Chapter 3 Topics

3-J: Comfort Factor

(when full, not when empty)

Comfort Factor

This feels hard, cold and uncomfortable to me.  I don’t see what all the fuss is about!

The whole point of a hot tub is to feel comfortable and relaxed.  Cheap models can be uncomfortable, with badly-contoured seats, thoughtlessly-placed jets, confusing controls and annoying features. Poorly designed tubs don’t usually take into consideration different body-types.  Some tubs are cramped for tall people or too deep for children and short people.  Large people sometimes feel squeezed by aggressively contoured seating.

The hot tub industry knows that people are more likely to buy a spa that feels comfortable on the showroom floor.   Sometimes features like foam padding, detailed ergonomic sculpting, and “lean back seating” are introduced to give the spa model “comfort appeal” when you sit in them without water.  Salespeople gush about “see how comfortable it is”, because it sells tubs.  

 But it’s extremely important to keep in mind that everything changes when it’s full of water because of the buoyancy factor and jet currents.   In a full hot tub, you can barely feel the pressure points you feel when sitting in an empty tub because you’re almost neutral gravity when fully submerged.  

A poorly designed recliner combined with poorly planned jetting may feel great when you sit in the dry shell at the showroom, but when you fill it with water, you float up and away and your legs don’t stay in place.  A well-designed recliner keeps you anchored in the recliner even when it’s full of water with jets going full speed.

This feels more comfortable when empty

But when it’s full, you slide forward and float upwards.

This feels less comfortable when empty

But when it’s full, it’s comfy and you stay in place.

Comfort Factor 1

A high-quality hot tub has been carefully designed, with each detail painstakingly planned with comfort and massage in mind.  It will include intelligently placed jets and a seating layout that feels just right when it’s actually in use, not just make a good impression on the showroom floor.

Being submerged up to your neck in hot water for long periods of time can cause your body to overheat, and you feel the need to cool off by partially getting out.  When a hot tub only has only deep seats, the person’s only option is to stand up or sit on the ledge of the tub, exposing most of their body to the elements.  In cold weather, this all-or-nothing choice can be too much, too fast.  Plus, it can be uncomfortable and even dangerous to perch on the narrow perimeter shelf.

A well laid out hot tub has places to sit inside the tub that can serve as “cooling stations”.  These can be higher seats, access steps, or the calf/feet section of the lounger that allow different percentages of the body to be exposed to the cooling air.