What are the best bathtubs for rental properties? I’ve done the legwork and am ready to present the winners!
The 3 best bathtubs for rental properties are durable, well-reviewed, have a standard-sized footprint and can match the price point of your market in terms of luxury. They’re made of acrylic or Ameritech.
In this post, I’ll not only explain how I chose the best bathtubs for rental properties, but also I’ll discuss the smartest thing you can do when replacing the bathtub in a rental, as well as some alternatives for replacing a tub that might save you money.
Even if you don’t plan to rent out your property, these suggestions will work equally well for anyone looking to put a tub in a small bathroom or complete a budget remodel with a bathtub.
3 Best Bathtubs for Rental Properties
So without further ado, here are my top choices in value, mid-range, and luxury categories for the best bathtubs for rental properties:
1. American Standard – Americast Princeton Tub – Value
If you’re looking for a budget tub for your rental property that sparkles bright white and feels sturdy, too, this low-priced tub from American Standard might be the perfect fit. It’s the standard 5 feet long, with a slip-resistant surface and a built-in overflow drain.
The Americast protective coating on steel makes it a lighter tub than a bathtub with traditional porcelain-enameled coating. Still, the tub is more solid and heftier than fiberglass. Because of the Americast coating, you won’t have to worry about chips or scratches.
This tub is both easy to clean and easy to install, and it comes with a right-hand drain.
2. Kingston Brass – Contemporary Alcove Acrylic Tub – Mid-Range
If you’re looking for a truly solid value tub that doesn’t appear “value” this is the one! It’s got a sleek, modern look and is excellent quality for the price. This bathtub is built from super-durable acrylic. I love it because it should fit snugly into any standard 60” alcove, and comes with a side skirt attached.
This is a lightweight tub at 75 pounds, so easy to move into a new property and easy to install. You can get a model with either a left or right-hand drain, so pay attention and be sure to order the correct version for your units.
3. Empava – Acrylic Freestanding Bathtub – Luxury
A freestanding tub can instantly give a bathroom a contemporary upscale feel. In a rental property, it can provide the “Wow!” factor you want.
This tub is also a great selling point if you’re outfitting a vacation home that already has a shower available as well.
There are so many reasons to love this tub beyond it’s gorgeous, curvy looks. First, at 59 inches, you should be able to fit it where your standard tub used to be. It’s 23 inches deep compared to 12-16 inches for a standard tub, and it holds 55 gallons. The drain is in the center. The double-walled acrylic will retain water temperature for a luxurious soak.
It’s only about $100 more than our mid-range choice, but because of its beautiful design, it definitely whispers “luxury.”
How to Find Great Tubs for Rental Units
Let’s look at the different considerations for narrowing down the list of best bathtubs for rental properties.
All bathtub materials have pros and cons. You can read an in-depth post about bathtub materials here. While there are 8 major types of bathtub materials for a typical home, in a rental property we easily narrowed down the options to acrylic and Americast.
Acrylic tubs are very popular. The material is less porous than fiberglass, so it isn’t prone to yellowing over time. An acrylic tub can occasionally get scratched but the scratches are easier to repair. And a higher-grade acrylic will be less prone to nicks, scratches or chips than a lower-grade one.
This is a proprietary material created by American Standard that is a 50% lighter than porcelain-enameled steel, but heavier than acrylic or fiberglass. Only available on American Standard bathtubs, Americast has 3 layers: enameled steel, porcelain and a composite material.
Where’s the Fiberglass?
When getting bathtubs for rental properties, you don’t want to pick tubs you’ll need to replace every time new tenants move in.
That’s why you won’t find a fiberglass bathtub on our list. Even though fiberglass is inexpensive, it doesn’t hold up as well over time compared to a decent acrylic. It’s more porous, and so can yellow over time. Also, the material is flimsier and is more prone to scratches.
Why Not Cast Iron?
You may be wondering about other bathtub materials like porcelain-enameled cast iron, stone and stone resin. While these may be good options for a home, they’re not likely to work for a rental, unless you’re talking about a truly high-end market and ground floor unit.
Not only are these materials more expensive, but tubs made from these materials tend to be much—much!— heavier. An upper floor unit would likely require you to install additional floor supports before you could safely put in a tub made from one of these heavy bathtub materials.
