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What Are the 14 Most Popular Types of Hot Tubs and Their Features?

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

There's nothing like relaxing in your hot tub after a long day at work. It's a great way to unwind, and hydrotherapy is beneficial in more ways than helping tight muscles relax.

It can aid the healing of injuries, provide mental relaxation, and improve your body's circulation.

Are you in the market for a new hot tub or want to upgrade your current model to enjoy some fancy features? Then, it's best to explore all the options available.

You'll find various types of hot tubs in various sizes and shapes with some fabulous features.

This guide highlights the many different types of hot tubs available, including some you might never have realised existed.

What is the Official Definition of a Hot Tub?

According to the most popular dictionaries, a hot tub is an artificial container of water with a capacity generally greater than 100 gallons. Regular hot tubs can be used for relaxation, hydrotherapy, or pleasure.

They typically include a mechanical air injection system and/or recirculating device. Some have powerful air jets for massage purposes. A hot tub, spa or jacuzzi tub can seat up to seven people can use a hot tub at one time, depending on the size.

What are the Different Types of Hot Tubs?

Before you purchase your hot tub, there are numerous things to check. A good starting point is to understand the most common types of hot tubs/spas available because this will help you decide which one is best for you.

Let's take a look at some of the best types of hot tubs currently available in the UK.

Portable Hot Tubs

Portable hot tubs are in great demand because they're easy to move around and affordable. You'll find an extensive range of colours and shapes, and each portable hot tub includes numerous features.

These features might include specially constructed air jets and various seating options, making them perfect for people of all sizes.

Portable hot tubs are. generally, more energy-efficient and installing one is easy.


  • A portable tub is easy to move

  • Cheaper option than many alternative types of hot tubs/spas

  • Includes features such as jets, flexible/contoured seating

  • Flexible installation, for example, on or into the ground, indoors and outdoors

  • Efficient drainage and filtration systems

  • Very durable


  • Portable but are heavy and require effort to move them

  • Needs special pad to support the weight

  • Low resale value

Price range

  • Between £300 and £1,500

In-Ground Hot Tub

In-ground hot tubs are usually built next to or as part of an outside swimming pool. They are typically custom-made and may need a building permit. Unless you're a very experienced builder, you'll need to hire a professional to get an in-ground tub installed.

You generally have the option of buying a shell that's inserted into a hole dug in the desired location next to a swimming pool or getting a concrete tub installed.


  • Highly customisable

  • Often connected to a hot water supply for ease of filling

  • A variety of different features are available

  • An in-ground hot tub can add value to your home


  • One of the most expensive options

  • Performance is generally low

  • Heating and operating costs are high

  • Often installed far away from the house, making them less convenient to use than an above-ground tub

Price range

  • Between £16,000 and £28,000 on average

Swim-Spa Combo

This type of tub is usually larger than other types because it is meant to have enough space for swimming and exercising. You'll need to build it into a deck or a specialised room in your home. A swim/exercise spa is bulky; it needs solid foundations constructed on which to stand.

You can expect to pay more for this type of hot tub and need a larger dedicated space to put it.


  • Swim spas have plenty of space for swimming and exercising

  • Great for getting into shape and working out

  • Can be installed indoors or outdoors

  • Less expensive than an in-ground pool


  • Swim spas cost more than many other tubs

  • Very large and require dedicated space

  • Operating costs are high because of the electricity needed to keep the warm water at the optimum temperature

Price range

  • Between £10,000 and £35,000 on average

Rotationally Moulded Hot Tubs

Do you plan on mainly using your hot tub for hydrotherapy? Then rotationally moulded hot tubs are better than expensive swim spa variants. Rotationally moulded hot tubs are durable, relatively lightweight, and affordable. They have contoured seats which makes them easy to get comfortable in, and because they don't weight much, it's easy to move.


