The right hot tub jets will give you a soothing head-to-toe massage that helps ease your daily aches and pains.
The wrong ones can leave you constantly wondering why your hot tub is so weak.
In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get the most from your hot tub’s water jets – from what to look for when you’re buying a spa to how to fix the most common problems with them.
Your spa’s water is sucked up by its pump (passing through a filter along the way). It’s then passed through the heating element to warm it up before being shot back out into the tub through the jets.
The bubbles created by your hot tub’s jets come from the hourglass shape of the pipes leading to them, which creates something called the Venturi effect. This causes air to be added to the mix and bubbles to form in the steam of water they create.
Some hot tubs have air valves that add more even air to the mix. When they’re switched on, your hot tub will bubble up and give you a relaxing light tissue massage rather than a targeted hydrotherapy massage.
What are the different types of jets for a hot tub?
There are several different kinds of hot tub jets, but the three most common are:
Directional jets are found on just about every hot tub. They can be adjusted to direct a powerful flow of water exactly where you want it
Since they produce such a concentrated stream of water, directional jets are ideal for boosting your blood circulation and easing aches and pains.
One thing to look out for is that the directional jets on lower-spec hot tubs typically have limited movement and often can’t be positioned exactly where you want them. Be sure to look out for this during your wet test when you’re buying your hot tub.
Rotary jets spin, moving the water around in a circular motion and massaging a wide area.
You’ll often find a rotary jet in the back of a hot tub lounge seat, as they’re perfect for relieving tension from large areas of the body like the neck and back.
Some high-end home spas have moving jets, which move the steam of water up and down or side-to-side. These provide a luxurious hydrotherapy massage that targets a large area, like your entire back.
Some hot tubs have directional jets installed in the footwell that provide a relaxing foot massage. This is definitely a feature to look out for if you spend a lot of time on your feet, as it’s a great way to relieve aching feet and sore ankles.
More jets mean more power, right? Well, not always.
Manufacturers will often add jets to their models because it looks impressive. But if a spa has a hundred jets and only one pump it’s not going to give much of a massage.
The best hot tubs have between 20 and 30 jets per pump. This provides enough power to each jet to give a full-body hydrotherapy massage.
Keep in mind that the more pumps a hot tub have, the more expensive it will be to run and the noisier it will be to operate. More pumps mean more components that could break, which also means there’ll be a higher chance your spa will need repairs one day.
With all that in mind, a hot tub with fewer water jets and fewer pumps might be the best option if you’re on a budget – especially if you’ll mainly be using your spa for solo soaks. But if you’ll often have several people in your spa at a time and want everyone to be able to have a full hydrotherapy massage at once, make sure you get a model with at least one pump for every thirty jets.
It’s also worth keeping your eye out for hot tubs with hand-held jets you can use to reach the muscles that need massaging the most. These models always pack a big hydrotherapy punch for their price tag.
To make sure you’re making the right choice for you, be sure to grab your swimming cossie and head to your nearest hot tub dealership to wet test a few different options.
The variation of spa jets is often more important than the total number of them, so look out for models where each seat has a different jet arrangement to one.
How do I make my spa jets stronger?
Are your hot tub jets weak? Here’s how to get a stronger stream of water from them:
If your hot tub has a waterfall then turn it off. This will free up more water flow to come out through the jets.
Open the jets you’re using fully and close any you aren’t. This will increase the pressure of the stream coming out of the ones you’re trying to make stronger.
Open the air valves fully to add extra force to the water flowing out of the jets.
Keep in mind that if your hot tub has more than thirty jets per pump it won’t be able to run them all at full strength at the same time. If you feel like you need a stronger hot tub then you might want to look at upgrading to one with more pumps.
Why are my hot tub jets weak?
If water is trickling out of your jets there might be air trapped inside your pump from the last time you drained and refilled your spa. This will stop it from working properly.
To fix this:
Find your hot tub’s pump and turn it off.
Find the discharge pipe on your hot tub’s pump and loosen it. Be sure not to completely remove it, or you might not be able to get it back on once the pump starts running properly again.
Turn the pump back on and listen out for air hissing out its discharge pipe, which will be followed by water.
