Your fixtures are arguably the most critical choices you can make during your bathroom renovation. In addition to choosing the right toilet, vanity, and sink combination, finding the right bathtub is essential to achieving your ideal end product.
Choosing the best bathtub doesn’t have to be an ordeal. With a little bit of background on the options out there, some important rules of thumb, and reviews on today’s top option, you’ll be able to outfit your bathroom.
- BEST OVERALL: Woodbridge 67″ Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: KINGSTON BRASS 60-Inch Contemporary Alcove Bathtub
- BEST FREESTANDING: WOODBRIDGE BTA-1513 Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub
- BEST ALCOVE: American Standard Cambridge Apron-Front Bathtub
- BEST SOAKING: WOODBRIDGE Acrylic Freestanding Soaking Tub BTA1515-B
- BEST WHIRLPOOL: Woodbridge 71″ x 31.5″ Water Jetted Whirlpool Tub
- BEST WALK-IN: Empava EMPV-WIT373 52.5″ Freestanding Walk-in Bathtub
Types of Bathtubs
The design of a vessel meant for bathing goes back thousands of years. In that time, there have been many styles of tubs invented or created. This is good news for your renovation, as you’ll be able to find the best bathtub for your style with relative ease. The following are the most common types of bathtubs.
The standard bathtub, as the name suggests, is the most common type of tub. They come as models that drop into framed openings, alcove models that fit into three-wall recesses, and shower and tub combinations.
Though older bathtubs could be cast-iron or steel in construction, modern standard bathtubs are typically fiberglass. This material choice makes them strong enough to hold plenty of water, light enough to install easily, and affordable enough to manufacture without driving the cost up for the consumer. They come in various sizes, with the most common sizes and shapes accommodating a bather in the lying position.
If it’s a focal point you’re after, a freestanding tub is the way to go. You can install these tubs anywhere plumbing allows, so you can use them as the centerpiece of your bathroom if that’s what your design calls for. They come in many shapes and sizes, with sloped and curved backs, to accommodate the bather in a relaxing position.
Manufacturers typically make freestanding tubs with layers of acrylic vacuum formed over fiberglass sheets. These freestanding tubs are lightweight and easy to install, but strong enough for a nice, deep soak. They’re also very affordable compared to cast-iron or steel options.
A variation of freestanding tubs, clawfoot tubs can install anywhere plumbing allows, and they can make a significant impact on your bathroom’s design. As the name suggests, these tubs have four feet to support the basin, and those feet usually feature intricate designs.
A bathtub full of water is heavy, so invariably, clawfoot tubs have to be strong. Since there are only four points of contact, the tubs themselves are usually porcelain-covered steel or cast-iron, with the latter being the most desirable.
Clawfoot tubs look incredible in the right bathroom, such as an early Victorian, farmhouse, or Craftsman-style. Their elegance and detail might stand out too much in a modern-inspired bathroom.
The “soaking” tub category can encompass several bathtub designs, including freestanding and clawfoot. A soaking tub is a deep tub that allows the bather to submerge their body in a comfortable position for a long, relaxing bath. You can consider any tub that meets those design criteria as a soaker. They can be steel, cast-iron, fiberglass, or acrylic in construction.
The key to the soaking tub is its comfort, and that’s thanks to the contour. It wraps itself around the bather comfortably, making it a great choice for master bathrooms that serve as a getaway from the daily grind.
For the ultimate relaxing experience, you might want to check into a whirlpool tub. With the popular appliance brand name aside, many manufacturers create these tubs. They feature self-contained water jets that cycle bathwater throughout the system, providing jet streams of water ideal for relaxing tense muscles.
Whirlpools tend to be relatively big, as they need the room for several jets (usually between six and eight) and the water volume to keep the jets pumping. You can find them in stand-alone units as well as drop-in styles.
There must be power available wherever you decide to install a whirlpool tub, as the pump will run on electricity.
What to Consider When Choosing The Best Bathtub
Now that you have a solid idea of the different types of tubs available, you’re ready to soak up the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for the best bathtub. Listed below you’ll find some of the top features and design ideas.
Bathtubs come in a variety of sizes, with freestanding tubs having the greatest flexibility. Since they don’t need to fit into specifically built alcoves or drop-in recesses, they can come in nearly any length or width. They commonly measure between 60 and 72 inches in length, with a basic width in the 30- to 32-inch ballpark. The same applies to clawfoot tubs.
