Introduction: Bathtub Basics
A whirlpool or airbath can take on many forms, including being a bathroom's focal point.
Do you use a bathtub to keep clean or to feel serene? There’s a good chance you use it for a little of both, but when buying a bathtub, it’s important to know which function you value more. All bathtubs are suitable for regular bathing, but some are better than others when it comes to relieving stress and alleviating aches and pains. So before you purchase a new bathtub, familiarize yourself with some basics:
Standard bathtubs have a single faucet, several installation options and come in various materials. However, most standard tubs have a similar, rectangular shape and size.
Whirlpools and air baths distribute water through multiple jets that release water or air. The shape and size of whirlpools and air baths can vary, and they offer more styles than a standard tub.
Most bathtubs are between 60 and 70 inches long and between 30 and 42 inches wide. Whirlpools and air baths also come in those sizes, as well as wider and deeper rectangles, ovals, and irregular shapes.
Remember that tub measurements are exterior measurements. It is best to sit in a bathtub before purchasing it to make sure it’s big enough and comfortable enough for you.
Hot-Water Heater Size
Before purchasing a new bathtub for your home, make sure your hot water heater can support it. “We recommend a water heater that’s about 70 percent of the tub’s filled capacity,” says Shawn Oldenhoff, Kohler’s senior project manager for bathing. While the volume of water a bathtub can hold varies with tub size, expect a 60-inch bathtub to have a capacity between 40 and 60 gallons of water. Larger tubs, whirlpools and airbaths can exceed a capacity of 100 gallons.
Even though there are bathtubs available in materials like wood, most people choose from these more common materials:
For more exotic tub materials, visit our luxury tubs slide show.
Your choices for tub placement are: