Bath tubs – finding the perfect size

How do I know what tub size to buy?
Modern looking bathroom—Plumbing in Santa Cruz, CA
Find Your Perfect Bathtub
I was fortunate to be able to visit MTI in Georgia. MTI is a tub manufacturer. They built a farmhouse with several bathrooms and each bathroom has an awesome MTI tub and a dreamy shower. Our group was instructed to bring a bathing suit and we were able to try each tub and its features. One of the best lessons I learned from my visit was to size the bathtub for the primary bather. As a short person of 5'3", the 6' tubs were far too long for me. I found that I spent a great deal of energy trying to right myself in the tub. In my attempt to slide down and recline, I just slid too deeply into the water and the only thing to stop me was the other end of the tub which was too far away.
The generous 36" to 42" width of some of the tubs was just too wide for my frame so that I spent so much energy keeping myself up that it was not relaxing. When advising clients on tub sizing, a good place to start is to measure the length from hip to heel of the primary bather. Then, find a tub that is about that length along the bottom interior. For width, the interior bottom should be about 6-8" wider than the primary bather's widest part. If there is a good size difference between the bathers, measure everyone's hip to heel length and use the average. Also, measure everyone's widest part, add 6-8" to each person's measurement, and then use the average. These are just guidelines. We have met bathers who really prefer to be in a tub that is much bigger than their frame. And we have met bathers who love to fit snugly into the tub with the tub touching them on all sides. Consider your personal preferences when sizing the tub for you. If you love to read in the tub, your arms may be much more comfortable in a tub with armrests so that your arms are not up on the sides of the tub at and uncomfortable angle. You may also enjoy a tub accessory that can hold your book and perhaps a beverage. Many manufacturers make them specifically for their tubs.
Love to bathe with a buddy?
Sometimes, you just wanna have some company and save water at the same time. But not all bathtubs are appropriate for two bodies. No one wants to sit on a drain or lean against an overflow so a drain near the center line of the tub eliminates this concern. Ideally, a tub for two would have a slanted back on both sides. Some couples love to have asymmetrical slants so that each side offers a different type of reclining comfort. But there are those who relish the symmetry of an evenly sloped tub. Fortunately, there are tubs for everyone. When planning for a tub that will accommodate two sets of legs, it would be nice to have a tub at least 36" wide. If water is not a concern, and space is plentiful, 42" wide would be even better. However, it's very important to carefully asses how often this tub is really going to have two bodies in it. If the tub is mostly for one person but will host two bathers just once or twice a year, the primary bather should size the tub for their body and then just acknowledge that when two bodies are in there, it will undoubtedly be crowded. If space allows for a 6' tub, there is a better chance of two people being comfortable. So, in review, if a tub will frequently host two bathers, it should be around 6' long and between 36" and 42" wide. If both people are slender legged an exception can be made for a tub slightly less wide than 36". We always have lots of tubs on display so a visit to our showroom will help you determine which length and width are appropriate for your needs.
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