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Author Topic: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?  (Read 455 times)

unixfairy

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Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« on: April 16, 2019, 05:30:00 pm »
Hi all -

Thank you for your advice previously - we have been able to dry test and figure out what is important to us and have come up with a list of spas that will fit our location and I think our requirements - we want a high quality, open seating spa no wider than 89" with jets capable of delivering a good hydrotherapy experience, a circulation pump, "attractive" lighting and a waterfall that runs without jets running for relaxing soaks.  We also have found out that we prefer the 36" tall spas more, we are not a tall couple and also like it feeling more open.  Budget is the least concern for us not because we are stupid extravagant but we would be willing to pay more for the "perfect" tub but if it comes down to no perfect tub then price will be a consideration for the final decision.  We also value quality over extra features if that makes sense.

We have wet tested a couple of spas and were very surprised that dry experience is very different from wet.  For example the Chelsee was really not comfortable seating when we wet tested it.  We also found that the Caldera jet experience was disappointing BUT we are thinking either there was something wrong with the tub we tested or the dealer was trying to send us to the Hot Springs for some unknown reason.  What we are finding though, is the models we are most interested in are not available to wet test :/ So how do you make sure that you are getting a similar experience from one tub in a line to another.  I know the model level but any other ways to make sure if we cannot test the model that we know what we are getting?

Right now if we can find out that the Caldera jets are powerful and provide a great experience, I would say the Florence is our front runner.  Has anyone else found the jets on the Caldera to be significantly less powerful than Hot Springs and Sundance?  We cannot find anyone in the Bay Area that has that exact spa to wet test. 

This is our current "short" list and I feel like Goldilocks and trying to find the right spa.  Any you would say "don't waste your time" in the list below...

Brand   Model   Size (inch)
Artesian   Captiva Elite   84x84x36
Caldera   Florence   84x84x36
Caldera   Reunion   84x84x36
Caldera   Salina   89x89x36
Dimension One   Nautique   84x84x36
Dimension One   Breeze   83x83x36
Dimension One   Sojourn   83x83x36
Hot Springs   Pulse   89x89x36
Hot Springs   Vanguard   87x87x36 - tested the aria - loved the jets - did not love waterfall and lighting
Hot Springs   Prodigy   78x84x33
Hot Springs   Flash   84x84x36
Hot Springs   Beam   80x80x33
Jacuzzi   J-445   84x84x36-43
Jacuzzi   J-LX   84x84x36
Jacuzzi   J-385   84x91x38
Marquis   V84   84x84x36
Marquis   Vegas Elite   84x84x36
Marquis   The Promise   79x86x35
Sundance   Chelsee   89x89x36
Sundance   Optima   89x89x37.5 - wet tested and it was "ok" - seating too deep and lights were not as attractive
Sundance   Cambria   76x91x34
Sundance   Hanover   84x84x36
Sundance    Odessa   89x89x34
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 06:32:47 pm by unixfairy »

Hot Tub Forum

Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« on: April 16, 2019, 05:30:00 pm »

Hottubguy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 07:54:42 pm »
Which Caldera Spa did you wet test? 

castletonia

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 10:06:41 pm »
As a dealer of both Caldera and Hot Spring, I am surprised that you were unimpressed with the jet pressure of Caldera.  I don't display the Florence and haven't received my Reunion yet but I have sat in the Salina and I thought it had good, if not almost too much power for me. 

The Limelight Pulse I think would be a good option except the waterfall runs with one of the jet pumps.  I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5" and we are fine in it with the 38" depth.  Based on what you are saying, I would probably remove the Prodigy and Beam from your list.  They are nice spas but compared to the other larger spas you are looking at, they are going to be slightly lacking in the performance category.  Side note, glad you liked the Aria, it's my favorite Hot Spring.

If you are 100% decided on a circulation pump, then remove Marquis, they don't use one or offer it as an option.  If you can look past the circulation pump and can go 90" x 90" then add the Marquis Euphoria to your list.

My opinion, worry less about the lights and waterfall and concentrate more on comfort and therapy.  All the brands you listed are quality brands.

Hottubguy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 11:05:34 am »
I was wondering if he wet tested a Marino or a Vanto?

unixfairy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 11:34:01 am »
Which Caldera Spa did you wet test?

