Hydropool Hot Tub Review

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on this tub that they have rebranded as a “new and improved” way to do things when the reality is most of the stuff is obsolete tech that isn’t used in the mainstream hot tub Market anymore.


You see a lot of times manufacturers will keep an outdated system because the cost to update is too high and because a clever marketing guy can put a good spin on it and if it convinces the customer that it is new and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 dishonest and they should not be claiming it is 100% filtration it is marketing Spin all of it… 


The next issue is a big one, the whole “self-cleaning” pitch. Again when I was selling spas in the 90’s statehood 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 retool 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 really 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 systems 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 simply bad tech, 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 when it comes to containing heat in a system.  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 rebranded as new and it should not be on your short list.


  1. hello admin I’m just wondering what you think the better choice is in hot tub?

    Im looking at the j385 from jacuzzi and a hydropool 720

    • Neither are great choices, the jacuzzi suffers from an abysmal goofy parts list that they make to just fit their tub so they can own your ass for parts forever, the Hydropppol has great parts but the thin cradle supported shell and the cheap insulation and the old self-cleaning floor systems make it a total no-go for me.

      • Okay, then if you don’t mind can you give me a couple of options that are good brands. This will be my first hot tub and I want to make sure it’s good.

        Thank you very much

    • Chris,
      You like Artesian Spa, can you talk more about the reasons why. What options would get or not get? WiFi, stereo, Abs pan, better cover, better warranty? Other things? It is an expensive spa 12,500 w options ?

      We were looking at the Barbados model ?
      Thank you,

      • Hi David

        WiFi – Dogy on tubs sometimes due to signal shielding from the water.
        Stereo – Make sure its blue tooth
        ABS pan – Here nor there, frankly as long as you have a decent base its really not an issue.
        a better cover for sure
        better warranty is your level of comfort, the average will always be lower than the cost fo the extension but its luck really.

        check out the Twilights and MPL’s here as well.

        Suntek Pools & Spas
        Status: HTU ALL_STAR
        Brands: Master

        Met with these folks and had a good couple days together, they have a good operation and a good brand.
        Details from Google Maps
        1282 Broad Hollow Road (Route 110), (Opposite Home Depot & the Airport Plaza), Farmingdale, NY 11735
        +1 631-249-7727
        4.3View in Google Maps

  2. Interesting review. Maybe you should have called it a Critics instead.
    I would like to state that I don’t sell or work in the Hot Tub industry, instead I’m a potential buyer, that is doing my research on the net to find out what technology, company and local supplier to pick based on reviews and feedback on the net.
    Firstly, I didn’t manage to find a Hydropool model 750 – so not sure what you have reviewed.
    You then talk about what they do is ‘old ways of doing things – just given a marketing spin’. But just to balance things out, I found this interesting site explaining the evolution of the Hydropool hot tubs.
    That is a very different explanation than the one you provide. I.e. the insulation using foam was originally done by Hydropool as well, but their insulation has evolved over time.
    I’m not an expert, able to judge what materials are best under what circumstances, but I do know that your statement around Hydropool is old layout, old design and old solutions – all wrapped in nice marketing is far from the truth.
    This site does document a lot of evolution and development, and I fully accept that you have your views and experiences.
    I’ve not settled for any brand yet, so not sure what I will go for – still in learning mode – but must say that I take a lot of your viewpoints and inputs into account as part of my decision process. But claiming to be an expert and then tell people direct lies in a review is not something that impress me.

    • Hey JJ

      I need to edit that review, its salty as hell 🙂

      There is a big hole in the story omitted on purpose… We went away from full foam because of access to plumbing and issues with finding a leak put that was with older poly based foams, and it was a trade-off we sacrificed R-value for accessibility and reduced the cost to build.

      But using newer water-based foams let us full foam again and not have access or leak detection issues. it cost a lot more but let us get higher R values. You really need to research radiant barriers and their abilities to contain heat in a system, there is tons of information out there showing this is simply not a good insulator. There is a good reason why the only people out there endorsing this as an insulation system to contain heat are the people trying to sell it to you 🙂

      There is not a good case for these inexpensive Radiant barriers being effective in this application.

      All we have to do is look at the building industry back in the 80’s when these radiant barrier systems came on the market, almost every single northern US state ended up issuing warnings against it, you notice you never ever see this shit in the building industry where they have to meet code regulations?

      These systems are good at reflecting heat away from something but they are crap at containing heat in a system because they have no thermal mass.

      We know that the best we can hope for in an ideal final assembly is about R-4.7 per layer… But in a hot tub, we cant get anywhere near ideal assembly parameters and the reality is we are likely looking at about R-2 per layer. the actual Mylar film is only R-1 but again the final assembly which means the way it is installed can in ideal parameters (in an attic or on the bottom of duct work) increase that to a maximum of around R-4.7 which is still way way less than the R-20 we can get with expanded foams.

      What we need for Ideal final assembly of a radiant barrier system for Max R-value :

      1. Horizontal installation: It simply means that we need the reflective surface lying horizontally. The further off horizontal we get the more we start creating convection currents as the heat rises along the surface of the radiant barrier, this dramatically reduces the final assembly R-value… In a hot tub, you have to install them vertically which is the worst case.
      2. They need to maintain a specific gap between the reflective surface and the thing you are trying to insulate. The recommended gap is 1/2″ to 2″ On a hot tub, the distance between the reflective wrap and the hot tub ranges from 0 to 6″ so again nowhere near the requirements for good R-value for the final assembly.
      3. If the reflective barrier touches the heat source (hot tub shell or pipes) it completely stops being an insulator at all and becomes a conductor!!! When they wrap the shell like they do at Hydropool the radiant barrier touches the pipes all around the spa creating tons of places that are not only not insulting at all but actually actively conducting the heat through the radiant barrier!!!
      4. The reflective barrier needs to be sealed along all its edges. so again on a hot tub they would need to seal the radiant barrier to the shell at the top and the floor at the bottom sealing ai9r tight around the shell… this is not even possible and on that spa it’s not sealed at all which means the convection currents just cause the heat to rise and escape around the top of the radiant barrier.

      Nobody uses this in the building industry anymore because it is simply not effective at containing heat in a system and the fact that some Hot Tub companies are now flogging this 3o-year-old tech as the next new hi-tech thing is in no way changing those facts.

      Its cheap.

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    don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional cash every month because you’ve got high quality
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    • If I can stop hot tub companies advertising i might consider it but these assholes keep trying to advertise which makes it look like I endorse them…

  4. I live in Alberta. What would you consider the top brands for this climate?

    • Hi Olivia.

      its all about R value… go with a full foam spa, Master, Artesian, marquis. forget the pitch about these perimiter systems, and reflective foils, this stuff would never fly in the housing industry where its regulated so why would it work in a hot tub where you need even more R value because the temperature difference and therefore heat transfer is higher?

      all these systems are cheap simple as that, nothing out there costs more to make than filling the cavity with insualtion these meatheads are just spinning a pitch around these cheap systems to justify not spending the money to do it right.

      Just ask a builder what he would use in the wall of a house he will tell you that all the stupid cut corner options will not even meet code in a house.

  5. Hi Chris
    I am in the Vancouver B.C. Canada area. Have looked at Marquis, Hotspring, Arctic, Hydropool, Bullfrog. There is a Beachcomber retailer near as well. Your critique has got me questioning what we thought were good bets. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  6. Thanks for the review! Its interesting to me because my wife and I are looking at swim spas and we looked at the Hydropool AquaSport 14fx today. It seemed nice and the salesman pushed the pressure filtration and self cleaning floor. Im assuming these “features” are equally as old of an idea on a swim spa as on a hot tub? Any swim spa brands we should be looking at? We live in Vancouver, WA which is basically Portland, OR. Also looked at Artic Spas Ocean 14 foot model today. Going to take a look at TidalFit tomorrow.

    • Hi Quinn

      I dont even have to spend a minute on research for this area, i get so much traffic from this area and the reality is you dont have any of my goto brands there.

      Hydropool, has good parts but the insulation and the old pressure filters and floor suctions (re branded as self cleaning) make it a no for me.

