Jacuzzi vs Hot Tub vs Spa

The terms Jacuzzi, Hot Tub, and Spa, are often used interchangeably, even though they describe three products that are very different.

Because these three words have become synonymous, buyers find it more difficult to find the right product they are looking for. 

Whether you are looking for some historical knowledge or you want to have a better idea of the product you are looking for, we’re here to help!

Come dive in as we check out these three products in our “Jacuzzi vs. hot tub vs. spa: what’s the difference?” article!

The Difference Between a Jacuzzi, Hot Tub, and Spa!

What Is A Jacuzzi?

Jacuzzi logo

We all know the word Jacuzzi as a household name.

While many people refer to hot tubs and spas as Jacuzzis, Jacuzzi is actually a brand name for a prominent spa manufacturer that came about in the 1950s. The brand name became synonymous with the products they sold, as well as other products sold by different spa and hot tub manufacturers, similarly to how Kleenex became synonymous with tissue and Xerox became synonymous with copies. 

The Jacuzzi brothers, who owned an aircraft propeller manufacturing company back in the 1950s, decided that they would pivot their business to try and create hot tubs. They became famous for using their methods to manufacture air-jetted whirlpool tubs. In 1968, the Jacuzzi brothers brought the very first Jacuzzi tub to the market. 

Whenever you visit hotels, you’ll often see that they market the hot tubs on their properties as “Jacuzzi tubs”, rather than by the proper brand names. Unfortunately for the Jacuzzi brand, they have been trying to fight against this brand dilution for a very long time. Like any company, Jacuzzi wants to be able to retain its brand name and keep it from becoming a generic word for a spa or hot tub. 

Essentially, if your spa or hot tub is a Jacuzzi brand, then it is a hot tub Jacuzzi. If it is not labeled with the trade name Jacuzzi or the word Jacuzzi, refer to it as a spa or hot tub instead. 

Free Hot Tubs Quotes from BuyerZone.com

What Is A Hot Tub?

A hot tub, in a technical sense, is a tub of hot water or warm water. The water inside of a hot tub can either be used for hydrotherapy or pure recreation. While many people refer to spas as hot tubs or vice versa, simply because both of them use massage jets for hydrotherapy purposes, they have very different features when you get up close.

What Is A Hot Tub

For instance, portable hot tubs, in a traditional sense, use wood material. Spas, on the other hand, make use of smooth, man-made acrylic shells. They also don’t typically have feature-heavy designs like modern spas do, including tons of different jet types and entertainment options.

Hot tubs are, for the most part, designed to work simply. In their most simple forms, they make use of bench seat designs, a few different jets around the inner sides, and a rounded design that looks similar to a small pool. Hot tubs are a bit like warm-water tanks that you soak in. You can’t expect high-pressure jet systems, serious entertainment options, or top-tier electric equipment when you get a hot tub.

What Is A Spa?

The word “spa” goes back quite a long way. They are most associated with balneotherapy, otherwise known as hydrotherapy or water treatment. They actually date way back to ancient times when people often used warm water springs as a form of relaxation. Hot springs have very restorative effects that helped ancient people feel regenerated. To this day, many people in different countries visit hot springs to take advantage of the bodily and spiritual advantages. Just go to places in Europe and Japan and you’ll see just how popular they are. 

What is a Spa

As time went on, people began building structures around these hot springs to create bathhouses. These bathhouses provided a place for people to come together. We now think of them as social and cultural gatherings. 

If we shift to modern American culture, we can see that people use the word “spa” to describe man-made hot tubs that utilize high-pressure jet systems. These jet systems combine water and air pressure to create an experience that is therapeutic. These products come in many different forms. People typically classify spas as above-ground as a separate entity or in-ground like a swimming pool. Essentially, a spa can be flush in the foundation or portable. 


What Is A Jetted Tub?

Another term that you might come across is “Jetted Tub” or "Whirlpool Bath". Jetted tubs are different from spas and hot tubs in that they are typically found in larger bathrooms. They are much like your standard bathtubs, though are much larger and contain a variety of jets that provide hydrotherapy benefits. Unlike the above products that we talked about, Jetted Tubs are fitted to the plumbing system in your home. 

Free Hot Tubs Quotes from BuyerZone.com

Many jetted tubs include their own heaters to help make sure that the water comes out heated when you turn it on. In terms of use, they fill up like standard bathtubs, allowing you to drain them when you are all finished. Higher-end jetted tubs come with electronic systems that allow you to set the jets and temperature. 

What Are The Benefits Of Hydrotherapy?

There are many benefits when it comes to hydrotherapy, all of which date back to when ancient men and women were bathing in local hot springs. Of course, technology has come a long way and we understand health and wellness better than we ever have before. Here are some of the top health benefits that come from hydrotherapy:

  • Stress Relief: Soaking in a hot tub or portable spa can help to release pent up stress. In fact, warm water alone can help you relax by releasing endorphins.
  • Muscle and Pain Relief: Hot tubs and spas have the ability to relieve pain and aches in your muscles. Many of us play sports or have daily fitness routines, each of which can take tolls on our bodies. Soaking in a hot tub helps dilate your blood vessels, giving your muscles a break and allowing water to flow freely so that you can stay limber.
  • Sleeplessness: One of the best ways to sleep longer, as well as improve your quality of sleep, is by soaking for a bit in your tub before you go to bed. Hot tubs and spas can help elevate your body temperature. When you get out, your body cools down, telling your brain that it is time to go to sleep.

What Should I Look For In A Hot Tub Or Portable Spa?

There are many different features to look out for when buying a hot tub or spa, whether from the Jacuzzi brand or any other brand on the market. Here are some of the top features to consider:

  • Jets: Many people look for quantity when it comes to jets, though we think the quality is much more important. Look for hot tubs or spas that feature high-pressure jets in areas of concern, such as around the back, neck, and legs. This way you can take advantage of both warm water therapy and massage therapy.
  • Temperature Settings: Having an intuitive control panel that gives you access to the temperature settings, jet settings, and other settings, can be very helpful! Make sure to look for hot tubs or spas that put you in control when you want to be!
  • Entertainment Options: Of course, some of us are looking for hot tubs or spas for pure entertainment. Some hot tubs and spas feature television entertainment systems, spa lighting, and stereo systems for music. If you’re looking to entertain guests or family members, we highly recommend looking out for some of these awesome features!

Getting The Best Hot Water Experience? 

We hope that our hot tub vs. Jacuzzi vs. spa comparison has helped you in narrowing down these products so that you can make the best buying decision for your home! Hot tubs, spas, and Jacuzzi tubs have made their marks on us as a society, especially the part of our society that loves self-care. 

Now it’s your turn to acquire your own hydrotherapy system so you can take advantage of all the benefits of hot water therapy. Whether you look for a Jacuzzi, hot tub, or spa, it is completely up to you! Happy hot tubbing!

Tyler Connaghan

Contributing Author