Guide to Bathtubs – Pros and Cons


stylish bathroom suite

Bathtub Guide

Over the years, bathtubs have developed to become glamorous, luxury bathroom features, providing much more than just practical bathing facilities. At KNB we offer a wide selection of bathtubs, all designed to fulfil specific purposes and complement all kinds of bathroom suites.

If you’re looking for the perfect bathtub to complete your dream bathroom, keep reading to find out more about the different types and materials available.

Types of Bathtubs

Choosing the right bathtub for your bathroom will depend on a variety of factors, such as the style of suite you are going for, the purpose and size of your bathroom and of course your budget. While the standard household bathtub is simple in design, compact and highly versatile, there are a number of bathtubs designed specifically to be beautiful centrepieces for relaxation and comfort.

Freestanding Bathtubs – Pros and Cons

Roll top baths and slipper baths are freestanding bathtubs with their very own feet. They come in a wide range of materials and finishes, such as copper, enamel and wood, and exude luxury and elegance. Whilst they are most synonymous with large traditional style bathrooms, where they can be placed in the centre of the room, they are just as appealing and dramatic in contemporary bathroom schemes.


  • Strong visual statement and sculptural element
  • Comfortable and deep
  • Available in a wide range of traditional and contemporary materials and finishes
  • Flexibility in placement
  • Accessible on all sides, making it easy to clean.


  • Not suitable for small, compact bathrooms
  • Take up more space than built-in baths
  • Generally more expensive than built-in tubs
  • No built in shower option

Corner Style Bathtubs – Pros and Cons

Although declining in popularity in the UK, corner-style bathtubs are a clever design variation – using the constraints of a compact corner to provide luxury bathing. They make a fantastic focal point in a bathroom and can significantly influence the configuration of space in your bathroom.  Corner bathtubs typically come in two different styles – a triangular tub and an offset corner bathtub – and are available in a variety of styles and colours.


  • Appealing, elegant design
  • Comfortable and deep
  • Contemporary and traditional feel
  • Ledges provided for toiletries, candles and flower arrangements
  • Available in a wide range of styles and colours


  • No built in shower option
  • Large and bulky in small bathrooms
  • Difficult to keep clean

Built-in Bathtubs – Pros and Cons

The most common type of bathtub is the built-in version, thanks to its. Although not as visually appealing as a freestanding tub, with the right design it can be a striking feature in both modern and traditional bathrooms. Typically built-in baths are placed flush with two or more walls, which can limit where they are placed in your bathroom. They are however a great option for small and compact bathrooms.


  • More economical than deep, freestanding tubs
  • Available in a wide variety of colours, materials and styles
  • Maximises space in small bathrooms
  • Combines easily with a wall-mounted shower


  • Limited flexibility with placement
  • More complex installation process due to sealing and mounting requirements.

Walk-in Bathtubs – Pros and Cons

Walk-in bath tubs offer a simple solution to individuals with mobility issues, whilst offering additional safety and revitalising hydrotherapy elements. They can be installed in a standard bath tub space, but are fitted with a well-sealed door that allows users to walk into the tub instead of climbing over the edge.

Walk-in tubs come in a large assortment of styles and designs and can even be installed with a special built-in seat and grab bar. Many also feature a whirlpool, air spa or massage systems.


  • Ease of use and easy access
  • Increase the value of your home
  • Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and designs


  • Have to enter the bathtub before turning on the water and wait until it drains completely before stepping out
  • Can be expensive

Whirlpool Bathtubs – Pros and Cons

For a luxurious and therapeutic bathing experience, whirlpool tubs are a fantastic choice. These have multiple jets that shoot water and air bubbles from strategic locations to provide the sensation of a massage.

Available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colours, you’re guaranteed to find a whirlpool bathtub that matches your chosen decor and enhances the look and feel of your bathroom. However, installation can be complex due to the addition of pumps, hoses, filters and other equipment needed to keep the water fresh and circulating well.


  • Increases the value of your home
  • Hydrotherapy benefits
  • Available in a wide assortment of colours, shapes and sizes
  • Home spa


  • Expensive! Even the most simplistic designs can be very costly.
  • Difficult to install
  • Large and bulky
  • Noisy motor and pump
  • Consumes a lot of water

How to Choose the Best Bathtub Materials

Choosing the style of tub you want is just the beginning – next you need to select the type of material that you’d like it to be made from. At KNB we supply bathtubs in a wide range of materials, and while this means lots of choice, it can also make it difficult to determine the right material for your specific bathing needs and bespoke bathroom design.

To help you out, we’ve outlined all the basics of the common types of bathtub material below:


Lightweight and easy to mold, fibreglass is the least expensive tub material you can buy. It’s also economical and available in a wide range of styles and shapes. However, it’s prone to scratching and doesn’t retain heat very well.

Most fibreglass bathtubs are finished with a layer of polyester gel coat with wood or metal reinforcements added. Choosing an acrylic finish will maximise durability.

Bath tub made from enamel coated cast ironEnamel- Coated Cast Iron

Highly durable, easy to clean and available in a wide range of colours, cast iron tubs are a popular choice. This material will last as long as your house stands, and it’s also good for retaining heat. However, because of its heavy weight, a good support structure is essential if you have a cast iron bath installed.

Enamel- Coated Steel

Also known as porcelain on steel, this tub material has a similar look and feel to cast iron tubs, except it’s much lighter and cheaper. Cleaning and maintenance is easy and as it’s so lightweight it can be remodelled for any bathroom. The only downsides are that enamel steel tubs can rust and chip easily, and there is a very limited selection of colours available.


This is a type of plastic with a high gloss sheen that perfectly replicates the enamel coating of steel and cast iron tubs. Although it’s more expensive than other tub materials, acrylic is lightweight and easy to mould, which makes it ideal for whirl pool tubs. Furthermore, it’s great at retaining heat, is resistant to fading and can be purchased in a wide selection of shapes, colours and sizes.

Cultured Marble

This manmade material offers a sleek and stylish finish. Made from a blend of polyester resin and crushed limestone, and topped with a gel coat finish, it’s very tough and durable, with a stain resistant shiny surface. However, the gel coat veneer can wear away, exposing the porous material underneath. As a result, cultured marble requires much more maintenance than other bathtub materials and is more prone to scratching and damage.

Whatever your desired bathtub, at KNB we’ll work closely with you to design and install the right model that not only complements your bathroom suite, but also meets all of household’s bathing needs. Contact us today for a quote or visit our Fitted Bathrooms page for more information.

Acrylic bath tub