      The Arctic has a good shell but the parts and the insulation are inexpensive and again would make them a no go for me.

      Tidal fit uses the right gear and builds well, i would definitely go there unless you are going to buy out f market.

      • Hi we’re in Ontario and looking for swim spa outdoor and maybe in a sunroom. Salt water and energy efficient of course ideal. Also something we can actually get in Ontario as well because looks like US has the edge. Thank you great site!!!

        • Hi Egypt.

          Yeah the US has a lot more options.

          personally, i would not go salt, its old tech from the 90’s being reintroduced as the new thing. IOts ok-ish but highly corrosi9ve to the tub and decking and concrete, and all it does in make chlorine 🙂 the levels are mid around 1-3 PPm but with newer tech, you can get down to half a part per million. see this video:

          go see H2X swim spas, these guys are deeper, flow more water, better built, better insulated and if you use the eco pure system they have with aqua finesse you can get the easiest lowest chemical levels of any hot tub or swim spa out there... 3x lower than the old salt systems.

          call grif...

          Griffin Ryan
          416 779 0563

  7. I feel like I have no clue what I am doing. I have gone from one sales shop to another – Arctic, Hydropool and Beachcomber. I live in Ottawa, Canada and am desperate to get a hot tub that will survive the brutal Canadian winters, not blow my electric bill and be relatively easy to maintain. I was sold on Hydropool until I read your site. Any suggestions on where to go now? Greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • The beachcomber out of that lot for sure, You also have a couple independent service guys there so you could look at buying out of the market.

      Great dealers are more about great communication than they are about proximity Its funny most of the requests I get are US but I get a lot from Ottawa.

  8. I am also curious as to opinions on the Tidalfit line, I believe a subsidiary of Artesian spas. Looking specifically at the Tidalfit EP14 in a semi-inground installation as it would be under our outdoor patio area. Appears to be an entry level swim spa but we are recreational swimmers only anyways and it would be for basic exercise and swimming for our young kids. The semi-inground setup uses a Quad Swim Jet System (4) Directional 6.0 in. Swim Jets and (2) 4.0 HP 1-Spd Swim Pump (with Speed Control). Also features 28 Helix Jets for seating, 6.0 BHP (3.0 HP continuous) 1-Spd Pump, BellagioFall Water Feature. Filtration/purification options include – Diamond AOP™ vs Crystal ProPure™ Ozone Mixing Chamber vs Ozonator
    vs Nature2® Cartridge
    I have tested it in the store and seems reasonable for our purposes but curious as to any glaring issues you might see. Extremely reasonably priced in our area. $16,500 including exercise package, LEDs, cover, install etc. Thanks, love the site, great advice.

    • I am curious as well, not sure if it is built in the same factory or not, funny I am dealing with another person in your area on the same spa.

      Assuming they are building to the same standard as the Artesian stuff it looks like a good entry level spa. the jetting for the therapy seats is what you would expect on a mid-grade spa and the power again is middle of the road.

      I’m never too excited about the onboard systems not because they are bad but because the aftermarket stuff is better and needs nothing extra on the tub so it costs less and is typically lower chemical than the onboard systems can provide… so far… 🙂

      $16,500 is about where it should be price wise again assuming its using Balboa controls and waterways jets and fittings and its got a good expanded foam package AND THE SHELL IS A HAND ROLLED GLASS SHELL AND THEY GLUE and clamp their plumbing…. I really need to have a chat with these guys and see what they are doing…

  9. Hi Chris,

    My husband and I live in Seattle and are considering purchasing a Coast Omega Microsilk Spa. Any opinion on that brand or Rich’s for the Home store where these are sold? Thanks for all the great information!

    • Coast is a mixed bag, the jetting on that tub is middle of the road, there are only 5 of the expensive hi flow therapy jets and a few mid flow and loads of the inexpensive low flow jets.

      I do not like the pressure side filtration, its old technology being recycled. 90% of the industry abandoned this tech 20 years ago to move over to suction side filtration. Read the fourth paragraph in this article it explains the filtration systems

      Good shell, good parts, do you knpow what they use for insulation?

