Freeflow Vs. Costco (!) Harmony - Portable Hot Tubs & Spas - Pool and Spa Forum

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Freeflow Vs. Costco (!) Harmony


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#1 txlnghrn

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 11:47 AM

Hello all.

We are about to pull the trigger on a Freeflow TLX spa, when while perusing eveyone's favorite spa provider, Costco, I came across a spa, for $1500 cheaper, whose shell is virtually identical to Freeflow's slightly pricier Legend.

Freeflow

Costco

As you can see, the shells are identical. I assume that these are made at the same plant and that Freeflow dumbs down the one they sell to Costco for $1500 less.

Specs wise, I see that Coscto's version (AquaTerra Harmony LX) has a 1.5hp 1 speed pump, versus Freeflow's 2 speed pump. It also describes its heater as a "Thermo Friction Heater", while Freeflow says "1kw/4kw Heater".

I have written an email to AquaTerra to inquire about the inner workings, controls, insulation, pumps, etc., as I assume they are inferior and are just using the same rotomolded shell. However, I was wondering if anyone was familiar with the AquaTerra Harmony LX and could confirm or refute my suspicions.

Also, I have browsed this forum enough to know that Costco is not a beloved dealer of tubs, and I must say I'd prefer to order from my local Freeflow dealer for the customer support. However, if the Costco version is only negligibly more inferior than the Freeflow model, I could certainly be persuaded to pocket the $1500. I have a feeling this is just wishful thinking, though, and that you experts will be able to shed some light on the technical differences.

Thanks in advance!

#2 Markee

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:15 PM

I would definitely pick the Freeflow over the Costco spa. The Costco tub probably relies on heat from the pump to heat the water instead of having a dedicated heater. These spas are notorious for not having insulation and costing you big bucks on your energy bill.

You may also want to check out the Marquis Envy:





#3 spatech (the unreal one)

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:27 PM

I love the "Thermo Friction Heater" line. Unless I'm mistaken that just means there is no heater LOL. They use the heat generated by friction of the pump moving water to heat the spa as it runs. It'll take about a day or two of that pump running non stop to heat the water up to temp when you fill and in cold climates it'll really have trouble maintaining heat when used. It may also have a water jacket around the pump motor to draw some of that heat but otherwise you're comparing one spa with a heater versus one without. Factor that in along with any other differences you see.

I'm not a big fan of what Costco has to offer quality wise (and service wise since there is no dealer) and my first impression is to say go with the Freeflow as they are a pretty decent choice for that spa category but this is a case where the Costco route seems kind of enticing. You're looking at simple spas anyway and I believe the Freeflow only comes with a 1 year warranty anyway but take your time and make sure you really know the differences besides the phantom heater. I'll refrain from adding an unsolicited plug for another brand. wink.gif biggrin.gif


QUOTE (txlnghrn @ Jun 22 2009, 12:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello all.

We are about to pull the trigger on a Freeflow TLX spa, when while perusing eveyone's favorite spa provider, Costco, I came across a spa that, for $1500 cheaper, whose shell is virtually identical to Freeflow's slightly pricier Legend.

Freeflow

Costco

As you can see, the shells are identical. I assume that these are made at the same plant and that Freeflow dumbs down the one they sell to Costco for $1500 less.

Specs wise, I see that Coscto's version (AquaTerra Harmony LX) has a 1.5hp 1 speed pump, versus Freeflow's 2 speed pump. It also describes its heater as a "Thermo Friction Heater", while Freeflow says "1kw/4kw Heater".

I have written an email to AquaTerra to inquire about the inner workings, controls, insulation, pumps, etc., as I assume they are inferior and are just using the same rotomolded shell. However, I was wondering if anyone was familiar with the AquaTerra Harmony LX and could confirm or refute my suspicions.

Also, I have browsed this forum enough to know that Costco is not a beloved dealer of tubs, and I must say I'd prefer to order from my local Freeflow dealer for the customer support. However, if the Costco version is only negligibly more inferior than the Freeflow model, I could certainly be persuaded to pocket the $1500. I have a feeling this is just wishful thinking, though, and that you experts will be able to shed some light on the technical differences.

Thanks in advance!


#4 txlnghrn

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:36 PM

Thanks for the quick responses!

I figured that was the situation with the heater. I recall renting a vacation house that had a SoftTub which I believe operates on a similar premise, right?

I live in S. Texas where cold climate is never an issue - I think the heat index today is greater than 104. smile.gif

We did consider the Marquis, but don't have a dealer locally. Also looked at the Nordics but prices were higher and the dealer said he couldn't order the one I'd be interested in (Crown XL) and would only sell what he had in stock.

I like the Freeflow because its inexpensive, basic, no-frills round tub which is what we are looking for. Seems to get reasonably good reviews given its price point. Also, another benefit is that the dealer is literally right up the street from me. I'd certainly welcome feedback about the Freeflows, as the information here is relatively limited.

#5 spatech (the unreal one)

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 01:05 PM

QUOTE (txlnghrn @ Jun 22 2009, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I figured that was the situation with the heater. I recall renting a vacation house that had a SoftTub which I believe operates on a similar premise, right?

Yes, the same.

QUOTE (txlnghrn @ Jun 22 2009, 01:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I live in S. Texas where cold climate is never an issue - I think the heat index today is greater than 104. smile.gif


Yes but one small shift in the Earth's axis it'll seem like you're in Wisconsin and then you'll wish you had a heater.

#6 txlnghrn

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 01:10 PM

Here's the response I got from the manufacturer. Perhaps this will be helpful to others...


Thank you for your interest in Aquaterra Spas.


Freeflow Spas is the manufacture of the Aquaterra Spa (Harmony). The Harmony and Legend are very different. They may look the same but are made up differently.


Harmony is sold retail by Costco only.

Legend is sold wholesale through our dealers only.



The Harmony uses a Thermal Friction heating system that heats the water by drawing heat from the operation of the pump and the friction caused from the specially designed pump impeller striking the water. This heating system is comparable to a 1.0 kw heater.

The Harmony and Harmony LX are available in one standard color only.

At this current time the Harmony is only available online only. There is not a location that you can view it in person.


The Legend has a 1.0 kw heater. Multiple colors available.



#7 Dr. Hot Tub

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 01:14 PM

Personally I would stay away from both!

#8 LWD

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 02:07 PM

QUOTE (Dr. Hot Tub @ Jun 25 2009, 02:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Personally I would stay away from both!

Sounds like the whole thing is run by 2 squirrels in a circular cage via rubberband drives!!!! LOL




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