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Is a Hot Tub Ozonator Worth it? Ultimate Pros & Cons

There are a lot of new terms and keywords to learn when you purchase a hot tub. It can seem like a lot to take in and understand, but with time you’ll be a pro. One of the terms you may have heard is Ozonator. But what is that and is a hot tub Ozonator worth it?

Like hot tub shock, ozone is an oxidizer. It boosts the sanitizer (chlorine or bromine), requiring lower amounts of them and needing to add it less often. With less chlorine or bromine, you’ll spend less on chemicals and have less skin irritation. So with prices under $100, it’s worth it for many hot tub owners!

But there’s a lot more to know about hot tub Ozonators and what they do.

So in this article, we’ll dive deep into what an Ozonator is and what it does. Which brands are best and how easy they are to install in your hot tub.

Keep on reading to figure out how ozone can help your hot tub.

What does an Ozonator do for a hot tub?

An Ozonator works in conjunction with the chlorine, bromine, or salt sanitizer used in the hot tub to sanitize the water, but requiring fewer chemicals to be added. Ozone, also known as energetic oxygen, is a powerful oxidizer. Ozone generators allow ozone to be placed in a hot tub or spa. 

When three atoms of oxygen are bound together, this creates ozone. If you ever smell a sweet smell in the air after a lightning storm, you’ve smelled ozone!

You may be wondering what ozone does in a hot tub.

Ozone reduces the need for high amounts of chemical sanitizers like chlorine or bromine. It also helps to destroy bacteria, algae, and viruses.

Ozone also oxidizes things like:

  • Urine
  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Cologne
  • Makeup
  • Perfume
  • Hand cream
  • Saliva
  • Hair spray
  • Suntan lotion
  • Body lotion

Of course, whether you sanitize with chlorine or bromine, you still have to use an oxidizer to shock your hot tub water occasionally; just not quite as often if you use an ozonator.

If you’re curious about oxidizers, what the choices are and how often to shock yours, check out this recent article. Just click the link to read it on my site.

How does an Ozonator work?

An Ozonator emits uses UV/CD light, which splits oxygen molecules in the water into two separate, free oxygen atoms. When the free oxygen atoms interact with regular oxygen atoms, it produces ozone. Ozone allows chlorine and bromine to be continuously reused.

Ozone also oxidizes other contaminants, creates less odor (in addition to fewer chloramines), prolongs hot tub equipment life, reduces both maintenance time and cost, and finally, it naturally purifies the water in your hot tub.

So what exactly is an Ozonator?

It’s a device that is used to generate and inject this magical ozone gas into your spa water.

Ozone also enhances both chlorine and bromine’s performance. This means that less bromine and chlorine will be needed to maintain your hot tub.

With the combination of chlorine/bromine and ozone, the quality of your hot tub’s water will be much better. Besides destroying microbes, and oxidizing contaminants, Ozone also causes total dissolved solids to clump together for easier removal by your hot tub’s filter.

The result of using ozone in your hot tub is water that’s cleaner, clearer, and smoother.

Ozone also helps prevent the calcium in your hot tub water from chelating (Chelation is a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions). Many people say the water feels softer against their skin because of the use of ozone.

The reactivity of ozone can destroy the vinyl interior of your hot tub cover over time. To stop this from happening, add a hot tub thermal blanket. This will protect your vinyl while also saving you money by slashing the cost of heating.

Not sure if you should be using chlorine or bromine to sanitize your hot tub?

You’re not alone! Luckily, I break down all the pros and cons of both in a recent article. There’s a definite trade-off between cost, frequency of water treatment, and how it affects your skin.

So just click that link to read it on my site.

Does an Ozonator run all the time?

An Ozonator does not need to operate 24/7. It should operate between 4 and 6 hours per day. This ensures it runs often enough to reactivate the chlorine or bromine and ensure the water is safe to soak in.

But there is no set rule about how often you should be using the Ozonator.

Ozone is a strong oxidizer, but it does not last long in your hot tub water. So while you don’t need it on 24/7, it does need to kick in every so often to keep the chlorine or bromine levels up.

Programming it on a set schedule allows you to do this quickly and easily.

Running your Ozonator also depends on how often you use your hot tub, in addition to the number of people that soak in your hot tub. Play around with your Ozonator and see what works best for you.

If you use your hot tub a lot, with a large number of bathers, then run the Ozonator for twenty-four hours and see how it is.

Check your hot tub owner manual, in addition to the manual that comes with your Ozonator. If you have any unanswered questions, call your hot tub manufacturer and ask.

Wondering if converting your hot tub to saltwater might be even better than ozone?

