Hot Tubs & Spas

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What is the difference between a Hot Tub, Spa, Jacuzzi.

The words “hot tub,” “spa,” and “jacuzzi” are often used interchangeably to describe three very different products. Sometimes in-Ground spas, above-ground portable spas, and jetted bathtubs are heard in advertising or conversation. Is there really a difference? Let's investigate and learn...

Someone on TripAdvisor explains it well, "jetted tub" is a regular-sized bathtub for one person with jacuzzi jets, while "jacuzzi" or "whirlpool" means an oversized tub for one or two people with jacuzzi jets. "Hot tub" generally refers to a pool for multiple people. Clear as mud, now?


Let's start with the word SPA. There are several definitions for this word. On, we learn this word is a noun and has three meaning:

1. a mineral spring, or a locality in which such springs exist.

2. a luxurious resort or resort hotel.

3. a hot tub or similar warm-water hydromassage facility, usually for more than one person.

Even the word origin and history is interesting:

"medicinal or mineral spring," 1620s, from the name of a health resort in eastern Belgium, known since 14c., that featured mineral springs believed to have curative properties. The place name is from Walloon espa "spring, fountain."

In summary, we know that a spa is referring to somewhere that has warm water


An in-ground spa is a mass of water built into the ground. In a residential setting, the spa can be built as a stand-alone or as a compliment to an in-ground swimming pool. Typically, you will see an in-ground spa at a hotel or gym. Concrete inground spas are constructed on-site using a unique design plan and the same construction materials and techniques as a swimming pool. This type of spa has a bench seat around the inner edge and hydrotherapy jets at various heights throughout the spa. These spas can take a while time to heat up and use a significant amount of energy to maintain the temperature.


Hot tub is commonly referring to an above-ground portable version of the in-ground spa. Portable hot tubs are freestanding structures—typically round or square—that are produced in a factory. Hot tubs consist of two components: the interior shell and the outer cabinet. All of the plumbing, as well as the electrical control system and other components, are built inside the hot tub cabinet. You fill a hot tub with your garden hose.

A primary advantage of portable hot tubs is just that—their portability. They can be easily installed almost anywhere your home has a flat surface, and the underlying structure can handle the weight once it’s filled with water. The spa can be drained anytime, and can even be relocated to a new home if you move or sell the hot tub.


Jacuzzi® is a brand name much like Kleenex® and Xerox® that has now taken on a generic meaning. The word ‘jacuzzi’ is often more commonly used than "in-ground spa," "jetted bathtub", or "portable spa." The Jacuzzi brothers developed the first underwater jet, originally used in bathtubs, and named it the Jacuzzi jet. The Jacuzzi® brand today manufactures bathtubs as well as portable hot tubs – but since Jacuzzi® is a brand name, it’s a good thing to remember that not every hot tub or jetted bathtub is a Jacuzzi®. Jetted tubs provide a therapeutic bath in which you soak with forceful whirling currents of hot water all around you. These tubs are installed in your home bathroom, typically a master bathroom.

Bubbling Bliss

Now that you understand what each word actually defines? What’s “best” boils down to the individual factors for each homeowner. Carefully consider your preferences, budget, backyard, bathrooms and family needs. Then, soak up many years of healthy recreation and relaxation in hot bubbling bliss!