When building or installing a hot tub, the hot tub design chosen is generally limited only by one's imagination. The most common hot tub design choices, however, boil down to one significant choice: prefabricated or custom-built. A prefabricated hot tub design may center on the wooden hot tub, or it may be a more common acrylic model. Custom-built tubs can be made from concrete, wood, acrylic, or a combination of all three, and the shape and size of such a tub can vary depending on the builder's desires. Most hot tubs are built or installed to accommodate existing structures, such as decks or patios.
Prefabricated hot tub design often focuses on portability. While the tubs themselves are not very lightweight, they can be moved and are not a permanent structure. Prefabricated tubs come in two general varieties: acrylic tubs and wooden tubs. Acrylic tubs are by far more popular, as they can be molded to create ergonomic seats and different levels of seats for deeper soaks. The acrylic tub is often surrounded with a wooden frame for aesthetics, and all of the heating elements and pumps are enclosed within the wooden frame. A wooden tub is often made from cedar, and such a tub is almost always round to promote heat retention. These tubs seat more people in the same amount of space, but seating options are limited. The wooden tub's heating elements are often external to the structure.
Custom hot tub design varies depending on the space in which the tub will be built. Many people choose to design a tub from concrete, as the edges of the tub can be molded and rounded to enhance aesthetic appeal. This type of design requires a significant amount of planning, as jets and heating elements will have to be put in place before the concrete is poured. Concrete hot tub design is extremely versatile, but repairs can be quite difficult, as much of the plumbing will be contained within the concrete. Wooden tubs can be custom-built into an existing structure such as a room within a house, or within an existing deck. Wood tubs are quite beautiful, though much like the prefabricated models, seating options can be limited.
Custom tubs are also built to match the existing aesthetic of a yard, home, or structure. An acrylic tub, for example, can be installed and then surrounded with wood to match a deck, or a concrete tub can be painted or molded to fit the colors and lines of a yard. Wooden tubs can be built to include steps, tables, chairs, and other accents to make the tub even more convenient.