best hot tub chemicals

To reduce the risk of unwanted algae and bacteria, there is nothing more important than making sure your hot tub chemicals are optimized. 

One of the most crucial parts of owning a hot tub is making sure that you frequently check your hot tub chemicals. You always want to make sure that your sanitizer, pH, calcium hardness, and alkalinity levels are in balance, which requires a few tests a month.

While you are testing your hot tub chemicals, you will usually have to add something so that the chemistry is balanced. Of course, if you don’t know what to use to keep things balanced, it might be an issue.

Luckily, we’ve created a small guide so that you can keep your hot tub clean at all times.

Come with us as we explore the ins and outs of hot tub chemicals.

The Best Hot Tub Chemicals

Leisure Time Renew Non-Chlorine Shock

One of the most important parts of typical hot tub maintenance is shocking your hot tub.

There is no better way to make sure that your water is clean and safe at all times. If you hate the thought of draining your hot tub often, shocking is a wonderful treatment.

Leisure Time Renew Non-Chlorine helps to boost chlorine levels, keeping your hot tub as efficient as possible between checks. 

This non-chlorine hot tub shock makes use of oxidation to deodorize your hot tub water. You can use it with a wide variety of spa chemicals, including ozone, chlorine, and bromine.

Leisure Time Bright and Clear

Leisure Time is a top-notch spa chemicals company and its Bright and Clear is excellent for just about any spa, as it is designed for ultra-compatibility. Whether you have chlorine or bromine, you can use this chemical.

Bright and Clear is quite unique, as it helps to get rid of contaminant clumps by helping them rise to the surface and disperse into the filters for removal. Not only will your hot tub stay cleaner for longer, but it will also help your filtration system run more optimally.

Leisure Time Chlorinating Granules

We love using Leisure Time Chlorinating Granules with pools and hot tubs. If you’re looking for the purest formula to use your hot tub with, this is it. There are a few different chlorine types that you can use, including liquid and granular. The beauty of granular chlorine is that, unlike liquid chlorine, it does not splash, making it far easier to control when adding it to your hot tub.

Clorox XtraBlue

Hot tub owners have to pick the sanitizing system that they are going to use when they first get their tub home.

These sanitizing systems including, salt, mineral, ozone, chlorine, or bromine.

One of the most popular picks for almost every spa and hot tub owner is chlorine, as it is the cheapest and most effective.

Of course, you can choose the type of chlorine that you use.

One of the most trusted names in the sanitizer industry is Clorox. The company’s XtraBlue product is a unique 6-in-1 formula that is made to shock, sanitize, remove organic contaminants, get rid of algae, and help with skin and eye irritation.

Beyond that, XtraBlue contains a unique agent that repels UV rays, meaning it lasts much longer than other sanitizers, keeping your water clean for longer too.

SpaChoice Sanitizing Granules

Like we said earlier, much prefer granules to liquid, as granules are easier to use. This SpaChoice product is incredibly pure, perfect for a daily treatment or shock treatment.

Because SpaChoice Sanitizing Granules are stabilized, they don’t break down as fast in the sun. However, the granules do dissolve quickly so that you can get back in and enjoy spa in no time.

SpaGuard Enhanced Shock

If you are looking to super-chlorinate your spa or swimming pool, we recommend SpaGuard Enhanced Shocking Treatment. This unique formula helps to restore water to the cleanest state possible while removing contaminants and getting rid of any foul odors.

One of the best things about this shock is that you can get back in your hot tub or pool in as little as 15 minutes after you put it inside. Plus, no matter what kind of sanitizing system you use, Enhanced Shock is compatible.

Frog Ease Floating Sanitizing System

One of the simplest spa chemical formulas on the market is Frog Ease.

This sanitizer is a small floater that you simply put in the water. You never have to do any guesswork with your sanitizer levels.

Whenever it is time to replace the floater, it will flip over on its own.

Within the floater, you will find SmartChlor technology and some additional minerals. Compared to other systems, which use quite a bit of chlorine to kill bacteria, Frog Ease kills bacteria with a bit less, helping to keep the water as soft as possible.

Spa Essentials Brominating Tablets

You may choose to utilize bromine in your spa rather than chlorine. If you choose to go with bromine, there is no better choice than these Spa Essentials Brominating Tablets.

Spa Essentials Brominating Tablets are 1″ tablets that are completely compressed and ready to be set in a feeder or floater. Thanks to the compressed design, this sanitizer lasts much longer than normal.

