26+ Different Types Of Bathtubs: Materials & Brands (Pros and Cons)

The picture of soaking up in the bathtub with either a wine or book in hand and some music in the background is forever etched in our minds.

Perhaps, this is also the reason why when homeowners get the chance, having a bathtub installed in their bathrooms becomes a must. However, a bathtub is not a generic piece and there is a vast array of options to choose from. 

In this post, we look at some of the most common types of bathtubs including the materials that they are built with. We also narrow down the pros and cons of each bathtub type and bathtub material for you to have a buying guide of what to choose.

Related: 21 Types of Bathtub Faucets (Materials and Handles)

Types of bathtubs 

First, let us look at the most common types of bathtubs. In here, we discuss the type of bathrooms where they would perfectly fit and also the pros and cons of each type of bathtub. 

1. Alcove tub

This one is perhaps the most common bathtub seen in modern homes today. It is also called the three-wall-alcove, fitting in a three-sided enclosure (often made of glass) and featuring a showerhead.

Combining aesthetic form and functionality, the popularity of this bathtub is understandable. 

ProsCons
Functional and relatively inexpensive. Generic look. 
Aesthetically versatile. Must be well-fitted into the walls. 
Low-maintenance. Has a front apron only. 
Good for small bathrooms.Can only be positioned towards one direction. 

2. Claw-foot tub

This timeless looking tub is considered as a type of freestanding tub. When it comes to form, function, and visual impact, you can never go wrong with this tub.

It gets its name from its claw-feet, reminiscent of Renaissance and high culture aesthetics. Its form has a curved look, and tub walls that define its height and depth. 

ProsCons
Offers vintage charm to any bathroom. Comes in limited shape and designs. 
High visual impact. Expensive. 
Easy to install. Lack of storage for toiletries. 
Form allows deep soaking. 

3. Combination tubs

As the name implies, this one includes two or more features of tubs. The most common form of combination tubs includes alcove tubs with two or more shower heads, various soaking options and whirlpool and air jet options, built-in the tub. 

ProsCons
Offers a complete tub experience (i.e. relaxation, deep soaking, hydrotherapy). Expensive because of the combination of features. 
Great maximization of space. More challenging to clean and maintain. 
Good for small and large floor spaces. 

4. Corner tub

As the term implies, this tub is asymmetrical in shape, fitting small corners of the bathroom. It has two types: triangular corner tub and rectangular corner tub.

If functionality for compact bathrooms is what you need, this is a prime choice to consider. They can be elevated in a platform and require only two-sided enclosures compared to alcove bathtubs. 

ProsCons
Premium maximization of small spaces. Limited accessibility. 
Versatile. Can be positioned in one corner only. 
Can be enclosed through drop-in, glass walls or elevated using decks. 

5. Drop-in tubs

This is also a common bathtub in homes featuring a tub shell, enclosed in a pre-made deck. Basically, this tub’s interior has a finished look but the exterior does not, which makes sense because it would not be seen due to the deck enclosure.

Drop-in tubs have their own rim and the deck sides can be used for shampoo and other toiletries. However, it requires a larger floor area although it can also be enclosed in an alcove form. 

ProsCons
High-end spa vibe. Difficulty in getting in and out of the tub because of height and depth. 
Deep soaking feature; made for relaxation. Requires a pre-built deck. 
No slip grip handles; comes with high-end bearings. Challenging to install DIY. 
More expensive than alcove. 

6. Freestanding tubs

As the term implies, this tub is not attached to the wall nor to other bathroom surfaces. Literally standing from the floor, this one includes the traditional classic clawfoot tub.

It is normally installed in larger bathrooms although it could also fit three-sided alcoves. Vintage and high-end looking, freestanding tubs are generally more expensive than alcove and drop-in tubs. 

ProsCons
High visual impact. Does not come with storage; requires stools, caddies, etc. 
Perfect for retro and contemporary designs. High maintenance. 
Adds to the home’s resale value. Expensive. 
Can be positioned anywhere in the bathroom. Impractical for homes with children and elderly. 
Heavy and comes with exposed plumbing. 

7. Hot tub

When it comes to relaxation and deep soaking, hot tubs are considered as the gold standard.

They are very versatile because they can be installed both indoors and outdoors and come in many finishes, construction, shapes and sizes.

Built for warm relaxation, it comes with built-in water jets. Some also have massagers and other therapeutic features. 

ProsCons
For deep soaking and relaxation. Expensive. 
Resort or spa-like vibe. 
For therapeutic functions (hydrotherapy). 
Versatile in build, form, and function. 

