Hot Tub Ionizer vs. Ozonator
There are many ways to sanitize the water in your hot tub. And sometimes two ways are better than one.
If you’re looking at hot tubs, or thinking about ways to improve your hot tub, water care is critical. Most hot tubs have some form of sanitizer system to help keep the water clean and safe, but which is the best? This post will look at two common solutions: Hot Tub Ionizers and Ozonators.
Hot Tub Ionizer
A hot tub ionizer is a system that hooks into the hot tub filtration system and releases minerals into the water that act as a natural sanitizer. Minerals are released from two electrodes that are hooked into the plumbing. The electrodes connect to a controller that is powered from the hot tub control panel. Hot tub ionizers use a mix of silver, copper and zinc which have anti-microbial properties. This allows you to use less chlorine and other chemicals to keep the water clean and sanitized.
An ozonator is a device that uses ozone gas to oxidize organics and microbes in the water. It uses a special chamber that water passes through and injects ozone into the chamber with a set of tubes. The ozone gas is generated by an electical device by using UV light or the ‘corona discharge’ method. When the ozone gas bubbles through the water in the chamber, microorganisms and organic material are ‘oxidized’ which means they are destroyed at the molecular level.
Pros of Hot Tub Ionizers
The best thing about hot tub ionizers is that they use natural minerals to do the work normally reserved for harsh chemicals. This makes the water less irritating to your skin and less harmful to your bathing suits. It also reduces the ‘chlorine smell’ that you often get with pools and hot tubs. Hot tub ionizers are completely automated so you don’t have to add the minerals manually. And, whereas mineral sticks and cartridges use dissolution, hot tub ionizers use active ionization which is regulated with a digital controller. This means that you can configure it to release a precise amount of minerals for your hot tub size and preferences.
Cons of Hot Tub Ionizers
The biggest drawback of hot tub ionizers is that they don’t do the full job. You need to use them with some form of oxidizer to break down organics. The most common one is chlorine, but bromine and hydrogen peroxide are other options. Or, they can be used alongside ozonators – more on that below.
Another sticking point with hot tub ionizers is that they can easily increase the mineral level beyond the required range. If the mineral level goes high enough, you can see minerals collecting at the water line. If they are left there for a long period of time, they can lead to staining of your hot tub surfaces. It is a good idea to use copper test strips on a regular basis to make sure that the minerals are always in the correct range. This will make sure it’s high enough to properly sanitize the water, but not so high that it will collect on surfaces.
Pros of Ozonators
The best thing about ozonators is the price. They are the lowest cost system you can get for hot tub sanitization and almost all hot tubs come with them or offer them as an option. Ozone is a well known agent for water purification and is used in many applications, so you know it works. Ozone systems are plumbed into the hot tub plumbing so it works automatically and there is nothing to see or configure.
It’s also nice that ozonators do the dirty work of breaking down organics, lotions and microorganisms without any smell or residual. This means you can use less chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer.
Cons of Ozonators
The biggest downside of the ozonator is that there is no way to test for it, so it’s hard to know if it’s on and working. The best you can do is open the hot tub panels and check that the light on the controller is on. You might be able to notice a difference if the ozone system fails because the water might get a little slimy, but by that point it’s too late to save your water – you’ll have to drain the hot tub and start over.
Like hot tub ionizers, ozonators are not a complete solution. They need to be paired with some kind of residual sanitizer, like chlorine or bromine, to ensure proper sanitization.
Hot Tub Ionizer and Ozonator Together
While you might save a bit of money by choosing either a hot tub ionizer or an ozonator, it doesn’t have to be one or the other – they work great together. The residual sanitizing of the minerals pairs well with the oxidizing properties of the ozonator. They are a powerful 1-2 punch for water safety and comfort. In fact, many leading hot tub providers, like Northern Lights Cedar Tubs, have been using this combination to great effect for many years.
While it’s temping to compare hot tub ionizers and ozonators, the truth is they are both effective in different ways. It’s hard to say that one is superior to the other and in fact, the best answer is probably to use them both together. It’s a marriage of technology that’s helped thousands of people enjoy their soak for many years.
The following products are linked and mentioned in this post and might be worth investigating:
Or you can learn more about hot tub and pool ionizers here: