Hot Spring® vs Jacuzzi® In-Depth Review (Features, prices, pros and cons and more...)

Looking for a premium spa pool? Can't decide between Jacuzzi® or Hot Spring®? This detailed article will answer your questions including costs, features, pros, cons and more.

We’re often asked, "Which is better Hot Spring® or Jacuzzi® Spas?". It’s fair to say, we know a lot about both brands. We sold and serviced Hot Spring® spas at Spa World in Australia (up until July 2020) and currently sell Jacuzzi® Spas and Hot Tubs.

Because we care about helping our customers make good decisions, we wrote this quick article on the topic.

In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™. You can see the list of the brand owners at the bottom of this article. All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing and may change without notice.

Hot Spring® vs Jacuzzi® which is best?

First up, if you’re looking at premium spas and have narrowed it down to Jacuzzi® or Hot Spring® then you’ve already made a great decision!

These are both excellent brands that produce quality spas, with a large range to choose from.

Now comes the hard part. With two great choices – how do you decide which is the best fit for you?

Before we get into the technical details, it helps to know a bit about each brand and where they’ve come from.

Who is Jacuzzi® Spas?

Jacuzzi® Spas has been manufacturing hot tubs since the 1960s and are the inventors of spa pools as we know them. The name Jacuzzi® is now so famous that many people use the brand name generically, instead of “spa” or “hot tub”.

There is no question that Jacuzzi® Spas has a great brand story. The company is named after the Jacuzzi brothers who invented the first air-jetted spa pool. Before they got into spa pools (or hot tubs as they’re called in the US), the Jacuzzi brothers were irrigation engineers.

When one of their sons developed rheumatoid arthritis aged two, they adapted a water pump to be used in bathtubs for hydrotherapy. As the story goes, the wee boy’s symptoms were reduced dramatically and the first air-jetted spa pool was born.

Jacuzzi® Spas is now one of the largest distributors of spa pools worldwide, alongside Hot Spring®.

They manufacture a range of mid-market to premium spas and swim spas ranging in price from $13,995 to $35,995. In New Zealand, Jacuzzi® Spas is sold by Spa World™.

Jacuzzi® Spas are made in Mexico and its swim spas are made in Canada.

Who is Hot Spring®?

Hot Spring® Spas is a brand of US-based Watkins Wellness™, the world’s largest manufacturer of spa pools.

Hot Spring® were early innovators in the spa industry. In 1978, the company introduced the first fully-insulated hot tub with underwater lighting and top-loading filters. In 1984, they launched Moto-Massage®, the world’s first moving hydrotherapy jet.

According to its website, the company now has the largest network of hot tub dealerships in the world, with authorised sales agencies and service locations worldwide – including in Australia.

Hot Spring® spas are made by Watkins Wellness™ in the US and Mexico.

Hot Spring® New Zealand is based in Auckland, where it has a warehouse, distribution centre, showrooms and service centre. It imports spa pools and swim spas directly from Watkins Wellness™ facilities in Mexico and the US and distributes them throughout Australasia and Asia.

At the time of writing, Hot Spring® did not show prices on its website site. If seeing prices upfront is important to you, then there are many other spa retailers who show prices on their websites – including Spa World.

What is the correct name? Is it HotSpring, Hot Spring, HotSprings, or Hot Springs Spas?

That's a great question! Here's the short answer: The correct brand name is Hot Spring® spas.

Fun fact. Even though this brand has been around for over 40 years, people still seem to have trouble getting the name right.

The most common misspelling we've come across is 'Hotspring' spas. We've also seen it incorrectly called Hot Springs and Hotsprings spas.

To be clear; there is such a word as hot springs, it's just that it isn't a spa pool brand – it's the word for a naturally occurring spring of hot water, also known as thermal springs.

What's the difference between hot springs and Hot Spring®?

While both hot springs and Hot Spring® are desirable for their relaxation benefits – as mentioned above, the former refers to a naturally-occurring spring of hot water while the latter is a popular brand of spa pool.

What’s the difference between a hot tub and a spa?

In short, nothing. Today, the terms hot tub and spa are used interchangeably. They are one and the same.

