Last Updated on October 30, 2020 by Terry Ohara
A bathtub, bath or also known as just a tub, comes in two sizes, large and small which serves as a container for holding water in which we take baths. Bathtubs nowadays are mostly constructed of thermoformed acrylic, porcelain enameled steel, fiberglass-reinforced polyester, or porcelain enameled cast iron. We usually place these bathtubs in our bathrooms as a stand-alone fixture or in combination with a shower.
Unlike the old days, recently bathtubs don’t just come in that classic rectangular shape. With the advent of acrylic thermoformed baths, more shapes are now available.
Also, in terms of design, they also come in more colors nowadays, varying from white to gold, matte black, etc, etc..
Specifically, there are two main styles of bathtubs:
- The typically shallow and long Western-style bathtubs in which the bather lies down
- The typically short and deep Eastern style bathtubs in which the bather sits up
Early systems for plumbing go back as far as around 3300 BC when the copper water pipes were discovered, and this was in the Indus Valley Civilization. Other than that, there is also evidence of personal-sized bathtub which was found on the Isle of Crete.
In modern times, during the 1880s, David Buick invented a process for bonding porcelain enamel to cast iron, while he was working for the Alexander Manufacturing Company in Detroit. After that, many companies started marketing porcelain-enameled cast-iron bathtubs, something that also remains broadly the same to this day.
Years after, in the latter half of the 20th century, fiberglass bathtubs became the standard for homes due to their lightweight construction and their affordability.
The two Wheeler brothers, James and Richard adapted the acrylic being used for outdoor spas to make acrylic bathtubs. Due to its durability, the American Bath Factory started to expand the diversity of acrylic bathtubs to include whirlpools, clawfoot bathtubs, and a large number of pedestal and modern bathtubs.
The 5 Best Bathtubs Of The Year
5. LifeSmart 600DX
Buying a hot tub is one of the best decision you will ever make in your life because the comfort and fun that comes from them is incomparable to anything else.
The Lifesmart Coronado DLX delivers one of the best options in the market when it comes to hot tubs, with an amazing design, large size that accommodates a whopping 7 people in the same time, and on top of all this, this model is also very energy efficient so the electric bills won’t give you headaches at the end of the month.
The Lifesmart Coronado DLX is fitted with 65 hydrotherapy jets and four-foot jets, that give you an exemplary downtime relaxation, once you try this hot tub there is no going back.
The company is not known for disappointing its buyers, and this one is no different, and you’ll see that you won’t be able to replace this with anything else. Definitely one of the best bathtubs for relaxing.
4. Woodbridge B-0034/BTS1611
Woodbridge B-0034/BTS1611 is a deluxe acrylic freestanding bathtub with whirlpool and air bubble jets. It is a highly reviewed product which packs remarkable features and delivers exceptional comfort.
It has 10 adjustable body massage jets and 10 whirlpool bubble bath jets for maximum bather comfort. The perfect mix of air and water is able to deliver a powerful, yet comfortable hydro massage.
To be more specific, the gentle air massage will allow you to immerse yourself in thousands of tiny air bubbles, and relax to a soft tissue massage that aids in pain relief, muscle relaxation, and promotes oxygen and blood flow in your body.
In terms of construction, this unit is built of 100% high-gloss white LUCITE acrylic and reinforced with ASHLAND resin&fiberglass, so as you can see, every detail shows how quality this whirlpool bathtub is. All of these are high-end quality materials which are rarely used by other competitors due to the cost.
Overall, this multi-function whirlpool bathtub can be the main satisfaction and relaxing tool during your day, while you can spend hours getting massaged and staying warm.
3. Empava 67″ Luxury
Empava Luxury Bathroom Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub is the kind of unit which allows you to enjoy the advantages of hydrotherapy while immersing in a freestanding tub that is able to give you a 360-degree of your bathroom.
For more convenience, this unit comes complete with a tub filler which helps to fill out the tub faster, a drain for hooking the tub to your plumbing and an overflow slot that doesn’t let the water level to rise high enough for flow over the sides, but instead, it keeps it sustained at a significant level.
In terms of construction, the fiberglass reinforcements within the tub work with the acrylic exterior in order to provide more composition and to ensure that this tub can fill all of your requirements.
