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What is a Soaking Tub?

Diane Goettel
Updated May 16, 2024
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A soaking tub is a kind of bath tub that is usually deeper and a bit shorter than most traditional bath tubs. Furthermore, while most standard bath tubs are designed with a shower head so that the tub can be used as a place to stand during showers, a soaking tub is not usually connected to a shower. Rather, it is filled with water by a tap that is dedicated just for filling the tub. Although the tub can be fitted into a nook of a bathroom, recent trends in interior design place these tubs in the center of a bathroom or asymmetrically placed in the room but away from any corners. The exception in this trend is when the tub is fitted in a space surrounded by windows.

Unlike the rectangular shape of most tubs, it is common for a soaking tub to be oval or circular. In some cases, these tubs are square, but in a manner that is much shorter than traditional tubs. The purpose behind the depths of these tubs is the ability to easily soak the entire body in water. This is also the reason for the shortened length or circumference. With this kind of design, it takes less water to fill the entire tub than with the traditional long bath tubs.

Most soaking tubs are not designed to allow bathers to lie down as in standard bath tubs. Instead, they are designed so that bathers can lounge comfortably while soaking in the water. In most cases, these tubs are only large enough for one adult at a time. Like most tubs, a soaking tub is equipped with a drain at the bottom through which the used bath water can exit.

Because soaking tubs have gone through a period of being perceived as chic in the interior design community, there are a number of luxury versions made out of pricey materials such as natural stone. There are, however, more affordable options that are made out of acrylic, fiberglass, or a combination of the two. Even these more affordable soaking tub models are still pricey as most bathroom fixtures are.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"
Discussion Comments
By Inaventu — On Dec 17, 2014

When I came into some extra money a few years ago, the first thing I did was renovate our bathroom. I always wanted a clawfoot soaking tub, because I like to take a relaxing bath at night instead of a jolting shower in the morning. I grew up with a deep soaking tub as a kid, and I got used to the feeling of having water up to my neck.

Sometimes I will use the soaking bath tub first to unwind and read a book without any interruptions, then rinse off in the shower. The biggest complaint I have about soaking tubs is the feeling I still have soap residue on my body after my bath. My wife likes using bath oils and other additives when she takes a bath, but I don't like the feeling of anything remaining on my skin.

By Phaedrus — On Dec 16, 2014

I grew up taking showers because we didn't have an actual bathtub in our house. I'd take an occasional bath in a hotel, but most of the time I just wanted to get in and out of the bathroom in the mornings. I was not someone who looked forward to a relaxing soak in the tub at night.

That was until my wife and I bought our first house. I went into the master bathroom and saw this bathtub sitting in the middle of the room with no showerhead or curtain. The realtor told me it was a deep soaking tub. There was also a fully enclosed shower in the corner. I never used a soaking bath tub in my life, but my wife was crazy about it. She preferred baths to showers, so she would use the tub at night and I would shower in the morning.

By DanceShiya — On Dec 20, 2013

Have soaking tubs ever really "gone out of style"? They have an antique look to them--are they not the types of tubs used in "olden days" before the whole showerhead thing was invented?

I also suppose high-end hotels offer this kind of tub for relaxation? Are they typically found at spas, or not due to the expense?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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