QB FAQs: Whirlpool, Air Tub, or Soaker?

When you’re in the market for a new tub, the sheer number of choices can make your head spin. How does one come to a decision?

Here’s a tip: consult this handy bathtub-buying guide and stop worrying! We’re here to simplify your options and make it easy for you to figure out what you want and need.

Tub type

Soaker tub

We’ll start with the soaker; it’s the simplest (yet far from basic, and available in loads of shapes… maybe not so simple after all).

A soaker tub does just what its name suggests: provides you with a place to soak. These tubs are not equipped with any type of jets and are typically deep and/or contoured for a comfortable bathing experience.

MTI Designer Collection Andrea 18 Drop In/Undermount Soaker Tub
MTI Designer Collection Andrea 18 Drop In/Undermount Soaker Tub
Slik Portfolio Elaine Dado Quartz Freestanding Soaker Tub
Slik Portfolio Elaine Dado Quartz Freestanding Soaker Tub
Some prefer a classic clawfoot tub:
Cheviot Winchester Cast Iron Clawfoot Bath
Cheviot Winchester Cast Iron Clawfoot Bath

A slipper tub is shaped to allow one to recline comfortably while bathing (without craning your neck to keep it out of the water); double slipper tubs are raised on both ends.

Victoria & Albert Amalfi Contemporary Slipper Tub
Barclay Musetta Acrylic Rectangular Double Slipper Tub
Barclay Musetta Acrylic Rectangular Double Slipper Tub

The newly popular Japanese soaker tubs boast a smaller footprint with deep soaking capacity.

Premier Copper Japanese Style Soaking Hand Hammered Copper Bath Tub
Premier Copper Japanese Style Soaking Hand Hammered Copper Bath Tub

Whirlpool

A whirlpool tub forcefully emits air and water from jets for a deep-massaging hydrotherapy experience. It is designed to invigorate the body with high-pressure massage power.

Jacuzzi Cortina Whirlpool Bath
Jacuzzi Cortina Whirlpool Bath
Ariel Platinum Whirlpool Bathtub
Ariel Platinum Whirlpool Bathtub

Whirlpool jets require regular light maintenance to prevent bacteria build-up. Many models are equipped with a self-cleaning function.

Air tub

An air tub uses millions of heated air bubbles to turn a bath into a gently effervescent, relaxing experience rather than the intense deep-tissue massage sensation provided by whirlpool tubs. They require less cleaning and maintenance than whirlpools; it is recommended that users run the jets once the tub is empty (or run the drying cycle) to dry them completely.

MTI Designer Collection Melinda 1 Freestanding Air Tub
MTI Designer Collection Melinda 1 Freestanding Air Tub
Neptune Delight Activ-Air Tub
Neptune Delight Activ-Air Tub

Combo tub

Can’t decide which type of jetted tub you’d rather have? Go with a combo tub, which allows you to choose air or whirlpool action depending on your mood.

Maax Optik Combined Hydrofeel and Aerofeel Systems
Maax Optik Combined Hydrofeel and Aerofeel Systems
Oceania Myriad 72 Dynamic Turbo & Super AeroMassage
Oceania Myriad 72 Dynamic Turbo & Super AeroMassage

Mount

Choose a freestanding tub if you have enough room for it and like the look; you can find them in every style, color, configuration, and material imaginable.

 

WS Bath Collection Free-Standing Oval Bathtub
WS Bath Collection Free-Standing Oval Bathtub

A corner tub may allow for more bathing room in some spaces, especially unusually-shaped bathrooms.

Ariel Clear Wall Whirlpool Tub
Ariel Clear Wall Whirlpool Tub

Drop-in tubs (also known as overmounts or deck mounts) are “dropped in” to a new or existing tub surround, while undermounts have a deck around the lip of the tub. Take your existing bathroom, your tastes, and your plans into account when you choose; if you are likely to change the tub in the near future, a drop-in will be easier to replace.

Many tubs may be mounted over or under. Here’s the same tub shown in both mounts:

MTI Designer Collection Andrea Tub, Undermounted
MTI Designer Collection Andrea Tub, Undermounted
MTI Designer Collection Andrea Tub, Dropped In
MTI Designer Collection Andrea Tub, Dropped In

Take your lifestyle and needs into account when choosing your tub. Some points to consider:

  • If you enjoy soaking with a partner, opt for a two-person tub so there’s enough room for both of you.
Jacuzzi Fuzion Pure Air Tub
Jacuzzi Fuzion Pure Air Tub
  • If you prefer showers to baths and are working on a limited budget, choose a tub without all the bells and whistles or forgo the tub altogether (if you have one in another bathroom)
  • If you are a frequent bather and/or desire a spa-like experience, conversely, splurge: pick a full-featured tub with the options that will most enhance your baths (aromatherapy, multimedia capabilities, lights, pillows…)
Eago Freestanding Whirlpool Tub With TV Screen
Eago Freestanding Whirlpool Tub With TV Screen
  • If you will be bathing children or pets in your tub, ensure that it is not too deep for you to reach them. A freestanding or drop-in tub may be your best option; with an undermount, you’ll have to lean over the deck to reach in. Save your back!
  • If your bathroom is not adequately heated, be sure that you have a tub door or curtain to keep the heat in while you soak. Who wants to be cold while bathing?
  • If you are planning on aging in place or have arthritis or other conditions that make it hard to climb into a tub, consider a walk-in tub. They are available in soaker, whirlpool, air, and combo configurations, with just as many options as most typical tubs.

Last, but most importantly: make sure to enjoy your new tub and the satisfaction that comes with making a well-informed decision!

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One Response

  1. Jefferey

    This is priceless info. Thanks a million!

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