  • Affordable

  • Lightweight and easy to move around

  • Durable

  • Less prone to damage

  • Contoured seats


  • Less efficient than other hot tub types

  • Plastic appearance is less attractive

  • Limited upgrade hot tub options

Price range

  • Between £2,000 and £23,000 on average

Wooden Hot Tub

This type of hot tub has been around the longest. It started life as a personal tub that people used for soaking in. It wasn't long before wooden hot tubs became the hot tubs we know and love today.

A wooden hot tub will have various heating options, from a wood fire heater to an electric heater or gas heater.

The heat source you choose will determine the location of your hot tub and how long it takes to get hot water.


  • Wooden hot tubs are aesthetically pleasing

  • Can be installed off-grid

  • Redwood and cedar hot tubs have an added element of aromatherapy to enhance your soak

  • Various heating sources, including wood, electricity, gas, or a combination


  • Quite expensive

  • Very bulky

  • Require assembly

  • Minimal features

Price range

  • Between £3,000 and £10,000 on average

Acrylic Hot Tubs

Acrylic is one of the most popular materials for making moulded tubs. It is long-lasting and can be used indoors and outdoors. You can purchase acrylic hot tubs in various customised shapes, sizes, and seating options. This type is usually permanent so professional moving, installation, and electrical outlet options are required.


  • Available in custom shapes and sizes

  • Various seating options are available

  • It can be used indoors and outdoors


  • Permanent installation requires the services of a professional

Price range

  • Around £3,795 to £20,000 and more

Inflatable Hot Tubs

This is possibly the best bargain on the market today. Most inflatable hot tubs are a great starting point for those who want to dip their toes into this kind of lifestyle. Most have jets, although when it comes to other features, you'll find this type of hot tub lacking.

You can use this type of hot tub outside, but not if the temperature drops below a certain level. An inflatable hot tub doesn't need a 220/240-volt outlet.


  • The purchase cost of an inflatable model is low

  • Simple to set up using standard outlets

  • It is easy to move and store it


  • Not recommended for use in low temperatures

  • Don't expect the water temperature to get too high

  • Limited extras

Price range

  • Between £300 and £1,500

Conventional/Hard Shell Hot Tubs

You must make sure there is a stable foundation before getting a hard-shell hot tub installed. The hard shell will be a permanent fixture. Hard-shell hot tubs have many extras, including massaging jets, internal heating, built-in speakers, and Wi-Fi connectivity.


  • Includes a wide variety of extras


  • Requires a solid foundation

  • A more permanent type of hot tub

Price range

  • Between £3,000 and £10,000 on average

Wood-fired (Ofuro)

TubsInspired by traditional Japanese soaking baths, they are usually deep and shaped like a bathtub. The spa is encased in a high-quality shell made from timber.

Usually, the water is warmed by a wood-fired heater. But modern designs include some electrical components, and there will often be a few massaging jets.


  • A wood-fired hot tub is attractive to look at

  • Roomy

  • Includes massaging jets


  • Many versions are wood-fired

Price range

  • Between £1,500 and £5,000 on average

Commercial Hot Tubs

A commercial hot tub is what you find in a hotel, health club, or some other public facility. They are larger than a hot tub you might use at home. They will meet the rules and regulations required for commercial use and often have additional safety features such as automatic heat and chemical sensors.


  • Larger than a standard home hot tub

  • Very safe to use


  • Expensive

  • Certain features might not be necessary for a home hot tub

  • It may be too large for a home setting

Price range

  • Prices tend to start at around £5,000

Soft Sided

Soft-sided hot tubs are similar to inflatable hot tubs but different. Most are sold online. No major electrical work is required when installing them as they plug into a 230v outlet.


  • No big electrical installation required


  • Not comfortable for extended periods

  • Not very energy-efficient

  • Lacking the performance offered by a traditional hot tub

Price range

  • Between £2,500 and £5,000 on average

Waterfall Hot Tub

As you've probably guessed, a waterfall hot tub features a waterfall, so you can experience the sound and feel of running water. The water usually cascades over your shoulders and into the hot tub.


