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What is the Difference Between a 32amp and a 13amp Hot Tub?

If you are in the market for a hot tub, or you are looking to upgrade from an inflatable tub, then you will have noticed that there are two options available to you. Choosing between a 13amp and a 32amp hot tub may seem a bit confusing but we assure you, after reading this handy guide, all will become clear and you will be able to make an informed choice.

32amp hot tubs have been around since the late 1950s when they first emerged in California. Put simply, a 32amp hot tub is wired directly into your mains power supply. It is also important to note that wired tubs can go up to 40amp.

The 13amp hot tub is the new kid on the block, having been around since the beginning of the century and they are often referred to as ‘plug ‘n play’ because they get their power from a standard 13amp plug which is plugged into an outdoor socket. 

All 13amp tubs can be supplied with a 16amp plug instead, the same as you would use to plug a caravan into a power supply if preferred. Most will also have the option to be hard-wired as 20 amp which gives you slightly more power.

Needless to say, a 32amp hot tub is more powerful. They usually have between two and four pumps that deliver power to different parts of your tub. This makes them more versatile as you have more control over your tub and you can tailor their output to your specific needs.

But before you rush out and buy one, there are a few factors you should consider first.

These are:

  • How you are going to use your hot tub
  • What features you want your hot tub to have
  • Running costs of your hot tub
  • Installation costs of your hot tub

What do you want from your hot tub?

People use hot tubs for many reasons. Everyone loves slipping into the warm crystal clear waters and enjoying the benefits of the hydrotherapy jets, but it’s not as simple as that.

If you are looking for an upgrade from an inflatable tub, or you are just looking to use your tub occasionally in the warmer months, then a 13amp hot tub may be the best choice.

One of the attractions of a 13amp tub is the price – they are generally cheaper to buy than a 32amp hot tub. They are typically a little smaller and hold a lesser volume of water. Another benefit is that if you should move, then moving a 13amp hot tub is far easier than moving a 32amp.

Because they are less powerful than the 32amp variety, 13amp hot tubs tend to have fewer features. To keep the water warm, your hot tub needs a heater and to circulate the water and power the jets, a pump or two is required. 

However, with a 13amp tub that has a two-speed pump, if you have your jets set on high, you can’t heat your tub at the same time. But if you set your jets on low, you can. There is also the option of turning off individual jets inside your tub and diverting all the power to one place, which will give you the feeling of high power whilst still heating the water in your tub. 

In the warmer months, not being able to heat your tub with the jets on high power won’t be a problem, as your water won’t lose too much heat, but if you want to enjoy your hot tub in the colder winter months, your water is going to cool at a rate of 1-2 degrees an hour, the colder it is outside the quicker this will happen. No one wants to sit in a cold tub.

Hot tubs lose 60% of their heat through the surface of the water, so if you want to enjoy a long soak with the jets on, choosing a 32amp hot tub may be the better option, as the extra power means that it can run the pumps and the heater at the same time.

A well-insulated hot tub can obviously help maintain that toasty temperature, so if you opt for a 13amp tub, choose one that is really well insulated. You may have to pay a little more, but it’s worth it.

If you want to use your hot tub to relax those muscles and joints after a long run, gym session or bike ride, while still staying nice and warm, even in the winter, then a 32amp hot tub is the best option.

Because of the increased power, a 32 amp tub will usually have more jets, it can run a more powerful heater (up to 3kw) and the jets themselves will be more powerful, giving you a more intense hydrotherapy massage.

What features do you want your hot tub to have?

As the popularity of hot tubs has grown over the last 20 years, manufacturers have been adding more and more features to improve your hot tub experience. Apart from the jets, hot tubs can now feature waterfalls, underwater lighting, sound systems, and more control through the control panel. These features need power.

A 13amp tub usually has fewer features than a 32amp due simply to the reduced power. 32amp hot tubs have more jets, which are more powerful, they come with more jet pumps, increasing the intensity of their hydrotherapeutic power, and a more technical control panel, allowing you more fingertip control over your tub’s features. 

Some manufacturers have added more jets to their 13amp hot tubs but without a powerful pump, this can mean the jets are less powerful. Many 13amp tubs even come with underwater lights, waterfalls, and sound systems but power-wise, there is a compromise. Because of the bigger pull on your power, the jets will be less powerful.

What are the running costs of 13amp and 32amp hot tubs?

There is no difference at all regarding the chemicals you need to maintain your hot tub water or the cleaning solutions and other consumables needed to keep your hot tub all clean and sparkly. Please check out our maintenance guide for more information on cleaning your hot tub and maintaining the chemical balance of your water so it is clean, safe and hygienic.

When it comes to power, you would think that a 32amp hot tub costs a lot more to run. The truth is, the difference in running cost is nominal. As a 32amp tub has more features and components, it uses more power, but a 13amp hot tub makes its components work harder, which balances out the cost. 

Factors such as the quality and size of your hot tub, how much you use the tub, for how long, how much you use your jets and your preferred water temperature all have an impact on the amount of power that it uses so it is almost impossible to estimate the difference in running costs.

On average, an energy-efficient hot tub will cost about £1.50 per day to run (at 12-14p per kwh).

Other running costs also need to be taken into consideration. Regular servicing of your hot tub is necessary to ensure optimum performance. For a 13amp hot tub with fewer components, maintenance costs may be cheaper over time because there are fewer parts to go wrong and they will be slightly cheaper. However, a good quality 32amp hot tub that is regularly serviced will rarely go wrong and can serve you well for up to 10 years. Check out our servicing page so you can see what your options are.

What are the installation costs of 13amp and 32amp hot tubs?

13amp hot tubs are very easy to install and get started with, hence ‘plug ‘n play’. All you need to do is connect them to an RCD protected waterproof 3 pin socket and you are away. Do not just connect them to an extension cable because, well, you know, water and electricity. Getting an RCD protected waterproof socket installed in your garden by a qualified electrician will cost you somewhere between £150 – £400. 

To get a qualified electrical engineer to connect your 32amp hot tub to your mains power will cost you a little more, somewhere around £500- £900. 

So, before you upgrade from your inflatable hot tub or you take your first steps into owning a hot tub (you’ll never look back, we can assure you), take the time to think about how you will use your hot tub, what features you expect it to have and the cost of running it. You can check out our range of 13amp and 32amp tubs here.

If you want something more than a summer hot tub to play in with the family and you really want to experience hydrotherapy in all its glory, then you should seriously consider a 32amp hot tub.

If you have any questions or want some friendly advice, send us a message or drop into our showroom. We’ll be more than happy to help. And don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list for exclusive deals, offers, news, and events.