Best Air Bathtubs

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

10 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
10 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best air bathtubs

Last Updated December 2019

Before you can choose an air bathtub for your family, you first have to know what an air bathtub is or isn’t. Is it the same as a whirlpool bathtub? If not, what is the difference?

Initially, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two because they both give you a jet massage in a tub. But while a whirlpool bathtub shoots out jets of water, an air bathtub shoots out jets of air.

The water jets in a whirlpool tub give you that classic deep muscle massage sensation. The air jets in an air bathtub create millions of tiny bubbles for a gentle yet relaxing massage. Some whirlpool baths include water jets and air jets, so you can choose one or the other as the mood strikes you.

The word most often used to describe the sensation of the air jets is effervescent. It means frothy, bubbling, carbonated, fizzy, or foaming. It’s more of a tickling, tingling feeling than a deep massage. If this piques your interest, read on to learn more about air bathtubs.

Air bathtubs normally have a 1hp motor to run the air jets, and are quieter than whirlpool bathtubs.

Key considerations

Size

The size of the tub isn’t limited to the exterior dimensions. It also speaks to how many people can get in the tub at the same time.

In terms of physical size, most air bathtubs are five or six feet long and two and a half or three feet wide. For comparison, the measurements for a standard bathtub are 60 inches by 32 inches. The minimum size for air bathtubs starts at the normal size for regular bathtubs and go up from there.

If you’re replacing a standard bathtub with an air tub, make sure there is room for the larger size to fit. You might have to take out a wall (or two) to make room for it, so you’re effectively talking about remodeling the entire bathroom.

In terms of human capacity, most air tubs only have room for one person. Some of the larger ones are wide enough to allow two people to get in, even if they don’t specifically advertise them as two-person tubs.

The average amount of width allotted for one person in a bathtub is 24 inches. Once the inside of the tub starts approaching 32 inches or more in width, you’re getting into two-person territory. A width of 32 inches would accommodate two small or moderately sized people, but normal adults would require more space.

Placement

Placement doesn’t specifically refer to the location of the tub so much as how it is installed. You’ll need to choose between a freestanding and a drop-in air bathtub.

A freestanding air bathtub is one that is not connected to the wall or sunk into the wall or floor. An old-fashioned claw foot bathtub is an example of a freestanding tub. A freestanding tub could be set close enough to the wall for a spigot coming out of the wall to fill the tub, either from the head of the tub or from the side; as long as it isn’t actually connected to the wall, it is considered freestanding. A freestanding tub will take up more space in the bathroom than a drop-in tub.

A drop-in bathtub is any type of tub that is connected to one or more walls. It can also refer to a tub that is recessed into the wall or into the floor — or both. Recessing a tub into a wall or floor will require extensive construction work to accommodate it.

Plumbing requirements

A freestanding tub can use a spigot coming out of the wall, or it can use a spigot coming up out of the floor with polished, decorative pipes and fixtures. If your house sits on a concrete slab foundation, installing a tub like this can be expensive. If your house has a pier and beam foundation, it will be much less costly.

Because air tubs and whirlpool tubs hold so much water, they may require special plumbing hook-ups and drains to handle the volume of water needed for the tub. If you connect it to the standard bathtub plumbing, you should understand that filling the tub will be a lengthy process when you use it. In any case, you need a licensed plumber to install it, or you could void the warranty.

Electrical requirements

Air bathtubs use electrical pumps to create jets of air. Most of the power requirements will be around 110V at 60Hz. Some may require a 15-amp dedicated circuit to avoid tripping the breakers in your breaker box. Be sure to check the warranty instructions before trying to do the work yourself. Some manufacturers also require a licensed electrician to do the installation in order to maintain your warranty.

Water capacity

The average bathtub holds between 25 and 45 gallons of water before anyone gets in. An air bathtub or whirlpool tub generally holds 50 gallons or more. Larger models can hold up to 75 or 80 gallons of water.