Close the discharge pipe, make sure it’s tight, and you’re done.
If your jets are still running weak you might have a more serious problem that you’ll need the help of a professional to fix.
Your spa probably has a water flow problem if its jets are stuttering rather than producing a steady stream.
The most common culprit here is a low water level – especially if you’ve had a lot of people in your hot tub at once recently. Filling your spa back up to the water line will usually fix pulsating jets.
If the water level is fine, your filter might be clogged up and need cleaning. Remove it and either give it a deep clean or replace it and see if that makes a difference, check out our ultimate guide on how to clean hot tub filters here!
If your hot tub is full enough and its filter is clean but its jets are still sputtering then something might be blocking its lines. Hot tub flush will clear out any blockages in your spa’s plumbing.
If none of those fixes work then it’s time to call a professional, as your spa’s pump will more likely need replacing.
How to identify hot tub jets?
Hot tub jets come in all shapes and sizes but usually feature a front face and diffuser to help identify what kind it is.
The front face of the jet defines the opening, while the diffuser will spread out the water flow. Jets may also have adjustable faces that can be used to control how much pressure you get when using them.
Step 1: Locate the Jet Diffuser
Locating the diffuser is the first step to replacing a hot tub jet. To do this, simply flip the jet over and look for the part number which is usually stamped at the top of the part. This information is important because it’s what goes into your hot tub or spa when you’re ready to replace your jets or make a switch.
Step 2: Measure the Front Face of the Jet
After you find the part number on the diffuser, it’s time to measure up. Flip the jet back over to its front face and take a look at the diameter – that is, the distance from one side to the other. This step is key when you are replacing your hot tub jet as you don’t want to buy something that isn’t going to fit correctly!
Step 3: Replace or make the switch
After you’ve identified the diffuser and taken your measurements, you can decide which jet style works best for you. If you had a directional jet before but now prefer a pulsator one, simply make the switch! Whichever type of jet you choose will alter the massage experience that it provides.
Replacement jets can be often sourced directly from the dealership that you bought your tub from, so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and contact your personal or another local dealer!
Can I upgrade the jets in my hot tub?
If your jets have seen better days or limescale has built up on them and started locking them into place then it’s easy to replace them.
Each hot tub brand has its own specific jet design, so you’ll need to pick up replacement jets that are compatible with your make and model (a good dealership can help you here).
Then simply drain your hot tub, twist your jets counterclockwise until they pop out, and replace them with their upgrades.
No, all hot tub jets are not universal. The size of the jet and the type of diffuser it is compatible with will vary depending on the hot tub model.
It is important to measure the diameter of the front face of the jet and identify its part number before purchasing a replacement as these factors will affect which ones are suitable for your particular hot tub.
How long do hot tub jets last?
The lifespan of a hot tub jet will depend on multiple factors including the type and quality of the jet, how often it is used, water hardness and other environmental elements. Generally speaking, with regular maintenance and proper care, hot tub jets can last several years.
How much does it cost to replace a hot tub jet?
The cost to replace a hot tub jet can vary depending on the type of jet needed and where it is being purchased. Generally speaking, a single jet may range anywhere from £10-£50, with bulk orders often being discounted. Labour costs might also apply depending on the complexity of the installation process.
Does more jets mean a better hot tub?
More jets does not necessarily equate to a better hot tub experience. The number of jets in a hot tub is an important factor, however, it’s not the only one.
How many pumps a hot tub has is more important than how many jets it has. The variety of jets a hot tub has is also often more important than the number of jets (depending on your needs). Keep these two things in mind next time you’re in the market for a home spa to make sure you get the best model to suit your needs!
And pick up your free copy of WhatSpa? magazine for more expert advice on buying, installing, and maintaining a hot tub – as well as our pick of the best buys for any budget.
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I am the Content Writer and Marketing Officer at WhatSpa? Magazine. I have worked at WhatSpa? for over 8 years, and I recently graduated with Distinction from Northumbria University with a Master's degree in Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
My role at WhatSpa? is to ensure that all hot tub lovers can easily access the highest quality and most up-to-date content, news and information from within the UK wet leisure industry.