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What Is a Whirlpool Tub?

Everything you need to know before buying a whirlpool tub.

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whirlpool bathtub from above Oppdowngalon/Getty Images

A whirlpool tub is any bathtub with jets that propel water, according to Signature Hardware. The jets provide a relaxing bath experience and relax sore areas of the body through hydrotherapy.

Unlike a hot tub, which heats the water itself, the temperature in a whirlpool tub will approach room temperature the longer you stay in the bath. Whirlpool tubs come in various sizes, styles and price.

Whirlpool Tub Types and Styles

Fiberglass, acrylic and cast iron are the most common materials in whirlpool tubs, which vary in price and durability. Fiberglass is the least expensive but lacks the durability of acrylic or cast iron. There are also enameled steel and composite tubs out there, but those are less common.

There is no standard size for whirlpool tubs. Most are square, oval or rectangular. Smaller whirlpool tubs are roughly 30-in. x 60-in. while a larger options run 80-in. x 60-in., according to an Overstock fact sheet.

“Obviously, you should measure the area in your bathroom before you buy a jetted tub, but you also need to think about configuration — the way the tub is oriented in the room,” the Overstock fact sheet says.

“If you’re short on space, you will want a standard-sized tub in a freestanding, single-person configuration to go directly into the space where your old tub was. If you have a little more space to work with, you might consider a corner unit with a surrounding deck. If space is not an issue, consider a drop-in whirlpool tub.”

Whirlpool tubs can be freestanding or attached to the bathroom wall.

Cost

Most whirlpool tubs cost $1,000 to $2,000, with higher end models north of $4,000. This acrylic freestanding whirlpool tub on Wayfair ($1,700) comes in a sleek oval shape. A more expensive option is the California Luxury Whirlpool Tub by Aquapeutics, ($4,898), which features six adjustable body massage jets, 20 whirlpool bubble bath jets and an underwater mood lamp.

If you’re hiring a pro to install your new tub, factor in that cost as well. Installation can be difficult if you are removing an existing tub. You can expect to pay about $700 for a standard installation, according to Home Serve. That price will vary based on difficulty and time needed.

Installation

Installation depends on whether you have a freestanding tub or one that attaches to the bathroom wall. You can read more about installing a whirlpool tub here. If you’re DIYing it, thoroughly read your tub’s installation guide before you start.

Alex Shoemaker
Alex is an avid DIYer but had little experience before purchasing his first home in 2019. A Family Handyman subscription was one of his first purchases after becoming a homeowner, and he's been hooked ever since. When he’s not working, he can be found fixing up his 1940s Florida home or relaxing on the beach with his family.