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Bathtub Information

Welcome to the bathtub category homepage. As the world's leading online distributor of plumbing supplies, you will find that our excellent pricing, massive inventory and superior customer service set us apart from the rest. Furthermore, as an authorized dealer, manufacturer warranties are honored across our entire selection of tubs. Continue reading below for information regarding tub selection. Every effort has been made to provide useful and detailed information both here and on product pages, but as always, should you have a question or wish to speak to a representative, we can be reached at 1.800.864.2555.

As a rule of thumb, listed tub sizes are measured from tub lip to tub lip. Known as "outside dimensions," or "OD," these dimensions represent the maximum size of the tub. Bathing well dimensions will naturally always be smaller. Each tub has three OD dimension: Length, Width, and Height. Length is always the largest measurement (rare exceptions are either square or circular) and represents the head-to-toe measurement if you were to lie down inside a tub. If you are doing a remodel, you will likely find that your tub fits one of three standard OD length measurements: 5-foot, 5.5-foot, or 6-foot. Width is generally always the second dimension presented in product titles. When lying inside a tub, width is the shoulder-to-shoulder measurement. The final dimension, height (sometimes referred to as depth) is measured from the floor to the top of the tub. Knowing what size tub you need is the single most important criteria to determine before shopping because it narrows your selection from thousands of tubs to hundreds - a much more manageable number.

There are a total of six tub installation types: Drop-In, Undermount, Alcove, Corner, Freestanding, and Walk-In. Here is an overview of each:

Drop-In Bathtubs

Just as the name suggests, drop-in bathtubs (sometimes called "deck-mounted bathtubs") are dropped into a pre-cut area that is one-inch narrower on all sides than the outside dimensions of the tub lip. Once dropped in, this lip creates a seal between the two surfaces. It is important to note that drop in tubs are not suspended by just the tub lip. When filled with water, bathtubs can weight upwards of 1000 lbs and therefore must be supported at the base.

Undermount Bathtubs

Less common than drop-in installations, undermount installations are accomplished by building the tub surround over the tub lip. Undermount installs are more labor-intensive, but by bringing the stone or other material right up to the bathing well, the contrasts make for a definitively professional appearance. Undermount tubs are nearly identical to drop-in tubs with the only variance being the controller mounting location. Tub controls, whether analog or digital, are placed on the tub wall as opposed to tub lip such as to not interfere with the tub surround.

Alcove (Skirted) Bathtubs

Almost everyone is familiar with the alcove bathtub (also sometimes called "skirted," "apron-front," or "niche" installations). Alcove tubs are installed into a three-wall tiled area with a shower curtain closing the fourth side. Especially common for smaller and/or narrow bathrooms, alcove installs fit nicely against the back wall and they save time and money by eliminating the need to build a tub surround. Included with Alcove tub purchases is the tub skirt. Skirts (sometimes called "aprons") complete the tub installation with a front panel that extends from the tub lip to the floor on the opposite side of the bathing well.

Corner Bathtubs

When it comes to pure luxury, look no further than the notoriously classy corner tub. Big enough for two people, corner bathtubs bridge the gap between the common bathtub and the indoor/outdoor hot tub. Traditional corner tubs have five sides; though some use a rounded front. Corner tubs can be found in drop-in and undermount variations.

Freestanding / Clawfoot Bathtubs

The first tub ever created by man was a freestanding type. Revered by many for their old fashioned look, freestanding and clawfoot tubs bring an antique look to the modern bathroom. Available only in soaking and air varieties, freestanding and clawfoot tubs are simple and are complimented well with floor-mounted roman tub "telephone" faucets.

Walk-In Bathtubs

By incorporating a door into the side of the tub, walk-in tubs lower the step into the tub from approximately 20 inches, down to 5 inches. As the baby-boomer generation reaches their senior years, this safety feature is gaining momentum. Major players like Jacuzzi and American Standard have noticed and have entered the market with their own walk-in models. Walk-In tubs tend to run on the expensive side, but provide priceless safety for the elderly and disabled, or those preparing for their later years.


There are a total of four distinct types of bathing experiences: soaking, air, whirlpool, and combination air/whirlpool. Each provides a surprisingly unique bathing experience. Below you will find the details for each.

Soaking Bathtubs

The foundation of hydrotherapy is as simple as being enveloped in warm water. A soaking bathtub is a non-jetted, non-air tub. With less components they tend to cost quite a bit less than air and whirlpool varieties, but provide a limited experience. Drop in soaking tubs start at around $400.

Air Bathtubs

Where whirlpools circulate a combination of air and water to produce an intense, targeted massage, air baths create a softer, subtler, full-body experience. Heated air is distributed through a network of channels where it is then released within the tub. Sometimes described as a "champagne" like experience, air tubs are extraordinarily relaxing.

Whirlpool (Jetted) Bathtubs

At its most basic form, the three things needed to create a whirlpool tub are water (moved through a pump), air (mixed with the water), and jets. The experience of these, however, is far from basic. Used in modern medicine, professional sport therapies, luxury hotels, and now the common residence, whirlpool tubs are highly regarded around the world for their healing qualities. With prices ranging from $1,000 for basic models, to $5,000 for luxury models, there is a whirlpool tub for nearly any budget.

Combination Air/Whirlpool Bathtubs

By combining the technologies of air and whirlpool tubs, combination tubs give users the ability to select from over a dozen unique experiences. During each bathe, you will have your choice between a massaging whirlpool experience and the calming effervescence of air - or run both at the same time. Combination tubs use top of the line components and are considered the manufacturers' premier luxury tubs. Naturally, these tubs fall in the highest pricing bracket.

End drains are those which are placed to the far right or far left of the tub, and are almost always placed on the same side as you tub and shower water fixtures. When ordering, however, you will find that we do not use the term "end drain" and instead use "right drain" and "left drain". We do this because while drop-in/undermount tubs are reversible, alcove tubs are not. Alcove tubs come equipped with an exterior skirt that extends from the front of your tub down to the floor. If you attempt to reverse this type of tub, you will find yourself in a predicament of having the skirt on the tub's wall-side. Fortunately, establishing your drain location is very simple. From the center of you bathroom, when looking at the tub (or viewing floor plans), whichever side the drain is on establishes the drain placement when ordering; if drain is on the right, order "Right Drain Placement." Pump placement for right and left drain whirlpool tubs is even easier to understand: it's placed on the opposite end of the tub's drain; a right drain tub would have the pump placed on it left end.

Understanding the relationship between drain and pump placement for center drain tubs is a bit trickier. Center drains are those which are placed at the center of the length-side wall of the tub. The side with the mounted center drain is always considered the front of the tub - even when this side is closest to your back wall. This is what confuses people. There is a natural tendency to consider the length-side closest to you to always be the front, but this is not the case if the tub drain is against the wall furthest from you. In this case, the length-side closest to you is actually the 'back' of the tub. Getting this right is important because you need to make sure that you are matching your pump placement to the location of your access panel.  In the example given, the access panel is located along the front wall of the tub enclosure towards the right. Your first inclination may be that this is the "front-right" of the tub, but because the drain is against the back wall, everything is reverse, so this is actually the "back-left" corner of the tub.  In this case you will want to order a tub with a back-left, or left pump position.

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