When it comes to retrofitting a new tub in an older alcove or recess, size is an important consideration. The most common size measures 60 inches long by 32 inches wide, making retrofits a bit less complicated. However, there are oversize options for larger alcoves or recesses, so be sure to measure your current tub before ordering a new one.
If you’re going for a good soak, you need a tub with the capacity to handle it. Most of the best bathtub manufacturers provide information describing their tubs’ capacities, so be sure to pay attention.
Standard bathtubs don’t typically require a large capacity, so 50 gallons or so should suffice for children’s bath nights or cleaning up a muddy canine companion. When it comes to freestanding or clawfoot tubs, it’s all about the soak, so go with a capacity of 60 gallons or more.
You can find whirlpools with 60-gallon capacities that offer a nice compact option, but larger tubs can feature nearly twice the volume.
Since you’re already familiar with some of the common materials that manufacturers use to build the best bathtubs, you know there are pros and cons to each.
- Acrylic and fiberglass tubs are lightweight and affordable. Two people can easily install one of these options, which is one of the reasons they’re so attractive for DIY renovations. But you can only expect to get about 15 years out of one of these tubs.
- Steel and cast-iron tubs are heavy-duty and resilient. They typically have porcelain coats, and you can refinish them when the coat starts to wear and show its age. But these tubs are incredibly heavy, sometimes requiring an entire team to maneuver into an upstairs bathroom.
- There are other less common materials, such as copper, solid surface (man-made resins), and stone resins (a mixture of crushed stone and resin), but these options are less common and fairly expensive.
If you remember from high school chemistry, fluids will always take the shape of their container. That’s excellent news, as it affords manufacturers the flexibility to design and shape tubs in a variety of ways and styles.
Many soaking tubs have high backs to serve as a backrest and headrest during deep soaks, so their shape might be desirable for your new tub. Corner-shaped tubs can tuck into a spot where two walls meet to save space or take advantage of some extra volume. Shallower tubs are ideal for parents looking for a safe place to bathe a toddler.
If you prefer a shower and tub combination, there are kits available that can create waterproof shells in an alcove or corner. They come with one-piece and three-piece surrounds, as well as standard tubs with raised flanges to prevent leaks.
One-piece surrounds are ideal for waterproofing, but they can be difficult to fit through the smaller doorways in older homes. If that describes the pathway through your home to your renovated bathroom, you might prefer a three-piece surround that you can carry one piece at a time.
Though they often lack style or flair, there are plenty of reasons to choose a combination shower and tub. For one, they have built-in shelves for storing shampoos and soaps. Also, they eliminate the need for installing tiles and waterproof membranes. They’re also less expensive and faster to install than other shower options, making them ideal for rentals or children’s bathrooms.
Beyond jets, comfortable contours, and large capacities, some other features could make a particular option the best bathtub for your renovation. Some tubs come with built-in overflows, which will drain the water out of the tub once it reaches a specific level. This feature can prevent water damage caused by a forgetful bath drawer.
Also, some tubs come predrilled for hardware, allowing you to install a tub spout (and sometimes a showerhead) without drilling through your expensive new tub. Simply order the tub and the tub trim to match it, and you’ll have a stylish bathtub to enjoy.
There are also many tubs available with walk-in features. These tubs allow you to open a hinged door, step inside the tub, and close the door behind you for a waterproof seal.
Our Top Picks
Understanding what goes into choosing the right bathtub for your renovation is the challenging part, but the actual shopping is when the fun begins. See some of the best bathtubs available reviewed below.
If you’re on the hunt for a freestanding tub with a modern design, be sure to check out the Woodbridge 67-inch Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub. It has a flat rim with curved walls that can provide the unique design you’ll want from a showcase bathtub. It also comes with a matching chrome overflow and drain.
This tub has plenty of room for long soaks with its 60-gallon capacity. That volume comes thanks to its size, measuring 67 inches long, 31½ inches wide, and 22⅞ inches deep. Woodbridge uses a combination of acrylic, fiberglass, and resin to create a strong tub with an excellent finish and comfortable surface. It also has a nonslip finish for making getting in and out that much safer. The Woodbridge also features a stainless steel bottom bracket that allows it to bear up to 1,000 pounds.
Swapping out your dated alcove tub for a modern design doesn’t have to break the bank. Kingston Brass’s VTDE603122L 60-inch bathtub proves it, with all of the style of an updated bathtub without the high price tag.
