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Wouldn’t it be great having a warm bath after an exhausting day? Well, we know how relaxing that can be and recommend that you get a hot tub.
We understand that you might be indecisive at first; after all, there are several varieties available on the market. That’s why we decided to discuss some of the common types, so you can find what works best.
Obviously, there are many other factors that you must consider before buying one. But before we go into all that detail, you must take a look at your hot tub choices.
Without further ado, let’s get down to business.
Types of Hot Tubs
- Types of Hot Tubs
- Common Types of Hot Tub Shapes
If you’re looking for more options in size, color, and configuration, a portable hot tub is an ideal choice. Besides, you may even look for features that can further enhance your bathing experience.
These are the most commonly used varieties and, as such, are less expensive than other types. Furthermore, they are highly durable. The portable units were developed as an alternative to the wooden ones, which quickly went out of style.
Besides, they are considered to be more energy-efficient, offering better performance in the long run. While they’re called portable since they can be transported from one location to another, the tubs are quite heavy and require a lot of effort to move. Additionally, they need a special pad to support the weight.
A rotationally molded tub is an excellent option for hydrotherapy on a budget. Not all of us can afford a high-end swim spa tub, but that should not stop you from having a personal oasis. Even though they’re not lightweight like those inflatable hot tubs, they are actually better in terms of functionality and durability.
However, they’re usually under 300 lbs in weight, and, as such, you can move them to your desired location. You may need an extra pair of hands, though. Nevertheless, the best part about these is the contoured seating, which allows you to relax in the most comfortable position.
Unfortunately, these units are not known for their efficiency, and their plastic appearance can be a turn off for some users. But if you’re not bothered about looks and would rather enjoy a warm bath, this is still a good choice.
Plus, they’re incredibly sturdy and less prone to damage, since these are made of a single piece of plastic material, molded into shape.
Swim or Exercise Spa
If you want to splurge and invest in modern technology, a swim or exercise spa is the way to go. These tubs are typically built into a deck or in a separate enclosure inside the house, where the owner has sufficient space to swim and exercise.
Naturally, these specialized units are quite bulky, and even though they’re designed as self-contained models, they still require a solid foundation for support. Since they offer you more space than their traditional counterparts, you can easily swim, float, or exercise in them. Honestly, this is an excellent way to get into shape as you can work out in a warm, yet relaxing environment.
However, there are a few glitches that we cannot ignore. For instance, these tubs are quite expensive compared to traditional hot tubs. Besides, they’re considerably large and demand a dedicated space for installation or construction.
Lastly, using a swim spa will inevitably lead to high operating costs. Simply put, you’ll need enough water to create a mini swimming pool and electricity to warm up and maintain the water temperature.
So, even if you decide to buy one of these, make sure to have a precise estimate of your power and utility bills once you start using the tub.
Wooden hot tubs are the oldest varieties and have been the source of inspiration for the modern hot tub designs. In their primitive form, these tubs were fashioned out of discarded barrels and vats, and they were mostly meant for personal use.
The design was crude and did little for comfort. However, since then, wooden tubs have undergone significant improvements and become the hot tubs that we use now. That said, if you’re considering this option, make sure to first check out the heating source.
The heat source is crucial to the overall performance and efficiency of a unit as it determines how quickly the water will heat up and the placement of the tub. While some models depend on woodfire heaters, others may use electric heaters, gas heaters, or a combination of power sources.
Obviously, there are a lot of takers for wood baths as they’re aesthetically pleasing and have a different sort of old-fashioned charm. Besides, with certain options like redwood and cedar hot tubs, you can indulge in aromatherapy while taking a dip.
However, they come with a hefty price tag, and you can already guess how heavy some of these units can be. Also, they usually require assembly and are unlikely to have any fun features that users look for when buying a hot tub.
Generally, in-ground hot tubs are built next to or as an external part of a swimming pool. Therefore, these units are usually custom-made and require a construction permit. Naturally, you’d need to hire professionals or contact a company for the project.
Meaning it’s going to cost you a heck lot compared to store-bought hot tubs. So, make sure to know everything about the expenses and other overheads before getting started. That said, in-ground tubs are great if you’re looking for higher customization and more comfort.
