Wood burning hot tubs vs electric hot tubs. Which one should I get?

wood burning vs electric
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Should I get a wood burning or electric hot tub?

Bathing in hot water has been around a lot longer than electricity. Traditionally people would bathe in natural hot springs. Or water heated using a wood burning stove.  

At Eagle Leisure we’ve always specialised specifically in electric hot tubs. So we don’t offer wood burning hot tubs.

But still, we often get asked about them.

You probably want to know what the difference is between wood burning and electric sauna stoves. And which one might be the best for you to install.

Related content:

 The best natural hot springs in the world

What's the difference between electric and wood burning hot tubs

There are many similarities between wood burning and electric hot tubs. But there are also a few differences. 

Although a lot of the decision on which one is best for you will come down to personal preference we’ll evaluate the difference between wood burning and electric hot tubs based on four different factors to help you decide: 

What's the difference in...? Wood burning Electric
What they are made of Wood + heater Acrylic. PVC. Electrical components.
Installation costs Aprrox £2500-£3500 Approx. £3000-£20,000
Temperature 37 - 40 degrees. But there is no thermostat to regulate 37-40 degrees, regulated by a thermostat
Maintenance Empty water after use. Set and clear the fireplace. Chemicals. Empty water every 3 months.
Running costs The cost of wood to heat Approx £30-£40/month

Wood burning vs electric hot tub: difference in what they are made of

Wood burning hot tubs are made almost entirely of wood, usually cedar. Wood burning hot tubs are heated using traditional wood burners. There are no electrical components at all in wood burning hot tubs. It is a very simple set up. There are no jets or pumps. It is just heated water. 

Electric hot tubs are made using various components. The shell is acrylic. Most of the plumbing and pipework is PVC and the cabinet is either synthetic or wooden. It is operated using electrical components to both heat the hot tub and circulate water through jets. The emphasis in electric hot tubs is on hydrotherapy and this is one of the main benefits of an electric hot tub over a wood burning tub. 

Difference in what they are made of

Wood burning hot tubs are essentially just wood. Electric hot tubs have many components but the emphasis with electric hot tubs is the hydrotherapy from the pumps and jets.

Wood burning vs electric hot tub: difference in installation costs

There is quite a large difference in the costs to buy an electric hot tub vs wood burning hot tub. 

Wood burning hot tubs generally cost around £2500 – £3500. They are relatively low cost to install as there is not much to them.

Electric hot tubs vary massively in cost depending on country of manufacture and quality. They are anywhere between £3000-£20,000. On average they are around £7000-£12,000. You also need to factor in the cost of an electrical supply (usually 32AMP) if you do not already have one. 

Related content:

How much does it cost to buy a hot tub?

How much does a hot tub cost? Why manufacturers need to talk about hot tub prices online

What do I need to do before my hot tub or swim spa is delivered?

Difference in installation costs

Electric hot tubs are much more expensive to install than wood burning hot tubs and you have to factor in the cost of an electrical supply.

Wood burning vs electric hot tub: difference in temperature

The purpose of hot tubs is for them to be hot. So unsurprisingly both wood burning hot tubs and electric hot tubs are meant to be hot. And the ideal temperature for most people is usually around 37-40 degrees Celcius (although this can be varied person to person).

However, electric hot tubs have heaters and electric thermostats built in. The heater is designed to cut off if the water gets too hot. 

The wood burning hot tub, doesn’t have any electrical components. It is purely heated using the fire. Therefore it doesn’t have a built in thermostat and you will need to use a floating one. Once temperature is reached you need to turn the fire off. However, the temperature will still rise. So it can get extremely hot. 

So, you need to be very careful not to overheat in wood burning hot tubs. 

Difference in temperature

Both are around 37-40 degrees. But wood burning hot tubs don't have a thermostat to control this.

Wood burning vs electric hot tub: difference in maintenance

The maintenance is quite a big difference between wood burning and electric hot tubs. 

Wood burning hot tubs use a live fire to heat them. This means you need to set the fire up. then clear it out after use. Because there is no way to filter the water ideally the water should be drained after each use. This might be unlikely in a domestic situation and the water may be let for a few days and reheated as necessary. However, in holiday home situations this is not allowed and the water will have to be drained daily.

Related content:

Should I get a hot tub for my holiday home?

Electric hot tubs require more water maintenance as they aren’t emptied after every use. Chemicals are required to keep the water clean and the pH and sanitiser needs to be checked regularly. So although this seems like more work, the chemicals and filtration allow you to go longer without emptying it so there is overall less maintenance. 

Difference in maintenance

Wood burning hot tubs need to be emptied after use, and the fire cleared and rebuilt. They require more ongoing maintenance than electric hot tubs.

Wood burning vs electric hot tub: difference in running costs

It’s difficult to calculate the running costs for wood burning hot tubs. If you already have a supply to wood or a fireplace then you can use the same wood.

Electric hot tubs are usually between £30-£40 per month for a well insulated ,quality built hot tub. 

Related content:

✅How much does it cost to run a hot tub per month?

✅How to reduce monthly hot tub running costs

Difference in running costs

Wood burning hot tubs need to be emptied after use, and the fire cleared and rebuilt. They require more ongoing maintenance than electric hot tubs.

In conclusion

What hot tub you choose will be very much down to personal preference. You probably already had an idea of which one you wanted before you read this. but it’s worth knowing all the details before buying. 

If you are used to building and clearing fires, and aren’t put of by the maintenance then a wood fired hot tub might be suitable for you.

If you want something that is easy and convenient to use. and if you have a little more money to spend upfront and monthly then an electric hot tub is probably best for you. 

How much does it cost to buy a hot tub?

How much does a hot tub cost? Why manufacturers need to talk about hot tub prices online

What do I need to do before my hot tub or swim spa is delivered?

 

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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