      • Thanks for the information. The insulation on the Coast Omega is Owens Corning. We are leaning away from Microsilk. In that case, we’d have six 5″ jets, with the remaining being mostly 3″ and some 2″. The tub comes with two 7-break horsepower pumps, which, the salesperson claims, make for powerful jetting. Any other thoughts would be appreciated. Cheers!

      • Hey I am down to a tempo hot springs or a platinum 7000 hydropool which one would you recommend? I am in Canada so lots of snow etc

        $10000 for the tempo

        $8500 for hydropool

        • God That’s a tough one.

          Both are very good at marketing and frankly build mid grade spas.

          The Hotsprings are number one on the discussion forums for people asking for help, always raises a red flag. The control they use is goofy, it’s from Invensys and has a history of blowing heater relay boards and they can never seem to keep a spa side controller working, its why they put the main controller is the side of the tub. I got to admit there is not a lot to get excited about, inexpensive plastic shells, goofy proprietary parts and a lot of people looking for help fixing them.

          The there is hydro pool… tons of old tech being rebranded as innovation, and a reflective foil insulation system? Man, that stuff is cheap and if you read up on it it is not effective at containing heat in systems it has no thermal mass, its good at reflecting heat waves away from something but it’s not effective at trying to contain heat. the Canadian mortgage housing authority and most of the northern US states issued warnings about these reflective radiant barriers when it was being pushed in the housing market in the 80’s, no one uses it for building anymore and now it’s making its resurgence in hot tubs… its crap stay away.

          Your Ip comes back as London, old Toronto and area… go see premium in Kitchener or find an Artesian dealer or a Marquis dealer there are loads of better spas for that kind of money.

  10. Glad I found your helpful site! We’ve been thinking about a swim spa for about 5 years and are ready to pull the trigger. I looked at a few different brands at the Minnesota State Fair and did like the Hydropool, but that was based on features (I did buy into the self cleaning…), the dealer and the warranty they provide (5 years full parts and labor). Would your comments extend to the Hydropool AquaSport 14fX?

    I’d like a swim spa for my home in rural Minnesota. About 2.5 hours from Minneapolis and 1.25 hours from Fargo ND. Would you have any brand and /or dealer recommendations for my area? Thanks!

    • Hi DK

      Sorry for the delay in responding, I have been away for a week or so.

      I can’t say I am a big fan of that brand. The older pressure side filtration systems and floor sections (self cleaning) were popular 20 years ago and most guys have stopped using this tech for a lot of good reasons.

      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.

      The massage seats on that model are from a lower end spa very little good jetting.

      The insulation is very inexpensive and all the information out there says these reflective foils are simply not good at Containing heat into a system, read this…

      he reality is those “self cleaning” floor suctions really 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!!!

      • Thanks for you reply! Again, really appreciate your helpful site. I did find that there is a Master Spas dealer in Minneapolis. I assume you would recommend the master spas h2x? If you’re familiar with any dealers and brands in my area you would recommend (again, 1.25 hours from Fargo, 2.5 hours from Minneapolis) I would definitely appreciate it.

  11. Your site is awesome- can’t find any good information anywhere so thanks. Looking at Celebrity(Marquis I think) Hollywood model- Thoughts?

    • The brand is well made and they are a good bunch of guys, as for the model Celebrity is a simply jetted entry performance level spa, lots of the small inexpensive low flow jets, it compares nicely with something like Clarity by Master.

  12. Sorry Eric,

    This site is getting away from me, it used to be my personal rant space but now it’s something entirely different 🙂

    I need staff to help but I haven’t figured out how to monetize it and not loose the authentic real approach! if I sell my soul for the money (offers every week into the lower mid six digit frame) then the site is nothing but another discussion forum or other bullshit site, sometimes I just need a day or two off 🙂

    Hydropool and arctic I don’t really like for the similar reasons. They both do a few thing good and a bunch of stuff cheaply and spend a scad on the spin marketing, branding and BS. like Hrdropool has a good parts list but insulation and old school filtration systems and floor suctions, reflective insulation systems??? inexpensive solutions that are not good tech.

