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Bathroom Remodel

Massage Bathtub Buying Guide

Average cost range:

$5,500 - $7,500

Jetted bathtubs for the bathroom, or bathtubs with built-in jets for a deep massage, can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $15,000 to install, with an average installation cost of $5,500 to $7,500. There are two main varieties of jetted bathtubs – air tubs and hydro tubs. Air tub prices start in the low $1,000 range and can cost as much as $15,000 depending on features. Hydro tubs, or whirlpool tubs, typically cost between $1,000 to $6,000 to install, but prices can go as high as $16,000 depending on features.

Compare the best bathtub contractors in your area.

Few things are more relaxing than a nice hot bath after a long day. If it’s time for you to replace your bathtub, why not take your relaxing baths to the next level? Purchasing a massage bathtub, also known as a jetted bathtub, is a step up from a traditional alcove tub or freestanding tub. It can turn your bathroom into a home spa for the ultimate sense of rest and relaxation.

Massage bathtubs are designed to provide hydrotherapy and relaxation by massaging your skin and muscles as you bathe. These massage tubs use jets – either whirlpool jets or air jets – to massage your muscles, improve skin clarity, and give you the full pampering experience.

Continue reading for more information on the two most common types of massage tubs—air tubs and hydro tubs. We discuss the different jets they use and how they function differently. Modernize will help you decide on the best type of massage bathtub for you.

Types of Jetted Bathtubs

As mentioned, there are two main types of jetted bathtubs you will find available for your home bathroom – air tubs and hydro tubs. Both types of jetted tubs will massage the skin and muscles and provide relaxation, and have similar price tags. However, air tubs blow air through their jets while hydro tubs blow water through their jets. Compare the two types below, as one type of jetted bathtub may be more suited to you than the other.

Air Tubs

Air tubs feature jets that blow heated air into the water. This creates an effervescent effect thanks to the thousands of tiny bubbles that surround you when taking a bath.

This type of massage tub has jets that are generally positioned at the bottom of the tub to provide a nice massage around the lower back, legs, and hips. Air tubs are typically used to create a relaxing bathing experience that stimulates the senses and releases tension.

Air tubs

Air tubs have thousands of tiny bubbles that surround the body and invigorate the senses.:

  • Provides a light, relaxing massage

  • Includes adjustable jets

  • Skin clarity and detoxifying elements

Air tub jets can also be adjusted – you can keep them on a low setting if you desire a more gentle massage, or turn it up to have a more rigorous experience. New air massage tubs can range in price from $1,000 to $15,000.

Factors that can influence the overall cost to install this type of jetted bathtub include the size and shape, the tub’s required voltage, features, and whether or not you need a contractor to make adjustments in your bathroom.

For instance, some jetted bathtubs may require plumbing and/or electrical adjustments during installation. Also, due to their weight, some homes may require additional floor support to ensure the jetted bathtub is well-supported. Be sure to talk to your contractor about the adjustment your home will need during installation.

Hydro Tubs

A hydro massage tub, also known as a whirlpool tub or a hydrotherapy bathtub, is a type of jetted bathtub that shoots water through its jets.

The jets on a whirlpool tub are adjustable and located at the sides of the tub, which allows a deep tissue massage targeted to certain muscles, based on the direction you point the water toward your body.

Hydro tubs

Hydro tubs, also known as whirlpool tubs, use jets that target certain muscles to create a deep tissue massage

  • Customizable jets to target certain muscles

  • Increased pressure

  • Soothes muscle strain and soreness

Whirlpool tubs generally provide increased pressure and a deeper massage compared to air tubs. They can be especially helpful for those who have muscle strain and soreness, as well as older adults who are living with arthritis, as they can isolate the effects to one part of the body for a maximum massage experience. Hydro massage tubs can range in cost between $900 and $15,000.

Factors that influence cost are similar to those of air tubs – the size and shape of the tub, add-on features you choose, and any adjustments to your bathroom the tub requires. Be sure to speak to a few local contractors and request estimates for the project.

How to Select the Right Massage Bathtub

Both types of jetted bathtubs can provide a deeply relaxing experience. However, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each, as well as their similarities and differences, so you can choose the best type of massage bathtub for your needs.

The Pros and Cons of Air Tubs

Air tubs pros and cons
Pros of Air TubsCons of Air Tubs
Great for massaging lower body muscles and jointsInstallation can be expensive and require electrician and/or plumber
Gentle and good for people with chronic pain, especially the elderlyAdditional floor support may be required
Usually include built-in heaterJets are not moveable

All in all, air tubs are best for those who want a gentle massage for the lower body. Homeowners who want an air tub should ask a contractor about additional plumbing, electricity, or flooring support needs their home will require.

The Pros and Cons of Hydro Tubs

Hydrotub pros and cons
Pros of Hydro TubsCons of Hydro Tubs
Powerful massage for deep muscle reliefCan be noisy when jets are on higher settings
Targeted, adjustable massage; useful for those who have a specific problem area of the bodyMany do not have built-in water heater
Jets strategically placed to help water move for an invigorating experienceCan collect mold and mildew over time if not cleaned regularly

Hydro tubs are best for those who want to be able to target different muscle groups by adjusting the jets. These jetted tubs also provide deeper water pressure and a more powerful massage. However, bear in mind that there is usually no built-in water heater and some homes may require a water heater upgrade during installation.

Similarities and Differences Between Air Tubs and Hydro Tubs

Here’s how the two main types of jetted bathtubs compare against one another.

Both types of massage bathtubs…

  • Massage and soothe muscle aches
  • Create a deeply relaxing hydrotherapy experience
  • Provide the ability to choose intensity with multiple settings for jets
  • Can be used with aromatherapy bath oils to create a heightened experience for the senses
  • Increase the value of a home

A few key differences to keep in mind…

  • A new air tubs can cost more than a hydro tub.
  • Air tubs have more jets than hydro tubs, usually 10 to 30 compared to 4 to 16.
  • Hydro tubs can be more difficult to clean and avoid mold and mildew build-up.
  • A hydro tub provides a deeper, more targeted massage to certain muscles. An air tub massages the whole body lightly and provides more benefits to the skin.

Modernize also has a resource for homeowners to compare other types of bathtubs, in addition to massage tubs. Learn about the pros and cons of different types of bathtubs.

Finding a Local Bathtub Installer

Before you embark on your bathroom remodel project, you should consult with a professional massage bathtub installer that can help you make the best financial decisions possible and avoid unnecessary headaches. The pros at Modernize can connect you with trusted, local contractors who will help you build the bathroom you’ve always wanted and maximize your bathroom remodel ROI.