Hot Tub vs Jacuzzi: Is there a Difference?

Hot Tub vs Jacuzzi

What is the difference between hot tubs and jacuzzies? Adding to the confusion, the terms hot tub and jacuzzi are used interchangeably all the time, but in reality, they are not the same thing, and there are some basic differences between these two products.

The first thing to note is that a hot tub is basically what it says: a tub of hot water used to entertain in or just relax in. A Jacuzzi, on the other hand, is a brand that has a trademark and it represents both hot tubs and other products produced by this manufacturer.

The Hot Tub

You may find that a hot tub is also referred to as a spa, and rightly so. These are large tubs of water that will come equipped with a whirlpool mechanism and air spray jets. They are used by bathers to soak in and to socialize in. 

In the United States spa and hot tub basically refer to the same product, whereas in Europe and other parts of the world, a “spa” is generally used to indicate a natural mineral spring provided by Mother Nature. 

The term “hot tub” got its start in the 1970s. Way back then, these tubs were constructed in wood such as cedar or redwood. Their creation was inspired by ancient Roman and Asian hot water bathing.

These tubs were often deep and looked like wine barrels with metal hoops that kept the wooden boards positioned. Wood-fired heaters were used, not very successfully, and they were not sanitary because they lacked today’s filtering systems.

Progress intervened adding production in fiberglass, built-in heating, and filtration systems. The addition of massage features increased appeal and usefulness for aching joints and muscles.

See also: Worst Hot Tub Brands to Avoid 2021 – Alternatives Included

Nowadays, thanks to so much progress in manufacturing you will find them produced in acrylic with a multitude of wonderful features like:

  • headrests that have cushioning
  • LED lighting
  • water jets that massage the body
  • electronic controls

and technological features such as:

  • Bluetooth technology
  • a flat-screen TV
  • audio systems for MP3
  • spillways or cascading waterfalls
Product Built -in Audio System Cushioned head rest Electronic controls Flat screen TV LED lighting Multiple Seats Varied Colors Water jets Waterfalls
Jacuzzi No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hot Tubs  Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

A Note about Spas

The term “spa” is also important in this discussion as hot tubs are often referred to as spas as well. Spa will usually refer to a resort that specializes in various forms of hydrotherapy such as mineral springs and natural hot springs.

Since prehistoric times, mankind has believed that these mineral waters have curative properties. They are particularly popular in Europe and Japan.

The word originates in Spa which is a 17th-century town in Belgium renowned for its mineral springs that are thought to have healing properties.

This term is also used to refer to beauty treatments, skin treatments, saunas, and massages. In the U.S. the “day spa” is quite popular. Americans also use the word spa to refer to a hot tub that has strong jets of water mixed with air to create a massage-like therapy within the water. 

The Jacuzzi

What is a Jacuzzi? There are lots of brand names that now have come to generically represent an item as opposed to the manufacturer. The English language is rife with examples from crockpots to Kleenex, to Band-aids, to Q-tips to Xerox.

These names were all copyrighted by manufacturers to market a specific product. However, through the years, they have been spontaneously integrated into the language to indicate a general product manufactured by many different companies. 

The saturation of a brand name does exist. When a brand name is so famous it creeps into the language becoming a generic name for a product actually manufactured by a different company.  Such is the case of the “Jacuzzi”.

The Jacuzzi

Jacuzzi is a trademarked brand name for hot tubs, pool equipment, and bath products. They also make toilets and mattresses, not just hot tubs. 

It began like this: three of seven brothers from Casarsa della Delizia in the northern part of Italy situated in Friuli-Venezia Giulia moved to California at the beginning of the 20th century.

Shortly after, the remaining four brothers joined them and in 1915 they founded Jacuzzi Brothers in Berkley. This company began by producing wooden propellers that would be used by the American military in WWI.

After various ups and downs and personal family tragedy, the company moved on to irrigation devices.  In 1943, the youngest of the seven Jacuzzi brothers, named Candido, had a son, Kenneth, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis from birth. The boy improved after water therapy sessions in the local hospital. 

Candido had already matured manufacturing experience with pumps for agricultural use and so he developed a pump that could be used in a home bathtub. In 1956, Jacuzzi invented the first underwater pump, the “J-300”.

This was the beginning of the Jacuzzi company’s most famous and successful product. A third-generation Jacuzzi, Roy, developed whirlpool massage mechanisms.

In 1968, inspired by Rome’s antique thermal baths, the first Jacuzzi tub with integrated whirlpool jets was launched and by 1970, the company began producing larger-sized tubs for the indoors intended for families and larger groups of people. As they say, the rest is history.

The Jacuzzi v. hot tub dilemma began as the home hot tub or whirlpool bath took hold. Jacuzzi became the go-to name for all kinds of hot tubs, even when produced by other manufacturers.

The difference between the Jacuzzi and the Hot tub

A Jacuzzi and a hot tub are not the same things. Hot tubs are varied and are produced by a number of different manufacturers. Some competitors will produce hot tubs with quality components and features similar to a Jacuzzi, although often at a lower price.

While a Jacuzzi is the original hot tub brand and has years of know-how and experience in manufacturing this product, they are not the most affordable tubs on the market.

Most hot tubs and Jacuzzis will feature

      • Cushioned headrests
      • Electronic controls
      • LED lighting
      • Massage water jets
      • Multiple seats
      • Varied color options
      • Waterfalls

However, some hot tubs produced by other manufacturers will offer features that Jacuzzi does not include. Among these, you can find built-in audio systems and even flat-screen televisions.

See also: Is sunlight good for hot tub water?

Hot tub and Jacuzzi Varieties and Features

While these tubs will be available in different shapes and sizes, most are produced in acrylic with molded seating and a generous number of underwater jets. 

Tubs can be sunk into the floor or ground, such as an indoor Jacuzzi or even into an outdoor deck. They can be integrated into an inground swimming pool to create a spa/pool combination. There are also above-ground hot tubs and spas.

Now, as we’ve previously stated you’ll find varying features from one hot tub or spa to another. Here are the features that you must have when investing:

      • a surface that is slippage-resistant
      • a removable hot tub cover
      • energy-saving insulation
      • heating system
      • filtration/sanitation system
      • foam insulation of high density
      • pumps
      • water jets
      • water purification
      • warranty 

The Jetted Tub

Often when traveling, you may find a hotel room that features a jetted tub in its bathroom, and likewise, these tubs are referred to erroneously as a “Jacuzzi bath”.

This type of bathtub will have a few hydrotherapy jets positioned inside. These jets are attached to small pipes and to a pump for circulation or air blower. The top models may be quite large and boast a heater to keep the bathwater warm.

You just fill the tub with water, set the controls, and relax. The big difference here is that after each use, the tub is drained. For this reason, these jetted bathtubs do not require either a filter or a cover.

A whirlpool bath will be a type of jetted bathtub that refers to a specific type of bathing experience.

The Advantages of a Hot Tub, Spa, or Jacuzzi

Hydrotherapy offers several important benefits that can be enjoyed regularly if not daily, thanks to the acquisition of a home hot tub or Jacuzzi.

  • Relief of joint or muscle pain and improved mobility
  • Relief from stress. Soaking in warm water will increase the release of endorphins contributing to relaxation.
  • Improved sleep. A trip to the hot tub before bed can improve the quality of your sleep.

The Bottom Line

If your tub is a Jacuzzi® product, refer to it as a Jacuzzi. If you have purchased another hot tub with all of the amenities imaginable, refer to it as a hot tub or a spa.

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