Is a Whirlpool a Hot Tub? Whirlpool Tub vs. Hot Tub vs. Jacuzzi

Do you prefer a jacuzzi, hot tub, or whirlpool? Or do you think they are all the same? Though people use these terms interchangeably, there are some significant differences between them. But many people don’t note these distinguishing features since the three are almost similar.

A Jacuzzi isn’t a product but a brand name for a firm that makes tubs. They made the first whirlpool bath with an integrated jet and also make pools, branded baths, and saunas. Whirlpools and hot tubs are generic terms and not trademarked names. Whirlpools, hot tubs & jacuzzis are basically the same.

The sections below help you understand the similarities and differences between a whirlpool vs a hot tub, a whirlpool vs a Jacuzzi, and a jetted tub vs a Jacuzzi. We shall look at how they work and the ideal one. 

Whirlpool and Hot Tub

What is a Whirlpool Tub?

A whirlpool tub is a therapeutic bathtub with several water jets that power water to relax and soothe you. These jets are the primary distinguishing features of whirlpools. Typically, whirlpool tubs have 6 to 8 jets positioned strategically to enable the water to hit your body muscles to massage and soothe you.

Another defining feature of whirlpool tubs is their large size. Though manufacturers produce whirlpool tubs in different sizes, designs, and styles, you can be assured that a whirlpool tub will generally be large. You can easily measure the size of a tub using a tape measure.

Usually, all whirlpool tubs can accommodate you comfortably and let you bathe while sitting upright. Whirlpool tubs come in different designs and types, including clawfoot, walk-in, corner, and drop-in tubs.

How does Whirlpool Tub Work?

For a whirlpool to work, you need to install its primary parts, including a pump, water controls, and water jets. The water jets, usually circular and about 6-8, are positioned in different tub areas to release the water that hits your body. The whirlpool’s pump pushes water into the water jets while the water control lets you adjust the pressure and speed of water getting into the jets. 

The suction plate has a whirlpool suction that sucks water to the water pump from the pool. Once the water enters the pump, it pushes the water out through the water jets to hit the muscles of the whirlpool user. Using the water controls, you can adjust the pressure and speed of the water being pumped to suit your preferences. 

Tub TypeJets Hydrotherapy Is it a hot tub?Indoors/outdoorsUsers 
Hot tubYes Yes Yes/No Outdoors mostly2-12
SpaYes Yes Yes Outdoors mostly2-12
Jacuzzi YesYes Yes Outdoors mostly2-12
Whirlpool Yes Yes Yes/NoBoth 1-2 or 2-12
Jetted bathtubYes Yes No Indoors 1-2
Air tubYes Yes No Indoors mostly 1-2
Stock tank poolNo. Can be addedNo No. Can add heaterOutdoors 2-12
Swim spaYes Yes No Outdoors 1-5

What is a Hot Tub?

A hot tub is a general word that refers to a large tub with hot or warm water used for hydrotherapy, relaxation, or entertainment. Another general feature of hot tubs is their large size, accommodating more than one person. We can refer to any tub as a hot tub whether it has bubblers, water jets, or no additional features as far as it is large and has heated water.

Though you can install a hot tub indoors, most people place them outside since they are large and multiple people can use them. Typically, hot tubs are installed above the ground and placed in backyards or patios. They are made using an acrylic shell (to hold the water) which can have a simple or complex design with electric and plumbing controls.

How Does a Hot Tub Work?

Hot tubs come in different designs and styles, with some having water jets that offer relaxation and massage when they shoot water. Typically, hot tubs are made up of a cabinet, shell, filters, jets, spa pack, filters, and Ozonator.

The shell, made of weather/chemical-resistant thermoplastic like acrylic, holds the water and provides space for seats and water jets. The pump and spa pack work together to circulate and heat the water.

When the pump pushes the water, it passes through the spa pack, which contains the heater that warms the water before reaching the tub. Your hot tub may use electric, gas, or solar-powered heaters.

With the topside or spa side control, you can control the temperature of the water as well as the lights, blowers, and pumps. The filtration system contains a filter and heater, filtering and heating water from the suction side.

On the other side, the return side, which includes the pump, PVC tubes, manifolds, and jets, pumps the heated and clean water from the filtration system to the tub. 

Hot tubs may have bromine poisoning which can be easily dealt with with the right chemicals.

What is a Jacuzzi?

Many people believe it’s a spa or hot tub when you mention a Jacuzzi. While that may be technically true, you should note the difference between a Jacuzzi and a hot tub. Jacuzzi refers to a company that manufactures spa equipment and jetted tubs. 

Initially, the Jacuzzi Brothers focused on the aviation industry before shifting to saunas, pools, and bathtubs. 

After one of the brothers had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, the doctor recommended hydrotherapy to ease the pain. The Jacuzzi Brothers started developing a hydrotherapy bath, and in 1968, Roy Jacuzzi launched the first whirlpool bath in the world. 

The whirlpool bath, named Roman, had integrated jets that pumped water and air bubbles with a 50-50 ratio, thus providing hydrotherapy treatment to people who have arthritis. Everyone can enjoy the relaxing and sensational bath that the integrated jet whirlpool baths provide.

As such, you won’t find much in the comparison of a jetted tub vs a Jacuzzi since they’re basically the same.

How Does a Jacuzzi Work?

The Jacuzzi uses the pumping and spinning principle to function. They usually have an operating system with PVC pipes, pumps, and suction. The Jacuzzi pump forces water into the tub via the water jets installed in different shell parts to create a hydrotherapeutic feeling. The suction system sucks the water out of the tub and creates water circulation. 

Jacuzzi also has temperature control systems as well as filtering systems. The temperature control systems make adjusting the water temperature possible, while the filtering system filters the water to remove dirt. 

Some jacuzzi may also have additional features like Ozonators, which help purify the Jacuzzi system, energy-saving systems, and a disinfecting unit. 

Whirlpool vs. Hot Tub vs. Jacuzzi: Which is Better?

It is imperative to note that your hot tub or whirlpool bath may be a Jacuzzi. As we mentioned earlier, Jacuzzi is a brand name. So, if Jacuzzi Brands LLC made the Hot tub or Whirlpool tub you are using, it means you have a Jacuzzi. However, you can have a hot tub or whirlpool bath from other manufacturers.

So, between a whirlpool and a hot tub, which is better? They all offer relaxation and entertainment when bathing, and the choice depends on one’s needs and preferences. Whirlpool baths are better, especially for people living with pain, as they can enjoy the hydrotherapy treatment. On the other hand, hot tubs have heated water, which helps relax. 

Though they are both beneficial, hot tubs may be better since they may have a pump and jets to pump heated water into the tub. Therefore, users will enjoy heated water while enjoying the health benefits of the jetted water hitting their muscles. You can even add Epsom salts to a jetted tub to enjoy its health benefits.


This post will help you differentiate between a whirlpool and a hot tub. Additionally, you now understand how the hot tubs and whirlpool function to deliver relaxation and ease muscle pains. The rule of thumb is to check the manufacturer in differentiating the tubs. If the manufacturer is not a Jacuzzi, you cannot refer to that tub as a Jacuzzi.


Vanderbilt School of Nursing. Hydrotherapy tub helps ease labor’s pain.

DC. Disinfection of Hot Tubs Contaminated with Legionella.

Harvard Health Publishing. Hot baths and saunas: Beneficial for your heart?

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