What every best Bathtubs has:
- Try it before you buy it.
- Measure the bathtub.
- Think about hot water.
Editor's note: The sky's the limit when it comes to your choices in bathtubs -- although your budget, available space and current plumbing location may ground you a bit. That means you have to be extra careful when shopping for a new tub; which is why this bathtub buying guide is where you should start.
Alcove-style is really an installation option, rather than a type of tub, and it is the most common bathtub found in American homes. Supported on three sides by walls (two in the case of corner tubs), these recessed tubs can be very basic, or offer upgraded features such as soaking depths or whirlpool jets. Many also have molded armrests, backrests and shelves to add to your comfort level while bathing. Regardless of their features though, alcove tubs are still the most affordable type. Shower/tub combos are usually alcove-style. Read more »
Soaking tubs are a good choice for those who enjoy immersing themselves in warm water. They are deeper than conventional tubs, but may be wider or narrower, depending upon their purpose. Some soaking tubs are made to accommodate two adults, others are designed for sitting upright and soaking. Soaking tubs can be very heavy and might require a reinforced floor. They also require a lot of hot water, so a separate hot water heater or some other dedicated system to provide sufficient hot water may be necessary. Read more »
Also commonly known as Jacuzzi bathtubs, after the most well-known manufacturer of this type of tub, whirlpool tubs use jets driven by a pump to agitate the water, or an air system to create bubbles; some use a combination of the two. Many people find them extremely relaxing. If you have frequent muscle or joint pain, or just enjoy the luxury of a spa, you may want to consider a whirlpool tub. Whirlpool tubs are available in a wide range of sizes and types, from very small to soaker-size; freestanding to walk-in. Read more »
For those with limited mobility, stepping over the side of a conventional bathtub (typically 14 to 16 inches high) can be difficult. Walk-in tubs reduce that hurdle to about 4 inches, in addition to providing other features that prevent slipping and help the user stay comfortable and safe. However, you need to get into the tub and close the watertight door before filling it with water, then let it drain before getting out, which may be a chilly wait. They're expensive too, both to purchase and to install. Read more »