Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini is this Air Source Heat Pump for you? I must admit, when the first Clim8zone product was released, I was rather scathing in my review. I still don’t like that product today. Here we are 18 months later, and I am looking into Balboa’s next foray into Air Source Heat Pumps – the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini. Is it going to be any good? Let’s dive in and take a look.
For clarity here – I am wiring this review based purely on the documentation and specifications that Balboa have provided for the unit. It is not going to be released for another 6 weeks so I have not seen this unit in person. However, I must say that I have supplied enough air source heat pumps to customers that I know what I am looking for in terms of specs and details.
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What is the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini?
As the name suggests this is a mini heat pump. Mini heat pumps are nothing new, they have been around for a long time now. However, as Balboa is one of the top two manufactures on Hot Tub and Spa equipment, they will leverage their name on the product and push the compatibility with their spa packs and topside controls that people already have in their hot tubs.
The Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini is a 4KW heat pump and claims to be fully integrated with the BP systems – I’ll take a look at this point a little later on. It functions down to -5C which is pretty good for a small heat pump and the stated noise of only 45 dBA is pretty low. With 2” unions, they are certainly looking to make this easy to connect to your existing hot tub as must spa packs, certainly the Balboa ones are 2” pipework themselves.
What are the stand out points about the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini?
- Heats & Cools
- Smart – Variable Speed
- Fully Integrated with the BP Systems
- Functions down to -5 degrees C
- Quiet – less than 45dBA
- 2″ Unions
Unlike other spa heat pumps on the market, Clim8zone functions at low ambient air temperatures (-5ºC) in colder climates
Operates quietly at less than 45dBA
Variable speed compressor with smart algorithm
What is the compatibility of the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini?
This is always my bug bear with the marketing from Balboa, it is always misleading in my opinion in terms of the compatibility. You would not imagine the amount of calls and emails I get about the original model – even though I don’t sell them and have never supplied one myself.
If you have a new hot tub with Balboa inside, new being within the last 18 months or so, then you are probably ok. If you have an older tub, then you are going to need to check. Of course, even with a new tub you should be checking the model numbers for compatibility.
Balboa state compatible with all BP systems in their sales sheet on this one. It is not. I have a BP601 and it would not be compatible with my unit as it is the older 601 model.
Here is a list of the models that the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini is compatible with and they have to end in “C8Z”
BP6013G1 – C8Z
BP6013G2 – C8Z
BP6013G3 – C8Z
BP2100G0 – C8Z
BP2100G1 – C8Z
BP214PBC – C8Z
Then we come to the topside controls that are needed. The highly popular TP600 which is found on a gazillion hot tubs is not compatible. The only models of topside that are compatible are:
Spa Touch 3,
Spa Touch 2
This could mean an expensive upgrade if you are looking to buy one of these units.
Please double check the serial number and model numbers of your kit for compatibility before you purchase.
What are the specifications of the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini?
Heating Capacity A27/W27
Heating Capacity A15/W25
What are my final thoughts on the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini?
I’m always a fan or larger heat pumps than this – if you have read my blog or watched my YouTube Channel, you will know that I put a 21KW on my own tub – it is quite a large tub at 2700 litres, but still, this is a long way from a 4KW unit. I still love it now!
Take a look at the COP and what you are going to get out of the unit. At 27C (how often do you get that in the UK for example) you will get 4KW of heat. At 15C you are going to get 2.5KW out of it so less than the 3KW electric heater that most of you will have in your tub already. In the winter, yes, it might operate to -5C as Balboa states, but what are you going to get out of it – parity at best most of the time? Who knows as they don’t tell us. OK, it is going to cost you a lot less to run in the spring and summer, but the heat output is pretty low.
Then there is the compatibility of the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini – there is a huge amount of the retro-fit market where this is not going to be suitable or compatible. For new tubs and the plastic shell manufacturers that want to incorporate this kind of thing out of the factory, then I can see this working for Balboa. As I deal with mostly retro-fit side of things on the air source, it is not going to be suitable for most people coming to me.
How much does it cost?
Ignoring any upgrades you are going to need to make to topside controls and spa packs (ouch!), this unit is going to retail at around the £1000 GBP mark inc VAT. That is quite expensive for a 4KW unit in my humble opinion.
What is an alternative to the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini?
For me, this is a no brainer. The Vian Power 5KW models hands down I would choose over this Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini.
Just to show you exactly what I mean, I am going to run here with the cheaper Vian power C5 regular model. This is an on/off heat pump and if we compare the COP at 15C we are going to get 4.72 KW – this is at 15C and not the 27C where the Balboa only just makes 4KW.
This unit is 250 GBP cheaper, more powerful and performs better than the Balboa CLIM8ZONE II Mini. OK, it will not connect directly (but it doesn’t need to) to a select few BP Spa Packs and Topsides and is controlled by flow instead. This is how I guide all my ASHP retrofit customers to install their units.
For me, as I have said, this is a no-brainer. Cheaper, more powerful, similar sized footprint – for me, it’s a Vian Power C5 all day long.
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Hope you have found this article useful.
Happy Hot Tubbin’
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Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.
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