Paraffin wax baths are a popular treatment at spas and resorts — and for good reason. Paraffin treatments are not only effective for soothing dry, rough, and irritated skin, but they can also help reduce the pain associated with arthritis or fibromyalgia. That's because the wax traps heat around the treated area, which can soften the skin, increase moisture, boost blood flow, and relax your muscles. But if you don't always have time for a spa appointment, having an at-home paraffin wax spa lets you give yourself a treatment whenever you need it. Consumer paraffin wax spas are basins with built-in heating elements to melt the wax, but there are differences among models in terms of features and performance.
With our buying guide, you'll have all the facts necessary to find the best paraffin wax spa for your at-home spa nights. We've included some specific product recommendations, too, like our top pick, the Therabath Professional Thermotherapy Paraffin Bath, which holds as much as nine pounds of wax and can be left plugged in, so the wax is always ready for a treatment.
Considerations when choosing paraffin wax spas
Paraffin wax spas vary in terms of how much wax they can hold. Some small models hold as little as three pounds, while larger baths can often hold six to nine pounds. The larger a paraffin wax spa's capacity is, the more areas of the body you can treat in one session without having to refill the spa.
If you're only interested in treating smaller areas of the body like your heels, hands, or elbows, a small three-pound model can work well. If you want to treat larger parts of the body, go with a spa that holds at least six pounds of wax.
A paraffin wax spa's capacity is obviously an important feature, but the bath's tub also has to fit the areas of your body you're treating. You can find some models with extra-large basins that can fit up to a men's size 13 foot, but many other spas can only fit small body parts.
For the safest, most durable paraffin wax spa, opt for a unit with outer housing made of heat-resistant plastic, such as ABS. These plastics can handle the high temperatures that are used to melt the wax without suffering any damage. For the basin area of the tub, look for a model with anodized aluminum, which can distribute heat evenly.
Plenty of paraffin wax spas have dial controls to turn the unit on and off and adjust the temperature. These models are extremely user-friendly, but they don't allow you to set a precise temperature. That's why you may prefer a model with digital controls that let you select a specific temperature to melt the wax. The controls usually consist of easy-to-use touch buttons for powering the spa on and off, too.
Adjustable temperature settings
Many beginner paraffin wax spas only heat to a single set temperature to melt the wax and help it stay warm. Other more advanced spas feature an adjustable thermostat, which allows you to select a temperature within a given range. For most paraffin wax spas with a thermostat, you can choose a temperature between 125 and 135ºF to customize your treatment.
To make operation as simple as possible, many paraffin wax spas feature indicator lights. There's one light to alert you when the spa is heating up and another to indicate that the wax is fully melted and ready to use.
Once the wax in your spa is melted, you don't want to run the risk of spilling it. Opt for a model with a lid that locks in place, so you don't have to worry about a mess if the spa is accidentally knocked over.
Some paraffin wax spas include paraffin wax with the spa, so you're ready to use the unit as soon as you acquire it. You can also find models that include plastic liners to place over the hot wax on your skin and thermal gloves or booties to wear over the liners. Depending on the areas of the body you plan to treat with the spa, you may want a model that comes with a brush for applying the melted wax to hard-to-reach areas.
You'll usually pay between $20 and $250 for paraffin wax spas. Small basic models typically go for $20 to $60 , while mid-size models with adjustable temperature settings and other special features generally cost between $60 and $140. If you want a large model with all the bells and whistles, expect to spend between $240 and $250.
Q. How frequently should I use my paraffin wax spa?
A. If you're using the spa to soothe dry rough skin, you can do a paraffin wax treatment whenever your skin feels dehydrated or itchy. For joint and other pain, use the spa whenever you experience symptoms.
Q. Can everyone use a paraffin wax spa?
A. While paraffin wax is perfectly safe for the skin, it can cause a heat rash if you have extremely sensitive skin. You should also avoid using a paraffin wax if you have diabetes, poor circulation, rashes or open sores, or numbness in the hands and feet. If you're unsure whether it's safe for you, consult a doctor before using the spa.
Paraffin wax spas we recommend
Best of the best: Therabath's Professional Thermotherapy Paraffin Bath
Our take: A professional-grade spa that maintains the paraffin wax at an ideal temperature for therapeutic purposes, so it's always ready for use.
What we like: Holds nine pounds of wax. Can be left turned on, so the wax is always melted and ready for use. Auto-regulation keeps temperature steady between 126 and 130ºF. Basin is made of durable lightweight anodized aluminum.
What we dislike: Doesn't offer an adjustable temperature; though, it features a double thermostat to keep the wax at a safe temperature.
Best bang for your buck: HoMedics' ParaSpa Plus Paraffin Bath
Our take: Isn't large enough for arthritis and other pain treatment, but it's an effective spa for treating dry rough skin.
What we like: Holds three pounds of wax. Effectively relieves hand pain and irritated dehydrated skin. Indicator light alerts you when the wax is ready to use. Features a safety system that includes a locking lid.
What we dislike: Becomes extremely hot when melting the wax, so you should only use the spa when the indicator light alerts you.
Choice 3: Parabath's Paraffin Wax Bath
Our take: A solid paraffin wax spa that can be used for at-home spa parties or therapeutic treatments.
What we like: Basin is extremely deep and features stainless steel construction for durability. Can fit your hand and wrist, foot and ankle, or elbow easily. Outer housing is insulated, so it doesn't become too hot. Wax is kept a temperature between 126 and 134ºF.
What we dislike: Doesn't offer adjustable temperature settings; though, it does keep the wax at a safe temperature.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.