Water is heavy: it weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. Consider that 75 gallons of water times 8.3 pounds is 622.5 pounds. That plus the weight of the tub plus your weight when you get in could be close to half a ton. That may not be much of a problem if your house has a concrete slab foundation, but on a pier and beam foundation, it could become a serious issue. That much weight in one spot could break the wooden beams under the floor. Have a contractor crawl under your house to examine the foundation before you start putting in a large air tub.

EXPERT TIP

Inline heaters in an air bathtub will maintain the water’s temperature but will not heat up cold or lukewarm water. The key is to start with hot water.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

This is where you’ll find all the bells and whistles that really differentiate one air bathtub from another. It’s also where you’ll spend most of your time deciding what you want.

Shape

Air bathtubs are generally rectangular in shape to accommodate the human body, but there are variations. Some are oval shaped or have rounded corners and edges. Freestanding tubs are where you’ll find the most variation. If you’re in the market for a freestanding tub, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from in this category.

Materials

Acrylic is commonly used for air bathtubs and whirlpools. Sometimes, manufacturers add fiberglass for extra strength. Porcelain is typically only found in regular bathtubs.

Controls

With the advent of wireless technology, electronic controls are becoming increasingly popular with air tubs, especially if they are built as a combination whirlpool/air bath. Bluetooth controls are already available on several models, and we expect to see the number increase as time goes by.

Number of jets

This is where you’ll see a wide range of options and numbers. The more jets a tub has, the greater the massaging power it has. The fewer jets it has, the lower the price will be.

If you get a combination whirlpool and air bathtub, be sure to read the description carefully to determine how many jets of each type it has. If it says it has 12 jets but doesn’t give you a breakdown on them, assume it has a half-and-half split.

Interior angles

If the insides of a tub are angled, it means it won’t hold as much water as it looks like. It also means there is physically less room inside the tub for you to move around. The top might look like it is wide enough for two people, but then you’d get in and find yourselves squeezed together because the bottom is only half as wide as the top. For more room inside, look for steeper angles on the inside.

The side of the tub where you do want an inside angle or slope is the back, so you can lean back and get comfortable. Other than that, look for vertical sides or very steep angles on the inside.

Color

There isn’t much choice in this area. White is the primary color for bathtubs, air tubs, and whirlpool tubs. If you want any other color, you’re going to have to pay extra for it.

DID YOU KNOW?

The jets in air bathtubs are smaller than the water jets in whirlpool tubs.

Air bathtub prices

Low prices on air bathtubs start around $900 for a simple drop-in model with simple manual controls and 16 to 18 jets. These are basically just normal bathtubs with air jets added.

In the middle price range, from $1,000 to $1,700, you’ll find larger drop-in tubs. These are wider, deeper, and longer than regular bathtubs, usually with 24 or more air jets in them. They also have inline heaters to keep the water warm while you’re in it.

Once you hit $1,800 and over, you’ll start seeing wireless or Bluetooth controls, two-person sizes, freestanding tubs, and other accessories.

Tips

  • Start filling the bathtub about 30 minutes before you intend to use it.

  • Wait until the water is above the air jets before you turn them on.

  • After the tub is empty, let the air jets continue to run. They will dry and self-clean the tub.

  • Put a hand on each side of the tub to brace yourself when you’re sitting down or getting up.

Other products we considered

The Woodbridge Deluxe Free Standing Air Bubble Tub is an economical air bathtub that holds 60 gallons of water and has solid brass fixtures covered with brushed nickel for a clean, modern look. We also like the Air Bath Evolution from American Standard. It comes with 24 air jets, variable speeds, and two molded armrests for comfort.

Most air baths should have between 20 and 25 air jets. Larger air baths can have over 30 air jets.

FAQ

Q. What is the difference between a matte finish and a gloss finish on a tub?

A. Matte finishes are flat, whereas gloss finishes are shiny.

Q. How much bubble bath can be used in an air bathtub?

A. Only use a teaspoon, or you’ll have bubbles overflowing onto the floor.

Q. Should bath salts be used in an air bath?

A. No. Salt is a corrosive agent. It will rust out the pipes.

The team that worked on this review
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer

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