Are Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning Hot Tubs Worth it?

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Apr 29, 2024

Research hot tubs and eventually you will come across the phrase “self-cleaning hot tub.” That sounds ideal, right? A hot tub with the least maintenance possible. 

At Hydropool, we agree. We make the world’s only self-cleaning hot tub. It’s sold as our Signature collection and comes with most of our swim spas. It’s the best cleaning technology system we can make. 

But is it legit? Does it work? We get asked that in our stores all the time. 

They are fair questions for anyone shopping. People make claims all the time when selling hot tubs. How are you to know what is legitimate and what is not? You have to buy, and by then it’s too late for it to matter. 

In this article, we will explain our self-cleaning system as best as we can, in the most unbiased way possible. We make both a self-cleaning hot tub and a self-cleaning swim spa. We believe it’s the best system out there that leaves you with the cleanest water with the least effort but we want to explain it so you see why we think this way. 

So in this article we will cover: 

  • How much is a self-cleaning hot tub? 
  • What is a self-cleaning hot tub? 
  • Why is Hydropool the only one who sells self-cleaning hot tubs? 
  • How does a self-cleaning hot tub work? 
  • What’s an AOP system? 
  • What about saltwater systems? 
  • How is a self-cleaning hot tub different than a standard hot tub? 

Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a good sense if a self-cleaning hot tub or swim spa is right for you. 



How Much Does a Self-Cleaning Hot Tub Cost?

There is a premium attached to self-cleaning hot tubs. The least expensive one we sell is the 395 Signature, which starts around $13,000 Cdn. But there is a complete collection of Signature self-cleaning hot tubs. An entry-level hot tub is around $10,000 Cdn. All of our swim spas except the entry-level AquaPlay come with self-cleaning standard. The least expensive is the AquaSport 14AX, which starts around $37,000 Cdn. 

What is a Self-Cleaning Hot Tub?

A self-cleaning hot tub or swim spa is built and designed the same way a commercial or public pool is designed. 

Going way back, before Hydropool was a hot tub and swim spa company, it installed commercial and public pools. Because they are open to the public, these pools are heavily regulated around the world – more so than hot tubs or swim spas. They also need to be constantly cleaning because of the heavy use. 

When Hydropool began making hot tubs and swim spas, it applied the same standards that every commercial pool system in the world works under and designed its hot tubs and swim spas to work the same way.  

Many manufacturers did not. Because of the smaller amount of water involved in a hot tub or swim spa, you don’t need that level of system (Hydropool’s Serenity line doesn’t have self-clean and neither does any other hot tub in the world, which we will explain later). 

Hydropool's self-cleaning system is a perk, and that’s why it costs extra. 

Why is Hydropool the Only Company That Sells Self-Cleaning Hot Tubs?

We patented the system. Only Hydropool swim spas and hot tubs are engineered to have self-clean. No one else builds a hot tub or a swim spa with every component of a commercial or public pool in the way we do. That technique and system is something we developed, so we get to own it. So no one else can make it exactly how we do, mirroring public pools. You may run into some hot tub salesperson claiming their hot tub is the same as a public pool or that they have self-clean, but it’s never the same system as what pool companies actually use or what we use. 

How Does a Self-Cleaning Hot Tub Work?

There are three major components to a self-cleaning system. 

1) A top skimmer: Due to water properties, material either floats or sinks. That’s why our skimmer actually sits on top of the water (many manufacturers have it slightly under, not right at the top, which accomplishes less) in our filtration process. It removes everything that floats in the water. 

2) A bottom vacuum: For anything that sinks to the bottom, a vacuum gently sucks it in, allowing the material to be filtered out. Some companies have drains at the bottom, but without the vacuum, they aren’t removing anything efficiently. Most manufacturers have nothing. 

3) Pressurized filtration: The water pump is placed in front of the filter, ensuring 100 percent of the water is filtered, as the pump forces it into the filter. Most companies have this the other way around. But that sees the water passively filtered, which is less effective. 

It sounds simple, right? But combined, these three elements provide the highest level of sanitization your hot tub or swim spa can have without adding an AOP system, cleaning all of your water every 15 minutes.  