You can incorporate any design, style, or feature and make the most of your personal hydrotherapy chamber.
You may either buy a shell that can be inserted into a hole, dug in the designated location, or get a concrete hot tub installed. The latter is more suitable if you’re not too sure about the final look of the tub and how it will appear in the yard setting.
After the installation is complete, you can make changes in the landscape so that the tub does not look awkward and out of place. However, it’s safe to say that these units are not for everyone, given the high cost, maintenance, and general lack of efficiency.
Also, they’re hardly convenient, as the tubs are usually installed in the backyard farther away from the house. Whereas, above-ground tubs allow you to place them right outside your home.
While many people mistakenly consider them to be the same as inflatable hot tubs, there are some differences. Firstly, soft-sided hot tubs are usually available online or in booths at fairs.
This is mainly because only a handful of dealers stock them in stores. Like inflatable hot tubs, these too can be connected to a 110V outlet and do not require extensive electrical work for installation and operation.
Regardless, they are not very comfortable for long sessions and not the most efficient option. They are certainly cheaper than traditional tubs, but that’s about it. Do not expect a lot in terms of quality or performance.
Inflatable hot tubs are quite popular as they’re inexpensive and easy to handle. They offer you more flexibility while choosing the ideal spot and are more convenient, thanks to their portable and lightweight designs.
Typically made of laminated PVC or polyester, these units come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with multiple features to choose from. Simply plug the tub into a 110V outlet and warm up the water. If you prefer it warmer, you can do so as these tubs support higher water temperatures. Besides, there’s no need for intricate electrical work, as the tub has a straightforward operation.
But the bottom line is that they lack durability and are prone to punctures. Also, since they don’t have molded seats, you won’t be comfortable for long. Lastly, they increase overall costs due to high power consumption.
If you’re a fan of all things rustic, consider buying a wood-fired hot tub to revive the old world charm. Although it demands a lot of preparation to use one, the experience is nothing short of unique.
The upside to it is that you don’t have to bother about supplying electricity, and hence, you can place it anywhere outside your home. This flexibility is a real advantage, as you get to choose a spot of your liking. However, you must understand that it depends on fire as its heat source, so you must have the provision for burning wood in your premises.
Also, you’ll have to keep adding wood in case the water starts to cool. This could be an inconvenience if you’d have to get out mid-bath. Additionally, you must have enough wood to build a fire whenever you want to use the tub.
If all else fails, you can always go for a custom made bath. The expenses may vary depending on the size, features, and build material, but it’s worth it to have a personalized space for relaxation.
When you opt for custom made baths, you get to have a say in every aspect. You could include multiple features and improve aesthetics while enhancing the existing bathing space. At the same time, consider the heating source as the tub should be made and placed in a way so it can optimize the power.
Bathtub Features To Look For
Knowing all about the common types of hot tubs is not enough, as you still need to figure out what features will enhance the overall bathing experience.
That’s why we’ve made this brief checklist so you can look for these perks.
While your existing decor may or may not include lights, LED lights embedded in the tub can take things up a notch. Colorful lights can make it more fun for children as they splash around in the tub.
You can install lights on the porch roof or the deck, wherever you’ll be using the tub, but it’s definitely more enjoyable and visually appealing to have lights underneath the water. Besides, if your tub is a little farther away from home, and does not receive sufficient light, interior illumination lets you enjoy a bath more even after dark.
If you want to up the game, look for hot tubs that include massaging jets. The moment you immerse yourself into the warm water, your body welcomes the soothing and relaxing feeling. But you could elevate the experience with massaging jets.
Usually, these jets can be angled and moved, so you can target the sore muscles on your body. Also, in some models, the speed and pattern of the water flow can be customized. All in all, massaging jets are really fun as they keep the water moving and enhance comfort.
Also, they make you feel rejuvenated and energized after a bath. So, if you plan on hitting the hot tub on long, tiring days, get one with this cool feature.
A cover is essential for your hot tub not only from the hygiene standpoint but also in maintaining the water temperature for long. This is especially important if your tub is not placed under a shade.
