plug ‘N Play hot tub benefits
Let’s start with taking a look at the pros of Plug and Play Hot Tubs (110v). They are less expensive to purchase and easier to install as all you’ll need to do is plug it in to an available outlet and fill it with water and that’s it! But, you will need to balance the ease and budget-friendly nature of the plug and play spas with a few limitations inherent in their design.
instant set up
One of the greatest selling points for the Plug N Play models are their ability for instant setup. The moment your hot tub arrives, you can set it in place, plug it in, and let the fun begin. It will take some time for the hot tub’s water to reach your desired temperature, but a Plug ‘N Play model eliminates all pre-delivery, setup and installation phases normally associated with a hardwired model.
lower up front costs
As a result of eliminating the pre-delivery, setup and installation phases, the Plug N Play models yield a much cheaper upfront cost. Eliminating the budget for electrical work and installation of the heater and spa pumps, the savings with a Plug N Play model are noticeable compared to the Hardwired model. But, you will need to balance the ease and budget-friendly nature of the plug and play spas with a few limitations inherent in their design.
draw of wattage
A Plug N Play model’s heater will typically draw 500 watts to as high as 1500 watts. This is significantly lower than the amount of wattage typically drawn by a larger hardwired model. Typically this means that your two-speed jet pump can either run on high with the heater turned off, or it can run on low with the heater on. This isn’t always a big issue for people but in colder weather it can mean making the choice between hydrotherapy massage or a longer hot soak in your spa. The reduced power draw also means that your heater runs on lower wattage (typically 500-1500w) so it will take longer to heat.
Typically Plug 'N Play hot tubs are also somewhat smaller (2 to 4 people) and are ideal for those who can’t be committed to leaving their tub in one place. These portable hot tubs can be moved on a whim and allow you to simply move the hot tub to your favourite location, fill it, and plug it in. It’s that simple.
hardwired hot tub benefits
Now let's have a look at the Pro's and Con's for Hard Wired Tubs. These types of hot tubs include more features (circulation pumps, ozonator, more lights etc), more choice in size and layout, and most importantly from a performance standpoint: more power.
The ability for the spa to draw significantly more power means that there are few if any limitations on it’s use. High quality hardwired spas often come with a minimum of two jet pumps plus an additional circulation pump, all of which can be run at the same time as well as the heater. And on the topic of the heaters, hardwired spa heaters generally run at 4000w-6000w as compared to a plug and play at 500w-1500w. To illustrate this you should expect a hardwired spa filled with tap water to heat to above 100 degrees in about 6-7 hours. A plug and play spa filled with the same water would likely take 18-22 hours to reach the same temperature.
Detailed Set Up
The planning and setup phase for a Hardwired hot tub are a larger investment of time and budget when compared to a Plug N Play model, but are well worth the outcome. Often times Hardwired models are built into decks, patios, interlock, or may even be “sunk” below surface level. This planning and setup may yield a larger upfront commitment, but is well worth the outcome. Check out this post for some hot tub inspiration and ideas.
Lower Long Term Cost
Though the upfront costs are often significantly higher than that of a Plug N Play model, the long-term savings of a Hardwired hot tub are substantial. Due to better insulation and the ability to operate the pump and heater simultaneously, a Hardwired spa changes and maintains water temperature quicker and more efficiently than a Plug N Play model. This advantage has a tremendous impact on your monthly electricity bill, which ends up providing a lower long-term cost than a Plug N Play spa.
Draw of Wattage
High quality hardwired spas often come with a minimum of two jet pumps plus an additional circulation pump, all of which can be run at the same time as well as the heater. And on the topic of the heaters, hardwired spa heaters generally run at 4000w-6000w as compared to a plug and play at 500w-1500w. To illustrate this you should expect a hardwired spa filled with tap water to heat to above 100 degrees in about 6-7 hours. A plug and play spa filled with the same water would likely take 18-22 hours to reach the same temperature.
And the winner is?
Ultimately you will need to compare the lower purchase/installation costs, portability and ease of installation of plug and play spas against the greater efficiency, larger choice of options and better performance of the hardwired spa when deciding which of these is the best fit for your needs and budget!
Having said that, here are a few takeaway points to remember when researching and planning your hot tub purchase: