Hydropool Hot Tub Review

This is an evaluation of a Hydropool 750 2017 hot tub.

 

The first thing I noticed about this tub was that the seating arrangement and lines and the general look of the hot tub was straight out of the Eighties. It seems Hydropool has not spent much money on technology improvements or aesthetic changes. It’s expensive and difficult to keep up with the cutting edge and these guys are building spas like they were built 30 years ago.

 

There does not seem to have been any major modifications to the shell designs in decades including the old pressure filter housings and even floor suctions (re-marketed as self cleaning). I noticed several Antiquated systems being used on this tub that they have rebranded as a “new and improved” way to do things when the reality is most of the stuff is obsolete tech that isn’t used in the mainstream hot tub Market anymore.

 

You see a lot of times manufacturers will keep an outdated system because the cost to update is too high and because a clever marketing guy can put a good spin on it and if it convinces the customer that it is new and good then all of a sudden they have what is called in marketing circles a “unique selling Point” Often times things are not really done because they are better, they are done because they are less expensive and they have a good “spin” to them which means you can make people believe in it, and if people believe it and you’re one of the only guys doing it then you have a unique selling point and that can close deals!

 

The first example of this is the filtration system, It is an old pressure filter systems and the “spin” Hydropool has put on it is great!! People love the sound of a “pressure filter” housing, heck it’s filtered under pressure! It must be good! The reality is almost all of the industry has moved away from this filtration system and moved on to “suction side” filtration.

 

There is one big difference between the two systems: On  older “pressure filter” systems the water is filtered on the pressure side of the pump and on suction side filtration it is filtered on the suction side of the pump! That means that on this older pressure filter system the water goes through the pumps and through the equipment before it gets filtered!!! The accumulation of debris in the pumps and in the heater elements can cause damage and it just makes sense to filter that water prior to it going through the equipment! That is exactly why 95% of the industry abandoned these old pressure side filters decades ago and moved to suction side filtration, it filters the exact same amount of water but it does it before the debris goes through the heater and the pump.

 

Another pitch they use is that when you remove the filter the debris from the filter won’t fall into your hot tub water. Its silly because the debris falls into the filter housing and when you put the clean filter in and turn it on half of that debris gets blown into the tub anyway 🙂 not that it matters, the little bit of debris that falls into a hot tub or the filter canister when changing the filters gets re-trapped in a few minutes…

 

The next bit of misleading craziness is that they say that it is 100% filtration! This is just using a buzzword to fool you… How all filter systems really work is the water goes through a filter which cleans all the debris out of the water, then that water gets dumped back into the tub so right away it gets mixed into the unfiltered water… over time more and more water is filtered and after a few hours there is no debris left. The only way to really have 100% filtration is to pump the water through a filter into another container, then once it is all filtered you can put it back into the hot tub… This is simply dishonesty and they should not be claiming it is 100% filtration it is marketing Spin all of it… It is a cheap outdated filter system with a nice pretty bow on it…

 

The next issue is a big one, the whole “self cleaning” pitch. Again when I was selling spas in the 90’s statewood and most of the industry had floor suctions that claimed to clean the debris out from the floor and “self clean”

 

The two reasons they still use this tech are:  First, you have to re tool each shell mould to accommodate the new filter technology and get rid of the old floor suctions and that’s $10,000 + per model!  Second because it is so old and no one uses it you can re-market it as “new” and claim a benefit 🙂

 

The reality is those “self cleaning” floor suctions real didn’t do much! The truth is any debris small enough to get sucked into the floor suction typically was floating around in the water and caught by the filter system and anything heavy enough to actually sit in the floor is too big to go through the floor suction! Modern system have so many jets and so much water movement and are using floor jets to stir the floor so that the debris never settles in the floor. The other reason why 95% of the industry has abandoned floor suctions is it causes a weakness in the floor both from a structural standpoint and especially from an insulation standpoint!!!

 

Underneath the floor of a hot tub is very little room so we’ve only got a couple of inches of insulation under there, with a floor suction you need to put a fitting in the floor and then put a pipe running under the floor.  There is no insulation now where that pipes running which means you are flowing all that hot water right across the cold ground and bleeding tons of heat through conduction!  Most manufacturers have gotten away from putting any plumbing under the floor of the tub for that reason,  also it’s the number one source of leaks because everyone is always stepping on the floor suction and it gets loose and starts to leak.

