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.
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.