Bathtub Footprint in a Rental Property
I chose standard-sized bathtubs for the list, because chances are that when you’re buying bathtubs for rental properties, that’s the size that will best fit your space.
A standard wall-to-wall bathtub is 59-60 inches long and 30-32 inches wide. It has a soaking depth of 14-20 inches. However, the size and depth of a bathtub will vary depending on the type of tub and the shape.
You are most likely replacing or purchasing an alcove tub. This is the type of bathtub that fits firmly between three walls. We have two standard-sized alcove bathtubs on our list, as well as a freestanding tub in a standard size.
If you’re replacing a standard-sized tub with one that is either larger or smaller or has a different footprint, you’ll incur several additional costs. You may need to redo flooring, move a tub surround, or add additional tile. And if you’re moving the footprint of the bathtub more than 3 feet, you may need to install more plumbing. (Learn all about how to move a bathtub in Can a Bathtub Be Moved? It’s Complicated.)
So to save costs, you’ll want to find a tub with a similar footprint as the tub you’re replacing.
Rental Market Price Point
A regular alcove tub can serve a budget and mid-range rental market well.
If you’re in an upscale and/or vacation rental market, you may want your tub to appear more high-end. Trending now are contemporary freestanding tubs with freestanding tub fillers.
Replacing an alcove tub with an end drain with a freestanding tub with a central drain will require work on plumbing and the floor. On the plus side, you’ve got a unique selling point for your rental that will make it stand out. On the other hand, a deeper soaking tub uses more water.
Some landlords wonder if they really need bathtubs in their units at all. While this is a legitimate question, the answer boils down to who your market is. Millennials and working people tend to rush, rush, rush—and least, pre-COVID—many were fine with walk-in showers.
However, as soon as a child arrives on the scene, it’s a different story and tub is a must-have, even in a rental property. Seniors and any pet owners also tend to like bathtubs.
If you’re renting a one-bath unit, for sure you’re going to want to stick with a tub so you don’t limit your potential market. In a two-bath unit, you can consider eliminating one of the bathtubs.
And, interestingly, in the highest-end markets a bathtub in a master bathroom is often a must-have. See this post for more on how tubs affect the price point of a home; a lot of the information is relevant to rentals as well.
Tub Surrounds for Rental Properties
When you get a bathtub for your rental property, you may want to get a tub surround as well. Here’s the thing: the more pieces on the tub surround, the more opportunities for trouble in terms of leakage.
A 1-piece tub surround can save a lot of headaches. You won’t worry about the caulking or water leaking into the walls through the seams.
For example, this 1-piece acrylic surround from American Standard Studio Bathtub Wall Set fits with a standard tub. Dimensions are 60 x 32 x 58 inches. It comes with 6 built-in shelves and has a white, high-gloss finish. It’s designed to be attached directly to studs, so any tile or drywall needs to be removed before installation.
Alternatives to a New Tub for a Rental Property
In some cases, you may want to avoid buying a new bathtub by asking yourself a few questions:
Cleaning the Bathtub
Can I make this bathtub gleam like new again if I clean it properly? If you’re not sure what a proper cleaning would involve, read How to Make Your Bathtub Gleam Like New. Hint: Every type of tub material requires a slightly different cleaning solution. You’ll probably want to start with natural cleaners but then, if necessary, you can progress to bleach.
Regrouting the Tub
Would simply bleaching the grout give the bathtub a new appearance? Or maybe replacing the grout with a fresh white color? If that would do the trick, you may want to go that route, especially if the cost of a new tub is prohibitive. But if you do, be sure to seal the grout so it’s waterproof.
Reglazing the Bathtub
Does it make more sense to repair chips a scratches on the surface of my tub and then repaint? A professional reglazing company will do this job for you. Beware of cheaper unprofessional reglazing options that use epoxy. It may be hard to get a perfect result, but if “good enough” is okay, then you might try a kit from Home Depot or Lowe’s for about $50.
However, these won’t last too long, and if the coat peels, water can seep beneath the tub surface causing mold to grow. Professional reglazing can cost $250-$600, depending on where you live, and should last 5-10 years.