 

The insulation system is the cheapest I have ever seen, all you have to do is a little bit of research on mylar and reflective installations and you’ll see that there’s just nothing good about these reflective insulation systems except that they are lightweight thin and flexible so if you need to wrap an astronaut in a suit obviously you can’t put spray foam on him so this stuff is the only option and even then they use thermal fiber barriers for insulation mass. On a hot tub where you have all kinds of space it makes zero sense to use this cheap low r-value product except it is cheap to put in. There was all kinds of crazy hype in the 90’s with these systems in the building industry. Since then most governments in the northern US states and in Canada have either banned it as a primary insulation or put out official warnings with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Authority going so far as to state that it was the worst insulation they had tested!  The reality is Mylar has an r-value of about 1  where an inch of expanded form is an R4 or 5.

 

On the plus side they did however clamp the joints on the pressure lines which is good and the component list is Balboa and Waterways which is great!
There is just too much wrong with the construction and insulation on this tub to take it seriously, despite a great marketing campaign the reality is it is poor, outdated technology re branded as new and it should not be on your short list.

23 Comments:

  1. Hi Chris,

    I am looking to buy a swim spa. I live in central California. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Irma.

      for high end competitve swimming the Phelps is the one, The whole deal here was not just an endorsement it was a colaberation to make a realy swim trainer.

      for the mere mortals out there the H2X built buy the same group as the Phelps swimmers and benefitting from the years of R&D that phelps and Bob Bowman did with Master this is a great swimmer and both ore built how I like them built

  2. What are your thoughts on Rotospa made in Peterborough Ontario?
    Plug and play takes longer to heat I would think but good pricing?

    • They use a Gecko control and full foam so not a bad entry level spa.

      The roto mould spas are virtually indestructible.

      The 100v systems do suffer from a lower efficiency and on a cold day when you take the cover off the small heater can not keep up with the heat loss so you are limited to a very short dip before the water gets too cool to enjoy.

  3. Justin Atherton

    Hi Chris,
    Saw a TidalFit EP-15 at the San Diego County fair. Looked and sounded really good, but not sure after finding your blog. Salesman was really good with information and promises. Can you give me the lowdown on this maker. We are looking at a total therapeudic spa mainly.
    Thanks for any info you can give us.

    • not heard of them at all.

      Crazy and I thought I knew it all. 🙂

      It’s a busy time right now and I am only one guy and a computer…. Maybee, you could research it based on this criteria and get back to me 🙂 could lead to a non-lucrative career as a hot tub reviewer 🙂

  4. ok
    i’ve got a question for you…
    i recently purchased a hot tub after my old one kinked out after 17 yeas.
    i loved it.
    i bought a saratoga spa and it has a buzz which gets louder as i get into the tub..
    i can hear it now from my deck.
    this is terrible for me because i am a musician and have no tolerance for buzzes..
    any idea about this.
    it has this continuous filtration thing…
    should i be able to find a hot tub like my last one..that has no sound until you turn the jets on…or until its heating thing turns on.
    thanks
    Carol

    • Hmmm so a couple things here.

      1. the 24hr circ pumps should be virtually silent but… It’s on a deck which can have unique properties… sometimes the frequency of the pump, matches the resonant frequency of the deck and the deck can actually aplify the noise…

      also touch the sides and see if the sound changes, sometimes a loos skirt can do the same thing.

  5. Rats, why did I browse to this site 🙂 I was considering the Bullfrog A8 and the Hydropool 1038. I had convinced myself they were higher end, and honestly, one of my most important factors is legroom. I don’t want to fight for legroom. I may have to keep looking.

    • LOL the quote is thank God I found this site 🙂

      Neither are great spas or total disasters, although I really don’t like either for different reasons, BF I just find gimmicky as hell and way over priced, Hp is just a mess of old tech and spin.

      Likely the roomiest spa on the market for foot room is the clarity spa, Brand new moulds for this season and it’s all about space and it meets my wants from a build quality standpoint.

  6. Give your 3 best brands in eastern canada and worst to stay away from thanks for your expertise sharing

    • Best in eastern Canada –

      1 Master – Hot Tub Universe
      2 Beachcomber – McBurney’s a=or Holland home leisure

      Both brands do all the right things, The master has a couple lines that go much higher end on the therapy massage than the Beachcomber and stay away from the Hybrid models 🙂

  7. Hey Chris,

    My husband and I are thinking about moving to Florida but I’m terrified of snakes, gators or anything else creepy crawly. I’ve heard horror stories about people finding snakes and lil gators in their pools which either came in through the lines or climbed in.

