Get the best bathtub for your home

In historical times, bathtubs were luxurious items that were only seen in the residences of the wealthy. Fortunately, a bathtub today is considered an integral part of our lifestyle, with at least one installed in almost every home.

Types of Bathtubs

There are several different types of bathtubs. Consider your budget, the bathroom size and the desired functionality to determine which type is best for your bathroom:

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  • Built-in bathtubs are the most popular type of bathtub found in residences. They come in an alcove style which is enclosed on three sides, or a drop-in style which is mounted into a deck.
  • Free-standing bathtubs are not built in, but can be placed anywhere in the bathroom. Faucets are mounted on the side of the tub, the wall or the floor. Pedestal and claw foot tubs are examples of this style.
  • Soaking tubs are deeper than standard bathtubs to allow for immersion up to the chin. Roman tubs and Greek tubs fall into this category.
  • Special bathtubs include Whirlpool bathtubs with jets for a spa-like experience, walk-in tubs (also known as handicap bathtubs) for the elderly or people with disabilities, and aqua massage bathtubs, which have holes in the bottom from which air bubbles are continuously released.

When choosing the material for your bathtub, keep the pros and cons of each in mind:

  • Fiberglass is lightweight, inexpensive and easy to install. Since the surface coating is thin, the color can fade over time and the surface is susceptible to scratching.
  • Acrylic is more costly than fiberglass, but has better color retention and also superior heat insulation capability.
  • Porcelain on steel will resist fading and scratches, and is easy to clean, but can be noisy and may rust or chip.
  • Marble is beautiful but expensive, and can scratch easily.

Bathtub Installation Considerations

Before deciding on a specific bathtub model, check to ensure that your home's water heater will be able to meet the required water capacity. A good general rule of thumb is that 65 percent of the tub's capacity will be made up of hot water. If your home's current hot water heater cannot produce enough hot water to meet this benchmark, look for a smaller bathtub or consider replacing the hot water heater with a larger-capacity model.

One last thing to remember is to measure your door frames as well as the space where the bathtub will be installed – it's heartbreaking to select and purchase a bathtub, only to find that it won't fit through the doorway.