We wet tested the Geneva and then tested the HS Aria immediately afterwards and it was a huge jump in jet strength. 

unixfairy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2019, 11:35:17 am »
I was wondering if he wet tested a Marino or a Vanto?

She (well my husband is he and wet testing too but I am the one doing the research) and nope :) See above

unixfairy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2019, 11:39:51 am »
As a dealer of both Caldera and Hot Spring, I am surprised that you were unimpressed with the jet pressure of Caldera.  I don't display the Florence and haven't received my Reunion yet but I have sat in the Salina and I thought it had good, if not almost too much power for me. 

The Limelight Pulse I think would be a good option except the waterfall runs with one of the jet pumps.  I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5" and we are fine in it with the 38" depth.  Based on what you are saying, I would probably remove the Prodigy and Beam from your list.  They are nice spas but compared to the other larger spas you are looking at, they are going to be slightly lacking in the performance category.  Side note, glad you liked the Aria, it's my favorite Hot Spring.

If you are 100% decided on a circulation pump, then remove Marquis, they don't use one or offer it as an option.  If you can look past the circulation pump and can go 90" x 90" then add the Marquis Euphoria to your list.

My opinion, worry less about the lights and waterfall and concentrate more on comfort and therapy.  All the brands you listed are quality brands.

Thank you for your reply and we are locating a different dealer to wet test the Caldera tubs because if they have the comfort and therapy then we like the lights and waterfall and hand grip and looks more than other tubs, if that makes sense?  We are hoping to find a tub that checks all of our boxes but if not therapy and comfort are tantamount and the other areas we can compromise on.  We are 5'5" and 5' so a bit shorter and so far 5' has equated to more of a drowning experience although booster seats in the hot tub could address that. 

Talk to me a bit more about circulation pumps - we think they are a needed feature but if so, why do none of the Marquis and many of the mid range tubs in the quality lines not have it?  I am curious if I am making a big deal over something that in the long run will not matter.

Hottubguy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2019, 01:38:17 pm »
Which Caldera Spa did you wet test?

We wet tested the Geneva and then tested the HS Aria immediately afterwards and it was a huge jump in jet strength.

I have a Geneva. Did you have the valves in the cord t spots I wonder. I think my Marquis I had before was definitely more powerful but the Geneva was plenty powerful for me as well

The Wizard of Spas

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2019, 01:39:08 pm »
As a dealer of both Caldera and Hot Spring, I am surprised that you were unimpressed with the jet pressure of Caldera.  I don't display the Florence and haven't received my Reunion yet but I have sat in the Salina and I thought it had good, if not almost too much power for me. 

The Limelight Pulse I think would be a good option except the waterfall runs with one of the jet pumps.  I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5" and we are fine in it with the 38" depth.  Based on what you are saying, I would probably remove the Prodigy and Beam from your list.  They are nice spas but compared to the other larger spas you are looking at, they are going to be slightly lacking in the performance category.  Side note, glad you liked the Aria, it's my favorite Hot Spring.

If you are 100% decided on a circulation pump, then remove Marquis, they don't use one or offer it as an option.  If you can look past the circulation pump and can go 90" x 90" then add the Marquis Euphoria to your list.

My opinion, worry less about the lights and waterfall and concentrate more on comfort and therapy.  All the brands you listed are quality brands.

Thank you for your reply and we are locating a different dealer to wet test the Caldera tubs because if they have the comfort and therapy then we like the lights and waterfall and hand grip and looks more than other tubs, if that makes sense?  We are hoping to find a tub that checks all of our boxes but if not therapy and comfort are tantamount and the other areas we can compromise on.  We are 5'5" and 5' so a bit shorter and so far 5' has equated to more of a drowning experience although booster seats in the hot tub could address that. 

Talk to me a bit more about circulation pumps - we think they are a needed feature but if so, why do none of the Marquis and many of the mid range tubs in the quality lines not have it?  I am curious if I am making a big deal over something that in the long run will not matter.

