concern, a plug-and-play model can be easier on the pocketbook.
Water Pump Capacity
220-volt hot tubs have the ability to support greater water pump capacities. Their motors will generally have a higher horsepower and they’ll be able to pump more water through more jets at a higher rate than the 110-volt model. When it comes to water pump performance, 220-volt hot tubs definitely have the upper hand.
The lower electrical capacity of 110-volt hot tubs means it can take two to four times as long to heat up the water. And while this isn’t much of a problem once your hot tub has already reached peak temperature, you could find yourself waiting 24 to 36 hours before you can enjoy your hot tub for the first time or after emptying and refilling. With a 110 volt hot tub, you’ll need to plan ahead a little bit more.
Water Heater Function
Another drawback of the lower voltage hot tubs is that the water heater can’t run at the same time as the jets. This can result in the water temperature falling if you’re running your hot tub for long periods of time. For many people, this isn’t a deal-breaker as your hot tub sessions should last less than 20 minutes, but if you’re hoping for several successive sessions in very cold weather you might be disappointed in the water temperature of the 110-volt models.
For more information about 110-volt hot tubs, download a free buyer’s guide today.