People’s needs and preferences vary but if you want to choose a deep soaking tub that’s perfect for you, we would suggest that you consider the following factors:
Choose a deep soaking tub that suits your physique and the size of your room. It need only be big enough to be comfortable for the largest bather in the household. If it’s wider or longer than it needs to be, you may find you’re using more water and energy than you need to.
Look for a soaking tub with an integral seat; even a small difference between the heights of the seat and foot well can make a big difference to the comfort of the bath. Look for evidence of careful shaping, too. A well contoured seat will be much more comfortable than a hard, flat bench. Likewise, a properly sculpted backrest and rim will make for a much more relaxing bathing experience.
It’s also important to check that there is room in the seat to allow the bather to slide forward or back in order to adjust the effective water depth. This has a direct bearing on the versatility of the bath. Some deep soaking tubs, such as our Yasahiro or our ‘armchair style’ Nirvana have armrests above the seat, and footrests that allow easy repositioning.
Ideally, visit a showroom to test out the bath for yourself; don’t hesitate to get into it and test how well the seat supports you. Even fully dressed, you’ll get a good sense of how well the bath suits your shape. If a visit isn’t feasible, then at least talk to the manufacturer’s design team; a reputable manufacturer will do everything possible to answer your questions and make sure you’re comfortable with your choice.
The original ofuro baths were rectangular with steep sided walls. The best deep soaking tubs will retain these features. A rectangular shape will always make the best use of the space in a room, whereas oval or circular ‘barrel-like’ tubs will leave dead space around the edges. In smaller bathroom design projects, making best use of the available space is often essential.
Steep sided walls are important for supporting an upright posture and for promoting a sense of security. They are also much better suited to the use of a hydrotherapy system, because steeply angled walls will put the jets much closer to the body, enabling them to transfer heat effectively and to deliver a genuinely therapeutic massaging action.
Many cheap soaking tubs are made from acrylic or fibreglass, which can tend to flex and lose heat more quickly than purpose-made composites such as Ficore®. Watertight seals are harder to maintain if the material is prone to movement, so this is an especially important factor if you are considering a hydrotherapy system. A material such as Ficore is strong, rigid, chemical resistant, abrasion resistant and easy to repair. It feels warm to the touch and it can be manufactured in literally any colour.
Practicality and daily use:
As with any bath installation project, there are some practical issues to consider. For example, will the chosen soaking tub fit through doorways and stairwells? In most cases, the answer will be ‘yes’ because deep soaking tubs tend to be substantially smaller than conventional baths, and should therefore present no difficulties with access.
Another consideration is whether you intend to use your soaking tub with an overhead shower. Some soaking tubs have larger, flatter foot wells than others. If you plan to use the shower regularly, choose a tub with a suitably sized foot well and no trip hazards. It is also sensible to check whether your preferred deep soaking tub is compatible with a bath/shower screen. (All Cabuchon soaking tubs are.)
Deep soaking tubs are not often associated with shared bathing, but two seater versions such as the Xanadu are available. The Xanadu permits two bathers to sit side by side or opposite one another.
Track record and testimonials:
Since around 2016, there has been a huge rise in the number of manufacturers entering the market for the first time, advertising what they claim to be deep soaking tubs. In reality, many are nothing of the sort – being no more than large baths or cheap, box-like containers. Given such increasing choice and the contradictory claims being made, buyers might easily choose a poor or unsuitable bath.
As a general guide, it makes sense to look for a manufacturer with a long track record of designing high quality soaking tubs. (And we’d be doing ourselves an injustice if we didn’t point out that when it comes to soaking tubs, no company has a longer or more successful track record than ourselves.) It’s also worth looking for suppliers that have their own design and manufacturing capability and a technical team that is happy to answer detailed questions.
A good deep soaking tub should last many years but it represents a significant investment, so check suppliers’ websites for testimonials. If there aren’t any online, don’t be afraid to call them and ask.
A reputable manufacturer should be prepared to support its deep soaking tubs with a meaningful guarantee. At Cabuchon, we guarantee all our deep soaking tubs for 25 years.
For more details, please download our free PDF Guide to Choosing a Deep Soaking Tub.