Types of Tubs: How to Pick the One You’ll Love

The bathtub is a haven for relaxation, a place to melt away stress with a warm soak, and a chance to indulge in some self-care. But with so many bathtub options available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, this guide will highlight the most popular types of bathtubs with their pros and cons to help you find the perfect fit for your needs and bathroom.

Which Is The Best Type of Tub for Your Home?

Bathtubs are more than just utilitarian fixtures; they are gateways to relaxation and self-care. Tubs come in a variety of styles and configurations, each offering a unique bathing experience. Let’s go straight into the most common types, categorized by their installation style:

1: Freestanding Tubs


The epitome of bathtub luxury, freestanding tubs stand alone, creating a centerpiece in your bathroom. They come in various shapes, from the classic slipper tub with its gently sloping end to the deep soaking tub, perfect for full-body immersion. Freestanding tubs offer a spacious and luxurious feel, ideal for creating a spa-like atmosphere at home. However, they require ample space and tend to be a pricier option.


  • Luxurious feel: Freestanding tubs create a spa-like atmosphere, adding a touch of elegance and grandeur to any bathroom.
  • Spacious bathing: They come in various shapes, including deep soaking tubs for full-body immersion and slipper tubs offering a reclined bathing experience.
  • Design versatility: Freestanding tubs stand alone, allowing for more flexibility in bathroom layout and creating a focal point.


  • Space requirement: They require ample floor space, making them less suitable for smaller bathrooms.
  • Cost factor: Freestanding tubs are generally the most expensive option due to their materials and design complexity.
  • Installation considerations: Installation might require additional plumbing adjustments depending on the tub’s location.

2: Alcove Tubs


The most common type, alcove tubs are designed to fit snugly against three walls, typically featuring a built-in shower area. This space-saving design makes them ideal for smaller bathrooms or maximizing shower space. Alcove tubs are also generally the most affordable option, making them a budget-friendly choice. While functional, they might lack the design flair of some other tub styles.


  • Space-saving design: Alcove tubs fit snugly against three walls, typically incorporating a built-in shower area, making them ideal for maximizing space in smaller bathrooms.
  • Budget-friendly: They are the most affordable type of bathtub, offering a practical and cost-effective solution.
  • Easy installation: Alcove tubs typically have standardized dimensions, simplifying installation and potentially reducing associated costs.


  • Limited design options: Their standard design might not offer the same level of visual appeal as some other bathtub styles.
  • Less bathing space: Compared to freestanding or corner tubs, alcove tubs tend to offer a smaller bathing area.
  • Limited customization: Their built-in shower configuration might restrict customization options.

3: Corner Tubs

signature 60 x 60 corner bathtub

Corner tubs capitalize on unused corner space in your bathroom, creating a more spacious feel. They often come in larger sizes than alcove tubs, allowing for a more luxurious bathing experience. Some corner tubs even incorporate whirlpool jets for an extra touch of relaxation. While they offer a good use of space compared to freestanding tubs, corner tubs still require a decent amount of square footage.


  • Space optimization: Corner tubs capitalize on unused corner space, creating a more spacious feel compared to alcove tubs.
  • Larger bathing area: They often come in larger sizes than alcove tubs, allowing for a more luxurious bathing experience.
  • Whirlpool feature: Some corner tubs boast built-in whirlpool jets for an added touch of relaxation and massage.


  • Space requirement: While efficient compared to freestanding tubs, they still require a decent amount of square footage in the bathroom corner.
  • Limited style options: Corner tubs might not be available in as wide a variety of styles as alcove or freestanding options.
  • Installation complexity: Installing a corner tub might be more complex than an alcove tub due to its corner placement and potential plumbing adjustments.

4: Drop-In Tubs

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These tubs are essentially tub shells designed to be installed within a custom tile surround or deck. This allows for greater design flexibility, letting you personalize your bathing area with different materials and colors. However, drop-in tubs require additional design elements like decks or surrounds for a finished look, adding to the overall cost.


  • Customization options: Drop-in tubs are essentially tub shells that can be installed within a custom tile surround or deck. This allows for greater design flexibility in terms of materials, colors, and overall aesthetics.
  • Variety of shapes and sizes: Drop-in tubs come in various shapes and sizes, catering to different space constraints and personal preferences.
  • Potential for seamless integration: Drop-in tubs can be integrated seamlessly with surrounding bathroom elements for a cohesive design.


  • Increased cost: The additional cost of designing and installing custom tile surrounds or decks needs to be factored in.
  • Installation complexity: Installing a drop-in tub requires more planning and expertise compared to alcove tubs.
  • Limited adjustability after installation: Once the surround or deck is installed, making adjustments to the bathtub placement becomes more challenging.

5: Undermount Tubs


For a truly sleek and contemporary aesthetic, undermount tubs are installed flush with the bathroom floor. This creates a seamless, luxurious look that makes the bathtub appear almost like a built-in pool. However, undermount tubs require specific installation techniques and may pose challenges for DIY enthusiasts.


  • Luxurious aesthetic: Undermount tubs are installed flush with the bathroom floor, creating a seamless and ultra-modern look. This minimalist design makes the bathtub appear almost like a built-in pool.
  • Enhanced bathing experience: The low profile of undermount tubs can create a more immersive bathing experience.
  • Potential for increased floor space: By eliminating the need for a tub deck or surround, undermount tubs can free up some floor space visually.