I researched saltwater tubs and what the benefits are. If you’re interested, check out all the results of my research in this recent article to learn about saltwater hot tubs.

What really surprised me was how easy it is to convert yours to saltwater without having to hire a pro. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Do hot tub Ozonators really work?

Yes, Ozonators do really work!

When you are using a hot tub Ozonator, you are creating an oxidizer to be part of your water. The ozone creates a toxic environment for most microorganisms that are found in untreated water. It can destroy parasites, bacteria, and other pathogens with regularity.

The ozone that enters the hot tub water when using an Ozonator will oxidize numerous unwanted contaminants that are commonly found in hot tubs.

Ozone will work with sanitizers such as bromine and chlorine to kill pathogenic germs, bacteria, and viruses that may be present as well.

However, if your chlorine keeps disappearing, you may have another problem and even ozone won’t fix it.

If you keep adding chlorine or bromine and have to add it again a few days later, make sure to read this recent article.

I break down what’s really going on and how to fix it quickly and easily. Just click that link to read it on my site.

There are some organic materials that a hot tub Ozonator can sometimes struggle to remove from the water. These organic materials are usually unwanted viruses and bacteria that may be in the water of your hot tub.

That’s why many of these ozone systems incorporate UV technology with the ozone. The UV and ozone work together to easily clean your hot tubs water and keep it clean longer.

If you are like most hot tub owners, you use regular chemicals such as bromine or chlorine to disinfect your hot tub water.

Owners that use these two chemicals will typically replace the water in their hot tub about once every three or four months.

But hot tub owners who equip an Ozonator to their model can go up to one year before they need to change their water!

When using a hot tub, people can sometimes get various rashes and sores. These are not as frequent when you use an Ozonator with your hot tub, because the ozone makes the water softer.

How long does a hot tub Ozonator last?

A hot tub Ozonator will typically last between 2 and 3 years. However, in some cases, the UV light bulb may need to be replaced prior to the system needing to be replaced.

Once mixed into the spa water, the ozone gas will only remain present in your hot tub water for twelve hours.

This means that at the end of 12 hours, your hot tub water will not have a sanitizer in it. It is recommended that an Ozonator be turned on at least three or four hours every 12 hours. This will ensure an adequate amount of ozone sanitizer in the water of your hot tub at all times.

You should check and adjust your total alkalinity and pH levels at least once per week.

It is good to always keep a careful eye on these levels. Even when using an Ozonator, you still need to add some form of regular sanitizer to your hot tub such as chlorine or bromine.

You’re probably wondering, does an Ozonator ever need any maintenance? Simply put, yes, an Ozonator does need maintenance. 

The ultraviolet light bulb in the Ozonator unit will eventually, over time, burn out and need to be replaced. The ultraviolet bulbs usually last approximately five years under normal use and are relatively easy to replace.

Besides that, an Ozonator will not need much maintenance at all.

Is ozone better than chlorine?

Ozone is often preferred to chlorine because of how much faster the water is purified, the lower chemical levels in the water resulting in less skin irritation, and the lack of chemical by-products remaining in the water as a result of sanitizing.

Ozone literally cleans the water 3000 times faster than chlorine. 

Chlorine water treatment can leave long term chemical effects on the environment. On the other hand, ozone does not do this. Ozone is the strongest and fastest available disinfectant and oxidant for water treatment. Unlike chlorine, ozone is generated on-site and does not require storage.

Unlike chlorine, ozone disinfection is not dependent on pH.

Also, the addition of ozone does not affect the pH level of water when added. There is no unpleasant chemical taste or smell when ozone is used, unlike chlorine. Additionally,  ozone dissolved in water will not irritate the skin of the bather. It will also not dry out or leave a chemical film on your skin.

Ozone is less corrosive than chlorine in water.


Concerned about sensitive skin or hot tub rashes?

Red, itchy skin isn’t uncommon after hot tub use. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Some chemicals are better for sensitive skin and some chemicals are unnecessary.

Luckily, I break it all down for you in this recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Due to the advances in technology, ozone is becoming more affordable to install, in addition to being cheap to operate. Typically, an ozone installation will pay for itself over the course of a single year.

Chlorine concerns

When chlorine is added to your water, it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes or THMs.

These by-products trigger the production of free radicals in the body, which in turn cause cell damage. THMs are also highly carcinogenic. These low levels of THMs are the ones that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of cancers found in humans. (source)

Additionally, breast cancer, which now affects one in every eight women in North America, has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue

Hartford Connecticut carried out a study that found that “women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination by-products) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.”