What’s an AOP System?

An AOP system is an option on many hot tubs and swim spas, including Hydropool’s. We call ours a Pure Water system. 

AOP stands for Advanced oxidation processes. AOP systems use ozone molecules combined with ultraviolet light to destroy contaminants without requiring chemicals. They are used in drinking water. Here’s how it works: 

The water is first oxidized by being exposed to ozone, which exposes any bacteria. The ozone-treated water then passes through an ultra-violet chamber, where it is exposed to a high volume of UVC light. That light zaps the ozone in the water, which in turn causes a reaction that purifies it by creating hydroxyl radicals. These hydroxyl radicals seek out substances to stabilize. Those substances are contaminants in your water. By attaching to them, they cause the contaminants to break down. By doing so, they clean your water. 

If you combine AOP with a self-cleaning system, you’re cleaning your hot tub or swim spa as much as it can possibly be cleaned. We don’t eliminate the use of chlorine, but we minimize it. 

What About Salt Water as an Option?

We have a whole article on saltwater systems. Check it out here. In short: Hydropool used to sell saltwater, and there are good systems out there. But we believe self-clean plus Pure Water does a better job and is less hassle for people. 

How is a Self-Cleaning System Different From a Regular Hot Tub?

This can vary. The main parts that we see that vary are: 

a) The top skimmer isn’t placed at the top of the water, which reduces its effectiveness. If it’s not directly on top, it’s not skimming everything. 

b) There’s no bottom vacuum. In most hot tubs, there is nothing on the bottom, which leaves you to clean it up yourself (which is difficult underwater). If there is something there, it’s just a drain. Which is to say that water pours into it but isn’t vacuumed. There’s nothing pulling the water towards the filter. So it may get cleaned eventually. Or it may not. 

c) This is the biggest one: The filter is usually placed ahead of the pump. That means it’s not filtering all the water. It’s just filtering the water that comes to it. Without pressurized filtration, you have passive filtration, which isn’t as effective. It means particles may sit in the water for long periods of time. A self-clean system cleans your water every 10-15 minutes in a hot tub and every 40 minutes in a swim spa. That’s because of the pressurized system that forces the water into the filter. 

Do I Need a Self-Cleaning System?

Since most hot tubs are sold without self-clean, clearly those other systems work (Hydropool’s Signature line of hot tubs doesn’t have self-clean, for example). 

But they are also why people often fill up chat boards asking, “why is my water so green/cloudy/itchy” etc. Most people do figure out how to manage a hot tub (or they hire someone to do it for them) no matter what kind they buy. They are good hot tubs. But with self-clean, there’s a whole lot less to figure out, so you can spend more time enjoying the hot tub as opposed to looking up articles on sanitization. 

What are the Pros and Cons of a Self-Cleaning System?

Pros: We think it’s the best cleaning system you can have on a hot tub or swim spa. It allows you to spend more time enjoying your hot tub and less time wondering why your water is that weird colour. You can go away on vacation and not worry about your hot tub, you can do all the sanitization yourself without hiring anyone. It’s the lowest maintenance hot tub you can have, that cleans as well as any public or commercial pool. 

Cons: It costs more upfront than a “regular” hot tub or swim spa. There are a few extra parts with a self-cleaning system, so you could be concerned there’s more to break (in practice, we haven’t found this to be true, but we get the concern). If you’ve had a hot tub before and know how to keep it clean, you may be fine with buying one that works the same way. 

Is Self-Cleaning a Good System?

We think it is. We think it’s an excellent system. We are completely biased, however, we know this. That's why we wanted to write this article though, to explain why we think it's good.  

As proof it works, we will say we have been in business for 40 years, and we are known for our self-cleaning system. If it didn’t work, our company would have gone long ago – there is a great deal of competition in the hot tub and swim spa market. 

In this article we covered what a self-cleaning system is, the pros and cons and other cleaning elements. We have tried to do it in the most unbiased way possible, and admitted the bias where it existed. 

It’s possible you may still have questions. If so, don’t hesitate to contact one of our retailers.

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