Most energy efficient hot tubs
Look for good insulation, a high-quality cover and a dual-pump system
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Hot tubs offer many therapeutic benefits, but they also use lots of energy. This can cause quite a shock to a new hot tub owner when the first utility bill arrives after installation — as Cecil, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Wyoming, said, “My electric bill is up 25% every month since the spa was installed.”
The good news, though, is that high energy bills aren’t inevitable for every hot tub owner; you can purchase an energy-efficient model. Just look for an efficient tub with good insulation, a sturdy cover and a dual-pump system.
- An energy-efficient hot tub uses 878 fewer kilowatt-hours per year than a typical model.
- When shopping around for an efficient hot tub, look for a well-insulated model with a high R-value.
- A high-quality cover can improve efficiency by 10%, and a dual-pump system can save you 15% more energy than a single-pump system.
Compare energy-efficient hot tub brands
The right energy-efficient hot tub for you depends on how many seats, how much water capacity and how many jets you want — among several other factors.
Compare popular hot tub models
|ThermoSpas Hot Tubs||Master Spas||Hot Spring Spas|
|Model||Aquacisor (Gold)||Michael Phelps Legend Series LSX 900||Grandee NXT|
|Specs||91” x 86” x 48.75”||108” x 94” x 38”||100” x 91” x 38”|
|Seating||Seats 7||Seats 8||Seats 7|
|Capacity||646 gallons of water||490 gallons of water||455 gallons of water|
|Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews|
How to choose an energy-efficient hot tub
“Energy-efficient hot tubs can save you significant money over time by reducing your monthly energy bills,” Boyd Rudy, a team leader and associate broker for the real estate group MiReloTeam, told us. He said savings can range “from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars,” depending on local energy prices and how often you use the tub.
A quality energy-efficient hot tub should have these three key features:
- Great insulation
- A high-quality cover
- A dual-pump system
How much heat escapes your tub will greatly affect your energy consumption, but good insulation can raise the price of the tub. Many “plug-and-play” hot tub models have low upfront costs, but they cost a lot to run since they typically have inefficient heaters.
“To determine if a hot tub has sufficient insulation, inquire about the R-value (thermal resistance) of the insulation used,” Rudy suggested. The higher the R-value, the better the insulation. Be sure to ask what materials line the tub. Try to skip fiberglass insulation since it tends to become less effective when exposed to moisture.
» COMPARE: Best hot tub insulation
Investing in a high-quality cover can reduce your hot tub’s energy consumption by an additional 10%. As with insulation, a hot tub cover’s R-value indicates how well the insulating material works. An average cover will have an R-value of 12, so look for values higher than that.
While R-value is important, the insulation inside the cover may begin to take on water if the outer layer rips or becomes thinner, rendering the insulation ineffective. Even covers with high R-values can begin to take on water if the outer cover breaks down or gets damaged from prolonged heat, chemical and moisture exposure.
R-value measures a cover’s thermal resistance. An energy-efficient hot tub cover should have an R-value higher than 12.
To prevent damage to your cover, you can add a floating thermal blanket to your spa. This further insulates your tub and protects your cover from heat and moisture. Hot tub covers, which are quite heavy, can also rip when moving across rocks or concrete — consider buying a cover lift to prevent damage to the outer layer and protect your back. It’s also a good idea to read reviews of different covers before making a purchase to find out if customers are happy with the cover’s performance over time.
» COMPARE: Best hot tub covers
Make sure the tub you purchase uses a dual-pump system. Some hot tubs use the same pump to continuously circulate the water they use to operate the high-powered massaging jets. The result is that the single pump, which has to be powerful enough for the jets, uses more energy than it should to circulate the water. A tub that uses separate pumps for circulation and jet operation will use less energy.
» COMPARE: Best hot tub brands
How much energy do hot tubs use?
The average hot tub consumes 2,514 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year. The average cost of electricity nationwide is 11.10 cents per kWh, making the energy cost of operating a hot tub about $279 annually.
A well-insulated tub coupled with an effective cover can reduce the number of annual kWh usage by 20% to 2,011 kWh. A dual-pump system can lower that number by an additional 375 kWh to 1,636 kWh a year. This means an energy-efficient hot tub should cost around $182 annually to run.
How often should I replace my hot tub cover for maximum energy efficiency?
Most hot tub manufacturers and dealers say hot tub covers have a life span of about five years. If your hot tub cover gets incredibly heavy, that’s usually a sign the foam inside is taking on water and it’s time to look for a new cover.
Can I upgrade my existing hot tub to be more energy-efficient?
Yes, you can upgrade your hot tub for energy efficiency. Adding insulation to a poorly insulated tub can increase energy efficiency by 10% — and so can using a premium hot tub cover. Privacy panels or other landscaping features can also help protect your hot tub from energy loss due to wind exposure, and an additional floating thermal blanket can help your tub retain heat and protect your cover from moisture.
How do solar-powered hot tubs compare in terms of energy efficiency?
Solar power is a great source of energy, but the amount of available sunlight can affect the performance of a solar-powered tub. If you have batteries for your solar panels or if your electric company participates in net metering, you’ll be able to power your tub all year. But if you want to go off the grid completely or don’t have sufficient battery storage, you probably won’t be able to power your tub when there’s not much sun.
Does the size of the hot tub affect its energy consumption?
Hot tub size doesn’t necessarily affect how much energy a model uses — for example, in a 2009 Canadian study, a 417-gallon hot tub outperformed a smaller 390-gallon tub. Pump type and how well the tub is insulated are better indicators of energy consumption than size.
How can I measure the energy consumption of my hot tub?
To calculate daily energy consumption, you’ll need to know the wattage of your hot tub (usually printed somewhere on the packaging) and the number of hours your tub is in use each day.
The formula: (Wattage × hours used per day) ÷ 1,000 = daily kilowatt-hour (kWh) consumption.
So, say your wattage is 6,000 and you use your tub about half an hour each day: (6,000 × .5) ÷ 1,000 = 3 kWh.
In this instance, the hot tub uses 3 kWh per day. If you want to find out how much the tub costs to run each day, take your daily kWh consumption and multiply it by the per-kWh cost of electricity where you live.
- Article sources
- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
- HotSpring South West and Wales, “Hot Tub Energy Use Calculator.” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
- Sunstore, “Can I use Solar Panels to Run my Hot Tub?” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, “US Electricity Profile 2021.” Accessed Aug. 24, 2023.
- Washington State University, “Energy Efficiency Fact Sheet: Hot Tub and Pool Conservation Tips.” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
- Western Area Power Administration, “What goes into an Energy-Efficient Spa or Hot Tub?” Accessed Aug. 22, 2023.
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