    Arctic is even worse, the cheapest parts you can buy, one of the cheapest insulation systems out there, no clamps on the plumbing lines and loads and loads of spin pitches and brand marketing.

    let me see what you have out there.

  13. My husband and I are beginning our shopping for a hot tub. We live in Michigan Sterling Heights) so it needs to withstand our temperatures. We’ve only looked at two dealers carrying either hydropool, lazyboy and hot springs. I know nothing obviously because they all sound good to me. Any recommendations on a brand that would meet cold weather criteria? Also, hot springs has a “salt system” which is said to be gentler and more economical, have you heard of that and what are your thoughts?

    • Salt systems are old technology that some companies are resurrecting, I’m not a fan, it’s not as easy or as low chemical as the aftermarket systems by a long shot watch this video….

      I’m not really a Big fan of any of those for different reasons. but none would go on my sales floor.

      try these guys: look at the twilight spas

      Leisure Works
      41430 Grand River Ave, Ste A, Novi, MI, 48375
      Phone: 248-348-7727

      • Thank you sooo much for all the valuable information that you put out there. I took your advice and went to leisure works in novi and looked at both the healthy living and the twilight spa. I liked that the twilight was more therapeutic so I settled on the twilight, which you recommended. Deposit is down and I am really looking forward to delivery day.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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 🙂

  17. 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.

    • 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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 🙂

      • What brand would you recommend in Ontario
        Thanks in advance

      • I live in Eastern Canada and not a lot of options for a quality tub that will hold up to our harsh winter conditions. Curious to know why you are not recommending the Hybrid Beachcomer. Also any thoughts on the Maxx tubs?

        • Maxx is middle of the road, the insulation is inexpensive and really sub par.

          I like Beachcomber from a build standpoint and a parts list and insulation but the Hybrid is old tech rebranded as innovation… when I sold spas in the 80’s most tubs had external pump systems and 90+% of the industry moved away from it for a lot for very good reasons, and then Beachcomber rebranded it as “hybrid”

          Full Foam systems external pumps (mid grade system)

          Spas that use this system: Beachcomber, Hydrolux, Sansi.

          The oldest system is a full foam system with the motors out side of the spa usually under a step .It is not very widely used anymore because of the loss of reclaimed motor heat and the risk of equipment damage on power outages. It uses the same amount of insulation as a full foam with internal pumps except in the corners where the foam is already the thickest. on the other 90% of the hot tub it is the same amount as a full foam with internal pumps.

          Although marketed as a new “Hybrid technology” it’s actually the opposite. Hybrid means a mixing of two or more technologies to get a the best of both systems. this system simply insulated the hell out of the shell and totally ignore the waste heat from the motors and the fact that it pumps all of its hot water outside the insulation envelope of the hot tub.

          The Pitch
          The sales pitch centres on the amount of foam. It’s a great easy pitch, you simply say it has the most foam so, therefore, the best heat retention and therefore the best system. But it ignores 3 vital flaws…

          You lose all the waste heat from the motors! this is huge, a spa with a good waste heat recovery system can maintain a temperature of between 90 and 905 degrees Fahrenheit with the heater disconnected just of the heat recovered from the motor!
          You pump all you heated water outside of the heat envelope of the hot tub! This is insane… It s akin to running your plumbing through the nearest snow bank in the winter, the heat loss is huge.
          If the power goes out you have an almost immediate risk of equipment freeze up because the equipment is in a virtually uninsulated area.

          The bottom line is these systems only have a tiny amount more of insulation in the bottom corners where the insulation is already thicker than 90% of the rest of the spa. The added value of this tiny bit of extra insulation is negligible while the wasted motor heat and heat loss from the water leaving the insulated area and freeze up risk is huge.

          The Verdict
          Mid Price to manufacture.
          Good r value and insulation on shell but offset with almost no equipment insulation.
          Zero motor waste heat recovery.
          High freeze up risk during power outages.
          Hot water is pumped through almost 3 feet of pipe and equipment that has virtually no insulation.

  20. 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 🙂

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

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

  24. 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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