Best Bathtubs of 2017. The Ultimate Guide.

We are spending increasing amounts of time in the bathroom for both hygienic and relaxation purposes. For something that's part of our day to day routine, it makes sense to ensure you have high quality products installed. This is a helpful guide for consumers looking to find one of the best bathtubs for your home. We'll be researching the various features, styles, materials, price points, and shapes to help readers understand the benefits of owning one, and the main differences between individual products.

Top bathtubs

Image Product Type Gallons Rating Review
Drop in / Undermount 60 89% Here
Drop in / Undermount 60 88% Here
Freestanding 60 88% Here
Alcove 40-50 86% Here
Alcove 57 86% Here
Freestanding N/A 86% Here

Buying guide

Everything you need to know before buying a bathtub will be listed below. Hopefully, this will help prevent you from making costly mistakes whilst shopping. It should also give you an insight into the various styles, shapes, sizes, and brand names.

Style

Freestanding - As the name would suggest, freestanding tubs are stand alone and have finished sides. They can be easily moved around depending on where you have your faucets installed. A more mobile option that gives users the choice of rotating it into their preferred positions. There can also be a cost advantage compared to models which require some form of surround or platform to install. The flip side of that is freestanding variants can often require more expensive plumbing work to be carried out to fit or hide any faucets or pipes into an area that you desire.

Recessed - Commonly known as alcove tubs, they are suitable for buyers with a wall either end and along one side. This means they are equipped with one finished or skirted side. Not as popular a choice as they require a rather specific washroom design.

Walk in - These are usually the go to options for people looking to have easier access to their bath. Ideal for the elderly, or people with mobility issues as they remove the need to step over a large side to get in. It does this by including a door that is self sealing on the side to prevent water from escaping. Ease of access is the stand out feature of such a design.

Corner - Typically shaped to match the shape between two walls. They are quite often triangular and will help users make better use of floor space. Ideal for buyers with smaller lavatories.

Platform / Drop in - Usually suited for people who have a ready made decking area or platform to drop a mold in. They don't include finished sides, and simply slot into a gap from above. If you're not much of a DIY enthusiast, such implementations can be hard work and require a professional to fit. Keep in mind that such a product would need to be carefully measured before buying.

Undermount - Undermount tubs share some similarities with a drop in style except that it's installed from underneath. The beauty of such a design resides in the fact they don't usually have a visible edge. Improving the aesthetics.

Clawfoot bathtub - This style is timeless. They cater to unique tastes but look fantastic. Anyone aiming to add a vintage touch to their bathroom should consider this style, which usually comes as a sub category of freestanding variants. The feet themselves are more often than not cast iron for strength, reliability, and durability.

Material

Among the most popular materials chosen by consumers is cast polymer, acrylic, cast iron, fiberglass, and steel. However, for a more unique take, there are also things like marble to choose from. There are advantages to be found in each for differing puposes. For example a fiberglass option will typically be cheap, yet molded to fit body shapes easily. They aren't particularly heavy which will certainly make carrying it into your household upon delivery easier. The downside is that they aren't known to be highly durable, which may mean needing a replacement sooner than you expected.

So to prevent future headaches, take some time to understand what each material brings to the table before you part with your money.

Read more about the various materials used here

Size

Length and width certainly matter. Think about who's going to be using it and how tall they are. People should take into consideration who the biggest person in your household is then plan accordingly. There are multiple options available, some with a larger depth, others designed for a more compact environment. We have listed out some guides on specific sizes below.

54 inches

72 inches

Location / placement possibilities

There is a huge amount of variety in bathroom shapes and sizes. That's why users need to consider where it will be best placed. Some consumers choose to put it into the corner to maximize floor space, whilst others with larger washrooms will leave it in a more central position. One things for sure, there is a lot of variety in this department.

ADA compliance

Ensuring your tub is accessible to people of all abilities isn't something everyone looks at when shopping. However, whilst it may not seem like much, having non slip surfaces and ways to get in and out easier can make all the difference to some individuals. This PDF outlines what to expect from accessible designs.

Price

Naturally, what's affordable for some, is expensive for others. This alone highlights the importance of setting yourself a budget plan and keeping as close to it as possible. The price is heavily dependent on the manufacturer and included extras such as whirlpool and jet settings. Many tubs hover around the 1000 dollars mark, but you will find plenty either side of that price point.

Jets and bubbles

Some models have whirlpool settings that send bubbles and jet through the water. These are usually optional and will have an effect on the overall affordability. You should be looking at these inclusions as more of a luxury than a necessity. They can really help in rejuvenating muscles and can incklude jets that target individual areas of the body such as neck and back.

Lighting

Some units come with special lighting that can really help set a relaxing tone as you soak after a long day at work. Nothing particularly ground breaking with such inclusions, however, they do look great in the water. This can be used for chromatherapy and users can often add a variety of different hues to suit the mood.

Colors

Try to stick with the current theme of your bathroom as a whole. Brighter colors almost always work well. Other things to keep tabs on include matching the faucet or shower head colors with things like the handles to create a theme that works well together. Alternatively, you could look into product ranges that come as a set and are designed for this purpose.

Brands

American standard, Kohler, Kingston Brass, and Sterling are just a few examples of reputable bathtub brands in the industry. Sticking to the well known manufacturers is sensible, but it can also bump up the price tag somewhat.

Consumer feedback

It's always a smart move to read what buyers have been saying about a particular product. Many online stores offer users the chance to write either positive or negative things about there purchase. Make use of these, look at the low ratings as well as the high, doing so will give you a fuller picture of what to expect.

