Tags: Categories: Bathrooms

15 Types of Bathtubs for Your Bathroom (Photos)


These days more and more master bathrooms are separating the tub and shower so that now you have a dedicated shower space and a separate bathtub. The result is that there are many different types of tubs you can choose from for your bathroom. We list and describe your bathtub options here.

Freestanding white bathtub

While most people take showers more often than a luxurious bath, it’s still really nice to have at least one bathroom with a bathtub.  This is especially the case if you have kids.  We’ve lived in a place without a tub and it was not easy bathing our very young son.

Also, being able to take a hot bath can be relaxing.  While I prefer the hot tub at the gym, I totally get the appeal of a large tub in the master bathroom.

If a tub is on your “to-get” list for your bathroom, here’s a great article setting out the different types of bathtubs.

Also, check out our detailed diagram setting out the different parts of a bathtub.

Related: Different Types of Bath Bombs

Types of Bath Tubs

Overview Table
Freestanding Tub Striking, artistic visual impact.  Highly desirable element for new home buyers.  Adds significantly to the resale value of homes.
Drop-in Tub Luxurious spa-like feel.  Rim is flush with the deck of the platform and allows for deep-soaking relaxation
Three-wall Alcove Tub Standard, affordable, and practical tub that offers maximum utility.  Can be dressed up for a more luxurious feel
Corner Tub Makes use of premium bathroom space.  Requires only two walls, as opposed to the three required by Alcove styles.  Can be rectangular or triangle.
Undermount Tub Nearly the same as drop-in tubs but with a different style of rim
Claw-foot Tub Adds instant vintage and historic appeal to any bathroom.  The gentle sloping walls of the tub and ornate claw feet give a feeling of regality and luxury.
Hot Tub The ultimate in deep soaking relaxation.  Bubbles and air jets give a restorative and reinvigorating hydrotherapy experience
Japanese Style Tub Beautiful and artful, this style tub is reminiscent of freestanding tubs but with a more Eastern design aesthetic and Asian appeal.

1. Alcove Tubs

Example of an alcove bathtub.

The Alcove tub design, also known as the three-wall-alcove design, is a practical style of bathtub that combines form and functionality. These bathtubs often have a shower head situated towards the top and are designed with convenience as the main goal. Perfect for tighter spaces, smaller homes, and apartments, the Alcove tub style is found in countless homes in today’s modern times.

Price $350 – $5000+
Product Dimensions 20-50+ inches wide by 70-80 inches long

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Practical and functional
  • Can be decorated to achieve a high-end luxe look
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Must be situated in relation to walls
  • Generic in feel

2 types of alcove tubs

The following distinction isn’t a technical distinction, but it’s one I want to make because there is a difference.  The distinction boils down to the size and how elaborate the alcove is.  In a nutshell, there’s a simple alcove tub and an elaborate luxury alcove tub.  Check out the following photo examples to see the difference.

a. Simple alcove tub

Simple alcove tub

b. Luxury alcove tub

Luxury alcove tub

2. Freestanding Tubs

Beautiful blue and white bathroom with freestanding clawfoot tub

There are several types of freestanding tubs.  First, we briefly cover freestanding tubs generally.

With its striking visual impact, the freestanding tub style can enhance your bathroom’s design. These tubs can be situated close to walls (although not recommended) or toward the center of rooms for a beautiful and unique focal point and visual stimulation. Brushed metal or chrome faucet accents can be added to create a truly modern and contemporary design aesthetic.

Price $2000 – $5000+
Product Dimensions UPC Certified Dimension In Inches: Width 34.3″ Length 70.9″ Height 25.6″

Pros

  • Striking visual impact
  • Artistic and beautiful presence lends itself perfectly to contemporary and modern style bathrooms
  • Versatile looks
  • Adds to home resale value
  • If desired, can be situated in the center or toward the center of the room

Cons

  • No storage areas are readily available for essential items such as shampoo and conditioner, soap, and other toiletries. Necessitates the use of bath stools, toiletry caddies, and customized organization.
  • Cleaning can prove to be cumbersome. Freestanding tubs may be easy to clean when they are situated in the center of a room with plenty of open space around the perimeter of the tub to reach in and around conveniently. However, situating a tub in the center of a room is not always practical, and can eat up much-needed space. When a freestanding tub is situated too closely to a wall, cleaning becomes difficult as there is often not enough space to access all points of the tub in relation to the wall
  • Cost-prohibitive for many buyers due to high price points
  • May prove to be impractical for children, older adults, and those with disabilities due to the high walls of the tub
  • Extremely heavy weight tub. The underlying floor must be checked for capacity over time to support the weight of a freestanding tub. The weight of these types of tubs can cause some floors to buckle over time.

