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Hot Tub & Swim Spa Comparison

Thank you for visiting us. This information is compiled from over 10 years of collective knowledge from the staff at Pacific Hot Tub Solutions and their first-hand experiences reconditioning, repairing, maintaining, delivering, and moving all brands of hot tubs and swim spas.    You won’t find any other hot tub company that operates quite like us.  This, combined with an A+ BBB rating and over 14,000 who follow us and our passion for hot tubs on Facebook, is why you can put your trust in Pacific Hot Tub Solutions in Oregon City when purchasing your next hot tub.

Placement Requirements Determine where you want to place your hot tub and measure the space. The pad for your spa must be a flat, level, solid surface (ie compacted material, pavers, EZ pad, deck or concrete pad). Swim Spas must be on a concrete pad or engineered deck.

Electrical Requirements If you are planning on a smaller 2-3 person tub you have the option to connect to either 110v or 230v.  If you plan to use 110v the hot tub must be placed within 10’ of the plug-in.  The plug in must be on a dedicated 20amp breaker.

For larger hot tubs you will need a 50amp, 230V connection.  The disconnect needs to be located in a clear line of sight, no closer to the water line than 6’.

All electrical installations and the connection to the hot tub must be done by either the homeowner or a licensed electrician.

Hot Tub Delivery Measurement Requirements Determine the best, flattest path from the street to your back yard.  The hot tub will be delivered on a flatbed trailer. The spa will be unloaded on its side, onto a cart and taken to the prepared pad.  You will need to measure the width of your gate and/or a section of fence if you need more space.  You may need to access through a neighboring property.  Think outside the box.  You also need to assess the vertical clearance.  Look for limbs, eaves, patio covers, etc. and check those measurements.  Photos are always helpful.   If you don’t think you have clearances, we can always do a site inspection to verify.

Hot Tub Construction Anatomy 101

1. Insulation Value  - Foam vs Base and Perimeter

Full foam insulation, traditionally, has been used for many years.  The hot tub industry is moving away from that technology.  Not only is that material not recyclable but it makes repairs very difficult, expensive and often the siding is glued to the foam making repairs impossible without damaging the spa.  Once the foam has to be compromised in a repair, there is no way to recuperate your insulation value.

Base and perimeter insulation, commonly referred to as Heat Lock, are not only highly efficient and exceed the California Energy Guide standard, which all of the best hot tub manufacturers are required meet, but it makes access for repairs very easy, less expensive and the insulation value is not compromised.  The insulation can be removed and then replaced after the repair is completed and returned to its original condition with no damage to your spa.

2. Structure – Wood vs Steel or Composite Frame

Steel and composite hot tub framing provides greater structural integrity than wood as well as superior corrosion protection for a much longer life.  They will not expand or contract with moisture.  The inorganic properties will never rot, warp, split or crack and eliminates the worry of animal infestation or termite damage.   These frames make the tub lighter and stronger than traditional wood frames with foam.

3. Base – Pressure Treated Wood/ABS Sheet vs ABS Sealed and Insulated Base Pan

The ABS sealed base is made of one-piece construction and provides a rugged foundation that seals the bottom of the spa, which locks in the heat and seals out moisture. 

4. Siding – Composite vs Natural Cedar

Most manufactures have gone to composite material siding in a variety of color options.  We have natural cedar options still available.  Ask for details.

5. Components

There are only two names you should look for in hot tub control systems.  Balboa or Gecko.  These have the best warranties, ability to have the most features, including multiple pumps, full LED lighting packages, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, for your hot tub and are the most dependable.  They are American made and readily available for the future of the spa.

6. Jets – Not all Jet are Created Equally

Jets are designed to deliver a complete massage like you would get at a massage clinic.  There are five massage techniques that are commonly performed to improve circulation, relive tension, stimulate blood flow and relax.  Clearwater Spas, Vita Spa and Dynasty Spas utilize different jets and configurations to deliver these massage benefits.  Look at jets closely to see if you have a variety or all the same type.  Also check the size and ask about supply line size.  The jet may have a large face but that does not always mean stronger pressure.  Jets should also be recessed into the shell to minimize pressing on your skin.  Ultimately, it is the number of jets per pump that affect the amount of pressure.  Look for overall performance and variety to get a complete, satisfying massage.

7. Pumps – BHP vs HP

When it comes to pumps you need to consider one useful fact. You want continuous horse power (hp) rather than break horse power (Bhp).  Some salesman will tell you it has a big 6Bhp pump in it but in reality it is 3hp pump.  Rule of thumb is that typically hp is one half of Bhp. Make sure to ask what size pumps are in the tub.  Also verify how many jets are on each pump.  2 speed pumps are better.  Low speed is your soft tissue therapy and high speed for deep tissue therapy.  You also want energy efficient 56 frame pump(s) installed on an anti-vibration, noise reducing pad.  A 24 hour circulation pump is the most efficient way to run and filter your spa.  It works with the heater, ozone and filters 35gpm.  It is the quietest, most cost effective way to run your spa.  All of the top of the line manufacturers install circulation pumps in their hot tubs.

8. Seating

You always want to you sit in the spa and verify it fits you correctly and has adequate room for family and friends before purchasing.  Make sure the seats are deep enough and that neck or shoulder jets hit you in the correct location.   Does the spa have an appropriate entry step that will double as a high seat for those who get too hot but don’t want to exit the spa?

9. Sanitation

Your spa will require a certain amount of maintenance and care to keep it clean. Ozone purification units reduce your chemical use by as much as 50%. Traditional sanitizers for hot tubs are chlorine and bromine; however, new for 2020 we have a chemical free system which can be added to your hot tub making the use of harsh chemicals obsolete.  For those who are sensitive to chlorine and bromine this is the perfect alternative in lieu of salt water spas that sound very appealing; however, salt is extremely corrosive and repair costs are substantial.

10. Warranty

Online sales, Costco, Wayfair, etc offer hot tubs between $2000 - $5000; however, their warranty typically ranges from 1-3 years and you have no local company to service the hot tub when you need repair.  They also only deliver to curbside, leaving the hard part to you.  Buying a hot tub from a Home Show or Expo Sale with high pressure sales often forces you to make a decision quickly resulting in buyer’s remorse.   You do want to buy from a local company with a physical address who can honor and service the warranty and who you can hold accountable if any issues arise.   Average quality hot tubs have warranties ranging from 5-7 years on the shell, 3-5 years on the cabinet and 1-3 years on the components.   The brands we carry have some of the best warranties in the industry with Lifetime on the cabinet, 20 years on the shell and 5 year on the components.  Warranties are only as good as the company behind it and we have the best.

 We hope, after reading this information, you feel better prepared to make a hot tub purchase from us.  There are a lot of different makes and models available in the Portland area and it can be confusing.  We strive to provide complete and accurate information to our customers.  We sell hot tubs and swim spas, both new and reconditioned but unlike other companies we are also a full service and supply hot tub Company and can assist you with your hot tub for years to come.   We understand one brand is not the best for everyone and with 3 new brands and multiple brands in our reconditioned inventory you will find what you’re looking for.   Our overall selection and pricing are better than others.  Why?  We have 1 store with multiple brands while others sell 1 brand with multiple stores.   Low overhead, huge selection, best prices, chemical free options equals the smartest place to purchase a hot tub is Pacific Hot Tub Solutions.   

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