Whirlpools vs. Air Tub: What to Know Before You Purchase

Are you looking to purchase a new tub? If so, you have probably noticed that there are more tubs on the market from the traditional 3-piece shower/tub combo. You can now add whirlpool tubs and air baths to the mix. These luxurious tubs provide a private spa whenever you want to relax and unwind after a long day’s work.

So, what the difference between an air bath and a whirlpool bath? Both tubs create similar experiences with jets that massage the entire body, but they do so in different ways by what they pump out of their jets.

Air or Water

Air baths use air to activate their jet massager by pulling in air to heat up and blow it into the water to create a steady stream. The jets are considerably smaller when compared to whirlpool baths’ jets. Since the jets are smaller and activated by air, the pressure produced creates a more gentle, non-aggressive massage.

Whirlpool baths recirculate water sucked in and pushed back out to create their jets. Whirlpool jets are much larger in contrast to air bath jets. Because of this, the jets have a high-pressure, more targeted, and deeper massage. This provides a more traditional hydrotherapy massage.

Keeping it Clean 

Air baths use the air from the room, then heats the air and pumps it through the tub. Whereas whirlpool tubs continuously recirculate dirty bathwater, and because of this, whirlpool tubs require more rigorous maintenance than air baths.

Furthermore, air baths can be cleaned manually as one would a traditional bathtub. As for the cleaning of the jets, just run the jets while the tub is empty.

On the other hand, whirlpool baths’ jets are prone to collect more dirt, mold, and mildew. They require a more thorough cleaning. To accomplish this, flush out the pipes multiple times with cleaners before a manual scrub of the jets.

It is important to note that whirlpool baths are not ideal when using bath oils or salts due to the susceptibility of clogging and damaging the jets and internal mechanisms.


Lastly, while technology has come a long way, both air baths and whirlpool baths can be noisy depending on how fast the motor and pumps are working. On average both tubs can emit noise at the same level as normal day-to-day traffic.

Still cannot decide which luxury tub is best for you? Head over to PlumbTile. Our professionals are standing by!