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Baths are perfect for providing a luxurious washing experience, but it can be tricky to decide which type is best for you. To help you out, we’ve put together a handy guide that discusses the merits and pitfalls of steel and acrylic baths. Basing your choice on cost alone is not the best approach, so make sure you consider all reasons why you may opt for one type over the other.

What materials are available?

When it comes to baths, acrylic (a synthetic plastic) and steel (a hardwearing metal alloy) are the two main materials used. Other more unusual materials include stone, copper, and cast iron.

Strength

Steel and acrylic bathtubs are equally strong when put to normal use. To test the difference in strength, you would need to turn them upside down and jump up and down on them! Even so, a steel or acrylic bath wouldn’t break.

Whilst steel is technically a stronger material, this fact is irrelevant. Unless you have super-human strength, you won’t notice the difference between a steel or acrylic choice. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques, gone are the old days of acrylic baths bending in the middle.

When buying an acrylic bath, it is important to know that the thickness of the acrylic does not define the strength or quality of the bath. Strength depends on the amount of backing sprayed onto the back of the acrylic and the density of the baseboard.

april bath talya

Durability

If it’s a competition… acrylic baths win every time at resisting impact damage.

Steel baths have a beautiful enamel coating for a perfectly white finish, but more care needs to be taken with it. Whilst stunning in design, the enamel is highly prone to chipping from items being dropped onto the bath. This will leave a jet black mark on your tub. As long as you ensure that tools, tiles, toys or makeup bottles aren’t flung around the room - your bath will be okay! If you are a careful owner, then your steel bath will provide you with many years of happy bathing.

On the other hand, acrylic baths are highly resistant to impact damage and are ideal for chaotic family environments. Acrylic baths don’t chip like steel ones do, and scratches can often be polished out or filled with acrylic. Tough to damage and easy to repair, acrylic baths are a sensible and stylish option for the busy modern home.

Blog steel bath

Comfort

Nothing matters more than having a luxurious bathing experience.  It’s up to you to choose your comfort level and how you want to relax.

Steel baths have a cold surface, which can be a shock to the system when you step into the bath. Even when you are in the tub, placing your head or hands on dry areas of the tub (the top or sides) may feel quite chilly. However, steel baths are great conductors of heat. This means your bath water will stay hot for longer without having to top it up.

Acrylic baths are warm to the touch, meaning you can avoid that nasty cold shock when stepping in! The whole tub will stay at a nice room temperature, allowing you to rest your head or hands on the top or sides without feeling the cold. That said, acrylic baths don’t conduct heat as well as steel baths. If you’re having an extra-long soak, you may have to top up the bath with hot water every so often.

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Maintenance

Acrylic is non-porous, making it easy to clean so that mould and bacteria cannot grow on its surface. It’s also easy to polish out any scratches in acrylic.

Steel is non-porous and just as good at preventing bacteria or mould growth. Steel baths are also chemical-resistant and will avoid discolouration. Just remember to exercise caution with objects so that you don’t chip the bath.

As a natural raw material, steel is 100% recyclable and more environmentally friendly than acrylic, which is produced by burning fossil fuels.

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Design

Steel-enamel looks the business. It provides a pristine white finish that is a great accompaniment for a similarly-glazed porcelain toilet and basin. Steel baths also come with pre-drilled tap holes, so they are ready to accessorise straight away. Steel baths are pressed rather than vacuum formed (acrylic baths), so their designs are limited to much sharper and flatter lines.

Acrylic is easier to mould into shapes than steel and therefore provides a wider range and variety of bath designs. Whether you want a curvaceous shape or softer lines to complement your existing decor, acrylic will offer greater aesthetic flexibility. This makes it easier to find the exact bath that meets your home’s requirements.

clear water bath

Summary

To summarise, here is a quick run-down of the benefits of acrylic and steel baths:

Acrylic
  • Resistant to chipping - perfect for family environments
  • Available in a huge range of sizes and designs
  • Warm to the touch
  • Easy to repair any scratches or damage
  • Just as strong as steel baths
Steel
  • Shiny white enamel finish
  • Sharp, flat lines
  • Good conductor of heat
  • Chemical resistant
  • 100% recyclable - environmentally friendly

Find your perfect bath at PlumbNation

Made a decision? Good! Take a look at PlumbNation’s range of acrylic and steel baths here. All baths are produced to the highest standard and are guaranteed to give you the relaxing bathing experience you deserve.