Best Whirlpool Bathtubs

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

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

15 Models Considered
1 Experts Interviewed
23 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Why trust BestReviews?
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best whirlpool bathtubs

Last Updated September 2019

The warm massage of a whirlpool bathtub can work wonders on injuries, strained backs, and tired shoulders. Not only is a whirlpool a therapeutic way to treat aches and pains at home but it can also turn your bathroom into a relaxing home retreat. These luxurious bathtubs have become a common upgrade as more people strive for a spa-like experience in the comfort of their own home.

If you’re building a new home or you’re ready to remodel your bathroom, you’ve come to the right place.

Our BestReviews team has put together this shopping guide for whirlpool bathtubs so you can make an informed decision.

Many people still refer to the whirlpool bathtub as a “Jacuzzi,” which is actually the name of the first company to create and sell this type of tub.

Types of whirlpool bathtubs

Whirlpool bathtubs achieve a massaging effect using air jets, water jets, or a combination of the two.

Air jet bathtubs: These tubs use small jets of air to circulate bubbles through the water. These bathtubs may have dozens of small jets, allowing you to adjust your position to get the desired massaging effect.

Water jet bathtubs: Made with fewer but larger jets, these bathtubs recirculate the bath water through a series of jets. The position of the jets can be adjusted to hit different muscle groups and problem areas. Though these whirlpool tubs have fewer jets, they provide a stronger massage than models using air jets.

Combination bathtubs: Some whirlpools provide the best of both worlds with both air and water jets. The controls allow you to choose air, water, or both at any given time.

EXPERT TIP

You might want to install a handheld spray head on the deck or wall to decrease fill times and make it easier to clean the tub.


Staff  | BestReviews

Whirlpool bathtub features to consider

Design

  • Alcove: If you don’t plan to reconfigure your bathroom to accommodate a whirlpool bathtub, an alcove model will most likely be your best option. It fits in the same amount of space as a normal bathtub and is surrounded on three sides with fitted walls or tile. These tubs are often used as a tub/shower combo.

  • Freestanding: These bathtubs don’t connect to a wall or fit into an alcove. They span the gap between a vintage tub and a modern luxury, but this type of tub requires more square footage than an alcove bathtub.

  • Drop-in: These models have a lip and fit into a deck or peninsula that extends into the bathroom. The deck will have to be built and fit specifically to the bathtub. A drop-in tub works best in a large, spacious bathroom because it takes up a significant amount of floor space.

  • Corner: You’ll need a sizable bathroom for a corner bathtub, but these often offer the most bathing space. If you want to use the bathtub for a two-person getaway, a corner model is one of the best options because it can feel like an indoor hot tub.

  • Walk-in: This is a subtype of whirlpool bathtub because as you can find alcove, freestanding, and corner walk-in models. These have a door that allows you to step inside before filling the bathtub, making one a smart choice for anyone with limited mobility.
     

Inline heater

Whirlpool bathtubs use enough water that your water heater might have a hard time keeping up. And when you add air bubbles to the mix, the water cools down more quickly. An inline heater built into the whirlpool system heats the water as it circulates over a heating coil. It keeps the bathwater hotter longer so you can soak to your heart’s content. Some whirlpool bathtubs include an inline heater, while others require the heater to be purchased separately.

Grab bars

Grab bars increase the safety of entry and exit from the tub. They are particularly nice for those with mobility issues, but grab bars are a good idea no matter what your mobility or age.

Contoured seats and armrests

If you like to soak, contoured seats and armrests can be incredibly comfortable. You’ll find them in bathtubs with single or double seats.

Jet placement and number

The number and position of the water or air jets can make all the difference in your comfort. Water jets are adjustable, but you still want the placement to be appropriate for your height and body size. If you’re taller than average, a 72-inch or “deep” tub can help make sure that you get the best access to the jets.

Weight

A whirlpool tub full of water and people can weigh as much as 1,500 pounds. Not all floor joists can handle that much weight. You’ll need to be especially careful if you’re installing your tub on a second floor. Slab foundations can take any bathtub design, but homes with wood joist construction may not. We suggest consulting a licensed professional for safety reasons.

