When it comes to wood fired hot tubs, there's a number of differentiators that affect the quality, longevity, level of maintenance required, heating properties and seating capacity. One of the most frequently asked questions we get about AlumiTubs, is 'what size hot tub should I get'?
The answer to this question is simple: It depends how many people will use it. That may seem oversimplified because of the misconceptions surrounding the topic, so lets' break it down. If it's just you and a partner using it, you may lean towards a smaller tub, but it doesn't hurt to have extra space in case others may eventually join you. After-all, AlumiTubs are built to last a lifetime, and in that time you might have company dying to try your wood fired hot tub!
Below we'll debunk some common misconceptions, describe the pros and cons of a 2 person wood fired hot tub, and help you decide which size is right for you.
Misconception # 1:
Smaller tubs heat better. The volume of water in the tub doesn't always translate to a longer heat time. Once your AlumiTub reaches hot tubbing temperature, it will remain hot for days at a time with just an armful of wood a day. A smaller tub will heat about an hour faster initially, but it won't retain its heat longer, and there are several ways to heat your AlumiTub faster than most 2 person hot tubs.
Misconception # 2:
Smaller tubs use less water. This isn't always true due to things that take up space in the tub, like seating, the firebox, and the height of the tub itself. The other thing to note, is that unless you have a limited water supply, bigger hot tubs don't necessarily mean more wasted water. AlumiTubs are guaranteed to never leak, helping preserve the water you use, and you can - and should conserve water in your wood fired hot tub regardless of the size. To do so, follow the steps below:
Misconception # 3:
Smaller hot tubs use less wood. This isn't true. Smaller hot tubs are built with the same size firebox, which take equal amounts of wood to fuel the fire. You can reduce your use of wood by using only dry, high quality wood, like cedar, which has excellent heating properties. The dryer the wood you use, the less you'll use of it. It's also worth noting that not all wood fired hot tubs are built alike. AlumiTubs retain heat better thanks to its submerged firebox which heats the water directly (and is protected by a cedar fence, but isn't hot to touch under water), and three layers of insulating properties to help keep it hot year round, even in -50 degree winter temperatures. With proper insulation and lid use, your tub will have no problem reaching 104 degrees (or much higher) in any weather condition.
Misconception # 4:
2 person wood fired hot tubs are smaller and take up less space. While this may be true, it's worth noting that AlumiTubs Standard model is just 6ft in diameter, and the space savings of a 2 person cedar tub are unlikely to benefit you by more than a few inches in width, due to the rectangular shape of most 2 person wood burning hot tubs. AlumiTubs weigh 220 lbs empty and 5000 lbs filled (or 6000 lbs for our Large tub). Because they're so lightweight, most structures can accommodate this, but there may be circumstances where a 2 person tub is lighter (we don't know for sure - so if this is a key factor for you, be sure to check with the retailer before purchasing).
Misconception # 5:
2 person wood burning hot tubs are cheaper. After doing a quick google search, this doesn't appear to be true. Quality 2 person wood fired hot tubs start at $7500 CAD. Don't bother with cheap models that are built without a lining, as like any cedar hot tub, they'll eventually leak and rot, will require cumbersome assembly, higher maintenance, are subject to freezing and cracking, and will eventually require replacement.
How to choose a wood fired hot tub size:
The best way to feel confident you're choosing the right size is to make a circle with a garden hose and stand in it with those you plan to share your tub with. How close you want to sit next to them will help you make the right decision:).
The pros and cons of a small wood fired hot tub:
While a 2 person wood burning hot tub may be more cozy and intimate if it's just you and a partner who will be using it, it's unlikely to offer benefits such as heat efficiency (though it may save some time on initial fill, it's unlikely to retain its heat better than larger tubs), water conservation (so long as you're following the steps for proper cleaning care), use less wood, take up less space, or cost less to purchase.
There's no harm in choosing a smaller wood burning hot tub however, so if you're looking for a more intimate soak with yourself or a partner than that of a larger model, a 2 person wood fired hot tub may be right for you. Just keep in mind that there's also no harm or substantial benefit in choosing a larger model, especially if it's one you'll have for life (bear in mind though that not all wood fired hot tubs are built to stand the test of time), and it's nice to know you can have company enjoy it should you want that option in the future.
As for larger models, it really comes down to how many people you want to have use it, and how much initial heat time you can tolerate. Keep in mind there's ways to expedite your heat time, like using dry wood, covering the tub with insulation and lids while heating, using warmer water from the hose, or even installing a secondary heat source like solar, propane, gas, or electricity to kickstart it. However, there's something special about the slow life these days, and a wood fired hot tub is meant to offer a ritualistic, outdoor experience that allows time to connect with nature. Chop the wood, fill your tub, light the stove, make some dinner and it'll be ready when the dishes are done.
Check out this blog post for more ways to create an eco-friendly hot tub experience and reduce your impact on the environment.