Horsepower is Confusing​-What does Really Mean

I have been in retail sales all of my life, and one of the most confusing things manufacturers put on their product information labels is the specifications of that said 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’ll tell you what you should look for.

One of the most significant 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 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 puts out. One is a very high number, and the other is relatively low.  

Many 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 and have a manufacturer’s brochure, 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 Here and see this hot tub up close

Hot Tub Horsepower is Confusing​
Viking Pump Specifications

I have a Second brochure from Hotspring Spas. The Grandee also has 2 pumps both pumps are 2.5hp continuous each with a total of 5hp.  Then they give a second number of 5.2hp breakdown torque for a total of 10.4hp. Click and see this hot tub

Hotpsring Pump Specifications

Confusing? Here is what we are looking at.  Viking gave us the Breakdown Torque in hp, which the motor puts out in the first 1/10th of a second when the pump is starting up. Hotspring gave us Continuous Duty Horse Power, the actual HP rating. This is how much HP it 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 an accurate comparison. I would not say these manufacturers are misleading you by only printing one number, rather they are just playing the numbers game like any other company trying to make a sale.

Look for a Future Article, “Why Horse Power Doesn’t Always Matter!”

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