Plug and play hot tubs are portable tubs that can plug into a standard wall outlet. They typically run on either 110 V or 220 V. As energy efficiency technologies improve, these tubs are increasingly becoming the norm.
A plug and play hot tub has several benefits over a standard model.
1. This does not require a new electrical circuit. This can actually be a colossal cost saver for many homeowners. While most homes were originally built with circuit boards and main breakers that could handle a few more connections, these extra slots have often already been taken up by new electrical wiring. A surprising number of homes cannot support an additional electrical circuit for a standard spa tub without replacing the main breaker and circuit board. This can cost hundreds of dollars. However, with a plug and play tub, you can use your existing electrical circuits.
2. It does not require buried cable. Most municipal and county electrical conduits will demand that any full electrical circuits be buried at least 18″ deep. To install most standard tubs, you will need to install a new electrical conduit by drilling a large hole in the side of your house, installing a breaker box, and digging a trench. With a plug and play, all you need to do is plug it in and tell guests to mind the cord.
3. This is mobile. Most standard spa tubs are still called “portable” tubs, because, unlike wooden or in-ground tubs, their plumbing is all self-contained. However, they are certainly not “portable” in any usual sense of the word! Because standard ones are hardwired to underground electrical circuits, moving them even a foot from side to side means calling an electrician and a municipal or county electrical inspector. It means more digging, more wiring, and more money. However, by contrast, a plug and play spa tub is extremely easy to move around. This can be a huge advantage for homeowners who are planning to redo their backyard or deck in the near future.
That said, it’s not all rosy. Even when these are fitted with the most modern energy-saving technologies, they still heat up slower and have weaker or fewer jets than standard ones. It is not the worst thing in the world, but it’s still something worth considering before you buy.
The discrepancy in performance is more noticeable in larger spa tubs than in smaller tub models and standard models is pretty minor. If you are planning to buy a tub built to seat six or more, it is unlikely that even state-of-the-art energy efficiency technology will allow the tub to stay warm using only a standard electrical outlet.
Plug and play hot tubs aren’t for everyone, but for homeowners who want a small, affordable hot tub that can be installed and moved easily, they are an excellent choice.