The Champagne massage system pumps hot air into the bath water through scores of tiny holes in the floor of the clawfoot tub. This air forms thousands of tiny bubbles that are meant to gently massage the entire body as they float upward. A cross-section of a typical air/bubble clawfoot tub appears below:
This overhead image shows the perforated floor of an American Bath Factory 5’ “Duke” clawfoot tub:
Typically these tubs come with electronic control panels which allow you adjust the intensity and speed of the air flow to your liking. Better quality tubs (like the American Bath Factory tubs we offer) have built-in auto purge systems that dry the internal piping after every use. This helps keep that part of your bath clean and sanitary.
A true whirlpool tub, on the other hand, contains a limited number of jets that focus a very powerful stream of water to specific areas of the body. The jets are more powerful in a whirlpool tub because the water - not just air as is the case with a Champagne bath - circulates through the internal piping of the tub. The only true clawfoot whirlpool tub I know of is the American Bath Factory “Caspian” clawfoot tub:
This one-of-a-kind whirlpool tub has a 2 horsepower motor that blasts 10 gallons per minute out of 7 different jets (including 2 uniquely placed foot massage jets & 1 rotating back jet). Sweet.
So which tub do you choose? If you are looking for a gentle to moderate whole-body massage, then take a look at the Champagne clawfoot tubs. If you want a more targeted, moderate-to-strong hydro-massage experience, then sit yourself in a Caspian whirlpool tub. Price is another concern. The Caspian whirlpool tub typically sells for about 20% more than a similar champagne tub. Style is also a consideration. The Champagne massage tubs are truer reproductions of the classic clawfoot tub. The Caspian, on the other hand, has a slightly more modern, ergonomically designed look.
In part 2, I will discuss the differences in whirlpool tub construction and tips on how to clean and maintain your champagne or whirlpool tub.
Clawfoot Whirpool Tub Buying Guide