What Is The Difference Between Hot Tub And Spa?


So, you’re planning to upgrade your property by having a hot tub installed, huh? Or wait, is that a spa? Many homeowners often use these two terms interchangeably, which is quite understandable since they’re practically the same in certain respects. For one, they look almost the same. Second, they both have hot and steamy water which makes for a nice and relaxing soak. So what is the difference between a hot tub and a spa?

Since we’ve always made it a point to be helpful to our readers, we decided to clear up the confusion and shed some light on the distinct (though not always obvious) differences between a hot tub and a spa. And for good measure, we decided to throw the term ‘Jacuzzi’ in the bunch as well. This way, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision when you finally decided to buy a hot tub (or a spa, as the case may be).

What’s a Hot Tub?

A hot tub is a term that typically refers to a portable above ground spa. It is a complete and self-contained unit, which means that all of the plumbing, electrical control system, filter apparatuses, and all other components necessary to operate the hot tub are built into the hot tub cabinet.

Hot tubs come in a variety of sizes. There small hot tubs that measure three feet in height and five feet across that can accommodate two adults. There are also bigger hot tubs which measure around four to five feet in height with a diameter of six feet or more and can accommodate up to eight adults. The former usually holds around 300 gallons of water while the latter can usually hold up to 800 gallons of water or more.

Hot Tub Materials

The traditional hot tubs were made from wood staves (cedar and redwood in particular) and held together by a metal band. Although you may still see some of those today, most hot tubs are now made from a variety of different materials. The most popular hot tub materials include acrylic, thermoplastic, and vinyl. There are also inflatable hot tubs made from polyester and PVC.

Hot Tub Designs

Hot tubs come in a wide array of styles and designs. The simpler hot tubs come with a few jets while the acrylic-shelled hot tubs usually come with higher jet counts. The designs also vary in terms of seating number, seating layout, and additional features. Because of this, hot tubs are often considered to be a more ergonomic option compared to a spa.

Points to Consider

  • Hot tubs are capable of holding a set temperature. With the more modern hot tubs, you can set a selected temperature and expect it to remain consistent throughout its use.
  • Hot tubs heat up pretty quickly. Because of this, it will require less energy to heat the water which translates to savings on your energy bills.
  • Hot tubs are portable and can be easily relocated. You can always bring your hot tub with you should you decide to move to a new home.
  • Hot tubs are pretty easy to install and use (especially the inflatable ones). They can be filled with water from the garden hose and drained anytime.

What’s a Spa?What’s_a_Spa

Whereas hot tubs are installed above ground, spas on the other hand are built in-ground, much like an in-ground swimming pool. Compared to hot tubs, spas have more uniform bench seating and have fewer jets inlaid along the walls. In residential properties, spas are generally built immediately alongside an in-ground swimming pool, as is the case in most hotels and gyms.

The term ‘spa’ is also often associated with a health resort. They’re even confused with a day spa, which is a commercial establishment that offers aesthetic services, like deep-tissue massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, body wraps, salt glows, and other pampering treatments.

Spa Materials

Spas are generally made from concrete and are built into the landscape of the yard. That said, spas are permanent additions to your homes, unlike hot tubs which can be removed and transferred at will. Sometimes, a spa will be level with the swimming pool. However, there are instances where a spa is intentionally built to be higher than the pool. If you intend on doing this, you’ll have to consider what building materials you’re going to use for the exterior of the spa. There are many options when it comes to such materials, including ornamental rocks, tiles, or even wood.

Points to Consider

  • Spas are fully customizable, which means you can integrate them with the design of your home. You can also have your contractor design a unique look for your spa should you choose to do so.
  • Spas are one of the most sought after water features in many high-end residential properties. If you’re planning to have one built along with a pool, you can expect your property’s market value to go significantly higher.
  • Spas are more costly to run and operate since it takes much longer to heat the water in a spa than in a hot tub. Along that line, spas also require higher amounts of energy to keep the water hot.

What’s a Jacuzzi?

Many people often refer to hot tubs and spas as ‘Jacuzzi’ which may be right depending on the circumstances.

‘Jacuzzi’ is actually a brand name and does not refer to any specific type of hot tub or spa. ‘Jacuzzi’ is the brand that invented the underwater jet which was first used in bathtubs. Nowadays, the brand manufactures its original bathtubs and above-ground hot tubs.

Much like ‘Xerox’ or ‘Kleenex’, ‘Jacuzzi’ is a brand name that has come to take on a generic meaning and is extensively used interchangeably with ‘hot tub’ and ‘spa’. But because it’s a brand name, people may be right when they refer to a hot tub or spa as a Jacuzzi. Just remember that although all Jacuzzis are hot tubs, not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis.

Globo Surf Overview

Hopefully, we’ve helped to clarify the difference between a hot tub and spa (and a Jacuzzi). But whether you choose a hot tub or a spa, either way, you can be sure that having one will add to the quality of your life. Simply soaking in the heated waters of a hot tub or a spa is generally enough to escape from the exhaustion and stress of the day’s work. In fact, soaking in the hot tub or spa may just be what you need to relax your tense muscles and improve your blood circulation, which in turn helps you to fall asleep faster and sleep better – for some people, those are more than enough reasons to own a hot tub (or a spa).

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!