Written by Terry Smith
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Best chemical kit for hot tub: UK-Top hot tub chemicals for sensitive skin and inflatable hot tubs
This article was last updated on July 31st, 2021 at 2:29 am
I’m not sure about you, but keeping a hot tub clean and well balanced can be a real pain at times. There’s so many different aspects to it and so many different things you need, and so much of it sounds complicated and a bit of a bore. You’ll also hear words like alkaliser and pH balance, so the fact it all sounds so scientific is even more off putting.
With some research though, it’s simple enough to understand the different parts of cleaning a hot tub and I want to make it easier for you. You can buy different products individually for hot tub cleaning, but buying a kit is so much easier and to be honest, better value for money. It can be some expensive stuff like hot tub cleaning products, but if you own a hot tub, these are the costs that come with it! Fortunately the best chemical kit for hot tubs won’t set you back a fortune.
That’s why we’ve reviewed the best hot tub cleaning kits on the market right now, as it’s become clear that a lot of people aren’t too sure what to look for. On top of this, there are different kits that are better/more suitable for inflatable hot tubs and for those of you whose skin gets easily irritated by the chemicals. There are plenty of differences between them, but the options below are a good range which should have at least one which is for you. Either way, if you’re still a bit lost and you just want to know what a hot tub chemical kit includes first, keep reading.
Best Chemical Kit For Hot Tub
Clearwater CH0018 Lay-Z-Spa Chemical Starter Kit for Hot Tub and Spa Water Treatment (Best chlorine and best overall)
Waters Choice Spa Start-Up and Maintenance Kit 3 Month Supply (Best long term kit to save money)
Unibos Spa Chemical Starter Kit for Hot Tub and Spa Treatment (Best starter chlorine kit for non frequent tub use)
RockWaterAir Hot Tub Spa Chemicals Complete Bromine Starter Kit (Best starter bromine kit for irritable skin and non frequent tub use)
What is a hot tub cleaning kit and what does it include?
Well, a hot tub chemical cleaning kit is composed of a few products which you’ll find in all of them. On top of that, there are two main types of product: bromine and chlorine kits. Chlorine is much better at getting rid of bacteria and waste, as well as being cheaper, but it’s far more irritable to the skin (if you’ve been swimming before, you’ll know!). Bromine on the other hand is less irritable and will stay in the water longer, and can be more expensive, but it’s not as efficient in getting rid of waste. Don’t be fooled it’ll do the job, but it’s just not as good as chlorine in complete honesty.
Now, what’s in a hot tub chemical kit then? What do you need to keep everything clean? Well, you’ll firstly need the actual cleaning solution/granules (bromine or chlorine) that do the main job, so if a kit doesn’t include this then it’s pointless! On top of this you’ll need pH increase and decrease, which is only needed to get the right pH balance (acids, alkalis, all that science stuff), but don’t worry about it, you can test all this with strips. Testing strips just means that you can add either the decreaser or increaser to get it right, and this isn’t difficult at all. You’ll also get foam remover, which you’re right in thinking does prevent foam build up, but it’s actually crucial for the chemical balance. These are the main things you’ll need to keep the hot tub clean for you to use, but there are other items you could also use.
Before we get to the reviews though, just note that you can also get sanitiser, which makes everything a lot cleaner. Since chlorine does this anyway it’s not crucial, but it would be beneficial if you’re wanting bromine/less irritable kits. Despite that, you know what these kits include and what they’re for, so let’s get to the products we reviewed. Here’s a pool looking quite dim without:
1. Clearwater CH0018 Lay-Z-Spa Chemical Starter Kit for Hot Tub and Spa Water Treatment
The top place spot for hot tub chemical kits is easily the clearwater CH0018 lay-Z spa kit, which I tried out because of its popularity and high ratings on amazon and, to be honest, I can see why. This kit has absolutely everything you need for the great price of £27.30, so I thought alongside its ratings, it must be one of the best, right? It’s chlorine based and I can confidently tell you that compared to other kits in this list, it’s the best there is for its effectiveness and quick acting features.
It comes with the standard chemicals at 500g/500ml each, which is a reasonable amount and should last you a few cleans. The pH minus is actually 700g too, so you get more of that which can be useful for when the pH is way too high (which can happen in hot tubs often because of the chemical nature of chlorine). It comes with 25 test strips which are quick working and will allow you to get your hot tubs chemical balance right quickly and easily.
