HERE IS A LITTLE SECRET THAT YOU may or may not already know: Most people who buy a house with a whirlpool tub use it infrequently even though it may be one of the primary reasons they bought the house in the first place. That unscientific finding says a lot about home buyers, but it says even more about the tub.
Few features in a house are a bigger draw than a whirlpool tub. And the products are hotter than ever. Whirlpools are about comfort and relaxation and luxury, says Shelly Roberts, marketing communications manager for Lasco Bathware in Anaheim, Calif. People love the products even though they don't always have the time to use them, she explains.
Though traditional whirlpool tubs are still very popular, consumers now have another tub option: air technology. Unlike traditional whirlpools, these new tubs circulate bursts of air from tiny holes located at the bottom or side of the tub. “Air tubs give bathers a softer all-over feeling,” says Roberts, as opposed to traditional jets, which give a more vigorous massage.
Some consumers want to have both types of technology in the same unit, which is why Lasco has introduced the Builder's Choice series of combination tubs. Air technology is not really new, Roberts says, but such tubs have traditionally run about $5,000. The company's new tub satisfies the needs of buyers who want the option of both technologies, but the unit only costs about $1,500.
West Palm Beach, Fla.–based Jacuzzi also offers combination baths such as Allusions and Affinity with jet technology and pure air. For those buyers who still want the high-end, the company recently introduced its Morphosis line of tubs that costs between $19,999 up to $21,999.
Whichever version your customer wants, whether it's a whirlpool with traditional jets or with air technology, it's clear that the tubs are rapidly becoming a must-have product at move-up price points and above. Fortunately, manufacturers offer a variety of tubs at a range of prices to meet every possible consumer need—and want.