Airjet vs hydrojet

Air Jets vs. Hydro Jets: The Main Differences to Consider

The choice of a hot tub is influenced by many factors, one of which is the jet’s type. There are two main types – air jets and hydro jets. They differ in the issues of work, cost, number in one hot tub, and so on. Understanding the differences between them will help you decide on a hot tub, because you can then expect something specific (such as a deep massage or maximum relaxation).

In this article we dive into the world of hot tubs to explain the difference between air jets and hydro jets. Let’s get started!

💡 Note:
Do you want to know which jetted hot tubs we consider the best now? We suggest that you read our article and study the best representatives.

Why Choose Hot Tubs With Jets?

Hot Tubs

At first glance, it may seem that jets are just an accessory that helps increase your enjoyment in the hot tub. However, they have a functional purpose. 

The water stream mixed with air from hydro jets, or just bubbles from air jets, creates a massaging effect. They act on the human body and help it fight:

  • Muscle tension
  • Arthritis pain
  • Slow recovery of muscle injury
  • Stress
  • Sleep problems.

Also, the massage that jets provide stimulates the body to produce endorphins. It is a hormone that also helps our body deal with stress. It is worth noting that the US Stress Institute recently conducted a study and found:

  • 77% of Americans experience stress that worsens their physical condition;
  • 73% of Americans experience stress that impacts their mental health;
  • 33% of Americans experience extreme stress, which negatively affects all aspects of life [1].
Hot tubs with jets are not just a way to relax, but also a great option to deal with the problems inherent in the vast majority of the world’s population.

Air Jets Pros & Cons

Air Jets Pros & Cons

Air jets are a system that can be found mainly in inflatable hot tubs. It uses air to create thousands of bubbles and the effect of water roiling. Air jets have the following advantages and disadvantages:


  • The number of jets. There are from 10 to 200+ jets in an air jet hot tub. It is up to ten times more than models with hydro jets have. They are usually found across the entire hot tub; however, in the case of inflatable ones, the jets will be on the bottom.
  • Gentleness. Air jets do not hit the body and skin hard, so they are more suitable for long sessions in your hot tub.
  • Price. Hot tubs with air jets are at least half the price of models with hydro jets.
  • Voltage. You can connect hot tubs with air jets to 110-120V sockets. Therefore, you do not need to call an electrician to install another high-voltage outlet. Bonus: your electricity bill will also be half that of a hot tub that requires 240V.


  • Weaker massage. Air jets produce bubbles that are evenly distributed throughout the water and do not act directly on the body.
  • Noise. Pumps that create bubbles are quite noisy. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk in a hot tub.
  • Cools faster. The air jet system draws air from the environment and does not heat it. Therefore, when using jets, the water in the hot tub cools faster.

Hydro Jets Pros & Cons

Hydro Jets Pros & Cons

Hydro jets are a system that is installed in all types of hot tubs, both inflatable and hard shell. It is more expensive than air jets, but creates a deep massage effect due to the mixed flow of water and air. This system has the following advantages and disadvantages:


  • Deep massage. Hydro jets form a water stream with air released under low pressure at high speed. These jets act on the body and help relieve muscle pain and other problems that we will describe later in the article.
  • Warm water stream. The water flow with air is additionally heated. It allows you to relieve tension and stress more effectively.
  • Location of jets. Most often, hydro jets are built into the backs and seats of hot tubs. For this reason, the water currents act on specific body areas to provide a more effective massage.


  • Price. Hot tubs with hydro jets are 1.5-25 times more expensive than models with air jets.
  • Replacement cost. The cost of replacing one hydro jet starts at $75 and goes up to $200. Even if you own the cheapest one, replacing nine hydro jets will cost more than buying one of the most popular hot tubs with air jets ($675 vs. $650).
💡 Note:
The low cost of inflatable hot tubs helps balance out the main disadvantage of hydro jets, which is the high price. Therefore, we suggest you check out the best hydro-jetted inflatable hot tubs.

Air Jets vs. Hydro Jets

After considering the pros and cons of air and hydro jets, we can conclude that they differ significantly. Therefore, below we will provide a detailed comparative analysis of the two types of jets, so you can clearly understand which one suits you best.

How They Work

The main difference between air and hydro jets is the way they work. The complexity of these systems directly affects the price. Therefore, we suggest you familiarize yourself with the detailed comparison below.

Air jetsHydro jets
Air jetsHydro jets
This system draws air from outside the hot tub. Then it enters the tubes, which form thousands of bubbles. These bubbles pass through the jets and are released into the hot tub. They can come out either straight or at an angle, creating a whirlpool of bubbles.

It is important to note that air jet systems are quite noisy, because the air is pushed by an additional pump than the one used for inflation. Also, the bubbles can cool the water because they are not heated up themselves.

Hydro jets work based on the Venturi effect. Initially, water passes through the pump and is filtered. Afterwards, the water enters the tube, which narrows at the end. Due to this, the pressure decreases but the speed increases.

At this point, air combines with the water stream through another tube and then exits through the jet in the form of a mixed stream. Additionally, the airflow can be heated.