Therefore, a lid will prevent leaves, bugs, and dirt from getting into the water. On the other hand, not using a cover leads to higher operating costs as the heat escapes faster, and the tub ends up consuming power to warm up. It also means longer waiting time until the water reaches the desired temperature.
While there are models that do not include covers, you may have the option to buy one separately. However, we suggest buying something with a cover as that will save you all the hassle. Unlike any aftermarket purchase, it ensures that the cover perfectly fits your hot tub and works as it’s supposed to.
A hot tub is more comfortable and enjoyable if it includes a molded seat(s). It becomes the perfect lounging spot where you can unwind after an exceptionally long day. These seats allow you to sit comfortably and provide sufficient back support, so you don’t have to sit up every few minutes.
Depending on whether you want a private tub or a larger one, you can buy a model with 1, 2 or more seats. Some tubs can accommodate 2 occupants at a time, allowing you to enjoy a private moment with your partner. Alternatively, the larger units are ideal for entertaining a group of people, providing sufficient seating space.
A hot tub with cooling capabilities is an excellent idea if you want to enjoy a dip around the year. While these bathing units are typically used for creating a warm environment as the weather starts getting colder, cooling features enable you to maximize use.
This essentially means that you can soak in the cold water during summers, without having to wait for the ideal weather condition to use your hot tub. Not all tubs have this unique feature, so make sure to check the specs before buying. Also, if you’re opting for such a tub, find out the level of cooling before finalizing.
There’s nothing like listening to your favorite tunes while enjoying a luxurious bath. However, keeping your portable speakers or phone nearby is a dangerous gamble as water could damage the gadgets. You could use waterproof electronics or place the music player at a considerable distance.
However, if you would rather avoid any makeshift arrangements, buy a hot tub with built-in speakers. This way, you don’t have to worry about damaging your gears. These speakers are specially designed for use in a wet environment. Thus, contact with water will not ruin any internal parts.
With such models, you can enjoy your music as long as you want and elevate the bathing experience.
This is another feature that buyers eagerly look out for. Some units come with built-in drink holders with enough space for a couple of wine glasses. You can also find attachable drink holders that can be removed after use. So, just pour yourself a glass of your favorite drink and relax in comfortably warm water.
It’s the ultimate way to kick back with your partner or friends as you can sip on a beverage while the hot water creates a soothing impact. You may even add a small bowl of olives as shown in this picture.
Water Treatment System
Hot water therapy is the perfect way to ease out minor body aches and cramps. But if you live in an area with hard water, we advise investing a tub with a built-in water treatment system. Exposing yourself to hard water for extended periods could lead to skin problems. Therefore, a bathtub with treatment capabilities is the ideal solution.
Besides, hard water also impacts the quality and service life of the tub, which inadvertently leads to more expenses in the future. That’s where this feature comes in handy as it lets you enjoy long sessions hassle-free.
If you have the budget and the provision, simply upgrade your bathing experience to a whole new level by building a hot tub with waterfalls. The sound and feel of running water is inimitable and not something you can enjoy in self-contained baths.
Whereas, these units are designed to allow water to cascade over your shoulders, into the tub as you lounge and relax. This feature will virtually transport you to a freshwater pool fed by a waterfall, and you can feel one with nature.
Obviously, this is something you won’t find in regular hot tubs. You can either build a customized bath and incorporate this element or find a specialized unit with one. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the money.
Salt Water Compatible
Saltwater has a natural sanitizing effect that is, however, not found in freshwater. There are several benefits of saltwater baths, but not all hot tubs have that sort of compatibility. Usually, people opt for chlorine to clean and disinfect their bathing chambers, but that too, as you must know, has its side effects.
If you’re installing a bath for hydrotherapy and overall physical improvement, make it a point to purchase a saltwater-compatible model. Moreover, saltwater has excellent relaxing and healing properties that can work wonders on sore, taut muscles, and joint pains.
Furthermore, it’s a great treatment opportunity for people who have arthritis or any form of swelling. Besides, saltwater hot tubs are less drying than traditional units, which is a cause of concern for some users.
Since it’s an effective disinfectant, saltwater also keeps things low maintenance. Therefore, investing in this feature is a good idea in the long run.
