Bullfrog – Brand Review

Bullfrog – Brand Review

Bullfrog :

Bullfrogs, like most bands, are a bit of good a bit of bad and a bit of ugly. Those goofy pods really limit the area where the jetting can go. and are so expensive to replace $400-$700 that according to the dealers I have talked to very few people ever replace them. The whole premise is kind of whack, on any hot tub with good high flow Jetting you can change the Jets and customize a chair for $20 $40 a jet and you have more options because each jet can be swapped and it can be done simply and easily.

And they are still haunted by the horror stories of the bacteria build up behind the pods in their earlier models, this caused them to have to tap into the jet pressure to flow a lot of water through

the back of the seat to keep the area sanitized which takes a lot of the water flow away from the jetting.

The shell is an ABS plastic backed acrylic which is not my preferred construction. Hailed as the new way in the 80’s these Shells have been abandoned by most of the industry. These types of shells usually can’t even hold their own weight with water and people over time so they need to use pedestals and props to support it just to stop it from falling apart. The insulation is good, and the components are good, and the plumbing is good but that pitch about the reduced amount of pipe increasing the flow rate is questionable science. they are inferring that the water is flowing a shorter route but 90% of the pipe is in parallel so the actual distance between the pump and the Jet is similar to an efficiently plumbed spa. I ran the numbers using the rough data and according to these figures the actual friction reduction loss in the large 2″ pipe pushing 300 gal/min is almost .5 PSI per foot. Their claim is based on the idea that they reduced the amount of plumbing thereby reducing the friction loss and thus improving the efficiency. But the science disagrees because once we hit the manifold (I removed flow effects through the manifold because both systems use them) we split off into an average of 16 smaller 3/4″ pipes carrying an average of 18 gals per minute with a friction loss of only around .36 psi per foot.

They reduced the total amount of pipe by moving the manifold right behind the seat and only using small 3/4″ hoses for the 6″-12″ between the manifold and the jet. this means they actually use more of the big2″ pipe that actually has a higher line loss per foot. it’s this crazy marketing world we live in… now we could tweak the numbers to make either scenario look slightly better or worse, I used rough numbers that would be typical of these pumps and pipe and I used the same rough numbers in both calculations and I think the reality here is there is very little significant difference in the performance of the two systems but here is one big question… If they saved so much money on all the plumbing and pipework why is it not a mid-priced spa??? Mayhaps they went the route of spending lot of money selling pseudoscience and gimmicks instead of spending it on building a great hot tub…

 

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Hi – can you provide your thoughts on Artesian tubs? I am in between an Artesian Antigua and Bullfrog A6L. Cant find much information on Artesian tubs. Wanting a well constructed hot tub with quality jets for massage benefits. Budget is 10K, so open to other opinions if there is a better suggested one out there.

Hi Lindsay,

Artesian all day long over Bullfrog and the Antigua is a great tub. Bullfrog is not terrible but Artesian is one of our top brands. Look through our replies here about Artesian models

Mrs O has decided she’d like a hot tub and would add I’ve found the information on here extremely useful so thank you. Our size choice is fairly limited so something like the round Bullfrog X6R seems to be one on my short list but I came across this UK manufacturer …https://www.rotospa.co.uk/product/the-orbis/ Whilst I’m not sure of the Bullfrog cost I did wonder if this is one I should consider? It doesn’t seem to be quite as high a spec as the Bullfrog but is it good value? Would appreciate any viewpoints from anyone. Kindest Regards Kev

Hey Kev

Not sure about the local one, is it really made there or more likely a chinese import private branded?

Bullfrog is over priced middle of the road with loads of fancy marketing to make it seem high end.

go find a master or Artesian or even a jacuzzi

Thank you, I’ll take a look. As a newbie, I’d prefer to do the groundwork researching the subject rather than buy in haste and regret it later. One thing is clear though is that whilst tubs all look very similar the construction varies and trying to discern between the good and bad isn’t easy.

its a shit show, so much of this world is smoke and mirrors its sad, we have the ability to make products that would last a lifetime but we build shit to intentionally fail for profit. Meanwhile, we are filling landfill sites with crap that’s failing and raping the land for the resources and energy needed to make more crap that is designed to fail.

We need a new system…

Good day, great site with a lot of information. We are looking for a larger tub and wanted your opinion between the Caldera Cantabria, the Bull Frog A9L and the Tropic Seas Tahiti.
Thank you for your time.

