According to research, 25 million Americans suffer from depression, and 50% of all suicides are people with depression. It might happen to you or to someone you know.
But studies also show that daily warm baths can decrease the symptoms of depression.
Warm baths also alleviate muscle tension, chronic pain, and improve your mood. They help you sleep better, and increase lactation for breastfeeding moms.
A quick search for “best soaking tubs 2018” reveals a lot of options. You can read Ameritech tubs reviews or Toto bathtubs.
If you’re like me, you get an instant anxiety attack from having to decide which is best.
That’s why I wrote this article. Alcove bathtubs are good for soaking because they’re deep, but they also don’t take up a lot of space.
I bought a couple of these models for my home and my parents’, after consulting with top specialists.
If you have any physical or emotional issues, I guarantee that a key to improving your symptoms is choosing a good alcove. Just review the selection below, and you’ll get a solution in no-time.
Best Alcove Bathtub Models (List for 2021)
I remember feeling very anxious before getting my first alcove bathtub. I wanted something functional that allowed me to relax but also compact and versatile.
I discussed things with my friend Sheila who’s also an interior decorator. Together, we reviewed a lot of models and decided on the model that best fits my needs. So it was more work than typing “best alcove baths 2018” on Google.
I included in the article below some of the models we considered. I wrote all the benefits and features, plus the pros and cons that led me to the right decision.
Sheila helped me understand what each product is best for, so hopefully, that will help you make the best decision for your needs and avoid buyers’ regret!!
1. American Standard 2461.002.020 Cambridge – #1 Best Acrylic Alcove Bathtub
The American Standard 2461.002.020 Cambridge is the model I ended up getting because I can’t live without my hour-long baths. The 2461.002.020 Cambridge is very safe because it’s slip-resistant and has a comfy beveled headrest.
Materials-wise, this tub is light, yet sturdy, so it was a good investment. It was easy to fit inside my bath, so I didn’t have to pay my plumber extra.
Here’s a summary of its top features and benefits:
- Americast construction. Americast is a patented material that bonds porcelain with steel and composite reinforcement. Americast is strong and light, so the bathtub is durable and easy to set up. Another advantage is that you can now enjoy a deeper, bigger tub.
- Easy setup. This 5-foot tub is 32-inch wide so that it can fit into most alcoves. Thanks to its integral apron, which means the outer side is finished, your plumber won’t need to devise a supportive platform. Bonus: you get integral tile flanges on the wall sides, which keep it secure during the install process and after.
- Elegant. The 2461.002.020 Cambridge has mild curves and a linear contour for the apron, which makes it look stylish. The glossy porcelain finish is another point in its favor.
- Supportive. It’s important to get optimal support during your prolonged baths. The Cambridge features both a lumbar contour to avoid backaches and a beveled headrest to minimize the risk of shoulder and neck strain.
- Safe. I already told you the 2461.002.020 Cambridge is slip-resistant. But this bathtub also follows the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for versatile use.
Summary: 2461.002.020 Cambridge is best for people who want an elegant bathtub with optimal support during their prolonged baths.
2. Kingston Brass VTDE603122R 60-Inch Contemporary – Best Affordable Alcove Bathtub
The Kingston Brass VTDE603122R is a good choice for low budgets. Acrylic is a good material, so you don’t have to compromise quality and durability, especially as the VTDE603122R is fiberglass-reinforced.
My cousin Ben purchased this contemporary alcove acrylic bathtub – Brass VTDE603122R because he and his girlfriend are both working two jobs to pay their study loans, and didn’t have much space in their apartment.
- Acrylic alcove bathtubs weigh little and are durable enough. Although cast iron lasts longer, it weighs a lot. As I said above, the fiberglass and resin reinforcement adds to its durability, but it has a secondary advantage: heat retention. Your bath water will be warmer for longer.
- The Kingston Brass VTDE603122R is resistant. Acrylic material doesn’t stain easily and, although it’s easy to scratch, these scratches are also easier to repair.
- It fits your alcove like a glove. This bathtub is easy to install with no extra changes to your space after you get the old tub out. Just make sure the measurements fit your space! The Kingston Brass VTDE603122R has an integral apron, meaning your plumber doesn’t have to reconstruct your space.
- The tub is versatile. With its 58+ volume capacity, you can use the tub for baths or showers. You can choose the left-side or the right-side drain for added versatility, but the above-the-floor type of drain makes it easier to install.
Summary: The Kingston Brass VTDE603122R is a budget-friendly option for people who need a compact, stylish, and resistant bathtub. The set up is super-easy as you don’t need to set it in concrete, but remember that the drain kit isn’t included.
3. Mirabelle MIRSKS6030LWH Sitka 60 X 30 – Best Value Tub
I considered the Mirabelle MIRSKS6030LWH Sitka because it has a very thin bezel around it. I already told you I like long baths, and this feature means you enjoy the maximum amount of space.
