For most people, the American Standard Cambridge Bath Tub is a fantastic choice, but there are so many to choose from and so many different bathrooms it’s hard to recommend just one. So, without further ado, let’s dig in to the meat of the matter and help you get started on your route to a superior bathroom experience with the best bathtubs available.
Bathtubs can be everything, and if you’re looking to upgrade your bathing experience then they’re one of the best places to start. The truth of the matter, however, is that many people don’t even know what the options available to them are. If you’re in that place, then we’re here to help. We’ve dug up five of the best readily available bathtubs and taken an in-depth look at them. If you’re interested in superior customization, we’ve also put together a guide to get you educated on the wide possibilities available.
Overall, this bathtub offers superior construction and materials, with a recessed design that will fit in most bathrooms. It’s a little bit on the pricey side for this type of tub, but it’s well suited for most homes.
Top 5 Bathtubs
|American Standard Cambridge||Composite||Recessed||Check Price|
|KINGSTON BRASS VTDE603122R||Acrylic||Drop-in||Check Price|
|Woodbridge 67″ Acrylic||Acrylic||Freestanding||Check Price|
|MAYKKE Shirley||Cast-iron||Clawfoot||Check Price|
|Bootz Bayside||FRP||Recessed||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Bathtub
American Standard Cambridge
Of all of the tubs we took a closer look at, this one seemed to fit the bill as the best for the most people. Coming in with a composite construction it’s essentially a porcelain-over-iron tub with a lighter backing.
This means it’ll be able to take a hit better than iron, and the porcelain finish is scratch resistant. This one comes in average in size, being a 5 foot tub with a right hand drain. There are a few different colors to choose from as well, mostly variations of white.
It also has a ton of anti-slip matting on the bottom, which is great for those who end up slipping in normal tubs.
Pros and Cons
- Composite material is durable and strong
- Anti-slip matting
- Standard size recessed bathtub
- Angled for lumbar support if you want to sit down
- Has to fit your bathroom
- A little bit expensive for a recessed bathtub
2. Best Alcove Bathttub
KINGSTON BRASS VTDE603122R
Coming in with a strong, acrylic construction and a sleek outer finish this bathtub from Kingston Brass is absolutely fantastic, especially if you’re doing a full remodel.
It’s a 60 inch model, placing it squarely at 5 feet and with the right alcove it can look utterly fantastic.
While acrylic isn’t as strong as composite materials, it definitely does the job for some people and as long as you’re not dropping bowling balls in there you’re unlikely to have a problem. It’s also available with both a left and right handed drain, depending on how you want to set things up.
If you’re looking for an alcove tub, take a closer look at this one before you go on. It’s pretty much perfect for the majority of homes, and it can make a stunning centerpiece for your bathroom if you build it right.
Pros and Cons
- Acrylic construction
- Attractive design
- Large capacity
- Standard sized
- Documentation with the tub is useless
- Not as deep as it looks at first glance
3. Best Freestanding Tub
Woodbridge 67" Acrylic Freestanding
For full remodels, considering a freestanding tub is usually a good idea. They don’t need to be standard sized, since they’ll fit where you need them, and this one comes with an acrylic material which makes it affordable for the average home as well.
This tub is double-walled, to provide superior insulation for the water contained within as well. That’s great, since it’s primarily designed as a soaking tub, and it’ll let you enjoy a long hot soak after work.
It also has hidden, adjustable legs which will let you level it out no matter how bad your bathroom floor is. Add in a full year of warranty for any defects, and we’ve got a contender for the best freestanding bathtub around.
If you’re looking to add a large, freestanding tub to your home then take a look at what Woodbridge is offering.
Pros and Cons
- Superior design
- Double-walled sides for insulation
- Hidden but adjustable legs
- Drain pre-installed
- Drain design is a bit finicky
- Doesn’t hold heat as well as cast iron
4. Best Clawfoot Tub
MAYKKE Shirley Traditional Oval Clawfoot
If you’ve been looking for a cast-iron bathtub then you’ll be impressed with this clawfoot model which will look just at right in a rustic bathroom.
Clawfoot tubs are a little bit specialized, but when you need one… you need one. This is a classic design, constructed with traditional enameled cast-iron and sure to please.
The cast-iron material really is one of the best we’ve seen. Modern porcelain enamel is great at resisting scratches and the material itself is exceedingly tough. The included faucet is brushed nickel, although some people are certainly going to want to adapt something else for their home.
Overall, this is the best brand-new cast iron tub we could find. The cost is high, but if you’ve been looking for the perfect blend of vintage and modern it’s right here.