The reason I think this deserves top spot is for its ease of use, as it comes with a handy manufacturers guide that will tell you how to use it and what dosages for different sized hot tubs. This makes it easy to use as a beginner too, but can also be used for those of you who have experience in hot tub maintenance. In other words, it has everything you want in one box and all the information you need to use it, so it really is a handy kit.
In terms of performance, I thought it did a great job and it seemed to last a while. I had to add more chemicals too, so I think this kit will last you a fair amount of time. All it needed was around 25ml of both the foam remover and the chlorine, and obviously the pH was variable. It doesn’t use much and if you consider the maths, you’ll get a lot of uses out of this kit (15+ at least) when it’s used properly. So, it’s got a good price, everything you need, good performance and reliability…so are there any downsides?
Well, it isn’t ideal for those with skin irritation, but that’s just because it’s chlorine. It also isn’t cost efficient for the long term so when I say it’s the best chlorine kit there is, It’s only the best if you’re going to be using it sparingly or if you will only be using your hot tub for a month or so at a time. If you buy more than one of these kits, it could be a lot cheaper to buy the chemicals individually, so it’s not good for the long term. Since the chances are you’ll only be using it once in a while or when the suns out, this kit should be absolutely fine for you. It would be my go to for hot tub maintenance and I found I didn’t need anything extra to get it clean, and I was blown away by the difference in long lasting performance compared to other kits in this list. I can confirm this kit really lives up to its name!
2. SUDS-ONLINE Hot Tub Starter Kit
Our third place option is what I consider to be the best option for inflatable hot tubs, as it’s designed to be extra safe and compatible with inflatable tubs rather than standard tubs. You could use this for standard tubs and it will be fine (there’s no major damage it can do) but it’s not your best option, mostly because others in this list are more suitable. If you have an inflatable tub though, the other options in this list might be a risk, so this is the one for you.
It’s chlorine based and contains your basic hot tub chemical kit components. You have both chlorine granules and tablets, so both are easy to use and add to the tub. The antifoam isn’t as effective as others in the list because of the chlorine levels, as it’s harder to control using both tablets and granules. That said, it’s not impossible and also not the end of the world, as it still performs well. The test strips are reliable and it’s easy enough to get all set up.
The reason this is in third place is because it’s perfect for beginners and for those who have inflatable tubs. I would assume that since you have an inflatable tub you won’t be using it too often, and this kit is perfect for being used sparingly and only when it’s needed. It’s the cheapest on our list too, so that means you won’t be spending a great deal on something you won’t use too often. It might not perform as exceptionally as the others, but it’s still bloody good and gets the job done!
3. Waters Choice Spa Start-Up and Maintenance Kit 3 Month Supply
This product might look expensive at first, but just consider the fact that you get 3x more chlorine granules than you might get with other products, so you’re getting 3x the use out of the price. It’s also designed to minimise chlorine use where possible and so irritation should be at a minimum, so if you’re going to be using your tub frequently, this kit is undoubtedly for you and it’s worth splashing out on it.
There’s nothing new or additional to this kit, hence its fourth spot, that the others can’t offer but it’s just suitable and good value for money when you’re using it long term. It actually has a slight scent to it too, and it performs well when considering effectiveness and cleanliness, so as far as that’s concerned, we’re happy. It has a guide too and is simple enough to use.
The only downside would be that it does require more per clean than others in this list too, suggesting that you use a full bottle for up to 500 gallons. This is a bit excessive and it doesn’t need that much, and it actually makes it more difficult to get the pH right with this much. You’ll get along with it just fine by using a bit less and it should mean less irritation too. This is stated to be cleaned each month, but we suggest just using less than that every 2 weeks or so to keep on top of it.
4. Unibos Spa Chemical Starter Kit for Hot Tub and Spa Treatment
This chemical kit is another chlorine kit and whilst it doesn’t really offer anything extra, it’s a reliable and safe kit which is good value for money, so I would suggest it just as much as the others. It has everything you need and does what it says on the tin, and it’s easy to use too. It has instructions and guidelines as to how much you should add, which definitely comes in useful.
Just like most other chlorine kits at this price, it comes with 500ml of pH plus, foam remover and chlorine granules, and also comes with 700ml of pH minus to make it easier for you to get that chemical balance. Test strips are included which also help you out. It performs well too and we’re confident it will get you the clean you need, but it’s just not got anything extra to offer that would make it a possible 1st, 2nd or 3rd place option.
With this in mind, I do feel it’s the easiest and most straightforward to use out there, and it actually makes the perfect beginners kit. The instructions are simpler than the other options and it was a little hassle to get it all setup. It’s a good price too, so you won’t be spending loads on a first time chemical kit. It’s clear, easy and effective and it makes for the perfect starter kit.
