To choose, you have to identify your needs: the size, the tub material and stove location.
First of all, you should decide what size of barrel hot tub you need.
The main criterion for the tub size choice is the number of persons that plan to fit inside the tub. Our recommended combinations of tub diameter for a given number of persons come from the consideration of the fact, that the average constitution person sitting inside the hot tub should maintain a comfortable distance from his neighbors, feeling cozy and convenient.
In practice, people tend to choose the hot tub dimensions according to the number of members in their family, plus reserving several places for their guests.
What happens if you acquire the tub larger than you actually need? Well, larger tub requires more water, hence the heating takes longer, and you spend more on energy source (firewood or electricity). On the other hand, you can invite more friends.
Choosing the barrel hot tub type: wooden or plastic/fiberglass?
Three main tub type options are available: wood tubs, plastic tubs and fiberglass tubs (the latter two carry wood decoration outside). Here’s an overview about the advantages of each of them.
If you appreciate the naturalness and ecology, then the classic wooden tub is just for you. It feels wonderful to sit in warm water inside the wooden tub, and feel the smell the natural wood, released by the contact of wood and hot water. What you should consider with wooden tubs, however, is that they will require some care and maintenance. The wooden barrel hot tub must be soaked for a few days when new, to prevent it from drying up and avoid resulting leaks. Depending on wood type (spruce, larch, or thermally treated wood), you will need to soak it more or less regularly, for the same reason. In summer season the tub should be kept filled with water. Some maintenance is needed to prevent bacteria from growing inside the tub. Otherwise bacteria, fermentation and putrefaction may destroy the wood.
Larch wood is valued for its waterproof qualities. So the maintenance of larch wood tubs is somewhat simpler.
The same can be said about the thermally treated wood tubs. The outer pores of thermally treated wood are closed, “burnt out” by the heat. The wood retains its texture, and wood color becomes slightly darker. The thermally treated wood is significantly more resistant to moisture and bacteria. It is stable dimensions-wise. Of course, it’s the most expensive option – but it’s up to you to choose.
You may consider polypropylene plastic and fiberglass hot water tubs, both with external wood decoration, as an alternative to classic wooden tubs. The choice is considered practical if compared to wooden tubs, as polypropylene plastic and fiberglass tubs require considerably less maintenance. These tubs may be drained out and they may be kept empty. Polypropylene plastic and fiberglass material is easier to clean, as their surface is less porous than wood’s. These materials are more bacteria-resistant for the same reason. They are also resistant to UV rays. However, the polypropylene and fiberglass tubs cool down a bit faster.
The main visible difference between plastic and fiberglass tubs is a shape of inside bench. In case of fiberglass tub, the bench is integral to the entire tub geometry. The bench base is closed, so the tub’s inner volume is reduced by 15-20%. Thus, heating time and cost are reduced accordingly. In addition, this bench shape makes it even easier to clean. There are no sharp edges, nor hiding places for bacteria. Unsurprisingly, fiberglass option is a more expensive one.
Inner or outside stove?
Water inside the barrel hot tub is heated by stove. The heater (the stove) can either be built inside the tub, or outside – standing next to the tub. Each of these designs has its pros and cons. The inner stove option is cheaper and easier to move/transport. But this internal design type takes up additional space inside the tub, that otherwise could be exploited for one additional person. Energy efficiency-wise the inside heater solution is not too different from the outside heater one. Last but not least, with the inner stove models you can get a mini bar shelf to for your cold drinks. All summed up, it’s more a matter of taste, and it’s up to you to choose.
So, do you know what hot tub you need?
If you have further questions on hot water tubs, please fill in the form below. We’ll do our best to supply you with the information that might interest you.