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Hot Tub vs. Jetted Bathtub

  |   Buying & Research Guide, Comparisons & Reviews   |   No comment

You might be wondering if you should spend the money to invest in a hot tub, or if it would be easier or better if you just got a jetted bathtub in your home. The two may sound as if they have a lot of similarities, and that’s true. They do. But their uses are significantly different, from size to benefits, to functionality and maintenance.

Hm. Maybe they’re not as similar as you were thinking? Let’s dissect this line of thought.


What’s the Difference?

A hot tub (often called a spa) is a freestanding, portable tub of heated water. It’s typically designed to be used by multiple people at once (usually between two and eight) for relaxation purposes, massage and hydrotherapy benefits, and social or family bonding time.

A jetted bathtub must be integrated into the design of your bathroom, and it’s typically filled and drained each time it’s used. Jetted tubs are built to accommodate only one or two people at a time, in a much more private setting.

But let’s break it down further.



Hot tubs are made to comfortably accommodate 2-8 (or more) people at once.

Jetted bathtubs are intended for a single user, and in some rare cases, a maximum of two users at once.



Hot tubs are designed to provide hydrotherapy, individual massage for multiple people, and quality time with loved ones.

Bathtubs are used mainly for bathing to get clean. The added jets can make it a more relaxing experience.



In general, hot tubs are used outdoors or occasionally indoors in a specially designed space that can tolerate extreme humidity. They are intended to hold water year-round in most locales.

Bathtubs are built and intended strictly for indoor use within a designated bathroom, which is usually private to the user.


Water care

Hot tubs are intended to remain filled with water that lasts for three to six months, with proper filtration and chemical balancing. They are heated by a thermostat that allows the user to regulate it as they prefer. One of the most notable differences between a bathtub and a hot tub is the spa’s ability to maintain a specified heat for an extended period of time.

Bathtubs are filled with tap water that has (hopefully) been run through a water heater. There is no other thermostat or heat control available in a bathtub, so once the bathwater cools, it’s time to get out and drain your water. There is no real water care necessary, but the tub must be refilled each time it is used, and ideally, the tub (and jets) cleaned.



Hot tubs are mostly self-contained, and though they are likely a more expensive cost up front, down the road, they earn their keep through the benefits they offer. Water use for this type of tub remains at a minimum because if the water is well-cared-for, the spa won’t need to be drained and refilled for up to six months.

Most hot tubs will cost between $6,000 and $20,000+ and require some extra electrical work, as well as site preparation for wherever you intend to put the spa.

Bathtubs can get pricey as well, and require some complex construction to install in your home. They don’t require costly chemicals, but they do require a significant amount of water each time they are filled, making them less likely to be used as often.

Quality jetted bathtubs cost between $1,000 and $3,000 and go up from there, but require up front plumbing, electrical, and a significant amount of construction to install, and they can only be installed in a bathroom.


Jets and Therapy

Hot tubs vary from simple designs with only a few low-power jets, to intricate acrylic shells with a high jet count. While jetted bathtubs also vary from simple to complicated, bathtubs typically are only big enough to offer six to eight jets. Bigger tubs might offer a few more, but all jets are run on a single pump, so that power is fairly limited.

The Bullfrog Spas patented JetPak Therapy System® is unique to all other brands because the system allows users to pick and choose the JetPaks that will be best for them, essentially personalizing their spa according to personal goals, needs, and desires for multiple different massage options. This is not something that is available in a bathtub, and it is worth at least looking into, if you’re able. The benefits are significant.


Comfort and Relaxation

Let’s be honest here. Both a bathtub and a hot tub have comfort and relaxation benefits. The question you should ask yourself is which type of benefits are more important to you. Will you be using the tub primarily to get clean and relax after a long day’s work? Or will you be using it more for recovery from physical and mental labor? Is it important to you to have the more powerful massaging jets? And are there other members of your family or household who would like to use it as well? How often do you foresee your tub being used?

The more often the tub will be used, and the number of people you intend to have use it might play a big part in deciding which type of spa is best for you.


Additional Costs

We discussed the price of the actual tubs above, but we haven’t discussed the other costs associated with having a tub installed.



As mentioned above, the cost of the actual bathtub is going to be around $1,000-$3000, but then there are the costs of removing your old tub or shower fixture (unless you’re in an unfinished space) plus additional plumbing needs (which should be done by professionals) to make sure the tub has sufficient drainage, a specific electrical line that can accommodate the pump (or pumps) and has a safety shutoff valve, and then the actual construction costs to have it installed. This will most likely also involve a range of time that can take a week or longer.


Hot Tub

The hot tub itself is going to start around $6,000-$20,000 depending on the size, qualities, and features. Once you’ve ordered your hot tub, you’ll need to prepare a level, even pad for it to be placed on, and hire an electrician to run the required circuit. Once the hot tub is delivered, it takes only a few hours to finish installation and get the tub filled with water and start the heating and water care process. This means your hot tub will be usable within hours of it being delivered and installed.


Additional Benefits of a Hot Tub

While the jetted bathtub is an excellent home addition, it’s a solitary use item, and doesn’t really allow for any adjustment on that front. A hot tub is designed and intended for use by multiple people, so while you’re relaxing and enjoying the excellent massage benefits, the rest of your family can be enjoying it with you. This allows for excellent quality time together. Whether or not your family is able to have dinner together every night, you might be surprised how much extra effort is made for those same family members to make it to use your hot tub. That alone is worth its weight in gold. Don’t you think?


Design Your Own Bullfrog Spa

Use the online Design Studio tool to choose your spa model, colors, JetPaks, and accessories. You’ll then receive an instant price quote and your local dealer’s contact information.



AUTHOR - Bullfrog Spas

Bullfrog Spas is a premier brand of personalized premium hot tubs. With proprietary hydromassage technology and an eye for contemporary design, Bullfrog Spas is revolutionizing the concept of the portable hot tub and providing a relaxation experience unlike any other. Discover the award winning spa of the future today.

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