We can all appreciate how blissful a hot bath is after a challenging day. On the other hand, shopping for a new tub can swiftly turn from soothing to stressful. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Our guide to the best alcove bathtubs will hopefully ease the process for you. There are some crucial factors to consider before purchasing so that you won’t waste your money or end up with a tub that doesn’t fit!
- Clean & simple appearance
- Built-in back support & anti-slip
- Lightweight for easy installation
- Extravagant dimensions & depth
- Arm & back support
- Three color options
- Space-conscious & coziness
- Meets ADA standards
- Elegant porcelain finish
- Contemporary look
- Great for shared baths
- Space to spread out
- Unique design
- Strong anti-slip grip
- Quality build
What are Alcove Bathtubs?
Alcove bathtubs are among the simplest types you can buy. They’re installed on three sides in a recessed area of your bathroom (1). You don’t need an enormous bathroom for an alcove tub to work, unlike more luxurious freestanding types such as clawfoot tubs.
Since they’re so basic, handy homeowners might be able to manage the installation by themselves.
They’re not ultra-costly, like jacuzzis or whirlpool types. But at the same time, this is isn’t the sort of purchase you can make on a whim, like picking up some fresh hand towels.
Features of the Best Alcove Bathtubs
Perhaps you’ve already found a tub you like the look of, superficially speaking. Appearance is important, but have you taken into account the following?
This is the first thing to look at in potential tubs. Grab some measuring tape and check the length, width, and depth of your current model. If you lack a tub, measure your alcove, instead.
Depth or capacity
The dimensions of your bathroom will determine if you can indulge in a tub that can hold more water. Greater capacity translates into bigger dimensions overall.
Before you pick a deeper tub, ask whether you struggle to climb in and out of the bath. If so, keep an eye out for shorter step-over heights.
This is very important. If the drain isn’t in the correct place, your bathtub will be exclusively decorative. Take note of whether the drain is to the left, right, or center.
Material and Color
Colors range from bright white to more muted cream shades. Your material options include:
- Acrylic: The majority of these types of bathtubs are built from acrylic or contain it in some form. This practical, lightweight, easily-manufactured plastic is used in multiple industries (2).
- Fiberglass: Another material commonly found with acrylic is fiberglass, which is often used as an insulator in various forms. You can find it in cars, boats, shower curtains, and other everyday items (3).
- Porcelain: For alcove bathtubs, porcelain is typically used as an enamel or surface gloss rather than for the whole structure. It usually has a shinier texture and a smooth finish.
- Cast iron: Cast iron is a durable metal that’s more frequently found in industrial construction than alcove bathtubs (4). Nevertheless, some tubs are still built from it. As with traditional cast iron cookware, these types are adept at retaining heat (5).
Internal Features and Shape
You can pick a tub that’s internally rounded instead of rectangular. You’re also free to search for models that offer additional supportive armrests and handles. If you aren’t a fan of bath mats, look for units with textured or non-slip floors.
The Best Alcove Bathtub Reviews of 2022
We researched countless brands on your behalf to put together the top alcove bathtubs on the market right now. Combining product information with consumer reviews and expert advice, we’ve settled on our handful of favorites.
1. American Standard Studio Bathtub
Best for Minimalism
This alcove bathtub has a minimalist design to blend into the majority of bathrooms. It may also appeal to people who want a model with a classic look that isn’t too ostentatious.
The color of freshly fallen snow, this shade is aptly named “Arctic.” Unlike creamier pigments, flat white shouldn’t clash with vibrant or varied decorative color schemes.
Combined with the standard length and width (60 by 32 inches), the “Studio” is an interesting candidate for various bathroom setups.
Users who have bathrooms that embody the phrase “the smallest room in the house” may want to give serious thought to this tub.
Clean and Simple Appearance
The Studio’s sleek appearance is attractive for those of you who want an unadorned tub. There are no unnecessary lines or swirls inside it or on the exterior, visible wall.
When you factor in how compact this model is, the depth of 14 inches is generous. Some tinier tubs can be as shallow as 12 inches.
Built-In Back Support and Anti-Slip
Clean lines don’t have to mean discomfort. The Studio may look sharp, but it has built-in lumbar support for you to lie back and rest on.
The floor of the tub is textured with an anti-slip grip. If you’re the type that sees bath mats as germ-bombs, you’ll like this feature.
Lightweight for Easy Installation
If you want to attempt installation on your own, you probably won’t throw your back out. This tub weighs a mere 60 pounds, which isn’t too hefty to handle.
