On a cold night it is heaven to soak in a hot tub full of crystal clear, bubbling water. But it is also amazing to splash in a sparking, cold, swimming pool on a hot day or to float on a raft. These two delights come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, and can be little slices of paradise right in your backyard, but what is the difference between a pool and a hot tub?

Pools and hot tubs are very different, though they do have many things in common. Both pools and hot tubs are small bodies of water for personal use, but the differences between pools and hot tubs take off from there. Temperature and size are the two biggest differences, though others include the chemical regimen and regular kind of use.

Many homes have a pool and a hot tub, while others have just a hot tub. Pools are generally larger than hot tubs, dug down into the ground. The water in them is cold, suitable for exercise or activities like cooling off on a hot day. Hot tubs are smaller than pools, and they can often sit above ground. The water in them is warm or hot (hence the name!) usually between 100 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit, and have jets of air or water that give the lucky owner relaxation and luxury.

Hot tubs average around 500 gallons, give or take, while pools can be much, much larger, like 20,000 gallons. People use pools and hot tubs for different purposes. Pools are used for swimming laps, playing games, and floating on rafts. While pools can come in many shapes and sizes, they are used for swimming laps, diving, floating, or playing games. Pools are usually seen as quite a luxury and a valuable addition to any home or complex. A hot tub is easier to install usually, as it can be placed on any strong, flat surface and does not require digging a giant hole. Even places too small for a pool can accommodate a hot tub, which is used for easing sore muscles and enjoying relaxation at home.

The chemicals used to sanitize and maintain pools and hot tubs are often the same, but the regimens are very different. The difference in size and temperature of the bodies of water requires different ratios and schedules of chemicals to keep the water clean, clear, and properly balanced. Chlorine, bromine, pH balancers, and other chemicals are needed to make sure that the water is healthy for you to play, swim, and relax. It’s best to consult your manufacturer for directions on the best amount and order of chemicals to administer for your pool or hot tub and get to get on a schedule for regular maintenance.

Whether you have a pool or a hot tub, you have a little slice of luxury and with a little regular attention, the opportunity for hours of enjoyment. And if you only have one or the other, why not have both?