This question has been arising more frequently among potential hot tub buyers, and it revolves around the choice between 'plug and play' or 13 amp hot tubs and 32 amp hot tubs. The emergence of this debate is closely tied to the power supply requirements for specific hot tubs. In this article, we aim to elucidate the distinctions between these two types of hot tubs, discussing how they might impact running costs and providing guidance for buyers, alongside addressing some commonly asked questions.
What is a 13 amp Hot Tub? A 13 amp hot tub, also known as a plug and play hot tub, is a type of hot tub that can be powered using a standard 3-pin plug. These hot tubs were relatively scarce 15-20 years ago, but they've gained popularity as consumers seek cost-effective solutions for hot tub electrical installations. They also make for a convenient upgrade from inflatable hot tubs since they share the same electrical supply, offering potential savings.
What is a 32 amp hot tub? A 32 amp hot tub, on the other hand, requires a 32 amp electrical supply and cannot be powered using a standard 3-pin plug. We'll delve into why they require more power in the following sections.
Did you know? Hot tubs may require a 16 amp or 20 amp supply, depending on the manufacturer's specifications. While 13 and 32 amp are the most common power requirements, there are other possibilities to consider.
Distinguishing Between 13 amp and 32 amp Hot Tubs Number of Pumps A 13 amp hot tub is typically limited to one jet pump, possibly with an additional circulation pump. Due to the restricted power supply, it can accommodate only one large jet pump. In contrast, a 32 amp hot tub can support up to two jet pumps and a circulation pump. More pumps do not always equate to a better hot tub, especially with advancements in jet technology. Remember that the primary benefit of a hot tub is soaking in hot water for relaxation.
Heater In a 13 amp hot tub, the heater cannot run simultaneously with the jet pump. This means that when the jets are on, the heater must be off due to power limitations. In most 32 amp hot tubs, you can run the pumps and heater simultaneously. On a mild or warm day, this may not pose a problem, but on a cold day, if the heater cannot operate alongside the pumps, the hot tub's temperature may drop rapidly during use. While a well-insulated 13 amp hot tub can mitigate this issue, it's a consideration for those who enjoy long soaks. Additionally, a 13 amp hot tub typically has a capped 2kw heater, while some 32 amp hot tubs may offer up to 3kw.
Jet Ratio Due to the limited number of pumps, most 13 amp hot tubs have fewer jets compared to a 32 amp hot tub. This limitation exists because the ratio of jets to pumps should remain reasonable. Some manufacturers might add more jets than advisable, which can dilute the massage experience and disperse power. So, while most 13 amp hot tubs have fewer jets, there may be exceptions.
Cost A 13 amp hot tub usually comes with a more budget-friendly price tag compared to a 32 amp hot tub. This is due to fewer pumps, fewer jets, and a simpler control system, which translates into savings for buyers.
Cost of Electrical Supply Installation The cost of adding an outdoor 13 amp socket is typically significantly lower than installing a 32 amp feed with an isolator. This affordability is one of the driving factors behind the popularity of 13 amp hot tubs, as consumers can avoid expensive electrical upgrades on top of their hot tub purchase. The estimated cost to install an outdoor socket usually ranges from £150 to £450*, while a 32 amp supply can cost up to £750*, depending on various factors. It's essential to consult with a qualified electrician for any hot tub electrical supply installation. Be sure to also consult with the hot tub retailer you're purchasing from to determine the specific electrical specifications.
In summary, the choice between a 13 amp and 32 amp hot tub should be based on various factors, including your preferences, usage, and budget. While the electrical configuration is a significant consideration, don't let it overshadow the broader aspects of selecting a hot tub that suits your wellness needs. If you'd like to explore how a Hot Spring Spa can enhance your well-being, feel free to reach out to us or visit one of our 7 showrooms to speak with our wellness consultants today.
*Estimated costs are based on our experience and discussions with our recommended electrical installer. These prices are not guaranteed and may vary depending on location, current electrical setup, and other factors.
**Running costs for hot tubs can vary based on factors such as insulation quality and specifications. For example, a Hot Spring Propel, a 13 amp hot tub, may have an estimated daily electricity cost of £1.00. Similarly, a 32 amp Hot Spring Envoy may have an estimated running cost of £31.16 per month. Quality insulation across the range of Hot Spring spas minimizes the difference in running costs between 13 amp and 32 amp models