Pros and Cons
- Traditional material construction
- Clawfoot tub is easy to move
- Superior heat retention
- Perfect look for rustic styling
- Quite heavy
5. Best Budget Bathtub
Bootz 011-2364-00 Bayside Bathtub Right Hand
It’s not the prettiest tub in the world, and it’s definitely not some superior design, but this one stands out for one group of people: those who need a cheap replacement for a damaged tub.
Coming in at a super low cost, this bathtub is made of FRP and standard-sized. It weighs less than a hundred pounds, and it’s sure to last for at least a couple of years as long as it’s not abused too much.
It really doesn’t look half bad for the price either, but when it comes down to it most people are pretty limited when it comes to budget tubs.
That’s not to say this is a bad tub. The thing is, compared to the others that we took a look at it can’t hold a candle. Budget tubs definitely get a lot worse though.
If you need a cheap and easy replacement for an existing bathtub, then you’ll be pleased with this one from Bootz. Those looking for a complete remodel will have to shell out some more money for something superior however.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to install
- Super lightweight
- Standard sized
- Cheap construction materials
- Rust stains easily
The Varied Types of Bathtub
There are a ton of different designs out there and each of them is perfect for someone. Whether you’re doing a full bathroom renovation or just replacing that old, calcium-stained tub with something bright and new it’s important to know about the different types which can be found.
Your First Considerations
The first though that you’ll need to answer before you find a tub:
- Are you constrained by size and dimensions?
If you’re doing a full re-model of a bathroom, or installing a brand new one, then you’ll have a much wider range of options available to you than if you’re just trying to find something to slot in as a replacement.
The cost of your tub is usually a function of the type and material. Styling will add a little bit, and so will extras, but it’s the best way to determine the bulk of what you’re looking at.
Alcove bathtubs are the usual fare. They’re undoubtedly the cheapest, but are often made from cheap materials as well.
You already know the type, even if you don’t know the name. They’re the kind which sit on the wall of the bathroom, often including the backsplash as well in their design for the particularly cheap ones.
They’re not the best around for luxury, but we made sure that we included one in our list for a couple of reasons: they’re simple to install and quite cheap.
If you’re just looking for a replacement without having to change the floorplan of your bathroom then they’re a solid choice.
There are two main types of free-standing bath tubs.
Claw-foot tubs add a rustic look to the bathroom and are often made of high-quality materials. They’re a good choice for those who appreciate the aesthetic.
The biggest downside with claw-foot tubs is that the plumbing is going to be exposed. They also tend to be rather expensive and aren’t suitable for all homes.
Drop-in tubs are also considered freestanding although they’re more of a hybrid. You’ll need to build a structure for them to fit in, but they offer a lot more freedom in planning than your usual alcove style-bathtub.
They’re of middling price compared to others, and they make a great upgrade for those who are doing a remodel but can’t afford a corner tub and don’t think a claw-foot is going to work for their stylistic tastes.
Corner bathtubs are considered the most luxurious of the lot, and those who’ve had the pleasure of using one know that they’re the best around for a bath. The costs get quite high for them, and you’ll also need a bathroom large enough to install a shower stall to get the best of both worlds, but at the end of the day they’re hard to beat.
The biggest advantage, apart from the size and the depth, is that quite often these bathtubs come equipped with some seriously special features.
If you’re looking for jets, whirlpool action, or anything which is truly above and beyond then a corner tub is going to be your best bet.
Once you’ve decided on the type of bathtub which is right for your size considerations and all of that, you’ll want to look into the material which your bathtub is constructed with.
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic(FRP)
The most common material used for tubs these days, particularly the alcove variety, consists of a fiberglass backing which is covered in an acrylic material. They’re quite handy for the most part, being lightweight and easily molded and even corner tubs are occasionally made from this material.
They have a high-gloss surface due to the plastic coating but they have a tendency to scratch fairly easily and can even be broken if they’re struck with enough force.
We recommend this material only if you don’t think you can afford something of higher quality.
Acrylic is a little bit heavier than FRP but the best way to think of it is as an upgrade over the more common material. The cost difference is usually fairly low, and it can be molded into a wide variety of different shapes.
Like most synthetic materials used for bathtubs, it’s going to suffer a little bit on the durability end of things. A strong hit can break it and aggressive scouring can scratch the material pretty deeply, but it’s more easily repaired than FRP.
Acrylic is a great material to take a look at if you’re intent on an upgrade instead of just a cheap replacement.
Cast iron is the first of the luxury materials available, and many people consider it to be the material for bathtubs. It’s not as commonly used as it used to be, people are more likely to just take showers these days than they are to soak in a bath.
