Your choice of sanitizers is one of the
most important decisions you will make as a spa owner. Our comparison
guide will help you make the right choice.
spa purifier systems which meet stringent standards for
effectiveness in hot tubs. The spa purifiers in the chart
below are the best we have found.
One of them is perfect for you.
|Spa Frog In-filter
Systems --the good, the mediocre, and the ridiculous (facts about them below).
Bromine is a member of the chemical
family of halogens, which also includes
This family of products kills microorganisms including bacteria by
attacking their cell walls through oxidation. They destroy the
enzymes and structures inside these cells, which then renders them harmless.
Bromine and chlorine are the most widely used sanitizers for hot tubs and swimming pools.
Bromine tablets for hot tubs are loaded into, and then metered out via a convenient Floating Bromine-Chlorine Feeder such as
this adjustable one. How to use Bromine Tablets in a Floating Feeder
Bromine Tablets are EPA registered, an excellent sanitizer,
and are relatively inexpensive to use. It is easy to monitor
the bromine level using
Bromine 3-way Test Strips to assure proper
sanitation. With our floating feeder, bromine can be used in
virtually any spa. Bromine is superior to chlorine in that
once free chlorine is combined with waste, it has no further
sanitizing capability. Bromine can be reactivated with
OxySpa non-chlorine shock.
Although most people prefer its milder odor to that
of chlorine, bromine is not odor-free. Some people may have
a sensitivity to bromine. It tends to dry the skin in some
individuals. Recently there have been some health concerns
raised regarding halogen sanitizers. Bromine degrades upon
exposure to sunlight. Direct contact may cause discoloration
of jewelry. Requires frequent testing and adjustments.
For initial effectiveness,
Granular Bromine should be added at
startup to assure an immediate bromine bank or reserve.
Requires regular shocking with
OxySpa. Comparable in cost to other
systems. Actual cost will depend on spa size and use
pattern. Read and follow all product label directions and
Cleanwater Blue is a unique EPA registered
bactericide/algicide. It is mineral product which
kills bacteria and algae by introducing copper ions into the
These ions, delivered by way of its proprietary carrier
molecule: CW-286, disrupt the cell structure and chemical makeup of
microorganisms, eliminating them in a safe way.
|Since ancient times, drinking
water vessels were often made of copper
to help keep it fresh. And while crossing the plains,
American settlers put copper pennies in their water barrels to
inhibit stagnation, although no one really understood why or how
it worked at the time.
||Now the purifying properties of copper have
been taken a huge step further. A unique molecular
activity-enhancer: CW-286, has been developed which radically boosts
copper's purification power in a new way. The CW-286 carrier
molecule has numerous negatively charged attachment points which
hold Cleanwater Blue's positively charged copper ions, and keep them
highly potentiated and biologically active.
When bacteria or algae contact
potentiated Cleanwater Blue CW-286 molecules, copper
ions are released which they quickly absorb. This destroys
microbes by disrupting their cell structure.
Cleanwater Blue is odorless and an excellent bactericide. It also eliminates algae, so there is no need to
buy a separate algicide. The liquid is concentrated, so
it's very inexpensive to use. It is easy to monitor the
copper ion level using
Copper 3-way Test Strips to assure proper
sanitation. Cleanwater Blue will not dry or irritate skin, cause eye redness, or
fade bathing suits. Unlike bromine or chlorine, this product
will not degrade spa cover vinyl or floating thermal
blankets, nor will it degrade liners in soft spas, or cause
discoloration of jewelry.
Spa water properly treated with
Cleanwater Blue is safe to people and pets, since the copper level
in your hot tub is actually lower than the standard set by the EPA
for drinking water. Depending upon your spa size and use
pattern, one bottle can last up to 6 months. Very low
maintenance effort-- water is tested and adjusted just twice a
Although Cleanwater Blue has no significant
disadvantages, it is not compatible with conventional stain, scale,
and metal reducers, since these
products will reduce the beneficial copper ions. Use only
Cleanwater Purge stain & metal inhibitor with
Do not use synthetic clarifiers with this product.
Prepare water with
Cleanwater Prep calcium sequestrant.
Requires regular shocking with
OxySpa non-chlorine shock. Ozone compatible. Compatible with
chlorine (and bromine),
Dichlor Granular Chlorine may also be used at startup, and as an occasional
shock if needed.
Klear Natural Clarifier is the recommended clarifier. Read and follow product
label directions and cautions. Product must be stored above 32º F.
Read more about
Nature 2 spa purifier unit fits inside
your hot tub's filter cartridge. It contains a silver catalyst--
crystals inside of a plastic cartridge. It works by
producing positively charged ions that attack and destroy the
negatively charged cells of microorganisms, as water flows through
Nature2 is very good mineral
purifier with a
reasonable cost to use. It is odorless, will not dry or
irritate skin, cause eye redness, or fade bathing suits.
Nature2 is safe to people and pets. Unlike bromine or chlorine,
Nature 2 will not degrade spa cover vinyl or floating thermal
There is currently no practical way
for users to test for silver ion content, so care must be taken to
ensure proper sanitation. Will not work with all spa filters. (Minimum
required filter length is approx. 7". Minimum filter
hole diameter is 1-1/4"). If your filter is too small
to accommodate the Nature2 unit, you cannot use this system.
