How to Buy a Bathtub

buy a bathtub

Whether you are building a new structure or remodeling an old one, at some point you will probably need to know how buy a bathtub. While it may seem like they are all the same, once you begin looking you will find that bathtubs are as individual as people are.

Important Considerations

Before you buy a tub there are some things that you will need to consider besides the color and shape. Take a good look at your bathroom, or the rendering of the way it will look when it is finished, to help you envision how the bathtub will fit into the space.

Bathtub Size and Style

The bathtub will need to fit into the space you have. Before you fall in love with the six-foot-long tub with chromatherapy and air jets you will need to measure the space where it will be placed. If you are working with a builder or contractor, have him measure the height, width and length of the space and give you an idea of the size of the tub you will need. If not, you and a friend should carefully measure the space. You will also want to consider the style of your house and especially your bathroom.


Consider the current location of the bathtub drain if you are doing a remodel. For example, if your current tub drains at the foot and you are considering a bathtub that would drain in the center, you would need to make potentially costly adjustments to your plumbing. Always talk to your contractor or plumber before you make a final decision.


Next, determine your bathtub budget. Bathtubs range in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Knowing what you want to spend can make picking a bathtub easier, since your budget often limits your choices.

You may be able to use eBay, Craigslist, or Habitat for Humanity's outlet store to buy a tub for much less than full price. If the tub you want is out of your price range, be creative and look around for other options.

Bathtub Materials and Features

A simple three-wall, steel bathtub with an enamel coating is the least expensive option. It is a type that you will probably recognize as being in most apartments and homes. Other materials available are:

  • Acrylic
  • Fiberglass
  • Cast iron

Whirlpool Jets

One of the most popular features in upscale bathtubs today is the addition of the whirlpool. This type of tub sends jets of air, water or both into the tub in order to create a relaxing, massage action. Note that whirlpool tubs are not only more costly, but require some special care. You will need to read the manufacturer's recommendations for cleaning and care. In addition, whirlpool jets use additional electricity, so keep an eye on your electric bills if you are using the jets regularly.


Some tubs have lights that change colors as you bathe. This chromatherapy feature enhances your bath with different colors that some people believe can help with everything from relaxation to healing. Whether or not the lights can make a difference in your health is questionable but the feature is unique and adds beauty and ambiance to your bath.


Once you have picked out the bathtub that works for you, you will need to arrange to have it delivered to your home. It's best to be available when the bathtub arrives, to ensure the right model is delivered and that it was not damaged in transit.

Where to Buy a Bathtub

The places with the widest bathtub selections are generally home improvement stores and plumbing suppliers. Your local Lowe's or Home Depot is sure to have several tubs in stock as well as catalogs of special order tubs for you to look at. Your contractor may also have local sources for the fixtures you need at a discounted price so be sure to ask.

If you can't find what you want locally, the Internet is full of great ideas. Remember when buying online that you will usually need to pay shipping costs, so the final cost may be somewhat higher.

  • Vintage Tubs specializes in bathtubs with an antique look.
  • American Standard has some chic freestanding tubs, among other styles.
  • Main Faucet has all kinds of tubs, including chromatherapy, at discounted prices.

Keep in mind that you will need to purchase faucets, shower heads, and other accessories separately from your tub. These should be chosen to complement the style of the tub and the decor of the bathroom as well.

Bathroom remodels can add value to your home, and they last a long time. Choose your fixtures carefully and get the best you can afford.

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How to Buy a Bathtub