A Complete Guide to the Best Temperature Settings for Your Hot Tub and Swim Spa
“How hot should a hot tub be?” is a great question. You likely know by now what temperature you like the thermostat in your house, your preferred air conditioning settings in your car … but a hot tub is something to be figured out.
You’ve also likely seen warnings at hotels about temperature settings and how much time you can spend in hot tubs and spas. You might have had a wise uncle who worked in electrical tell you once that turning lights on and off costs you more than leaving them on – is that the same for hot tubs? Plus, what setting do you leave a hot tub at when you go on vacation? How cold is too cold?
All of these questions are good ones. We hear them frequently at Hydropool before people buy hot tubs and swim spas and after. That’s why we decided to create this complete guide to temperature settings for hot tubs and swim spas.
In this article we will cover some of the most frequent temperature setting questions we are asked, including:
• What is the best temperature for a hot tub?
• What is the best swim spa temperature to work out in?
• What the hottest setting for a hot tub or swim spa?
There are many more questions – this is just a sampling. Let’s turn up the heat and get to them.
What is the Ideal Hot Tub Temperature?
What most of our customers say is the best hot tub temperature is around 100F, or around 37C. That’s hot, right? It might seem that way, but we find that most people are able to stay in the hot tub at that temperature as long as they want and feel comfortable. Some will go to as low as 98F, but going much less than that, let’s say to around 93-94F (34C) means you’re nearing the lowest recommended hot tub temperature, despite temperatures that still sound warm. The hottest temperature for a hot tub is 104F, and at that setting, we suggest not staying in any longer than 15 minutes.
Of course, the actual ideal hot tub temperature is the one you prefer. Everyone is different, so this is a guideline only of what we find most people prefer. What we’d suggest is use these temperatures as a starting point and go from there. You might find you like ultra-hot quick dips, or you might find that a lower temperature allows a longer sit. That’s the fun of owning a hot tub, is that you get to make it your own.
What’s the Best Swim Spa Temperature to Work Out In?
In a swim spa, the temperature setting is generally a little bit colder. That’s not just because you are in a large body of water and it costs more to heat it. It’s because you’re generally moving more in a swim spa. We asked our resident triathlete Jodie Becker, who works out in a swim spa regularly, what she prefers. “It really depends on air and climate temperatures,” she advises. “And then mix in your personal preference. I would give it a range from 85F-90F.”
That makes a lot of sense: If you’re working out, we suggest starting with a temperature of between 85F and 90F degrees and seeing what you like in that range first. If you’re much higher than that, we find that the water is actually going to be hot enough to make you uncomfortable. You can always go colder: Competitive athletes doing strenuous swimming may find swimming at temperatures as low as the 70s to be to their liking.
Most public pools are set around the 82F mark, but we find that most people also find public pools just a smidge on the chilly side, which is why we suggest going a few ticks warmer to start out with.
What’s The Best Temperature to Set Your Hot Tub or Swim Spa When You Go on Vacation?
This one is tricky. There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there: turn it down or leave it alone. Here’s why: Your uncle who worked in electrical is right. It is harder to heat water than keep it at a constant temperature. So if you turn down the heat before you leave, you will save power, but when you come back, you’re going to have to turn it up again, and you’re going to use a whole bunch of power to do that. Chances are it’s going to be a wash. Do you turn down your hot water tank when you go on vacation? You likely don’t, and it’s for the same reason why there’s little point in touching the temperature of your hot tub. Now, if you’re gone for more than a month, that’s a different discussion. At that point, you should consider draining your hot tub or spa and shutting it down entirely.
Should I Always Keep My Hot Tub or Swim Spa at the Same Temperature?
There’s no point in having the ability to adjust the temperature if you can’t actually do it, right? But what you want to avoid if possible are big swings in temperature. Turning your hot tub down five degrees when not in use can make good sense. It doesn’t take too long or make the motor work too hard to move the temperature of your water five degrees. But swings like ten are a bit more tasking and anything over that is a needless burden on your system that is likely costing you more in power usage.
Keep in mind that your temperature settings will depend on ambient temperature. If you’re in Arizona, you will need to manipulate the temperature settings less than if you live in Vancouver. As a result, your situation is best handled by a conversation with your local dealer.
How Cold is Too Cold for a Hot Tub or Swim Spa?
We have seen people do some creative things to get the temperature down. One of the funny quirks about hot tubs and swim spas is that they are designed to retain heat. But if you live in a hot part of the world or if your area is going through a warm stretch, you might want to cool off in your hot tub or swim spa. We advise generally that Hydropool hot tubs or swim spas not go below 75F.
Other than turning down your system all the way, here’s a couple of tricks we have seen to help your hot tub not do its job and chill out a little bit:
• Try propping up your cover with pool noodles, to let some of the warm air out on a regular basis or just open the cover for a few hours a day, in morning or in evening. Leaving it open all night or all day will just mean your skimmer will have to work extra hard, but a partial amount will be enough to drop the temperature.
• We have also had some customers freeze large containers of water and drop them in the hot tub or spa for hot summer days as a quick measure. We could see that working. We don’t recommend adding ice cubes directly to any hot tub or spa, though, because large amounts could throw your water balances out of whack.
What Hot Tub Temperature is Best if You’re Pregnant?
Consult your doctor for your particular situation. We generally say that the hot tub or spa should not be more than 100F or 38C if you’re pregnant, and at that temperature, we recommend quick dips (under 10 minutes).
What is the Ideal Temperature for Children Using the Hot Tub?
We generally say children under five can use a hot tub with a temperature of 95F or lower. Children’s bodies don’t have the ability to regulate heat the same way that adults can. So, it pays to be a little more cautious and careful. Teenagers have this issue as well: Be sure to be clear that they should stay in and then come out to cool off, while making sure they are hydrated.
So Just What is The Ideal Temperature for My Hot Tub?
Like driving a new car and getting all the settings just the way you want them, finding out what temperatures work best for you is one of the secret joys of making a hot tub or swim spa feel like your own. The right temperature is always going to be what’s right for you. This isn’t scotch, which you’re expected to just drink it just a certain way. Other than a few safety issues you would want to keep in mind, you are free to set the hot tub or swim spa temperature the way you’d like best.
And once you do that, you’ll find it’s often cheapest and easiest if you just leave it that setting, or if you like, lowering it just a few degrees when not in use.
We get asked questions about temperature frequently when people are looking at hot tubs and swim spas, and often after they make a purchase as well. We want to make sure that everyone knows what temperatures are possible and knows what they can experiment with.
We hope this answered your questions about temperature and hot tubs and swim spas, but if you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a dealer near you.
Jon Filson is the senior content manager for Hydropool Hot Tubs and Swim Spas.