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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Chrystie

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 »

Chrystie

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.

Hottubgreenpea

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 »

Matt

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.

Matt

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.

Jim

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.

Just Joe

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 »