Chlorine Hot Tub Sanitizers
Quite possibly the best sanitation solution with the worst reputation. The first thing to understand is that chlorine does in fact come in different make ups. For instance the type of chlorine used in swimming pools is typically different from what we would use in a portable hot tub. For multiple reasons, these types of chlorine are not recommended in portable hot tubs. In fact, their use voids the warranty of most portable hot tubs. The type of chlorine used in a portable hot tub is generally Di-chlor based and only comes in granular form. This type of sanitizer is closer to being pH neutral, comes with stabilizer (CYA or cyanuric acid) already formulated into it, and if used properly has little to no odor. This type of chlorine also leaves behind very little total dissolved solids which means less foaming over time. Side note: Chlorine does tend to dissipate faster than some bromine so be sure to maintain a healthy level of sanitizer. Learn how to use SpaGuard Chlorine here.
Bromine Hot Tub Sanitizers
This is generally one of the most popular sanitizer for portable hot tubs. Easy to use, normally in some sort of floating dispenser, bromine constantly sanitizes and disinfects. When used with a regular routine of shocking your hot tub water, it is capable of keeping your water clean and clear. Side note: Be careful not to over sanitize as this can be harmful to your hot tub and keep a closer eye on your pH as it will tend to drift downward using bromine. Learn how to use SpaGuard Bromine here
Mineral Hot Tub Sanitizers
Minerals such as Jacuzzi’s ProClear Cartridge or King Technology’s Filter Frog both work great as a low chlorine/bromine cocktail. When using a mineral sanitizer, anytime you add Spa Shock to your hot tub, it interacts with your mineral sanitizer to release a mild sanitizer into your water. This means you will use less chlorine or bromine, in most cases only once a week, as long as you add Spa Shock a couple times per week or after each use. Please note: For higher bather loads, adding sanitizer twice a week or more may be required. Minerals are generally considered more of a supplemental sanitizer.
Ozone Hot Tub Sanitizers
Ozone is another supplemental sanitizer, this one however built into the hot tub and automated. Ozone generators, through one method or another like Corona Discharge or UV, inject ozone gas into the water to break down organics like sweat, skin, and body oil. Ozone also kills a small percentage of bacteria lowering overall sanitizer demand. The only downfalls of ozone is that they can also break down a small amount of plastics which can cause minor repairs over time. Some sort of sanitizer, be it 3-4 ppm of chlorine or bromine, is still required to maintain a safe soaking environment.
UV-C Hot Tub Sanitizers
This type of supplemental sanitation is very misunderstood for most. UV-C has been used in many industries for years for controlling bacteria. While it is not an oxidizer like ozone, UV-C actual slows or stops the reproduction of bacteria (which is why sanitizer is still required). This happens while passing the water through a stainless steel chamber at a certain flow rate. Done correctly, you only need to maintain 1-2 ppm of sanitizer in your hot tub using UV-C Technoology. Plus, it also helps control the formation of chloramines which is the root cause of chemical odor. Side Note: Yearly bulb replacement is required and easy to do for anyone who can change a lightbulb
Salt Hot Tub Sanitizers
Definitely the most misunderstood sanitation method in our industry. Salt systems don’t actually use salt to sanitize the hot tub at all. They actually convert salt into the one thing people think they are avoiding when they have a “salt water system:” chlorine. The nice thing about these systems is that they automate the additional of chlorine to your water although they still require weekly pH balancing. While some people report the fact that the salt in the water makes the water feel soft on their skin, this same effect can be achieved using a water conditioner like TRIO, ProClear Plus, or Aqua Finesse. Now while any level of salt in water creates a corrosive environment, likely reducing the life of things like heaters, o-rings, and pump seals, the other thing not generally mentioned is the maintenance required on the salt cell itself. These salt cells do require acid washing on a quarterly basis as well as replacement every couple years (usually at a cost of $300-900 each).
Biguanide or Peroxide Hot Tub Sanitizers
These systems aren’t as popular as they once were. The claim to fame here is that a Biguanide system is 100% chlorine or bromine free. These are actually based with peroxide. If diligent and persistent with your water care then these systems can work fine. Now if your water is not perfectly balanced 100% of the time then the side effects can be more than challenging, they can also easily damage your hot tub. These are not recommended for those with breathing issues like asthma. Most manufacturers recommend not using these water care products and many even void your warranty if doing so.
Hot Tub Water Conditioners
While these are not actually sanitizer so at all, they make a great addition to your water care routine. Products like TRIO, ProClear Plus, and Aqua Finesse all do an excellent job of making your water feel softer and cleaner. They do this by reducing biofilm build up and making your primary sanitizer work more effectively. This means less sanitizer is generally needed in your water. As an added bonus they also reduce pH fluctuations in your waterThey can also prolong the lifespan of your spa water and hot tub components.