4 Types of freestanding tubs

a. Claw-Foot Tub

Clawfoot bathtub

The claw-foot style tub is a lesson in beauty, form, and function. An undeniable vintage aesthetic defines the tub in every way. From its intricate clawed feet to the romantic sloping curves of the deep and high walls of the tub. Similar in design to freestanding tubs, a claw-foot tub is best situated with plenty of open space around it for ease of cleaning and accessibility

Price $600 – $5000+
Product Dimensions 20-50+ inches wide by 70-80 inches long

Pros

  • Adds immediate vintage charm and period detail to a bathroom
  • Creates functional and visual space between the floor and the bottom of the tub due to addition of feet
  • High walls allow for deep soaking and relaxation
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Lack of storage for things such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other toiletries
  • Very small and limited selection of sizes and shapes. Tends to fit very specific décor types

b. Modern solid base freestanding tub

Modern style solid base free style bathtub

c. Round “Soup Bowl” freestanding tub

Large round soup bowl style bathtub

d. Freestanding in an alcove

This last type of freestanding tub is more about placement than tub design.  The point here is you can put a freestanding tub in an alcove.

Freestanding tub in an alcove

3. Built-In / Drop-In Tubs

Also known as platform tubs or deck mounted, these bathtubs have a drop-in design function that results in the rim of the tub being flush with the platform or deck it is mounted in; this is a common design for air tubs and whirlpool tubs.

Price $700 – $5000+
Product Dimensions Varies on choice of shape (rectangle, triangle, deep-walled)

Pros

  • High-end and luxurious spa feel
  • Deep soaking functionality is great for relaxation
  • Premium bearings
  • Slide scoring units mounted on each side
  • Eight no-slip grip handles with rod safety caps
  • One or three goalie man design

Cons

  • Can be very difficult to get in and out of the tub, particularly if the tub is deep and has high walls

4 Types of drop-in tubs

a. Standard built-in tub

Standard built-in tub

b. Step-up drop-in

Step-up built in tub

c. Corner built-in tub

There are 2 types of corner tubs.  The first is a triangle shape tub. The other is a rectangle shaped tub.  Here are examples.

i. Triangle corner tub

Corner built-in bathtub

ii. Rectangle corner tub

Rectangle shaped corner tub

Prized for their versatility, corner tubs make use of their premium location within a bathroom for maximum functionality. A corner bath can be on a raised platform or even a triangular shape. Due to the intersectionality of corner space, only two walls are necessitated for this type of bathtub, as opposed to the Alcove style which typically requires a three-walled location.

Price Variable
Product Dimensions Dimensions range from shape chosen (triangle, rectangle, platform)

Pros

  • Maximum versatility
  • Makes use of corner space
  • Can be glass enclosed, open style raised on a platform, or drop-in

Cons

  • Tub accessibility is limited to one side
  • Can only be situated in a corner space

d. Undermount Tub

Undermount bathtub

Source: Homedepot.com

Undermount tub styles are essentially the same as platform or drop-in tub styles. The difference is that its rim is covered, unlike the rim of the drop-in style tub. Typical materials that cover the rim of undermount tubs are stone and tile. The tub itself is situated atop a supportive deck upon the floor structure.

Price Varies (platform materials can include tile, granite, stone, or wood)
Product Dimensions 54 x 29.5 x 34.5 inches

Pros

  • High-end, luxurious feel
  • Spa-like aesthetic
  • Durable and sturdy construction
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Tub cannot typically be removed without breaking up the surrounding deck into pieces for tub extraction

e. Drop-in tub in center of the bathroom

Drop in tub in the center of the bathroom

4. Hot Tub

Built-in jacuzzi tub in master bathroom

Hot tubs are the Holy Grail regarding blissful, deep-soaking, warm relaxation. Typically constructed with air jets, hot tubs are a place to restore, renew, and reinvigorate. Hot tubs tend to be situated in luxurious surroundings; tiled walls, marble floors, and panoramic windows are all very common décor elements that accompany hot tubs.