Hi Dan,

Of those, drop the Sundance and Hot Springs. The BF is a middle of the road tub but the two Master units are top-notch. I personally prefer the TS because it focuses on substance over style. The LSX will give you one extra pump and a lot of bells and whistles but theTS is a better value

Hi Bill, I’m trying to decide which of the following to purchase: Hot Spring Jetsetter LX, Dimension 1 Triad 36, Bullfrog R5L, or Bullfrog STIL5. Thoughts about these options? Thanks in advance. (Love the website!) FYI, I’m in a cold-weather climate location.

Of these models the Bullfrog then the D1 for sure. The best thing about the HS is the marketing that makes it seem high end.

Hey great reviews thank you! We are trying to decide between a Bullfrog A6L, Vita Spa Monarque 500S, and Artic Spa Summit series. Been a long time since we owned a tub (like 30+yrs) Any advice on which to choose of the three? Anything else is a late 2020/ mid 2021 delivery. Can get one of those in time for a Canadian winter. Thanks!

Hi Shauna, Of those three, the Bullfrog is the best. In my opinion it’s over-priced and I don’t like the cradle supported ABS shell but it is at least a mid-range tub. The other two are on our no-go list so if that is your choice, the BF would be the choice. I would give you one piece of advice though (and I seem to repeat this a lot lately). It seems that with Covid everyone suddenly wants a hot tub and that has the market super crazy with high prices and long availability. The temptation is to buy what… Read more »

What do you think of the M-Series from BullFrog?

mid-grade spas with dodgy plastic shells that need big pedestal supporting and mid-grade parts sold as high end based on massive advertising, branding and marketing.

Debating btw a Bullfrog R7L and a Jacuzzi J345 – thoughts??

Does anyone know the power for the heater that comes in these bullfrog spas? It’s surprisingly hard to find the specs. Specifically the R7?

likely a 4kw or 5kw but not sure.

So I found the operating manual online and confirmed it’s a 4kW from the wiring diagram. I guess this is the more important question? Is a 4kW heater suitable for Canada? It’s what most tubs equip, but the guys that sell the lines with 5.5kW heaters pitch the bigger heater hard. I can get a few extreme days a year the bigger heater could be a game changer, but I’m more concerned about the 4kW being suitable at 0 deg F. Also – since a heater is just a part, have you found this is something that can be swapped… Read more »

you can swap them almost for sure… check the amperage rating on the motors… typically they are going to be 12-16 amps the only other major draw is the heater 4kw@230 volt is 17 amps and 5kw is 22amp plus you can configure the system for high current mode or low current mode which controls whether the heater comes on when the second pump is engaged 🙂 Its gimmick… and in any tub for about under$200 you can change the heater core out… its not any cost difference and should not affect your cost or be part of your buying… Read more »

Can you tell me what is a better spa?
The Dynasty Brava-ST or the Bullfrog R7L?
My local Dealers are asking $9995 for the Dynasty and $11900 for the Bullfrog

The Bullfrog for sure

Hello! We are thinking about purchasing the bullfrog X7, we are brand new to hot tubs so really dont have much to compare to. Finding information online is difficult. We are wondering how we can find the best price we should be paying for the tub? We have a quote for $12,500 Canadian, unsure if that is reasonable there is no other dealer in our city who sells it to compare. Thank you!

Bullfrog is a middle of the road It has a less expensive ABS plastic shell which requires pedestal supporting and a OEM parts list that while better then the propritary stuff is not quite tier one.

all in all its overpriced with a lot spent on marketing and branding and advertising to justify a high retail price.

I would not purchase a Bullfrog the one we have in just over 6 years old well cared for has a crack that bullfrog says to bad its off warrantee , Also the speakers have rotted out all 5 of them very expensive to have fixed

Hey, dave shoot me a pic of the crack. ill email you.

Really hate the look of most hot tubs (which I know is totally personal). The only model I actually half like the look of is the Bullfrog STIL 6 person model. You have said the main drawback is the ABS shell. Is this a bigger problem in cold climates (I live in Edmonton AB)?

Any thoughts on Spa country as a dealer?

Thanks

plastic shell and although the parts are OEM they are not the top ones, its not a nightmare brand by any means.

