Types of Hot Tubs: The Best Choices for Your Needs - Backyard Boss
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Types of Hot Tubs: The Best Choices for Your Needs

Relaxing after a long day with the use of a home spa is an amazing way to unwind. Hydrotherapy works for much more than your physical state to allow tired muscles to relax and aid in injury healing. It also provides mental relaxation and brings your blood flow closer to the surface of your skin for improved whole-body circulation.

If searching for a new hot tub, or replacement for an existing product, it is always important to take a look at all that is available for you. The wide array of various types of hot tubs, sizes, shapes, and features change with improving technologies to provide you with exactly what you are looking for. The following guide highlights all the many different types of hot tubs you may want to consider, as well as bringing you up to date on the many options you may never have known exist.

Hot Tub Basics

There are a few basics to keep in mind when on the hunt for the perfect tub to relax in. Various makes and models are often defined by the materials used, as well as the brand offering the product. A well-known, and popular brand is Jacuzzi, which is often synonymously used to describe any sort of spa or hot tub product due to its popularity. Although it is a specific brand and not a product description, it still serves as an industry leader.

Close-up of hot tub. Luxury house exterior. Blue sky background. Northwest, USA


There are a few specific materials tubs are designed from that are durable for long-term water storage and comfort options. These choices provide you various price ranges as well as color and stylistic designs to fit the needs of your decor and usable space.


Wooden tubs are amongst the most simple you can purchase. They also can be easily made on your own with DIY instructions about dimensions and heating sources. Original hot tubs were wooden and used a wood fire for heat. You can still embrace this more rustic approach or use electric or gas heating options.

Unicast or Roto-Molded

This hot tub option provides a strong and durable molded tub that often includes custom seating and a variety of different features. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes for both indoor and outdoor use, and often provide options for both plug and play portable placement or more permanent use.

Closeup of hot tub


Molded acrylic is probably the most popular material used for molded tubs. They are very durable for indoor and outdoor use and often come in many customized shapes, sizes, and seating options. These tubs are almost always exclusively more permanent in nature, meaning they require professional moving, installation, and electrical outlet options.


Portable and soft-sided, these vinyl options are surprisingly durable and are excellent budget choices that provide a great array of comfortable options. Perfect for both indoor and outdoor use, these inflate quickly and can plug into any standard 110/120-volt outlet. These pop-up hot tub options don’t heat as well in temperatures approaching or below freezing, however, and are popular in warmer climates, or protected areas- such as garages, gazebos, and sunrooms.

Heating Sources

How your tub is heated depends on the type you choose. Most tubs are exclusively electric and provide either a 110/120 volt or 240-volt option. The lower choice reflects a typical house outlet to provide the amps needed to both heats, circulate, and power the jets of the spa.

These work best in climates that don’t often drop below freezing since it doesn’t provide as much power as a 240-volt outlet. It also takes longer for the water to reach maximum heat.

A woman seating and enjoying the Essential Hot Tubs 50 Jets Polara seating

A 240-volt outlet is not a standard choice and needs to be professionally installed. This heating sourceput out more amperage and are used for larger, more permanent tubs. They are better able to handle colder, below freezing water temperature and come to heat more quickly.

As mentioned above, the original hot tub designs used wood heat sources. You can most definitely still do this, or even use a gas or propane source as well. These options are often more conducive to DIY tub projects rather than something you would purchase through a dealer.

Sizes and Shapes

Tubs can come in a huge array of shapes and sizes. Most are rated to hold 2 to 3 people and can range up to 14 people for more personalized home use. Occasionally, commercial tubs in resorts or public areas can handle even more than that. The larger the option the more likely you will need a custom-built option. Also, keep in mind that more electricity is needed to heat the amount of water required.

There are many hot tub shapes. Generally, you will see pre-made products in a circular, hexagonal, rectangular, or triangular shape- but many more options do exist to fit the space you need your tub to fit within. Custom sizing and shaping are also available from many reputed manufacturers, allowing you to get exactly what you need.

inflatable hot tub

These options are available for both inground and above ground options and can become quite creative if you desire to put the time into planning with a specialist.