    If my swim spa will be covered, do you have any thoughts on me having to worry about them coming through the lines? Are there mesh covers or anything to that effect that can ensure that no rodents or vermin will make their way into my pool?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hey Nicky

      Swim spas are all generally enclosed so that would not be a concern. I’m not saying it could never happen but if the lids on and its locked you should be ok 🙂

  8. Sounds to me like you have a dislike for Hydropool.
    All you did was bitch about the tub. Without reviewing you further than Thai article, I’m guessing you work or sell for a competitor.
    Oh the joys of having an internet blog.

    • I wrote the review. As I wrote every word on my site except the general interest articles.

      I neither like nor dislike the brand it is what most spas are, some good, some bad, and some ugly. It uses old technology that the industry abandoned years ago that they rebranded as new innovation which it is not, an insulation system that is inexpensive and in my opinion not suited to the purpose, and a cradle supported shell… I also applauded them for using a good component list and glueing and clamping their plumbing lines.

      This is consistent with what I always preach, and based on my experience from 30 years designing, selling, servicing, and manufacturing hot tubs.

      And of course, I carry another brand, I chose the brand of spas I carry based on the information and knowledge I have of what is sustainable and good for both the customer and my business.

      While you infer that I say what I say because of the brand I carry the reality is I carry the brand I carry because of the information I have… Two very different things, I could easily carry Hydropool as a brand but they were never on my short list, they simply do not meet my strict criteria for a brand I would endorse.

      And if you think it is a joy spending an 3 or 4 hours a week helping people avoid misinformation, spin and marketing bullshit then you have a very strange idea of joy.

  9. So I have been considering the purchase of a hot tub and found this site informative. I am looking for a brand that you would recommend so I can begin to look for a dealer. So far I have found local dealer for Bull Frog, Sundance, and Hot Springs. Are any of these worth taking a look at or should I keep digging.

    • keep digging, Your Ip show you as either Virginia or Colorado so I assume you are using a VPN… send me your city and ill see what i can find.

  10. Wow great! This is the first time I read it. Thank you so much, for sharing your good information.

  11. Hi Chris.

    I’ve been watching your videos and reading all of your helpful information. I do have a couple of questions.

    You seem to highly rate Max Spas but when I went to there website I couldn’t easily find a dealer. I filled out the form for dealer locator in my area. It came back and referred me to a Spa show, then when I clicked on link it was for 2 spas shows in Colorado and Oregon. I’m in Southern California. So if there aren’t Max dealers near me, could you please suggest comparable brands for me to review and choose from? I’m looking for a brand that has similar features like you showed on the Max spa.

    My other question is about Bullfrog spas. I’ve read a few of your responses about them but nothing was specific. Could you please explain why you don’t like Bullfrogs. We did a wet test on them and it was great. We liked the idea of selecting the jets we liked best. So far my husband and I really like them. We’d liked to choose between 2 or 3 brands. This will be our 1st spa and we want to choose wisely. So your thoughts and input would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Hi Gina

      I don’t think I highly rated Maxx spas, but maybe master? if you get that message it likely means no local dealer but check out their service level. Having a great dealer is key but a great dealer does not necessarily need to be in proximity to you. I have customers hundreds of miles away who would rate me a great dealer with great local backup. The key to a great dealer is communication and knowledge, finding someone who answers their phone or promptly responds to email is the critical factor… Most issues simply need a discussion and when it comes to actual repairs there is a growing network of independent service centres that can handle the nuts and bolts of putting parts in.

      Bullfrog IMHO is a gimmick really… Those jet packs seriously limit where the jets can go, and while reducing the amount of pipe does help flow rates a bit, using loop plumbing means inconsistent pressure, the first seat gets loads and the next ones less and less, frankly the reason modern spas use so much pipe is because we can then use manifold pressurization which is efficient and offers a better consistency on the jet pressure, loop jetting is old tech that these guys are rebranding as new innovation. Using way less pipe, and a thin cradle supported shell really reduces the cost to built the hot tub and this really should be an inexpensive spa, yet they try and get big bucks for it! They also have issues with the water behind the packs getting manky because there is not enough water flow back there and the shell is a thin shell with a rigidizing layer just sprayed on instead of a good, expensive hand rolled fibreglass shell And they use props and supports under the shell to it to keep it from breaking… The reality is well-made spas with glued and clamped joint do not leak, have great jet performance and the jets can be swapped out easily to change the seats and there are way more variety of jets and locations for them. This brand created issues out of non-issues and then solved the non-issues with questionable tech and frankly build to a mid grade standard. …. I love real innovation, I have nothing for disdain for this pseudo-innovation that is more about spin and bullshit than it is about real innovation for your benefit.

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