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

Most high-end hot tubs run on 220v. But they can be expensive and require an electrician to wire them up. So can a hot tub run on 110?

Here’s what I discovered through my research:

Some hot tubs can run on 110 volts although the majority of so-called portable, hard-sided, above-ground hot tubs run on 220 volts. A 110v hot tub can be plugged into a GFCI regular 15-20 amp electrical outlet located near the hot tub location, without any additional electrical work needed. 

But that’s just a quick answer.

After all, how do you know which ones are 110v? And are 220v better? If you buy a 110v one, can it later be converted to 220v or will you have to buy a completely new hot tub?

Just keep reading to know all the details.

What voltage does a hot tub run on?

Above-ground hard-sided hot tubs run on 220v or 110v, depending on the type. And many, but not all, 110v hot tubs can be converted later to 220v for greater efficiency.

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 a ground-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. However, it does need to be a GFCI outlet that has a mini breaker that will trip and prevent electric shock in the event of a problem or water getting into the outlet. A 220v hot tub will require an electrician to wire it to a disconnect box.

But there are a few other considerations too, such as:

  • 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 compared to 110v hot tubs. Additionally, most 110v hot tubs are unable to power the jets and the heater at the same time potentially creating more work for the heater.

After all, it’s easier (and cheaper) to maintain a constant temperature than it is to lower and raise the temp back and forth.

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.