As mentioned above, Jacuzzi® Spas is called a hot tub in the US but in New Zealand and Australia, they’re generally called spa pools. Some people also use the word ‘Jacuzzi®’ as a generic, household name for hot tubs or spas.

Who owns Jacuzzi® Spas and Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs?

Jacuzzi® Spas (or Jacuzzi® Hot Tubs as they are known in the US) is owned by Investindustrial™, an Italian private equity firm whose other brands have included Ducati® and Aston Martin® – giving them some pretty impressive design credentials.

Who owns Hot Spring®?

Hot Spring® is owned by Watkins Wellness® – which is in turn owned by MASCO® Corporation.

Suffice to stay, both Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas are solid companies with deep pockets for research and development. This is evidenced in the products that they produce.

You can be assured both are very unlikely to disappear leaving you in the lurch with after-sales support, not something that can be said for many smaller players on the market.

What products do Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas make?

Both brands feature a number of distinctly different ranges designed to meet most budgets.

Hot Spring® sells numerous spa models in a variety of sizes and with varying specifications.

Its spas are sold under six brands – the entry-level, Freeflow® and Fantasy Spas® ranges with plastic shells; mid-market Limelight® and Hot Spot® range; and premium Highlife range. Hot Spring® also sells Caldera Spas®, and Endless Pools® and Fastlane Pools® fitness systems.

In comparison, Jacuzzi® Spas has the J-500™, J-400™, J-300™ and J-200™ acrylic-shelled line-ups and have just introduced the plastic shelled Dream Maker Spas™ brand to its product range.

The underlying quality of both brands remains consistent across their entire product range.

Although, as you can expect, with both brands you do start to lose some of the features included in their premium models the further down the line you go. See more on ‘features’ below.

What's the difference between Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi®?

As mentioned above, in many ways these two brands are pretty close. But there are 7 important differences between the Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas that you should know about before making a decision on which one to buy.

The top 7 differences between Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi®:

  1. Appearance and design
  2. Jets and hydrotherapy
  3. Build quality (pumps, control systems, shell construction and more)
  4. Running costs
  5. Power supply
  6. Water quality and maintenance
  7. App control and music systems

Once you know more about these differences, you’ll be able to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself and make the best decision based on what’s right for you.

1. Hot Spring® vs Jacuzzi®: Appearance and design

Both Jacuzzi® Spas and Hot Spring® are beautifully aesthetically pleasing. But they look quite different and each brand has its own style.

Jacuzzi® Spas tend towards the robust and muscular whilst Hot Spring® has become more linear and angular over recent years.

Jacuzzi® Spas designs all its products in-house, drawing on more than 60 years of design pedigree. Their design is timeless. A Jacuzzi® Spa, with its attention to ergonomic design, just looks and feels like a high-quality item.

Hot Spring®’s design style meanwhile is modern and sleek. It designs all products in-house.

We can’t really say which brand makes the best-looking spas - in our opinion, they both make stunning products. It’s really up to you which look suits your style more.

With their more curvy and organic internal lines, adjustable headrests, higher sides for leaning back - Jacuzzi® Spas offer next-level comfort and personalisation.

In saying this – bear in mind that when you’re in the spa, you’ll be about 20 percent of your normal body weight so we recommend doing a ‘wet test’ with both brands before forming an opinion on comfort.

When it comes to lighting and water features, both brands are amongst the best in the market. However, while they both offer an array of LED lighting and water features.

2. Jacuzzi® vs Hot Spring®: Jets and hydrotherapy

Without a doubt, the thing that sets premium spas apart from other lower-priced products is the quality of hydrotherapy. This alone, in our view, justifies the extra investment.

If massage, muscle relaxation and relief from aches and pains are a priority for you, then you are looking at the right spa brands. With decades of experience and large R&D budgets, both Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas offer excellent levels of hydrotherapy performance – with a few differences.

Hot Spring® has the Moto-Massage® system – the world’s first moving hydrotherapy jet, which it launched in 1984. This unique, patented jet system sweeps a powerful jet of water up and down your back, giving the closest thing to a professional massage of any jet on the market.

Hot Spring® now includes a ‘Moto-Massage® seat’ across much of their line up. Its premium Highlife® range has two Moto-Massage® seats, while the entry-level Hot Spot® range has one.