The other beauty is that they are measured for you. If you are someone that hates the smell of chlorine, this might be a good choice for you.

Zodiac Nature 2

If you’re looking for decent alternatives to chlorine and bromine sanitizers, the Zodiac Nature 2 is one of the best around. Zodiac Spa sticks are wonderful, as they are completely mineral-based. You get tons of sanitizing power without having to put in much effort.

All you have to do is drop these sticks in your spa and you get around half a year of sanitizer power. If bromine isn’t doing the trick or chlorine has too strong of a smell for your preference, Zodiac Nature 2 is a top-notch alternative.

Different Kinds of Hot Tub Chemicals

Because hot tubs hold warm spa water, they are basically breeding grounds for unwanted bacteria. To keep your spa water clean, you need to take care of it.

While you don’t have to use all of the hot tub chemicals on this upcoming list, it is important to understand the best hot tub chemicals on the market.


A sanitizer is your main chemical for keeping your spa water clean. Think of it as your baseline hot tub cleaner. Bromine and chlorine are the most common sanitizer types out there, though there are many hot tubs that come with salt or mineral systems.

pH Balancer

On occasion, your pH and alkalinity levels in your hot tub might run a bit high. Sometimes, they might run a bit low.

You can use a pH increaser or decreaser to change your alkalinity balance and pH levels.


Shocks are very similar to sanitizers, though users will typically use them to super-chlorinate the water and return it to its optimal state. It is best to shock your spa water at least twice per month. If you use your hot tub very often or you just changed the spa water, it is a very good idea to shock your hot tub.


If your hot tub suffers from cloudy water, the problem is likely microscopic contaminants that you can’t see. These contaminants are typically too small for your filter to get rid of as well. Clarifiers help by rounding up these contaminants into clumps so that you can trap them and get them out for good.

Specialized Hot Tub Chemicals

There are a few hot tub chemicals out there that we would classify as “specialized,” meaning it would be difficult to group them in with any other category.

One of the best examples of specialized hot tub chemicals is the foam reducer.

If your spa water suffers from foam on the top layer, you would use a foam reducer.

If you have a lot of algae that grows in your spa water, you might consider using an algaecide.

How To Choose The Best Hot Tub Chemicals For Your Needs

If you are someone that uses your hot tub every day, you will need to use a different set of chemicals than someone who uses their hot tub once every few weeks.

You will likely have to shock your hot tub a bit more, meaning you will need to have some shock chemicals in your supply.

Definitely consider your water supply as well. Different regions around the world have different hardness characteristics when it comes to water. If you have problems with calcium buildup, you will need to check calcium hardness every time you check your hot tub chemistry.

If you live in an area with hard water, you will want to make sure that the pH levels are always balanced in your hot tub water. To do this, we recommend keeping some pH increases in your supply.

Lastly, it is very important to make sure that you understand the information on your chemical labels to find the chemicals you need. Calcium hypochlorite and trichlor, for example, are incredibly popular sanitizers for swimming pools, though spa manufacturers often recommend against them.

Balancing Your Sanitizer Levels

Beyond checking your regular levels, you need to make sure that all of your chemicals are working together optimally to keep your water chemistry in check.

According to the CDC, sanitizers work at their best when they are in water that has a pH balance of anywhere from 7.2 to 7.8. If your pH isn’t in balance, you’ll need to increase or decrease it.

When it comes to your alkalinity, you’ll want to keep it somewhere in the ballpark of 80 ppm to 120 ppm.

To increase or decrease your alkalinity, you will use the same increaser or decreaser you used for your pH levels.

Dealing with calcium hardness is very common for those that live in areas with soft or hard water. Calcium hardness that is above 250 ppm or below 100 ppm can be very uncomfortable to sit in and can even do damage to your equipment. We always recommend that you filter your water before putting it into your hot tub. Controlling hardness or softness will help make sure your skin feels nice and smooth every time you exit the hot tub.

Final Thoughts – Finding the Best Hot Tub Chemicals For Your Needs

Trying to find the best hot tub chemicals can seem like a challenge, though if you follow our simple guide, you’ll find that keeping your hot tub water clean isn’t as hard as you may have imagined.

Choosing the best hot tub chemicals can help keep your skin feeling soft and your hot tub water looking clear as day. Make sure to get order some test strips to test your spa out, as it will help you see what water chemicals you should get.

See our hot tub maintenance page for all up-keep aspects. 

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