You can soak in the MIRSKS6030LWH Sitka for hours; you can sit on its edge confidently to shave your legs or trim your nails. I didn’t choose this model because of the lack of lumbar and head support, though.
- Acrylic construction. This light material is resistant, although it’s 50% lighter than iron. However, you can sit in or on the tub confidently, even if you’re on the heavy side.
- Deep. The Mirabelle MIRSKS6030LWH Sitka is one of the deepest alcove tubs I’ve seen. Even if you’re a tall person, you can still get a good soak.
- Safe. The texture slip-resistant bottom is a nice addition because it’s supportive and safe. You can enjoy meditation or read on your iPad without fear of sinking too much.
- Tile flange and tub skirt. Thanks to these additions, the tub is easy to install quickly on the walls, with no additional support during the set up process. Remember that you need a solid base for it, though; otherwise, you can’t claim the 5-year warranty.
Summary: The Mirabelle MIRSKS6030LWH Sitka is a good choice for tall people who want to get a full soak. It is easy to install, light, and safe, but you need a sturdy base to ensure you can claim the warranty.
4. KOHLER K-1123-RA-0 Archer 5-Foot Bath with Comfort – Best Soaking Alcove Bathtub
I considered the Archer because it has a molded lumbar support, which is essential for my long baths because I have chronic back pain. The Archer is comfortable and looks stylish, and I like that it goes all-in on depth.
I got lucky because I could try the Archer at one of my friends. I liked its modern design and non-slip floor, but I preferred Cambridge’s support and versatility.
- Extra-depth. The Archer makes no compromises when it comes to depth. This model has a 19 inches step-over depth, but it comes with a slotted overflow. The result is you can enjoy the same feeling as if you were in a deeper tub.
- Molded lumbar arch. If you’re planning to stay in the tub for longer, lumbar support can prevent backaches and soreness. If you already have chronic back pain, this design ensures your pain won’t get any worse because of the lumbar arch contours your anatomical shape.
- Non-slip. The textured bottom surface ensures you won’t slip during your baths, especially if you tend to snooze. This design is also an advantage if you’re using an electronic device while soaking.
- Integral flange. I’ve already reviewed some models with integral flanges, so you know what these are. They stick to the walls, so keep the tub secure during the installation, but it also prevents any leakages behind your wall.
Summary: The Archer is a comfortable, deep tub for people with chronic back pain. Keep in mind that this product doesn’t come with an included bath drain.
5. WOODBRIDGE B-0020 L 60″ Alcove
The reason I considered the Woodbridge B-0020 is its ergonomic design and rectangular chrome overflow and drain. Round drains on the bottom of tubs haven’t always been my best friends.
However, I talked it over with my friend Sheila, the interior designer, and she said various people complain that this tub drains too slowly.
Other than that, I think it’s worth a shot because:
- It is the best value for money. As one reviewer puts it, “it was one of the most reasonable ones we found, with the quality matching similar hot tubs with much higher price tags.” It is true. The premium LUCITE acrylic bathtub construction and mix of ASHLAND resin and fiberglass reinforcement ensure its durability, especially considering the bottom has a stainless steel bracket that allows the tub to hold up to 1000 pounds.
- It is deep. The tub is 23-inch deep and has a 65-gallon capacity so that you can enjoy a long soak for ultimate relaxation. The bathtub is wide and slip-resistant, so you’re safe during your bath as well as when you’re standing.
- It is easy to install. The Woodbridge bathtub 60” has a pre-leveled bottom and built-in flanges for quick installation. The bonus is that you’ll get no water seepage either! And unlike other models, the chrome overflow and drain are already installed.
- It is easy to clean. Tubs can get dirty quickly, so it is essential to get a low-maintenance tub like this one. I like that the acrylic bathtubs are resistant to stains and corrosion. The bonus is the odor-proof design, which we all know is a big problem with bathtubs.
Summary: The Woodbridge B-0020 is a good choice for people who need a low-maintenance, anti-leak, anti-bug, and odor-proof tub. This product is cheap, deep compared with other tubs, and can hold a lot of weight, although it is light.
6. KOHLER K-1118-RA-0 Expanse Bathtub
The Kohler K-1118-RA-0 is a good model for people who have little space in their bathrooms. I considered this model because it has a convenient three-wall alcove installation, it s deep and with a 55+ gallon capacity.
The Kohler Expanse Tub looks elegant with its clean lines and beautiful color choices, but the lack of lumbar and headrest was the decisive negative point for me.
- Reliable construction. The K-1118 is manufactured by Kohler, a reputable company in the world of bathroom furniture. I like that K-1118 is manufactured in the USA because you get more transparency and quality materials that way. The acrylic construction is another point in its favor in terms of resistance and low weight.
