This question seems to arise more and more when we meet hot tub shoppers. This debate has emerged from the popularity of ‘plug and play’ or 13 amp hot tubs, as consumers look to narrow down their options based on the power supply required for a specific hot tub. But what does it all mean? In this article we will explain the differences between 13 amp and 32 amp hot tubs, how running costs may or may not be affected and how you should approach this as a buyer, as well as some frequently asked questions.
13 Amp vs 32 Amp Hot Tubs
What is a 13 amp Hot Tub?
A 13 amp hot tub (also known as a plug and play hot tub) is a hot tub that only requires power from a standard 3 pin plug. These hot tubs barely existed 15-20 years ago but with consumers looking for savings on electrical installations for hot tubs, they have become very popular. They also tend to be a popular upgrade from an inflatable hot tub as they can use the same electrical supply and as explained further down tend to be a bit friendlier on the bank account!
What is a 32 amp hot tub?
A 32 amp hot tub is a hot tub that requires a 32 amp electrical supply and therefore CANNOT be powered using a standard 3 pin plug. We will explain why they require more power below.
Did you know? A hot tub can require a 20 amp supply, this all depends on the manufacturer specification. 13 and 32 amp are not the only power specifications on hot tubs but tend to be the most common requirements so we have used these to compare.
What is The Difference Between 13 and 32 amp Hot Tubs?
Number of Pumps
A 13 amp hot tub is limited to 1 jet pump, it may have an additional circulation pump but due to the limited power supply, it will only ever have one large jet pump. A 32 amp hot tub can have up to 2 jet pumps and a circulation pump. More pumps does not always mean a better hot tub, especially as jet technology has improved and remembering that submerging in hot water is the main wellness benefit of a hot tub.
On a 13 amp hot tub, the heater CANNOT run concurrently with the jet pump. This means that when the jets are on the heater must be off, this is due to power restriction. On most 32 amp hot tubs you can run the pumps and heater concurrently. On a mild or warm day this won’t tend to have an impact but on a cold day if the heater does not run alongside the pumps, the hot tub could drop temperature quite quickly when in use. For a well insulated 13 amp hot tub this won’t be a huge issue but for hot tubbers who like a long soak, it is worth knowing and considering.
A 13 amp hot tub will also be capped at a 2kw heater, where as some 32 amp hot tubs may go up to 4kw.
Due to the limited number of pumps, most 13 amp hot tubs will have less jets than a 32 amp hot tub. This is purely because the jet to pump ratio should have a sensible limit. Some manufacturers will add more jets than should be on the hot tub, which will weaken the level of massage and spread the power thin so while most 13 amp hot tubs will have less jets, some will not!
More jets does not always mean better!
A 13 amp hot tub tends to be cheaper than a 32 amp hot tub for the reasons above. A 13 amp hot tub has a reduced number of pumps, less jets and a more basic control system so you should find savings when purchasing a 13 amp spa.
The Cost of Installing the Electrical Supply
The cost of adding an outdoor 13amp socket can be significantly less than installing a 32amp feed with an isolator. This has been part of the drive for 13 amp hot tubs as consumers do not need to add expensive electrics on top of their hot tub purchase. A rough estimate to install an outdoor socket would be between £100-£200, whereas a 32 amp supply can cost up to £450 depending on various factors. You must ensure that you consult a qualified electrician when looking to install an electrical supply for a hot tub.
Key differences between a 13 amp and 32 amp hot tubs
|13 Amp Hot Tub||32 Amp Hot Tub|
|Number of Pumps:||1 (+1 Circ)||2+|
|Heater Running with Jets||No||Yes|
|Number of Jets||Less||More|
|Hot Tub Cost||££||££££|
|Cost of Electricity (estimate)||£100 - £250||Upto £450|
Hot Tub Running Costs (13 Amp vs 32 Amp)
How much does a 13 amp hot tub cost to run?
Lots of factors come into play when looking at hot tub running costs, It is not possible to simply say that all 13 amp hot tubs cost £X to run per week or month as the quality of insulation and specification varies across the market.
How much does a 32 amp hot tub cost to run?
Same as the above, we cannot give a set running cost for all 32 amp hot tubs as these hot tubs vary so much in quality.
A Key Takeaway
There is so much more to a hot tub than the electrical configuration.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.