Drop-In Bathtubs Make a Splash: Where Style Meets Practicality

If the wide range of bathtub sizes, styles and materials available makes choosing the right option for you overwhelming, know that you’re not alone. Many people find looking for a new tub quite a daunting task. Whether you’re remodelling your bathroom or building a new one, settling for a specific bathtub type and understanding your bathroom needs can turn the whole process of shopping for a tub into less of a hassle.

Read on to find out why drop-in bathtubs are the most commonly sold tubs and the beloved choice for long, luxurious soaks and visual appeal. Here’s why you should make the most popular bathtub type your own and how to choose the best one for you.

What Is a Drop In Bathtub?

bathtub drop in
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A drop-in bathtub resembles a shell having feet and a rim but unfinished exterior sides. You can place a drop-in tub outside the room or in an alcove. It’s dropped into a specially made raised platform deck that serves as a seat while you enter and exit the tub and covers the plumbing and tub’s exposed sides. While the surround hides the tub’s exterior, making only the rim visible, it doesn’t support the tub; the floor does.

A drop-in tub is an absolute option if you’re looking for a spa retreat or an affordable alternative to standard bathtubs. Providing more space and flexibility, stylish drop in bath tubs deliver a unique spa experience while being immensely practical at the same time. If you want to step it up to even more luxe, you have options to do that too.

Pros and Cons of Drop In Bathtubs

drop in bath
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The drop in bath tubs often provide more space efficiency than a freestanding tub and more bathing space and flexibility than an alcove tub. They’re affordable, coming in many designs and installation options, providing style flow with similar sink, vanities and floor materials.

Some models offer storage space and deck space for toiletries and towels. Since the platform conceals the exterior, drop-in bathtubs are easy to clean and replace or update. The raised rim prevents tub overflow.


Compared to the standard freestanding tubs, their drop-in counterparts come in limited placement options. Since the installation requires a platform or surround construction, it can be harder to access the plumbing. Installing a removable panel in the surround for access can be very beneficial. Although some people find drop-in tubs less visually appealing or stylish than freestanding ones, others like the lowered design. It comes down to personal preference.

Common Drop-In Tub Materials

Fibreglass, acrylic, cast iron, and solid surface materials are the most popular materials for drop-in bathtubs. Although fibreglass is inexpensive, it lacks physical durability and is porous, which causes it to warp and become unstable. Although acrylic costs a little more than fibreglass because it’s fibreglass mixed with resin and a tougher coat, keep in mind it is non-porous so it is much more durable over time.

Cast iron is a bit more expensive than acrylic, but it has better heat retention and can withstand lots of physical and chemical abuse. The solid-surface materials, also known as stone resin, are last. This non-porous material, similar to cast iron in heat retention, is made from crushed stone and resin chemically bonded together.

Different Shapes and Styles

bathtub style
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While the shapes are pretty basic, available as rectangular, oval and round, the various drop-in design styles can make a world of difference in your bath experience.

Soaking Tubs

With a slanted side, soaking tubs are deep. The faucet could be in the middle, though it is typically at the opposite end. They can usually accommodate one or two people. According to experts, soaking tubs are extremely popular right now. The number of projects to install soaking tubs in place of older whirlpools only confirms that.

Jetted Styles

The most basic type of jetted bathtub is the whirlpool, which shoots water jets into the tub. Luxurious upgrades include air-jetted bathtubs heated by a water pump (jets of air create movement in the water).


Japanese-style bathtubs have a bench for full-body soaks because the water reaches your shoulders.

What Is the Difference Between Drop In and Alcove Tubs?

Because of the similarities between drop-in and alcove tubs, it seems that people commonly mistake them for one another. Contrary to popular belief, an alcove bathtub is a bathtub installed in a specific area. While drop-in bathtubs typically take place in the bathroom centre, no matter the structure used, people usually install alcove bathtubs in a recess, up against a wall, or in an alcove.

As a result, they’re typically more rounded and smaller, whereas drop-in tubs are longer and wider due to the very different areas they fill. The major function of alcove tubs is to make navigating the bath easier for people with mobility issues. That’s why they often feature a handlebar to provide additional support and help the mobility-impaired user. Naturally, a drop-in bathtub can come with the same features, only taking more effort to build a surrounding flush with a wall.

Consider Installation

Building your recess or surround is the most crucial step in installing a drop-in bathtub. It is best to speak with a professional if unsure of this step. Take accurate measurements of the area’s length and width regardless of whether elevated or flush with the floor, as it’ll ultimately determine what bathtub size you can buy based on the size of your bathroom. Please ensure the ground and support can handle the additional weight of your bathtub. Also, consider the depth of the water in the filled bathtub, as it immensely impacts the whole construction’s weight.