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Hot Tub Horsepower: the Right Amount for Optimal Performance

Are you looking for a new hot tub but not a tub? Don’t know how much horsepower your next hot tub should have or how many pumps you need?  Why do the numbers not make sense?  In this article, I will help you demystify hot tub horsepower.

As You Read Through, I Will Answer These Essential Questions for

Hot Tub Horsepower: the Right Amount for Optimal Performance

Breakdown vS Continuous

One of the most significant specifications on a Hot Tub is the horsepower, typically shown as “hp.” Many 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. 

In the real world of Hot Tub Pumps, the numbers tell the story if you know how to read them.  Every pump has two numbers: continuous and breakdown. One is a high number, and the other is relatively low.  

This is important because Many manufacturers only print one of these numbers in their literature, and it’s always the more favorable number. Look at any manufacturer’s brochure for the specifications of a hot tub model. 

The Heritage Two Spa is listed as two pumps with 12 Total Horse Power.

example from Viking Spas. 

Hot Tub Horsepower is Confusing​

Viking Heritage 2-Pump Specifications

example from hot spring Spas.


Hotpsring Grandee Pump Specifications

The Grandee also has 2 pumps. Both pumps are 2.5hp continuous, each with a total of 5hp.  Notice they give us a second number of breakdown torque 5.2hp  for 10.4hp. 

Here is what we are looking at.  Viking gave us the Breakdown Torque in HP. That is how much HP the motor puts out in the first 1/10th of a second when the pump first starts. Hotspring gave us both breakdown HP and the Continuous Duty HP. As the name implies, it is the continuous hp while the jet pump running.

If you don’t know what the continuous duty HP is on the brand of hot tub you own or are looking at; then you don’t have an accurate way to compare it to another hot tub. I would not say these manufacturers are misleading you by only printing one number; they use the numbers so you take an interest in their product and hopefully buy it.

So, does the bigger horsepower pump win, and should I have more than one pump? The answer is yes and no. A Hot Tub has a lot of complex plumbing lines and fittings.  

The first factor in a hot tub is the number of jets.  The more jets you have, the more you divide up the water flow and, in turn, less pressure.  Next is the size of the jet lines themselves.  The larger the diameter of the plumbing line, the more horsepower you need to maintain good pressure. 

You also have other factors like how many manifolds and 90-degree connections the hot tub has, as these also reduce flow.  All of these go into how much HP you need and how many pumps you should have.   As a manufacturer, you have to balance all of these in the design of your product and at a price point you want to sell it for.

The number of jet pumps and horsepower you need is all relevant to what we just covered. My best answer is to go to a showroom, have a salesperson turn on the tub, and put your hand in front of the different jets. 

Better yet, schedule a wet test and take a soak in the hot tubs you are interested in. Without even looking at those numbers, you will quickly discover which hot tubs are weak and which are too powerful.

You may find that the hot tub you like the best doesn’t have more than one pump or a lot of horsepower. It may not even have a lot of jets. I have a hotspring spa that has one low-power pump that puts out amazing power and performance. So, it’s not always about the numbers.

in Conclusion

Navigating the realm of hot tub horsepower can be a perplexing journey for many buyers. The allure of higher numbers can often overshadow the considerations necessary for optimal performance. 

Their brochures and specifications present impressive numbers but could be selectively chosen to showcase the best aspects of their products. The truth lies in understanding what these numbers represent and how they translate into real-world experiences.

The effectiveness of a hot tub is influenced by factors like the number of jets and the size of plumbing lines, manifolds, and connections. These variables collectively determine a hot tub’s ideal horsepower and pump configuration.

Ultimately, the best approach to demystifying hot tub horsepower is hands-on. A visit to a showroom, where you can feel the water pressure from different jets, or scheduling a wet test to experience the tubs firsthand can provide insights that numbers alone cannot convey. The perfect hot tub for you might not boast the highest horsepower or multiple pumps.

So, as you embark on your hot tub journey, remember that the ideal choice may not always be the one with the most impressive horsepower—it’s about finding the perfect blend of design, functionality, and personal satisfaction.

Next Steps

Ready to find the hot tub that perfectly suits your relaxation needs? Take the plunge and visit a showroom near you. Let the water jets do the talking as you experience the feel of different pumps and configurations. Consider scheduling a wet test for the ultimate hands-on experience. Remember, it’s not just about the numbers—it’s about discovering the hot tub that delivers the right blend of comfort and performance. Your ideal relaxation oasis awaits, so why wait? Dive into the world of hot tubs today and make your hydrotherapy dreams a reality.


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