Are plug and play hot tubs worth the investment?

If you’re in the market for buying a hot tub, you may have considered buying a plug-and-play hot tub. Make no mistake, there are some immediate advantages to buying a plug-n-play spa, as well as some serious drawbacks.

acrylic shell of the 2 person hot tub
This 2-seater hot tub is one of our plug-n-play best sellers

What exactly is a plug-n-play hot tub?

A plug-n-play hot tub is a portable spa that only requires a standard 110-volt electrical outlet in order to function. These hot tubs typically seat 2-4 people and you need only fill it up with water and plug it into any outlet in or around your house for immediate use.

Normal hot tubs require 220V outlets in order to power the jets and draw enough electricity to heat the tub at the same time. A plug-n-play spa only requires 110V of electricity, allowing you the convenience of using a regular household outlet.

Plug-n-play hot tub is our model 510 Leep from Beachcomber
Model 510 Leep is one of our plug-n-play hot tubs ready for a new home…Your home!

Advantages of buying a plug-and-play hot tub

One advantage of buying a plug-and-play hot tub is the convenience of being able to place the hot tub anywhere in or around your house. Should you decide to move the hot tub, you can drain it and relocate the spa to a more convenient location of your choosing.

Normal hot tubs require a special outlet to get enough electricity. If you go with the plug-n-play, you’re able to save on the electrician’s bill for installing a 220-volt outlet.

Plug and plays are typically lighter, smaller and therefore a less expensive alternative to buying a normal-sized hot tub. This makes for lower upfront costs.

Disadvantages of a plug-and-play hot tub

To get a full understanding of whether plug n and plays are worth the investment you need to understand where these smaller-sized tubs fall short. You can’t have one side of the story without hearing the other in order to get the full picture.

Weak pumps

A disadvantage of a plug-and-play hot tub is the fact that because they are much smaller and operate on lower volts of energy, the pump in the spa is much weaker than your regular-sized tub.

The average pump size is around 1-1.5 horsepower which is about a quarter of the power you’ll find in a spa that operates using 220-volt outlets.

Weak jets

Weak pumps mean weaker jets. You can’t pump as much water through the jets. This shortcoming leads to much smaller jet sizes than what you would find in the larger-sized spas.

If you’re serious about your hydrotherapy, this is a serious drawback for enjoying a firm massage while enjoying a soak.

Hot water temperature is difficult to maintain

Due to the low amount of energy being drawn from the outlet, it becomes difficult for the heater to maintain hot water. As a result the heater constantly stays on in order to maintain a water temperature of 38°C-40°C.

When the jets are turned on, this draws power from the heater. When people are using the spa and running the jets, the hot tub heater can’t heat the water as fast as the water loses temperature.

This makes owning a plug-n-play less than ideal if you plan on using your hot tub during the winter months.

Higher long-term running costs

Overall, a plug-n-play will cost you more to own in running maintenance costs. The heater is constantly on almost 24 hours a day, which adds a significant cost in your electricity bill.

Is it worthwhile to invest in a plug-n-play hot tub?

The overall quality of a plug-n-play hot tub is highly inferior to any hot tub that uses a 220-volt outlet because of the lower water temperature and weaker jets. Despite a lower upfront cost to purchasing the plug-n-play, this hot tub will cost you more in the long run.

Look into purchasing a hot tub that’s energy-efficient if you plan on using your spa year-round and don’t have any reason for moving it.

For more information on buying a hot tub, read about the 10 questions to ask before purchasing a spa.


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