Related: 7 Worst Hot Tub Brands To Avoid

8. Japanese style tub

This one is technically called as the Japanese Ofuro and in other terms is also called as soaking tubs. They are specifically designed for spa-like relaxation.

It offers a very serene appeal, thanks to its freestanding form, sloped walls and well-loved depth. It does not have a built-in shower head because it is meant for deep soaking after showering from a separate shower area. 

ProsCons
Visually breathtaking. Expensive. 
Adds to the resale value of the home.No storage for toiletries. 
For deep soaking and relaxation. High-maintenance. 
More accessible sloped walls compared to usual freestanding tubs. 

9. Jetted tubs

They can be alcove tubs or drop-in tubs but feature air jets. As such, jetted tubs are for spa vibes and are made for hydrotherapy.

It is perfect for those suffering from back pains, arthritis and joint soreness. The air jets of this tub are all adjustable to give you a prime soothing experience. 

ProsCons
Comes in different forms, finishes, and features. Cost prohibitive in terms of maintenance and installation.  
Sports air jets for hydrotherapy and deep relaxation. 

10. Pedestal tubs

This one is another subtype of the freestanding tub considered as the modern take to classic clawfoot tub. Instead of the clawfoot legs, this one is raised in a ‘pedestal’ either made of tile or stone. 

ProsCons
Comes in different forms, builds, and finishes. High maintenance.   
Modern retro look for the bathroom.  Relatively expensive.  
Made for deep soaking. 

11. Undermount tub

Source: KraftMaster Renovations

This one is a subtype of the drop-in tub. The primary difference between the two is that undermount tubs have a covered rim compared to the exposed rim of drop-in tubs.

The most common materials used for the rim would be tile and stone. It is also raised in a platform or built-in deck. 

ProsCons
Upscale, luxurious vibe. Expensive to repair or remove. 
Easy to clean and low-maintenance. Relatively expensive to install. 
Spa-like theme. 
Durable; built to last. 

12. Walk-in tubs

This one is specifically designed for people with issues on mobility. It comes with a high chair and grab bars for greater stability. The side door can be opened at a one step entry.

Functionally, they are very advantageous for pain relief because they come in multiple air jets. They are usually installed in an alcove form, covering the floor space of traditional bathtubs. 

ProsCons
Luxe look.  Upscale and expensive. 
Offers therapeutic and pain relief benefits. High-maintenance. 
Perfect for people with mobility issues. 

13. Whirlpool and air tubs

Source: Houzz

Whirlpool and air tubs are cousins and they usually come in a combo. They are a more specific version of jetted tubs because they have a combo of water and air jets positioned strategically to offer therapeutic effects to those who use them.

This tub is also recommended for concentrated exercises using the whirlpool gush of the water jets. 

ProsCons
Comes in many forms, finishes, shapes, and sizes.   Very expensive.  
Can be installed indoors and outdoors. High-maintenance. 
For therapeutic function. 

Bathtub materials 

Since we have already covered the types of tubs, we now look into the most common bathtub materials that give tubs their finished look and visual impact. 

1. Acrylic

It is often comparable with fiberglass because they have the same look and they share a lot of characteristics.

When it comes to tubs, acrylic is often reinforced using fiberglass sheets. However, acrylic materials come in more colors and finishes. It is also an inexpensive choice for bathtubs. 

ProsCons
Inexpensive and lightweight. Can crack, break, and fade.
Low maintenance.  Not that durable. 
Have a higher end look compared to other cheaper materials. 

2. Cast iron

If you are looking for a bathtub material that would really last, this is the material that you should be eyeing for.

Made from molten iron and finished with glossy enamel coating, it offers a luxe look for bathtubs. Its ability to retain heat is also one of the best selling points of cast iron tubs. 

ProsCons
Its durability is unmatched. Heavy and expensive. 
Resistant to dents, scratches, and chipping. Challenging to install, repair, and replace. 
Comes in different colors, shapes, and sizes. 
Ability to retain heat. 

3. Ceramic

When it comes to design options, ceramic tubs are comparable to cultured marble. It comes in many finishes, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. However, it has a more irregular surface so it might have a different feel against the skin. 

ProsCons
Wide design options.Requires frequent maintenance (especially if it is ceramic tile that you are using). 
Vast price points depending on style, shape, and size. Irregular surface. 
Low-maintenance. 

4. Cultured marble

Source: McLarrin Flooring & Counter Tops

For a bathtub material that comes in an array of size, style, and colors, this one is one of the finer options. It is made from crushed limestone and then mixed with resin. It is then polished using Gelcoat for a glossy finish. 

