Snorkel® Hot Tubs … Simple, Beautiful, Practical

“Classic Not Plastic®”

Snorkel® Hot Tubs are 100% manufactured in the USA using premium-quality all heart, clear Western Red Cedar from the forests of Canada. With more and more companies sending manufacturing overseas these days, we’re prouder than ever to be “American Owned & Made.”

Each Wooden Snorkel® Hot Tub is Handcrafted With Classic Craftsmanship

Quality not quantity

We began our hot tub business in 1979, working out of a garage. Though we’ve grown tremendously since, we’ve maintained our original “intimate workshop” atmosphere rather than adopt a “big manufacturing” attitude. We’ve purposely kept our operation on a “human scale” because it allows us to pay particular attention to quality in every piece of our hot tubs, and in every dealing with our customers.

“Snorkel Grade” exceeds the industry’s toughest standards
Our hot tubs start with rough cut Export R List grade Western Red Cedar — the highest industry grade in the world, so prized that most of it is exported. Even so, our Inspectors reject 3 out of every 10 boards if they’re not 100% heartwood, have milling imperfections or other defects that don’t meet Snorkel Grade for our hot tubs. To create stock for staves and bottom boards, we run the rough-cut lumber through a high speed molding machine capable of holding extremely tight tolerances to +/- .005″ (three one-thousandth of an inch).

Why we use only Western Red Cedar

Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is unique among softwoods. It’s heartwood contains high levels of Thujaplicans and water-soluble phenolics — natural fungicides creating resistance to rot. Additionally, Western Red Cedar is the best thermal insulator among the commonly available softwood species.

For centuries, Western Red Cedar provided the indigenous people of the American Northwest raw materials for clothing, shelter, and utilitarian items. Its importance was so great that cedar groves became a symbol of power and a gathering place of retreat and contemplation

Today, Western Red Cedar’s workability, dimensional stability, insulating qualities, and rot resistance make it the perfect choice for premium building material applications including shingles, decking, fencing and siding. These same qualities — plus its rich “sauna-like” aroma — also make it ideal for hot tubs. And, we think it’s no coincidence that our cedar tubs become gathering places for retreat and contemplation.

If you’d like to learn more about Western Red Cedar, the two documents below from the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association provide a wealth of information.

Many processes, many inspections
Each bottom board and hot tub stave is inspected as it enters and leaves each step of the process. Staves are precision-cut to length and the croze cut (channel that mates to the hot tub bottom) is made. Bottom boards are hand-matched and hand-jointed as necessary for a perfect straight edge and then run through a shaper to produce a glue joint. The resulting glued joint is stronger than the wood itself. Our standard in-stock sizes are 5′, 6′ and 7′ diameters with 3′ and 4′ heights. We also make 4′ and 8′ diameter tubs, and a variety of heights to 6′ high. Need something special? Call us.

“Tight as a Drum” since 1979.
We hand-craft our hot tubs for quality, not quantity. There are faster and easier ways to make hot tubs but none measure up to the quality we demand. For example … Both sides of each wood stave are milled at a precise angle to mate perfectly to their neighbors. The angle varies depending on the diameter of the hot tub we’re building. Manufacturing and inventorying staves with different angles is more complicated and costly than using staves cut at the same angle or using “one size fits all” ball and socket staves for all hot tub diameters, but it’s the best way to ensure our hot tubs are “tight as a drum.” Similarly, dowelling the bottom boards of each hot tub together is more labor intensive but makes the strongest bottom. We even powder-coat our marine grade aluminum stoves to give extra protection against corrosion from calcium and other water-borne minerals.

  • Snorkel ® Hot Tubs are made of premium-grade, hand-selected and matched Western Red Cedar. We use only clear (100% knot-free), all heartwood cedar because it’s highly durable and rot resistant — frequently used in premium roofing shingles, siding, and other exterior applications.

  • Each stave is mitered at a precise angle to provide water-tight contact with adjoining staves. The angle depends on tub diameter and the number of staves used in each tub.

  • All staves are milled from 2 x 6″ stock that’s more expensive than narrower lumber used in some other wooden tubs. We use wider stock because it’s easier for you to assemble and makes a better tub with fewer joints.

  • Our wood is kiln-dried to a residual moisture content of about 8%. When you fill your tub, the dried wood absorbs water and swells 2 – 4%. That’s from 4.5″ to 9″ of expansion around the circumference of a 6′ diameter tub, making all joints leak-proof and watertight.

  • Each board is individually inspected and graded to our exacting specs. We use only clear (knot-free) heartwood with no imperfections. This kind of physical integrity ensures you a trouble free hot tub.

  • Tub bottom is the critical “foundation” of your hot tub. We hand-select and match every bottom board. Boards are finish jointed as necessary and then run through a shaper to form a glue joint on each side. Waterproof glue is applied to each edge as they are put into large heavy duty clamps. The resulting glued joint is stronger than the cedar itself.

    This is a labor-intensive process but it ensures your hot tub’s trouble-free operation and long life. The tub bottom is supported by 4″ x 6″ treated wooden chime joists

  • Flexible stainless steel bands bind the tub components tightly together for perfect stave alignment and permanent stability.

  • For wood-fired tubs, the stove’s fence separates you from the wood stove for safety yet allows free circulation of water.

  • Precision-cut kits come with absolutely everything, right down to wrenches to tighten the band’s lug nuts and a rubber mallet to seat the staves without damaging them.

Tub Specifications and Heat Rate Chart
Tub Size Gallons Weight 5.5kW Elec. Heater 10kW Elec. Heater 125,000 BTU Gas Heater 6.3kW * Clim8zone Heat Pump Snorkel® Stove Scuba® Stove
Approximate Temperature Rise (°F/hr)
4x3 209 1,910 11 20 64 13 36
4x4 290 2,596 8 15 46 9 26
5x3 335 3,032 7 13 29 8 45 22
5x4 467 4,129 5 9 28 6 32 16
6x3 495 4,422 5 9 27 6 30 15
6x4 686 6,028 3 6 19 3 22 11
7x3 683 5,984 3 6 19 3 22 11
7x4 947 8,174 2 5 14 2 16 8
8x3 902 7,870 3 5 15 3 17 8
8x4 1,251 10,727 2 3 11 2 12 6

*The 6.3kW rating of the Balboa Clim8zone heat pump is its maximum output with ambient air temperature and inlet water temperature at 79° F.