While it is an excellent hydrotherapy system, having only one or two ‘Moto-Massage® seats’ in a spa might be frustrating, especially if you’re the one missing out!

Jacuzzi® Spas, on the other hand, has up to 11 different styles of jets in its spas. In our experience, the hydrotherapy performance of Jacuzzi® Spas is exceptional – especially in the J-400™ and J-500™ series. Their J-300™, J-400™ and J-500™ series still feature the MX jet, inspired by the original 1960’s design.

Like Hot Spring®, all Jacuzzi® Spas jets are adjustable via the jet faces, pressure diverters and airflow controls, and its spinning jets are bearingless.

Hot Spring® also features bearingless jets across the whole range. Bearingless jets ensure the spinning massage jets keep spinning for many years – unlike the jets with bearings that you'll find on many lower-priced spas. This is actually something to pay attention to when shopping for a spa as a spinning massage jet that doesn’t spin, is just plain annoying.

One hydrotherapy feature Jacuzzi® Spas offers that we absolutely love is the hydrotherapy foot dome in its no recliner models. Hot Spring® offer smaller foot domes in two models of their Limelight® series, but not in the top of the line HighLife® models.

Each brand features a wide variety of jets that are specially designed and positioned for the best effect on the respective part of the body. This is something that a lot of manufacturers with less experience struggle with, with many selecting and positioning jets for aesthetic appeal rather than hydrotherapy efficacy.

In summary, as we mentioned above, either brand will give you a high-quality hydrotherapy experience.

To decide between the two, our best advice is, try before you buy and you may find you have a personal preference.

3. Jacuzzi® vs Hot Spring®: Build quality

As discussed, both brands offer very high levels of quality backed by industry-leading warranties. Given the size of both companies, you can be assured that warranty support will be excellent if anything did go wrong.

When comparing the build quality of Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas – there are a number of things to consider. We have highlighted below what we think are the most important areas to focus on.

Shell Construction

Hot Spring® uses ABS backed acrylic in the shell construction of their Highlife® range. This is coloured acrylic, with tough ABS plastic bonded to the back of it.

Jacuzzi® Spas use a more conventional, fibreglass backed acrylic shell construction in all their spas, while Hot Spring® use it in their Limelight® and Hotspot® range. Fibreglass is sprayed onto the back of the coloured acrylic shell to provide the strength required to contain over a tonne of water.

While, if not applied properly fibreglass backing has been known to delaminate – you can be confident that this is extremely unlikely with either of these premium products.

When it comes to colours there is a lot of choice and you can be confident of finding a tone that suits your tastes.

Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas offer a wide range of shell and cabinet colours and each has a colour configurator on their website to help with decision-making.

Framing

Hot Spring® use injection-moulded frame technology on the Highlife® range and we regard this system as the best system of framing available.

Other brands that use injection moulded plastic framing include Vortex®, Signature® and Bullfrog®.

Jacuzzi® Spas use timber in all its ranges, while Hot Spring® uses timber frames in their Limelight® and Hotspot® range. However, unlike some cheaper spas on the market, these frames are robust and the timber is well treated.

The base pan

The base pan is what your spa sits on, and it’s very important to get it right.

When it's done well, the base pan prevents water egress during stormy weather, which can damage the pumps and equipment.

Both Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas feature high-sided formed base pans at the premium end of the lineup, however, they revert to shallower base pans in the entry-level lines.

Pumps

Hot Spring® and Jacuzzi® Spas use LX® jet pumps. LX® is the largest pump manufacturer in the world and make a good product.

Hot Spring® use a Laing® 24-hour circulation pump whilst Jacuzzi® Spas use a programmable, higher flow LX® circulation pump.

Both are good systems and similar pumps are found in most good quality spas on the market.

Heaters

Hot Spring® spas feature their proprietary ‘no-fault’ heater system, which is a very robust system.

Jacuzzi® Spas uses a glass-lined heater chamber with a titanium element which has proven to be extremely robust and reliable.

Control system

Both brands have high-quality control systems.

Hot Spring® manufactures theirs in-house, while the Jacuzzi® Spas control systems are made under license by Balboa® – the world’s largest manufacturer of spa control systems.