ProsCons
Comes in varied price points.  More expensive than most bathtub materials. 
Offers more choices when it comes to color, size, shapes, and styles. Less available in the market. 
More durable than fiberglass and acrylic. 

5. Fiberglass

This one is considered as the cheapest bathtub material. It is also called fiberglass reinforced plastic made of shards of fiberglass and then coated with resin. They are perfect for alcove and corner bathtubs. 

ProsCons
Inexpensive and lightweight. Thin and have an unstable feel. 
Easy to install and to repair. Vulnerable to cracking, fading, and scratching. 

6. Porcelain on steel

Source: Wayfair

This is also a very common material for bathtubs because of its polished look and inexpensive range.

Basically, this one is formed from stamped sheet of steel and then reinforced with porcelain enamel. As such, it is also called enameled steel. You can count on this to have a glossy finish for a long time. 

ProsCons
Very durable. Heavier compared to fiberglass and acrylic. 
Inexpensive and low maintenance. Rusting and chipping issues on the surface. 
Glossy finish. Limited options for shapes and sizes. 
Recommended alternative for acrylic and fiberglass materials. 

7. Stone resin

Natural looking and durable, stone resin tubs are good investments. The most common stones used for this type of tub would be sandstone, basalt, travertine, marble, onyx, and granite. 

ProsCons
Organic, high-end look.Requires extra labor because it is challenging to install. 
Customizable. Needs extra support such as plinth or platform. 
Sturdy; built to last. Heavy and high-maintenance. 
Expensive. 

8. Wood

Source: Reddit

This one is made for deep soaking. Attractive, timeless, and customizable, it offers a unique look for bathtubs, making them a beautiful centerpiece in the bathroom. The best woods used for tubs would be walnut, ash wood, teak, maple and cherry wood. 

ProsCons
Unique, natural look. Expensive. 
Customizable. Issues on molding.
Durable. High-maintenance. 

9. Solid surface

Source: Amazon

This material is considered as relatively new in the bathtub market. It is durable and comes in different colors and styles. It is built using the combination of synthetic materials and polymers. 

ProsCons
High design variation. Heavy weight and hard to install. 
Durable and has a repairable finish. Expensive. 
Natural look. Not that accessible in the market. 
Ability to retain heat. 

10. Stainless steel

This one is known as the most durable bathtub material. With a contemporary, industrial look, stainless steel tubs come with a price. Although they are less expensive than some stone materials, it is still a high-end investment. 

ProsCons
Polished, contemporary look. Expensive. 
Relatively lightweight and easy to install. Can have an unstable feel. 
Low-maintenance. May require sets of fastening to give it more support. 
Has high heat retaining ability. 
Durable. 

Bathtub brands 

There are of course a multitude of bathtub tubs around but some are really standouts when it comes to the range of bathtub types and styles that they offer.

If you want to have a heads-up of what available tubs are popular and well-rated, you can check out these bathtub brands. 

1. American Standard

This one is a household brand in America when it comes to bathroom and kitchen fixtures. It has been around for 140 years so it takes pride in being a reputable bathtub brand.

They offer a variety of bathtub types ranging from kiddie designs, soak tubs for pets, and modern design tubs for any type of bathroom interior. 

This bathtub manufacturer offers installment modes of payment. Their kitchen and bathroom products are also ADA and WaterSense certified. 

ProsCons
Provide free, online estimation for bathtub needs. No online FAQs. 
Warranty includes installation and labor. 
Consistent high ratings from customer reviews. 
Household brand. 

2. Anzzi

It might only be established in 2005 but its products are considered as artisan in design, ergonomic, and come in various shapes, sizes, and styles.

Aside from the usual bathtub styles, they also offer medical grade walk-in bathtubs as well as drop-in whirlpool tubs. They also manufacture different materials for tubs ranging from acrylic to natural stones. 

ProsCons
Build and safety features of tubs are commendable. Limited lifetime warranty. 
High design variation. Customer service reviews are not that good. 
Well-rated medical grade tubs. 
Varied price points. 

3. Delta

This bath and plumbing manufacturer is based in Indiana and is well-known for its water saving innovations including the MagnaTite, Touch2O, and H2O Kinetic.

While their main product would be faucets, they are also a leading manufacturer of acrylic, fiberglass, enameled steel, and cast-iron bathtubs. 

ProsCons
10-year warranty including installation and labor. Expensive price points. 
Build, form and function standards are all met. 
Comes in different sizes, shapes, and styles, all with ample coverage. 

4. Jacuzzi

This is the brand which pioneered whirlpool tubs and well, the jacuzzi. When it comes to innovative features and wellness technologies, they are a global pioneer in crafting well-rated bathtub designs.