Air jets are best for long sessions where you might not want an intense massage, while hydro jets are best for a deep massage, allowing you to get rid of muscle pain more effectively.



Air jets and hydro jets work in different ways, which causes differences in the types of massage. Accordingly, each system helps to treat different mental and physical problems. Below you can read a detailed comparison of the massage effect of air and hydro jets.

TypeAir jetHydro jets
Means of providing massageHot tubs with this system have many jets that create thousands of bubbles. Sometimes jets can create a whirlpool effect with bubbles enveloping your body. It is often called a “pearl massage” because the bubbles visually resemble pearls. They rise to the surface and create the effect of water roiling.Hot tubs with this system have fewer jets. However, they create intense pressure on particular skin areas. Jets are typically located so to hit those places on your body that most often should be treated with hydro massage.
What can be treatedTension
Weak metabolism
Musculoskeletal diseases
Lung disease
Poor circulation.
Muscle tension
Musculoskeletal diseases
Pain in the joints and back
Poor circulation.
Bubble massage is the best for relaxation and stress relief, while hydro massage is the best for relieving muscle tension and treating muscle and joint pain.



There are no critical differences in the maintenance of air and hydro jets. Below we will give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean the jets of your hot tub, no matter which type you choose.

  1. Pour hot water into the tub to cover the jets by 2 to 3 inches.
  1. Add two tablespoons of non-foaming dish soap and one cup of white vinegar. You can also use half a cup of bleach instead of vinegar. However, some manufacturers do not recommend this, as it can dry out the inner pads, increasing the chances of leaks.
  1. Turn on the jets and leave for 15 minutes.
  1. Drain the tub and refill with the same amount of hot water., This time turn it on for 10 minutes, then drain it again.
  1. Thoroughly scrub the sides and bottom of your hot tub to eliminate dirt from the jets.
  1. Remove the dirt around the jet’s covers using a toothbrush or bottle brush.


Generally, the cost of a jetted hot tub ranges from $330 to $38,000. You can see a more specific price comparison in the chart below:

Air-jetted and hydro-jetted hot tubs price comparison chart
Air-jetted and hydro-jetted hot tubs price comparison chart
Air jetsHydro jets
Low cost$38,000
Mid cost$700
High cost$1,540

As we can see, mid-cost and high-cost hydro-jetted hot tubs are much more expensive than air-jetted ones. It is because these hot tubs have a hard shell, 2+ pumps, and 20+ hydro jets, as opposed to air-jetted hot tubs which are basically inflatable, have 1 pump, and are much cheaper to manufacture.

As for the most expensive hydro-jetted hot tub, this is a two-level spa with two massage zones and a TV and a mini-bar. This is the real Rolls-Royce in the world of hot tubs.



During continuous use, both air and hydro jets may stop working correctly. In such a case, you will need to check the jets’ system for the following problems:

Air jets
Hydro jets
✓ The air intake valve is clogged. In this case, air will not enter the system, so bubbles will not appear. You will need to check the intake valves to ensure they are not closed/clogged.✓ Clogged suction pump cover. Debris can get inside the suction pump and cut off the air or water supply. In this case, you need to remove the cover and clean it.

✓ Low water level. If the water level is below the pumps, they will not be able to pump the required amount of water. In this case, turn off the hot tub and add water to reach the minimum level.
Common to both
✓ Air leak. This problem may occur because the pump valve or tubing connection is cracked. If you see leaking water in these places, you should insulate or replace components.

Summary: Which One to Choose?

In this article, we have compared air jets with hydro jets head to head and are ready to make a verdict on which type to choose:

  • Air jets are cheaper, making it the better choice for those who want to relax and de-stress.
  • Hydro jets are more expensive but provide a deep massage, making it better for those who need to treat musculoskeletal problems or relieve muscle tension.


🧮 How many jets should my hot tub have?

In the case of air jets, there should be at least 100 to provide enough bubbles. In the case of hydro jets, there should be no more than 30 jets per pump. Otherwise, the pressure will not be enough to provide an effective massage.

🚀 What are hot tub air jets?

Generally speaking, this is a system that sucks air through holes on the surface of a hot tub and releases it into the water in the form of thousands of bubbles.

❓ Are air jets worth it?

Yes, because air jets allow you to fight stress and fatigue. Also, they are a cheaper alternative to hydro jets.

🕘 When should I use hydro jets?

Doctors recommend using hydrotherapy when you are suffering from muscle tension, musculoskeletal disease, pain in the joints and back, poor circulation of blood and lymph.

💧 Can I use bubble-bath soap in an air jet hot tub?

You shouldn’t use bubble-bath soap in jetted hot tubs, as the constant fluctuations in the water will create too many bubbles, which will quickly spill over the top of the tub.

🆚 What is the difference between a hot tub and a jacuzzi?

Generally speaking, “Jacuzzi” is the name of a specific brand of hot tub. “Hot tub” is the general name for tubs with jets that are filled with hot water.


  1. American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Stress in america™ 2020: A National Mental Health Crisis. American Psychological Association. Retrieved December 28, 2022, from

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Peter Rossi