When it comes to the bathroom, the right bathtub can make all the difference in terms of usability and aesthetics. Yet because there are so many sizes and styles of tubs available today, the best bathtub for one space may not be the same for another. That’s why, when buying a bathtub, you want to consider all the possibilities.
To help you find the best bathtub material, style, features and size for your space, here’s a bathtub buying guide:
- Fit your layout. . Step one in choosing the best bathtub is thinking about your space. Do you need a tub to fit into an existing alcove, or will it be free-standing on the floor? Are you looking for a drop-in model or an undermount style? If you’re remodeling a bathroom, this question may be answered for you already. If you’re designing a space, you’ll have the option to choose which style you like best. Start with what you have to work with regarding available space and preferred design. Then, explore the various types to know which one would be ideal for your room.
- Think about your goals. . What do you want from your tub — simply a space to fill with water or something more luxurious, with jets or massaging features? The bathtub market includes barebones designs as well as tubs with all kinds of bells and whistles. Do you want a right-handed model or a left-handed design? Are you interested in maintaining a historic feel in your space with a clawfoot tub, or do you want something modern? Shop to explore what appeals to you.
- Understand special installation requirements. . For some tubs, such as a jetted model, you’ll have extra requirements with which to comply: space for a pump, an air switch and an electric timer, for example. Find out what code requirements apply in your space, and think through what will be necessary to make your installation.
- Compare tub materials. . There are a number of choices when it comes to the tub material. Acrylic tends to be the most popular, as it’s resilient, versatile and widely available. Cast iron is another long-lasting option, though it tends to be more costly and heavy enough to sometimes require a reinforced floor. Other options include glass fiber/plastic tubs (which are easy to install and fairly affordable), as well as porcelain enameled steel models (which are easy to clean, durable and heavy). Think about what you need in order to choose the best bathtub material for your space.
- Consider the tub capacity. . Tubs come in all sizes, holding anywhere from 25 gallons to 150 gallons of water. While a larger tub means more space for soaking, it also means supplying a larger amount of hot water to get the tub full. Will your existing water heater be large enough to feed the water you need into the tub you want? Check the owner’s manual of your hot water heater or the Energy Guide tag on the unit to find out what capacity is doable.
- Don’t ignore style. While the look of a tub may not be your first consideration, it is an important one. Bathtubs come in many colors and styles, and you want yours to fit the overall look of your bathroom design.
With so many possibilities for bathtubs, you can have fun exploring and getting inspired. Use the six tips above to stay focused in your search, and find the best bathtub to complete your space!