If you’re not familiar with how hot tubs work, it can be very reasonable to ask, “Can you plug a hot tub into a regular outlet?” The answer really depends on the type of hot tub you’re talking about. Some hot tubs, known as plug and play models, can be plugged into a regular, household three-pronged outlet. Other types of hot tubs, often referred to as hardwired models, need to be connected by a certified electrician. To explain more about the differences between these two types of hot tubs, we’ve put together this article.
Plug and play hot tubs are able to be plugged into a regular outlet because they run on the 110 volts that a house is wired for. Hardwired hot tubs, on the other hand, require wiring directly into a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protected 220 to 240 volt 50 to 60-amp circuit. Some of the largest hot tubs require 80- or 90-amp circuits. The GFCI will ensure the electrical power is quickly shut off if there is an electrical fault. This is an especially important safety measure for appliances that run on more powerful electrical circuits. Speaking with your hot tub dealer and a certified electrician will allow you to take care of this without too much extra worry.
Plug and play hot tubs are generally cheaper than hardwired hot tubs. This not only includes the retail price, but the installation costs as well. However, over the longer term, hardwired hot tubs are more energy efficient and will cost less to operate. Plug and play hot tubs need to run the heater more consistently to maintain water temperature which will ultimately use more power. If your immediate budget is tight, it may be easier to opt for the plug and play model. But if you’re concerned about the long-term costs, a hardwired model will be more economical.
Water Heaters and Water Pumps
One of the major advantages that hardwired hot tubs have over the convenience of plug and play models is the power supplied to the water heaters and pumps. The heater of a hardwired hot tub has access to as much as four times the power that can be utilized by the plug and play models. Consequently, it can take six to seven hours for a hardwired tub to achieve peak temperature while a plug and play model can take as long as 24 hours. Hardwired tubs can also feature more than one pump whereas plug and play tubs are limited to a single pump. The extra power available to the hardwired hot tub means the water pumps can run at top speed even while the water heater is also functioning. This isn’t possible with a plug and play tub – the water heater will turn off when the water pump is running at high speed.
There’s no doubt that plug and play models are much easier to move around after the initial installation. And while it’s generally possible to move a hardwired hot tub, the process isn’t as straightforward as with the plug and play types. For those who are renters or plan to move around a lot, a plug and play model might be the ideal choice. But if you’re pretty much set in your ways, a hardwired model might be more appealing.
To learn more about the difference between plug and play and hardwired hot tubs, download a free buyer’s guide below today, or visit us at our hot tub store.