Our Buyer’s Guide to Bath Tubs

What’s better than a long soak in a hot bath after a hard day? Many people may get by with just a shower stall, but having a bath tub can be more than just a luxury. If you have young children or dogs, a bath is nearly essential for keeping them clean. If you’re refurbishing a bathroom, or just installing a brand new tub, you have a lot to consider before choosing just the right tub.

Types of Bath Tubs

The first concern with a bath tub is how much space you have, and what shape your bathroom allows for. There are several different types of tubs, specifically made to meet the needs of almost any bathroom. Even if you think there’s no possible way you could fit a tub in your bathroom, you may be surprised.

The standard rectangular bath that most people immediately picture is called a recessed bath tub. This type of tub sits snugly against three walls, so that only the front needs to be finished, and typically doubles as a shower stall. If your bathroom doesn’t have a convenient space where three walls allow for a recessed bath, you may want to consider a free standing tub. You don’t have to settle for a claw foot tub if that’s not your style; there are many modern free standing tubs.

Other bathrooms may require a corner bath, where your tub is framed by two walls. While this type of tub has an odd shape, it can be a very relaxing way to soak. If your bathroom is very large, you may have room for a drop-in tub, which is a free standing tub surrounded by a tiled platform that makes the tub appear built-in.

Traditional vs. Whirlpool

After you’ve chosen the right type of tub for your bathroom, you can start considering what features you might want. Almost all types of tubs can be whirlpool tubs, which feature jets that turn your bath into a massage. A traditional bath tub is more budget-friendly in most cases, and can sometimes use less water per bath; however, modern whirlpool baths are now designed to conserve water as well.

Whirlpool tubs do typically need a dedicated water heater and electrical circuit in many cases, which can also raise the price. Be sure to ask how noisy the jets or pump can get, and consider how many jets are featured in the tub. Air jets, which don’t mix water with air before injecting air into the tub, are often the best choice because they reduce the chance of mildew within the jet.

Whirlpool baths may also be called spas, because they are frequently featured in spas and other health club environments. In addition to free standing spas, there are many recessed, drop-in, and corner spas that can be utilized in a bathroom of almost any shape and size.

Dress It Up

Once you’ve installed the perfect bath tub, the only thing left to do is make it look perfect. Choosing the right bath tub taps can make your tub match the rest of your bath, or provide the perfect atmosphere depending on your style. Tiling the front of a recessed bath, or the two exposed sides of a corner bath, are popular choices because they make a bath appear built-in. Drop-in baths will need to be surrounded by a platform, usually tiled, while a stand-alone bath won’t require any additional dressing up.

You may feel a bit boxed in by your bathroom as it is, but don’t let what’s already there fool you. Tubs can be customized to fit your space perfectly with exactly the right appliance.