The main advantage: heat retention. Cast iron will hold the heat of water in for longer than many of the materials which are used in modern bathtubs, which means you won’t have to worry about things getting cold most of the time.
The cost increase is pretty significant, but they’re available in a wide variety of styles and are also easy to clean. They respond well to scouring methods which would absolutely demolish synthetic tubs, and the enamel which is used to coat the interior of the tubs is hard to scratch.
Cast iron is expensive, but it’s also available in a wide variety of sizes and offers some serious advantages for those who are regularly taking baths and like to spend some time with their wine and a book while bathing.
Enamel coated steel is rather similar to cast iron, but quite a bit lighter. There are also some disadvantages which just aren’t present in cast iron if you choose to go with this option, however, so it’s up to you to decide if the reduced weight and cost is worth it.
The biggest problem is that if the enamel gets scratched your tub is now susceptible to rust. While it’ll take some time, if it is allowed to go unchecked then you’re going to be in trouble and it’ll eventually cause a structural failure of the tub.
If you take good care of your tub, however, and are careful to repair any serious scratches, then they offer every bit of a long-lasting tub at a lower cost and weight.
They’re particularly good for those who are planning a whole remodel, since you can slide them in without the serious manhandling required for cast-iron.
Composite tubs vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, since it’s really a catch-all term for proprietary blends of material which are usually finished in a way similar to cast-iron.
The idea behind these advanced materials is to keep all of the benefits of a cast-iron tub while reducing the weight to a fraction of that of a steel or iron bathtub.
This makes them ideal for tubs which need to be moved upstairs or manhandled through a large home before their final placement.
On the other hand: these blends vary quite a bit and you’ll have to research the brand in question to make sure they’re not prone to flexing or other structural problems.
Composite is very much a case-by-case basis, you’ll have to look into each brand individually. They can also save you a lot of money and weight and offer some special advantages if you’re working upstairs.
Cultured stone bathtubs are relatively new to the scene, and they’re available for a fraction of the cost of those which are comprised of solidly carved stone. If you’re looking for that sort of thing you’ll want to seek out a custom manufacturer, they aren’t generally available at any sane cost.
On the other hand, cultured stone consists of crushed stones, usually marble, combined with a resin in order to produce a tub which looks like it’s made of the stone itself.
You’ll be paying primarily for aesthetics in this case, however. Cultured stone isn’t a particularly advantageous material when it comes to durability, it’s not all that forgiving if you make errors with plumbing, and it can range from very difficult to impossible to repair.
Wooden tubs are a unique market, and whether you even consider one is going to vary quite a bit depending on your own taste.
They’re difficult to recommend, as each piece is going to have it’s own issues or lack thereof. At the very least they need to be solidly sealed and treated with a clear coat to allow you to clean them easily.
Wooden tubs are hard to recommend for the average person. If you’re dead-set on one, however, it’s best to make sure that you’ll be able to look over a couple examples of the brand’s work in person. If you’re not handy with wood yourself… then bring along a friend who is, as catastrophic failures can happen.
Once you’ve determined which type of tub is the best for your home, you’ll still have some finalization before you make the purchase:
- Will your chosen tub fit where you want it?
- Is it realistic that you’ll be able to maneuver it into place without professional help?
- Do you need to build anything else to make sure it fits well?
- At what point in the renovation is it best to install your new tub?
- Do you have the know-how to install the tub yourself?
Generally, when you’re doing a full renovation you’ll have a contractor available. You may want to consult with them on what type of tub you’ll be installing to make sure that it’s not going to stack on to the costs.
You may still want to purchase your own tub, however, since contractor markups can range from 50%-200% depending on their sources and own business practices.
It’s not really a shady practice, of course, since they’ll be going through the trouble of finding the right tub for you but it can save you some serious money if you’re dead-set on installing only the best for yourself.
On the other hand, there are also plenty of guides which can show you how to install alcove or drop-in bathtubs available online. The other types are a bit easier to install, although corner bathtubs being added to a bathroom will require some plumbing done as well in many instances.
Since most of us know our way around DIY-stuff a bit, you should be good to go in the event of a simple replacement.
Once you’re done, you’ll be able to enjoy the bathing experience you deserve however, and that’s pretty much priceless.
Making sure that you’ve got the best bathtub for your home, instead of just a replacement, is a great way to move forward in your home renovations. For most of us, that bathtub is a sanctuary, which means that it makes sense to expend the effort to end up with only the best at the end of the day.
Snag the right tub now, and you’ll be in good hands once it’s installed.