Unsuitable for Physically Limited Users
There is a downside: an 18-inch high step-over. If you, or someone you live with, has physical limitations, the Studio might prove incompatible. Alternatively, take a peek at the Kohler Villager (fifth on our list).
|Dimensions||60 by 32 by 18 inches, 12 inches of depth.|
|Material||High-gloss acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement.|
|Drain Location||Right side.|
|Support Features||Lumbar support.|
2. American Standard Evolution Bathtub
Best for Spacious Alcoves
Are you lucky enough to have a nice roomy alcove? The “Evolution” tub could be the ideal choice for your bathroom. It has a length of 72 inches and a width of 36 inches.
This unit is attractive for users craving a tub with luxurious amenities. It has armrests and an incline for double the support, and its headrest is wide enough for a modest bath pillow.
The depth is another indulgence of the Evolution tub. At 18.5 inches deep, users of almost any height should be able to soak in comfort without feeling like an island.
Extravagant Dimensions and Depth
The king-sized dimensions of this alcove tub are optimal for larger bathrooms. Users who want to spread out and sink into their tubs should be impressed with the Evolution. At full capacity, it can hold a little under 112 gallons of water (6).
Arm and Back Support
Many models have inclines at the rear to support your back, but not every product is built with armrests. If you often mix books with bathtimes, you’ll have somewhere to prop your elbows while reading.
Three Color Options
Customize your Evolution tub to harmonize with your bathroom. You can select Arctic White, White or Linen (shades range from paper-white to creamy-white).
Ideal for Families with Kids and Pets
Shallow, smaller tubs can be restrictive and splashy when bathing energetic little ones. The same is true of washing our four-legged family members. The Evolution is roomy enough for vigorous — or unwilling — children and pets.
Obliged to Buy Extras
To profit from the depth of the Evolution, purchasing the Deep Soak Max Drain is obligatory. It adds $95 to your final price. Some buyers may not appreciate being compelled to get a separate, but necessary, accessory.
|Dimensions||72 by 36 by 21.25 inches, 18.5 inches of depth.|
|Material||Acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement.|
|Drain Location||Information not provided.|
|Colors||Arctic, White, Linen.|
|Support Features||Armrests and backrest.|
3. American Standard Cambridge Bathtub
Best for Comfort
The Cambridge is a tub that could appeal to homeowners with limited space — and those who don’t want to compromise on comfort.
This product’s design may be alluring for users who want to feel embraced during bathtimes. The well (interior shape) of the bath is curved and inviting. The back of the tub is contoured so that you don’t have to sit upright. As for your head, there’s a built-in, beveled headrest.
Another positive facet is functionality. In case you need to install a seat inside it, it’s compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Space-Conscious Without Sacrificing Coziness
The standard length and width of the Cambridge are undoubtedly compact. At the same time, it isn’t spartan or plain.
Those of you who dislike bath accessories will appreciate the built-in comfort. The headrest and lumbar support means you likely won’t need a bath pillow. Since the floor is textured, a bath mat is optional rather than essential.
Meets ADA Standards
If you or someone you’re living with is disabled, the Cambridge might be a sound investment. As an ADA-compliant tub, you can install a seat at the drain end of the tub for accessibility.
Four Color Options
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting your tub’s final look — there are the classic shades of white and cream (Arctic, White, and Linen). Alternatively, those of you wanting something with a darker hue can select Bone. This warm, off-white color is more forgiving when it comes to concealing dirt compared to lighter tones.
Looks More Expensive Than It Is
The glossy porcelain finish gives the Cambridge an upscale look. It may be an affordable alcove tub, but you won’t be reminded of the price when you look at it.
Depth May not Satisfy All Bathers
People looking forward to deep soaks might find the Cambridge too shallow. Similarly, those of you who are taller may find the depth inadequate.
|Dimensions||60 by 32 by 17.75 inches, depth 14 inches.|
|Material||Americast with a glossy porcelain finish.|
|Drain Location||Right side.|
|Colors||Arctic, White, Bone, Linen.|
|Support Features||Lumbar support and beveled headrest. ADA-compliant.|
4. Kohler Expanse Curved Bathtub
Best Roomy Basin
You have a standard-sized alcove, but don’t want a standard-sized bathtub. We sympathize — it’s frustrating to be limited by the space you have available.
The Kohler “Expanse” works around that with a nifty design. The dimensions are standard (60 by 32 inches) and will fit into most recessions. But here’s the trick: it has a basin that extends to 38 inches at the widest point.
If bathtime is an activity you love to share with your partner, the Kohler may be for you. The same is true for those with multiple young children at home.
Contemporary Look for Modern Bathrooms
A traditional bathtub with rigid lines may not work for your bathroom, but the softer lines of the Expanse along with the curves give it a more relaxed look.
Great for Shared Baths
Family bathtimes don’t have to feel crowded or squeezed. Your youngsters should have room to soak and play together in this tub. One customer mentioned that this curvy model could fit two if you have romantic evenings with your significant other planned.
