Fixtures are arguably among the most critical choices to make during a bathroom renovation. Together, the vanity, sink, toilet, and tub combination creates the look and atmosphere of a bathroom.
Depending on the desired style, there are a variety of options to make an impression, and the bathtub has the potential to make the biggest statement of the bunch. From vintage-style clawfoot tubs to massaging jetted bathtub options, centuries of tub developments present numerous choices for a bathroom renovation. The design of a vessel meant for bathing goes back thousands of years, but choosing the best bathtub doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be an ordeal.
Keep reading to learn about some of the key factors that influence a tub’s suitability for a space, and explore a variety of some of the best-designed options featured below.
- BEST OVERALL: WOODBRIDGE Bathtub
- RUNNER UP: Vanity Art 59 x 30 Freestanding Acrylic Bathtub
- BEST BUDGET: KINGSTON BRASS 60-Inch Contemporary Alcove Bathtub
- UPGRADE PICK: Sinkology Heisenberg Claw Foot Copper Bathtub
- BEST WALK-IN: Empava Acrylic Freestanding Walk-in Bathtub
- BEST DROP-IN: American Standard Evolution Deep Soaking Tub
- BEST TWO-PERSON: Empava 72″ Acrylic Whirlpool Bathtub 2 Person
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bathtub
Tubs come in a range of types, sizes, and capacities to suit particular spaces and bathing preferences. A tub that matches its purpose and your bathroom style aligns the functional and aesthetic elements of the fixture. Bathtub materials like acrylic, fiberglass, and metal affect durability, price, and other factors.
Before diving into other considerations, consider the type of bathtub that may be best. Tub varieties include the following main categories.
- Standard bathtubs, as the name suggests, are the most common type. This includes models that drop into framed openings and alcove models that fit into three-wall recesses. Standard tubs come in an array of sizes and are usually rectangular or oval-shaped.
- Freestanding tubs act as a focal point for bathroom decor. They can be installed where plumbing allows and used as a bathroom centerpiece. They come in many shapes and sizes, with sloped and curved backs to accommodate the bather in a relaxing position.
- Clawfoot tubs are a popular freestanding variety of bathtub. These antique-style tubs have four feet to support an oval-shaped basin, and those feet usually feature intricate designs. Clawfoot tubs look incredible in the right bathroom, such as an early Victorian, farmhouse, or Craftsman-style home.
- Soaking tubs encompass other designs, including freestanding and clawfoot. These deep tubs allow the bather to submerge their body in a comfortable position for a long and relaxing bath. They often feature a contoured oval or egg shape to surround the bather, with high backs that serve as a backrest and headrest during deep soaks.
- Whirlpool tubs include water jets that cycle bathwater throughout the system, providing a massaging effect that relieves tense muscles. You can find them in stand-alone and drop-in units, often in rectangular or corner shapes. Whirlpools are often large with room for jets (usually between six and eight) and enough water volume to pump the jets. There must be power available wherever a whirlpool tub is installed, as the pump will run on electricity.
- Walk-in tubs have a watertight door and a low threshold, allowing bathers to enter and exit the bath safely. These tubs often include a built-in seat for added comfort, and multiple handles to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Walk-in tubs are available in different sizes and types, including alcove, freestanding, and whirlpool.
Matching the style of a bathroom’s bathtub, sink, and toilet to the specific design style of a home may be a goal. Luckily, manufacturers offer choices that include many designs.
- Modern and contemporary bathrooms can benefit from a freestanding tub with sleek, simple lines.
- Midcentury aesthetics lean more toward angular designs, which could include a drop-in or square freestanding style.
- Industrial design embraces the look of metal like stainless steel, copper, and brass. Many of these tubs are freestanding but also feature hammered or antiqued finishes.
- Farmhouse-style bathrooms can go a number of ways, but their tubs are generally white and shiny. Pedestal-style freestanding tubs and drop-ins installed in rustic-chic alcoves are popular choices.
- Traditional designs often yearn for clawfoot tubs. These staples of traditional-style homes make a big statement, and today’s models are lighter in weight than the vintage versions.
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 come in nearly any length or width. Freestanding tubs are commonly between 60 and 72 inches in length, with a basic width in the 30- to 32-inch range. The same size ranges are found with clawfoot tubs.
When retrofitting a new tub into an older alcove or recess, size is an important consideration. The most common size is 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.
Bathtub capacities vary across types, and how you intend to use the tub can help narrow down this choice. For instance, 50 gallons or so should suffice for children’s bath nights or cleaning up a muddy canine companion in a standard bathtub. Most standard tubs and alcove walk-in tubs have a capacity below 70 gallons.
If you want a true soak experience, consider a capacity of at least 60 gallons. For an extra-deep soak, there are freestanding and clawfoot tubs with capacities up to 80 gallons. A small to midsize whirlpool tub usually falls in this range as well.
On the upper end, freestanding walk-in tubs may hold 90 gallons of water or more. Larger whirlpools have even higher capacities, and a two-person model’s capacity may exceed 170 gallons.
Acrylic and fiberglass are the most common tub materials. These tubs are lightweight, affordable, and easy to install— which is why they’re so attractive for DIY renovations. Fiberglass tubs are more durable than acrylic, though these materials are not as long lasting compared to some others.
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 one into an upstairs bathroom.
Less common materials such as copper, stone, and marble offer a unique visual appeal due to their rarity in most bathroom spaces. These materials are more expensive and used in high-end bathtubs.
Beyond jets, comfortable contours, and large capacities, some other features could make one bathtub better for your renovation than others.