However, it’s worth noting that 2 different studies published by the National Institutes of Health conflict with each other on that finding (source 1 and source 2).

Those studies are also geared more towards chlorinated drinking water than pools and hot tubs.

Overall, while Ozone is certainly a better resource at hot tub owners’ disposal, you still have to use it in conjunction with a sanitizer such as chlorine or bromine.

Carefully research your choices further and determine which sanitizer works for you.

No matter what sanitizer you use, you always need to wait a bit before getting in after adding it to your hot tub.

How long should you wait? Do you have to wait longer if you use chlorine than bromine?

You’ve got questions, and luckily, I have the answer! Just check out my recent article to see just how long to wait after treating your water. Plus you’ll get my tips on how to always have your hot tub ready for soaking when you’re ready.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Should I get an Ozonator for my hot tub?

There are pros and cons to everything, including an Ozonator.  Let’s go over them.

First, here are the pros

  1. The Ozonator provides a natural cleaning agent for your hot tub.
  2. It will also reduce skin, eye, and nose irritation when soaking in the water.
  3. Ozonators are great economical solutions. You use less sanitizer, which means you don’t have to spend your money as frequently.
  4. You’ll have a cleaner hot tub for a longer period of time! Water does not need to be changed as frequently.
  5. Fewer smells
  6. Your hot tub is easier to maintain and run

However, there are some cons.

  1. If the amount of ozone is too high, there can be an effect on the respiratory system. There may be coughing and irritation in both the throat and chest. This can also happen when any chemical in your hot tub is out of balance.
  2. It is possible to damage your hot tub by using an Ozonator. Gas can build up between the water and your hot tub cover, causing damage over time. Take off your hot tub cover for a few hours every week to mitigate this.

Overall, buying an Ozonator is an excellent choice.

It’s a natural cleaning agent, economic solution, and the cleanliness of your hot tub lasts longer. Remember to always test the pH levels of your hot tub water.

What is the best hot tub Ozonator and how much does it cost?

The best hot tub Ozonator based on reviews, cost, ease of installation, and lifespan is the DEL Ozone Spa Eclipse. Killing 99.9% of germs, 1-year warranty, and a cost of just over $100.

Ozonators have different costs and price ranges based on the brand and features. Let’s check out a few of the best options on Amazon and see.

1. DEL Ozone Hot Tub and Spa Eclipse

  • Designed for hot tubs up to 750 Gallons
  • Kills up to 99.99% of microorganisms 
  • Free shipping
  • 1-year warranty
  • Includes: Eclipse CD Ozone Generator, Ozone Supply Tubing, Check Valve, Mounting Hardware, Installation Guide, and Water Chemistry Guide

Top customer concern – Customers have complained that it is not as reliable as stated, so be wary. But it still has a great star rating and well over 50 reviews.

Cost – Just over $100


2. Prozone Water Products PZ1 Ozone System

  • Designed for hot tubs up to 800 gallons 
  • Rugged, functional housing – made of heavy extruded aluminum for durability
  • Translucent end Caps glow when the system is on
  • Free shipping
  • 1-year warranty
  • Includes: Patented corona Hybrid arc tube, solid-state ballast and installation kit (1/4″ozone check valve, hose, hose clamps, and mounting screws)

Top customer concern – Higher negative reviews than the DEL system, but still has greater than 50% of the reviews being 5-star

Cost – Under $100


3. DEL MCD-50 Spa Ozonator Universal Voltage

  • Designed for hot tubs up to 1,500 gallons 
  • Works with either 110 Volts or 240 Volts (Auto detects when it is installed)
  • Indicator lights up to let you know the system is working
  • 5-Year average lifespan for the ozone cell
  • Free shipping
  • 1-year warranty
  • Includes: Hose clamps, screws, installation guide, tubing, and 1 ozone check valve 

Top customer concern – None – all current reviews are great!

Cost – Under $150


Final Thoughts

Ozone generators allow ozone to be placed in a hot tub or spa.

Ozone is great for neutralizing nasty bacteria and viruses. You should use ozone with another sanitizer to maximize its effects.

Once mixed into the spa water, the ozone gas will only remain present in your hot tub water for twelve hours. Because ozone doesn’t last long in water, the Ozonator will have to run for four to six hours per day to be effective at sanitization.

You can program your Ozonator to run every two to three hours every twelve hours, or you can just run it all at once.

Ozonators will also save you money in the long run, because you will need to use less sanitizer such as bromine or chlorine. And fewer chemicals will also be easier on your skin!

As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click on Amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase. You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details.

Jeff Campbell