How To Choose Your Next Bathtub

Are you looking to add more style and class to your bathroom? If so, you could start by replacing that old bathtub in the powder room with a newer and modern bathtub. Some few years back, bathtubs were just simple structures with a tub and a shower. Today, however, the market offers a wide range of advanced bathtubs with high technology features, which makes choosing of bathtubs even more difficult.

Also, bathtubs tend to be permanent structures, with some going for very high prices. Therefore, before you can purchase a bathtub, you need to do enough research so as to ensure that you buy the best bathtub for your bathroom. This article discusses the major things that you should always consider before buying a bathtub.

The 6 Things You Need to Consider

Before you confirm your purchase for a bathtub, it is very important that you consider the following 6 major aspects;

  • Bathtub Style
  • Size
  • Materials
  • Installation
  • Life Style
  • Price

Consider each of these bathtub considerations in detail;

1.) Bathroom Style

The style of your bathroom is a major determinant of the type of bathtub that can be installed. This style usually touches on two main aspects of the bathroom; the available space and the material making the bathroom.

For instance, the amount of space available in the bathroom can call for a oval-shaped bathtub, or just accommodate a round-shaped bathtub. Also, some bathtubs are designed with specific materials, such as copper/natural stone. The use of such specific materials would, therefore, require the installation of similar material bathtubs in the bathroom.

The good thing about bathtubs is that; whichever style and design your bathroom is, you will always find a matching bathtub style. The following are the different types of bathtubs that you can always purchase for your bathroom style;

a.) Freestanding Bathtubs

Of all the bathtub styles sold in the market today, freestanding bathtubs are the most popular. The main reason behind their high popularity is that, they can be easily fitted into almost all spaces.

More so, their installation does not require that they be connected to the walls. This makes it possible to place freestanding bathtubs just anywhere in a bathroom space. As for their price, freestanding bathtubs go for relatively cheaper prices than other bathtub styles.

b.) Walk-in

Walk-in bathtubs are mainly designed for the seniors, or those users with limited mobility. These tubs have more advanced safety features than their counterparts. For instance, they are designed with grooves and notches built-in the tub, for providing more stability and balance during bathing. Also, a bather can comfortably walk in and sit in the walk-in tub, without worrying about slipping. In summary, a walk-in bathtub provides a safe bathing experience for its users.

c.) Regular

The regular bathtubs take after the older Clawfoot designs. However, instead of the pegged claws included on the base of the Clawfoot bathtub designs, regular bathtubs include a modernized sleek and uniform look.

For those who still prefer the older Clawfoot design, they can still acquire such regular bathtubs. However, this older version is usually longer and rectangular, hence requires more space than other regular bathtubs.

d.) Soaking/Japanese style

Soaking/Japanese bathtub styles are usually designed with an oval or rounded shape. The main purpose of these tubs is to allow for users to sit and soak comfortably in the tub. This is why the tubs are built with a taller height than most of the other regular bathtubs.

Soaking bathtubs come in different sizes and styles. They can, therefore, be used in all bathroom spaces; whether small or big. The most commonly used soaking/Japanese bathtubs in apartments are the small-sized tubs.

e.) Oval

Oval bathtubs resemble a water basin, and are mostly found in the apartments or homes which are limited in space. This is because they maximize on the space by fitting in the sharp corners and edges of the bathroom. Oval bathtubs are usually round and symmetrical.

f.) Undermount/Drop-in

Drop-in tubs are usually fitted in a carved pit enclosure, after which they are sealed in. These tubs therefore appear as tub shells, with the rim clearly visible. On the other hand, Undermount bathtubs are usually fitted underneath the bathroom deck, such that they appear to be on a uniform level with the bathroom floor. In the case of Undermount bathtubs, the rim is hidden.

However, both the Undermount and the drop-in tubs have similar characteristics in that; they both save on space, and are also designed with a wide range of styles and materials. More so, both types of tubs can be fitted with massage jets, or even include a shower for advanced uses.

g.) Corner Tub

The corner bathtub shares a lot of similarities with the alcove bathtub, but it is slightly larger and wider than the latter. However, these tubs take up a similar less space as do the alcove bathtubs. The larger corner tubs can even be used for dual bathing.

h.) Angled

The angled bathtub is a unique type of bathtub style. One side of this bathtub is designed with a slightly higher slope than the other. The higher slope provides more support on the user’s neck and back, during bathing. Angled bathtubs are available in different sizes; some are designed with the same size as an oval bathtub, while others are built with larger sizes than those of oval and regular freestanding bathtubs.

i.) Alcove

Also known as recessed tubs, alcove tubs are usually set up in such a way that three of its sides are connected to a finished/enclosed wall. For more privacy, the front side of the alcove bathtub can be fitted with a shower curtain, or alternatively with a door. These types of bathtubs are most ideal for small living spaces, since they take up very little space.

j.) Clawfoot

Clawfoot bathtub design is one of the most traditional designs, being in existence since the 1800s. It is a bathtub style that still hasn’t lost its popularity even in the modern world. The base of this bathtub includes 4 legs (or ‘claws’), for providing additional support of the tub. Also, Clawfoot bathtubs are usually freestanding type of tubs.

