Top Hot Tubs. More small pumps? or fewer large pumps?

How many pumps you need in a high-end performance hot tub is a good question.
There is a lot of marketing and spin around this question with sales guys often saying more pumps make a better performing hot tub, and charging a lot more money for spas with more pumps. The reality is there is a lot of misinformation surrounding this topic.
So is it better to have 2 large pumps or is it better to have 3,4, or even 5 smaller pumps?
Sales people will often try and tell you that more pumps make for better performance, it’s an easy pitch, our experience is more is better and if you are shopping hot tubs and one has two pumps and the other has 4 pumps your knee jerk reaction is the tub with more pumps is worth more and will perform better.
 
Hell 4 pumps have to be better than 2 pumps right???
 
WRONG!!!!

There are a lot of reasons why 2 large pumps are better than 4 small ones.

The first thing to understand is all of the high-end therapy hot tubs are using every bit of available electrical power allowed. What this means is simple… if we are maxing out the power with two pumps and we go to 4 pumps those 4 pumps have to be 1/2 the size in terms of electrical power… This fact is often is hidden because hot tub guys quote the horsepower of the pump head, not the electric motor driving the pump 🙂 Crazy right??? I can put a huge 6 hp pump head on a tiny little motor and tell you it is a 6hp pump…lmfao! But we can not get away from the scientific fact that there are only so many amps of electrical current available and using more pumps is simply a gimmick designed to make more profit from you and actually reduces the performance and efficiency of your hot tub and here is why…

  1. Efficiency
    • Bigger pumps are more efficient than smaller pumps, larger pumps offer efficiencies of 75% to 93% and the smaller ones usually fall into the 50% to 70%
      • This means that 3  x 2hp pumps are not going to perform nearly as well as one 6 hp pump
      • So the more pumps we have the more power we waste and the less actual water pressure we get!!!
  1. Performance in the chair
  • A 2 pump system not only has more power due to efficncy but it also can put more flow to a single chair.
    • If we have 2 big pumps using all the available power with diverters then we can put one whole big pump into the main massage chair.
    • if we have 4 pumps they have to be 1/2 the power of the big pumps and then each pump runs a chair so the best we can have is 1/2 the power to the chair. And ecause of the efficency loss we really only have about 3/4 of the power available.

27 Comments:

  1. Hello!

    We are a family of 5 looking for very large hot tub in moncton NB. We often entertain with other families , so we are looking for 8-10 persons spa.
    We looked at :
    Hydropool 1038 vs coast spa mirage curve.
    Your opinion would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thanks!!

    • of those two brands the Coast spa but…

      it’s very rare for me to get requests from my local area most of this comes from the US where the site ranks super high. But I guarantee you I have over 200 spas in Moncton with a 5-star service rating on Google and BB A+ and a store opening there in the spring… I literally send a truck a week down there 🙂

  2. Wonderful job with this forum. Thank you so much for educating us and all your honest advice. Looking for a therapy spa for aches and pains. What is the difference between Master Spas Twilight and Healthy Living lines? And

    • Jetting and performance.

      look at the size of the jets, the little jets are inexpensive and put out a small volume of water under high pressure, they feel abrasive and don’t really have the volume of water to penetrate into deep muscle. The big 5″ jets are expensive and flow a lot more water, they really move muscle mass and require bigger pomps and in the case of Twilight they also let you divert entire pumps into one main seat… they are chalk and cheese Healthy living is like most companies top tubs, Twilight is just a massage monster…

      • In doing more research, we’re now looking into the Marquis Epic or Reward. Would love to get your input. The size of the jets look similar for both of these. Thanks again for your help!

  3. Chris, really love the website. I am looking at the Bullfrog spas. Any impressions on this brand.. Thanks

    • One of the biggest costs in a hot tub is the shell. and it’s the single most crucial part and there s simply no better or more expensive way to do this than to build a hand rolled fiberglass acrylic shell with a Vinyl ester resin core. The ABS shells and rigidizing polymers like Bullfrog were all the rage 20 years ago and the reality is the failure rate on these shells were way higher. Most guys have gone back to the true path. Im also not a big fan of the jet packs, it makes it super expensive to change out jetting most tubs you can just swap each individual jet and really customise your jetting inexpensively.

  4. Gillian Pearson & Bob Pearson

    Hello Love your website and advice. We live in England., UK. We are looking at buying a South Seas 748ldx from a local dealer with excellent reviews over a number of years. He is a one man band. He recommends we stick to part foam insulation rather than full foam insulation so that we can access the equipment if there are problems. We have wet tested this tub along with others and like it. However we are not sure if the insulation he is proposing is adequate.; please advise. We liked Arctic Spas insulation concept but the local agent does not have a good reputation. We would appreciate your opinion on the 748 and any other
    alternatives. This will be our first hot tub. Thank you.

    • I would say the Artesian (south seas) is a better spa by a long shot, Arcticis great at the branding and marketing but the tub uses a lot of i9nexpensive parts, insulation and does not even clamp the plumbing lines.

      I would go with the full foam, they use an opencelled foam so leak detection is not a huge issue and they glue and clamp the plumbing lines so it much less likely to leak.

  5. Could you list the best hot tubs, please. Thank you.

  6. Hi Chris
    I am in the process of organising a crane to lift a Michael Phelps Legend 8 over my bungalow roof in U.K.
    There wasn’t the option of buying a Twilight which you recommend but how do you rate the MP8?
    It has 4 pumps but one is just for circulation.

