What's the Best Hot Tub

Author Topic: What I learned - time for the purchase  (Read 1562 times)

MKEhottub

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What I learned - time for the purchase
« on: September 03, 2022, 02:59:14 pm »
As a seasoned product manager that works extensively with commercial facilities and engineers in the plumbing industry I found that full spray foam and wood frames are a an inferior design practice.

- The fact that the full spray foam its used to hold plumbing connections in place to minimize vibration of the components, support horizontal connections with water and in some cases support the shell doesn't register as an acceptable design practice for servicing.
- One dealer admitted they have to take the tub offsite, put it on a lift and use a dye to locate the leak - but hey they typically don't leak within the first 10 years
- Wood frames - don't care if they are pressure treated.  The heat, the moisture, the contraction for frame members that aren't encased blows my mind

I was shocked to see that a Dimension One / D1 made in Mexico with these manufacturing processes in their top of the line Reflections product cost shy of $15K.
There where many others that used various elements of the manufacturing processes above but they where US made and $1K to $2K less. 
Example - some don't use wood but use full foam to support plumbing/insulate or use the foam to support the shell.

BullFrog seemed to fix most of these designs practices but I had four concerns with BullFrog
1) They use Geko vs Balboa
2) They use foam to support the shell
3) 1+2 aren't really an issue per se its the fact that the best price I can find in my area for an A8 with recirc is $17.2K so the value doesn't seem to be there

All the research has brought me to an unexpected brand....Vita 700 series.
The value and design aspects make me wonder why this one isn't this mentioned more.  Am I missing something?   Is the design performance executed poorly or are there quality control issues?

What is resonating...
1) Made in US
2) Fiberglass backed acrylic shell
4) Northern Exposure 3M Thinsulate Perimeter Insulation - independent University Tests from Colorado State and Arizona State University claim perimeter is more efficient as all the electrical energy is used vs vented out with a fully foamed unit
5) Combination UV and Ozone
6) Three 56 frame pumps / 1 recirc pump
7) Variety and count of therapy jets
8) ABS sealed base (no treated wood)
9) Elevated plumbing is positioned vertically so if doesn't need form support
10) Fully serviceable back to factory condition plus easier to troubleshoot onsite if there are plumbing issues

All of this is $13.5K making it one of the best value proposition of any other hot tub brand.   What am I missing?




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What I learned - time for the purchase
« on: September 03, 2022, 02:59:14 pm »

Ripper238

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2022, 12:23:39 pm »
Interesting. Curious about Vita too.

It appears they don't use Geko or Balboa and pretty much don't utilize industry standard parts? Looks more like a home bathroom appliance CO owned by American bath group.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2022, 12:28:40 pm by Ripper238 »

MKEhottub

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2022, 04:44:55 pm »
The info I posted above is for the 700 series.

Vita specifically calls out the following in their spec.
https://www.balboawatergroup.com/m8

Iím still trying to figure out why all the full foam models have the pumps, heater and control module uninsulated.  I get the heat needs to dissipate somewhere but seems odd to just have it fully exposed to the extreme cold temperatures.  If You lose power in the middle of winter arenít you screwed if those pumps freeze or am I missing something or they fully enclosed in the foam?

The other thing I donít understand is why is so much foam is used around the shell which I understand you donít want transfer but then the covers have lower R-values which is where the heat wants to escape through the top.

I canít speak for quality price or actual execution but the Arctic spa seems to have figured out the design for cold climates.  The closest dealer to me is almost 2 hours away so Iím not sure Iím gonna be able to dig into it further.


Sam

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2022, 03:27:37 pm »
Putting your circuit board (basically a computer) and other components in an enclosed, hot area, will significantly decrease the life expectancy of those components.  Imagine a computer without an exhaust fan or car without radiator.

Jag8

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2022, 01:02:46 am »
When you build a custom house, do you build it from metal or stick built? Metal is how you build cheap prefab homes that get shipping on a big rig and warehouses.
Why is is that vita and american whirlpool (not maytag) are the only two brands (out of around 100) that choose to do metal frames? Go open up a 20 year old hot tub. 9/10 times the frame will be in immaculate condition. The weight of the water is distributed on the shell. The frame is mainly for delivery and exterior cosmetic paneling purposes. 
Why is a hot tub that is purely built in the US far less expensive than somthing that is manufactured by large publicly traded companies in Mexico?
Look into how vita and whirlpool handle warranty claims versus other brands.



Tman122

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2022, 07:11:15 am »
I am on my 3rd metal grill on the same wooden deck.
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Ripper238

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2022, 03:47:57 pm »
Hmm. When you build a bridge do you build it out of wood or metal? When you build a skyscraper do you make it out of wood or metal?

So silly, all depends on the aplication. Wood is great for lower cost, but a synthetic or staneless steel frams are far better for Hot Tubs.

Its the sum of all parts that make the product.

Tman122

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2022, 05:45:33 am »
Hmm. When you build a bridge do you build it out of wood or metal? When you build a skyscraper do you make it out of wood or metal?

So silly, all depends on the aplication. Wood is great for lower cost, but a synthetic or staneless steel frams are far better for Hot Tubs.

Its the sum of all parts that make the product.

Bridges are made of both, wood and metal. Buildings are made of both wood and metal. Put a 2x4 in a wet area and a metal framing stud, see which lasts longer. Metal framing is manufactured to be equal to wood. Not better. Who uses SS framing in their tubs?
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CanadianSpaTech

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2022, 07:53:30 am »
Who uses SS framing in their tubs?

Spas coming out of China do.

Ripper238

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2022, 05:04:21 pm »
Many swim spas utilize SS tubular structures. It's likely all Hot Tubs from outside the US don't use wood due to restrictions and additional requirements. Lacey Act specifically.

Somehow i doubt there is much if any wood in this bridge:



Like I said, it depends on the application. If they are making tub frames with cheap metal framing studs then yeah it's not going to be better than wood.





« Last Edit: November 14, 2022, 05:07:32 pm by Ripper238 »

Tman122

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2022, 05:52:45 pm »
I can go and find photos of 150 year old wooden railroad trestles, how old is that bridge?
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Sam

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2022, 05:50:04 pm »
I know Maxx, Vita, American Whirlpool uses the cheap metal framing studs and not SS.  It's really flimsy.  That is, unless they changed since the last time I've seen one.

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Re: What I learned - time for the purchase
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2022, 05:50:04 pm »

 

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