110v vs. 220v Hot Tubs — Which is Better?

More power is always better, right? If that was the case, do you think we’d have a whole article entitled “110V vs. 220V Hot Tubs — Which is Better?”

Let’s clear the water on the mysteries surrounding 110-volt and 220-volt hot tubs so you can make an educated decision on which hot tub is the better option for your hot tub-buying dollar. Of course, any debate between the two mains power standards always leads us to ask another great question: why are there two power standards in the first place? Let’s kill two questions in one article and get down to the matter at hand.

The Murky Reasons Why there are Two Power Standards in the United States

In the early days of electricity, it was decided that all of these power supplies and the new crop of electrical appliances in which they support should all adopt one electrical standard so toasters don’t get zapped and zappers don’t get toasted. In the modern day, the best answer anyone has for why the United States adopted 110 volts (later 120 volts in the 1950s) as the standard household mains power supply is simply “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” While nearly every other country in the world uses the 220-volt standard, the United States chose 110 volts. Why?

After the “War of the Currents” (yes, it was a real thing), Thomas Edison and Nicolai Tesla agreed that 110 volts would be the most efficient current to use in the United States. Edison was heavily invested in his direct current (DC) power system, but Tesla had a clearly more efficient power distribution system with his alternating current (AC) power system. The competition was so fierce that Thomas Edison convinced the New York Board of Prisons to use AC power for the newly invented electric chair, and even went so far as to publicly electrocute an elephant using AC power to ”prove” how unsafe AC power was. Of course, the same effects could be achieved by DC power, and in the hurly burly days of the industrial revolution, the name of the game for any type of baron was to simply crush your competition.

And, all of this leads us to hot tubs. (How’s that for a transition?)

110V and 220V Hot Tubs… What Does it All Mean?

So, you’ve settled on a hot tub size, style, brand, and model of hot tub, but now you’re confronted with something technical — power requirements. There are 110V and 220V hot tubs. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each:

110-Volt Hot Tubs

Pros: Have a 110-volt power outlet? Score! If you’re in the United States and you’ve plugged any type of electrical device into a wall outlet then you have the necessary socket to run a 110-volt hot tub. So, just fill with water, add your hot tub chemicals, and enjoy!

Cons: What’s 220 divided by 110? No need to bust out that calculator; the answer is ‘2’ and that means it will take twice as long to heat up a 110-volt hot tub as it will to thermalize a 220-volt hot tub. To add further insult to injury, the amount of time your pump runs to circulate the water will also double (compared to a pump in a 220-volt system).

220-Volt Hot Tubs

Pros: With a 220-volt hot tub model, you will cut down your hot tub heating times by 50% (compared to a 110-volt system). Since your hot tub will heat twice as fast, your hot tub’s pump motor will run half the time as compared to a 110-volt system, greatly reducing its wear and tear. Plus, you will finally get to use one of those plugs with a sideways plug blade, giving your hot tub an international flare. Of course, that additional jetting action means your spa jets will have more of a massaging, therapeutic action, while leaving plenty of power to handle all the modern add-ons, such as WiFi, lights, Bluetooth® connectivity, and so on.

Cons: The laws of thermodynamics means there are diminishing returns when it comes to heating a vessel full of water and applying power. So, that 220 volts will cost you a few cents more on your power bill. Is there an electrician in the house? If you don’t have a 220-volt power outlet available in the spot where you are placing the hot tub, that may set you back an additional $700, based on the average cost of installation.

A Few Closing Thoughts

Now that we’ve dipped into the pros and cons of 110-volt and 220-volt hot tubs (with a brief segue into the War of the Currents), it’s time to do some shopping for all those hot tub accessories, chemicals, and other great stuff from Master Spa Parts. Buying online from Master Spa Parts means you won’t have to pay those inflated spa dealer prices. Plus, quality products and fast shipping times are all but assured. As an added bonus, when you buy $99 worth of products (or more), MSP will chip in free shipping, too!

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