Size/available space

Whirlpool bathtubs come in many shapes and sizes, from simple ovals and rectangles to hourglasses and triangles. While you might be in love with a corner model, you need to make sure your bathroom has enough space before buying. If you have a small to average-size bathroom, you’ll likely be limited to a rectangular alcove bathtub.

Plumbing

Unless you have experience with plumbing, you’ll probably need to hire a professional to check that the plumbing and electrical setup in your bathroom will work for a whirlpool bathtub. Professional installation will make sure that you have easy access to the motor box in case of any malfunctions or breakdowns.

Materials

  • Acrylic: Acrylic tubs have an attractive glossy finish and are lightweight and easy to clean. If you’ll be installing the tub on the second floor of a home with wood joist construction, acrylic is your best option. On the downside, acrylic scratches easily and may discolor over time.

  • Cast iron: Cast-iron tubs are heavy but durable, making them some of the most expensive models on the market. They resist chemical damage, chipping, scratching, and denting, but they tend to rust.

  • Fiberglass: These bathtubs have a matte finish and are the least expensive models. Like acrylic, they’re lightweight and easy to install, but they lack the durability of acrylic or cast iron.
     

Adjustability

Some models include adjustable jet speeds and temperature controls. Both of these features allow customization of your whirlpool experience.

DID YOU KNOW?

Oval-shaped whirlpools take up more space than traditional rectangle or hourglass models.

DID YOU KNOW?

Air jets aren’t as powerful as water jets, but they’re better at preventing mildew growth. Water jets never completely drain, so they need to be cleaned with bleach to kill any bacteria or mildew.

Whirlpool bathtub prices

Inexpensive: Whirlpool bathtubs start at around $900, but your options at that price are few and far between. These basic acrylic or fiberglass alcove models have either air or water jets and come in a standard 60-inch length.

Mid-range: There are far more models to choose from as you move into the $1,000 to $2,000 range. Many of these bathtubs have both types of jets and may be freestanding, alcove, drop-in, or corner designs.

Expensive: Between $2,000 and $3,000 are spacious corner designs with two contoured seats, grab bars, armrests, and both types of jets.

Premium: Walk-in whirlpool bathtubs start between $3,000 and $4,000 and continue up to well over $7,000 (where you’ll also find spacious corner models). These also include grab bars, contoured seats, and armrests.

Tips

  • Decide how often you’ll use your tub. How you plan to use the whirlpool bathtub can help you determine what shape and size to buy. If you’ll only be using it occasionally, a standard-size model can still feel like a spa treatment.

  • Measure the route from door to bathroom. Whether you buy in-store or online, you’ll have to move the tub through doorways and hallways to get it into the bathroom. Measure all doorways, stairways, turns, and bends that lead to the bathroom to make sure the bathtub will make the journey without getting stuck.

  • Clean your whirlpool bathtub properly and regularly. If you’ll be using your whirlpool bathtub regularly, you’ll need to clean it properly. That includes running the jets with the tub filled with water and dishwashing detergent. After 15 to 20 minutes, the soapy water will have run through and cleaned out the tub’s plumbing system, including any residue that has built up in the pipes. The tub will then need to be rinsed and the surface cleaned using a nonabrasive cleanser. To keep your whirlpool tub clean, you should do a full flush of the plumbing system about every five baths. That means you’ll be doing a deep cleaning about once a week, but it’s worth it for the relaxation benefits.
If you want your tub to be a romantic spot for two or an escape from stress, splurge on a spacious model with two seats.

FAQ

Q. Are air or water jets more powerful?

A. Water jets use both air and water and are far more powerful than air jets, which only eject air bubbles. If you’re looking for a therapeutic effect, water jets are the best option. Air jets can still massage muscles, but they don’t have the same impact as air jets.

Q. Do any whirlpool bathtubs include a timer for the jets?

A. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re soaking in a hot bath. Many models include a timer for the jets, which can help you keep track of time and save electricity.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Stacey
    Stacey
    Writer

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