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.
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
Slik Portfolio Elaine Dado Quartz Freestanding Soaker Tub
Some prefer a classic clawfoot tub:
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
The newly popular Japanese soaker tubs boast a smaller footprint with deep soaking capacity.
Premier Copper Japanese Style Soaking Hand Hammered Copper Bath Tub
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
Ariel Platinum Whirlpool Bathtub
Whirlpool jets require regular light maintenance to prevent bacteria build-up. Many models are equipped with a self-cleaning function.
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
Neptune Delight Activ-Air 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
Oceania Myriad 72 Dynamic Turbo & Super AeroMassage
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
A corner tub may allow for more bathing room in some spaces, especially unusually-shaped bathrooms.
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, 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
- 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
- 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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