Is a Jacuzzi Tub Right for You?

By Tara Sebolt
Jacuzzi with swirling water and brown mosaic in bathroom

When you think of Jacuzzi tubs, you probably imagine a relaxing bath and soaking in soothing warm water. Although the Jacuzzi brand name is technically for a line of luxury hot tubs, the name has become interchangeable with both hot tubs and jetted tubs. Many homeowners decide to install a whirlpool bathtub in order to enjoy a relaxing spa experience every time they take a bath.

Seniors and aging adults can especially benefit from a Jacuzzi tub. This guide will walk you through all the important things you need to know about Jacuzzis and other hydrotherapy tub options. We’ll help you decide if installing a Jacuzzi is the right choice for you, considering costs and other important factors before purchasing a jetted tub for your home.

The difference between Jacuzzis and other tubs

You’ve probably heard the term Jacuzzi used to mean a variety of hot water tubs with jets. This can quickly lead to confusion about the differences between tub types. For example, perhaps you’ve seen hotels advertise their Jacuzzi tub rooms but heard someone else say they just put in a new Jacuzzi in the backyard. One Jacuzzi is a private bath and the other is an outdoor spa on the patio.

Understanding the difference between tub types can make it easier to know exactly what you’re shopping for:

  • Jacuzzi tub—Although sometimes referring to the luxury hot tubs, the Jacuzzi brand also makes a Whirlpool bathtub line of jetted bathtubs. This is where the term Jacuzzi tub became associated with jetted tubs and whirlpool bathtubs. Most of the time a Jacuzzi tub refers to indoor jetted bathtubs and not outdoor spas, which are usually just called Jacuzzis.
  • Bathtub—A bathtub is the generic tub that’s in your bathroom and can be filled with warm water for bathing or soaking. Most homes with bathtubs have a shower/bathtub combination for convenience. A regular bathtub won’t have jets or whirlpool features.
  • Hot tub—Hot tubs, also known as spas or hot tub spas, are large tubs or pools of water that can fit several full-size adults. There are usually jets placed around the seats of the hot tub to create a whirlpool effect in the water. Hot tub spas are used for everything from entertainment for a backyard cookout with friends to hydrotherapy treatment after a tough workout.

Image 1: Jacuzzi tub

Image 2: Freestanding bathtub

Image 3: Hot tub

Why consider installing a Jacuzzi tub?

Installing a Jacuzzi tub or other jetted tub in your home might seem like an unnecessary luxury. After all, you have a perfectly good shower for bathing. Adding a jetted tub, however, can provide a lot of benefits to you and your home. For example, jetted tubs can increase the value of your home and generally cost less after installation than a walk-in tub.

Health benefits of a jetted tub for seniors

Although almost anyone can enjoy the health benefits of a Jacuzzi tub, many aging adults find hydrotherapy to be one of the best forms of chronic pain management. Warm water has been used for thousands of years to help promote health and wellness. As we age, our bodies become more prone to soreness or injuries, and it’s important to find ways to stay healthy.

Whirlpool tubs can provide important health benefits for seniors and aging adults, such as:

  • Increased flexibility—Stretching your body out in a jetted tub can help improve flexibility and mobility in your muscles.
  • Relief from arthritis pain—Many seniors suffer from chronic pain due to arthritis. Soaking in a jetted bathtub can help reduce the pain in your joints and relax muscles throughout your body.
  • Better circulation—Warm water combined with pressurized jets can help increase circulation throughout your body.
  • Stress relief—Soaking in a whirlpool Jacuzzi tub can reduce stress, which has a variety of health benefits like better sleep and lower blood pressure.

What to consider when purchasing a Jacuzzi tub

Making the decision to install a whirlpool tub is only the first step in your purchase of a Jacuzzi tub. You’ll need to consider everything from your bathroom space to whether your water heater is large enough for a Jacuzzi. Aging adults may need to install safety features around your Jacuzzi, such as grab bars, to help reduce your risk of falls when getting in and out. However, if safety is a main concern, some adults may want to look into a walk-in tub with Safe Step instead.

Some of the most important factors to consider for your Jacuzzi tub include:

Jacuzzi tub feature What to consider
Size You can choose between several standard jetted tub sizes or get a custom size to meet your needs. You usually can’t drop the new tub into the space where the old tub was. You’ll need to size the space available for your jetted tub as well as the width of the door to get the tub in the room. A standard Jacuzzi tub is 60 inches long and 32 inches wide.
Weight Depending on your flooring, you may need to calculate how heavy the tub will be when filled with water and a bather. Second-floor bathrooms are especially prone to needing floor reinforcement for Jacuzzi tubs.
Shape Your bathroom layout may need to be reconfigured in order to fit the Jacuzzi tub in the right spot. For example, a corner tub will be shaped like a triangle, which may not line up the same way as your old bathtub.
Electrical needs Jacuzzi tubs can require a lot of power to run the jets. Consult with an electrician on the needs of your tub and if any wiring work needs to be done in your bathroom.
Color and material While it may seem less important, a jetted tub usually becomes the focal point of a bathroom. Due to the cost of installing a Jacuzzi tub, you want to make sure you pick a color and material that will stand the test of time.
Water needs Check how much water your jetted tub will need and how many gallons of hot water it will use. Make sure your water heater is large enough to accommodate your bathing needs.

In addition to the basic placement and size, think about what types of added features you want for your jetted tub. If your tub will fit in your bathroom space, you might want to add certain features for comfort or aesthetics.

  • Number of jets—Make sure you choose a tub that has a jet pattern where you need them most. If your tub’s jets don’t hit your lower back, calves, or other pain points, then you’re not getting the most from your hydrotherapy soak.
  • Enclosures—Many jetted tubs come with deck options to give you space to light aromatic candles or store Epsom salts or bath crystals for easy access. If you’re worried about aging and not being able to use your jetted tub, consider a walk-in option.
  • Shower combination—Although some manufacturers make shower and jetted tub combinations, and there are several DIY options, it’s generally not recommended for your Jacuzzi tub to have a shower. Instead, consider adding a separate shower, like a curbless shower for ease of use.

How much is a Jacuzzi tub installation?

The cost to install a Jacuzzi tub depends on the brand, size, and features. If you install a brand-name Jacuzzi, for example, the tub alone may cost over $1,000 and up to $5,000. Installation costs only add to that amount:

  • Labor costs—A licensed plumber costs $45–$65 an hour and a normal jetted bathtub installation can take 6–9 hours. Removing an old tub and cleaning the space can take another 3–4 hours.
  • Electrician—Jetted tubs require complex wiring. When working around water and electrical wires, it’s best to hire a pro, which can cost between $65–$85 an hour.
  • Water heater replacement—If you need to upgrade your water heater to meet the capacity of your new tub, it may cost $600–$1,000 depending on the size and whether you choose a tankless water heater.
  • Separate electrical circuit—For larger tubs or those with several jets and an inline heating element, you may need to install a separate electrical circuit for the tub. This can cost $1,300–$3,000.

Choosing the right Jacuzzi tub

If you’re investing several thousand dollars into a new jetted tub for your bathroom, you want to know the job will be done correctly.

As you shop for your Jacuzzi tub, ask the bathtub company these questions:

  • What is the warranty on a new tub?
  • How much water do I need to run the jets in my tub?
  • Does the tub have inline heating to keep water warm as the jets run?
  • Are there payment or financing options for the tub?
  • Is installation included in the price of the Jacuzzi tub?
  • Can you provide references or reviews on installation?

Safety tips for using a Jacuzzi

Once your Jacuzzi tub has been installed, follow its safety guidelines to make sure you are safe when bathing. While Jacuzzi tubs aren’t necessarily dangerous, you can cause damage to your bathroom or the tub if used improperly.

  • Check the temperature—This is especially true for seniors or aging adults on medications. Being exposed to hot water for long periods of time can increase the effects of your medication. Overly hot temperatures can also cause burns.
  • Clean regularly—Although a jetted tub doesn’t require chemicals like chlorine, you still need to regularly clean the tub surface and wipe down the jets. This helps prevent the buildup of mold, mildew, bacteria, and grime.
  • Clean up spills—If you’re filling your tub and accidentally turn the jets on, or if water ends up on the floor, dry it right away. Water on the floor can easily become a slipping hazard if you’re not paying close attention. You might also consider installing grab bars on the walls for added security.

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