Arctic Spas vs Hydropool Hot Tubs: Which is right for you?
Hydropool Hot Tubs & Swim Spas and Arctic Spas are two of the originals when it comes to hot tubs in Canada.
Both companies began nearly 50 years ago and remain strong today with spas on the market. Artic is from Western Canada, with a clear emphasis on making it clear that its hot tubs can handle the cold. Hydropool’s history began in Ontario as a commercial pool company.
Comparing the two brands has happened since we each began selling hot tubs, so we are used to people asking us at our Hydropool retailers about what the major features are. That’s why we wrote this article, to try and give you the most unbiased take we could give on the difference between Arctic Spas hot tubs and Hydropool's.
In this article, we will take a look at:
- Comparing the Arctic and Hydropool model lineup
- Which hot tub looks the best?
- Which hot tub is easier to maintain?
- Which hot tub has the best massage?
- Which hot tub is more efficient?
- Which hot tub is best on price?
And hopefully, once we have, you’ll have a sense of which is the best hot tub for you.
Artic vs Hydropool: Model lineup
Artic hot tubs follow the traditional model lineup, with a good, better, best approach.
- Arctic has a Core series, Classic and a Custom, the highest quality range.
- Hydropool calls its groups of hot tubs “collections.” It eliminates the lowest-tier collection and focuses only on mid-to high quality hot tubs. So it has a mid-range (better) collection in Serenity and a top-of-the-line Signature.
If you’re crossing shopping, the Artic Core and Classic series then match up best with Hydropool’s Serenity, and the Arctic Custom is comparable to the Hydropool Signature line. All are made in Canada, so you know they can stand up to the world's harshest climates and cold weather.
Arctic vs Hydropool: Which hot tub looks the best
Often there’s not a lot of difference between hot tub companies that have been around a long time. But in this case, there is. At Hydropool we often say we take a classic approach to hot tub design, with faux woodgrain cabinet panels in a choice of colors and a range of neutrals for our acrylics.
Arctic goes back even further with its design, offering red cedar walls into its cabinet panels. This is an elegant look that was most popular in the 1970s in North America. Most modern companies have abandoned it. That list includes Hydropool, which gave it up more than a decade ago because we found that more modern materials lasted far longer. Artic does offer composite cabinets as well as cedar.
Arctic vs Hydropool: Which hot tub is easier to maintain?
As these two companies have grown together, they have developed similar maintenance abilities, with a couple of key differences.
- Both have optional ozone and AOP solutions for water cleanliness, skimmers and similar filtration
- Artic does offer what it calls an Onzen Salt Option – one of the few brands that offer salt as an option anymore. Hydropool used to as well, but we found that customers eventually figured out that salt water simply creates chlorine a different way. We also learned it broke down more than non-saltwater system, so we committed fully to ozone and AOP systems instead.
- One of Arctic’s best features is its digital monitoring system called Spa Boy. From Arctic’s website: “This incredible technology uses medical-grade sensors to constantly analyze key water cleanliness parameters and from this data, the Spa Boy® system precisely controls the output of our integrated saltwater system, ensuring that sanitizer levels are kept in the absolute optimum range.” We think it is pretty neat. Spa Boy eliminates the use of water testing strips, letting you know digitally what’s out of whack in your water.
- Hydropool’s top maintenance feature is its patented self-cleaning system. This system is built on the way commercial pools are cleaned. Those pools are held to much more rigorous regulation than personal hot tubs, but Hydropool has maintained that approach all along. Self-cleaning is available with the Signature line of hot tubs.
Hydropool has put more of a focus on ease of maintenance, while Artic has done a great job with making monitoring as simple as possible. It all depends on which you prefer.
Arctic vs Hydropool: Which hot tub’s massage is best?
There are some nice touches with Arctic’s massage.
- The Artic brand has patented bearing-less jets that won’t stick into your back, for example. Hydropool’s jets have bearings spinning around to create the propulsion effect in the water, but we recess them into the acrylic shell, solving that problem a different way.
- Also of interest is that Artic uses high-flow “Reflex Torsion” hose. What does this mean? It means the company uses large-diameter plumbing, which will create high-flow water throughout the hot tub and support bigger than industry-standard jets. The number of pumps is optional with each hot tub, from 1-4. That way you can determine how much power you want with your massage. It’s a strong, customizable approach.
- Hydropool’s approach to massage is called Zone Therapy. In any Hydropool hot tub, you’re able to move from seat to seat to ensure your entire body receives the massage you’d like. Or you can simply stay in one spot to focus on one specific problem area, such as your feet, neck, shoulders or back. We offer one pump or two, as we find it’s more energy efficient while still offering sufficient power to all our jets. Again, with any massage, it’s not how many jets, it’s where they are placed that matters most.
Which is the best massage for you? If this is important for you, we’d encourage you to go into the store and try the hot tubs out.
Arctic vs Hydropool: Which hot tub is more efficient?
There are three major points of comparison here:
- Artic puts foam in its cabinet, a system that from what we could tell is unique in the industry. This is a similar approach to Hydropool, which uses an insulated blanket inside the cabinet. Both systems allow you to easily access the hot tub for any repairs. The systems also allow the motor’s waste heat to warm your hot tub. They are highly efficient systems as a result.
- The insulation systems are so efficient that we built in vents into our hot tubs, so you could let excess heat go in the summer. Arctic has an optional exhaust system you can buy which kicks in when the heat inside the cabinet becomes too hot for your motor to run effectively.
- Hydropool also adds a layer of support for its hot tub pipes, by wrapping them in a plastic, which helps hold them in place. The water’s movement through the pipes is what creates leaks over time, and we have found the plastic minimizes that effect.
- Arctic uses a 5” cover, which has aluminum foil going down the middle of it. In their product images, you’ll often see people standing on it, so it’s clearly made tough. We have found ours supplies sufficient insulation, as we insulate the part called the “baffle” – the seams running down the cover’s spine where it folds. It’s one of the simple engineering tricks we’ve found that pays big dividends.
- Artic also promises that it has a “Forever Floor.” According to the company’s website, “It completely eliminates the need for foundation materials like concrete, decking, or blocks!” Hydropool takes a classic approach here: If you have a strong, flat surface, your hot tub will last. Our floor is also a polymer floor, designed to keep animals and insects out of your hot tub.
Artic vs Hydropool: Which hot tub company is better on price?
This one is tricky for us because Hydropool publishes all of its prices (just go to any model on the Hydropool website and the price will be there). We looked on Arctic’s website and couldn’t find any published pricing online.
But we have a reasonably good idea in our years of selling hot tubs alongside them. We are very comparable on price, and often we suspect any discrepancies come down to shipping. Hydropool is likely going to cost less in the east side of North America and Arctic is going to cost more, since it comes from the West. We expect the reverse is also true.
Arctic vs Hydropool: Which is best for me?
This is a key question for anyone shopping. How do you choose a brand? We wrote this article because we know that many people compare these two longstanding Canadian brands, which both sell all over the world and have a qualities range of spas.
Hydropool vs Arctic Spas: We get asked often about Arctic hot tubs in our retail stores. That’s why we wrote this piece, to go over the major differences between the two companies and the products they make. We wanted to ensure you knew the differences. Each company has been around for nearly 50 years, but they have evolved in unique ways.
If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to visit your local hot tub store.
Jon Filson is the senior content manager at Hydropool Swim Spas and Hot Tubs.
Disclaimer: In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Hydropool or our parent company Jacuzzi Brands LLC. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.