In Edmonton you can get Coast, Beachcomber, Master… all better build choices and remember… you only see the inside of a hot tub when yer shopping and its empty 😉

One more question, should one invest in a salt water system or stick with chlorine?

Salt is old tech all it does is make chlorine and the Canadian department of health is reviewing the systems and have now banned some of them because they create a toxin… And they are 20-year-old tech these assholes pushing this outdated tech are full of shit… all these systems do is make chlorine or bromine!!! they are unreliable, high price and higher chemical and harder to manage PH than the really good stuff. No Matter what brand you buy don’t buy any of the miracle chemical reduction systems like salt or UV or AOP or Ozone, just buy this stuff… its lower chemical easier… Read more »

What spas are in your top group? And why? We are possibly buying a bullfrog tomorrow so I wanna check your response before I commit.

Hi Chrystie.

Bullfrog is good, they are just out fo my top five because they use an ABS plastic pedestal supported shell the rest is good.

Hey Chris I inherited a 2015 A6. My local dealer seemed very knowledgeable. They recommended the Frog@ ease mineral system. Have you reviewed this process at all? I follow the recommendations closely and end up having to change the water more often than it says? Thank you in advance for any advice

Hi, they do a few frog systems, there are the chlorine dispensing system and the mineral Ion systems. the Ion system is ok but I find the claims exaggerated like on all onboard hot tub chem reduction systems, every manufacturer has some type of chem reduction system and the reality is none of them are anywhere near as effective as the add-in products. Just buy this stuff… its lower chemical easier to manage healthier and less expensive, plus it extends the life of the tub and gives you a lifetime guarantee ion the jets. https://hottubuniversity.com/spa-marvel-us/ Also, download this app It lets you… Read more »

Hi Chris. I am looking at purchasing a Bullfrog spa. Have you reviewed the Bullfrog X series? they don’t have the “Pod” system so hopefully can avoid the issues they have.

Thank you
Matt

Hi Matt

all in all, they are good the only downside is the abs shell, its nowhere near as good as the high-end hand rolled glass shells.

Thank you, I really appreciate your input, I am considering the Bullfrog X7 Premier and the Catalina Napa 84B

The Bullfrog is a better spa for sure.

What brand produces the shells your referring to?

The hand rolled shell is not a brand but a method of making a hot tub shell. A shell can be made by moulding ABS plastic or by moulding an acrylic panel and then layering fiberglass over the underside of the panel. Layers are added and each layer is rolled to compress the layer. This rolling is done by hand and produces the strongest possible shell assuming there are enough fiberglass layers to make a thick shell. A properly made shell will be thick enough with enough layers to make it self-supporting meaning that it can hold water without stressing… Read more »

Hi Chris. In your article on brands you like/dislike you listed Bullfrog as one of the brands you like. Yet this article seems to be pretty negative about them. Is it safe to conclude that you don’t recommend bullfrog hot tubs?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts:

Jim

the build is good and the parts are good the shell is the best of the second grade builds what I hate is all the bullshit marketing around the goofy removable seats and the pseudo-science around the better floe rates 🙂 but really its a pretty good tub all around and just outside my top group. much better than most of the stuff out there.

Chris; do you perchance have an updated photo of the piping(interchangeable backs) that Bullfrog now uses?

Yeah, I saw it. They basically replaced the smaller pipes going to each jet by making it an integrated manifold… when I did the calculations for line loss the worst was the large 2″ pipe from the pump to the manifold, the flow rate through the smaller 3/4″ pipes from the manifold to the jets were actually lower loss per foot so really they took out some of the pipes where it was more efficient and replaced it with more of the 2″ pipe that was less efficient 🙂 I don’t think they really made much difference in the overall… Read more »

Hey Chris,
I’m not so sure those calculations are in keeping with basic fluid mechanics. The surface area of all those pipes results in head pressure losses due to friction. So it is possible that the Bullfrog system’s simplicity holds true and the same HP may produce more power at the jet. I think the other advantage they claim is that less pipe means less joints and less chance for leaks.
Thanks for what you do. Great website..

Fewer connections for sure but if you are gluing and clamping lines leaks are not an issue…

I ran the math for friction losses with the flow rates a couple of times and the math seems right the big pipe with the high flow rate has more loss to friction than the small pipe with low flow rate, I didnt work in turbulence but with a higher flow rate that would be again negative for that system.

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