- It looks good. The curved basin design looks elegant and modern, especially as you get an integral apron. According to one reviewer, “When combined with a curved curtain rod, it makes the shower/bath seem much larger and more luxurious than the actual size would indicate.”
- It has a tile flange design. This design fights water seepage and keeps the tub secure when you install it. However, you get a flange only on one side, meaning you need a platform to support your tub better.
- It s safe. The textured bottom prevents you from slipping into the water when you’re soaking or falling when you’re standing.
- It s deep and big, although it s compact. That might seem like an oxymoron, but somehow Kohler makes it true. According to another reviewer, although “it s a standard length tub, it feels like a huge spa tub” that fits tall people as well.
Summary: The K-1118 is a quality bathtub for tall people, made with quality materials. This tub is good for soaking, but its lack of integral flanges means you need a bed support to place it on before installation.
7. KOHLER K-1100-RA-0
I considered the K-1100 model because it’s made by Kohler, which I already told you is a reputable and trustworthy company.
The acrylic construction, curved design, and bottom grip were all points in its favor, just like the 32-inch width, which means it fits two people.
Although the K-1100 is 17-inch deep, there are other significant features to consider:
- It s made from acrylic. Acrylic is light, but also resistant. It doesn’t stain easily, and it’s easy to clean. Although acrylic is easy to scratch, these scratches are easy to repair. If it were fiberglass and resin-reinforced like the Kingston Brass or Woodbridge models, it would have been perfect.
- It looks great. It s a Kohler model, after all. The curved integral apron and curved design make it look like a storybook bathtub.
- It has an integral tile flange. This design means the tub is easier to install, and there’s no water seepage. The corollary is less money spent on the plumbing.
- It s safe. The textured bottom makes for a nice grip, and it doesn’t hurt your legs or bottom when you’re soaking for long hours.
- It s comfortable. John C. says he bought this model when he was remodeling his master bathroom. Although this was supposed to be an interim solution, John was so in love with his tub that “I’ve recently ordered another, and, even though I have to add a (short) interior wall to turn a corner unto a three-wall alcove, it s still worth each and every penny and bead of sweat!”
Summary: The Kohler K-1100 is good for people looking for a solid tub for two. It s one of the roomiest products in my review, and, although it lacks lumbar and head support, it’s also one of the most comfortable.
8.Kohler K-837-0 (Bonus) – Best Cast Iron Alcove Bathtub
Kohler developed ﬁrst cast iron bath about 135 years ago and since then it has been a signature product in their bathing collection!
Ultradurable enamel, elegant design and range of styles and coclor options make cast iron a great addition for any bathroom design. Also, witt optional features such as Bubble hydrotherapy and electronic zones of control, cast iron bathtubs provide a immersive experience. All enameled cast iron are made from 80% recycled material.
SUMMARY: All the products here serve different purposes, but the most versatile and best overall is American Standard 2461.002.020 Cambridge because it’s functional and supportive. Make sure the bathtub fits your space before ordering it and make sure you understand all its features through the lens of your needs.
What is an Alcove Bathtub?
If you can define alcove, you know what an alcove bathtub is. This type of bathtub is smaller than the standard size bathtub because it’s designed to fit into a recess in your bathroom.
Most people who purchase alcove bathtubs:
- Have a smaller budget
- Don’t have a lot of space in their bathroom
- Don’t want to spend lots of time on research
- Prefer traditional-looking bathtubs
Don’t imagine that because of all these reasons, an bathtub looks unseemly. I had one for years, and it looked very stylish. When I moved into my loft, I imagined I’ll never be able to take a bath again.
Then I discovered a tiny, precious alcove bath, and it helped transform my bathroom into the elegant, relaxing, refreshing space I craved. This transformation helped me relax after long, hard days and fall asleep easier.
SUMMARY: Alcove bathtubs are classic, small bath tubs designed to fit into tiny recesses in your bathroom walls. These bathtubs are best for people with limited budgets and small bathrooms.
What is a 3 Wall Alcove Tub?
A three-wall alcove tub has only three walls, so you have to place it in a recess in your bathroom. The alcoves can have integral flanges on all three sides, or just on one side.
An alcove that’s empty underneath requires a supporting platform for the pan. Otherwise, the tub flexes because of the extra weight, and it can caulk.
Of course, this depends on your weight. You might not need an extra concrete bed if you’re 140 pounds and use the tub once per week, but a 200+ person requires it.
Another disadvantage is that if you’re using the tub as a shower, the water can seep into your walls. If you’re still set against concrete bed support, consider a separate shower.
SUMMARY: A three-wall alcove tub has three walls, so you can only install it on a corner in your bathroom. An integral tile-flange tub requires no support as opposed to a tub with just one flange.