Both brands offer full colour, touch screen control pads in their higher-end products. Hot Spring® has the edge on touchpad user-experience while the Jacuzzi® Spas Smart Tub™ app control is superior. Learn more below.

Covers

Both brands offer high quality insulating covers as standard.

Jacuzzi® Spas has recently introduced a very good Prolast™ cover which uses an acrylic canvas skin as opposed to the industry standard vinyl. It is also lighter than many options on the market.

When it comes to spa covers, our advice would be to always opt for a ‘cover lifter’ which makes taking the cover on and off your spa a one-handed exercise.

Moreover, they hold the cover-up of the ground preventing damage and extending the life of the cover. There are some great quality cover lifters at Spa Store.

4. Jacuzzi® vs Hot Spring®: Running costs

The type and quality of insulation used in a spa is a big factor in the running costs. Learn more about spa insulation and running costs in this article.

Insulation is what keeps the water in your spa hot. The better the insulation, the lower the running costs. Learn more about spa pool insulation and what to look for.

We recommend full-fill insulation as the best spa pool insulation for energy efficiency. Jacuzzi® Spas has full-fill insulation across most of its range.

Hot Spring® only features full foaming on their premium Highlife® range. Its Limelight® and Hot Spot® collections offer Fibercor™ insulation and, judging by the running costs quoted on their website, this seems to be a pretty good system.

In summary, either brand will have low running costs compared with other choices on the market.

5. Jacuzzi® vs Hot Spring®: Power supply

All Jacuzzi® spas require a dedicated power connection to the home (15amp for single pump spas, 20/32amp for double pump spas). Most Hot Spring® single pump models can be plugged into a standard 10amp power outlet.

This may seem like a great feature but the way Hot Spring® achieves this is by using a very small output heater.

Under most circumstances, due to Hot Spring®’s insulation, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Our advice would be to invest in a dedicated power supply to your spa. Not only is this safer (as the dedicated power supply will have an isolation switch) but it means that your spa can be configured to run the heater as well as the jet pumps. This will allow the spa to hold its heat better while in use.

6. Jacuzzi® vs Hot Spring®: Water quality and maintenance

This is one area where the two brands are quite different.

Hot Spring® has its FreshWater® Salt Water Chlorination System, and ‘no-bypass’ filtration.

Jacuzzi® Spas has its ClearRay® water steriliser with UV-C technology, coupled with its 4-stage ProClarity® filtration system. Both are excellent systems, for different reasons – as we explain below.

Hot Spring® Highlife™ spas are FreshWater™ Salt System Compatible. We recommend checking with Hot Spring® to confirm if this is an optional upgrade or is included in the purchase price.

However, there are two important factors you should know about the FreshWater® system.

The first is that it's not chlorine-free. It is a system that turns salt (NaCl) into chlorine (Cl). If you wish to own a chlorine-free spa, then there are other options available such as hydrogen peroxide-based sanitisers.

The second, is the replaceable titanium cathodes that turn the salt into chlorine; increase the maintenance cost and overall cost of ownership of a Hot Spring® model that uses this system.

Remember too, with this system you will still need to test your water balance regularly and adjust the system to avoid over chlorination that can damage your spa.

Hot Spring® also uses proprietary Tri-X™ filters which are long-lasting and machine washable. Although these filter can provide double the life of a standard pleated filter, they are far more expensive and we recommend that you compare the payback on using them. Although these filters provide a much longer life than standard pleated filters, a quick online search can show that they generally cost more than a standard pleated filter.

Hot Spring® states its Highlife® range is ‘bypass-free’. This means that all of the water goes through the filters and none goes through the filter bypass vents in the footwell of the spa. Hot Spring® states that this gives cleaner water.

Hot Spring® uses a ‘24-hour’ low flow circulation pump which is both energy-efficient and silent.

In contrast, Jacuzzi® Spas uses a UV water sterilization system with an optional Ozone water clarification system. This is coupled with a combination of pleated filters and a fine micron spun polyester ‘depth’ filter. This article goes into more detail about ozone and UV systems for spas.

While this set up gives excellent levels of automatic sterilization and filtration, you will still have to add some chemical sanitiser.

