What Are Plug & Play Hot Tubs?
Plug and play (sometimes written as Plug N Play) is the name commonly given to hot tubs that can operate at 110V. This means that they can be plugged right into a standard GFCI-protected wall outlet. This is opposed to standard 220V hot tubs that requires an electrician to come in and hard wire them to a dedicated 40-60 amp breaker.
In this article, we will explore the differences between plug & play and traditional hot tubs so you can see which is best for you and your family.
How Are Plug & Play Hot Tubs Able To Run At 110V?
So how are plug and play hot tubs able to operate using significantly less power than a standard hot tub? They simply utilize smaller pumps and heaters than traditional hot tubs. Standard 220V hot tub will use 3-4 HP pumps to power their pumps and 4-5.5 kW heaters to heat their water. Due to their power limitations, a plug and play hot tub will typically instead use a 1 HP pump and 1kW heater. They also typically have to be more “bare bones” in terms of lighting and other electrical components than a standard hot tub would be.
How Do Plug & Play Hot Tubs Compare To Standard 220V Hot Tubs?
As we just mentioned, plug and play hot tubs are typically much simpler than standard hot tubs. Standard hot tubs will typically have more lights, jets and waterfalls. Some are also able to be equipped with additional features such as ozone / UV sanitization systems, waterfall pillows and controls systems that can be accessed through an app on your phone.
Some plug and play hot tubs even lack basic features like digital control systems, moulded seats and headrest pillows; though this is done to keep their price low, rather than being a limitation of the technology. Other plug and play hot tubs are almost indistinguishable from their 220V counterparts, with the exception of their electrical components.
When it comes to up-front costs, you can’t beat a plug and play hot tub. Their simplicity means that they’re typically much cheaper to purchase when compared to traditional hot tubs. They also don’t require an electrician to install them, which will save you even more.
Long Term Costs
In warmer weather, a similarly sized plug & play and standard hot tub will operate at around the same cost per month. Once temperatures start to drop, however, standard 220V hot tubs will begin to run more efficiently as their larger heaters are able to heat the water much faster than the smaller heater found in plug and play hot tubs can.
The limited power capacity of plug and play hot tubs has two downsides when it comes to heating the water:
The smaller heater will have to run longer in order to keep the water at your desired temperature.
When the jet pump is at running at top speed, there isn’t enough remaining power to also run the heater. This means that you will have to choose between using the jets and keeping the water at your set temperature.
These drawbacks are really only noticeable in the winter when the water will cool more quickly due to the cold weather. When you do use the jets, the water in a plug and play hot tub can start to cool down a bit after a couple of jet cycles. To keep the temperature up, you may need to leave the jets off for a bit between cycles.
With full sized pumps and heaters, standard 220V hot tubs simply don’t have these issues.
Since they rely on a smaller jet pump; plug and play hot tubs have fewer jets and slightly less power than 220V hot tubs. It has to be said that heat and buoyancy are also key factors in hydrotherapy. Plug and play hot tubs can, therefore, still provide good hydrotherapy; just not quite as good as a well designed 220V hot tub would.
When it comes to portability, plug and play hot tubs are definitely superior to standard hot tubs. With a plug and play hot tub, all you need is a suitable base and a standard GFCI-protected electrical plug and you’re good to go!
So Which One Is Better?
When compared to plug and play hot tubs, a standard 220V hot tub is the superior choice in most cases. Though they will cost more upfront their added features, better massage and energy efficiency means that they can justify that difference in price.
There are some situations where plug and play hot tubs are the better option, however. If you won’t be using your hot tub in the winter, need to be able to regularly move it, or simply don’t have enough room in your electrical panel for a 40+ amp hot tub; a plug and play hot tub could be just what you need!
Orleans Hot Tubs & Pools
We specialize in the sale of Hydropool hot tubs & swim spas for Central/East Ottawa, specifically Orléans and parts of Eastern Ontario. We carry a variety of water care products and specialize in water testing.
860 Taylor Creek Drive