Air Bubble Tub vs. Whirlpool Tubs: What's The Difference?

Finding the right bathtub for seniors can be quite time-consuming, especially since the market offers thousands of air tubs and water jets. For people who know what tub they specifically want, having diverse options can feel exciting. However, someone who doesn't even know the differences between a bubbler tub vs. whirlpool tub might find the experience intimidating.

Fortunately, we're here to help. The first thing you need to do is learn to differentiate between terms like Jacuzzi, whirlpool baths, water jets, combo tubs, and air-jet tub baths. Researching will make it easier for shoppers to identify which tubs match their household's unique needs and demands.

What Is the Difference Between an Air Tub and a Whirlpool Tub?

The main difference between whirlpool jets and air jets is that the former shoots streams of water, while the latter projects air-filled bubbles into the bath. This minor difference can lead to a completely different bathing experience.

Whirlpool water jets best suit those looking for a deep massage sensation simulated by streams of water pulsating against the muscles. On the other hand, air tubs work best for those who simply want to soak in rejuvenating bubble baths.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Bathtub?

Shoppers would do well to consider these factors when looking into a whirlpool or air bath fixture:

1. Safety and Accessibility

Whether you choose to go with a whirlpool or air tub, always prioritize safety. Ensure the fixture has safety features, such as grab bars and nonslip matting to improve accessibility. The goal is to have the mobility-impaired user hop in and out of the whirlpool or air tub independently.

2. Aesthetic Design

Check out some design ideas online to see which whirlpool and air tubs would best match your home's interior. Design options range from simple, functional alcove drop-in air tubs to modern, elegant fiberglass-reinforced whirlpool tubs.

3. Personal Preferences

Would you and your elderly household members prefer an air bath or whirlpool bath? If you want a deep-tissue massage experience, go for powerful hydrotherapy whirlpool jets that target sore muscles with powerful gushing streams of water. Those who enjoy submerging their body in a cloud of soft, milky, aromatic air bubbles can opt for air baths.

Consult with your household members to gain insights on what tubs they would want to have. Ideally, you should go for a fixture that everyone would enjoy.

4. Price Point

More well-known brands charge more for their bathtubs, especially if the manufacturer equipped their fixtures with specialized, patented hydrotherapy whirlpool or air jets.

What Is the Most Comfortable Bathtub?

One-size-fits-all bathing solutions do not exist. The best, most comfortable bathtub to use for your home is one that addresses the needs of mobility-impaired elderly relatives, fits your bathroom, and matches your household's idea of the perfect bathing experience.

Are Whirlpool Tubs Worth It?

Do Whirlpool Tubs Increase Home Value?

Water-jetted tub installations will not increase your home's appraised value. Prospective buyers may find these fixtures attractive. However, in the eyes of property appraisers and financial institutions, tubs won't increase a property's appraised value—unless they come with a fully furnished interior as well.

Do Plumbers Replace Bathtubs?

We strongly advise hiring professional plumbers to install your new tub. They have the skills and equipment to remove, replace, and install a wide range of bathroom fixtures, including bathtubs. Plus, plumbers can help homeowners measure and assess their current bathroom to check if it can accommodate a new fixture.

Can You Replace a Regular Tub With a Jetted Tub?

You can replace your regular tube with a jetted tub. Most air-jetted and whirlpool-jetted tubs have similar fit and dimensions as standard soaker tubs do.

Although, bear in mind that tearing out old bathtubs requires training and experience. Haphazardly taking on the task yourself may compromise the structural integrity of your bathroom's plumbing system.

For maximum senior safety, Senior Strong suggests equipping other rooms in your home with mobility-aiding devices as well. Check out our full guide on buying senior safety products.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you not put in a jetted tub?

Soaps and shampoos are not the best options for an in-unit jetted tub. As a general rule, only use bath products that have been specifically formulated to maintain the spa-like quality of your hot water system by avoiding oils and other debris from clogging your jets.

What is the best cleaner for jetted tubs?

You can easily clean your jetted tubs by creating a cleaning solution with items you probably have in your pantry. Fill the tub with 2-3 inches of hot water and add in some dishwashing liquid. Mix in a small amount of bleach or white vinegar for an eco-friendly option to keep things clean.

How much does it cost to fix a jetted tub?

Jet problems happen and when they do, it's important that you're prepared with knowledge on how much this repair will cost in advance. The cost of replacing a jet varies from $150 to $200 per jet. This doesn't include the cost for the part itself, which can run from $75 to $100.

How hard is it to install a jetted tub?

The process of installing a bathtub can be fairly time consuming, but in the end it is an investment that lasts for many years. Before you dive into this project, find out what type of tub you have and whether framing needs to take place before installation. Some whirlpool baths come with finished sides, so there's no need for additional work after installation has taken place.

How long does a jetted tub last?

The average life expectancy of a tub with jets is 20-50 years, according to the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components. This study was conducted by the National Association for Home Builders (NAHB) in 2007 and examines the fixture's lifespan rather than that of its circulation system.

The key to identifying which bathtubs suit you and your relatives best is performing prior research. We strongly suggest going through the most popular types of walk-in bathtubs and assessing the features they offer to users. From there, you should already get a better understanding of what your ideal tub looks like.

Also, try not to limit yourself to popular manufacturers. Yes, world-renowned brands will likely produce reliable, durable appliances and fixtures, but that does not mean you can totally ignore all your other options. Remember: brand reputation is simply one of the many factors to consider.

Senior-friendly bathrooms consist of more than air tubs. Senior Strong has multiple resources to help readers grasp how to provide their senior relatives with a safer, more enjoyable bathing experience. Check our complete guide for more tips on building the best bathroom for seniors.

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