This is a question that I get a lot. What is the difference?
Many folks theorize that going 220V (a dedicated circuit) would cost you a lot less on your monthly electrical bill than if you kept it 110V.
This is wrong. The difference is minimal in terms of cost. It’s all about performance.
My goal here is to keep this subject as simple as possible. So let’s dive into it.
First, It’s important to know that all modern-day hot tubs can go 220V. It generally does not affect the cost of the hot tub from the dealer or the big box store you are buying from (there are exceptions) but instead would cost the homeowner more due to needing a dedicated line run.
Manufacturers choose to build select hot tubs that come ready as 110V units.
110V 15A (amps) means that it can plug into any standard outlet you see. So the spas features (pumps, heater, controls, lights, etc.) will work on that line. However, the heater will operate at about 1/4 of its capacity. So if the heater is a 4-kilowatt heat (4000), it will perform as a 1KW (1000) heater. Also, if you decided to turn on the jets at a hi-speed (hydrotherapy speed), there would not be enough power for the heater, so the heater would shut off.
So if we were comparing a spa that ships standard as a 110V, then we convert it to 220V; here is a graphic I made that shows the difference:
So, if 220V performs better, why don’t we all use that? Well… it’s because not all of us have 220V to use. Running a new line, post-covid with the inflation and higher labor rates means, well, that not everyone wants to run a new line.
Running electrical lines here in Northern Arizona could cost, on average, between $15 and $19 a linear foot. That, of course, is based on your circumstances. So if your main electrical box (where APS plugs into your home) is about 50 feet from where you are, figure $15 x 50 = $750 on the low side and $19 x 50= $950 on the high side.
Now, what about jet pressure?
Although the heater gets a substantial boost in output by going 220V, the jets will remain the same. The max output on jet pressure will be the same, regardless if you go 220V or 110V for a standard 110V hot tub. (Many believe that you get more pressure, but this is 100% incorrect.)
Lastly, what about standard 220V hot tubs?
The most significant difference you will see between these hot tubs and 110V would be the jetting. When you can put larger or multiple jet pumps into a spa to start with, you’ll immediately notice the flexibility in what hydrotherapy they can offer. 220V hot tubs will have the same benefits as the 110V you convert to 220V, but they won’t have the option to go 110V.
Conclusion. What should you go with?
My take… if you have no electrical where your spa is going to go, I would recommend getting a 220V line, regardless if you get a 110V standard hot tub or not.
If you have 110V, and you are getting a 110V hot tub, I would suggest trying to go with that! You can always upgrade later. If you find you go through the year and 110V was adequate for you, you just save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars!
However, if you want to open the door to as many hot tub options as possible, and you want to choose a standard 220V hot tub… I think the choice is clear.