Aesthetically, they also manufacture tubs incorporating different designs and styles that are perfect for different bathroom interiors. 

ProsCons
Technological and innovative. Cost prohibitive. 
Refined features (i.e. hydromassage, energy saving features, Winter Pro Kit, Clear Ray technology). 

5. Kaldewei

It is this brand which pioneered the manufacture of enameled stainless-steel tubs. They also offered the first seamless, freestanding bathtub and revolutionized the designs and innovative features of corner tubs.

Their linear, and streamlined bathtub styles are also very commendable sporting ergonomic features. 

ProsCons
10-year warranty including installation and labor. Expensive price points. 
Build, form and function standards are all met. 
Comes in different sizes, shapes, and styles, all with ample coverage. 

6. Kingston Brass

This one is a California brand founded in 1998. They offer a wide range of kitchen, bath and plumbing products at a reasonable price point.

When it comes to bathtub ranges, they are a go-to manufacturer for alcove, freestanding, and pedestal tubs made from cast iron, solid surface and acrylic materials. 

ProsCons
Affordable price points. Warranty coverage is limited. 
Offers a lot of modern and contemporary bathtub selections. 

7. Kohler

This American brand has been around since 1873. It is known for its good reputation in manufacturing durable kitchen and bathroom fixtures. When it comes to tubs, they are best known for their cast iron bathtubs, walk-in and drop-in tubs. 

Incorporating technology with functionality, we love the smart plumbing connection, voice recognition control, and water sense technology which saves gallons of water a month. 

ProsCons
Reputable brand.Expensive price points. 
Offers a variety of bathroom fixtures not just tubs. 
Good customer service rating. 
Commendable warranty coverage. 

8. Toto

Founded in 1917, this brand is considered as the largest toilet manufacturer in the world. It is based in Japan and its most celebrated product would be their self-cleaning toilets.

When it comes to bathtubs, they have the most well-rated drop-in tubs and enamel cast iron bathtubs. They also have lines of slip resistant tubs, remote controlled jetted tubs, and cast-acrylic tubs. 

ProsCons
Durable and innovative designs. Some bathtub selections are not available.   
Has a lot of sustainability certifications (including WaterSense, ADA, CalGreen). 
Well-awarded brand. 
Price points are reasonable. 

9. Universal Tubs

If you are looking for the best walk-in tub selections, one of the best brands to go for would be Universal Tubs.

They are known for their non-slip steps, good floor traction, and have wide doors. They also offer a lot of safety accessories including contoured and heated seating and grab rails. 

When it comes to materials, Universal Tubs mainly use fiberglass, acrylic, solid surface and cast-iron. Their tub selections are also made for hydrotherapy and wheelchair accessibility. 

ProsCons
Features contoured seats for all tubs. Extra cost for extended warranty on specific parts. 
Good selection for medical grade tubs. Extra cost for added features such as heating accessories. 
Wide range of styles, sizes, and shapes. Higher steps. 
Good customer service. Expensive. 

Factors to consider when buying a bathtub

For the last part, let us look into the factors that you have to consider when it comes to buying bathtubs. In this, we are only looking at three things: size, depth, and style. As such, here are some essentials to look for bathtubs. 

Size

This one depends on your needs and the floor space of your bathroom. Note that the standard bathtubs are 60×30-inches and 60×32-inches.

Soaking tubs are longer and narrower with a standard size of 72×20-24-inches. It is also imperative that you measure the floor space first before considering the final bathtub size.

Depth

More than the shape and size, another vital factor to consider is the tub’s depth because it defines the comfort level and soaking capacity of the bathtub.

The standard depth would be in between 14-24-inches. If you want to save water, go for shallower ones. But if you want deep soaking, go for tubs with a depth of 20-inches and deeper. 

Style

By style we mean the bathtub material and type. You can choose from alcove, drop-in, freestanding, clawfoot tub, jetted, and more.

To be honest, there is no better bathtub style. You only have to choose the one that is best for your needs and bathroom interior. As such, it might be best to list your preferences first before checking bathtub styles.  

Related: 30 Faucet Brands For Your Bathroom and Kitchen (Worst and Reliable)

Conclusion

Bathtubs are not just there for soaking in wine, music, or books. As aesthetic as they already are, bathtubs are made using different materials because each type offers a specific purpose.

When it comes to choosing the best bathtub, you have to narrow down your choice in terms of preferred style, depth, material, and function. 

With all the things that we have covered here, you are now prepared to list, eliminate, and choose the best bathtub that would fit your needs and the interior of your bathroom.

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