What is a Drop in Bathtub?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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As its name suggests, a drop in bathtub is a bathtub which is installed by being lowered, or “dropped in,” to a frame or an opening in the bathroom floor. Compared to a freestanding bathtub, this type of tub can lend a polished, streamlined feel to a bathroom. Beyond these basic characteristics, drop in bathtub models can vary widely. They can be sunken or raised, can take many different shapes, can be made from a number of materials, and can have a variety of bath-enhancing features.

A drop in bathtub is installed by being lowered into a prepared support structure. The tub’s upper edge is rimmed with an outward-extending lip that rests on the top of the support structure. If the bathtub’s bottom is going to rest directly on the bathroom floor, it is usually set into a frame or platform of a nearly equal height. For a raised bathing area, the tub is set into a high frame or platform, which often has steps to facilitate bath entry and exit. A drop in bathtub which is to be sunken is lowered into an opening in the bathroom floor.

Compared to a freestanding bathtub, a drop in tub can lend a polished, minimalist feel to a bathroom. The difference here is due to the fact that freestanding bathtubs require a certain amount of exposed plumbing. Conversely, drop in bathtub plumbing is usually concealed behind an adjacent wall or within the tub’s frame, leaving only the faucet and water controls exposed.


Beyond these basic common traits, individual drop in bathtub models can vary widely in appearance and capabilities. While rectangular and oval tubs are quite popular, a number of other shapes are available. Round, square, triangular, and even octagonal models can be found at bathroom fixture dealers and on the Internet. These tubs can also vary in size. Some are made to accommodate one person, while others can comfortably fit two or even four bathers.

Additionally, drop in bathtubs are available in a variety of materials. Porcelain is a popular material choice. A model made from glass, wood, stainless steel, or copper can make a good option for those seeking a less traditional look in the bathroom.

Finally, some drop in bathtub models can have built-in bath-enhancing features. They may feature massage jets, for instance, or waterproof lighting or music functions. These special features can add a spa-like element of luxury to an otherwise ordinary bathroom. It should be noted, however, that prices are usually higher for tubs which include specialty features.


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