Does Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning Feature Actually Work? A Complete Explanation

By Jon Filson

Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas

Published Apr 29, 2024

Cleaning your hot tub or swim spa is a crucial part of ownership and one of the biggest concerns any potential owner must consider. If you’re looking for a hot tub or swim spa, chances are you’ve already heard about the potential headaches and hassles of owning one, and how much effort you have to put into keeping it clean. 

It’s little wonder then that self-cleaning gets spoken about a lot in the hot tub and swim spa industries. Companies that make hot tubs and swim spas would love it if they could miraculously figure out how to keep water effortlessly clean: Our engineers work on this problem regularly! 

Hydropool advertises that it has a self-cleaning feature. Other companies will use the term as well. But our system is unique, and we believe it’s the best on the market. It’s something we are known for, and something we developed and patented many years ago. 

But we understand why “Does your self-cleaning feature actually work?” or “How is your self-cleaning different from other brands out there that offer it?” are frequent questions we get at Hydropool. We know that buying a hot tub or swim spa can be a complicated purchase. We also understand that many companies in the industry make claims, and buyers aren’t sure who or what to believe as a result. 

We are confident our self-cleaning works, and this article will walk you through how it does. We will:

  • Explain how we created the patented process and why
  • What exactly our self-cleaning process is and why it’s unique in the marketplace
  • What line of hot tubs and swim spas feature self-cleaning
  • What other companies say when they are describing their own “self-cleaning process” 



How did Hydropool Decide on Self-Cleaning for its Hot Tubs and Swim Spas?

Hydropool began as a family business, with Dale Papke being the founder in 1978. 

Dale’s background was in commercial and residential pools. A commercial pool is the kind used by the public, such as city pools or anything in a hotel, for example. That was the business he built first. When he began building hot tubs and swim spas, he took the same approach that he did to commercial pools with their assembly and technology. He built everything the same way. 

That would prove to be a decision that made Hydropool unique in the world of hot tubs and swim spas. No one else has ever followed his approach. No one has been able to match that standard. 

This is because commercial pools have far higher standards than either hot tubs or swim spas that are meant for homes. They are used by many more people. People would start suing if those public pools weren’t clean enough. They would cease to exist until a cleaner, safer system was found. 

Hydropool’s self-cleaning feature is built using the same technology and theory that every commercial pool in the world is regulated to use. That’s a higher standard than what most personal hots and swim spas built to. 

That’s why Dale chose it in the first place. It was the best and is still the standard today. 

What Makes Hydropool’s Self-Cleaning Different from Other Brands?

Hydropool has a patent on its self-cleaning hot tubs. Here’s a video of how it works in actual practice.  

Our self-cleaning feature has three defining elements:

  • First, one filter removes everything on the surface of the water, with the jets and pumps circulating the water to encourage it to head toward the filter. This type of filter is commonly used in the hot tub and swim spa industry. 
  • Second, on the bottom, a vacuum filter removes anything that falls to the bottom of the pool. This is not common. It is common in public and residential pools, where it is often referred to as a drain. 
  • Third, the tub or spa’s cleaning filter is placed after the pump, which causes the pump to push the water through the filter in a pressurized canister environment. It’s forced that way for a reason: so the water can’t go anywhere but through the filter, to ensure 100 per cent of the water is filtered through the cleaning system. Again, this is common in public and residential pools, but Hydropool is the only hot tub or swim spa company that provides it.  

Why do you need both the top filter and the bottom vacuum element? Because due to water’s properties, any debris dropped in your pool either sinks or floats. So you need to clean both the top and the bottom of your swim spa for any cleaning to be completely effective. 

What’s the benefit of the pump being in front of the filter?  It’s the best way to guarantee that 100 per cent of the water goes to a filter. All the water – 100 per cent of it – in your entire hot tub is cleaned every 10 minutes as a result. It’s as simple – and as effective - as that (swim spas vary in size: it takes just over half an hour to just over an hour, depending on the size of the spa).  

This is how we built our Self-Cleaning line, which we have patented. No other company has a system like ours. We think it’s the best there is. 

We do have lines of swim spas and hot tubs that function according to the industry standard, and how most other brands do it. We’ll explain what that is, and how those hot tubs and swim spas clean, just a little lower down in the article. 

 The Hydropool self-cleaning line of hot tubs is sold under the Signature collection. For more on Signature, click here

What are the Benefits of Self-Cleaning Hot Tubs and Swim Spas?