Performance-wise, the built-in jets are able to increase the water-pressure and sit around the sides of the tub to help you direct where those jets hit you. It can contain only over 55 gallons of water, while it allows you to use it without having to upgrade your existing water heater.
Overall, this is one of the most luxurious models of freestanding bathtubs that you can find, and if you’re after something similar, the Empava Luxury is your answer.
2. Ella’s Bubbles 93057-HB
Ella’s Bubbles 93057-HB is an elegant walk-in tub which packs many interesting features and an impressive performance. Having more than 22-jets, this Deluxe Dual Massage Acrylic Walk-in Bathtub is the top option for those that are injured and still recovering, while it is also ideal for those who have frequent pain. Other than that, Ella’s Bubbles is also a luxury tub that will help you relax and have some fun.
Considering that it is a walk-in tub, it has a door on the front that features a chrome finish and opens easily to give you access to the tub, while when you close it, the tub forms a durable seal that ensures not a single drop of water leaks.
In addition, this unit also boasts a dual drain technology, which allows the tub to drain completely in 80 seconds or less.
Also, an in-line heater functions along with the jets in order to regulate the temperature of the water in the tub, thus, you can use the therapeutic jets or the standard jets alone or together.
In terms of construction, the manufacturer used stainless steel and fiberglass in the shell with a gel coating for extra durability and longevity.
1. American Standard 2425VC
For those searching for an acrylic model, the American Standard 2425VC-LHO.020 is the ideal option due to its unique design which combines elements of a whirlpool tub with elements of an acrylic tub.
This particular model features a fiberglass base which adds structure to the tub and then wraps that base with an acrylic material that is scratch-resistant and provides longevity.
In terms of performance, this unit boasts a 1.4 horsepower motor that gives the whirlpool more power while also letting the tub drain quickly.
You will also find an apron on the bottom of the tub which keeps the whirlpool components tucked away and pops off easily in order to allow easy repairs or simple maintenance. In addition, the EverClean surface will prevent beauty products and other items from staining the tubs and avoids the odors which can occur by different types of bacteria.
Moreover, its surface will also stop mold and mildew from growing, which in some cases, can be spread to other areas of your bathroom.
Overall, this acrylic bathtub could just be the addition you’ve been needing all along in your bathroom, and it can be considered as one of the best bathtubs in the market right now.
Types Of Bathtubs
This particular model known as the claw-foot was always considered as something luxury to have in the late 19th century, which was originally made from cast iron and lined with porcelain. In today’s industry, due to modern technology, the price of clawfoot bathtubs has dropped significantly, which may now be made of fiberglass, acrylic or other modern materials.
In comparison to the other types of bathtubs, clawfoot tubs usually require more water than a standard one due to their larger size.
Nonetheless, antique clawfoot tubs nowadays are considered collectible items, while new productions clawfoot tubs are chosen by remodellers and new home builders.
Similar to the Western-style bathtubs, clawfoot tubs also include a variety of showerhead options.
Specifically, they come in 4 major styles:
- Classic roll rim tubs
- Slipper tubs – this is a tub where one side is raised with a gentle sloping, which offers more comfort for lounging, and this is why clawfoot tubs are mostly referred to as “soaker tubs”.
- Double slipper tubs
- Double-ended tubs – this particular model is raised on both ends and dips in the middle, while often the fixtures and faucets are positioned in the middle. It is great for reclining, but since there is less risk of spillage, it’s also reliable and fantastic for bathing children.
Over the years, obviously, these bathing units became more and more casual in homes until the trend of standardized built-in shower units became a great replacement option for bathtubs. Baths became a sort of outdated, until recently, there has been a resurgence in this tradition.
People work a lot, 9-5 jobs, stressful schedules, routines, and once in a while everyone needs some relaxation, and the bathtubs can deliver exactly that, along with some romance. Bathtubs became a place to decompress, and an item that delivers great relaxation, while this is also where clawfoot tubs became more popular because except the comfort they deliver, they also provide a beautiful look to a bathroom.
This type of bathtubs have a unique design which are freestanding tubs that are an outcome of the classic clawfoot tub design. Although, unlike clawfoot tubs, instead of feet, pedestal tub designs use a plinth or pedestal to raise the bathtub from the floor. Such models can become the centerpiece of your stylish bathroom, designed to stand away from the wall, these tubs won’t require any surround or deck.
