If you've invested in a hot tub, you'll want to take good care of it to extend its lifetime use and value. A big part of maintenance involves ensuring the correct water chemistry. And that's where the right balance of must-have chemicals comes in. 


There are a wide variety of hot tub chemicals out there to balance your water chemistry and ensure your water is safe and crystal clear. But where to start?

Test strips will give you a baseline

Test strips are a good starting point when maintaining your hot tub water. At-home testing should be done weekly before entering your hot tub to ensure bather safety. But we recommend visiting Bud's Spas & Pools for a water test at least once a month for proper water balance. A monthly water test is also required to ensure that your hot tub's warranty remains valid.

Sanitizer is #1 when it comes to crucial hot tub chemicals

Testing strips and water tests will tell you the current levels of sanitizers: chlorine and bromine. Sanitizer keeps the water balanced and free from bacteria and algae. 

Chlorine is popular because it is fast-acting, easy to add, and effective at killing contaminants. The downside is the more pungent smell which occurs because of the oxidation process. The proper chlorine level for a hot tub is between 1 to 3 ppm.

Bromine, on the other hand, has less of an odour than chlorine when oxidizing. It also lasts longer as it creates a reserve in the water that can be reactivated and has a lower PH. The lower PH helps keep the water properly balanced. Many hot tub owners also prefer it because it's gentler on your eyes, skin, and hair. The downsides are that it works slower.

The right amount of bromine levels for a hot tub is between 3 and 5 ppm.


Before adding chemicals to your hot tub, ensure the pump is running, and the temperature is at least 80 degrees. This will ensure the chemicals will dissolve properly. 

For more helpful tips, see our other post

Shock is another must-have for regular hot tub maintenance

Shock or oxidizer eliminates bather wastes such as sweat, body oils, and cosmetics that tend to cloud the water. Remember to leave your cover off for 1 hour after the weekly shock!

pH levels are a balancing act

pH, or "potential of hydrogen," measures how acidic or basic the water is. The range goes from 0 – 14, with 7 being neutral. pH levels of less than 7 indicate acidity, while pH levels of greater than 7 indicate a base. For example, bleach has a pH of 13.5, while battery acid has a pH of 0. 

The proper level of pH for your hot tub is between 7.4 and 7.6. Low pH can cause corrosion in your spa, while high pH can cause itchy, dry skin and a burning sensation in your eyes. High pH can also result in scale forming. 

You also need to consider total alkalinity (TA). Alkalinity acts as a buffer for pH, neutralizing incoming acid and keeping pH from changing too much. Alkalinity goes hand-in-hand with pH levels. You should measure and adjust TA by adding an alkalinity increaser in small doses. Allow each dose to circulate before testing again. The ideal range for TA is 100 – 150 ppm. Only after the TA is in the optimal range should you move on to adjusting your pH.


Hot tubs with quality filtration systems can keep your water crystal clear and clean with fewer chemicals. Hydropool's self-cleaning spas are a cut above when it comes to filtration!

Calcium hardness increaser will…you guessed it, increase calcium levels

Calcium hardness levels should fall within 175 – 250 ppm. If your calcium hardness levels are too low, you should add a calcium hardness increaser to prevent equipment corrosion and etching of the acrylic. Calcium hardness also plays an essential part in ensuring the overall mineral balance is correct, enhancing comfort, chemical efficiency, and maintenance cost.

There you have it, your must-have hot tub chemicals! These chemicals are top of the list, but other innovative products serve hot tub water maintenance remarkably well.

Need more assistance? We're happy to answer any of your questions or conduct a water test for you.