hot tub vs spa

Jacuzzi vs Hot Tub vs Spa: What Is the Difference?

After a long week, there’s nothing more relaxing than sipping on a beverage and soaking in a hot tub… Or is it a spa? Or… Maybe a Jacuzzi? Find out the difference between a Jacuzzi vs hot tub vs spa here so you know exactly what you’re relaxing in!

2.17 million households in the U.S. installed a pool, hot tub, or spa within 12 months of Spring 2017. That’s a lot of people with “Jacuzzi vs hot tub vs spa” in their search history. So what exactly is the difference?

Spas, hot tubs, and Jacuzzis are all terms often used interchangeably, but you’ll find each has a particular meaning. Here’s a rundown of the different terms and some of the health benefits to be found across the board.

Hot Tub

A hot tub is typically a round, self-contained tub filled with hot water. While it has jets like a spa, they’re not specifically directed to enhance the therapeutic benefits of the soak.

Hot tubs differ from spas predominantly in their intended use. The bench seats and less intensive jets make the hot tub ideal for soaking with friends while you socialize. Trying to do the same in a spa would involve a lot of jostling around the molded seating and having to raise your voice over the more powerful jets.


While hot tubs are predominantly for social use, spas are used more for their health benefits. Spas provide a form of hydrotherapy which can aid in the treatment of various ailments.

The jets in a typical home spa are specifically tailored to massage and relieve sore muscles. They can also help with blood circulation.


Jacuzzi is a word often used interchangeably with hot tub or spa, but you might be surprised to learn that Jacuzzi is actually a brand name.

One of the first portable spa manufacturers, Jacuzzi has become synonymous with spas as a whole. This is what’s called a generic trademark. Many companies resist their brands becoming synonymous with a product or service as it can actually lose them their trademark and hurt profitability.

The Health Benefits of Hot Tubs and Spas

Spas are specifically tailored to emphasize the health benefits of a hot soak, but even a portable hot tub can aid in overall wellbeing.

The buoyancy of the water in any tub can ease the pressure from your joints, soothing ailments such as knee strain and arthritis. Soaking in hot water can also improve blood circulation, ease sore muscles, and help open up your bronchial and nasal passages.

If you suffer from anxiety a hot tub or spa can help reduce your stress levels and aid in muscle relaxation.

Recent studies have indicated that passive heating, as with a soak in a spa or hot tub, might even have positive metabolic effects.

It All Comes Down to Hot Tub vs Spa

All Jacuzzis are spas, but not all spas are Jacuzzis! And hot tubs are a different animal altogether. When shopping, your choice comes down to hot tub vs spa. Each has its own pros and cons but both come with a myriad of health benefits.

Ready to shop for your own hot tub? Here are some things to consider when buying an energy-efficient hot tub.