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Best bath 2023: Sink into a stylish tub from £242

Soothe tired muscles and boost your wellbeing with a long, hot soak in one of the best baths

Showers tick the boxes for convenience and saving water but when it comes to self-care, few better things are better than a bath. In fact, the best bath can relieve joint and muscular tension, improve your mood, boost circulation, ease congestion from a cold and help you to get a good night’s sleep. However, if your tub is grubby no matter how much you scrub or your steaming water becomes lukewarm in minutes, it’s time to invest in a new bath. 

While it’s tempting to replace like for like, there’s a huge choice of bath styles and materials that can do a better job at retaining heat, give you more space to soak or be easier to keep clean. Even better, the latest designs cater for a range of spaces, from those suited to compact bathrooms to baths that double up as your shower area too. Below, you’ll find our buying guide to help you select the best bath or you can scroll on for our top picks.

Best bath: At a glance

How to choose the best bath for you

What style of bath should I choose?

The size and shape of your bathroom can dictate your style of bath but even so, there’s plenty of choice between designs

Freestanding baths are those that stand on their own. The baths can be single-ended, double-ended, slipper-style (one end is raised as a back rest) or boat/bateau (with two high curved ends that dip in the middle). 

  • Traditional rolltops with ball and claw feet are popular, although legs will leave the pipework visible.
  • Modern designs can have integrated legs but often extend down to the floor so plumbing can be hidden. 
  • Back-to-wall freestanding baths are designed to have one length that is straight, enabling the tub to be fitted flush against the wall – this is ideal if you’re limited by space or want to keep your bath to one side of the room.

Built-in baths usually sit against more than one wall and/or are boxed in. 

  • Inset or drop-in: Rather than having legs, they are built into a surface, such as a low wall, panels or tiling. They’re recognisable by the top of the bath and rim overhanging, compared to baths where the sides are visible.
  • Shower baths: One end of the tub will be wide and flat enough for someone to stand and shower. The designs tend to resemble letters, such as a P-shaped bath having a rounded protruding end or an L-shaped bath with a rectangular protrusion at one end. 
  • Corner: Designed to fit against walls in the corner of a room, these can be shaped like a quadrant or more like a standard bath. Some may even be oval designs with handy ledges built in on two sides. 

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What material can my bath be made from?

Acrylic is a popular choice as it can be easily moulded into a number of shapes and is lightweight and glossy. However, it’ll lose heat faster than other materials and can be damaged by abrasive cleaners.

Cast iron is usually coated with enamel or porcelain. The baths are heavy – you may need your floor reinforced – and can be pricey but will last a lifetime when cared for properly. Once warm, the heat retention is excellent, but filling them up from cold can initially reduce the temperature of your bathwater.

Composites are usually made from a mixture of ground stone or minerals and resin. They can be moulded into different shapes like acrylic, but are heavier and have better heat retention.

Steel can be either coated entirely with enamel or have a metal finish on show. They retain heat well once warm for longer, hotter baths.

Copper, tin and nickel are also fantastic materials for maintaining your water temperature. The baths can have an enamel coating or go without. In the latter case, they can be higher maintenance as they’ll need waxing to remain tarnish-free. 

How much should I spend on a bath?

A simple acrylic bath can cost as little as £150, but designs tend to be limited. For more choice, budget around £250. Steel baths can also be affordable: budget at least £200. Composite, cast-iron and other metal baths cost significantly more, so allow between £800-£3,000.

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The best baths you can buy in 2023

1. BC Designs Boat Freestanding Bath in Copper BAC045: Best statement bath

Price: £2,781 | Buy now from Plumbworld

If it’s wow you want in your bathroom, this design delivers it in spades. It’s made from gleaming copper with a hand-polished finish and because it’s hand-crafted, it features gentle ripples in the finish for an artisan feel. Those who love copper pans in the kitchen will know how well the metal conducts heat: this bath will do the same so you can linger in the tub for longer. It can accommodate 180L of water and has a 10-year guarantee against manufacturing defects.