    Regards Lenny

    • It’s a great spa I prefer the Twilight for the therapy but the Phelps also performs well and is simply a beautiful tub. I’m not a fan of the circ pumps option, they are really picky about how clean yer filters are.

      • Thank you.
        I’m hoping that because i will be using the MP8 on my own 95 percent of the time that the filter won’t be too much of an issue?

  7. Looking for a large, simple hot tub for cottage on Higgins Lake, Northern Michigan. Have 7 grandchildren who get cold in the lake or after tubing and want to warm up and go out into the lake again. Chimney Specialists in Gaylord sells Nordic hot tubs with Balboa heating and manufactured in US. prices are 4 to 6 thousand – they have 2 to 3 ” of foam insulation and the shell is made of ABS plastic. The store is close to our cottage. What do you think?
    Marie

    • I know Nordic. great tub, the insualtion is the only weak part but its not terrible, just not top of the pile… good bank for the buck…

  8. Hi Chris
    We’re in Cornwall, UK and like so many others on here, are feeling v over whelmed trying to choose the right spa for us.

    It is between
    – LA San Juan SE and Artesian Antigua – 33 jets.

    The LA San Juan has more jets and speakers but not foam insulated.

    The Artesian dealer is v nice but only been operating 2yrs.
    The LA spa dealer has been operating 20+ yrs.

    In your opinion which would be your preference?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Becky

  9. i posted something about a week ago asking some questions. Do you delete some posts?

    • no, I don’t delete unless it’s crazy spam or someone trying to put up sales crap 🙂

      repost, it might have been an error. sorry !

  10. I have watched all of your videos and read every comment/blog. Trying to do the best with the information you provide. I just dumped a second hand Reflections line (Vita) spa after developing its first obvious leak after 9 years of ownership. We discovered it had some rot as well, so we canned it My question entails your opinion on refurbished tubs from a reputable dealer. I’ve found a Master Spas LSX 557 that has been refurbished by a reputable hot tub dealer for an affordable price point . My concern is that it’s 10 years old – 2006. They warranty it for a short period. I know I’ m on my own after that. What’s your opinion of purchasing this sort of tub vs. a lower end tub that is newer? (My husband said like a 10 year old BMW vs a newer Kia. )

    • 10 Year old spa of any brand is always a risk.

      But you can get some great deals.

      1. If the shell is good after 10 years its good for life
      2. What did their refurb actually include?

      3.Will they guarantee it for any length of time?

  11. Hi we are looking at an artesian grand Bahama elite. Any thoughts priced at $10200 ? Stopping at local master dealer also tomorrow. Thanks

    • Hi Kevin.

      Both super spas from a build quality.

      The artisan do not do anything in the crazy therapy range like the Twilight spa but compete nicely from a performance standpoint to the Healthy Living and Clarity lines.

  12. hi there, I’m in Ontario and would really like to know what would be a wiser choice. I have completely turned my mind to mush figuring out what I want..i have narrowed it down to Arctic SPa(legend 3 pump w spaboy swimspa) or masterspa H2x trainer 15 . Please tell me why I should pick one over the other.

    • Hi Parv.

      Man I never get Swim Spa questions and I love swimmers and we were designing and selling swim spas back over 15 years ago in England of all places 🙂

      The H2x is a far better swimmer for a tonne of reasons…

      1. Both spas use hand rolled fibreglass shells and I Know the H2X uses vinyl ester barrier on the acrylic… Both Companies Spend a lot of money on the Shells.
      2. The H2x is much deeper… The depth makes a massive difference both when just jacking around and when working out, especially if you plan to do core workouts, swimming, or resistance training. H2X spends a lot more making a 60″ shell depth
      3. The Arctic uses a cheap Chinese parts list that only fits their spa, The H2X uses the top North American Parts list and is easy to source parts for and is competitively priced… H2X spends a lot more on the parts.
      4. Arctic uses three inches of insulation and story about magic fairy’s that make free heat, H2X put three times more expanded foam in… Wait for it… H2X spends a lot more on the Insulation
      5. H2X glues and clamps the plumbing lines, they never leak, Arctic dip glues only. H2X spends a lot more on the plumbing system.
      6. Both have good onboard chem systems, Arctic uses the salt water system that makes chlorine and runs about 1-3ppm Master uses, zinc, copper ion, and UV water treatment and runs around 1ppm

      Aside from the fact that H2X just spends more money on the build, they also have a huge lead on the rest of the industry, A long time ago Master partnered with Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps to develop a real hi end swim trainer for the competitive athlete world. It wasn’t just and endorsement deal they worked together for years developing the Micheal Phelps swim spas and it changed the game. From the contouring of the shell for flow control to the counter flow tech that makes a great swimmable swim stream to the huge power availability these things are arguably the best swimmers in the world. The H2X piggybacks on this R&D and uses a lot fo the same tech to make a really great residential swimmer for us mere mortals. Last year they came out with the VIP propulsion system for the H2x and it increased the flow rate on the swimmer by 40% and it was already as good or better than the Arctic for flow rates. I have one, and swim in one, and have swum in a lot of swimmers over the years and the H2X is a great swimmer. plus you get all the free workout gear and with the extra depth, you can really do full body workouts.

  13. This forum has been awesome and has helped me very much in my hot tub buying quest. I think we have nearly decided on the artesian grand cayman. I like that it has full foam insulation and balboa components and made in the USA. Any thing I should be concerned about. I am also curious about Clearwater spas, although I think their insulation is suspect, thoughts?

    • You hit it right on the head, the Artesian is a good spa but make sure you are getting the full foam upgrade… I know on their south seas line they don’t offer that as standard…

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