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What term is right – spa or hot tub? Well, both actually. The terms spa and hot tub are used interchangeably in the industry, so it's fine to refer to your new tub as a spa or hot tub, whichever sounds right to you. It used to be that "hot tub" referred to the wooden variety, filled with water and usually without jets, while "spa" referred to the acrylic variety including jets and whirlpool action. Today, most dealers and industry professionals use either term. So whatever you call your tub, rest assured you're speaking the same language when you're talking to your dealer.