Acrylic vs Cast-Iron Clawfoot Tubs

Acrylic vs Cast-Iron Clawfoot Tubs - kohler tubs Acrylic vs Cast-Iron Clawfoot Tubs - kohler tubs

Now that you've decided what style of bathtub you want, the next step is determining the best material. Traditionally, clawfoot tubs are made out of cast-iron. However, cast-iron is not always the best material for the job, and there are now a number of different materials from which to choose, the most popular being acrylic. Which clawfoot tub material is best for your bathroom renovation?

Acrylic Bathtubs

Lighter and less expensive to manufacture than cast-iron, acrylic has become a popular choice for larger clawfoot tubs with lengths ranging from 40” to 75”. Additionally, using acrylic allows for the installation of additional features like whirlpool jets.

Price Range: $860 - $3000

Pros

  • Light-weight
  • More shapes and sizes available
  • Can accommodate additional features such as jets
  • Best material for longer or deeper tubs
  • Easier to transport and install
  • Scratches can be easily repaired
  • Lower cost

Cons

  • Greater potential for heat loss
  • Scratches more easily
  • May feel less sturdy

Popular Acrylic Bathtub Brands

  • Barclay
  • Cambridge Plumbing
  • Elements of Design
  • Giagni

Cast-Iron Bathtubs

While it may be heavier than acrylic, enamel coated cast-iron is the most durable choice. While a cast-iron clawfoot tub holds heat much more efficiently, the material makes adding additional features more difficult. Sizes will typically be smaller because of the weight of cast-iron with lengths ranging from 30” to 75”.

Price Range: $1250 - $6000

Pros

  • Scratch resistant enamel surface
  • Retains heat
  • Substantial structure

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Higher cost
  • Difficult to transport and install
  • Lack of additional features
  • Typically shorter and and more shallow than acrylic tubs

Popular Cast-Iron Bathtub Brands

  • Kohler
  • Barclay
  • Cambridge Plumbing
  • Cheviot
  • Elements of Design
  • Kallista
  • Kingston Brass

Weighty difference

Cast-iron tubs are fairly heavy and can, on average weigh between 200 – 400 pounds. Add water and 1-person and you have a pretty heavy tub sitting on your bathroom floor. Acrylic bathtubs, on the other hand, weigh around 100 pounds before you add water and a human. If you go forward with a cast iron tub, you will want to review whether your floor can support it especially in an older multi-story residence.