Price $5000 – $8000+
Product Dimensions 92.5 x 92.5 x 32.5 for a medium-size hot tub

Pros

  • Deep soaking relaxation
  • Ultimate spa and resort-like environment
  • Hydrotherapy for those with achy joints and arthritis

Cons

  • Expensive. May prove cost-prohibitive for many people

5. Japanese Style Tub

Japanese soaking tub

Known as the Japanese Ofuro, or soaking tub, this style offers the kind of peaceful and serene bliss one might find at a spa or resort. Gently sloping walls, along with a freestanding design, give this Japanese style tub a breathtaking and striking visual appeal. It is definitely one of the most beautiful tub designs in existence today. While styles may vary, Japanese soaking tubs tend to differ from Western style tubs in that bathing is not done in the tub. Rather, people bathe in the shower and then enter the tub to soak and relax after they are clean from their shower.

Price $2000 – $5000+
Product Dimensions 30-35+ inches in width by 65-70+ inches in length

Pros

  • Breathtaking design
  • Adds significantly to resale value of homes
  • Artistic presentation
  • Offers deep-soaking relaxation opportunities
  • Gently sloping walls make tub accessibility easier than typical free-standing tubs
  • Highly desirable design element for home buyers

Cons

  • No storage areas are readily available for essential items such as shampoo and conditioner, soap, and other toiletries. Necessitates the use of bath stools, toiletry caddies, and customized organization.
  • Cost-prohibitive for many buyers due to high price points

6. Walk-In Tub

Walk-in bathtub

Walk-in bathtub.  Source: Home Depot

A final type of tub is a tub for people with mobility issues.  These are a great way to remain independent and continue bathing yourself in the case of mobility issues.  Check out our in-depth article about creating an elderly-friendly bathroom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions about bathtubs.

What are the standard dimensions/sizes of bathtubs?

There are several types of bathtubs. Some of these include standard, free-standing, soaking, and walk-in. Standard bathtubs are commonly available in two sizes: 60 inches long by 30 inches wide and 60 inches long by 32 inches wide. The depth of standard tubs ranges from 15 inches to 18 inches.

Long and soaking tubs will be up to 72 inches long and are often 20 to 24 inches deep. Free-standing, including claw-footed, tubs are often this deep as well. Walk-in tubs tend to be sized similarly to standard tubs so that they are suitable for retrofit projects. However, these will often be 30 to 36 inches deep with a seat built into one end of the tub to accommodate persons with special needs.

What materials are bathtubs made from?

Historically, bathing tubs had been made of wood, copper, and iron. Today, we can still get a heavy, enameled, cast iron tub. This classic tub material will last for decades. Because of its heavyweight, you will need a structurally sound floor framing system to support and iron tub.

Porcelain tubs are often ones that are steel-based with a porcelain enamel finish. The result is a low-cost, smooth, glossy, and durable finish that is easy to clean.

Fiberglass and acrylic bathtub feature a high-gloss finish and fairly good durability. Solid acrylic tubs are easy to mold into various shapes and have solid color throughout. Acrylic tubs are well priced. Many soaking and walk-in tubs are made from acrylic.

Can bathtubs be painted?

It is possible to refresh a ceramic, porcelain, or acrylic tub’s finish and color by using a specialty kit labeled for tubs and tiles. Standard interior paint options will crack and peel when exposed to the heat and moisture of tubs. A tub/tile painting kit will include an epoxy-based system that boasts great adhesion and long-lasting durability once cured. A one-quart kit should be enough to cover the bathtub.

Following the instructions and caring for a painted tub properly will yield a durable finish that lasts for approximately 3 to 5 years.

Can bathtubs be resurfaced?

Bathtub resurfacing is possible to revitalize and restore the surface of a bathtub without having to replace the entire fixture. The process of resurfacing can be done on a wide variety of bathtub surfaces including porcelain, marble, and fiberglass. Fixture resurfacing is achieved by removing the remainder of the finish on the tub and then adding a fresh coat of a material that reseals the old damaged surface.

Bathtub resurfacing can be done to update the look of the tub, make it easier to clean, and gain a few more years of life.

Can bathtubs be repaired?

It is possible to make repairs on a variety of tub types. These include most porcelain tubs and those made from cultured marble, acrylic, and fiberglass. Fixtures can sustain damages in the shipping process and also during installation. You can chip or crack a tub by accidentally dropping a sharp or heavy object into the tub or on the lip.