However, there’s no getting away from the maintenance this copper bath will need: you’ll need to clean it more regularly than most materials and wax it to keep it looking great. Plus, it’s the priciest model in our round-up. If style is top of your list though, look no further.

Key specs – Style: Freestanding boat; Material: Copper; Dimensions: 72 x 150 x 72.5cm; Weight: 67.8kg

Buy now from Plumbworld

2. Artist Collection Green Bee Cast Iron Bath: Best bath for colour choice

Price: £2,259 | Buy now from Victoria Plum

A hand-painted bath can be an easy way to add colour to a bland bathroom, instantly adding warmth and personality. This striking bath is a great example. Available in a range of shades, from bright pink and midnight blue to this beautiful botanical tone, it combines traditional looks with a low-maintenance enamelled interior and Arts and Crafts-style white claw feet. 

As with most cast-iron baths, it’ll require a bit more planning. The bath by itself weighs a hefty 182KG and will accommodate 223L of water. While this means you can enjoy a deep soak, it could also mean needing to reinforce your floor before fitting.

Key specs – Style: Freestanding rolltop slipper; Material: Cast iron; Dimensions: 78 x 184 x 73cm; Weight: 182kg

Buy now from Victoria Plum

3. Wickes Avaris Enamel Coated Steel Straight Bath: Best bath on a budget

Price: £242 | Buy now from Wickes

Even if you don’t have lots of cash to splash, there are some good-quality baths on the market. This affordable design scores highly for its mix of durability and low maintenance, all while coming in under £200 with a 10-year guarantee. You’ll still need to invest in bath panels or tiling around it, but its simple design is sure to suit most bathrooms. There are some good safety features too, such as chrome-plated brass grips and an anti-slip coating, making it ideal for multi-generational households.

Other benefits include that, like other steel baths, at the end of its life it’s completely recyclable. It will also accommodate 180 litres of water – plenty for a deep soak. Perhaps the only issue is its legs – some have reported problems fitting them – meaning that you may need to use additional supports.

Key specs – Style: Inset straight; Material: Steel; Dimensions: 75 x 170 x 39cm; Weight: 24.04kg

Buy now from Wickes

4. Milano Newby White Modern Reversible Corner Bath: Best bath for small bathrooms

Price: £525 | Buy now from Big Bathroom Shop

When there isn’t space for the average straight bath, a corner model can be the answer combining enough capacity to soak with a design that doesn’t need as much free wall space. The Milano Newby is a great option, with enough room inside for a couple of kids or dogs, as well as a decent soak – it’ll accommodate a generous 218L of bathwater. The design is well supported, with a baseboard across the entire base for extra rigidity. It’s also easy to fit thanks to height-adjustable feet for working around uneven floors and the curved panel for concealing pipework is included. 

We also like that there’s handy ledges for products, so you won’t need a shelf nearby. The only thing to be aware of is most adults won’t be able to lie back completely in it: at its widest point it’s just over a metre long. Nonetheless, it’s size and 10-year guarantee make it a worthy option for small spaces.

Key specs – Style: Built-in corner bath; Material: Acrylic; Dimensions: 120 x 120 x 56cm; Weight: 27kg

Buy now from Big Bathroom Shop

5. Lomax L Shape Shower Bath: Best shower bath

Price: £360 | Buy now from Better Bathrooms

There’s no need to choose between a bath or a shower with this modern L-shaped design. At one end, it offers sufficient room for a morning drenching, while there’s enough space to soak too. This bundle includes both the front panel and a matte black shower screen for a sleek contemporary finish. And, if this orientation doesn’t suit your room, there’s also a right-hand version.

One concern with shower baths is that they can take longer to fill than a straight model, as one end is wider. However, this design isn’t as deep as some. It’ll accommodate just 150L to the overflow, so long filling times aren’t an issue. There’s also a 25-year guarantee on the bath to sweeten the deal.

Key specs – Style: Built-in shower bath; Material: Acrylic; Dimensions: 85-70 x 170 x 51cm; Weight: 23kg

Buy now from Better Bathrooms

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