2.) Size

Size is another aspect that you should put into consideration when choosing a bathtub. If you own a large spacious bathroom, then you can comfortably get a larger tub style, such as a freestanding bathtub or a corner tub.

On the other hand, if the size of your bathroom is quite small, you would do well to get smaller bathtubs that maximize on space. The most recommended bathtubs for small spaces are alcove, Japanese style and drop-in tubs. Even so, there are smaller bathtubs which offer similar advanced features as larger bathtubs. For instance, the soaking/Japanese tubs are designed in such a way that the bather can sit and soak comfortably, just as with a larger bathtub.

It is important that you remember that; the larger a bathtub is, the more water it requires to fill completely. Therefore, if you decide to get a large bathtub, you should as well be ready to cover for all the associated water bills.

The bottom line is; before you can choose a bathtub, first measure the size of your home/bathroom. Then, choose the bathtub size that is most appropriate for your bathroom. Don’t go for bathtubs that are too large or too cramped for your bathroom size.

3.) Materials

In order to choose the right material for your bathtub, you need to consider two main aspects; comfort and price. Each material provides a different feel to people. Also, the material that feels comfortable to you might prove to be uncomfortable to another person. Therefore, before you can choose a bathtub, it is highly recommended that you test out different materials. You should then choose the material that feels most comfortable to you, so as to ensure that your bathing experience is always comfortable.

However, the bathtub material that feels comfortable to you may be too expensive for your budget. This is why, in addition to checking for bathtub material, you should also compare this to the price of the tub. Choose the most convenient bathtub material that your budget and your bathroom can handle.

Some of the common materials used to make bathtubs are;

a.) Wood

Wood material is not just rustic, but also provides a pleasing aesthetic brilliance. Wood bathtubs are made using natural wood, which usually includes a wax sealing resistant to water. This wax sealing is highly durable and can hold the tub for several years. Just like the copper bathtubs, wax tubs have high prices, averaging around $2,000.

The main disadvantage about wood bathtubs is that; after consistent use, these tubs become prone to breaking down. Wood bathtubs are, therefore, not as lasting investments as other highly priced bathtubs.

b.) Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a very lightweight material which can be easily molded. It is made using molded sheets of reinforced plastic. The main positive thing about fiberglass bathtub is that; it is a highly durable material, and it is also the cheapest type of bathtub in the market.

However, fiberglass bathtubs tend to be porous, which leads to the material becoming more unstable over time. They are also very prone to chipping and scratching, such that they do not wear well. Adding an acrylic finishing on the fiberglass bathtubs can help to counteract these demerits.

c.) Copper

Copper bathtubs are considered the ideal tubs for luxurious and elegant bathrooms. Copper material has a high durability and can retain heat for a very long time. Furthermore, copper bathtubs do not require any maintenance at all. The average price for these bathtubs in the market is $2,000, which makes copper bathtubs more expensive than other bathtubs by 2-3 times.

d.) Porcelain

Porcelain bathtubs are built by impressing either a layer of cast iron or steel, using another layer of porcelain-enamel. The porcelain-enamel material is what makes the durable coating of the bathtub.

Porcelain bathtubs are, therefore, quite durable and non-porous. They rarely warp, and last for very long time durations without deteriorating. However, the porcelain-enamel coating of these tubs tends to be very delicate, such that heavy impacts dropped on the tub can lead to the development of unattractive blemishes on the surface.

e.) Cultured Marble

Cultured marble material is known for its high heat-retention capacity, as well as durability. The materials used to make it, (crushed limestone and resin), are what give it such positive features. This material also provides a beautiful pearlescent shine to the bathtub surfaces.

Cultured marble bathtubs, however, have quite a numerous number of disadvantages, which is why most people don’t go for this particular bathtub material. For instance, these types of tubs are sold at very expensive prices, starting from $700. Cultured marble material is also very heavy, which makes its installation difficult and tiresome. More so, the bathtubs require regular maintenance, which when ignored could lead to the discoloration and permanent staining of the tub.

f.) Acrylic

The acrylic material includes plastic consisting of an high-gloss finishing. This high-gloss finishing is responsible for the acrylic bathtubs’ higher durability than that of the fiberglass bathtubs. Furthermore, the color of acrylic is usually solid everywhere, such that any scratches made on the tub are rarely visible. These main aspects of the acrylic bathtubs are what give it an higher price than most of the other bathtubs.

g.) Stone Resin

The stone resin material is usually made from binding natural stone with adhesive. Binding of these two materials provides a composite material, which looks and feels like natural stone. However, stone resin lacks the weight and added costs of natural stone.

Stone resin bathtubs are popular for their high durability and ability to retain heat. Stone resin material is also quite cheap, which makes these tubs affordable. In addition, these tubs are not porous, and do not therefore warp over time. However, stone resin bathtubs are designed with very few styles and designs.

h.) Ceramic

In order to make a ceramic bathtub, many ceramic tiles are molded together until they harden. Ceramic material is less different from clay; it comes in the highest number of styles and sizes than any other bathtub material. The main disadvantage about ceramic bathtubs is that they require a regular and thorough maintenance, otherwise, they will deteriorate and crumble in the long run.

