Bathtub Buying Guide
There are several things you want to look at when it comes to choosing a bathtub. These considerations will help you pick the perfect tub to match your liking, your bathroom, and your budget as well. We have listed the different types of bathtubs below.
Types of Bathtubs
- Standard Bathtubs – There are two common sizes that standard tubs are usually made in: 60” x 30” and 60” x 32”. The standard rectangular bathtub will have a smaller bathing area, usually measuring 55” x 24” at the top of the tub and narrowing down to 45” x 22” at the bottom. These are typical dimensions for cast iron and fiberglass tubs. The drain of the standard tub should be either to the left or right and correspond with where your faucet and shower are hooked up.
- Claw-Foot Bathtubs – Claw-foot bathtubs have been around for over 100 years. They were very popular in the 1800s, and were prominent bathroom fixtures in the expansive Victorian homes of that era. They are typically made of cast iron and can vary in size. The porcelain enamel finish is usually applied to both the inside and outside of the bathtub and can make these tubs pretty expensive. Many people who are into restorative work and bringing back old Victorian houses will love these cast iron claw foot tubs.
- Freestanding Bathtubs – Freestanding bathtubs are not surrounded by any surrounds or built into an alcove. They usually have feet that they stand on or they will be encased with panels and custom stone, tile or marble around it. They are self supporting and in many bathrooms, they will be a design focal point. They come in a variety of colors and sizes.
- Soaking Bathtubs – These deep, wide bathtubs are a real pleasure at the end of the day when all you want to do is soak. They have plenty of room to really sink into and enjoy the water as it soothes aching muscles. Soaking tubs are bigger than standard bathtubs, with some being 6.5’ long and roomy enough for two adults. There are many different styles of soaking tubs such as the cast iron Victorians, to the acrylic tubs in an ultra-modern design. In general, soaking tubs are very heavy and need to have a well-supported floor underneath them. They require 50-80 gallons of water, each gallon weighing 8.3 pounds each.
- Whirlpool Bathtubs – Another popular bathtub choice is a whirlpool tub. These have many different therapeutic and relaxing features to choose from including single or multiple jets. There is a large array of sizes, shapes and colors that will fit into the standard 5-6 foot standard bathtub space. Whirlpool tubs have a variety of massage options that can be really beneficial to people with certain muscle ailments.
- Walk-In Bathtubs – Walk-in bathtubs are perfect for anyone that has problems getting up and down. They are especially good for seniors. They come in many different sizes and most of them fit into a standard bathtub space. Walk-in tubs feature built-in seats and a wall-mounted bar that the user can use to help with sitting down and standing up. Some walk-in tubs have massage features that can provide therapeutic massage. They also have a special quick drain feature that removes the water from the tub in less than two minutes.
Features to Consider
There are many different options that you can choose from when it comes to a bathtub. The higher the quality, the more options there are to choose from. Below are some of the more popular features that are available in many bathtub models.
Jets/Bubbles – Whirlpool tubs have a variety of bubble/jet features that are possible, depending on the model.
- Heaters that will warm the water as it is bubbling around you, which will prevent the loss of heat.
- Quieter jets thanks to the motor that is designed to be as silent as possible.
- Multiple settings that will adjust the jet’s strength
- Jets that massage the feet are mounted on the underwater footrests.
- Warmed air moves around the tub because of the bubble only jets
- Bubble jets that produce tiny bubbles giving you a champagne-like bubbling effect.
- Chromatherapy – Lighting, especially in the water, is always soothing and these underwater LEDs are no exception. They will provide changing light colors that can be adjusted for what you feel like at that time. Whether you choose peaceful pinks or soothing blues, you can enjoy the extra ambience and relaxation of lights as well.
- Music – Many people like listening to music while they shower and they can with these speaker panels that attach to the bathtub and sends sound through the water, so you can even feel the vibrations that the music produces. An excellent way to unwind and de-stress.
- Digital Controls – Some of the higher end models have a touchpad that controls temperature, jet flow, jet direction, color effects and even music.
- ADA Compliance – There are common sense guidelines that are in place from the Americans with Disabilities Act foundation that make bathtubs safer for everyone. These features include anti-slip flooring and edges of the tub that make it easier to get into the water.
Construction and Costs
Costs will vary depending on where you are purchasing the items, what region you are in and the quality of the features chosen.
- Fiberglass/Acrylic – These two materials are less expensive and are very easy to find in hardware store. They offer a wide variety of colors.
- Cast-Iron – The enamel finish that is used on cast iron bathtubs offers a large variety of colors. Cast iron retains heat better than other materials and will keep the water hot longer. Cast iron is extremely heavy and will require some heavy lifters to move it in.
- Copper – This is the pinnacle of materials in high quality bathroom fixtures. A copper tub is gorgeous and many feel it is well worth the price.
- Enameled Steel -These middle of the road tubs have a great reputation for durability and long-lastingness. These tubs are usually scratch resistant and won’t stain either. The colors available are usually very limited and basic.
- Stone and Wood – These high end special types of tubs come with a high price tag but many people love to have a tub carved from stone or made from laminated mahogany. If you are a lover of the unique and eccentric, these materials will appeal to you.
Bathtubs are a major part of the design of a bathroom. There are so many choices available in materials, size, shape, colors and features that choosing one can be a challenge. If you know what is out there, it is much easier to compare the different bathtubs on the market and see which ones appeal to you.
The information in this buyer’s guide is designed to provide all that you need to know when sorting through bathtub choices. With the right knowledge you will be able to make the right decision that you will be happy with for years to come.