Circulation pumps are tricky, as not all are the same.  The benefits of a circulation pump is that it takes the heater, ozone, and filter system offline, freeing up your first pump so that it doesn't have these items slowing down the flow of the water.  And obviously - it has less amperage it pulls on average, over a year, than the first pump on low speed (if a circ pump is ran 24/7/365 at .5 amp or the likes, it is still more efficient than, say, the general low speed of approx. 3 amps/8hrs a day average that the non-circ pump units run).  Therefor it is more efficient. 

Additionally, it takes the first pump off the heat cycle, lessening the wear and tear over time.  The key is this:  The better quality circulation pumps run 0.65 amps, as they will hold up better long-term, and last as long as your therapy pumps.  Some brands use a much smaller circulation pump that will fail in a few years.  That is where the non-circ pump companies point to how the heater, filter, etc. are all tied to the same thing and if something was to go wrong, then you're in trouble if it is the winter time (Same happens to pump #1 if you don't have a circ pump, but that is not something pointed out in that argument, but I digress).

Mid-range tubs don't carry them usually to meet a price point.  That is why you rarely see one on low-end or mid-range series, regardless of the brand.  Marquis doesn't at all which is a shame but overall that is a great brand, and all brands are different. 

Lost in the whole point of a circulation point is what is not taken at face-value:  What is your climate?  How many gallons of water do you have?  What is your electric plan - does it cost more to run during the day or night?  If you have a smaller tub, your savings are marginalized vs a larger tub that might require more energy to maintain heat.  Same with climate - cold vs warmer areas.  And electric (peak vs off-peak) all factor in.

As with many things in the hot tub industry - there are no direct answers.  Its more nuanced and requires both some layered thinking and the specifics to you and your family, and your situation.  I hope this helps.   Good luck moving forward.

unixfairy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2019, 02:19:03 pm »
As a dealer of both Caldera and Hot Spring, I am surprised that you were unimpressed with the jet pressure of Caldera.  I don't display the Florence and haven't received my Reunion yet but I have sat in the Salina and I thought it had good, if not almost too much power for me. 

The Limelight Pulse I think would be a good option except the waterfall runs with one of the jet pumps.  I'm 5'8" and my wife is 5'5" and we are fine in it with the 38" depth.  Based on what you are saying, I would probably remove the Prodigy and Beam from your list.  They are nice spas but compared to the other larger spas you are looking at, they are going to be slightly lacking in the performance category.  Side note, glad you liked the Aria, it's my favorite Hot Spring.

If you are 100% decided on a circulation pump, then remove Marquis, they don't use one or offer it as an option.  If you can look past the circulation pump and can go 90" x 90" then add the Marquis Euphoria to your list.

My opinion, worry less about the lights and waterfall and concentrate more on comfort and therapy.  All the brands you listed are quality brands.

Thank you for your reply and we are locating a different dealer to wet test the Caldera tubs because if they have the comfort and therapy then we like the lights and waterfall and hand grip and looks more than other tubs, if that makes sense?  We are hoping to find a tub that checks all of our boxes but if not therapy and comfort are tantamount and the other areas we can compromise on.  We are 5'5" and 5' so a bit shorter and so far 5' has equated to more of a drowning experience although booster seats in the hot tub could address that. 

Talk to me a bit more about circulation pumps - we think they are a needed feature but if so, why do none of the Marquis and many of the mid range tubs in the quality lines not have it?  I am curious if I am making a big deal over something that in the long run will not matter.

Circulation pumps are tricky, as not all are the same.  The benefits of a circulation pump is that it takes the heater, ozone, and filter system offline, freeing up your first pump so that it doesn't have these items slowing down the flow of the water.  And obviously - it has less amperage it pulls on average, over a year, than the first pump on low speed (if a circ pump is ran 24/7/365 at .5 amp or the likes, it is still more efficient than, say, the general low speed of approx. 3 amps/8hrs a day average that the non-circ pump units run).  Therefor it is more efficient. 

Additionally, it takes the first pump off the heat cycle, lessening the wear and tear over time.  The key is this:  The better quality circulation pumps run 0.65 amps, as they will hold up better long-term, and last as long as your therapy pumps.  Some brands use a much smaller circulation pump that will fail in a few years.  That is where the non-circ pump companies point to how the heater, filter, etc. are all tied to the same thing and if something was to go wrong, then you're in trouble if it is the winter time (Same happens to pump #1 if you don't have a circ pump, but that is not something pointed out in that argument, but I digress).

