What's the Difference Between Two-Speed and Circulation Pumps in Spa Pools?

A reliable pump is crucial for any spa. In this article, we'll explain the key differences between two-speed and circulation pumps, including their specific functions, benefits, and potential drawbacks.

Two-Speed Pump Vs Circulation Pump

Proper water circulation is crucial for maintaining clean spa pool water. Circulation pumps help evenly distribute sanitising chemicals, remove contaminants through filtration, and circulate water through the Ozone and UV systems and heaters.

If you're shopping for a spa, you might not be familiar with spa pumps. Not all retailers cover this topic, but at Spa World, we prioritise educating our customers about all essential spa components.

This is why we’ve written this comprehensive article covering everything you need to know about circulation and two-speed pumps.

This article answers the following questions:

What's a Two-Speed Pump in Spa Pools?

A two-speed pump offers dual functionality, operating on high and low speeds. The high-speed setting propels water through the spa plumbing system, including the jets for a therapeutic massage and the filtration system. The low speed is used only during the filtration cycle.

2-speed pump

This pump acts as a single solution for various tasks. It integrates into the spa's one plumbing system to manage water flow effectively for two purposes.

Advantages include its versatility the convenience of a single plumbing system, and reduced componentry. However, it may consume higher energy at low speed than a spa with a small circulation pump.

What's a Circulation Pump in Spa Pools?

As the name suggests, a circulation pump is designed for one purpose: to circulate water through the filtration system at a low flow rate.

A two-speed pump uses low speed to circulate water through the filtration system, and a stand-alone circulation pump is a small, single-speed pump used only for the filtration system.

circulation pump

Unlike two-speed pumps, these pumps operate separately from the jet pump, resulting in quieter operation and reduced running costs, enhancing overall system efficiency. However, they may come at an additional cost and require more complex plumbing installations.

What's the difference between a Two-Speed Pump and a Circulation Pump?

We've highlighted the main differences between the Two-Speed Pump and a Circulation Pump to help you understand them better.

Functionality and Features

Two-Speed Pump

  • High-Speed. Used for powerful jet output during therapeutic sessions.
  • Low-Speed. Used for water filtration/circulation.
  • Control Options. It may include electronic controls, manual switches or digital timers for operation scheduling.

Circulation Pump

  • Constant Low Flow. A small pump specifically designed for water movement at a consistent, low rate.
  • Control Options. Typically integrated with spa management systems for automated control.

Energy Efficiency

Circulation Pump

  • Energy consumption for circulation pumps in spa pools can vary widely, but it typically averages around 350 watts.
  • A circulation pump is more energy-efficient because, unlike a two-speed pump, it doesn't need to power large equipment, even at low speed.

Two-Speed Pump

  • The energy consumption of two-speed pumps is variable depending on the speed setting.
  • A two-speed pump for a spa pool may consume around 1,850 watts on high speed and about 370 watts on low speed.

Please note: These are rough estimates, and actual energy consumption will depend on the specific pump model, its efficiency, and how it is used. Always refer to the manufacturer's specifications or product documentation for accurate information.

What are the pros and cons of a Two-Speed Pump and a Circulation Pump?

Now that you're familiar with Two-Speed and Circulation Pumps let's break down their pros and cons to help you decide which might be the best for you.

Pros of a Two-Speed Pump

  • Lower initial cost. A two-speed pump often leads to a lower initial cost for the spa because it eliminates the need for an extra circulation pump and the associated plumbing. For this reason, you will often find this set up in lower-cost spa pools.
  • Less plumbing and moving parts. Fewer plumbing components and moving parts reduce the potential for leaks and lower maintenance needs.

Cons of a Two-Speed Pump

  • Higher running costs. Two-speed pumps generally consume more power, especially when operating at high speeds.
  • Increased noise levels. Two-speed pumps tend to be louder when running, especially at higher speeds.
  • Complete spa shutdown in case of failure. If this pump fails, it will stop your spa use completely. In a circ pump system, if the jet pump fails, the circ pump will keep running and the spa can still be used for soaking.

Pros of a Circulation Pump

  • Lower running cost. Circulation pumps have smaller motors, which means they consume less electricity.
  • Lower noise. Because of the smaller motor size, circulation pumps operate more quietly than other pumps.
  • Extended filtration time. Due to the lower size the circulation pump can circulate and filter for more hours per day for less resulting in cleaner, clear water.

Cons of a Circulation Pump

  • Higher initial cost. Circulation pumps cost more upfront because they need an extra pump and more plumbing work.
  • Higher risk of leaks. More plumbing means a higher potential for a plumbing fault or leak.

In Summary

The choice between a two-speed pump and a pump for your spa depends on your specific requirements and priorities. Here are some factors to consider:

Consider a Two-Speed Pump if:

  • You are comfortable managing a two-speed pump's speed settings and maintenance requirements.
  • You want to save on initial costs, as two-speed pumps often eliminate the need for an extra circulation pump and the associated plumbing.
  • You prefer a simpler plumbing system with fewer moving parts, which can reduce the potential for leaks and lower maintenance needs.

Consider a Circulation Pump if:

  • You prioritise simplicity and consistent performance in your spa's water circulation system.
  • You value energy efficiency
  • Cost savings from reduced energy consumption are a priority for you.
  • You prefer a pump that is specifically designed for the spa's filtration and heating requirements without the need for additional speed settings.

Got questions? It may be beneficial to consult a professional to determine which option best fits your needs.

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