Are you thinking about getting a chlorine floater for your hot tub? Not so fast!
What if I told you that chlorine tablets, instead of keeping your hot tub clean and balanced, could actually harm it? That's right—chlorine floaters are generally not the best choice for a spa.
In this blog post, I'll explain why and what to do instead, so you can make a better choice for your hot tub.
What is a chlorine floater?
A chlorine floater is a small device that can be filled with chlorine tablets. It simply floats on the surface of the water, slowly dispersing the chlorine evenly throughout your hot tub.
The reason chlorine floaters are attractive is that they’re really easy to use—just put the tablets in, throw the floater in your hot tub, and then let it do its job. Many floaters also have adjustable outlets, so you can easily control the amount of chlorine being dispersed.
Sounds great, right? But there's a problem.
Why you should never use a chlorine floater in a hot tub
Using a chlorine floater with tablets in a hot tub is NOT a good idea—in fact, it could even void your warranty.
Why? Well, most chlorine tablets are designed for pools.
Chlorine tablets contain trichlor, which is a type of chlorine with an acidic pH. If not corrected, this low pH can corrode the internal components of your hot tub and shorten their lifespan. Using a chlorine floater with trichlor can therefore lead to expensive repairs.
It can also bleach your hot tub's acrylic shell. In fact, many brands specifically exclude damage caused by chlorine tablets from their warranty, so be sure to check this too if your spa is still covered.
Alternatives to chlorine floaters
The most popular option is chlorinating concentrate or granules. Unlike tablets, this type of chlorine is added directly to the water with no need for a floater.
Chlorinating granules are designed for spa use, and have a more neutral pH than tablets.
For proper application and maintenance, always refer to the manufacturer's instructions, as the amount of product used will vary depending on the size of your spa.
The FROG® @Ease® Floating Sanitizing System
A good option to consider for those with lower spa usage is the FROG® @Ease® Floating Sanitizing System. This system is basically a chlorine and mineral cartridge, and is a great alternative to granules for those looking for a low-maintenance chlorine hot tub.
You can read more about this system in my more detailed guide to using chlorine in your hot tub.
Bromine is another option. It's similar to chlorine, but it's gentler on skin and clothing and is also known for lasting longer than chlorine-based products.
Bromine tablets are safe to place inside a brominator, which can then be added to the hot tub water:
Bromine may cost a little more than chlorine, but it is generally easier to maintain and requires fewer treatments. You still need to check pH and alkalinity regularly, but bromine is more stable so you shouldn't have too many problems once your water is properly balanced.
You can learn more about bromine in my detailed guide to using bromine in your hot tub.
What to monitor if you do use chlorine tablets
If you do choose to use chlorine tablets in a chlorine floater, there are several important water readings you need to monitor.
The most obvious one is the chlorine level. It's important to keep the chlorine level between 1-3 ppm (parts per million).
The chlorine tablets should help maintain a consistent chlorine level, but it's important to test it periodically to make sure the level is where it needs to be.
Many people find these tablets actually dissolve too slowly for a spa, so you might find that you struggle to keep the free chlorine levels up in the acceptable range.
pH & alkalinity
It's also very important to monitor the pH and alkalinity levels of the hot tub water. Ideally the pH should be between 7.2-7.8 ppm and the alkalinity should stay between 80-120 ppm.
Keeping these levels in check are essential for healthy hot tub water, as having either pH and alkalinity levels too high or too low can cause skin irritation, or even corrosion of certain components in the hot tub.
It's best to check these water chemistry readings at least once a week (or more if you use the spa frequently) to make sure your hot tub water is safe and healthy.
Chlorine floaters might seem like an easy, affordable way to keep your hot tub sanitized, but it's not recommended to use chlorine tablets in a hot tub.
Whether you're just getting started with a hot tub or have been maintaining one for some time, you should consider using either chlorinating granules, or switch to bromine if you want to use a floater.
With a little bit of effort, you'll be taking better care of your hot tub.