Jacuzzi® Spas also uses a higher flow circulation pump that can be programmed to run for different durations. While this gives you the ability to reduce the run time if the spa is not in use, we have found it to be noisier than Hot Spring®’s pump system. That said, you’d have to be standing next to the spa to actually hear it.

7. Jacuzzi® vs Hot Spring®: App control and music systems

Firstly, let's discuss app control systems. – one area the two brands clearly differ.

Jacuzzi® Spas all come with its own SmartTub® app-based control system, enabling you to programme your spa from wherever you are. This is very useful if you're out of town or want the spa set to perfection as you walk in the door!

Hot Spring® previously had an app-based control, however they no longer offer this as an option.

Rather than working through your home's WiFi system, as most other spa apps do, Jacuzzi®'Spas' Smart Tub™ system works via the cellular network. This is particularly useful if your spa is going to be installed at a distance from the house or too far from the WiFi router.

We have a lot of experience with setting up WiFi spa apps and we’ve found SmartTub™ to be the easiest by far. If you have cellular coverage, your app will connect.

A second feature we like about the Jacuzzi® Spas' app is its electricity usage monitoring system, which lets you keep an eye on running costs straight from your smartphone.

Both brands offer stereo systems. Jacuzzi® Spas have the BLUEWAVE® spa stereo system with Bluetooth® while Hot Spring® offer a 'wireless sound system with Bluetooth® technology'.

Conclusion: Is Hot Spring® or Jacuzzi® Spas the best premium spa to buy?

When it comes to which spa is better, there is no right or wrong answer. As you can see, each of them has its own unique features and weaknesses.

They are both high-quality brands. It really comes down to what you are looking for in a spa and ultimately, your personal preference in two main areas – appearance and comfort.

Firstly, appearance. Which looks best? Jacuzzi® Spas or Hot Spring®? It’s entirely up to you. Both are very attractive products but for different reasons.

Ask yourself, “If I have to stare at this in my backyard for the next 20 years, which do I prefer?”.

Second, which feels more comfortable to you and which hydrotherapy do you find most enjoyable and effective?

The only way to find out is to jump in and try them for yourself. Yes, that means getting wet! Most Spa World stores have dark rooms away from the main area where you can ‘wet test’ the spa you're interested in.

Whichever you choose, Jacuzzi® Spas or Hot Spring®, you're going to be getting a very high-quality spa pool that should give you many years of enjoyment.

We hope this article has helped you in your decision making, and of course, we invite you to try out a Jacuzzi® Spas in any of our showrooms as you seek to find the perfect spa for you.

DISCLAIMER In this article, we’ve used brand names not affiliated with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd, the parent company of Spa World™.

*All information, including pricing and product details, was accurate at the time of writing (23 July 2020) and may change without notice. *

The following registered trademarks are owned by companies not affiliated in any way with Spa World™ or Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd:

Aston Martin® is a trademark of Aston Martin. Balboa trademark is owned by Balboa Water Group Bluetooth® trademark is owned by Bluetooth SIG, INC. CORPORATION DELAWARE. BMW® Designworks trademark is owned by BMW Group. Bullfrog® trademark is owned by Bullfrog International, LC. Ducati® is a trademark of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. Hot Spring® Spas trademark and associated brand names TRI-X™, Moto-Massage®, FreshWater®, Fibercor™, Freeflow®, Hot Spot® Limelight®, Fastlane® and Highlife® are owned by Watkins Manufacturing Corporation (Watkins). Jacuzzi® SmartTub™ System, CLEARRAY® UV-C system, Prolast™ Covers, J-500™, J-400™, J-300™ and J-200™ are owned by Jacuzzi Inc. LX® pumps owned by Powerful Water Technology Limited. MASCO® Corporation trademark is owned by Masco. Signature® Spas trademark is owned by Spa Industries Pty Ltd (SCS).

Affiliations: Vortex® Spas, Fisher™ Spas and Spa World® are trademarks owned by Vortex Leisure Pty Ltd. The Jacuzzi® brand is owned by Jacuzzi Inc. and exclusively licensed for use to Spa World™ in Australia and New Zealand.

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