Is There a Difference Between a Hot Tub, a Spa and a Jacuzzi?

Is There a Difference Between a Hot Tub, a Spa and a Jacuzzi?

April 22, 2021

There’s nothing like a good soak in a hot tub in New Haven County, CT to relieve stress from a long day or relax the muscles after an intense workout—except for some nice massaging time in front of the jets in a spa, that is. Oh, and don’t forget about the comforting whirlpool of a jacuzzi! Wait, what exactly is the difference between these three things, anyway?

The terms hot tub, spa and jacuzzi are often used interchangeably. You may be wondering if they are, in fact, the same thing. Well, they’re very similar, but by definition they are not exactly the same. The first to appear on the scene was hot tubs, and from there came the spa and the jacuzzi. Here are some differences between hot tubs, spas and jacuzzis.

Hot tubs

Let’s start with hot tubs, since they were technically here in New Haven County, CT first. The idea of a hot tub gained popularity in the 1960s and early ‘70s. Originally, hot tubs were wooden, barrel-style tubs filled with hot water.

These tubs were often made of redwood or cedar. The idea was to soak in a deep tub filled with hot water in a tub outdoors. This was not a new concept—it had been used in Asian countries for a long time and was also used in ancient Rome. Sounds pretty nice, right? Well, there were some drawbacks to this idea.

First off, there was no filtration system. The more people in the tub, the less sanitary it became. Second, there was inconsistent heating for the water, as the early hot tubs were usually heated by wood fires (the smoke must have been a pain, too).


In the late 1970s, the idea of the spa was born. This took the popular hot-water-soaking idea of a hot tub and added filtration, jets, pumps and heaters. It also replaced the wooden unit with a molded fiberglass shell, opening up a variety of possibilities.

This made the experience much more sanitary, and the built-in heaters allowed for longer and more comfortable soaking times. The jets and pumps added an element of massage to give it a luxurious feel.


A jacuzzi is similar to a spa, but it has its beginnings in the bathroom. In the late 1960s, the Jacuzzi family from Italy developed the idea of converting a bathtub into a “whirlpool bath.” From there, the company added jets to make a “jetted bath tub,” and eventually started making hot tubs for use outside of the bathroom. Similar to how we refer to a tissue generically as “Kleenex,” or a medical adhesive strip as a “Band-Aid,” the term “Jacuzzi” is a brand name that has become a generic term for a product.

When you’re looking for the best hot tub repair in New Haven County, CT, call A-1 Pools & Spas. With more than three decades of experience, we’ll always get the job done right the first time. We look forward to working with you soon!

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