  • Cost factor: Undermount tubs are typically a high-end option due to the specific materials and installation techniques required.
  • Installation complexity: Installing an undermount tub requires precise planning and expertise to ensure proper waterproofing and structural support.
  • Limited accessibility: The low profile of undermount tubs might pose challenges for those with limited mobility or who require easier entry and exit from the bath.

6: Clawfoot Tubs

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Evoking a sense of vintage elegance, clawfoot tubs stand on decorative claw feet. These freestanding beauties are a popular choice for creating a romantic and nostalgic bathroom atmosphere. Clawfoot tubs tend to hold their value well and can become a statement piece in your bathroom. However, their weight and unique plumbing needs require careful consideration during installation.


  • Vintage elegance: Clawfoot tubs evoke a sense of nostalgia and romanticism, adding a unique touch of character to a bathroom.
  • Durability: Traditional clawfoot tubs are often made from cast iron, known for its exceptional durability and heat retention.
  • Potential resale value: Clawfoot tubs are considered timeless classics and can hold their value well in the resale market.


  • Weight and installation: Clawfoot tubs are extremely heavy and require careful planning and installation techniques to ensure proper floor support and plumbing adjustments.
  • Space requirement: While not as space-intensive as freestanding tubs, clawfoot tubs still require a dedicated area to accommodate their unique design.
  • Limited showering options: Clawfoot tubs are typically not designed for showering, requiring a separate shower installation or limiting bathing functionality.

What Material Make Up the Best Tubs?

The material your bathtub is made from not only impacts aesthetics but also durability, heat retention, and cost. Let’s explore some common bathtub materials:

  1. Acrylic: A popular and affordable choice, acrylic tubs are lightweight, easy to clean, and come in a wide range of colors and styles. However, they may scratch more easily and tend to lose heat faster than some other materials.
  2. Cast Iron: The classic choice for bathtubs, cast iron offers unmatched durability and excellent heat retention. Cast iron tubs can last for generations and provide a deep, luxurious soaking experience. However, they are the heaviest tub option and can be quite expensive.
  3. Stone Resin: A composite material combining crushed stone and resin, stone resin tubs offer the look and feel of natural stone without the weight or cost. They are durable, retain heat well, and come in a variety of colors and finishes.
  4. Copper: For a truly unique and luxurious bathroom, copper bathtubs offer a stunning visual impact. Copper is naturally antimicrobial and develops a beautiful patina over time. However, copper tubs require special cleaning and maintenance and are a significant investment.

Finding Your Perfect Match: Choosing the Right Tub

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of bathtubs and materials, it’s time to find the perfect one for you. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Bathroom Size: This is crucial! Measure your bathroom carefully and ensure the chosen tub will fit comfortably, allowing for enough space to move around safely. Freestanding and corner tubs, for example, require more space than alcove tubs. Consider modifications like removing a vanity or toilet if necessary to accommodate your dream tub.
  2. How You’ll Use the Tub: Do you prioritize a spacious shower or a deep soaking experience? If you mainly use the tub for quick showers, a combination tub with a built-in shower might suffice. If long, luxurious soaks are your preference, a deep soaking tub or a whirlpool tub with jets for added relaxation might be more appealing.
  3. Think About Features: Many bathtubs offer additional features to enhance your bathing experience. Whirlpool jets provide a massage-like experience while soaking. Armrests and built-in seats can add comfort, especially for those with limited mobility. Consider features that cater to your specific needs and preferences.
  4. Budget: Bathtub prices vary significantly depending on the type, material, and features. Alcove tubs and acrylic materials are generally the most affordable options. Freestanding tubs, cast iron, and copper tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum. Determine your budget beforehand and prioritize the features that matter most to you.

Pro Tips for a Perfect Soak

Here are some additional tips to consider when choosing your bathtub:

  • Ergonomics: Try sitting or lying down in a bathtub display model if possible to ensure a comfortable fit. Consider the depth, width, and overall size of the tub in relation to your height and body type.
  • Aesthetics: Think about the overall style of your bathroom. Does a sleek, modern freestanding tub complement your design, or would a clawfoot tub add a touch of vintage charm?
  • Think Long Term: Consider how you might use the bathtub in the future. If you plan on starting a family, a larger tub might be a practical choice. For accessibility needs, consider tubs with grab bars or walk-in features.
  • Maintenance: Some bathtub materials require more maintenance than others. For example, copper tubs require special cleaning solutions, while acrylic tubs are generally easy to clean with mild soap and water.

Beyond the Tub: Creating Your Bathroom Oasis

Your bathtub is the centerpiece, but other elements contribute to a relaxing bathroom experience. Consider these additional touches:

  • Surroundings: Opt for calming paint colors and soft lighting. Add natural elements like plants or a nature-inspired mural.
  • Comfort: Invest in plush bath towels, a luxurious bathrobe, and comfy bath mats.
  • Aromatherapy: Light scented candles or use an essential oil diffuser to create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Music: Set the mood with calming music or nature sounds while you soak.

The Verdict

Choosing the perfect bathtub is an exciting step towards creating your own personal bathroom retreat. Simply consider the factors discussed above and you’ll be well on your way to finding a tub that meets your needs, complements your style, and provides a haven for relaxation and self-care. Now, go ahead, turn on the bath taps, light some candles, and prepare to soak away your stress in your very own oasis of tranquility.


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