If you are unable to return the tub, or the warranty has expired, a fixture that is in otherwise good condition can be repaired without having to send it back to the supplier. Small chips and scratches can often be repaired making this a more economical option than replacement of the entire tub.

Bathtub repairs can be performed by a skilled professional who has the proper materials and tools to sand and fill the defect and apply a waterproof coating that will blend in with the rest of the surface so that the repair is not noticeable. Alternatively, you can purchase a repair or patch kit and make this a DIY project.

Can bathtubs be reglazed?

Technically, a bathtub cannot be reglazed as glazing is a process that requires the heating of clay, an ingredient in porcelain, in a kiln at a very high temperature. However, porcelain bathtubs can be refinished with a high gloss material that resembles the original glaze in both look and feel.

A common reglazing process involves thoroughly cleaning the tub surface using a specially formulated two-step cleaner to remove soap scum, mineral deposits, and oils. Next, all cracks and chips are repaired. A bonding agent is applied followed by a durable finish coat that is often acrylic. This can be a cost-effective method for restoring an older tub.

How long do bathtubs last?

This is an open-ended question with many answers. It depends on the bathtub material and how well it was made. You can find original bathtubs in historic homes that are in pristine condition at 100 years old. These are mostly enameled cast iron or porcelain. Modern fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs do not have the lifespan of the sturdier metal and porcelain tubs.

It is more common for the plumbing components of a bathtub to fail before the actual vessel deteriorates. This would include the drain, the diverter, the stopper, and the jets if it is a whirlpool bath.

When purchasing a new bathtub, check the warranty. This will give you an indication of how long the manufacturer thinks the lifespan of the fixture will be.

Can bathtubs be recycled?

A bathtub is not something that is easily recycled. Cast iron tubs may be of interest to some metal scrap yards or foundries. Steel is one of the most recycled materials. However, it takes some work to remove the enamel finish, which may not be worth the effort for some recyclers.

An acrylic bathtub is something that may not be very easy to recycle. Acrylic is not biodegradable and is something that does not break down well in landfills.

Perhaps a better word than recycled is repurposed. Bathtubs can be repurposed into different uses. Here are some common uses of retired bathtubs:

  • Feeding and drinking troughs for farm animals
  • Container garden
  • Backyard “pool” for cooling off pets
  • Party bucket for beverages and ice

Can used bathtubs be sold?

Some used bathtubs can be sold. The most popular used tubs for sale are free-standing claw-footed tubs. There is a real market for these. Antique dealers will often buy these if they are in good condition. These are easy to remove from a home. Bathtubs that are built-in are more difficult to remove without damaging them.

Scrap metal dealers may offer a small amount of money for an iron fixture.

If you are looking to get rid of a bathtub that is in good condition, consider donating it to a charitable organization, such as Habitat for Humanity. Some charities will come to your home and pick up the item. The beauty of a donation is that you should be able to take a small tax deduction.

What is the most popular type of bathtub?

(Includes all bathroom styles: ¾ bath, Kids, Master Bath, Sauna)

Type of Bathtub Popularity Rate/Frequency
Freestanding 61,823
Drop-in 48,467
Three Wall Alcove 30,902
Undermount 10,023
Corner 9,549
Claw-foot 8,509
Hot Tub 3,103
Japanese 858
Total number of bathtubs surveyed 173,234

Most popular tub type for master bathrooms

TypeS of Bathtub Popularity Rate/Frequency
Freestanding 46,735
Drop-in 33,020
Three Wall Alcove 12,221
Undermount 7,261
Corner 6,748
Claw-foot 5,634
Hot Tub 2,333
Japanese 634
Total number of bathtubs surveyed 173,234

Bar Graph and Pie Chart Showing Bathtub Types and Corresponding Popularity Rate/Percentages Within all Bathroom Types

bathtub types bar graph image

bathtub types pie chart image

*Bar graph and pie chart show values for bathtub types and their respective popularity rates/percentages within all bathroom types inclusive of master bathrooms, ¾ bathrooms, kid’s bathrooms, and sauna rooms

Bar Graph and Pie Chart Showing Bathtub Types and Corresponding Popularity Rate/Percentages within Master Baths

bathtub types master baths bar graph image

bathtub types master baths pie chart image

*Bar graph and pie chart show values for bathtub types and their respective popularity rates/percentages within master bathrooms only.  Not inclusive of other bathroom types

Tags: Categories: Bathrooms


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