4.) Installation

Some bathtubs are easy to install, while others are hard to. The ease of installation is mainly determined by the size and shape of the bathtubs. Generally, the alcove and drop-in bathtubs are the easiest to install, while the corner and freestanding bathtubs are the most difficult to install.

Other factors which determine the ease of installation of a bathtub is the material used to make it, as well as the overall weight of the tub. Heavier bathtubs and materials are usually a hassle to install, requiring installation by a professional.

Consider the ease of installation of each type of bathtub, as discussed below;

a.) Freestanding

Freestanding bathtubs can be installed at any place in a bathroom. All that is required to install a freestanding bathtub is a functional drain and a water source. Therefore, these tubs do not require any connecting walls, or carved out ingresses, as with most types of bathtubs.

Despite the fact that freestanding bathtubs can be easily placed anywhere, these come in very large sizes. Large tub sizes mean that they hold large volumes of water, which adds to the overall weight of the tub during bathing. Also, some materials used to makes these tubs have a high density, giving the tubs a heavier weight. Therefore, if you decide to choose this bathtub, make sure that your bathroom floor can safely support all the additional weight.

b.) Corner

Corner bathtubs are probably the most difficult types of bathtubs to install. They have a wider design than other bathtubs in the market, which means that they require a larger surface area to install. Corner bathtubs are also designed with several moving parts. The installation of these tubs, therefore, require the effort of several people. Those corner tubs designed with more water settings may even call for installation by a professional, due to the extensive plumping required.

c.) Alcove

Installation of the alcove bathtub is also quite easy. Just like with the drop-in bathtubs, alcove tubs require that you have an ingress ready. When installing an alcove, the tub is simply placed in the ingress space, after which the requisite plumping is connected. More so, due to the small size of alcoves, these tubs can be easily installed by 1 or 2 people.

d.) Drop-In

When compared with other types of bathtubs sold in the market, installation of drop-in tubs is probably the easiest. Just as their name suggests, drop-in bathtubs simply ‘drop in.’ In order to install a drop-in tub, assemble the requisite plumping, after which you can then place it in a carved out enclosure (or an ingress).

5.) Life Style

In order to make the best choice on which bathtub to go for, you also need to consider the people who will use it. This may sound like an odd suggestion, yet it is very crucial. Say, for instance, you purchase a taller bathtub. This tub may allow you to soak comfortably for longer sessions. However, it may not be very ideal for your young ones, as these would always require assistance to enter and exit the tub.

Therefore, it is really important that you keep in mind the specific needs of the intended tub users, before actually purchasing one. If the users are seniors, you would do well to get the Japanese or round tubs. If you have more money to spent, you can even get a walk-in bathtub, which is built with grips, comfortable seats and other safety features to ensure a more comfortable bathing experience for seniors. Always go for the bathtub that would be most convenient and comfortable for the intended users.

6.) Price

In most cases, bathtubs with a smaller size tend to go for cheaper prices, with those having a larger size being sold at more expensive prices. However, the size of a bathtub is not really the main determinant of its price. The price of a bathtub is usually dependent on two primary aspects; the style of the tub and material used to make the tub.

a.) Price per Style

Each bathtub style has its own price, which is also determined by the size of the tub. Bathtubs constructed in a freestanding style go for a price range of $600 to $3,000, excluding installation. Alcove bathtubs go for a price range of $400 to $800, while the total installation price of the tub ranges from $300 to $400.

Drop-in bathtubs are the most simple, running from a price of $300 to $900. Installation of drop-in bathtubs is very simple, such that the owners can simply install these themselves. On the other hand, corner tubs are usually designed with additional features. This makes them more expensive than other tubs, going for a starting price of $700.

b.) Price per Material

Freestanding bathtubs go for a price range of between $500 to $2,000. This price range is usually dependent on the material used to make the tub. Fiberglass bathtubs go for the cheapest prices, ranging form $200 to $500. Acrylic bathtubs go for average prices, starting from $500. Porcelain tubs are relatively expensive, with some even going for up to $1,500. However, you can still find a porcelain bathtub of around $300. These three bathtub materials, (fiberglass, porcelain and acrylic), are the most budget-friendly tubs you can find in the market.

On the other hand, cast iron, copper and steel are the most expensive bathtubs sold in the market. Cast iron tubs go for a price range of $500 to $2,000, while steel goes for a starting price of $300. The lower price of steel is due to the fact that steel material is heavy, which makes its installation a hassle. However, apart from their heavier weight, steel bathtubs are just as efficient as cast iron tubs. Copper and wood tubs are the most expensive of all bathtubs, having a starting price of $1,500. These tubs tend to be high-priced because they all come as custom-made bathtubs.


Before, bathtubs were considered as just structures for showering and offering cleansing benefits to the body. Today, bathtubs are a place where you can relax and enjoy a comfortable soaking experience. But, for a bathtub to offer you all these benefits, it has to be the right type of bathtub. Therefore, before you can pick out your favorite bathtub, ensure that you consider all the above 6 considerations. If the bathtub ticks all 6 considerations, then that is the best tub to take home.

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