The benefits of self-cleaning are clear. Clear water for one! The more cleaning the hot tub can do on its own, the less you must do as an owner. So one major benefit is that it is less work for any hot tub or swim spa owner. It’s also an easier way to get into hot tub or swim-spa ownership. It’s one less thing to worry about once you have bought it. 

The other, more hidden benefit is that the hot tub or swim spa components don’t have to work as hard. Think about it this way: The more cleaning you’re able to do, the less cleaning is required each time.  Your Mom or Dad might have said that to you about cleaning your room growing up, and they were both right – at least when it comes to cleaning hot tubs and swim spas. Over time, self-cleaning will cost you less in electricity as your power needs are less.

You will still have to drain your hot tub if you opt for self-cleaning. It will happen less often than hot tubs that don’t clean as much as our self-cleaning models do, but you will still need to do it. 

This has to do with the saturation point of water. If you begin stirring sugar into a glass of water, it will dissolve at first. The first teaspoon, for sure, then the second and third. But by the fourth, there’s likely going to be residue on the bottom of the glass you just can’t get the water to absorb. 

That’s when water’s saturation point is reached. This will inevitably happen. When it is reached, the best thing you can do is drain your tub and begin again. 

Which Hydropool Product Lines Carry the Self-Cleaning Feature? 

Hydropool’s Signature line of hot tubs carry the self-cleaning feature. All prices were current at the time of writing and may change. 

  • For Signature hot tubs, prices begin at $12,995 (Cdn) for the four-person 395G and go up to $25,985 for the 970T. 

Hydropool’s Executive line of swim spas has the self-cleaning feature, as does Aquatic:

  • Executive Swim Spas begin at $40,795 (Cdn) for the Executive Sport 16EX and go up to $57,295 (Cdn) for the Executive Trainer 19EX. 
  • Aquatic starts with the AquaSport 14AX and costs $35,995 (Cdn), going up to the AquaTrainer 19DTAX at $59,295 (Cdn).

Why Don’t All of Hydropool Products Carry Self Cleaning If It’s the Best? 

That’s a great question and one that we get at Hydropool a lot! The simple answer is that the industry standards for the hot tub and swim spa industry aren’t as high as the commercial and residential pool industry, given that both contain less water and are used by fewer people each time out.

So, there are other ways to clean hot tubs and swim spas than the way we have just explained – and these ways are also less expensive. In the most common method, the vacuum filter doesn’t exist and the filter is placed in front of the pump, with the top skimmer doing most of the work. That combination is the industry standard. 

We wanted to make sure anyone coming in looking for a hot tub that works this way has the choice to buy from Hydropool, so we created our alternative lines:

  • For hot tubs, Serenity starts at about $10,000 (Cdn, all prices are at the time of writing this article) for a four-seat model in the 4300, with the top-of-the-line six-seater 395G selling for around $13,000.
  • Our Play line of swim spas features the AquaPlay 13FFP at $23,395 (Cdn).  

 The AquaPlay swim spa is Hydropool’s smallest at 13 feet. To learn more about it, click here. 

Most hot tubs from other brands offer these cleaning and filtering elements – it’s become the industry standard. Self-cleaning goes beyond this level. 

Should I Buy a Self-Cleaning Hot Tub or Swim Spa from Hydropool? 

We might wish everyone would opt for self-cleaning, but we know that not everyone should. Some people are fine with a little bit of extra cleaning or used to the industry standard and prefer to spend less upfront on their hot tub or swim spa. That’s we have swim spa and hot tub products for them as well. 

For anyone who wants the least work and the finest cleaning system you can buy today, then Hydropool’s Signature line features self-cleaning. 

“Does your self-cleaning feature actually work?” is one of the most frequent questions we are asked at Hydropool. We understand why – it’s the kind of element that you can only know if it works after you’ve bought the hot tub or swim spa.

We have been in business for more than 40 years, and we can assure you it does work. It works because it is the same type of cleaning system that is used in public or commercial pools, which are held to a far higher standard than hot tubs and swim spas in regulations around the world. It works because unlike most hot tubs and swim spas that filter only the top of the water, it cleans debris from the bottom of the hot tub as well as ensuring that 100 per cent of the water is pushed through the filter. It will work for you, if you choose it. 

That’s our unique patented self-cleaning system at Hydropool. If you’re interested in seeing it in action, let us know! You can contact a dealer here.

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