Steel vs. Acrylic – Choosing the right bath

Choosing the perfect bath tub can be an arduous task, especially with so many shapes and sizes on the market today.  Choosing the correct shape and size will be determined by your preference, available space, and requirements, but choosing whether to have steel or acrylic can be somewhat confusing.  Despite what you might think, or have heard, there are many benefits to both, so really it again comes down to personal preference.  Here is a summary of the pros and cons of both, hopefully these will help you to decide.

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Steel Baths

Steel baths are, as the name suggests very strong, which is why they have maintained popularity, and are also very rigid often making them an ideal family choice, or shower bath option.  They are very durable and can easily withstand the test of time, often reflected in the very lengthy guarantees that come with certain brands. Kaldewei focuses on producing exceptionally durable steel bathroom fittings enjoyed across the world. 

Advantages of Steel Baths

  • Highly durable and very rigid
  • Conductivity is excellent – keeping water hotter for longer
  • Enamel finish helps bath to retain colour and avoid discoloration
  • Resistant to damage from chemical, abrasive cleaning products
  • Steel is a very hygienic surface – minimising germs and bacteria
  • Steel is pressed in production resulting in sharp, clean, flat lines
  • High gloss bright white finish – often dazzling
  • Different thicknesses available – 1.6mm or 3.5mm
  • Sustainability

 

Disadvantages of Steel Baths

  • Heavier than acrylic alternative and may require a sturdy base on which to rest
  • Can chip if heavy items are dropped inside them (e.g. hand shower)
  • Cold to the touch – although they do retain heat longer once warmed up
  • Can be slippery but anti-slip surfaces are available on all of our Bette baths
  • Have to be ordered with our without tap holes – reducing versatility of bath tap choice

 

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Acrylic Baths

Generally, acrylic bath tubs are more popular, and have progressed dramatically in terms of quality and durability, they certainly give steel baths a run for their money! The main attraction of acrylic is that it is warm and inviting to the touch, there are many more shapes and sizes available, and acrylic baths tend to be more affordable than the less run of the mill steel baths.

Acrylic baths are often mistakenly judged on the thickness of the acrylic, but whether this is 2mm, 5mm, 8mm etc, it is only a measure of the surface layer.  What is important is what is underneath. All of our acrylic baths are 5mm acrylic throughout, reinforced by seven layers of resin bonded fibreglass, giving them the reinforcement required to withstand the rigor of daily use.

Advantage of Acrylic Baths

  • Highly durable – due to reinforcement
  • Warm and inviting to the touch – more comfortable
  • Lightweight and easy to transport and install
  • More resistant to damage – unlikely to chip like steel
  • Scratches can often be easily polished out
  • UV stabilised preventing discoloration
  • Most come without predrilled tap holes allowing you to choose where to put them
  • Surface is non porous so doesn’t harbour germs and bacteria

 

Disadvantages of Acrylic Baths

  • If surface layer is rubbed off due to highly abrasive cleaning then bath surface can stain
  • Less rigid than steel
  • Less conductive and therefore losses heat quicker than steel
  • More prone to surface scratches
  • Not as brilliant a white finish as steel

Conclusion

Hopefully by reading our bath guide you’ll feel a little less daunted by the process of purchasing a beautiful new bath tub. To summarise steel baths are wonderful if you’re looking for a tub that will last generations and allow long hot baths where as acrylic baths are more affordable and slightly more flexible with regards to design options. Make sure to read our points carefully and talk to one of our design experts for more help.

Buy your Steel or Acrylic Bath tub from Hugo Oliver

Here at Hugo Oliver we carry steel baths to suit all budgets, our Roca Steel Bath is 1.6mm thick at £129, and a perfect basic bath, whereas our range of Bette baths are 3.5mm thick and prices start from £213. We also have an extensive range of top quality of acrylic baths, manufactured by Renaissance Baths UK and Pura Bathrooms UK, both offer 25 year guarantees on their models.  Our smallest acrylic bath, the Gem, is available in lengths 1200mm and 1300mm and is consistently a best seller year on year.  Then, it’s the Spoonbill, available in 1500mm, 1600mm, and 1700mm.  Due to popular demand, our square edged, ultra-modern Merganser bath now comes in two lengths, 1700mm and 1800mm.  So, as you can see, the possibilities are endless.

You can view our full range of bath tubs online including acrylic and steel bath tubs or visit our London showrooms for more information