Buying a new bathtub can seem like quite the daunting task with a myriad of questions to answer: How large of a tub do I want? What sort of material should it be made of? What style do I want for my bathtub and how much am I willing to spend? Fortunate with time, these answers are easily addressed and with the proper research, you can easily find the right bathtub to suit your needs. Today, we will be going into the special qualities of a soaking bathtub and see if it is a right fit for you.
- What is a soaking tub?
- Common soaking tub materials
- Average depth of soaking tub
- Soaking tub vs drop in tub
- Regular soaking tub vs Japanese tub
- What is the cost of a soaking tub?
- Who are soaking tubs for?
- Are they hard to install?
What is a soaking tub?
A soaking tub is a freestanding bathtub that is typically oval in shape with enough water depth to allow for total submersion. The purpose of this is to cover your body with water, meaning you will no longer have your knees or arms exposed to the cold compared to more traditional bathtub designs.
As a result, these bathtubs provide a more therapeutic and almost medicinal soak, relaxing your muscles quite similar to a hot tub or jacuzzi as the entire body is fully submerged. What separates a soaking bathtub from a normal freestanding bathtub is the water depth as normal freestanding bathtubs have roughly 1 foot of water depth whereas soaking bathtubs can go up to 3 feet or 36 inches in some cases.
Common Soaking Bathtub materials
Soaking bathtubs come in four primary materials; Acrylic, Enameled Cast Iron, Stone Resin and Wood.
Acrylic is a flexible material that comes in a wide variety of different shapes and designs, with the drawback of not having as much heat retention when compared to other materials such as cast iron or stone resin.
Enameled cast iron is another popular material due to its excellent durability, easy to clean surface and stellar heat retention, though it carries the negative of being quite heavy, adding more stress to installation and floor weight when filled with water.
Wood is a material that doesn’t retain heat very well compared to the other materials, but it has unique properties such as a more natural aroma when exposed to heated water which is said to have medicinal properties. Due to its unique and more natural look, it is also said to be more relaxing and calming to take a bath in a wooden bathtub compared to other materials. Since wood is very malleable, it also means that wooden bathtubs can almost be any shape and size you desire.
Aesthetics don’t come cheap however, which is why wood is quite commonly the most expensive material, requiring twice as much maintenance as the other materials on the market to prevent deterioration. Lastly is Stone Resin which enjoys the happy medium between the other three materials listed, offering excellent heat retention, a more natural look akin to polished stone and comes in a myriad of designs and shapes to fit your bathroom.
What is the average depth in a soaking tub?
The average depth of a soaking tub is around 2 feet or 24 inches.
On the small spectrum they can start at around 1.5 feet, which is very comparable to a normal bathtub in water depth. The more personal Japanese bathtubs or soaking tubs start at around 2 feet or 24 inches with the bathtub providing you full submergence upon laying down.
On the high end you have large almost jacuzzi like bathtubs that run 72 inches long, 72 inches wide with a water depth of 30 inches or 2.5 feet.
Soaking tub vs Regular Drop In tub
A normal drop-in bathtub provides more of a utility role as it can be very flexible for your bathing needs. Since the water depth is about half the water depth of a soaking bathtub, a drop-in bathtub isn’t designed for long soaking sessions. They can be fitted with a shower combination, giving you a more flexible use of your bath space compared to a soaking bathtub which is primarily only for soaking or long bath periods.
The size is also going to vary as soaking tubs are typically taller in height whereas drop-in bathtubs are usually larger in length than soaking bathtubs are.
The additional height provides more water depth. Finally, with installation, a drop-in will still require a recess or a deck to install where as a soaking tub can simply be placed anywhere in your home as it is a freestanding bathtub.
Common Soaking Bathtub vs Japanese Soaking tub
Although very similar, there exists a few subtle differences between a regular soaking bathtub and a Japanese soaking bathtub. Normal soaking bathtubs are designed with the occupant laying down while bathing, so these bathtubs are typically oval in shape with additional length similar to a normal freestanding bathtub. Japanese soaking bathtubs are designed with the occupant seated, so water covers the body while the user can sit comfortably on a seat carved into the bathtub itself.
The result is a different bathing experience as one is laying down in a traditional soaking bathtub where the other is seated in a Japanese soaking tub. This means that Japanese soaking bathtubs have much more water depth, up to 3 feet almost, where as normal soaking bathtubs have a water depth of 2 feet.
The Japanese soaking tub also is taller in height, whereas the normal soaking bathtub is longer, with most Japanese soaking tubs being circular in design or cylindrical, where normal soaking bathtubs carry a similar look to other freestanding bathtubs on the market. Since they are both freestanding bathtubs, their installation method is the same.
Cost of the average soaking tub?
The average price of a soaking bathtub is around $900.
On the low end of the spectrum there exists a few models from $600-800, but the more popular models start at around $900, climbing all the way to the tens of thousands easily. Even on the low end, this price point is more expensive than any other bathtubs on the market-at least $200-300 more.
This is due to the actual bathtub size itself, which ends up being quite large to accommodate the extra water depth. In the long term, this price will increase as increased water depth means heavy water consumption, leading to a higher water bill and additional maintenance down the road.
Who are soaking tubs for?
As the most expensive bathtub on the market, one should consider their household before purchasing one. Due to the high-water depth, it is ill advised to let children bathe in it due to the danger it poses. As such, this makes an excellent bathtub for adults and seniors as it can relax the muscles and the deep soak can soothe any joint or muscle pains.
For seniors, it is also very beneficial for their joints and muscles, prolonging their health as many of these bathtubs can be fitted with aromatic vapors and salts. Though, with the increased water usage, these bathtubs are seen as more of a luxury statement and less of a day-to-day bathing apparatus.
How hard is it to install a soaking bathtub?
As soaking bathtubs are freestanding bathtubs, they are perhaps the simplest to install. Simply make sure your area can sustain the weight of your bathtub when it’s full before placing it into your bath space. Depending on the size of your bathtub, you may need additional help to carry it to your desired location. After it is placed, simply connect all requisite plumbing to the bathtub and you have a fully functional bathtub ready to go.
Perhaps the greatest difficulty in the install process is carrying it to your desired location as these bathtubs are also the largest and heaviest compared to other bathtubs on the market, so additional help is advised.
Although it may be tempting, a soaking bathtub is not for everyone. As it is the most expensive bathtub in terms of overall size and maintenance, it is advised that you consider the needs of your household before purchasing one.
It has many great benefits for one’s health, but its function is limited to adults and seniors, making it not so friendly towards younger children. As always, consider your budget and your needs before selecting the right bathtub for your home.