Thus, they can be put into an alcove or shown off in the middle of your bathroom, either way, the only thing you should consider is plumbing, which you can discuss with your bathroom designer or plumber.
Over the years, these tubs have sustained their durable, long-lasting form, due to their iron-coated porcelain construction, also, you can still buy them in that specific material.
However, as a result, the bathtub will be quite heavy which is way different materials that are not as cumbersome now can be used. For instance, acrylic tubs have a much more lightweight construction, which makes them easier to install, especially on a second or third home floor.
The shapes of these tubs range from oval to rectangular to almost a bowl shape, while many manufacturers tend to raise their customer’s numbers by offering packages that include the faucets, the most unique of which is the telephone faucet, which comes in a number of finishes like chrome, nickel or oil-rubbed bronze.
Depending on the hardware that you’d like, you can get such pedestal tubs with or without the drilled holes for the faucets. In terms of size, they vary from 60 to 70 inches long, so they can fit into different sized bathrooms.
Moreover, pedestal tubs might be the ideal addition to your bath in order to combine traditional style with a modern look.
Of course, before giving your baby a bath, there are a lot of things to consider, including safety, suds, and space. However, no matter how tricky it may seem, with the right preparations, bath time can be one of the best things for your child.
You can always splash out on a baby bath spa with shower, or go for the simpler way, with a bucket tub which mimics the experience of being in the womb. Most of the popular baby baths are foldable models which can be used in a sink or tub, while for newborns there are convertible tubs with mesh infant slings and cushy foam.
However, no matter how helpful these baby tubs can be at the time, you should know that your baby will outgrow most infant tubs quickly, for only six months or so. As soon as she starts sitting up without any help, she may already be ready to bathe in a “big girl tub” with a nonskid mat.
As we said earlier, bathing a baby can be hard because they’re slippery when wet, snuggly, which is why you must be prepared before you start doing anything until you know you have everything in place for the bath.
A baby bathtub can be a bath bucket, or a complicated tub system with a built-in thermometer for more safety. How do you know what’s right for you? Well, whatever works for your taste, space and also budget.
Now, most infant tubs will be limited because your baby will fit in the for only the first six months.
However, if you want what’s safest and best for your child, baby bathtubs are the ones you seek.
This type of tub is mostly used for hydrotherapy, relaxation or pleasure. Just as the name states, a hot tub is a large tub or small pool full of water, while some have powerful jets for massage purposes, Hot tubs can also be called as spas or by the trade name Jacuzzi.
Unlike a typical standard bathtub, a hot tub is constructed and designed for the purpose of being used by more than one person at a time, with different models that can accommodate four or more people. You can mostly find hot tubs located outdoor, although they can also be installed indoors, in large bathrooms or some other part of your house that you can use. What’s also great about hot tubs is because you don’t have to change the water every time you use it, but you keep it sanitary using methods similar to those used for swimming pool sanitation.
What’s also different from casual bathtubs is that you don’t use soaps and shampoos in wet-jetted hot tubs, although you can use them in air-jetted hot tubs.
If you’re wondering, the earliest hot tubs were calderas in which they used to put hot stones to heat the water. These so-called hot tubs can be found in different period of time, in different civilizations. For instance, Therma in Ikaria was a very popular place particularly for hydrotherapy since the 4th century BC.
For your information, the plumbing of a hot tub consists of:
- A water delivering pressure system
- A suction system that returns water to the pumps
- A filtration system to help clean the water
- Inducted air for the jets since they may use a venturi effect to incorporate air into the water stream for a lighter massage effect
- An ozone system which is a common adjunct to water maintenance
- If you find yourself in this category, that means you’re a fan of a jacuzzi. Hot tubs will deliver maximum relaxation, satisfaction, and performance
If you find yourself in this category, that means you’re a fan of a jacuzzi. Hot tubs will deliver maximum relaxation, satisfaction, and performance.
Just like with the hot tub, the main purpose of a whirlpool tub is relaxation and massage your tired muscles, since the whirlpool bathtub is a self-contained jetted tub.
Just like the other models, whirlpool tubs come in different options varying from sizes and design.
There are two types of whirlpool tubs, the air jet tubs, and water jet tubs.
