Size Matters...Or Does It? How to Decide Which Size Wood Fired Hot Tub is Right For You

Which Size Wood Fired Hot Tub is Right For You

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'?

That depends! How many people do you want to use it with? 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 compared to a large wood fired hot tub, and help you decide which size is right for you.

Misconception # 1:

Smaller tubs heat faster. The volume of water in the tub doesn't always translate to a longer heat time. AlumiTubs wood fired hot tubs are built with three layers of insulation and a submerged firebox that offers superior performance compared to its counterparts, and each of our hot tubs stay hot with just an armful of wood a day. The initial heat starts at 90 minutes for the Small, 2-3 hours for the Standard and 4-5 for the Large. The reason for this? 360 degree insulation, the AlumiTubs 60% bigger firebox, and the fact that it's internally submerged to heat the water directly. This heat time can also be expedited if you're in a hurry by using a secondary heat source, like our electric heating & filtration kit (which can also be powered by solar!). Having less water volume in a tub doesn't actually equal a faster heat time.

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. The AlumiTub cedar hot tub is 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:

1. Pump fresh or salt water directly into your AlumiTub from a natural water source, like the ocean, lake, river or rain water collection, and empty it back into the environment when you're done with it. No wasted water required.
2. If filling your tub from a well with a hose, we recommend using a water softener in addition to chemical water treatments like granulated bromine or hydrogen peroxide, which are safe and effective. You can also install a filter and pump system, which when used with water treatments, will extend the life of your water for months at a time. 
3. If you don't have electricity or a natural water source available to fill your tub with, repurpose your drained water in the garden by connecting a hose to the Drain Kit.  
4. Extend the cleanliness of your water by showering off before soaking in your tub. Lotions, shampoo and even laundry detergent from swimwear will make its way into your water otherwise. 
5. Use your tub lids to keep it free of debris, and use a small net to scoop out anything that lands in your tub while in use. 


Misconception # 3:

Smaller hot tubs use less wood. Firewood consumption is a result of heat retention, and in the AlumiTub each size is fairly consistent once the temperature has been established. 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. If saving space is important to you, it's a good reason to go smaller. But bare in mind the space savings is only 1ft in diameter. AlumiTubs Large is 7ft, Standard is 6ft and the Small is 5ft. Spatially you want to plan for whether you're adding the heating & filtration kit which adds about 1.5ft of width to the space required, and you want to keep any chimney (even with spark arresting cap) 10ft away from flammable objects. 

Misconception # 5:

2 person wood burning hot tubs are cheaper. Quality 2 person wood fired hot tubs start at $7500 CAD. Don't bother with cheap models that are built without an aluminum 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.

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