Hot Tub Definition – What is a hot tub?

A hot tub is a large, above-ground tub filled with heated, jet-swirled water. It is used for relaxation and pleasure, or as hydro-therapy for body aches and easing the symptoms of chronic physical conditions.

A hot tub is also called a whirlpool or Jacuzzi (the brand name of the first jetted hot tub). Custom, more luxurious hot tubs are often called spas. They usually seat two to six people, and are located out-of-doors, though some are installed inside homes or commercial facilities.

Standard Features of Today’s Hot Tubs

Hot tubs were first sold in the U.S. in the 1940’s. In 1968, American inventor, Roy Jacuzzi, built the first whirlpool hot tub fitted with hydro-therapy pumps. Standard features include:

A filtration system – regularly cleaning of the water is an essential component of a healthy-to-use hot tub. Some advanced filtration system, filter the water every few minutes, and require little or no chemicals be added to the water.
Insulation – insulating a hot tub increases its energy efficiency. Some have cabinets filled with chemical foam, an insulation blanket, or FiberCor, a non-petroleum-based insulation material.

A heating system – hot tub water is usually heated with an electric, natural gas, wood-fired or solar heating systems. Electric is by far the most popular heating system.

Covers – hot tub covers help maintain heat, reduce evaporation losses when not in use, and protect the tub from weather damage. They are made of various materials and vary in weight, size and efficiency. The most common hot tub covers are made from styrene foam.
Custom Features

A wide range of custom features offered by hot tubs makers include more comfortable luxury seating, water falls, and custom cabinet designs and materials. Popular custom features include:

Bubbling Effect. To achieve a lighter, more soothing massage experience, some hot tubs use an air blower to force air through a separate set of jets for a “bubbly” effect. Other jets use a “venturi effect” – which incorporates air bubbles into the jet nozzle via a venturi system.
LED Lighting. Lights that encircle the tub, or send waves of color through the water elevate the modern hot tub into a dramatic, ultra-romantic environment.

Entertainment System. Wireless audio system with Bluetooth® technology can stream live music from playlists, podcasts or audio books. CD players and LCD TVs are also available on some brands/models.

Types of Hot Tubs
• Inflatable hot tubs are cheaper and smaller, requiring less space and less power.
• Roto-molded tubs are constructed with the shell, seating and cabinet in a single piece.
• Acrylic tubs have a cast acrylic shell, supported by a frame, surrounded by a skirt of cedar or simulated wood-grain plastic.
• Wooden hot tubs, usually made of cedar or redwood, are built today with modern construction methods.
• Stainless steel tubs can be designed in any shape or size and are extremely durable.
• Fiberglass hot tubs made of glass fiber-reinforced polyester (GRP).

Hot tubs can be preferable to in-ground spas because they are less expensive, more energy-efficient, and easier to maintain. Since hot tubs typically have 30 to 60 jets, and an in-ground spa has 5-15 jets, hot tubs can provide a superior hydro-massage experience.

5 thoughts on “Hot Tub Definition – What is a hot tub?

  1. You need to correct your “hot tub definition” as there is a very clear distinction to a hot tub and a spa. (1) As you mentioned, the “bubbles” or an air blower. It is this single component that makes the distinction between a hot tub or spa. Hot tubs have bubbles and jets, spas only have jets. Just one of the many references to this is the first Jacuzzi or spa built by Roy Jacuzzi. It had a hydrotherapy pump. Jacuzzi did also before the first Jacuzzi make a hot tub that was just bubbles but then found the hydrotherapy pump was better for relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis witch a family member suffered from. There are hundreds of references from company’s over the years that clearly state a hot tub has the air blower and spa does not.

    Spa Guy 30+yrs in the industry in Colorado

  2. And for those that will comment and say there are references to spas with air blowers, yes there have been some but in my opinion in error. Why have two standard names for the identical item. It confuses a lot of folks and is just a bad practice to do so. I guess one could say that the automobile is a car but that’s also not so true, an automobile can be a car, truck, or van! It would be silly to say a hot tub is a spa and they are identical. If your going to use that analogy then we can say a hot tub is a spa and a Jacuzzi and that’s just not so. Jacuzzi of course is a brand.

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