Requires regular shocking with
OxySpa. Sea Klear is the
recommended clarifier. Not compatible with bromine, so if
converting from bromine, be sure to drain and clean your spa prior
to use of Nature2. Requires circulating of your spa water at least
4 hours per day. Lasts 4 months. Upon startup, and when
water quality problems arise, water should be shocked with
Granular Chlorine. Read and follow all
product label directions and cautions.
Spa Frog In-Filter
The Frog mineral purifier in-filter stick is a
very good mineral product, and must be used in conjunction
with a residual bromine or chlorine sanitizer.
These saltwater-based systems generate chlorine by passing a mild electric current through
salt water, between two plates. Salt
(sodium chloride), which is added to the spa water, is the source
of the chlorine for the process.
Although salt systems are gaining huge popularity in
pools, until now, we did not recommend their use in spas
for several reasons. The
equipment was previously very expensive, and required modification to the spa's
plumbing which would void your warranty. Now there is an effective, eco-friendly salt system designed for hot tubs.
A reliable, practical, easy to install, and affordable plug-in salt system for spas is now available: Saltron Mini.
(What you need to know before trying them)
We do not recommend packaged
chlorine as a primary spa sanitizer. It's fine for use as an occasional shock, but if you choose to use it
for sanitizing, select the chlorine form that is suitable for spas:
granular or chlorine produced from a chlorine generator. Since packaged dichlor does not come in tablet form, and cannot be used in a
floating tablet dispenser, your spa will have to be more
frequently dosed and tested when using that form. NOTE: Trichlor and CalHypo tablets are approved
for pool use only. Household bleach is not suitable or
approved for use as a spa sanitizer.
CD Ozonator Kit from AquaSun
Ozonators are excellent devices for helping to maintain good hot
tub water quality and purity, but they are not standalone
Ozone works in conjunction with your
sanitizer system to improve and purify the spa water by oxidizing
soap, deodorant, hair spray, cologne, makeup, perfume, body
lotion, hand cream, sun tan lotion, saliva, and urine.
There are several brands of
Biguanides on the market (chemical name: polyhexamethylene
biguanide or PHMB) such as BAQUACIL® and SoftSwim®. We do
not offer them because of lack of compatibility with other spa
chemicals, and because they tend to be more expensive than other
sanitizer systems. Their use may require other proprietary
companion products such as special filters cleaners, etc.
Biguanides may erode certain plastics such as polycarbonates.
Many users report problems with algae slime that are difficult to
This silver-based liquid
product is no longer supported by us. We recommend
Cleanwater Blue as an excellent replacement.
Electric Spa Ionizers
||These units produce metal ions by passing an electric current
through spa water between two electrodes. As the water
passes over them, ions are displaced from the electrode plates and
circulated. They are installed by cutting and splicing into your spa's plumbing system.
|We do not recommend electric ionizers for spas
for several reasons. They have a substantial initial equipment
cost and usually require modification to the spa's plumbing, which
may void your warranty. These systems can be prone to maintenance problems. They
also require periodic replacement of the electrodes as they are
depleted. The ion levels can also be problematic to monitor
for proper sanitizer level. Since these systems run on
electricity, this cost should also be factored when evaluating
them. Some promoters of these ionizers tout them as "chemical
free" systems. This is a falsehood, since by definition,
metal ions in water are chemicals. They merely use the spa
as a mini chemical factory to produce the ions electrically, rather than pour
them from a bottle. A chemical shock must still be added to
oxidize organic matter and dead cells.
We do not recommend hydrogen peroxide for use in home spas for a
number of reasons. Unlike the 3% drugstore variety, commercial-grade
peroxide strong enough to be effective in pools or hot tubs ranges from 25% to
35% concentration. It can be dangerous to store, transport, and handle.
Although it does a fair job of controlling bacteria at 30-40 PPM,
it must be monitored very closely, because at excessive levels it can
burn lung and eye tissue. It can prove to be more
expensive to use than other systems.
||Unbelievable but true-- and barely worth
mentioning: bolt-on magnets sold to consumers with claims
that they reduce spa chemical usage, stabilize pH, and reduce odors
by "magnetizing" the hot tub water.
|Magnetic spa water treatment is junk science, akin to snake oil. There is no valid empirical data to support these claims. Avoid these dubious devices. They are a worthless waste of money.
We do not recommend this product
since the introduction of the advanced, EPA-registered
system. We've heard
reports of problems with staining, and performance issues,
especially with well water or water with significant calcium
content. These problems have been overcome with the introduction
of Cleanwater Blue, which has a highly advanced
carrier molecule: CW-286. This carrier optimally potentiates the copper
ions, and works in unison with Cleanwater Prep to sequester excess
calcium. Cleanwater Blue bactericide/algicide also
requires less monitoring and testing-- adjusted just twice a
month. NOTE: Rainforest Blue is no longer legal for sale in