How to Choose a Bathtub(page 1 of 2)

Consider factors like bathroom size and features when shopping for a tub for your remodel.

RX-Kohler_sok-chromatherapy-bathtub-1_s4x3 Photo Courtesy of Kohler

A shower is the fastest way to get clean when you're on the go. But when you've got a bit more time, the bathtub can be a relaxing alternative. Bathtubs are more than a place to wash—they're a soothing reward, a meditative reprieve and a truly personal experience. Bathtub manufacturers understand this appeal and have produced a variety of styles, features and shapes to match any taste and budget.

Types

Bathtubs have personalities. Freestanding and clawfoot types will boldly occupy a favored position in the bathroom. Alcove, drop-in and corner tubs often are nestled against walls and integrated into the overall scheme.

3-wall alcove tub-shower combinations are the most common tub type and are designed to maximize space. The unfinished ends usually get sandwiched between an exterior wall and a handy built-in storage cabinet. A wall-mounted shower is a typical accompaniment.

Drop-in tubs are the tub shell only. They're fitted inside a framed enclosure that's finished to match bathroom cabinets or tile. An enclosure is a separate item, so budget accordingly.

Undermounts are drop-ins destined for floor-level installation. Flooring, such as tile, covers the lip of the tub.

Corner tubs are variations on the alcove and drop-in designs. Their large, squarish proportions are conducive to dual bathing.

Freestanding tubs feature a sculpted bathing bowl on a solid base or a cradle.

Clawfoot tubs invoke images of a grand Elizabethan era of soaking. The signature legs support tubs that are especially deep. "Slipper"-type designs feature a high back for supporting the head and neck.


Cheap vs. Steep: 6 Tub Options for Any Budget

Features

Most tub manufacturers offer an array of options, especially for their top-of-the-line products. Equip your pleasure pond with accessories from the simple to the sublime.

Jets and bubbles. The whirlpool tub lives on, abetted by:

  • in-line heaters that warm water as it circulates, preventing heat loss
  • silent motor technology that greatly reduces the sound of the jets
  • multi-speed settings to adjust the vigor of the jets
  • foot massage jets mounted on underwater footrests
  • bubble-only jets providing warmed air throughout the tub
  • micro-bubble jets that fill the tub with champagne-like effervescence

Chromatherapy. Underwater LED lights change color to suit your mood. From peaceful pink to soothing blue, the choice is yours.

Music. Resonant speaker panels attached to the tub send sound through the water so you can feel the vibrations on your skin. Sync to the playlists you have on your computer.

Digital controls. Make it all happen with a built-in touch pad—control temperature, jet direction and flow, color and music.

ADA compliant. Common sense guidelines from the Americans with Disabilities Act make tubs safe for everyone. They include non-slip floor surfaces and wide edges for sitting and easing into the tub. Walk-in tubs are especially designed for those with limited mobility. A hinged door allows easy access, then seals shut while the tub fills.


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