When it comes to the electrical requirements of hot tubs, you will typically find two main types of electrical connections, including 110V/15Amp spas and 220V/50Amp spas.
Knowing the difference between these two designs can save you tons of time, money, and hassle.
110v hot tubs are often called plug-n-play hot tubs and 220v hot tubs are often called hard-wired spas. It is crucial to understand the difference between these two types of tubs so that you can make the optimal buying decision.
Come with us as we explore the pros, cons, similarities, and differences between these two types of hot tubs.
Disclaimer: If you do not feel qualified or confident when wiring your hot tub, we recommend hiring a licensed electrician. To contact top rated licensed electricians in your local area that can install your hot tub, fill out the form below. Select “Hot Tubs/Jacuzzi/Spa – Install” from the drop down. You will instantly be matched with several professionals to choose from.
More often than not, 220v spa models outperform 110v spa models thanks to the fact that they are wired to a GFCI protected circuit.
There aren’t any hardware limitations, as all of the spa equipment can run simultaneously.
Plus, 220v spa models can heat your water much faster than 110v spa models, as the heaters are bigger.
While it is very common for traditional hard-wired spas to use 220v/50Amp circuits, there are many spa models out there that use 60-100 amps.
If a hot tub has a greater number of heaters or jets within the system, it may require higher amperage.
Swim spas, for example, typically require 60 amp circuits or more due to the fact that they are actually multiple units in a single shell.
See our 110 vs 220 hot tub page for further details.
Understanding What Your Hot Tub Requires
A hot tub owner must be certain that the electrical connections made by a licensed electrician or homeowner are in compliance with the National Electric Code (NEC). You must comply with a few sections of the NEC’s electrical codes, which is often why we recommend that you hire a licensed electrician.
A licensed electrician will understand the various electrical codes and will be able to help you install your spa correctly and optimally.
220-240V Spa Installation
When it comes to installing a 220-240v spa, there are a few general installation rules you must follow.
However, it is crucial that you refer to your hot tub owner’s manual to see if there is anything specific that the manufacturer requires for your particular make and model of spa.
- Your hot tub’s electrical connection should be a single-phase connection with a 4-wire setup. Within the four wires, you will find one ground, one neutral, and two hots. These will be hard-wired to the terminals found on the interior of your spa control box. While it depends on the distance of your wire run, manufacturers typically recommend 6 AWG copper wire.
- A disconnect box, which is a small metal box the size of a shoebox, needs to be installed around 10 feet away from the hot tub. The box should sit no closer than 5 feet and no further than 15 feet, as hot tub users should always have access.
- You must use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) that is a 50 or 60 amp design depending on your hot tub. The GFCI breaker is there to shut your hot tub off automatically in the case of a leak or fault from the supply conductors.
- According to the National Electrical Code, your electrical circuit for your spa should not be shared with anything else, including power tools, yard tools, appliances, etc.
- The wire size or wire gauge is very important. Using an improper wire size or wire gauge could result in fuse damage, fires, hot tub component damage, breaker box damage, and more, all of which could be serious safety hazards and void your warranty.
110V Plug-N-Play Hot Tub Installation
110v plug-n-play hot tub models are unique in that they will work on a household circuit, which is anywhere from 15-20 amps.
The reason we did not mention them above is that they do not require any special form of wiring.
When wiring a hot tub that utilizes a 110v design, you will not need to hire an electrician.
Most 110v spa models come with built-in GFCI protected cords. The GFCI will be there for added safety.
However, it is important to note that they do require dedicated outlets, so it is important to make sure that you do not have any electrical items working off the same breaker. Any items running off the same circuit breaker could trip the breaker, which could be a potential hazard.
Finding the Right Hot Tub For Your Needs
When buying a hot tub, make sure that you know what kind of power it requires to run optimally, as it could change your entire spa experience.
You can always refer to the National Electrical Code for any in-depth electrical questions.