Tub shopping? If it’s your first time, you may be bombarded with a bunch of foreign terms. It can set you wondering: what is an air tub? What is a whirlpool tub? How do I know which one to choose?
You’re in luck – consult this handy bathtub buying guide to learn which tub is best for you.
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between whirlpools and air tubs. Both provide jet massages in a tub. But once you are in the market for one or the other, you will quickly realize that there are some important variances between a whirlpool tub and an air tub. The main distinguishing feature that sets the two apart is the mechanism by which the jets operate. Simply put, a whirlpool shoots jets of water while an air tub uses jets of air. This can have several implications in regards to upkeep, function and personal preference.
The most noticeable difference is the sensation. A whirlpool’s water jets come with the classic, high pressure, deep massaging jets that most people have come to associate with hydrotherapy. When you visit a professional physical therapist, this will likely be the type of tub they have. An air tub, on the other hand, is a more generalized, effervescent feeling. Instead of a few concentrated jets, the air tub has numerous air jets that shoot millions of massaging bubbles. It’s a gentler sensation, but still highly relaxing.
The other significant difference between whirlpools and air tubs is the maintenance. Both are relatively simple to clean. For a whirlpool, simply add in a cleaning solution (store bought or homemade) and run the jets for a few minutes. It’s also important to remember to never run a whirlpool unless it is filled. An air tub, on the other hand, is self-drying and is thus self-cleaning. Simply drain the air tub and turn on the jets until the tub is completely dry.
Every tub has specific cleaning instructions. It’s important to follow the directions and clean your tub regularly to prevent build-up and damage in the jets and the tub.
Some points to consider when choosing your tub:
- If you’re sensitive to noise, air tubs tend to be quieter than whirlpool tubs.
- Different manufacturers have different policies regarding bath oils, salts, and other additives. Generally, oil-based products are not recommended as they may clog the jets and mechanisms, and some salts may cause rusting. Some bath products are specially designed for use in jetted tubs. Water-soluble products are best and must be used in moderation; bubble bath may be used in small amounts (the jets will quickly whip up a mountain of bubbles if you use too much!).
- For those who like long soaks, a tub with an in-line heater will regulate the water temperature for longer, so you don’t have to keep adding hot water when it starts to cool off.
Neither the air tub nor the whirlpool is a superior choice. Choosing which one you install in your home is simply a matter of taste.
Can’t decide? Then go with a combination tub. Combo tubs allow bathers to choose their bubble experience based on their mood that day! So if you want a deep-tissue massage one day and a soft, effervescent sensation the next, the combo tub lets you go with your preference – no matter how fickle that preference may be.
Consult our updated, comprehensive bath guide for more information.
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