What is the difference between a hot tub, spa, Jacuzzi and bath?

difference between hot tub, spa, Jaccuzzi and bath
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What's the difference between a bath, spa, hot tub and Jacuzzi?

Spa, hot tub, Jacuzzi, bath. If you’re in the market for on it can be difficult to know the difference. You’re pretty sure they are all some form of tub filled with hot water. 

But are they are they really all the same? 

We look at what makes them the same. And what makes them different. So you can decide which one is for you.

Bath Spa Hot tub Jacuzzi
Temperature From hot tap. Slightly hotter than body temp. 37-40 degrees 37-40 degrees 37-40 degrees
Heater/themostat No Yes Yes Yes
Filtration No, drain down after use Yes Yes Yes
Jets Not usually Yes Yes Yes
Purpose Washing Therapuetic Therapuetic Therapuetic
Cost £150-£2,000 £17,000-£30,000 £3,000 - £20,000 £5,999 - £20,000

Bath vs spa/hot tub/Jacuzzi

bathroomSome people’s immediate reaction to a hot tub is that, it’s just a big, expensive, outdoor bath?

Hopefully, you already know what a bath is.

A baths primary purpose is to wash. It has the added benefit of relaxation. But primarily, it’s something you use to keep yourself clean. 

You fill a bath up with hot water. Get in. Wash your dirt off. Sit in that dirt until the water gets cold, or if you’re like me, until you realise that baths are a bit over-rated. Then you get out. And drain the water.

Baths don’t have built-in thermostats or heaters, so the water starts hot and gets cold. They probably don’t have jets, unless you have a really fancy one. And you don’t need to put chemicals in it, as you just drain it down after use and fill it up when you next want to use it. 

Plus you probably use the bath alone, in the same way you would shower alone.

You get the picture. I’m pretty positive everyone reading this has had a bath at some point. 

Hot tub vs spa vs Jacuzzi

Hot Tub. Spa. Jacuzzi. It can be difficult to understand the difference as lots of people use them to mean the same thing and use them interchangeably. 

But the main difference between hot tubs, spas and Jacuzzis compared with baths, is that they are not for washing. They are for relaxation, socialising and well-being. In fact, we strongly recommend that you wash before you get it. 

All these words refer to large, heater tub of water with built in jets, heating and filtration. They are filled with cold water, usually from a hose, and then brought up to temperature (between 37-40 degrees) using the built in heater. The thermostat keeps the water at temperature so it’s always ready to use, 24/7, 365 days a year. 

In most hot tubs the water is drained down every three months (more if you are in a rental property). And in between changes the water is kept clean using a combination or filtration and chemicals. 

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The words spa, hot tub and Jacuzzi are often used interchangeably. And they do have a lot of similarities. But usually when we use them this is what we mean: 

What is a spa?

Spa used to be the word used by the industry to describe a portable tub of water with jets. In fact, for many of the manufacturers it’s still in their name. Coast Spas, Artesian Spas, Cal Spas

But with the rise in popularity of day spas, it commonly became the world used to describe a “destination” or “resort” where you received beauty treatments such as facials. This caused some confusion online, and now the industry seems to have moved towards the description of hot tub. 

in-ground spaJust to confuse things, we still use the word spa. But we use it to refer to in-ground spas. These are heated jet pools. Typically seen in commercial setting such as gyms and hotels. But are also often paired with a swimming pool in a pool hall.

In-ground spas are plumbed in. They have a separate plant room similar to that of a swimming pool with pumps, filtration and heating. They are built in, so are permanent and can’t be moved in the same way portable hot tubs can.

What is a hot tub?

A Hot Tub, is a self-contained tub of water, with built- in hydrotherapy jets, heating and filtration. 

Everything you need to make it work is contained in the space between the acrylic shell and the outer cabinet. It doesn’t need plumbed into the mains. The only connection to the outside world is via the electrical supply. If you ever need to move it, you can simply drain the water, unplug and move it. It is completely portable.

Hot tubs typically sit outside. You’ve probably seen one at that log cabin you spent Christmas in, or your neighbours garden.

They range in prices from approx. £3000 – £20000, and can typically sit between 2 and 8 people. There are many hot tub manufacturers, whose names you might recognise, including: Jacuzzi, Coast Spas, Hydropool and Artesian. 



What is a Jacuzzi

Are you one of those people that say:

I need to hoover

Even though you are a proud Dyson owner. And really mean you need to vacuum. Yeah same. 

The word hoover has become synonymous with vacuuming. So much so, that the word hoover has become the accepted verb for vacuuming. In the same way that the name Google has become a verb used to mean typing something into a search engine. 

J335 JacuzziJacuzzi is the hoover of the hot tub world. They were the first manufacturer of hot tubs. And they have become by far the most commonly known. But, since hot tubs aren’t quite as common as hoovers, some people don’t realise they are referring to a brand name when they say Jacuzzi and they really mean hot tub.

My friends routinely wind me up by saying I sell Jacuzzi, because they know I can’t help but saying:

Jacuzzi is a brand

It’s a (knee)-jerk reaction. But I can’t help myself. So if you ever find yourself saying Jacuzzi, when you really mean hot tub. Just imagine me annoyingly saying Jacuzzi is a brand and you’ll remember. You’re welcome. 

 If you ever hear me referring to Jacuzzi, I mean the brand specifically. Not any old hot tub. 

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Should I get a bath, spa, hot tub or Jacuzzi?

You probably have a bath in your house. And as you now know, they aren’t really comparable to a hot tub or spa. 

But how do you decide between a spa or hot tub?

Cost usually plays a major part in the decision making process for this one. Hot tubs are fully contained with the cabinet. Because of this they just need to be wired into an electrical supply and can be installed in a few hours. The cost including installation for a hot tub is usually around £3,000 – £20,000. With the average price between about £7000-£12,000. 

However, in-ground spas require much more work in the way of installation. Usually a team of people for 2-3 days. The spa needs to be plumbed into the mains. Plus the skill and experience required for installation is similar to that of a pool as the filtration and heating system are separate units and need to be connected in. Because of this in-ground spas usually start around £17,000 for an acrylic spa, and can go up to around £30,000. But it can be more depending on size and specification.

It can also depend on whether you are planning your hot tub or spa indoors our outdoors. 

They can both go either outdoors or indoors. But, more often than not, hot tubs are put outdoors and spas indoors. Hot tub are really built for the outdoors, complete with insulated cabinets and covers. And in-ground spas more often than not go hand in hand with swimming pool constructions, which in this country are inside. However, there is no reason why you can’t have an in-ground spa outdoors and a hot tub indoors. 

In summary

Hopefully that has helped you understand the difference between baths, spas, hot tubs and Jacuzzi.

Baths. Are primarily to help keep you clean.

Spas, hot tubs and Jacuzzi are mainly for therapy and relaxation and have built in heaters, jets and filtration.

We use the word Spa to describe in-ground, plumbed in tubs of water. Hot tubs to refer to self-contained, portable acrylic tubs. And Jacuzzi is a brand.

We sell in-ground spas. We also sell Coast Spas and Artesian Spas, which are confusingly hot tubs. But, we don’t sell Jacuzzi and we certainly don’t sell baths.


Debbie Ekins
Debbie Ekins
Eagle Leisure - Sales & Marketing Manager Mission = to arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best buying decisions. Fuelled by coffee (and naps). Explorer of Scotland and the world.
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