Repairing the Tub
Is the problem with the bathtub just one small crack? If the tub in your rental unit has a simple crack that can be easily repaired, you may not need to replace the whole bathtub. Try this Tub and Tile Repair formula by Fortivo. It’s nontoxic and might save you a bundle in the short-term.
Installing a Tub Liner
Are you willing to pay more to avoid a construction project? If so, a bathtub liner may be the answer. It’s an acrylic sheet that is molded to the shape of an existing tub and fits directly on top of it.
On the plus side, you can avoid a complex construction project—especially if replacing your existing tub will involve new tiling and flooring. The bathtub liner can usually be installed in one day. On the minus side, they’re pricey. According to HomeGuide.com, the average price for the liner plus installation is $1,700-$2,500.
For much more about whether a bathtub liner could be the perfect solution for your rental unit, read my post Are Bathtub Liners Any Good? In this post, I explain everything you need to know to make a great decision about bathtub liners.
The Smartest Thing To Do for Your Rental Property
If you suspect you might have a mold or mildew problem, it’s best to face the facts sooner rather than later. Mold or mildew that’s left unattended can fester and grow, destroying walls and seeping across one unit into another. You need a battle plan. (See Bathroom Mold: A Battle Plan to Destroy It.)
However, even if you’re convinced that you don’t have a moisture problem, before you install a new tub is the perfect time to make sure of it. The last thing you want to do is put a new bathtub over rotting floorboards or drywall.
Use Moisture Meter to Detect Hidden Mold Behind Tub
When the old tub is out and before a new one is installed, check for moisture. Yes, you should feel the walls and floor, but usually, any leaks can cause hidden problems and walls can rot from within.
A simple and quite inexpensive checkup can be done with a moisture meter like the MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter and Water Leak Detector. Simply point the device at the floor, drywall and studs, and you’ll get a reading that will tell you if there’s a problem and the extent of it. We recommend the Digital Moisture Meter and Water Leak Detector here on Amazon.
Install a Good Exhaust Fan
If you don’t have an exhaust fan already in your bathroom, it’s definitely worth the investment for the “ounce of prevention” reason. You only need a fan strong enough for the square footage you have and nothing more. Your tenants will appreciate if it’s a very quiet one. You might consider attaching the exhaust fan to the overhead bathroom light, so it automatically goes one when light does.
Update the Bathtub Faucet in Your Rental Property
If you’re looking to give your rental unit bathroom a more upscale look, a faucet that’s outside the standard model can add a touch of elegance. One type that would really stand out is a waterfall faucet. A waterfall faucet is designed to let the water flow into the tub in a way that reproduces the natural rhythm of a waterfall. These are common at spas and are aesthetically beautiful. Here are our top 3 favorite waterfall faucets.
Add a Luxury Showerhead in Your Rental Units
Similarly, for a touch of extra luxury, consider a Rainfall Shower Faucet Set. This brushed nickel system from QIOIO comes with a 10 or 12-inch showerhead, shower arm and shower hose. Parts are top-notch quality, made from stainless steel and the valve for the diverter is a ceramic disc, which means it’s built to last and resist corrosion. The finish is brushed nickel.
Buying the Best Bathtubs for Rental Properties
In summary, if you want to end up with the best bathtubs for your rental properties, ask yourself these questions first:
- Do I need a new tub or is there another way to solve the issue?
- If getting a new tub, what is my budget?
- Do I need a right-hand, left-hand or center drain?
- Am I trying to fit an existing tub footprint?
- Do I want a standard-sized tub? (50-60 inches x 30-32 inches)
- Is my priority durability, design or both?
- Is it important for the tub to be lighter weight? (Especially important if installing on upper floor.)
- Will I check for moisture in floor, drywall and studs before installing the tub?
- If working in an older building, should I replace my plumbing at the same time?
- If the design is important, have I considered non-standard bathtub faucets and showerheads?
Finally, measure doors and hallways before ordering to be sure your tub will fit into your rental unit. Your doorway will need to be a few inches wider than the tub!
And since any devices that conserve energy in the bathroom will save you money over time, be sure to check out my post on ideas for how to make your rental property bathroom eco-friendly.