8 Different Types of Hot Tubs for the Ultimate Soaking Experience

Guide to 8 Unique Hot Tub Styles for the Ultimate Bathing Experience

I’m a self-proclaimed hot tub enthusiast. Although I don’t own one, there’s a community center nearby that boasts a hot tub, pool, sauna, and steam room, and I frequent it two to four times a week.

Given the popularity of hot tubs in gyms and recreational centers that I’ve visited, I’d argue that they are more favored than saunas and steam rooms. If you’re contemplating buying one, be prepared to make many decisions, given the numerous choices out there. We’ve detailed various types below for you to consider.

Hot Tub Varieties


Commonly found on backyard patios, portable hot tubs offer numerous options in terms of size, color, features, and seating arrangements. Invented after wooden hot tubs, these are extremely robust and long-lasting.

They are generally more energy-efficient and offer better performance than other hot tub types. Despite being termed portable, these tubs are not lightweight and require considerable effort to move. Additionally, a special pad is needed to support their weight.

Swim or Exercise Spa

Swim spas are typically incorporated into a deck or a designated room in a house, providing ample space for swimming and exercising. Despite their bulk, once installed as self-contained units, they still require a sturdy foundation.

Due to their larger size compared to traditional hot tubs, they are perfect for swimming and exercising. However, they are significantly more expensive and have high operational costs for water and electricity.

Rotationally Molded

A rotationally molded hot tub is a budget-friendly option if you’re seeking hydrotherapy but cannot afford a luxurious swim spa. While not as lightweight as inflatable hot tubs, they are more affordable and durable.

Weighing under 300 pounds, they are easy to move. However, they are less efficient and less visually appealing than traditional models due to their plastic appearance.


Typically seen in backyards alongside or as a part of an in-ground swimming pool, these hot tubs often require a permit for professional installation, meaning they can be more costly. However, they can be customized to the owner’s specific needs.


Wooden hot tubs were the original hot tubs, created about 60 years ago. These tubs offer a unique aesthetic appeal, especially those made of redwood or cedar, which provide added aromatherapy benefits. However, they are not less expensive than conventional hot tubs and can be quite bulky.


New to the hot tub market, these are fairly inexpensive and easy to relocate. Made of laminated PVC material or polyester, they come in various shapes and offer many features to choose from.


These hot tubs are different from inflatable hot tubs, primarily due to their scarcity in showrooms and prevalence online or at fair booths. Like inflatable tubs, these plug into a 110v outlet and don’t require any significant electrical work for installation.


Custom-made hot tubs offer a unique, personalized touch to your soaking experience.

Features to Consider

Massaging Jets

For the best experience, consider a model with massaging jets. The jets can usually be adjusted to apply pressure to sore or tight muscles.


LED lights can add excitement to your hot tub experience.

Cover Included

A cover is important not only for keeping debris out of the water but also for retaining heat.

Pop-Up Speakers

Built-in speakers are safe and provide a great option for those who enjoy listening to music while soaking.


Wood-fired hot tubs offer a truly rustic feel. The primary advantage is that you don’t have to worry about electricity supply.

Cooling Capabilities

Some hot tubs also offer cooling capabilities, allowing you to enjoy cooler water temperatures during hot summer months.

Water Treatment System

If you have hard water, consider a hot tub model that has a built-in water treatment system.

Molded Seats

For maximum comfort, look for a hot tub with molded seats.


Some hot tubs come with built-in waterfalls, allowing water to cascade over your shoulders and back into the tub.

Salt Water Compatible

While most hot tubs use a fresh water chlorinated system, salt water offers numerous benefits, including better sanitation, soothing of swelling and edema, muscle relaxation, and joint-pain relief.

Drink Holders

Some hot tubs come with built-in drink holders for convenience.

Shapes and Sizes

Hot tubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including circular, triangular, square, and rectangular, to fit your specific needs and preferences.


Hot tubs operate on either 110v or 240v voltage. While 110v hot tubs can be plugged into any outlet without additional electrical work, 240v hot tubs heat water faster but require professional electrical work for installation.


