The two most common types of jetted bathtub are air-circulated tubs and water-circulated tubs. An air-circulated jetted bathtub will feature massaging jets that force air into the water, while water-circulated jetted bathtub models will push water through the jets to create the massaging feel. Each type of tub has advantages and disadvantages, as well as price differences according to size and extra features. Before choosing which one is right for you, consider how much space you have in your bathroom for a tub as well as your overall budget for purchasing and installing the tub unit in your bathroom.
Once you have determined your budget and size requirements, determine which jetted bathtub system will work best for you. Water-circulated jetted bathtub units force water through the jets, which propel the water into the main body of water in which you will bathe. This system keeps the water warmer for a longer period of time, and the massaging motion of the water is likely to be much stronger than air jets. Such tubs will, however, require much more maintenance and cleaning, though some water jetted bathtub units now feature self-cleaning options. You will not be able to use bath salts or oily soaps such as bubble bath in such tubs, as these chemicals can clog the jets as oil builds up.
Air jetted bathtub units will allow you to use bubble bath and other oily soaps, as well as bath salts, since the water will not circulate through the pumps, causing buildup. Air jets will, however, cool the water more quickly, which means your bathing time may be shortened or you may have to refill the tub with warm water while using the tub unit. Air jetted tubs also do not create as strong of a massaging motion as water tubs do, though the maintenance requirements will be much lower on an air tub and the tub is likely to be less expensive than a water jetted tub.
Consider the materials used to make the shell of the tub as well. Fiberglass and acrylic are the two more common types of materials used for tub shells, though other materials are available. Fiberglass is likely to be less expensive, but it is easily damaged and the color will fade over time. The coating over the fiberglass can also wear out after time, potentially leading to water damage beneath the tub. Acrylic will be more expensive, but it is more durable and long-lasting than fiberglass.