Choosing The Right Bathtub

Choosing the right bathtub means you'll need to consider several different issues. Some of them you'll have control over, like how plan to use the tub, while others are more or less controlled by your situation -- like the constraints of an existing bathroom for example.

The spectrum of choices runs not only from the purely aesthetic but to the type of bathtub you want as well. Choices include everything from the basic alcove tub to sophisticated air tubs or a sleek, modern slipper tub.

Technology also factors in to the choices you have available to you. Not only have bathtubs evolved to include whirlpool jets but now you can incorporate light and sound too. The entrepreneurial spirit has also fostered unique creations like wooden tubs, though there are considerations to think about closely with these kinds of tubs.

The bottom line is this -- choosing a bathtub requires some up-front knowledge of your situation, how you'll use the tub and what's available. Getting this foundation will help you on the path to making a wise and hopefully, "cleansing" choice.

What Bathtub Basics Do I Need To Know?

Bathtubs come in a variety of shapes, materials and colors. But before you even get to the pick-and-choose stage you'll most likely fall into one of two categories that will narrow down your choices:

    • You have physical constraints that a new tub must fit within (replacing an existing tub during a remodel for example)
  • You have no constraints and can choose virtually any kind of tub you want (like with a new home, a bathroom add-on or a remodel that entails gutting and moving of existing walls, plumbing, etc.)

With that, let's get on to understanding what you should know about choosing a new bathtub.

Types Of Bathtubs

There are several varieties of tubs, each providing a different purpose within the bathing experience.

  • General Purpose
    Although probably not an actual technical classification, a general purpose bathtub is one that most of us are probably familiar with and grew up with. It serves multiple purposes from washing the kids to cleaning the dog. They're usually installed in an alcove.
  • Soaking Tub
    Soaking tubs are typically deeper than standard general purpose bathtubs and allow you to immerse your whole body into the water. They come in various styles and shapes and vary with the amount of water they hold. Clawfoot and vintage style free-standing tubs fall into this category since they typically have taller sides and hold more water than conventional bathtubs.
  • Walk-In Bathtub
    A walk-in tub provides a door that allows you to walk into the tub instead of having to climb over the edge. They're helpful for elderly people and any person that has limited mobility. The door has a seal on it that allows the tub to contain the water when it's filled.
  • Whirlpool & Air Tubs
    Whirpool tubs and air tubs offer a therapeutic bath by shooting water and air bubbles into the bathtub at strategic locations to give you the sensation of a massage. The difference between a whirlpool and an air tub is that the whirlpool injects water into the tub, stirring the water, whereas an air tub pushes air through its plumbing system into the water, creating thousands of bubbles that invigorates the water.

      • These kinds of tubs are more complex than other tubs because they include pumps, filters, hoses and other equipment necessary to circulate and "energize" the water.