Common Types of Hot Tub Shapes
Circular hot tubs have become increasingly popular, with more people switching over from traditional square models. These are comparatively cheaper, space-saving, and more portable than other options.
The small footprint allows you to fit it in any corner inside your premises, taking up very little room. This is an excellent option for private use, providing sufficient space for 1-2 individuals.
As you must know, the square-shaped models are the oldest varieties on the market. This traditional design has multiple benefits that are relevant even now. Firstly, the clear space delineation is a plus when there are more occupants in the tub.
Each person can take up a corner as their relaxation spot. Also, you can neatly fit them against the house, porch, or deck. Also, let’s not forget that they look more natural in any setup, unlike round or other shapes. They won’t awkwardly stick out as you can literally place them in any corner.
Square shaped tubs may not offer enough space to stretch out. This is especially an issue for taller individuals who need a little more room to relax. In this case, opting for a rectangular tub is the best idea.
They offer enough room both length and breadth-wise, and you can easily immerse yourself and splash around comfortably. Unlike in square baths, you won’t feel cramped in the corner, even if there are more occupants.
While they’re bigger than the average square units, they offer some of the same advantages. Simply put, you can position them in any corner on the yard, patio, or deck. They don’t become an eyesore, unlike round tubs, and usually, these units feature molded seats, offering full-body support. It’s a win-win overall.
This shape, as you can figure out, is not that common among users. Mainly because it requires an angular outline of the same size for installation. Nevertheless, you can consider this option if you’re short on space or want to create a unique bathing enclosure.
It undoubtedly has a visual appeal but does not offer enough room. Therefore, unlike the square or rectangular baths, you may not have enough space for more than 1-2 occupants.
Most of these tubs can be plugged into any socket and usually do not require any additional electrical work. Once connected, you can start using it right away as the water begins to warm up instantly. Also, these tubs are a cinch to install.
You may opt for a model with a higher power rating of 240V, but in that case, you’ll have to hire a professional to prepare your electrical system accordingly. Usually, these units warm up faster, but that also means increased power consumption.
While some people have this misconception that these units are more powerful, that’s far from the truth. They can support more pumps, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the built-in jets become more powerful. If you want a spacious tub with some high-end features, anything with a 240V rating is a suitable option.
- 2-3 People
Smaller hot tubs are popular because of their size and low operational cost. If you’re looking to use the tub alone or just with another person, this is the best choice. They are cheaper and do not hog a lot of space. Plus, they’re easy to manage and maintain.
- 4-5 People
These average size tubs are recommended for a small family or group of 4-5. They are more expensive than private tubs and not the most energy-efficient option. Naturally, they take up more space and more time to warm up the water.
- 6-7 People
If you love to host jacuzzi parties for your guests or simply have a bigger family, we suggest opting for a model with generous accommodation. These large units can seat 6-7 people at a time so you can enjoy and splash around together.
Obviously, you need to have a dedicated space for such a unit as it’s not practical to move the tub. Also, running the bath will be an expensive affair, given the high power consumption and water requirements.
- 8+ People
If you want an extra-large tub, you’ll need to dig deep into your pocket. These come with an enormous price tag and incur substantial operational costs. It’s definitely wasteful for a small family and only makes sense if you often entertain a big group of people.
They offer enough space for all the occupants to spread out and relax. However, it takes some time for the water to reach the desired temperature.
Generally, these tubs are placed or installed outside homes and derive power from an electrical source. You can put them on the yard or porch and enjoy a warm dip out in the open. Also, some of these models are found on decks as well.
While most people prefer a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, you may opt for a hot tub. Or, you can have a dedicated indoor space for your swim and exercise spa.
That’s all from us!
We hope you could find the most suitable option from our list. But before you go ahead and buy one, make sure you’re clear about your budget and requirements. There’s no point in purchasing a large size tub only for you to underuse it.
Also, make up your mind about the location of the tub. Since it’ll be deriving power from a socket inside your house, the tub’s placement is critical. Using a hot tub is anyway going to be an expensive affair, so it’s better to buy a smaller size if you’re going to use it quite often.
On that note, we’ll take your leave. Till next time!