Is There A Difference Between a Hot Tub, Spa or Jacuzzi

  • By: Adam
  • Date: March 17, 2022

If you have ever looked into getting a hot tub for your home, then you may have noticed that many people use the terms hot tub, spa, and jacuzzi interchangeably.

This may then surprise you that they are actually different things, and not just other words to describe the same thing. 

This is why we are here to give you a guide of what a hot tub is, what a jacuzzi is, and what the difference is between them. Then, you can make your own informed decision as to which is the better choice for you and your backyard!

​So, let’s first look at which is which, and start with what is a hot tub?

What is a hot tub?

A hot tub is generally a wooden, barrel shaped tub that people can install into their homes. The idea originated with Ancient Roman and Asian baths, where users could enjoy the hot, steamy waters of the bath for relaxation purposes.

The modern hot tub became popular during the 1960s and 1970s, but the design varied vastly from the original Roman idea. These types of hot tubs are now made with heaters, sanitation filters, jets, and pumps for hydrotherapy purposes.

The term hot tub is mainly used to describe an above ground spa. A hot tub or portable spa is generally a self contained vessel. These can be built into or placed onto decking, for a stylish and impressive way to entertain family and friends. 

However, nowadays the most popular choice is a portable inflatable hot tub as these can be placed anywhere in your backyard, and are a much more cost efficient option if you want your own hot tub: 

A hot tub is basically a large tub or water, with the addition of some powerful jets for massaging, relaxation or pleasure purposes. Hot tubs are often referred to as outdoor spas, or spa baths. However, some people refer to hot tubs as jacuzzis, which is different to a hot tub.

What is a jacuzzi?

Jacuzzi is the term often used to describe a hot tub, as a jacuzzi is a type of hot tub, with jets, water, filters and hydrotherapy functions.

The dictionary describes the word ‘jacuzzi’ as a type of whirlpool bath or a recreational bathing tub, or pool. So, it is easy to see why many people confuse jacuzzis with hot tubs.  

However, a jacuzzi is a little different than a hot tub as it is a certain type of hot tub. Jacuzzi is a brand name of spas and tubs, and is not itself a word to describe a hot tub, unless it is a Jacuzzi-made hot tub.

This means that a Jacuzzi is a manufacturer of hot tubs and spas, and the word does not describe a physical hot tub itself.

For instance, when someone asks for a Kleenex, they are asking for a tissue, as the tissue itself may not actually be the Kleenex brand of tissue.

The same goes for people referring to jacuzzis, they may not mean the particular Jacuzzi brand itself, but just the fact that it is a word used for hot tub or spa. 

What is the difference between a hot tub and a jacuzzi?

If you are still confused between the hot tub and a jacuzzi, we can help decipher the differences for you. For instance, a hot tub is also referred to as a spa, which is a large tub of hot water, often equipped with jets and whirlpool devices so that users can bathe, relax and socialize.

These hot tubs are often installed outside the home, with electronic controls, massaging jets, LED lighting and even speakers for recreational purposes. Although hot tub and spa are the same thing, these are often referred to as ‘jacuzzis’ which is different, and not the correct terminology to use. 

This is down to the fact that Jacuzzi is a trademarked brand name of hot tubs and pool products. The company was established decades ago by Italian brothers named Jacuzzi, who invented an underwater pump that could help ease the pain in joints and muscles. 

They then created a type of hot tub, with built in jets to relieve pressure from muscles, which became widely popular, and Jacuzzi then became a household name.

Therefore, you can call a Jacuzzi product a hot tub, but you cannot call a hot tub a jacuzzi, because it may not necessarily be made by the company Jacuzzi. 

Hot tubs can be manufactured by a variety of different brands, and some may not have the same high quality build and craftsmanship of a Jacuzzi hot tub. Jacuzzi are one of the leaders in the hot tub industry, and their types of hot tubs can come equipped with a vast range of impressive features and extras.

The main difference between a hot tub and a Jacuzzi, therefore, is that a Jacuzzi is a brand of hot tub, whereas a hot tub is the term used to describe many different types of heated tubs with jets. 

Is a whirlpool tub the same as a jacuzzi?

A whirlpool tub is a bathroom with self contained water jets to help users relax and massage their aching muscles after a long day.

These types of whirlpool tubs are installed as bathtubs, and will be found inside the home, unlike hot tubs that tend to go in people’s backyards, or on decking. 

Again, the whirlpool is different from a jacuzzi, as Jacuzzi is a manufacturer of hot tubs and spas, and is not a product in itself. 


In conclusion, you may have been referring to hot tubs, jacuzzis and spas as the same thing, and you could be surprised to find out that they are not.

All Jacuzzis are hot tubs, but not all hot tubs are Jacuzzis, as this is the actual name for a brand of hot tubs, not the hot tub itself.