What Is The Best Hot Tub Filtration System?

A frequently asked question is “what is the best filtration system for a hot tub?”  The simplest answer is, it depends on what is important to you because at the end of the day all spas filter water, some just do a better job of it than others.

I need to start by clarifying that a filtration system is not the same thing as a filter, although the combination of both can play a part in the end results.  I will explain both in this article.

There are typically three types of  filtration systems that can be found on a hot tub; standard, circulation pump, and no by-pass with the circulation pump.  On these systems you will find one of two types of filters, either polyester “paper” or ceramic.

What is the difference?  Let’s take a look… 



Hot tubs that have the standard filtration system use the large jet pump to filter and clean the water.   Typically, these work on a self-timer system; however, some spas allow scheduling of filtration cycles.

Depending on the gallons of water and the size of the filters, some spas will require longer filtration cycles, or more frequent cycles, to clean the water.  During the cooler months, a spa with a standard filtration, will turn on frequently to heat the water in the spa.

An advantage to purchasing a spa with a standard filtration system is that it’s usually in the low to mid price range.  However, the upfront savings is quickly offset by increased electricity expenses as the jets are running frequently for filtration and heating.

Hot tubs we sell with the basic filtration method are the Hot Spring Hot Spot Collection, Caldera Vacanza SeriesFreeflow Spas, Artesian Garden Spas and South Sea Spas.


A hot tub equipped with a circulation pump is a popular choice because it uses a much smaller pump that continuously circulates water through the filters to clean and heat the spa.  Although it runs 24/7, many are surprised to learn that a circulation pump uses less energy than a spa with the standard filtration system.

It’s important to mention that all spas with a 24 hour circulation pump filtration system are not equal.  Depending on the engineering and design of the hot tub, some operate without ever having to run the larger jet pumps for filtration, while others will still do periodical filtration using the larger jet pump.  This means that some could cost more to operate than others with a circulation pump.  However, at the end of the day, all spas with a circulation pump will be less to operate than one without.  Though the upfront purchase price can be little more, it will quickly be offset by the savings you reap in monthly operating costs. 

The Hot Spring Highlife Collection is one of the few brands of spas that never have to use a jet pump for filtration, and subsequently one of the only brands that provides an energy calculator.


In most spas, when you turn on the jets (which is typically when you are using the spa) only a small amount of the water is going through the filters before re-entering by way of the jet, and the rest of the water is being pulled through one or more by-pass suction fittings usually  located in the footwell area of the spa.  True to the name, this means that this fitting sucks unfiltered water directly back through the pump to be redistributed back out the jets.

However, on a spa with no-by pass filtration, not only do you get circulation pump benefits as described above, but you get more filtration when it matters most…when you are using the spa.  That’s because this unique system does not have any by-pass fittings and directly pulls 100% of the water through the filters before re-entering the spa when the jets are turned on.  This means cleaner, clearer water when you are using the hot tub.

To put this into perspective, you might recall a time you drew a bath and noticed how crystal clear the water was before you entered, but as you exited the water was dirty.  The same thing happens when you use your hot tub.  Which is why many folks find peace of mind knowing that when they are using a hot tub it is delivering the cleanest possible water.

This filtration system can only be found on the Hot Spring Spa Highlife Collection.  To learn more about this system, check out this video.https://www.youtube.com/embed/aV1p8XBp3No?controls=1&rel=0&playsinline=0&modestbranding=0&autoplay=0&enablejsapi=1&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fcoastal-spas.com&widgetid=1



These filters have long been a reliable and trusted choice, making them the most commonly used filter in a hot tub.  These filters may be used on their own and may also be used in conjunction with a Microfilter for better filtration of the water.  The life of these filters can be up to two years with regular cleaning.


These filters are a nice option that can be found on some hot tub brands.  These filters can last up to 4 years with regular cleaning, and offers twice the cleaning area as other filter cartridges of the same size. These filters may be more expensive but can cut costs in the long run.


If you are looking for a hot tub store near you, we hope you will consider Coastal Spa and Patio in Placentia, CA.  We have been selling hot tubs in Southern California for over 30 years, and we would Love to help you find and get the best price on your dream hot tub.