What’s the Difference Between a Hot Tub and a jacuzzi?

2011_Hotspot_Stride_001_RGB_C_400x400-cute-couple-smilingThe term hot tub originally referred to the wooden, barrel shaped tubs, which became popular in the late 1960’s. Early hot tubs were made from redwood and Olympic Hot Tub company made the first western red cedar hot tubs in 1977.

These hot tubs made by Brooks Lumber in Bellingham were really just small water tanks made like wine barrels with steel hoops holding the boards in place.

By adding jets, pump, heater and filter, we had a hot tub.

When the industry began building tubs of molded fiberglass or with thermoplastic shells, they were given the tag “spa” to differentiate them from their wooden cousins.

This funny old photo reminded me that what to call a “backyard whirlpool” is still confusing to many people.  At Olympic Hot Tub we call all of our products “hot tubs” not spas even though they’re no longer made of wood.  We want to avoid confusion with “day spas”-a beauty salon designation. We could call them home spas, but hot tub just sounds better, don’t you think?

“Jacuzzi” is an Italian family name that’s also the brand name of a spa manufacturer.  The original founders of the company-two brothers-made a pump that went over the side of a bathtub to produce a whirlpool effect.  Years later they started making spas. Think of the analogy between “Levis” and “jeans”.

Now, Jacuzzi is not even the top manufacturer of spas.  The company has been bought and sold so many times that the brand quality suffered so much that sales have declined.  Hot Spring Spas has the honor of being the world’s number one selling brand for quality and reliability. In fact, they just made their 1,000,000th hot tub

In a recent survey, over 80% of  Olympic Hot Tub Company’s owners of “backyard whirlpools” called them “hot tubs”-the original and still the best descriptor! We’re sticking with “hot tubs”.  Some customers call them “think tanks” (for all of the good ideas that come while soaking). Then there are other more personal names like “Tom’s Lobster Pot”, “hot pot” , “tub of tranquility”, and “Fountain of Youth”.

So, hot tubs and jacuzzis are the same thing, but Hot Spring is by far the more popular brand.  What do you call it-that hot whirlpool in your backyard? Hot tub? Spa? Jacuzzi or something more personal? We’d love to hear from you.

RES EST SERVA VOLUPTAS. Pleasure is serious business.



Don Riling

Author: Don Riling

Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 20 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through hot water & sauna therapy.

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