The features of a hot tub are also very indicative of the types offer. Many tubs come with built-in features, and others require custom requests or accessory additions. Either way, consider what you want to use your spa for and then consider the many choices you have to enhance your soaking experiences.


Both underwater and cabinet LED lighting is a popular addition to most hard-sided tubs. Often this is already included as part of the design, and multicolored, dimmable, and strobe-like details can occasionally make an appearance as a choice.


Waterfall features are also often used as part of the filtration system to help keep hot water circulating and fresh. The sound of falling water is also soothing and provides an enjoyable option for your whole experience.

Small modern spa pool with water flow

Jet Types

The amount of jets available in your tub will be specific to them make and model, as well as your own preferences. Some tubs also allow you to control the strength of your jets.

Most tubs come with standard options, but you can occasionally customize your experience as well. Understanding your choices can help you pick which ones are best for your needs:


These jets allow you to move them in the direction you would like them pointing.


Rotational jets provide a circular water stream as it rotates air and water. This is a consistent, gentle pressure.


Detail view of luxury beautiful hot tub for relaxing, with decoration, towels, bottle of wine in nice interior.

These jets allow water and air to alternate between various outlet holes. This creates a pulse-like feel as the water transitions from one to the other.


Massage jets generally have multiple outlets that allow water and air to be divided into smaller, individual streams. These provide strong pressure to help work out tight muscles to help you relax.


These are simple jets that may not even be noticeable that help with water circulation and allow for a gentle bubbling effect.


If music or television volume is an issue, you can always opt for speakers to help clarify sound and provide a whole new soaking experience. Most speakers can connect via Bluetooth for completely a cordless set-up.

Close up speaker

Bluetooth/ Smart Home Security System

Bluetooth connectivity is for more than just sound. Some also connect to Smart Home systems so you can set a circulation schedule, or simply start warming it up in preparation for your arrival home to avoid having to wait for it to be ready.

Cooling Capabilities

Sometimes the heat of a tub is a bit much for soakers. Features that allow a cooling area allow those who still want to enjoy the experience, but without quite as much heat can move to where they are more comfortable.

Hot Tub Uses

The bottom line is, you will most likely choose a tub style based on your own specific needs. They are excellent additions for individual use, as well as for social gatherings. Consider the following when making a final decision:

Reduces Joint Inflammation

Hydrostatic pressure is created to help reduce the pressure of fluids in your joints, which aids in reducing inflammation, pain, and increases the range of mobility. This is helpful for injury recovery, arthritic conditions, or simply age-related issues.

Beautiful young woman suffering from knee pain indoors

Injury Recovery

Other than the joint relief explained above, if injured, heat can help with blood circulation to improve upon the time it takes to heal. The buoyancy of a body in the water also is often used to help with therapeutic techniques to gain back motion or provide low impact strengthening.

Workout Recovery

Your muscles heat up when you work out but when you stop, you can quickly begin to stiffen up especially if you have pushed yourself and created healthy healthy soreness. Soaking in heated water can help the transitional process between workouts and your body returning to normal to keep muscles from becoming tight and easing the pressure of the joint fluid. It also increases blood flow to these areas for faster healing.

Decreased Stress

The relaxational state you reach when soaking is both physical and mental and can help you be more focused at the start of the day, or unwind at the end of it. This is especially true if you have stressors that have impeded your quality of life.


Smiling friends in bikinis relaxing in hot tub at the spa

Hot tubs are a great place to entertain as well. It serves as an excellent option for guests to lounge and relax in or sit alongside. With many available with sound and lighting, they become a focal point of many parties. Plus, they allow you to head outside even in colder seasons without feeling discomforted by the weather.

Reduce Insomnia

Tubs bring the temperature of your body up with blood rising closer to the surface of your skin. This allows your core temperature to cool off faster once you remove yourself from the heat, which supports the lower overall body temperature you experience while you sleep. This can help you drift off to sleep faster.


Knowing what type of tub to purchase has a lot to do with why you want to use it. Understanding your options and what needs or features you prefer is a great way to prepare yourself for narrowing down your choices without feeling overwhelmed when you decide you want to make a purchase.

We’d love to hear below about your favorite types of tubs, and which ones you prefer, and why! As always, please share!