Even though they function differently, both kinds of tubs serve the same purpose, delivering an exceptional massage and relaxing the user. An air jet tub includes dozens of small jets which allow the water to warm and create air bubbles. On the other hand, a water jet tub has fewer but larger jets while water moves from at high speeds.
In addition, you can swivel these jets in a different direction to target your body’s different muscle groups.
To get more into the specifics, whirlpool tubs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes from which you can choose from, such as an oval, round, triangle or hourglass shape. No matter what you decide on choosing, the first thing you have to consider is the available space in your bathroom. We recommend a standard whirlpool tub which is the same size as a standard bathtub, larger than this, you’ll have to discuss with your plumber or designer.
In terms of construction, whirlpool tubs are mainly made of acrylic, cast iron, and fiberglass. Cast iron whirlpool tubs are resistant to chemicals, chipping, scratching, and denting, while they’re also the most expensive ones.
Fiberglass whirlpool tubs are more prone to scratches and fading due to their matte finish, but they also have something great, they are pretty lightweight so it’s easy to repair and install. Obviously, it is less durable than acrylic and cast iron but it is the least expensive one compared to the two.
These types of bathtubs started to become popular in recent years due to the construction of larger bathrooms. A freestanding bathtub delivers your bathroom a unique feel that many other types don’t compare to. Apart from having a unique design, they also come in a wide variety of options and can match almost any household’s budget.
These particular models are made from various materials such as stone resin, cast stone, acrylic, cast iron, fiberglass, and porcelain.
To mention some specifics about these materials, we will cover just stone resin constructed bathtubs and acrylic, since they are on top of the chain in this particular category.
Stone resin bathtubs
They are made from a blend of acrylic polymer and natural minerals-usually resin. They are durable and they hardly get damaged, while the material is also non-porous, which means that they won’t absorb water and crack over time, resulting in incredible longevity.
They are constructed by taking a solid sheet of petrochemicals, stabilizers, resins, fillers, and dye. After heating them, they mold into a bathtub shape before being reinforced with fiberglass. These acrylic bathtubs are non-porous, which means that they will not absorb water, thus, the material will not crack easily unlike the other bathtubs materials like fiberglass. Regarding their durability, they’re quite indestructible, but it comes with a catch. Acrylic bathtub prices differentiate greatly from standard fiberglass or other durable tubs on the market.
One of the main selling points for freestanding bathtubs became their installation and maintenance. Their installation is quite easy when you compare it to a built-in tub. Of course, hiring a plumber will be obligatory because he needs to sort out your piping needs and then you’re good to go.
In terms of their aesthetics, freestanding bathtubs are also a bit heavier than the most. We are pointing this out because you need to make sure you install your freestanding bathtub on a reinforced floor that can sustain the additional weight. Considering this, they are also larger in size so that means that they’ll be able to carry much more water weight in addition to their normal heftiness.
For those seeking to enrich their bathroom style, a freestanding bathtub could just be the solution.
These kinds of bathtubs are manufactured with the special technology based on the craftsmanship, which aims to deliver an enjoyable, comfortable soft relaxation and bath when you lie down on the tub. A soft bathtub is a unit with a cushion made of a soft material which can be pressed easily by fingers.
Due to its superior comfort and safety, this high-tech bathtub nowadays receives huge attention in the world market, since you will feel much more comfortable when you lie down in the bathtub than in an existing bathtub, which also prevents accidents, so this means that soft bathtubs are also great for children.
These soft tubs are also quite durable, featuring the latest technology in high-durability in strong in problems like damage, discoloration, scratch, and deformation. To be more specific, most of them are shockproof and have a special coating.
Some of the most premium models also have the ability to maintain water temperature, which means that you won’t have to refill once the water temperature drops.
Moreover, soft tubs are mostly suitable for people that want a high comfort rate, and for parents who want the safest tub to bath their children.
A walk-in tub is a uniquely designed bathtub which has a watertight door that allows the bather to step into the tub over a low threshold in order to increase safety while getting into the bath because they are those cases where the bathroom is slippery, the floor is wet, etc, etc..
In addition, the door closes, while the tub fills with water and after draining the bath, you can open the door and step out safely. Their unique design will also give a great look to your bathroom, while this bathtub will be the center of attention for your family, friends, and siblings. Everyone who’s going to see it for the first time is probably going to ask you where you got it, and how can they get one too.
