Spa, Hot Tub or Jacuzzi — What’s the Difference? [Jetted tub, Whirlpool, Therapy Tub]

Spa, hot tub or jacuzzi will be important if you just decided to buy your first hot tub. While there are a lot of similarities in features, the price range is pretty big.

So what do people mean when they refer to a spa or hot tub or Jacuzzi? Is it really all the same? Have you heard about jetted tubs and whirlpools? What are those now? Are they better or worse, cheaper or more expensive?

What is a Spa?

Spa is a term that’s generally related to some water treatment, also known as a balneotherapy.

So Spa is more of a treatment and some benefits of the spa are:

  1. Helps to de-stress
  2. Helps with anti-ageing
  3. Promotes a better sleep
  4. Relieves aches and pains
  5. Supports weight loss
  6. Improved blood flow and circulation
  7. Preventing varicose veins
  8. Increased happiness
  9. Reduced frequency of headaches
  10. Promotes radiant skin

So how did the term “Spa” get there?

“Spa” is mainly an American term that describes a hot tub that’s equipped with strong jets that mix air into the water. There can be many types:

  • part of an inground swimming pool
  • sunk into an indoor floor / outdoor deck
  • above ground

What is a Hot Tub?

The exact definition would be “Large tub of hot water in which bathers soak and usually socialize“.

If you read that that definition again, you will notice that it omits all the fancy stuff like jets, heaters etc.

Hot hub is the closest to what you would consider a natural hot spring.

It has a round wooden tank with a simple wooden bench seat and it is filled with hot water for you to sit in it peacefully and soak. It is quite and peaceful.

Now, because people wanted to improve the experience in your hot tub, they added elements of a spa which are a few dozens of jets, acrylic finishes, blowers, molded seats, etc.

What is a Jacuzzi?

Jacuzzi is simply a brand that is widely used to explain a spa, which is wrong. It is the same as what we had with Xerox where the whole product line was called by a single manufacturer.

The correct way to call it is a spa and if the brand is Jacuzzi, then it is OK to call it like that.

Needless to say that Jacuzzi spas are of high quality and are considered as a premium product.

What is a Jetted Tub?

I did a quick research and it seems that there are more terms that people use interchangeably, such as jetted tub.

Notice there is no word ‘hot’ in jetted tub which means that this is very similar to a regular tub. The only difference is that this tub has several jets fitted to provide gently massage as you are bathing.

Jetted tubs are usually installed in the master bathrooms and can include more luxurious options that comes with a heater as well.

Regular, plain, simple models just include a circulation pump and often an air blower that are connected to small flexible pipes that push the water into the circulation.

How to Use a Jetted Tub?

Regular jetted tubs require you to drain the water every time you use it so it is used exactly as a regular tub. That being said, you don’t need to add any chemicals since you are using fresh water every time.

For this reason, there is no need for spa filters or any covers.

What is a Whirlpool Bath?

Another common confusion or simply misuse is a term ‘whirlpool bath’. Whirlpool bath is a trade name that is owned and operated by Jacuzzi for their product like of jetted tubs.

Everything is completely the same except the exceptional build quality that Jacuzzi is known for.

What is a Therapy Tub?

You have probably seen athletes use this one when they pour buckets of ice in it. It is a stainless steel tub that’s usually used in the training rooms of sports facilities. Athletes use it to loosen their muscles by dumping buckets of ice or heating the water to a certain degree.

Both with the purpose of healing and preventing inflammations.

It is possible to fit a circulation pump and optionally a heater as well but those are rare cases.

Is Soaking in the Tub Good for you?

Soaking in a tub is definitely good for you. There are many benefits of spending time in a hot or cold tub. Here are some of them:

  • Baths Can Elevate Your Mood
  • They Can Help You Sleep Better
  • A Hot Bath Can Help Relieve Muscle Pain
  • Baths Can Make Your Heart Healthy
  • They Burn Calories
  • Baths Can Relieve Cold And Flu Symptoms
  • Baths Can Soothe Irritated Skin
  • Baths Can Help You Feel More Awake

How Long Should you Stay in a Bath?

10 to 20 minutes is plenty of time to get all the benefits of a hot tub bath. What happens is that the heat dilates the blood vessels and makes you start sweating, your blood flow gets better, and the body makes better use of its insulin.

However, staying in longer wont necessarily improve on any of these benefits.

As a matter of fact, if you decide to stay in a hot water for too long, that can dihydrate your skin. I understand that it is relaxing and you feel good, but try to limit your time in hot water.

When it comes to cold tubs, it shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes of ice bath while constantly watching your body temperature and general condition.

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Emily Williams

Emily is a passionate Hot Tubs researcher who loves writing about all things Hot Tubs! She has years of experience and a knack for simplifying complex concepts, these articles are here to answer all your burning questions in a simple and easy to read style.
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