Best Automatic Sanitising Systems Reviewed (Products, pros, cons and more)

As a spa owner, you’ll want to spend your time using and enjoying your spa – not maintaining it. That’s where an automatic sanitising system comes in. It does most of the work for you, so you can just sit back and relax.

When it comes to automatic sanitising systems, there are a few options to consider. Most systems are marketed as either salt water, chlorine or ozone UV combo auto sanitisers. So, which system is best?

In this article we review the top spa pool cleaning systems to help you decide which is the right one for you and your spa.

In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of publishing and may change without notice.

Which is the best automatic sanitising system for a spa pool?

There’s a lot of discussion in the spa industry around which is the best automatic sanitising system for spas and swim spas including chlorine, salt water chlorination or ozone and UV systems. Learn more about ozone and UV for spas.

Be aware, if you are after a chlorine free spa or swim spa – even with ozone systems, you will still need to use some sanitiser. Also, make sure than any sanitiser you use is APVMA-approved.

As you will learn below, while some systems can help reduce the amount of sanitiser you need and time spent maintaining your spa’s water – there are automatic sanitising systems that are fully chlorine-free.

A point to note with salt water chlorination systems. They still use chlorine. They are simply a system that converts the chlorine in salt water to chlorine in the water. If you wish to avoid chlorine, there are a number of non-chlorine sanitisers available without the need to invest in an expensive saltwater chlorination system.

There are several automatic sanitisers on the market and most high-quality spas and swim spas incorporate one or more of these systems. Let’s start with the most popular – ozone, and then look at some others.

What is ozone in a spa pool?

As mentioned above, the ozone water clarifier is the most popular automated sanitising system for spas and swim spas.

Ozone clarifiers work by converting oxygen (O2) from the atmosphere, into ozone (O3) in your spa.

Ozone water clarifying systems use ozone technology to oxidize water by removing microorganisms that are smaller than 5 microns. Without the use of an ozone clarifier, fine particles can cause spa water to remain cloudy, cause foaming, bad odours and increased chemical use.

The two technologies that are used in ozone clarifying systems are:

  • UV (not to be confused with UV sterilizers), which simulates the effects of sunshine
  • Corona Discharge, which simulates the effects of lightening

The Corona Discharge system is thought to be the best and most spa manufacturers now use this technology.

Ozone is an oxidiser – just like chlorine, bromine and hydrogen peroxide (the three most common spa chemical sanitisers). Because ozone works the same way, it may reduce your use of these chemicals.

Oxidisers make various contaminants in your spa’s water ‘inert’ by breaking them down into much smaller particles that cannot be seen or reflect light.

In doing so, they make the water not only cleaner, but also safer as they kill nasty bugs. It is worth noting that ozone will not replace the need for some chemical sanitisers, it simply reduces the amount you need to use.

We always recommend that you follow the dosing instructions on the sanitiser label.

Which is better Ozone or UV?

Unlike Ozone, UV sterilisers have no oxidising effect. As such, they aren’t great at killing off algae but they are very effective at killing viruses, bacteria and some other water borne contaminants.

For this reason, UV sterilisation is used extensively in public swimming pools and water treatment plants. Learn more in this article comparing UV and ozone spa sanitisers.

UV systems work by passing the spa’s water over a high output UV bulb, which disables the RNA of the virus or bacteria. Imagine the bugs getting such a bad sunburn it kills them instantly!

UV is better at killing bugs than ozone, but not as good at keeping the water clear and algae-free. Hence the best spas combine the two.

A number of spa manufacturers offer this combination including Vortex™, Jacuzzi®, Sundance® and Signature® Spas.

"At Spa World, we believe in ozone so much that every spa we carry is fitted with an ozone sanitising system."

Like ozone, UV sterilisation is not a stand alone water treatment – even when combined with ozone. However, it can lessen the amount of sanitiser that you will need to use to keep your spa’s water clean and safe.

If you want clear water that's free from viruses and bacteria, with very little or no chlorine use – select a spa that has both ozone and UV systems installed.

They can save time and money by reducing chemical use in your spa and swim spa. The price of ozone and UV sanitiser systems varies greatly depending on the size of your spa and the manufacturer but it is safe to say that UV and ozone systems are well worth the price of upgrading.

Salt water spa pool pros and cons

Salt water systems have been used for years in swimming pools and have recently been adapted for use in spas. The most famous spa pool manufacturer to use salt water chlorination is Hot Spring® with its FreshWater® Salt System.

Salt water chlorinators work by converting salt (sodium chloride), into sodium and chlorine by electrically splitting the molecule. This frees up the chlorine to act as a sanitiser and as mentioned above, nothing kills bugs as easily as chlorine!

This makes these systems extremely good at sanitising your water, but make no mistake, they are not a chlorine free solution. If you are looking for a truly chlorine free spa, you would be spending a lot of money on one of these systems, only still to be soaking in chlorinated water.

However, they are relatively automated and do a great job of sanitising your spa, especially the second generation Hot Spring® Freshwater® system which is one of the best on the market.

Be aware that salt water systems can be expensive when it comes to cell replacement and can cause issues with the plant and decks. Many salt water chlorination systems run the risk of overdosing your spa if you are not using it and forget to turn the system down. This can cause irreparable damage to your spa’s equipment.

Which brand has the best spa sanitising system?

Three very good spa and swim spa sanitising systems we can recommend are:

  • HotSpring® Freshwater® salt water chlorination system and ‘no-bypass’ filtration,
  • Jacuzzi® ClearRay® water steriliser with UV-C technology and 4-stage ProClarity® filtration system
  • Vortex™ Purezone™ UV/Ozone + 2 stage filtration

Learn more about these auto sanitising systems along with other key features to look for in a spa in this article.

"An automatic sanitising system is one of the top features to look for in a spa pool."

Should I buy a spa with an automatic sanitising system?

Whichever method you choose, there's no doubt that having an automated sanitising system will make owning a spa a lot easier and more enjoyable.

You’ll still need to manually add a small amount of chemical sanitiser a week but it’s just a 3-minute job in our experience.

A very good automatic sanitising system can easily add $2000 to the price of a spa when compared to the same spa without. We think it’s well worth the money given the amount of effort and time it'll save you over the lifetime of your spa.

In summary

Now that you know the difference between the top three spa sanitising systems, you should hopefully have a better idea of which system will suit you best.

We believe an automatic sanitising system is one of the top 8 features to look for in a spa pool. At the very least, we recommend that every spa should have an ozone unit installed.

Fortunately, they are standard on most high-quality spa pools. On very cheap plug and play spas they are often optional and, for the reasons outlined above, it is one option we would say is a must.

In fact, at Spa World, we believe in ozone so much that every spa we carry is fitted with an ozone sanitising system.

For more information on spa sanitisers and keeping your pool clean and healthy, please contact us or visit your local Spa World showroom. We’re happy to help!

*DISCLAIMER: The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd – the parent company of Spa World Ltd:

Signature® Spas trademark is owned by Spa Industries Global Pty Ltd (SCS). HotSpring® Spas trademark and associated brand names TRI-X™, Moto-Massage®, FreshWater®, Freeflow®, Fibercor™, Hot Spot® Limelight®, Fastlane® and Highlife® are owned by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation (Watkins). Sundance®*

*Affiliations: Vortex™ Spas, Fisher™ Spas, Spa Store® and Spa World™ are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd. The Jacuzzi® brand is owned by Jacuzzi Inc. and exclusively licensed for use to Spa World™ in Australia and New Zealand.*

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