  • The relaxing sound and feel of the waterfall


  • Not everyone enjoys the waterfall experience

Price range

  • Between £2,500 and £5,000 on average

Rotomoulded Hot Tub

The name of this type of hot tub comes from the manufacturing process. Polyethylene resin is poured into a mould which is then rotated to create the solid body of a hot tub. The material is high-density thermoplastic which is more energy-efficient than an acrylic hot tub and more eco-friendly.


  • More eco-friendly

  • Better energy efficiency


  • Fewer jets

  • Small capacity

Price range

  • Between £2,500 and £5,000 on average

Custom Made (Bespoke) Hot Tubs

This type of hot tub can be custom-built to your needs and preferences, whatever they might be. You get to choose the size, shape, and variety of features the hot tub has.


  • Customisable design and functionality


  • Very expensive

Price range

  • Starting from £10,000

What are the Most Popular Hot Tub Shapes?

Hot tubs come in various shapes, but some are more popular than others.

Circular hot tubs

A square hot tub was the traditional shape, but more people are switching from these traditional hot tubs to circular ones nowadays. They are more portable than other shapes and comparatively cheap and space-saving.

They have a small footprint, so you can fit one almost anywhere. They are built for one to two people.

Triangular hot tubs

This is not one of the most common shapes, but if you're short on space or want a hot tub that looks a little more unique, it's a good option. It has good visual appeal, but the shape is very limiting.

Square hot tubs

Square hot tubs are the most traditional shape. One of the advantages of a square shape is the space delineation, which is a plus when there are lots of people in the tub. They also fit neatly against a deck, porch, or side of the house. When installed, they also look more natural than other shapes.

Rectangular hot tubs

With a rectangular hot tub, you've got more room to stretch out, which is especially useful if you're a tall person who wants to relax. Much like a square tub, it can be positioned almost anywhere without getting in the way.

How to Choose the Best Hot Tub Type for Your Needs?

There are many factors to consider if you want to buy the right hot tub. Knowing about the different hot tub types is a good place to start, but you also need to consider why you're buying a hot tub.

What features you want it to have, your budget, and where you plan to put it are also worth thinking about.

You'll find more information about the types of hot tubs and other essential things to know in our hot tub buying guide.

If you’re looking for one of the best suppliers of hot tubs in the UK, you won’t go wrong if you check out our website or visit our Chelmsford hot tub warehouse. Aqua Warehouse started in 2003 and has gained an excellent reputation for providing high standards of customer service and top-quality products.


As you can see, there are many different types of hot tubs and spas to choose from. They range from the cheap and cheerful inflatable types right up to custom-designed hot tubs where the price is no limit.

Whatever your hot tub needs, whether it's somewhere to unwind after a stressful day or something to enjoy with friends, there's a spa out there that will tick all your boxes.


What type of hot tub is best?

The answer to this question depends on your needs. If your budget is limited, an inflatable model might be the perfect tub for you. If you want to use your hot tub daily, you want something that's durable. Before deciding what type is best for you, consider how you plan to use your hot tub.

What type of hot tub is the cheapest?

The cheapest hot tubs are inflatable ones.

What type of hot tub is easiest to maintain?

Most hot tubs require daily maintenance; however, tubs in an outdoor space need to be cleaned more than indoor tubs. Hot tubs must also be drained regularly and deep cleaned every few months. This prevents the water from becoming unsanitary and allows you to clean the hot tub components thoroughly.

Which type of hot tub has the longest lifespan?

A well-maintained and well-built hot tub will last between 15 and 25 years. Cheaper hot tubs, such as portable and inflatable types tend to last just a few years.




Jess Court

I'm Aqua Warehouse Groups Marketing Officer - overseeing all things news worthy in the hot tub industry, with tips and tricks that are bound to make a splash.

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