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Custom pool and spa in Ottawa

Though Similar, There are a Few Key Things That Set Hot Tubs and Spas Apart

Many people have trouble distinguishing the difference between a spa and a hot tub. And who can blame them?

They’re both installed in backyards. They’re both individual and social at the same time, with people either enjoying them alone or with friends. Hot tubs and spas are used to relax, warm up, and enjoy the health benefits of hydrotherapy. Both spas and hot tubs also have built-in jets to massage sore muscles after a workout or a long day of work.

So… how, exactly, are they different?

The main difference comes down to installation. Whereas hot tubs are typically portable, above-ground, and ready to use anywhere, spas are often installed in-ground, making them are a more luxurious option.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Hot Tubs

Hot tubs tend to be portable and above-ground. These are self-contained units, so installation does not require plumbing. You just need a garden hose to fill up the hot tub before turning it on.

Hot tubs are installed anywhere, including on decks or on raised platforms. They can hold two to eight or more adults. They also come in a variety of materials, including:

  • Inflatable latex or vinyl,
  • Fibreglass,
  • Acrylic,
  • Polyethylene,
  • Other types of plastic,
  • Wood, and,
  • Recycled metal bins and barrels.


Spas are typically in-ground and customized bodies of water like an in-ground pool. You can customize the size based on your backyard space and how many adults you’d like your spa to accommodate.

Spas usually have bench seats and jets and are considered the luxury hot tub. They also provide the health benefits of hydrotherapy and thermotherapy in a custom-designed setting.

Spas are installed inside, attached to, or beside in-ground pools. The proximity to the pool allows for ease of entrance, transitioning from cold to hot, and vice versa. This hot-cool option is a popular part of thermotherapy, commonly found in Nordic spas.

Thermotherapy involves increasing your core body temperature in a heated spa. Then, jumping into a cold pool to trigger your immune-system response. This will help your body become healthier.

Relaxing in spas is also good for your health. This helps reduce stress, increase blood circulation, and improve your quality of sleep.

While not inflatable, spas can be portable and installed to look in-ground. In addition, they may also be installed on a raised platform and under pergolas and gazebos.

Spas are made of the same materials as pools, such as concrete, gunite, or fibreglass. Other material options for spas include tiles, copper, and stainless steel.

Although hot tubs are easy to install, when it comes to luxury and elegance, spas are the better option. The installation of an in-ground pool and spa will transform your backyard into a luxury oasis. You can reap the health benefits of thermotherapy while enjoying a peaceful escape in your own backyard.