Mid-range tubs don't carry them usually to meet a price point.  That is why you rarely see one on low-end or mid-range series, regardless of the brand.  Marquis doesn't at all which is a shame but overall that is a great brand, and all brands are different. 

Lost in the whole point of a circulation point is what is not taken at face-value:  What is your climate?  How many gallons of water do you have?  What is your electric plan - does it cost more to run during the day or night?  If you have a smaller tub, your savings are marginalized vs a larger tub that might require more energy to maintain heat.  Same with climate - cold vs warmer areas.  And electric (peak vs off-peak) all factor in.

As with many things in the hot tub industry - there are no direct answers.  Its more nuanced and requires both some layered thinking and the specifics to you and your family, and your situation.  I hope this helps.   Good luck moving forward.

Thank you for a thoughtful and exactly what I was looking for answer.  There is engineering value but that can be decreased by certain architectural and environmental factors. 

castletonia

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 02:56:19 pm »
If all things were equal, I personally prefer a circulation pump.  That being said, if say a Marquis model checked every other box for you and the wet test was good, I would tell you to get that model.

Marquis has not used circulation pumps since I believe 1998 or 1999.  Their point was that the circulation pump had a higher failure rate and they eliminated it for that reason.  As I mentioned before, I sell Hot Spring and Caldera but I also sell Marquis.  I rarely ever see a jet pump failure on a Hot Spring or Caldera that has a circulation pump because the jet pumps get so little use.  While I don't have had data to support my estimate, I would say the circulation pumps are lasting in the 6-8 year range. 

I don't see a lot of pump failures on Marquis, but I've replaced more than on Hot Spring or Caldera.  Also, consider that a circulation pump costs less to replace than a full rated jet pump.

castletonia

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 02:59:57 pm »
Which Caldera Spa did you wet test?

We wet tested the Geneva and then tested the HS Aria immediately afterwards and it was a huge jump in jet strength.

The Geneva is no slouch.  It should have at a minimum adequate jet power.  The Florence and Reunion use the same pumps and have fewer jets, so they should have more power.

unixfairy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 04:07:49 pm »
Which Caldera Spa did you wet test?

We wet tested the Geneva and then tested the HS Aria immediately afterwards and it was a huge jump in jet strength.

The Geneva is no slouch.  It should have at a minimum adequate jet power.  The Florence and Reunion use the same pumps and have fewer jets, so they should have more power.

Thank you for both your answers, very appreciated.  We are going to re-test Caldera because something seemed off and we want to make sure that this was a fluke because they have a lot of positive comments on this board and other reviews

d00nut

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2019, 02:06:49 pm »
The geneva also has 3 diverters for more precise control.  Depending on those positions, it can certainly feel a bit underwhelming.  However, I was just testing mine here... it can kick butt if needed.

I don't care much for lights on my spa, but I really dig exterior lights.  I don't have any landscaping lights.  I think it is fair to say that on your list, the best lights for outside is the Vanguard, which performs like the Aria.  You can put them on a timer and they shine down, so they don't illuminate you, but rather your path.

unixfairy

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Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 12:10:45 pm »
OK we got to wet test the Florence this weekend and that spa was great - the jets were super powerful and on par with the power from the Hot Springs and the Sundance.  It checked off everything we knew we wanted and we thought we had found our spa.

We also had an appointment at a Dimension One dealer this weekend and decided to keep the appointment even though we really liked the Caldera Florence.

So then we found a spa that was everything we didn't know we wanted but OMG the love!!! The Amore Bay from D1 is quite the tub.  It is bigger than we thought we wanted, kinda gimicky (but oh so cool) with the liquidFX and babbling brook.  The sequencer was the best hydrotherapy I could imagine and even though it was a "tall" tub at 40", it fit our two short selves like a dream.

I think this is our tub.  We also may have finally found a contractor and electrician that can get the site ready for it. 

So if you have anything bad to say about the Dimension One, please tell me because I am shocked how emotionally attached we got to that tub!

Hot Tub Forum

Re: Wet testing pointers - when you cannot test exact model?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 12:10:45 pm »

 

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