How to Choose the Right Hot Tub Chemical Brand

Your new hot tub has been delivered and you are excited to begin enjoying nice warm soaks. Before you do, though, you will need to get your water chemistry under control. One trip to the store to pick up the chemicals you need and you realize that taking care of a hot tub doesn’t seem quite as easy as it sounds.

There are literally hundreds of different products across multiple brands that you can buy to take care of your hot tub. These chemicals are they key to hot tub success so you want to make sure you get the right ones. But which chemical brands should you choose? That’s where we come in. Let us help you cut through the sea of products so you can make the right choice in hot tub chemicals.

Are There Any Differences?

So is there really any difference between all those different brands of hot tub chemicals you see on the shelf? The answer is, yes and no. I know, I’m sure you wanted something a little more cut and dry, but unfortunately, life is rarely like that, even when it comes to your hot tub chemicals.

In most cases, the chemicals you will be buying will be identical. Of course, I said most cases. That means that there can be differences between the different brands.

Tips When Purchasing Chemicals

These tips are perfect for any hot tub owner, but I’m sure new hot tub owners will find them even more helpful. These tips will help you choose the right hot tub chemical brand so you can take care of your spa and its water the right way.

1. Read Those Labels

As I said, while most of the chemicals are identical, there are some out there that are slightly different from one another. Read the labels of the chemicals carefully before you make your purchase so you know exactly what you are buying.

2. Look for the Best Deals

Since many of the different chemical brands are basically the same on the inside, there is nothing wrong with shopping for the best deals for your chemicals. We all love to save money, and finding sales on your chemicals or special deals can save you a lot of money in the long run.

3. Check Out Reviews Online

The Internet is a wonderful thing. In addition to what you can find here on this site, there are literally hundreds of sites around filled with reviews about different hot tub products. Take a look at these before you purchase your chemicals to make sure you are getting exactly what you are looking for.

4. Consider Your Tub

Your particular tub manufacturer may recommend certain types of chemicals for your hot tub. Check the owner’s manual that came with your tub before you head to the store. In some cases, you may find that certain chemicals just won’t work or, at the very least, aren’t a very good idea for your spa.

Chemical Breakdown

In addition to the tips above, I thought we should highlight the chemicals you will need to the best water quality. This will be most helpful for new hot tub owners but even seasoned tub owners should take a look to remind them what they need.


Your sanitizer is one of the first chemicals you will be looking for, as it is the chemical that will clean your water. Your sanitizer is usually bromine or chlorine, but bromine is often preferred because it is less likely to be irritating to your eyes and skin.

Bromine, for example, comes in tablet form that can easily be added to the water. While there are many different brands out there, in most cases these bromine tablets are much the same.


Your sanitizer will only do so much to clean the water. Periodically, you will need to shock your pool to properly oxidize the contaminants in the water. There are different shocking products out there. Some are based on chlorine while others contain no chlorine whatsoever.

For a hot tub, it is a good idea to avoid the chlorine-based shocks. While these shocks are more expensive, they don’t produce that strong chemical smell.

pH Balance

Maintaining a proper pH balance of between 7.2 and 7.8 is critical for your water. If your pH falls too low, your water can become too acidic. This limits the effectiveness of your sanitizer and can cause corrosion on the sides of your hot tub and the plumbing. If it is too high, scale may form on your hot tub and your water could become cloudy.

There are test strips to measure your pH. In most cases, these are very similar but different strips will test for different chemicals. If your pH is too low, then you can raise the level with sodium carbonate. If the pH is too high, products containing sodium bisulfate can reduce the pH levels.

Total Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity (TA) will help you maintain proper pH so you don’t have to deal with scale or corrosion in your tub. The recommended range is between 60 and 180 parts per million. If your TA level is too low, then you can add sodium bicarbonate to the water to increase it.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium hardness is the measure of the amount of calcium present in your water. Ideally, you are looking for a range somewhere between 200 to 400 parts per million. You can easily boost the calcium levels if they are too low by adding a calcium increaser. However, if it is too high, you will need to dilute your water.

Water Clarifiers

Sometimes, no matter how much you care for your water, it will become cloudy. Thankfully there are two types of water clarifiers you can buy. The first, are flocculants. These will coagulate contaminants in the water so they can more easily be trapped by your filter. The second are scum digesters that break down the oils in the hot tub.

Algae Prevention

Regular shock and sanitizer treatments will go a long way toward preventing algae. Sometimes, however, despite your best efforts you will still have to deal with it. If algae is an issue for you, try a spa algaecide to get rid of it once and for all.

Parting Thoughts

You shouldn’t have to spend as much time choosing your hot tub chemicals as you do balancing the water. Unfortunately, many hot tub owners do. Remember, in many cases, there isn’t much difference between brands, but read those labels just to make sure.

In the end, no matter what brand you choose, you need to make sure you purchase all the chemicals you will need in order to achieve that water chemistry sweet spot. Once you do, your hot tub will begin to run clean and clear so you can enjoy a nice, warm soak whenever you get the itch.

Happy Soaking!

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