What does “Horsepower” Really Mean?
I have been in retail sales all of my life, and one of the most confusing and misleading things manufacturers put on their product information is the specifications of that product. Whether it is audio equipment, computers, cars, etc., manufacturers like to put a number on the paper that makes their product look the same or better than the other guy. Hot tubs are no different, and I’m going to tell you what you should look for.
One of the biggest specifications on a Hot Tub and or Spa is the Horse Power, typically shown as “hp”. Many of the customers I have dealt with over the years when out shopping become fixated over this number and why it’s better than another hot tub they just looked at down the street. If the salesman doesn’t know their product and how to explain what Horse Power actually is or means, this can be problematic for the customer and may cause poor decision-making. In the real world of Spa Pumps, there are two Horse Power numbers that tell the story of what that pump really puts out. One is a very high number and the other is rather low. A lot of manufacturers only print one of these numbers in their literature, and it’s not the lower one.
If you are out shopping for a Hot Tub right now, and you have a manufacturers’ brochure with you, let’s look at what I am talking about. I have one here next to me from Viking Spas. The Heritage 2 Spa is listed as 2 pumps with 12 Total Horse Power, sounds pretty good. Click and see this hot tub up close
Viking Pump Specifications
Hotpsring Pump Specifications
Confusing? Here is what we are looking at. What Viking gave us was the Breakdown Torque in hp which is what the motor puts out in the first 1/10th of a second when the pump is starting up. What Hotspring gave us is Continuous Duty Horse Power, which is the true HP rating. This is how much HP it actually puts out while running.
If you don’t know what the continuous duty hp is on the brand of hot tub you are looking at, then you don’t have a true comparison. I would not say these manufacturers are misleading you by only printing the one number, rather they are just playing the numbers game.