Reviews

American Standard 7236V002.020 Evolution - With a form fitting back rest, alongside molded arm rests, this has a design built for user comfort and support. Whilst washing yourself may be one reason for owning a tub, it can't be denied that how comfortable and relaxed you are whilst soaking is still very important.

This is an acrylic option available in three different colors: Linen, arctic, and white. It's accompanied by fiberglass reinforcement and has dimensions of 21.5 inches by 36 inches by 72 inches. To give you an idea about the amount of water it holds, the manufacturer lists this as more than sixty gallons. So that's plenty of water coverage to enjoy.

It includes a reversible drain outlet and may be a good choice for those of you working with some kind of platform surround as it can work as both undermount and drop in depending on individual requirements.

Price wise, when we compare it to similar products in this market, we believe it falls into the medium price tier. The consumer feedback left to date is quite positive too.

Kohler K-1121-0 Underscore - This unit from the underscore product range comes in a variety of colors to cater to different bathroom themes. Aside from the more traditional white, users will also have the choice between more unique shades such as almond, cashmere, and biscuit. It features a simple, yet modern design with clean cut lines and measures 60 inches in length by 30 inches in width by 19 inches in height.

It's equipped with a overflow drain quite high up which ensures people are able to enjoy a deeper, soaking experience. Combine this with the angled / sloped back, and you see user comfort has been taken care of.

Keep in mind that to install this, you may need additional parts such as the K-7271 or K-7272 drain. Such additional expenses can easily be overlooked and drive the price up unexpectedly. So be aware. It's not an option I would recommend for people on a tight budget, but the feedback is generally showing customers painting it in quite a positive light.

Woodbridge B-0002 Acrylic - The B-0002 has a great contemporary design about it. Apart from being freestanding, there are several unique specifications that help it stand out from the crowd which we will go into in more detail below.

The ability to retain heat is something easily overlooked when shopping. Some units don't have the right insulation qualities to do so. However, because this particular unit is double walled, it keeps the heat in more effectively without a drastic drop in water temperature.

The material used in its construction has several benefits. First of all it reduces the chances of getting scratched and stained. Then there is the simplicity of cleaning it thanks to its glossy finish. Less time will be taken doing maintenance, and more time will be spent relaxed.

The drain and overflow are located in the center, and users will need to purchase the faucet separately, which can drive up the price tag. Search for the F0001 for a suitable match.

Sterling Plumbing 61041120-0 All Pro - Boasts some solid specs whilst remaining relatively inexpensive. This is a alcove option suitable for people not wanting to spend too much money. Low price doesn't have to mean lower quality either, for this has some great features for the right set up.

To start with, it has utilized vikrell in its construction, which is known for its strength and durability. It has a glossy finish that helps reduce the visibility of scratching and a backrest for comfort.

It measures 60 by 30 by 15 inches, and is able to hold up to fifty gallons of water, which is slightly below some of the others mentioned above, but still sufficient for a family household.

KOHLER Archer K-1946-LA-0 Alcove - This tub comes with an integral apron and has plenty of choice when it comes to picking out a color to match your bathrooms theme. Almond, biscuit, black, cashmere, dune, ice gray, Mexican sand, and thunder gray are all alternatives to the traditional white.

It's equipped with a built in tile flange to help reduce the amount of water escaping. It also has an easy step over height of nineteen inches.

Support is given to the lumbar region with a molded back rest for comfort, and the material used in its contruction is known as ExoCrylic, which is Acrylic and made by KOHLER and designed to make the product more lightweight to simplify the installation process.

The bottom is textured to help with grip and prevent slippage. It can also hold up to 57 gallons at max capacity.

Kardiel HB-BT-AGORA-59-RO - For those looking for a product with aesthetic appeal, the Agora range could be a great solution. It features a rectangular overflow, and is fade resistant with a surface that is designed to make light work of cleaning duties.

Measuring fifty nine inches, this should be a suitable fit for the average user. Although there is a 68 inch option for taller people.

The material used shall retain the heat well, reducing the need to constantly top it off with a fresh layer of warm water.

It also adjusts with the use of foot pads, perfect for people working with uneven floor surfaces. The feedback written about it suggest that customers who have purchased it are for the most part happy too. But it's worth reading through the negative comments too to give yourself the full overview.

Bathtub comparison table

American Standard 7236V002.020 Evolution Kohler K-1121-0 Underscore Woodbridge B-0002 Acrylic Sterling Plumbing 61041120-0 All Pro KOHLER K-1946-LA-0 Alcove Kardiel HB-BT-AGORA-59-RO
Type UM / DI UM / DI Freestanding Alcove Alcove Freestanding
Gallons 60 60 60 40 - 50 57 N/A
Material Acrylic Acrylic Acrylic Vikrell Acrylic Acrylic
Color White White Glossy White White White White
Dimensions 21.5 x 36 x 72" 62.5 x 32.5 x 22.2" 67 x 31.8 x 23" 60 x 30 x 15" 63.6 x 34.5 x 21.4" 29.5 x 59 x 23.6"
Weight 115 lbs 90.2 lbs 75 lbs 56 lbs 72.8 lbs 110 lbs
Rating 89% 88% 88% 86% 86% 86%

Wrapping up

The top rated bathtubs tend to have a mixture of great features alongside a generally aesthetic exterior design that holds fairly large quantities of water. By helping you understanding the type of tub you require, as well as the smaller details such as sizing, brands, and pricing, we hope to eliminate buyers remorse.

If any of the terms used here are causing you some confusion, please refer to our glossary. If you have any further questions, our FAQ page is designed to clear up as much confusion as possible.