Should I Get A 110 or 220 Volt Spa?
If you're looking for a spa, you may be asking yourself, "should I get a 110 or 220 volt spa?" And it's a good question. 110 volt "plug 'n play" spas seem like the easier choice. But how do the different voltages affect your spa experience?
To answer that question (among others), let's look at both types and what makes them different from one another.
SHOULD I GET A 110 OR 220 VOLT SPA?
110 volt hot tubs can use 20 or 30 amp breakers. Most people have one or two in their breaker box. Either that, or your 110 volt spa comes with its own cord and GFCI (ground fault breaker). That makes it a true "plug 'n play" spa.
220 volt spas use more juice. They need a 50 amp GFCI. Not only that, but they come without a cord. You'll need a licensed electrician to hook it up for you. And, since you don't have a 50 amp breaker in your box (most people don't), the electrician will have to install that too.
More power leads to more of everything else. More jets, larger size, faster heating time. Keep reading for details.
NUMBER OF JETS
Industry standards are specific: a 110 volt spa can have 6 large jets or 9 smaller jets. Some manufacturers split the power between 3 large jets and 5-6 smaller ones. There's not enough power for more. All the jets are all on the same power source. And more jets means slower water movement.
If you buy a 110 volt spa, you won't be able to heat the water at the same time as the jets are on unless your motor is less than 1.5 horsepower. It'll blow a fuse if you do. That's not a big deal, as long as you know what to expect. If you're going to be in the spa for a while, expect the water to cool down.
A 220 volt spa can have far more jets. Most of the larger spas you see are 220 volt spas. And it's obvious why they're desirable. Everyone's got multiple jets to enjoy. They give a great massage – and keep the water hot at the same time.
If you buy a 110 volt spa, you'll fill it, plug it in, and get ready to enjoy (in 24 hours or so).
If you install a 220 volt spa, you'll need an electrician. Your new 50 amp GFCI breaker needs to match your breaker box brand, so it's hard to estimate a dollar amount.
You'll also need new wires – three, actually. Your electrician will install a conduit with two #6 wires and one #10 ground wire, between your spa and the breaker box. The less distance it has to cover, the less it will cost.
We're convinced that it's worth the cost – and the last 2 points explain why.
You can count on a 110 volt spa taking a long time to heat up. In fact, it could take more than 24 hours to heat for the first time during the winter, and almost a day in the summer.
A 220 volt spa, on the other hand, will heat much faster – up to 4 times as fast, in fact. Not only do you have the benefit of running the jets while the water is heating, but you might even be able to enjoy the spa on the day that you buy it.
Plus, your yearly electrical bill will cost less. A spa that heats faster and runs for fewer hours of the day is more cost-effective.
110 volt spa: enjoy a nice soak. It'll be pleasant.
220 volt spa: more jets, bigger spa, more room for more people, more fun!