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Massage Bathtubs

Massage Bathtubs

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 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 to your skin and muscles as you bathe. Most massage tubs use jets – either whirlpool 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– including the different jets they use and how they function differently. Modernize will help you decide on the best type of massage bathtub for your needs.

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. The jets of this type of massage tub 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 typically range in price from $1,000 to $15,000.

Hydro Tubs

A hydro massage tub, also known as a whirlpool tub or a hydrotherapy bathtub, is a type of massage bathtub that shoots water through its jets. The jets 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 $600 and $15,000.

How to Select the Right Massage Bathtub

Both types of massage 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



  • Provide a soothing massage for muscles and joints
  • Gentle massage good for people with chronic pain, especially those who are elderly
  • Usually have a built-in heater
  • Installation may be expensive because the complicated nature of the product requires an electrician in addition to a plumber
  • Additional floor supports may be needed for this massaging tub, thus increasing the cost of installation
  • Can’t move jets to isolate massage on a specific area of the body

The Pros and Cons of Hydro Tubs

Pros Cons
  • Powerful massage for deep muscle relief
  • Targeted massage, which is useful for those who have a specific problem area of the body
  • Jets strategically placed to help water move for an invigorating experience
  • Can be noisy when jets are on higher settings
  • May not have an internal heating element
  • Can collect mildew over time when not cleaned routinely

The Similarities and Differences Between Air Tubs and Hydro Tubs


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 Qualified Massage 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.

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