Wood fired hot tubs are mostly used in home gardens and holiday cottages. They are a less expensive alternative to standard outdoor whirlpool systems such as Jacuzzi©. Traditional wood fired hot tubs don’t have fancy lighting systems, hydro jets or massage systems, they are made to enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings while relaxing in hot water. Recommended bathing temperature is around 35°C, but it depends on your personal preferences.
Hot tub bathing is a great way to relax and free your mind after a busy day at work, enjoy your time with your family or invite friends over and mix the bathing with BBQ grilling and some bottles of cold beer like Finns do 🙂 Most of the hot tub brands offer convenient drink holders for this purpose.
With most of these bathing barrels you can use normal water as well as salted seawater if marine aluminum or Stainless Steel has been used for the water circulation system which is a part of the hot tubs heater. Filling up the tub with water takes approximately one hour and depending on heater output it takes 2-5 hours to reach the temperature of 35 °C. As with most things worth having in this World, it is the same with wood fired hot tubs, if you want an efficient heater and shorter heating time, you have to pay more! You do get what you pay for. Water and heating time issues are very important to ask your dealer before you buy.
Wood fired hot tubs are mostly delivered in a “ready to use” mode, some hot tubs need the heater to be fitted to the tub. That takes no more than an hour and does not require any special skills.
Wood fired hot tubs are made for all year round use. It doesn’t matter if it is a sunny summer day or the temperature is below 0 °C. The cooler the weather is, the more fun and joy you get out from hot tub bathing. In Finland and Scandinavia, the home land of wood fired hot tubs, it is common to fill up the tub and heat it up, even in temperatures as low as -25°C outside! For one bathing you need approximately 1-2 sacks of wood, it depends mostly on your hot tub heater as well as the outside and input water temperature.
Light chemicals (chlorine and similar) are commonly used for hot tubs to use the water for several baths. When using the water for several baths, you have to make sure that you never leave the water in the tub when there is a chance for temperature to drop below 0 °C, because the ice can put a high pressure on your bathing barrel causing it to crack and break.
Another common failure is to light up the fire in the oven before the tub has been properly filled up with water. In the best case you may end up with buying a new heater for your hot tub and in the worse case you need to buy whole new tub. What happens? The answer is that aluminum / Stainless Steel parts and other water circulating components need a constant flow of water so they do not overheat.
Which wood fired hot tub to buy? The size and material are the biggest price issues.
Let’s start with size. A Family size hot tub accommodates up to 5 bathers comfortably and is usually with a diameter of 1,6-1,7 meters. These hot tubs are quick to fill up with water and desired bathing temperature will be achieved within 2 hours. The next size category is 2m diameter bathing barrels. They are made for up to 8 people and are called large wood fired hot tubs. For those who are looking to use them for parties or a hot tub for commercial use, you can find extra large models for up to 15 bathers.
The price of the hot tub is variable depending on what material the tub is constructed from. Lets look at the most commonly used materials.
Wooden barrels are the most widely used ones and the most affordable ones. These hot tubs can be bought for slightly over £1000. The low price of these hot tubs is their main benefit. Things that are common to these hot tubs are a relatively short life span (not more than 5 years) and leaking. Leaking of water is not the error of the producer, but the fact that wood is a natural material and it is growing and adapting depending on the humidity, temperature and other weather conditions. Leaking will occur especially if you have kept the tub empty for a while.
Wood fired hot tubs made of thermo-wood and are less influenced by the weather. Thermo-wood is thermally modified timber and during this procedure shrinking and swelling is reduced by up to 50–90%. Thermo-wood bathing barrels are at least an extra £500 compared to the wooden barrels. On the other hand you have almost no leaking issues and these tubs have double the life span.
Now when you are looking for a wood fired hot tub for almost a life time period, you should have a look at models with aluminum, plastic or fiberglass inner baths. These are new generation bathing barrels that are gaining huge popularity. We have mentioned already their durability, but the flexibility of choosing between different inner and outer colors as well as easy cleaning and maintenance are their main advantages compared to wooden and thermo-wood tubs. These tubs are more expensive and will serve you better for longer. You can expect to pay around £3000 to £6000 for this kind of tub.
Last but not least, pay attention to the extras that either add comfort or are very practical. These things are usually not included in the standard price. For an easy entry, especially for older people and kids you may wish to add steps. Most wood fired hot tubs don’t have them as standard or only include a very basic set. A cover or especially an insulated cover is good to hold heat in while heating up the tub and also keeps your tub free from leafs and dirt during the times when you are not using it. Some hot tub brands offer soft neck rests for additional comfort. Drink and cup holders make sure you can sit back, relax and enjoy your favorite drink without having to jump out from the tub!