In terms of aesthetics, many models are taller than are wide. There are many different versions and configurations available from which you can choose the one that meets your requirements the most. For instance, there are also walk-in bathtubs available which allow easy transfer from a wheelchair to the tub seat, which is also often called slide through tubs. Specifically, the entire front of the tub will open to give you the necessary space and width to get your sibling from the wheelchair into the tub.
Compared to traditional tubs, walk-in tubs provide deeper water depth, which in numbers, allows up to nearly four feet of water depth for a comfortable immersion experience while seated securely.
When it comes to filling or draining, some models can take as long as 15 minutes to do one of the tasks, while some high-end models have premium features which allow this process to be faster.
To sum up, walk-in tubs are multi-purpose, hence, they are suitable enough to accommodate the needs of disabled people and offer them a greater level of safety.
What is the best kind of bathtub to get?
Well, it all depends on what your bathing preferences and tastes are. If you read this article, you can see that there are lots of bathtubs types for different tastes and different requirements. Other than that, before choosing a bathtub, you’ll have to discuss it with your plumber if it is possible to install that specific bathtub in your bathroom.
However, the most preferred models nowadays are the whirlpool bathtubs and acrylic bathtubs. Both types come at different prices, varying from features to size, but nonetheless, they have the most reasonable prices, unlike most other models.
We would also recommend walk-in tubs due to their ability to deliver an immersive bathing experience and given the versatility, this bathtub is also great for disabled people because of the door which can be opened to let you get in the bathtub easily without any incidents.
Which is the most durable bathtub?
Bathtubs that are constructed from cast iron are probably the most durable tubs available, which also have a great finish that is resistant to chipping, scratching and denting, as well as most types of chemicals. There are a number of different colors available, and there’s a beauty to cast iron which is hard to match.
Apart from this material’s durability, cast iron can also maintain the water temperature warm which means that you won’t have to pour hot water every half an hour when you’re bathing.
However, because of this material’s durability, cast-iron makes the bathtub quite heavy and requires extra labor, extra floor reinforcement, and extra maintenance. Cast Iron bathtubs differ from the other models in the market also by their expensive price which comes from their high-quality build.
What is better porcelain or acrylic tubs?
If you think about it, both porcelain and acrylic bathtubs should have their advantages that the other one doesn’t, while they also both have disadvantages. Specifically, a porcelain bathtub is usually constructed on a base made of iron or steel, glass or tile. It’s pretty common, the base is porcelain enamel-coated and then high-temperature fired.
On the other hand, acrylic bathtubs are usually molded through a thermal process, which then bonds an acrylic finish over fiberglass reinforcement.
In other words, porcelain tubs are much heavier than acrylic bathtubs, so to answer your question, it depends on what you require and which model suits the best in your bathroom.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long do fiberglass bathtubs last?
Due to their lightweight construction, they have a thinner design than other tub materials, which makes them relatively less durable than other alternatives. To be more precise, a fiberglass tub has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Also, in many cases, the soft finish can scratch and crack easily so you have to more careful with them, and over time, the color may begin to fade as well. However, there’s a chance none of this happens, it all depends on where you place it and how much you take care of it.
How long will an acrylic tub last?
When it comes to Acrylic bathtubs, even though they are one of the least expensive bathtubs on the market, they tend to have a longer lifespan than the other alternatives. Typically, its lifespan will be 10-18 years of usage, while Acrylic is also non-porous, meaning that an acrylic bathtub will not absorb water, leading to a longer lifespan.
Do acrylic tubs crack easily?
As we mentioned above, an acrylic material bathtub has some tendency in it, which makes them durable enough to withstand cracks, scratches or other harm that can come in its way. Even better, they don’t absorb water, which expands its lifespan.
The classic tub/shower has been and it still is a great combination because of the versatility of dual-use.
With new technology and the increasing popularity of tubs and showerheads, this combination nowadays is being used by households worldwide.
To get straight to the main question, why do you need a bathtub, well, because of the comfortability, relaxation, massaging features and many more that can make your shower experience more enjoyable, so investing in the best bathtubs can bring a lot to your life!
Also, to start off your day in a good mood, and to end your day with a massage-alike shower so that all your pain, exhaustion and stress go away.