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What is a Whirlpool Tub: Everything you Need to Know

by Badeloft | August 2, 2019

What is a whirlpool tub

A whirlpool tub is a bathtub that has self-contained water jets that help relax and massage muscles. Water or air powers the jets and are designed to massage your body for a more therapeutic soak, with an emphasis on providing you comfort. These bathtubs tend to have large water capacity and require a decent sized bathroom.


What are the features of a whirlpool tub

The primary and most important feature of a whirlpool tub is the jets. Most whirlpool tubs come equipped with at least 6-8 water jets positioned at crucial points throughout the bathtub. It allows them to hit your primary muscle groups while soothing them. The second key feature of a whirlpool bathtub is its size. While whirlpool bathtubs are available in a wide range of styles and sizes. The commonality between all models is that they must be large enough to allow a person to sit upright while bathing. Lastly, an electric pump is required to pump water through its jets.

What are the common parts of a Hot Tub

The primary parts of a hot tub are the jets, the water controls, and the pump. These parts are easy to identify, and learning them can help to determine which aspect you want to spend more on and customize or replace in the future should something break.

Water Jets

The primary feature of this bathtub, they are circular and usually come in sets of six. They are positioned strategically around your bathtub to help massage all your muscle groups.


A small apparatus that pumps water into the jets of your bathtub and keeps the flow of water constant

Water Control

Generally, in the form of manual knobs, there are electric versions, but the idea is that the water knobs control the speed and pressure of the jets. Some of these are tied and linked to your electric water pump.

Types of whirlpool tubs

Whirlpool bathtubs like standard bathtubs, come in a wide variety of styles and sizes to fit any home. Which allows whirlpool tubs to fit just about any home that desires one.


Perhaps one of the most common styles, drop-in bathtubs are literally “dropped in” to a carved out recess or space. This installation method allows the bathtub to be flush with its surroundings, making it visually more appealing while also saving space without sacrificing its aesthetic appeal.


A type of drop-in bathtub, corner bathtubs are designed to sit in a corner, saving bathroom space while also providing a decent sized area to bathe. Whereas most drop-in tubs are rectangular, corner bathtubs are triangular, providing a unique shape to fit into your bathroom.


A more luxurious option, clawfoot bathtubs are freestanding bathtubs with all the features of a standard whirlpool tub. Freestanding bathtubs are quite large, allowing this bathtub to be freely placed in your bathroom, giving you more freedom in terms of installation.


Walk-in bathtubs are designed to assist the elderly and those with movement impairing disabilities. With a seat designed into the bathtub, the occupant can freely bathe while resting comfortably while the whirlpool jets help to ease and massage their joints and muscles.


Standard sizes for whirlpool tubs

Whirlpool bathtubs come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The most common whirlpool tub size would be 48×48, which is considered the small or average corner whirlpool size. The 54×54, which is a medium-large corner bathtub, 60×36 which is a popular drop-in size, and finally 72×48 which is a large, round whirlpool bathtub. For those that have smaller bathrooms, 60×36 is ideal as it is a drop-in size that is more rectangular. 48×48, 54×54, and 72×48 are all bathtubs that are round in design, meaning they will require a larger space to install.

What are the costs of a whirlpool tub?

In general, whirlpool bathtubs are quite expensive when compared to other bathtubs. A smaller sized whirlpool costs roughly $500, but the medium to large size starts at around $2,000. Whirlpool tubs can go as high as $3,000-4,000 with additional features. That is of course not factoring in the maintenance costs which include replacement parts when the jets or pump malfunction, as well as the heavy toll it takes on your water heater. The larger your whirlpool bathtub is, the cost of maintenance and upkeep will increase, so it is essential to consider these hidden costs before purchasing a whirlpool bathtub.

Difference between a whirlpool tub and a hot tub

One common misconception of whirlpool tubs and hot tubs are people believe these are two different types of bathtubs. However, a whirlpool bathtub and a hot tub are describing the same item. Hot tub is a brand of whirlpool bathtubs that gained popularity, but there is no virtual difference between a whirlpool bathtub and a hot tub.

Difference between whirlpool and air bath

An air bath uses air to massage and create bubbles that provide a therapeutic experience. Whirlpools use water to create jets that massage and offer a therapeutic experience. In essence, they both provide similar experiences, but air baths have fixed jet locations, whereas water baths have direct control over their powered jets. However, since it uses air, air baths are generally much easier to clean. Whirlpool baths tend to trap foreign substances as the water is continually pushing the material in and out of it. For those looking for a more relaxed bathing experience, choose an air bath, whereas those who want more direct control and power to their experience should choose a whirlpool.

How to choose a whirlpool tub

Selecting the right whirlpool tub is quite similar to choosing the right bathtub for your home. First and foremost, it is important to measure your bathroom for available space. Whirlpool bathtubs tend to be quite large, so your bathtub must fit. The next step will require you to test or try which style suits you best. Since you will be sitting inside of the bathtub, the bathtub must be comfortable to you no matter what position you are in. Finally, it is crucial that you research your water heater and it’s maximum capacity. Whirlpool bathtubs tend to be a significant drain on your water heater and will require a large amount of water to run.

3 Steps in choosing a whirlpool tub:

  1. Research which size bathtub is right for your home
  2. Research whether your water heater can handle the size you want
  3. Test out which is most comfortable for you

Are whirlpools still in style?

The short answer is that they are still in style since whirlpool bathtubs will generally have a niche appeal. They provide a sense of comfort that most other bathtubs would be hard-pressed to match with their powered jets. However, since they tend to be quite large and require a great deal more maintenance, they have fallen out of favor compared to more conventional bathtub designs. The market is steering towards more space-saving styles and designs and less towards bathtubs with high water heater costs.

Whirlpool bathtubs or hot tubs make beautiful additions to any home that can support them. If you are considering them for your home, make sure you have adequate space available as well as a large enough water heater to support it. Otherwise, a traditional bathtub might be more suitable for your bathroom.

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