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7 Types of Bathtubs for Your Home (2024)

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Author Icon Written by Brenda Woods + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by: Mark Howey Updated 04/18/2024

A new bathtub is a key consideration when completing a bathroom remodel or upgrade. Bathtubs come in different styles and configurations, and many offer top-notch accessories — they’re not a one-size-fits-all item. Whether you prefer a classic clawfoot tub or a modern jetted tub, there’s something for everyone.

Consider three major factors when deciding on the best bathtub style for your home: brand, style, and accessories. You can buy tubs from antique dealers or directly through brands such as Kohler and American Standard. Styles range from standard tubs to hydrotherapy-style bathing experiences. You can also customize your bathtub with features like armrests, high-end faucets, or a built-in seat.

Here, we break down the seven major bathtub types to help you choose the right one for your home.

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Full Bathroom Remodel

The cost of a full bathroom remodel can range from $2,000–$18,000.

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Walk–In Shower Cost

The cost of a walk-in shower ranges from $1,000–$15,000.

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Bathtub Refinishing Cost

Bathtub refinishing can cost anywhere between $335 and $630.


1. Alcove Tubs

An alcove bathtub fits into a three-walled alcove space. These tubs are typically made from acrylic, fiberglass, cast iron, or steel. An alcove tub is installed against the framing before the wall finish gets placed around the tub.

Fiberglass alcove tub-shower combination units often come with matching shower walls which can have built-in shelves for storing soap, shampoo, conditioner, and towels.

Pros of Alcove Tubs

Cons of Alcove Tubs


• Fits into existing spaces

• Fit into nearly any bathroom style

• Relatively affordable

• Take up significant space

• Require specific alcove measurements to fit properly

*All bathtub cost data sourced from Angi.com, Fixr.com, and HomeAdvisor.com.

2. Free-Standing Tubs

Free-standing bathtubs are among the most popular types of tubs due to their stylish look and versatile design. They come in many shapes and sizes, from classic oval designs to more contemporary angular options. Free-standing tubs can be made from a range of materials such as cast iron, acrylic, stainless steel, and composites.

Pros of Free-Standing Tubs

Cons of Free-Standing Tubs

• Modern and stylish look

• Eliminate the need for framing and support

• More style options than other bathtub types

• Built to last

• Require a separate shower area

• May need special water supplies and drains

• Very expensive, ranging from $2,500$20,000

3. Drop-In Tubs

Drop-in bathtubs are modern and customizable. They drop into a hole in a platform which may be covered in tile or a material slab that covers the box the tub sits in. The lip of the tub sits on the deck and is sealed around the edge.

Pros of Drop-In Tubs

Cons of Drop-In Tubs

• Can be installed almost anywhere without extensive work

• Create a spacious feeling by fitting into alcoves

• Generally take up more room

• Difficult to clean due to mildew and dirt accumulations

• Can be labor-intensive and often require several plumbers to install

4. Corner Tubs

Corner bathtubs are designed to fit snugly into a room’s corner, freeing up floor space for other bathroom fixtures. They’re available in various styles and materials, from traditional porcelain and acrylic to modern stone and metal finishes.

Pros of Corner Tubs

Cons of Corner Tubs

• Highly customizable

• Often come with jets and chromotherapy lighting

• Create a cozy, intimate atmosphere

• Can be difficult to clean

• Need the right bathroom layout to install

• Expensive, ranging from $1,000$5,000

5. Clawfoot Tubs

Clawfoot bathtubs are a type of free-standing tub with classic claw-shaped feet or legs. They come in various styles and materials, from porcelain to contemporary acrylic. Clawfoot tubs can either be new or come as salvage units.

Pros of Clawfoot Tubs

Cons of Clawfoot Tub

• Classic, timeless character

• Deep, spacious, and comfortable tubs

• Less versatile, taking up considerable space

• Harder to clean with no integrated shower

• Unique designs that make them pricey

6. Walk-In Tubs

Walk-in bathtubs are perfect for those with access issues to traditional tubs with high sides. They’re generally made of acrylic or fiberglass and are much easier to enter than traditional tubs.

Pros of Walk-In Tubs

Cons of Walk-In Tubs

• Safe and easy to get into

• Can add luxury features like aromatherapy, chromotherapy lights, or jetted massage systems

• Very expensive, usually from $4,000$12,000

• Take up a lot of space

7. Japanese Soaking Tubs

Japanese soaking tubs offer a unique style and aesthetic. These elegant tubs were traditionally made of wood but can be found in almost any material today. Traditional Japanese soaking tubs are steep-sided, deep, and small.

Pros of Japanese Soaking Tubs

Cons of Japanese Soaking Tubs

• Very stylish and elegant

• Highly customizable

• Take longer to fill than other bathtub types

• Expensive, ranging from $2,000$10,000

Homeowners have a wide variety of bathtub materials to choose from. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Acrylic is a popular tub material because it’s affordable and easy to maintain. It’s lightweight, flexible, and heat-resistant, making it ideal for bathrooms with small children or elderly users. 

Porcelain-Enameled Steel

Porcelain-enameled steel bathtubs are often less expensive than acrylic tubs, but their quality varies between models. They also come in insulated versions.

Cast Iron

Cast iron bathtubs have been around for centuries and are still popular today. These highly durable tubs can last for decades with proper care and maintenance. They require more upkeep than other tubs due to their enamel coating but may be worth it due to a potential life span of 70 years. Cast iron tubs are usually more expensive than other types of tubs.


Fiberglass is the most common material used in bathtub manufacturing. It’s lightweight, strong, long-lasting, and budget-friendly. Fiberglass tubs are also simple to install and maintain, with a typical life span of 10 years.


Stone tubs are a luxurious choice for any bathroom. They’re made from granite, marble, or travertine and come in various colors and styles. Stone tubs are extremely durable, but they can be expensive depending on the stone type used. Like cast iron, stone tubs are heavy and can require floor reinforcement.


Wooden bathtubs are becoming more popular among homeowners looking for a unique style. These tubs are made from cedar, teak, or mahogany and are highly resistant to warping and moisture. They can be pricey and require more upkeep than other options but will look great in any bathroom.

Our Conclusion

Consider your lifestyle, budget, and preferences before deciding which type of bathtub is right for you. Free-standing bathtubs, drop-in tubs, alcove tubs, and corner tubs all offer various features, styles, and materials. Certain bathtub materials are more durable and require less maintenance, but they’re often pricier than alternatives. The final bathtub choice comes down to what can fit in your bathroom space along with your preferences.

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FAQ About Types of Bathtubs

What is the most common type of bathtub?

Alcove bathtubs are the most common type of tub in American homes. They’re simple and versatile.

What is the most durable type of bathtub?

Cast-iron tubs are the most durable type of bathtub. They’re made by pouring liquid iron into a predesigned mold, smoothing the mold, and coating it with enamel. These tubs are scratch- and dent-resistant. However, they’re often heavy and are mainly recommended for ground floors.

What is the average cost of a new bathtub?

The average cost of a new bathtub usually starts at $200 and goes up to $20,000. More expensive bathtubs usually include seating, bars, and closing doors. 

What is the difference between a soaking tub and a bathtub?

The water in soaking tubs covers the majority of the bather’s body, as these tubs are designed for long, comfortable soaks. Standard tubs allow for about 12 inches of water. Soaking tub depths should offer at least 14 inches.

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