Wood Hot Tub vs. Acrylic Spa

When considering a hot tub/spa there are plenty of options available to consider. One of the key questions is what material is best for you and your needs – a stainless steel lined cedar tub, an un-lined cedar hot tub or an acrylic spa.

We’ve broken down the top 5 things to consider when looking at purchasing a tub/spa.

1. Cleaning

Stainless steel lined cedar hot tubs are very easy to keep clean. With smooth stainless steel inside the tub they are easy to wipe down after being used. The cedar wood on the outside of the tub can also be wiped down, and re-oiled as needed to keep it looking new. Hot tubs have very little plumbing, which keeps cleaning your tub simple and provides less opportunities for biofilm such as bacteria, fungi or scum to grow.

Un-lined timber hot tubs can shrink and become leaky if not very well maintained. The crevices between slats have a tendency to grow fungi from moisture as well, which can impact the life of the hot tub. Over time the timber will wear more extensively due to its direct exposure to water.

Acrylic spas with different textures, ledges, curves, dials/nobs and jets can take more time to thoroughly clean. Spas have long hoses and pipes, which can create an ideal environment for biofilm to grow if not treated and cleaned appropriately. Over time the acrylic will break down, potentially making it harder to clean.

2. Features

Stainless steel lined cedar hot tubs tend to be very simple when it comes to features – some might say the beauty is in their simplicity - but there are makers who add in features such as jets. Wood-fired tubs also give you the option of using it off the grid.

In comparison, acrylic spas can come with a wide range of features – moulded seats and head rests, jets, lighting, waterfalls, audio, wireless control and more. Acrylic spas will tend to hold their heat better than tubs due to their insulated walls.

3. Useability

You can heat a wooden hot tub relatively quickly – from 1-3 hours. It is recommended that wood-fired and gas heated hot tubs are emptied after each use/24 hours, whereas electric wooden hot tubs are similar to an acrylic spa where the water can be treated and used again and again.

Most acrylic spas will take at least 12-24 hours to heat, but once heated you can set the temperature and use the spa as you wish while treating the water to keep it clean. There is ongoing innovation and development with acrylic spas, which means they are getting better and better, depending on your needs.

4. Lifetime 

A well maintained and looked after wooden hot tub will last at least 15 years, but probably longer.

On average, the acrylic spas will last between 10-12 years. They can also last 15 years plus if you are lucky and take care of them.

5. Aesthetics

Hot tubs have a more natural appearance to fit in with the landscape they are placed. Hot tubs tend to be enjoyed by people who want to sit in nature, relax and enjoy the sounds around them.

Acrylic spas can fit in well with your homes architecture and design with many options available.

It is important to think about your needs, how will you be using your tub, who will be using it and the environment it will be placed to make the best decision.