5. RockWaterAir Hot Tub Spa Chemicals Complete Bromine Starter Kit
In our final spot is the second best bromine option (or non irritable option) that’s best for those of you with sensitive skin or who are worried about the toxicity of hot tub chemicals. It’s a high quality kit with everything you need, as well as additional cartridge cleaner that helps with physical maintenance of the tub too. It’s simple to use, effective and quite frankly there’s little to complain about…this is a really good quality bromine kit!
You would think it’s quite pricey at first, since £55 is a lot to spend on a hot tub cleaner, but that’s actually because you get far more in the containers than other kits. You get 1kg of bromine granules and pH plus, as well as 1.5Kg of pH minus. You also get 1kg of alkalinity increase and 50, yes 50, test strips. When you factor all this into the price, alongside the fact that bromine is generally more expensive, this is an absolute steal! It’s a really good bit of kit for the money it’s worth.
Only reason it’s in last spot, which isn’t too much to do with the product itself, is it’s probably just not that efficient in the long term for keeping your tub as clean as it can be. It only has the basic components you would find in a chlorine kit and doesn’t have anything extra that would bring it up to the cleanliness level that chlorine would. Since bromine is less effective, I’m not confident this kit will offer you the same level of long lasting clean as the bromine kit in spot 2. That said, it’s still a great product and if you want a good bromine starter kit, this is for you.
Now you know which products we thought were the best out there, you have a better idea of what hot tub chemical kit is right for you and for how often you use your tub. With that in mind though, you need to know a few things about hot tub chemical kits before buying, but don’t worry, it’s all included below and here’s a nice video to show you hot so add said chemicals:
By quantity, I mean the measurements of the individual components and how much chemical they actually contain. For example, most kits contain 500ml of granules and pH plus but contain more pH minus (around 750). This is a standard measurement and kits shouldn’t have any less. Alkalinity increase is the same and you should also get between 25-50 test strips for a kit to be worth its money.
Some kits (such as option 6) actually contain way more than this, and to be frank the higher the measurement, the better value the kit. Just make sure that you check how much each component actually includes and compare that against the price, as this will give you a really good idea of what kits are better value for money than others.
Your basic kit will include pH control, granules, test strips and antifoam. This is all you really need, but some kits offer you extra chemicals that really make sure your tub gets a good clean.
Sanitiser is often found in good quality kids as this provides additional protection against microbes, as it provides a cleaner hot tub surface. Shock solution (typically non chlorine which Is less toxic) is perfect for destroying/shocking any microbes that may have gotten past the chemical defence thus getting rid of them. If a kit also provides a shine solution, this will have your hot tub looking fresh in no time! These extra components are always helpful to be found in a kit and whilst not necessary, they really enhance the kit’s cleaning potential.
On that note though, these items can become necessary with bromine kits. As I said bromine is generally less effective with sterilisation etc, so if these products are included in bromine kits (such as option 2), you’ll be doing yourself a massive favour. They will help provide the same level of clean, if not better, with a bromine kit as you would find with a chlorine kit.
With any product involving chemicals, and especially in this case if you’re looking for less irritable kits, you need to check and make sure that the chemicals being used are certified or approved by official boards or organisations. Look for some odd words such as ISO 9001 or BISHTA approvals so that you can be sure that the chemicals are safe for use. If you’re looking for non toxic or less irritable chemicals it may be worth the research into the exact chemicals used, but as a rule of thumb, bromine kits will use chemicals that are already less damaging due to the bromine nature. It’s worth the check though.
Bromine or Chlorine?
This has already been mentioned briefly, but it’s important that it’s known. Chlorine kits are better priced and will give a better clean, but bromine kits are much better for you if you have irritable skin or if you’re sensitive to these types of chemicals. Bromine is generally more expensive but it’s not always the case, and it’s always ideal to get those extra accessories mentioned above in the kit too.
Neither bromine or chlorine has a reputation for being suitable for inflatable tubs, but since the chemicals used in both will ultimately affect how the kit reacts in an inflatable tub compared to a hardware tub, it’s worth getting an inflatable specific kit such as option 3. This doesn’t have to be the case and you’ll be fine with either, but with option 3 you simply have to worry less…tubs are for relaxing, not stressing about water chemicals!
Overall, chemical kits are necessary for hot tub maintenance, whether you use it often or not, and hopefully you will now know which is going to be best for you. Happy tubbing!