Choosing a modern bathtub can be a daunting task, especially with so many varieties and options. However, with the following information we hope to clarify the process, and maybe reveal some exciting modern design options that are truly innovative.
What are some of the key considerations when choosing a bathtub?
Determine how much available space you have for your tub. Most bathtubs are 60 inches long (though some are up to 72 inches), while the width ranges from 30-48 inches. Standard depth is 14 inches, but soaking and whirlpool tubs are 18-22 inches deep. Make sure you have a 60-80-gallon water heater or a tankless water heater to handle the additional water used in soaking or whirlpool tubs.
What are the different types of bathtub installation?
- Freestanding tubs require no adjacent support structure and are meant for an open space. They have a dramatic look and are more common in master baths, where there is more space. We like the Stone One Pixels Driftwood Tub that brings a natural element to a bathroom.
- Drop-in bathtubs are designed to fit into a deck that’s covered in decorative tile or stone. They can be installed in a corner or an island, or be sunk into the floor. You will need at least 4-6 inches of deck space to install the tub faucet. The high-quality Hansgrohe Puravida Faucet is priced particularly well.
- Alcove bathtubs fit into a three-wall recess and are ideal for smaller baths.
- Corner tubs are similar to alcove tubs. As the name suggests, they fit in a corner and usually requires at least a 5′ x 5′ space. By installing a corner tub, you can often better optimize your bathroom space.
- Unclad bathtubs come with an unfinished exterior, so it can be easily integrated with any design motif.
- Pre-clad bathtubs are fully-finished that come in a variety of options to suit your décor.
What are some add-on options?
- Whirlpool tubs offer powerful jets that vigorously massage muscles, stimulating blood flow and relieving tension. Keep in mind that a dedicated circuit in the electrical panel may be required to run the whirlpool motor, but always consult your licensed contractor on electrical matters. The infinity-style Kara Whirlpool Tub by Neptune offers a powerful jet spray and an infinity-style overflow, to maximize water volume and limit any potential spillover.
- Back Jets can be added on some bathtubs to help massage back and neck muscles.
- Air tubs force warm air into the water through small holes located in the bottom or perimeter of the tub, creating bubbles that surround you and provide a gentle and relaxing massage. As with a whirlpool, a dedicated circuit may be necessary to run an air tub.
- Chromotherapy lighting features underwater LEDs that can cycle through an array of colors to soothe and energize you.
- In-line heaters help to maintain the water temperature so you can relax longer.
Can I have a whirlpool tub for an alcove installation, where space is limited?
Yes, you can order a tub for an alcove installation that has the whirlpool or air-bath tub option.
Are freestanding bathtubs available with the whirlpool or air option?
While freestanding bathtubs tend to be basic soaking tubs, there are a number of whirlpool and air models available. To name a few, check out the Saphyr Whirlpool Tub, the Believe Tub, and the Ametis Tub. However, air-bath options are available on a few freestanding models, and the Zen Mass-Air Tub makes you feel like you’re bathing in a spa.
Do I need a special faucet for a whirlpool/air tub?
With a larger bathtub you might want to purchase a tub faucet with a three-quarter-inch valve. This will allow the tub to fill up faster than with a normal half-inch valve. Consider the Axor Maussaud Tub Filler, a freestanding faucet that rapidly fills large tubs and also features a flat faucet head that you can use as a platform for toiletries.
Do bathtubs come with a drain?
There are a select number of tubs that include drains, but most require purchasing the drain separately from the tub and faucet.
What about style considerations?
Matching a bathtub with the sink and toilet is standard practice. However, to achieve a bolder look, you can opt for a different finish or color, especially if you have a freestanding tub. For adventurous decorators, the Dip Softies Tub comes in vibrant colors that won’t fade after extended use.
How should I clean my bathtub?
Use a soft cloth and a mild non-abrasive cleaner. For best results, always refer to the specific manufacturer’s recommended instructions.
With any bathroom project, we highly recommend working with a licensed professional to ensure your installation goes smoothly. Good luck, and have fun with it!
For More Advice + Inspiration
Rhyen Clevenger is a site merchandiser at YBath. While he is new to the bath team, it does not hinder his enthusiasm for decorative plumbing. On the weekends he enjoys curling up with his fiancé and watching some good science fiction.