Do You Need a Right or Left Drain?
That depends on your existing installations and piping. Both right and left-hand tubs can be set up in only one way because they have pre-punched drains, so you need to make sure these fit with what you have at home.
If you want more versatility, choose a drop-in tub that you can install both ways. If you like a particular tub model with a side drain you don’t want, check the official website to find out if you can find the same model with the drain on the other side.
SUMMARY: Choosing a right or left-side drain depends on your installation. Check where the drain was on your old tub to understanding what type of drain you’re after.
Kohler Archer vs. American Standard Cambridge
Both models are functional and ergonomic. When I reviewed these alcove bathtubs for my home, Kohler Archer was one of Cambridge’s strongest competitors.
- They’re both elegant. Although they have different designs, neither bathtub is ugly. If you have very specific tastes when it comes to tubs, you might prefer one over the other.
- Cambridge is built with higher quality materials. Cambridge’s Americast is sturdier and more durable, though Archer’s acrylic bathtub is also a good choice.
- The Cambridge is more supportive. Although I prefer Archer’s molded lumbar backing, it raises the stakes with its beveled headrest.
- The Cambridge is safer. Although both tubs are slip-resistant, Cambridge follows the ADA guidelines, so it’s safe and easy to use by people with disabilities.
- The Cambridge is easier to set up. Both come with integral aprons and tile flanges that keep them fixed during the installation, and neither require a concrete bed underneath. However, the Archer requires an additional bath drain.
- The Archer is deeper. While the Cambridge is 17.5-inch deep, the Archer is 19 inches, with 2-3 inches extra of depth courtesy of the slotted overflow.
SUMMARY: Both the Archer and Cambridge are quality, elegant, and supportive tubs. While the Archer is the deepest alcove soaking tub, I found the Cambridge better thanks to its neck support, ADA-compliant design, and easier setup.
What is the Difference Between a Drop-in Tub and an Alcove Tub?
A drop-in bathtub doesn’t need to be placed against a wall like an alcove bathtub; you can even set it up in the middle of your bathroom.
The plumbing is hidden, and the drop-in bath looks sleek and elegant. American standard tubs come in more shapes, whereas alcove tubs are rectangular.
A drop-in tub is also:
- Easier to clean
- More difficult to get out of
SUMMARY: The drop-in-tub comes in a variety of shapes and styles. You can place it anywhere in your bathroom, and it’s better for long baths as you can stretch comfortably. The alcove bath is rectangular and can only be enclosed on your bathroom walls.
How Long Will an Acrylic Tub Last?
Just because it’s acrylic, doesn’t mean that acrylic tubs are better than fiberglass ones, and if the only thing you have to make a tub worth owning is that it’s cheap and doesn’t fade, the acrylic tub won’t stand the test of time. Acrylic tubs are relatively inexpensive when you compare their cost to other items of plumbing, but their low cost means that they won’t last as long as fiberglass tubs. They are also generally less rigid than fiberglass, so they may fail more easily. Fiberglass is also about twice as heavy as acrylic, so the heavier tub may be more difficult to store and move around.
The lightest acrylic tubs typically only cost around $50, while the heaviest tubs can cost up to $250, depending on the size. Plumbers may not be able to fix both a new fiberglass tub and an acrylic tub if the tubs break, so make sure you choose one that is appropriate for your plumbing needs and the storage space you need to accommodate it.
Final Verdict. What Brand of Alcove Bathtub is Best?
If you’re here, you know that I’ve selected the best bathtub for each purpose:
- Kingston Brass VTDE603122R is the best affordable model.
- The Mirabelle MIRSKS6030LWH Sitka is best for tall people.
- The Archer is best for people with chronic back pain.
- The Woodbridge B-0020 is best for people who need a low-maintenance, anti-bug, and odor-proof tub.
- The K-1118 is a quality bathtub for tall people, but it requires a platform.
- The Kohler K-1100
Apart from the products I mentioned here, I consider Evolution Deep Soak and PROFLO PFS6042LSKWH to be good models.
That said, the winning model is American Standard 2461.002.020 Cambridge because it’s the most durable and versatile.
Built with Americast, a patented material that bonds porcelain with steel and composite reinforcement, the Cambridge will last you for years.
All tubs in my review are deep and nice for soaking, but the Cambridge offers head and lumbar support to make sure pain doesn’t ruin your experience.
Another unique feature is that Cambridge is the safest, most user-friendly bathtub in all my review because it follows the ADA safety requirements for people with disabilities.
Remember my intro about depression. We live in a stressful world, and it can hit you next, especially if you have chronic pain, an infant, or a demanding job.
The best way to solve the problems associated with all these things and to keep depression at bay is the American Standard 2461.002.020 Cambridge.
Buy it now. It’s the best value tub you can get today.