There are two basic styles of portable, above-ground hot tubs - wood and acrylic (plastic). Both styles have advantages but in some ways wooden hot tubs come out top in head-to-head comparisons. Ultimately, it comes down to each user's personal preference, but here are some of the benefits of choosing a wooden spa.
In most cases, a quality wooden hot tub will cost less than a comparable model made of acrylic or fiberglass reinforced plastic that has the same features. Smaller wooden spas (2 person) can run to as little as $1,200, while those made of other materials quite often go for $1,800 or more.
A wooden hot tub made from redwood, cedar, oak, or teak is a thing of beauty. To start with, the geometric shape appealing, and then the rich colors and grains in the wood are visually stunning and will look great in your yard or your home. If having natural materials around your home and property is important to you, a wooden spa is definitely preferable to the more artificial, fabricated acrylic tubs.
Since your hot tub experience is meant to appeal to your senses, wooden hot tubs provide another benefit over artificial products. They exude a pleasant, natural aroma when hot or wet. Cedar, in particular, provides a wonderful scent. Unfortunately, plastic spas tend to give off only chemical, artificial aromas.
The kinds of wood that hot tubs are made from are selected for two practical reasons: their unique properties when immersed in water, and their durability. The hardness and durability of oak are legendary, which is why it is so prized for all kinds of furniture and many spas.
All the types of wood that we have mentioned (redwood and cedar in particular) have another important property. They expand when wet and don't shrink back to their original size when dry. This is vital for hot tubs made from wood, because all the spaces and seals must be completely waterproof when the spa is full. Combined with their durability, this property has ensured that redwood, cedar, oak, and teak are used the most in the hot tub industry.