Volume can often be an issue with alcove style tubs, but this model from Kingston Brass does its best to overcome it. It measures 60 inches long, over 30½ inches wide, and just over 22 inches deep, providing an overall capacity of up to 58 gallons. This tub features acrylic over fiberglass construction, with an integrated flange for tile or a surround. It comes predrilled for an overflow and drain, though you’ll have to buy them separately. You do have a choice of left- or right-hand drains as well.
When it comes to finding a clean, sleek bathtub with a modern design, be sure to check out the Woodbridge BTA-1513 Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub. Its oval-shaped design with flat, slanted sidewalls offers a stand-out tub for your bathroom renovation.
The BTA-1513 measures 67 inches long, 31½ inches wide, and almost 23 inches deep, allowing an adult to enjoy a great soak (up to 60 gallons) without feeling cramped. It comes with a brushed nickel overflow and drain, giving you two fewer things to think about when selecting your bathtub trim. Woodbridge utilizes a fiberglass-reinforced acrylic with a nonslip bottom, creating a robust and smooth surface for easy cleaning. As far as weight capacity goes, this acrylic tub can handle up to 1,000 pounds.
There can be very little distinguishing one alcove tub from the next, but the Cambridge from American Standard stands out from the crowd. This alcove, apron-front bathtub features the company’s Americast manufacturing construction, featuring a porcelain-coated steel center with an additional layer of insulation for longer-lasting water temperatures. It also features a slip-resistant textured floor to prevent accidents.
This alcove tub measures 60 inches long by 32 inches wide, with a soaking height of up to 14 inches, adding up to a 50-gallon capacity. It comes with a predrilled overflow and drain, and you’ll have a choice between left- and right-hand drains.
Soaking isn’t much fun if you aren’t comfortable. If you prefer to bathe in complete comfort, check out the Woodbridge Acrylic Freestanding Soaking Tub BTA1515-B. This freestanding soaking tub features a double high-back design, ideal for two people to kick back and relax.
The BTA1515-B has plenty of space within its high walls. It measures 67 inches long, 31½ inches wide, and almost 28½ inches deep, allowing you to fill it with up to 60 gallons of bathwater. The construction includes acrylic layers over top of a fiberglass and resin backing material. It comes with a brushed nickel overflow and drain and can handle up to 1,000 pounds of weight.
It’s not easy to find an attractive whirlpool tub with enough jets to be effective, but the Woodbridge Water Jetted and Bubble Bathtub answers the call. This freestanding tub looks sleek and modern, while still having the jet power to create a soothing and relaxing whirlpool experience. Best yet, at 71 inches long and 31 inches wide, it’s large, though not as big as a typical whirlpool tub.
This whirlpool bathtub features Woodbridge’s acrylic and fiberglass construction, as well as 6 adjustable body jets and 10 floor-mounted bubble jets (courtesy of the heated air blower). If you’re worried about cleaning all those jets, Woodbridge uses stainless steel, making them long-lasting and easy to clean.
When slips and falls start to become regular concerns, you can eliminate one problem area with the Empava EMPV-WIT3737 Freestanding Walk-In Bathtub. This 94-gallon capacity tub provides the volume you need to bathe but with a safe and easy alternative to stepping over a tub wall. It also fits in a standard tub alcove, making short work of installation.
This tub measures 52½ inches long, 26½ inches wide, and 40 inches high. It has an extra-wide door that creates a waterproof seal when closed with the long door handle. It has a built-in seat and comes with the faucet trim and drain hardware you need to get started. It also features three grab handles and a pillow.
FAQs About Bathtubs
Shopping for a bathtub on the internet might seem a little unorthodox, so you might have some questions you would typically ask a salesperson. There’s a collection of the most frequently asked questions listed below. Be sure to check it out to see if there’s an answer to your question.
How much does a bathtub full of water weigh?
A gallon of water weighs just under 8½ pounds. Most of the tubs on this list weigh between 90 and 160 pounds and hold between 50 and 60 gallons of water. These stats combine to create a range between 515 and 670 pounds.
What is the standard size for a bathtub?
Manufacturers design standard tubs to fit alcoves measuring 60 inches long by 32 inches wide.
How long of a bathtub should I get?
In most cases, a 60-inch tub will more than suffice. But, if you’re a taller person or want a more luxurious experience, go with something 67 inches or longer.
How do you clean a bathtub?
If your bathtub is soiled beyond what a standard bathroom cleaner can handle, here’s a trick: fill the tub with hot water and a gallon of vinegar. Let that soak for a few minutes, and then use a sponge to scrub the surface, using baking soda as an aggregate to loosen the stains.