Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Fired Hot Tub

Posted by Redwood Outdoors on Apr 3rd 2016

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Fired Hot Tub

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Fired Hot Tub

If you’re considering purchasing a wood fired hot tub for the first time, you will not be disappointed. People use them to relax and rejuvenate and associate them with a number of health benefits. Plus, they’re way less expensive and easier to operate than their electric cousins. However, as you explore the various models, you’ll no doubt come across several variables which can make it hard to choose. Do you need an internal heater or an external one? How many gallons is the ideal size? We’ll explore the answers to these questions and go over a few more details below.

1) Internal vs. External Heater

When it comes to wood fired hot tubs, you have a choice as to where the heater (also called a stove) goes.


With internal varieties, the stove is submerged in the water and you’ll add wood through a port in the top. For the sake of safety, it’s usually partially walled off from the rest of the unit, so you’ll lose a small portion of the seating space (usually one or two seats). However, because the heater is submerged, it’s a bit more efficient. It will heat the water quicker and can be managed from inside the tub.


With external heaters, the stove sits outside the unit, but it’s placed low enough that the heat transfers to the water and heats it via thermal siphoning. There is no seating space lost due to the heater, but it might take up to twice as long for your tub to heat.

Pricing between the two versions is comparable, so this is purely a personal decision: are you ok with slower heating or do you want faster heating at the expense of a seat?

2) The Presence of Children

It’s also worth mentioning that families with children should place extra consideration into internal vs external heating. Depending on how much wood you’re burning, the type of wood being used, and the design of the unit, it can get incredibly hot close to the stove. If your children will be using it with you, pay special attention to the design, how you heat it, and where your children sit. If the heater is external, it could pose a burn risk to children (and inattentive adults) who are playing in the area. In these cases, you may want to go with internal to avoid this risk. You may also be able to pick up protective gear for the chimney, but availability of safety add-ons varies by the manufacturer.

4) Access

There are typically four ways people access hot tubs; climbing, ladders, stairs, and platforms. If you’re young and agile, you may be fine with a ladder or no access aids at all. However, those who are older, those who have mobility problems, and children, tend to do better with stairs or platforms. Platforms can add onto the expense of getting a wood fire hot tub considerably, so stairs may be a more cost-effective upgrade when agility and mobility are concerns.

5) Size

Most manufacturers will make this easy on you and tell you the number of people who can sit comfortably in the unit at once. However, you can use the figures below as a guide, but bear in mind these estimates are based upon the measurements of current Redwood Outdoors hot tubs and other manufacturers will likely have small variants. Moreover, the gallons calculated consider the tub being filled to capacity and do not account for the small amount of water displaced by internal heating elements.

PeopleInternal/ External HeaterDiameterDepthGallons (approx.)

6) Depth

Wood hot tubs are already much deeper than acrylic spas, which an important benefit as it impacts buoyancy; the feeling of weightlessness you get when you’re submerged. Naturally, the more your body is submerged, the less it has to work to support itself. This is typically linked to the overall sense of relaxation which comes from hot tub use and their ability to relieve stress. However, the same impact is felt on joints and muscles throughout the body, which is why hot tubs are associated with relief of joint stiffness and arthritis symptoms as well as the soothing effect felt on tired muscles. However, as you can see from the chart above, wood hot tubs come in varying depths. Those who plan to use theirs for health benefits may want to go with the deeper options.

7) Sourcing and Storing Your Wood

Firewood is readily available in most areas. Some may be able to source it from their own land, while others will need to purchase it. Many companies deliver wood for a nominal fee, but you’ll save money if you can purchase a full cord or two at once. If you purchase a cord, it will take a 4”x4”x8” space and, based on current pricing, will typically run about $100 delivered—you’ll also save if you can pick it up. Let your supplier know how you intend to use it. He or she will help you find the best blend of wood types to keep costs low and operate your stove efficiently.

8) Installation

Every model from every manufacturer is a bit different. Always check out the installation guide before you buy to ensure it’s something you can tackle and that the model you’re choosing is ideal for the space you want to place it in. Head to our “Hot Tub Assembly” page for details on how ours come together and to check out a video of a one-man installation.

9) The Manufacturer

It probably goes without saying, but quality and having a company that stands by its work is paramount when you’re making an investment. At Redwood Outdoors we make each unit as its ordered and run quality checks. However, if anything is wrong, our customer-friendly policy ensures we’ll make it right.

Order Your Wood Fired Hot Tub Now or Contact Us with Questions

We have a wealth of wood fired hot tubs to choose from, ensuring you can find just the right thing, whether you want a smaller unit for just you and your sweetheart or need something larger to suit a family and friends. Plus, we have a mix of units with internal and external heaters, so you can choose what’s right for you. Visit the catalogue now or contact us if have questions or need help selecting the right model for your needs.