Top Hot Tubs. More small pumps? or fewer large pumps?

Top Hot Tubs. More small pumps? or fewer large pumps?
7.4 Total Score
How many pumps you need in a high-end performance hot tub is a good question.
There is a lot of marketing and spin around this question with sales guys often saying more pumps make a better performing hot tub, and charging a lot more money for spas with more pumps. The reality is there is a lot of misinformation surrounding this topic.
So is it better to have 2 large pumps or is it better to have 3,4, or even 5 smaller pumps?
Sales people will often try and tell you that more pumps make for better performance, it’s an easy pitch, our experience is more is better and if you are shopping hot tubs and one has two pumps and the other has 4 pumps your knee jerk reaction is the tub with more pumps is worth more and will perform better.
Hell 4 pumps have to be better than 2 pumps right???

There are a lot of reasons why 2 large pumps are better than 4 small ones.

The first thing to understand is all of the high-end therapy hot tubs are using every bit of available electrical power allowed. What this means is simple… if we are maxing out the power with two pumps and we go to 4 pumps those 4 pumps have to be 1/2 the size in terms of electrical power… This fact is often is hidden because hot tub guys quote the horsepower of the pump head, not the electric motor driving the pump 🙂 Crazy right??? I can put a huge 6 hp pump head on a tiny little motor and tell you it is a 6hp pump…lmfao! But we can not get away from the scientific fact that there are only so many amps of electrical current available and using more pumps is simply a gimmick designed to make more profit from you and actually reduces the performance and efficiency of your hot tub and here is why…

  1. Efficiency
    • Bigger pumps are more efficient than smaller pumps, larger pumps offer efficiencies of 75% to 93% and the smaller ones usually fall into the 50% to 70%
      • This means that 3  x 2hp pumps are not going to perform nearly as well as one 6 hp pump
      • So the more pumps we have the more power we waste and the less actual water pressure we get!!!
  1. Performance in the chair
  • A 2 pump system not only has more power due to efficncy but it also can put more flow to a single chair.
    • If we have 2 big pumps using all the available power with diverters then we can put one whole big pump into the main massage chair.
    • if we have 4 pumps they have to be 1/2 the power of the big pumps and then each pump runs a chair so the best we can have is 1/2 the power to the chair. And ecause of the efficency loss we really only have about 3/4 of the power available.
7.4 Total Score

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Well, I ‘d rather have the small pumps to be honest


Trying to decide between a 2 pump or 3 pump Cal Spa hot tub. Is there any benefit or detriment to 3 3.0HP pumps over 2 3.0?


Hi Chris,
Your articles are very informative. I live in the mountains of North Carolina near Boone. My choices are limited to Hot Springs, Caldera, Jacuzzi, and Bullfrog dealers. A local hot tub service person is recommending Clearwater Spas. The nearest Master Spa and Marquis Spa dealers are over 2 hours away. I am trying to decide between Clearwater with perimeter insulation and two 5HP pumps or Bullfrog X series with two 2.5HP pumps. I would appreciate your insight.


Awesome Site! We ‘accidentally’ purchased a Master Spa 15 years ago and it has been an excellent spa for us. Usual maintenance issues, (one plumbing leak- probably vibration, an impeller seal, foam headrest deterioration, and a heater replacement) but having multiply sourced parts made its’ maintenance a breeze. It’s time to replace it for more modern technology and building techniques. Do you have an opinion on variable speed motors? ECM type rather than PCM? My understanding is they are much more energy efficient motors. I’ve learned from your site that insulation is the biggest energy loss in our Colorado climate,… Read more »

Leo Brereton

Hey Chris, We live in Connecticut, so Winters are cold. We’re adding on a new patio and want to include a 5-6 person tub. I am totally new to the market, but near me are dealers for Artesian, HotSpring, Caldera and Master. I need to keep the price below 10k, but Caldera seems to be about the only option. I’m not what you’d call a hot tub afficianado…just want something reliable and comfortable for after work soaking and occasional entertaining. Would I really be making a mistake with Caldera? Thanks for any advice you can give. AND for putting all… Read more »

Melanie arsenault


We are a family of 5 looking for very large hot tub in moncton NB. We often entertain with other families , so we are looking for 8-10 persons spa.
We looked at :
Hydropool 1038 vs coast spa mirage curve.
Your opinion would be greatly appreciated!!

Jennifer Lindel

Wonderful job with this forum. Thank you so much for educating us and all your honest advice. Looking for a therapy spa for aches and pains. What is the difference between Master Spas Twilight and Healthy Living lines? And


Chris, really love the website. I am looking at the Bullfrog spas. Any impressions on this brand.. Thanks

Gillian Pearson & Bob Pearson

Hello Love your website and advice. We live in England., UK. We are looking at buying a South Seas 748ldx from a local dealer with excellent reviews over a number of years. He is a one man band. He recommends we stick to part foam insulation rather than full foam insulation so that we can access the equipment if there are problems. We have wet tested this tub along with others and like it. However we are not sure if the insulation he is proposing is adequate.; please advise. We liked Arctic Spas insulation concept but the local agent does… Read more »


Could you list the best hot tubs, please. Thank you.


Hi Chris
I am in the process of organising a crane to lift a Michael Phelps Legend 8 over my bungalow roof in U.K.
There wasn’t the option of buying a Twilight which you recommend but how do you rate the MP8?
It has 4 pumps but one is just for circulation.

Regards Lenny

Looking for a large, simple hot tub for cottage on Higgins Lake, Northern Michigan. Have 7 grandchildren who get cold in the lake or after tubing and want to warm up and go out into the lake again. Chimney Specialists in Gaylord sells Nordic hot tubs with Balboa heating and manufactured in US. prices are 4 to 6 thousand – they have 2 to 3 ” of foam insulation and the shell is made of ABS plastic. The store is close to our cottage. What do you think?

Rebecca Harling

Hi Chris
We’re in Cornwall, UK and like so many others on here, are feeling v over whelmed trying to choose the right spa for us.

It is between
– LA San Juan SE and Artesian Antigua – 33 jets.

The LA San Juan has more jets and speakers but not foam insulated.

The Artesian dealer is v nice but only been operating 2yrs.
The LA spa dealer has been operating 20+ yrs.

In your opinion which would be your preference?

Thanks for your thoughts.



i posted something about a week ago asking some questions. Do you delete some posts?


I have watched all of your videos and read every comment/blog. Trying to do the best with the information you provide. I just dumped a second hand Reflections line (Vita) spa after developing its first obvious leak after 9 years of ownership. We discovered it had some rot as well, so we canned it My question entails your opinion on refurbished tubs from a reputable dealer. I’ve found a Master Spas LSX 557 that has been refurbished by a reputable hot tub dealer for an affordable price point . My concern is that it’s 10 years old – 2006. They… Read more »

Hi we are looking at an artesian grand Bahama elite. Any thoughts priced at $10200 ? Stopping at local master dealer also tomorrow. Thanks

hi there, I’m in Ontario and would really like to know what would be a wiser choice. I have completely turned my mind to mush figuring out what I want..i have narrowed it down to Arctic SPa(legend 3 pump w spaboy swimspa) or masterspa H2x trainer 15 . Please tell me why I should pick one over the other.


This forum has been awesome and has helped me very much in my hot tub buying quest. I think we have nearly decided on the artesian grand cayman. I like that it has full foam insulation and balboa components and made in the USA. Any thing I should be concerned about. I am also curious about Clearwater spas, although I think their insulation is suspect, thoughts?