Hot tubs also differ in occupancy, accommodating anywhere from two to three people to large groups, making them perfect for any occasion.

Prominent Hot Tub Brands

1. Hot Springs Spas

One of the top global brands in the hot tub industry is Hot Springs Spas. Their product range is split into three distinctive collections: The Highlife Collection, The Highlife Collection NXT, and The Limelight Collection. They also offer a budget-friendly line known as Hot Spot. Unique features of Hot Springs Spas include the movable Moto-Massage DX water jets, the advanced Ace Salt Water System, and a comprehensive Energy Smart System.

2. Bullfrog Spas

Manufactured in Utah, Bullfrog Spas has quickly become one of the fastest-growing luxury hot tub companies across the globe. Their models stand out by using an EnduraFrame lifetime internal support system instead of traditional wooden supports. They also offer a Design Studio tool for customizing your spa. Some notable Bullfrog Spas features include the JetPak Therapy System, the FROG ease System, and the Cloud Control 2 app for managing spa settings.

3. Jacuzzi Hot Tubs

Jacuzzi Hot Tubs, the pioneers of the hot tub industry, have been industry leaders since inventing the first model in 1948. Their hot tubs, made from acrylic, are several times stronger than competitive fiberglass models. Jacuzzi hot tubs boast advanced hydrotherapy features such as the Pure Air Bath, Salon Spa, and Swirlpool.

4. Sundance Spas

As one of the largest manufacturers of acrylic spas worldwide, Sundance Spas is known for standalone hot tubs with innovative designs and energy-efficient technologies. Sundance Spas offers an array of accessories including LED lighting, integrated sound systems, and a variety of jets. They focus on producing hot tubs that are durable, attractive, and built to last. Noteworthy Sundance Spas features include the Accu-Ssage Therapy Seat, Fluidx hydrotherapy jets, and the SunRay LED Lighting.

5. Caldera Spas

Caldera Spas, founded in California in 1976, offers a holistic approach to spa relaxation. Built-in loungers and two hydromassage seats ensure complete body relaxation. Some unique features of Caldera Spas are the Ultra Massag, Ecsta Seat, and the Atlas Neck Massage.

6. Master Spas

Master Spas, founded in Indiana in 1978, is known for manufacturing innovative hot tubs and swim spas. Their products are energy efficient due to the application of Icynene foam insulation on the tub shell. Master Spas hot tubs offer luxury features such as sound systems, LED lighting, individual therapy jet controls, and water management systems. Among the innovative features of Master Spas are the Master Blaster, Xtreme Therapy Seat, and Master Force Bio-Magnetic Therapy System.

Best Type of Hot Tub for Various Purposes

Hot Tub for Cold Climates:

Arctic Spas designs hot tubs that minimize heat loss, reducing energy costs in colder climates. Bullfrog Spas is a strong competitor due to its insulation and cover design.

Hot Tub Shell Material:

While each hot tub material has pros and cons, the best balance of price performance comes from using acrylic frames, insulative foam, and decorative exterior elements.

Water Care Maintenance for Hot Tub:

Arctic Spas have automated and digitized the water care process to make it easier. The Spa Boy system consistently monitors the water’s chemical composition.

Lights for Hot Tub:

Waterproof lighting is ideal for adjusting ambiance without risk. Bullfrog Spas includes customizable lighting in their models that can be controlled via their Cloud-based app.

Cover for Hot Tub:

The job of a hot tub cover is to prevent heat loss, so it needs to withstand varying temperatures and moisture conditions. Arctic Spas’ Mylovac cover and Bullfrog Spas’ cover lift are worth considering.

Energy-Efficient Hot Tub:

Bullfrog Spas stands out in energy savings in most weather conditions, while Arctic Spas offers excellent heat retention and energy-efficient designs for extremely cold regions.

Where to Buy

Costco Wholesale, Master Spas, Legacy Hot Tubs, Pools & Saunas, Wayfair, and The Home Depot are all excellent places to buy a hot tub. These retailers offer a range of options to cater to different budgets and requirements, from budget-friendly inflatable spas to luxurious hot tubs with state-of-the-art features.

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