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How to Turn Your Bathtub Into a Jacuzzi on a Budget

Buying a jacuzzi is a cash outlay most of us simply don’t have.

However, if you have a bathtub, some tools, and a little spare cash, you can easily turn your bathtub into a jacuzzi complete with bubbles, heat, and lights.

bathtub to jacuzzi

What’s the Difference Between a Bath and a Jacuzzi?

A bath usually holds less water, and it cools down the longer you are in it.

It also doesn’t have any bubbles (fizziness from bath bombs doesn’t count!), jets, heat, or light in it.

A jacuzzi is a fancy brand name for a hot tub that features jet sprayers, bubble-making ports, and heating panels.

It sometimes also has lights to complete a fun and relaxing water adventure.

Therefore, theoretically, you can build a jacuzzi out of a regular bathtub by adding in those elements at a fraction of the cost.

How to Turn a Bathtub Into a Jacuzzi

You do not need a complete toolkit to install a jacuzzi since most of the features can be purchased separately for portable installation. In other words, you don’t need fancy tools at all.

There are even battery-powered elements, so you don’t have to worry about laying in extension cables or being electrocuted while taking a bath.

1. Cover the Overflow Drain

If you want your bathtub to stay warm and toasty, you need to have enough water in it to cover you properly.

One way to do this is to seal off your bathtub overflow drain with an inexpensive overflow cover.

This is a cap made of plastic or silicone that plugs the overflow hole where the bath drains when it’s too full.

A downside is that you have to be careful not to overfill the bath and be sure there is enough space between the edge of the bath and the waterline.

That said, adding in an inch or two of water makes a HUGE difference as you can submerge more of your body below the warm water.

You can also buy a portable hot tub bath mat that comes with built-in heating pads and bubble-making heads. With this nifty appliance, you are more than halfway to hot tub heaven.

2. Install Proper Lights

No hot tub or jacuzzi experience is complete without some awesome submersible lights, and if you can use different colors, even better!

You can now achieve this effect with magnetic submersible LED lights that come with remote control.

While these are battery-operated, they offer over 40 hours of bubbly light pleasure.

Simply slip them into position along the sides and bottom of your cast iron bathtub.

If you have a fiberglass bathtub, you can place them on the bottom of the bathtub as they are heavy enough not to float out of place.

The remote control lets you effortlessly switch them on and off or cycle through a range of unique lighting programs.

If you’re not a fan of LED lights, you can opt for the traditional approach of floating candles, which can add a romantic effect. Just be careful of getting singed.

3. Get the Bubbles

Using a portable jacuzzi bath mat with bubbles releases a constant flurry of bubbles from the bottom of the tub.

Bath mats are an excellent way to get a massage while relaxing in the tub.

For the suction cups to hold the mat in place, you need a smooth and untextured tub.

But the installation process is pretty simple — just be sure to practice electrical safety and inspect all cords before using this at home.

Check that the power cord is long enough to reach your extension cable or wall socket before choosing a model.

It’s not a good idea to hang your extension cable over the edge of the bathtub, so don’t do that.

4. Add Jets

If you want something more powerful, you may want to invest in an electrical bath hydro jet system, a powerful motor with two jets built-in.

By simply clamping the motor on the edge of the bath, you lower the two jets into the bath, producing powerful jet streams and bubbles into the bathwater.

Again, you will have to exercise some caution with the electrical cords, but it is reasonably safe and worth the cost.

The more permanent option is to buy a jacuzzi conversion kit with six or more powerful jets that you can install permanently on the sides of the bath.

To install a jacuzzi conversion kit, you’ll need some tools.

Before installing the jets, you will also need to cut holes in the tub walls, install wires on the outside, install air hoses, and install a motor to run the jets and bubble features of the system.

5. A Final Touch Of Hot Tub Bliss

The moment you step out of the warm and luxurious tub onto a cold tile floor, you will certainly feel the effects of it.

So, invest in some plush floor rugs, perhaps add a heated floor rug underlay, or install some heated towel railings.

This is sure to complete the spa feeling of being immersed in warm comfort and pleasure.


Can you add jets to an existing bathtub?

Yes, you can add portable ones or install an actual jet system by cutting holes in the side of your existing bathtub and gluing the jets in place. Wire them into an air pump and drainage system to allow the jets to receive water and operate.

How can I stop my bathwater from turning cold when I use a home jet spa system?

You can insulate the bathroom better, closing doors and windows to keep a draft out, and you can also use hot stones in the water. These are basalt stones you can heat in your oven to add to your bath. They will slowly release their heat into the water, helping to keep your bath nice and warm for hours.

Can I add bubble bath liquid to my bath when I have installed jets or use a bath massager mat?

Yes, you can add your favorite bubble bath mix, but bath oils are best avoided as they may clog up your jets and make any portable fittings slick with oil. If you do add bubble bath, remember that the jets and bubble makers will create way more foam than your regular foam bath will, so add less of the bubble bath mix.

Popping the Last Bubble

Bathing will be more enjoyable if you install inexpensive bubble mats, LED lights, portable jets, and other bathroom delights.

If, however, you want pluck for your buck, then you should ideally opt for a full bathtub remodel with electric spa motors, jets, and air hoses, or you can purchase a spa motor system that clamps onto the side of your tub.

Mandy Phillips

As a frequent contributor to top US magazines and publications in the home improvement niche, Mandy has been known for sharing her expertise on how to clean, organize, and decorate bathrooms.

Additionally, Mandy has immense experience offering lifestyle tips and tricks to her readers.

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At Loo Academy, our mission is to offer trusted advice for everything related to bathrooms (design ideas, plumbing advice, showering & bathing tips, remodeling guides, and more) — a place where we all spend a great deal of time.

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