Space to Spread Out
You don’t have to have a big family to appreciate how roomy this tub is. Larger bathers or those of you wanting lots of room will appreciate the extra width.
Not Much Depth
One of the less impressive features is the depth — below 13 inches. You’ll still have space to soak, but perhaps not as much water as you’d like.
If your current bathtub is lined with products galore, this may not be the model for you. The sloping sides and narrow rims aren’t suited for balancing bottles on.
If you aren’t willing to set up a hanging caddy, the Expanse may not be the one for you. A model like the Studio or Cambridge (reviewed above) might be better.
|Dimensions||60 by 32 by 17 inches, 12 5/8th inches of depth. Width compensating for curved basin is 38 inches.|
|Drain Location||Left side.|
|Colors||White, Biscuit, Almond.|
5. Kohler Villager Alcove Bathtub
Best for Accessibility
The first thing you’ll notice about the “Villager” is the distinctive shape. Rather than being rounded or rectangular, it has a hexagonal build. This unique look will attract bathers who want a tub with character.
Homeowners who prioritize ease of accessibility might enjoy this tub. It has a low step-over height of 14 inches for people who are worried about falling.
If you’re injured or physically limited, bending over to place and remove bath mats can be arduous. Thankfully the Villager has a strong anti-slip grip to keep you stable as you settle in.
Do you find that the average bathtub is dull to look at? The peculiar shape of the Villager could appeal to you if you want something out of the ordinary.
Low-Profile for Elderly or Limited Users
Indulging in a bath shouldn’t be off-limits if you’re over a certain age or disabled, but clambering over a high wall can heighten your risk of a fall. The 14-inch step-over will probably be manageable for most people in this category.
Strong Anti-Slip Grip
The floor is heavily textured to provide a reassuringly strong anti-slip grip. This means you won’t have to set up a bathmat every day and clean it afterwards. If you’re living with someone who loses balance easily, you don’t want to worry about falls when they bathe.
The Villager is constructed of sturdy, enameled cast iron. This tub should be able to retain heat, and resist scuffs, dents, and scratches. Additionally, you won’t have to be over-cautious to avoid damaging it during regular cleanings (7).
Small Dimensions Overall
This tub is marketed as a single-person model. If you’re looking to soak with your spouse, spread out, or bathe two toddlers at once, this tub won’t suit you. Look at the Evolution or the Expanse instead.
|Dimensions||60 by 30.25 by 14 inches, 8 and 5/8 inches depth.|
|Material||Enameled cast iron.|
|Drain Location||Left or right.|
|Colors||White, Biscuit, Almond.|
|Support Features||Lumbar support.|
|Product||Best||Dimensions||Material||Drain Location||Available Colors|
|American Standard Studio||Minimalism||60 x 32 x 18″, 12″||High-gloss acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement.||Right side||Arctic|
|American Standard Evolution||Spacious Alcoves||72 x 36 x 21.25″, 18.5″||Acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement.||N/A||Arctic, White, Linen|
|American Standard Cambridge||Comfort||60 x 32 x 17.75″, 14″||Americast with a glossy porcelain finish.||Right side||Arctic, White, Bone, Linen|
|Kohler Expanse Curved||Roomy Basin||60 x 32 x 17″, 12 5/8″||Acrylic.||Left side||White, Biscuit, Almond|
|Kohler Villager Alcove||Accessibility||60 x 30.25 x 14″, 8 5/8″||Enameled cast iron.||Left or right||White, Biscuit, Almond|
How Do You Install Alcove Bathtubs?
Exact installation instructions differ from model to model. We have a detailed guide on how to install a bathtub, although here’s a quick guide:
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask A Professional
- Remove old tub: Disconnect the water to your bathroom, or your entire house if needed. The old tub must be taken out and disposed of before you bring the new one in, particularly if space is limited. This involves working with your home’s plumbing: you may want expert assistance.
- Prepare the alcove: The area needs to be free of debris and ready to receive the new tub.
- Install new tub: If it comes with an insert frame, put that in first. Position the replacement model into the alcove and ensure that it’s level, not angled or otherwise unstable. Hook it up to your drainage system.
- Finishing touches: Retile, caulk and seal around your brand new tub as needed.
Final Words Before Bathtime
Buying the best alcove bathtub can be fun. It’s not often that you replace such large fixtures, so getting a new tub is an exciting chance to alter the look of your bathroom for the better. Not to mention the opportunity to enhance your soaking sessions!
Don’t feel like you have to rush into making a decision immediately. Take the time to deliberate and compare. A bath should last you for years to come, so you want to guarantee that you’ll be happy with it for the foreseeable future.