- Built-in overflows drain the water out of the tub once it reaches a specific level. This feature can prevent water damage caused by a forgetful bather.
- Some tubs come predrilled for hardware, allowing you to install a spout (and sometimes a showerhead) without drilling through your new tub. Simply order the tub and the trim to match it.
- A bath pillow is sometimes included with soaking and whirlpool tubs for added comfort and support.
- A remote control is provided with some whirlpool tubs, allowing users to operate the jets without accessing the control panel.
- LED lights are featured in some high-end tubs (often whirlpool) for ambience and visual effect.
Our Top Picks
Figuring out what goes into choosing the right bathtub for a renovation can be a challenge, but the actual shopping may be when the fun begins. To help the shopping experience, below are some of the best bathtubs organized by category. One of these may be exactly what you need to complete that bathroom renovation.
The sleek form of this freestanding tub adds a stunning focal point to modern interiors. An oval-shaped design and flat, slanted sidewalls create the artful minimalist look ideal for newly renovated spaces. The 60-gallon tub is 67 inches long, 31.5 inches wide, and almost 23 inches deep, allowing an adult to enjoy a relaxing soak without feeling cramped. It features an overflow and drain, with multiple finishes available for the polished metal fixtures.
Woodbridge utilizes a fiberglass-reinforced acrylic with a nonslip bottom, creating a robust and smooth surface for easy cleaning. This sturdy acrylic tub can handle up to 1,000 pounds.
Bathroom renovators looking for a high-quality acrylic bathtub with a modern farmhouse flair may want to check out Vanity Art’s freestanding acrylic bathtub. This fiberglass and resin tub is coated with a durable white, high-gloss finish that is both stain and scratch resistant, allowing it to stay clean and smooth for years to come. It is 59 inches long, 30 inches wide, and just under 24 inches deep.
This freestanding tub’s design will fit in a variety of designs, from modern to farmhouse. It features smooth, curvy lines and a pedestal-style base for extra flair. The base also hides four adjustable feet, so this bathtub could be useful for bathrooms that aren’t quite level. It comes with an integrated overflow and drain, both finished in chrome.
Replacing a dated alcove tub for a modern design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. This 60-inch bathtub proves it, with all the style of an updated model without the high price tag.
Volume can often be an issue with alcove tubs, but this model from Kingston Brass does its best to overcome it. It is 60 inches long, more than 30.5 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 (available separately) with left- and right-hand drain options.
Whether it’s an industrial touch for a rustic farmhouse bathroom or a traditional style with a unique color scheme, Sinkology’s Heisenberg Claw Foot Copper Bathtub is an upgrade worth checking out. This antique copper tub features a clawfoot design, giving it a traditional look with an industrial feel. The surface has a hammered, dimpled finish, furthering the rustic style.
This copper tub is 67.5 inches long, 32 inches across, and 31 inches tall, and it holds 48 gallons of water. It comes with an all-in-one faucet and drain kit as well, which is finished in a Tuscan bronze look. While it’s not as heavy as a cast-iron tub might be, it does weigh more than 200 pounds, so enlist some help for installation.
When slips and falls become regular concerns, this walk-in tub can enhance safety and comfort all at once. This 94-gallon bathtub provides the space to bathe leisurely without having to step over a tub wall. It has a built-in seat, pillow, and three grab handles.
The extra-wide door creates a waterproof seal when closed using the long, easily grasped handle. This tub is 52½ inches long, 26½ inches wide, and 40 inches high. It comes with faucet trim and drain hardware, and it fits in a standard tub alcove, making short work of installation.
Those looking to install or replace a drop-in tub in their modern or midcentury bathrooms may want to consider American Standard’s Evolution bathtub. Unlike most drop-in tubs, this one offers plenty of water volume with its 6-foot length, 36-inch width, and 24-inch depth. This tub also has a deep-soak maximum drain to allow for more water than a typical drop-in.
The soaking tub features a square design that will fit well in a modern or midcentury tub alcove. It benefits from acrylic and fiberglass construction, allowing it to stay lightweight (just 87 pounds), even at its robust size. There are contours inside for back and armrests, allowing for maximum comfort while soaking.
Those looking for a tub with space for two may want to give Empava’s Acrylic Whirlpool Bathtub some consideration. This tub is 72 inches long, 48 inches wide, and holds 177 gallons of water, providing plenty of room and volume for two people to hang out and relax.
This Empava jetted tub features 10 water jets, including four in the lumbar region of the back, two on each side, and two by the feet. Powering those jets is a 1.2-horsepower water pump. The Empava also comes with the fixtures required, making this tub an all-in-one purchase. There are also two built-in water-resistant pillows for leaning back and relaxing.
FAQs About Bathtubs
From style to size, there is a lot to consider when looking for a new bathtub. If you have lingering questions about selecting the best bathtub, the following answers will address some of them.
Q. How much does a bathtub full of water weigh?
A gallon of water weighs just under 8.5 pounds. Most of the tubs on the list above 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.
Q. What is the standard size for a bathtub?
Manufacturers design standard tubs to fit alcoves measuring 60 inches long by 32 inches wide.
Q. How long a bathtub should I get?
In most cases, a 60-inch tub will more than suffice. But if you’re a taller than average person or want a more luxurious experience, consider a bathtub that’s 67 inches or longer.
Q. 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. Then use a sponge to scrub the surface, using baking soda as an aggregate to loosen the stains.
Choosing the best bathtub for your renovation can make or break the entire project. With the right design, shape, and style, you’ll be able to elevate your basic bathroom setup to something rivaling a luxury spa. Designed to help choose a top-quality tub, this guide can help streamline the process.