Can a Hot Tub Run on 110? (Ultimate Guide to Plug-n-Play)

If you love a hot tub but don’t have the cash to splash out on an expensive one, or for the electrician to wire it up, then a plug-n-play 110v tub may be just the one for you. However, most high-end hot tubs run on 220v, so can a hot tub run on 110?

Here’s what I discovered through my research:

Yes, some hot tubs can run on 110. Depending on the type, hot tubs run on 110v or 220v. However, a 110v hot tub will only require a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) and can be plugged into a regular 15-20 amp electrical outlet located near the hot tub location, without any additional electrical work. 

Even if you are a current hot tub owner and considering replacing your spa, you may be surprised at what there is on offer in the 110v market. Therefore, you might be keen to know more about,

  • plugging 110v hot tubs into regular sockets
  • how long 110v hot tubs take to heat up
  • and if 110v hot tubs are better than 220v variants

Just keep reading to know all the details. 

What voltage does a hot tub run on?

Hot tubs run on 220v or 110v, depending on the type.

A 220v tub will have to be hardwired into the primary electrical system for the house via a disconnect box. This step simply cuts off the electrical supply in the event of a fault, such as a short-circuit or a ground fault.

A hot tub that runs on 110v doesn’t need to be hardwired. You simply plug it in, through aground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is essential.

In a recent article, I explained how and where a GFCI breaker should be installed, and the requirement for a disconnect box was described in another recent article. Click the links to find out more.

Both the GFCI and the disconnect box perform the same function, but the box is more robust.

Can you plug a hot tub into a regular outlet?

A 110v hot tub can be plugged into any regular outlet, that is the main attraction of this type, but you have to consider a few things first.

  • You will still need a GFCI breaker. This can be a plug-in type, or you may prefer to change your regular outlet for a breaker type.
  • The breaker must be 15amp or more (preferably 20amp).
  • Nothing else must be plugged into the same outlet.
  • The maximum length of the cord from the tub to the receptacle outlet is 15′. Do not use an extension cord if the supplied cable doesn’t reach.
  • If outdoors, the receptacle outlet must have a waterproof cover, such as a hinged plastic lid.

Always consult a licensed electrician before undertaking any permanent electrical work, such as installing a new outlet.

Is 110 or 220 better for a hot tub?

Generally speaking, 220v hot tubs tend to be high-end and, therefore, of better quality.

They will have a more powerful pump, water heater, probably more jets, and a few accessories you won’t find on your average 110v models, like a built-in music system or better lighting features.

In terms of efficiency, 220v spas are more economical to run because the pump uses the same amount of watts as the 100v for twice the time. You can also run the heater and jets at the same time, so it heats up quicker.

It is possible to upgrade a 110v hot tub to a 220v by making some simple adjustments. This won’t affect the performance of the jets, but it will increase the power of the pump and therefore reduce the heating time.

However, with an average additional cost of around $30 to $40 per month on the electricity bill, the effect of any savings on running costs is not going to be significant.

For a wider variety of hot tubs that run on 110v, check out Essential Hot Tubs on Amazon. For around $3,000, you can have a spa with 24 powerful jets seating five to six people, and you just plug it in and go.

If you’re a first-time buyer, you must read my recent article providing 23 tips on what to consider. It might help you save a lot in the long run.

How long does a 110 hot tub take to heat up?

The length of time it takes to heat up a hot tub depends on several factors:

  • The temperature of the water going in
  • Whether or not you have a decent, well-insulated cover
  • The size of the tub and, therefore, the volume of water in it

On average, it takes around four hours to heat a tub, but these factors have a significant impact on that timing.

On a hot day, the ambient temperature of the water going in can be as high as 80 degrees if it’s an outside source, so it won’t take long to heat up to the desired 100 degrees.

You could pre-heat your water by attaching the hose to a hot-water faucet (such as the one likely on your hot water heater), but be careful not to get it too hot. Always use cold water first, and hot water last.

As discussed in a recent article, keep the cover on while heating up and keep the jets running. This not only circulates the water evenly, distributing the heat throughout, but the motor contributes to the heating process.

Some of the entry-level 110v hot tubs rely on this process alone to heat the water. And also to keep it at a constant temperature. So it is essential to have a good cover.

Water passing through the pump will heat up around three to six degrees per hour, so this is a slow process if used on its own. Also, on some models, you cannot run the jets and the heater at the same time.

It is essential to note that the jets should only be turned on when the tub is full, or least well past the level of the jets. Failure to do so could damage your jets and pump.

Are 110v hot tubs any good?

You can have just as much fun in a 110v hot tub as you can in a 220v. The difference is in the quality and extra features you get with the bigger, more expensive models.

The best thing about the 110v tubs is their flexibility. You can have them just about anywhere there is an electrical supply nearby and some firm, level ground to place it on.

They come in an array of shapes and sizes, inflatable or solid, acrylic shell, or wood frame. If you reside in a rented property or are likely to move house sometime soon, then the plug-in spa is definitely the one for you.

If you intend to move the hot tub from one place to another, you’ll need to consider the costs involved. An inflatable spa would be ideal in this situation. Just empty it, deflate, move and start all over again.

TheCosySpa inflatable hot tub starts at less than $600. And it is excellent for two people or three to four kids, and it comes with tons of accessories. You can check it out here on Amazon.

Check out my video below. 

Did I cover all you wished to know about a hot tub running on 110?

Not only can a hot tub run on 110, but there is also a massive market for them. All you need is a receptacle outlet close by, and a flat area to lay down the tub. 

Within a few hours of installation, you can be sipping martinis and relaxing while the bubbles ease away your stress. Or maybe you want to let your kids splash around while you tend to the garden.

If there is anything I didn’t cover that you would like to know, drop me a line or just click on the links to see previous posts on my site.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, hot tub lover, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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