The difference between a garden tub and a soaking tub, Bathroom style, Home bath fixtures design, Property interior decor

What Is The Difference Between A Garden Tub And A Soaking Tub?

17 January 2024

The difference between a garden tub and a soaking tub

In the market for a new tub, trying to create your dream bathroom? Then you’ve probably encountered the terms “garden tub” and “soaking tub” in your search. Some sellers interchange these terms, leaving you to wonder: are they actually the same thing? With similar features and overlapping descriptions, it’s no wonder you’re confused. So, if you’re contemplating a bathroom upgrade and pondering which tub is the ideal fit for you, you’re in the right place. Let’s find out.

What is a garden tub?

A garden tub is essentially a freestanding bathtub, and yes, it falls under the umbrella term of a soaking tub or even a whirlpool bathtub. What sets it apart? Size and style. A garden tub is wider, deeper, and longer than your standard bath/shower combo. Its roots trace back to eighteenth-century France, a time when only the affluent could indulge in indoor plumbing.

The French elite would position their deep soaking tubs near windows, offering a view of their private gardens. Today, interior design enthusiasts have adopted the term garden tub to encompass any high-end whirlpool tub that stands alone, separate from the shower.

Garden tubs are notably more generous in size than your regular tub, ensuring a comfortable and indulgent soaking experience. And unlike standard tubs often paired with showers, a garden tub is exclusively designed for soaking. The shower is almost always a separate entity, emphasizing the tub’s role as a dedicated relaxation space.

Pros of Opting for a Garden Tub:

  • Submersion Comfort: Manufacturers prioritize comfort in the design of garden tubs, allowing you to be fully submerged for a truly relaxing experience.
  • Aesthetic Enhancement: A garden tub serves as a luxurious centerpiece, elevating the aesthetic of your bathroom and potentially increasing your home’s resale value.
  • Heat Retention: Enameled cast iron garden tubs, in particular, retain heat for longer periods, ensuring a consistently warm soak.
  • Durability: Crafted from solid, reliable materials, a well-maintained garden tub can last for years, making it a worthwhile investment.
  • Health Benefits: The ability to fully immerse yourself in hot water can contribute to easing aches and pains, offering various health benefits.
  • Capacity for Two: If you enjoy sharing your bath time, garden tubs can easily accommodate more than one person, creating a shared relaxation experience.

Cons to Consider:

  • Price Tag: Luxury comes at a cost, and garden tubs are generally more expensive than standard tubs, impacting your budget.
  • Water Consumption: Filling up a garden tub requires a significant amount of hot water, potentially affecting your utility bills.
  • Weighty Installation: Garden tubs are heavier and might demand professional installation. Your bathroom’s structural framing must support the freestanding bath’s weight, especially when filled with water. For more info about freestanding baths’ dimensions please visit
  • Space Constraints: Due to their size, garden tubs may not be suitable for all bathroom floor plans, potentially limiting your installation options.

Soaking tub vs garden tub: what is the difference?

A soaking tub is purpose-built for one primary objective: relaxation. In contemporary interior design and real estate discussions, the term “garden tub” frequently encompasses standalone soaking bathtubs that have gained popularity in modern homes. Essentially, when people use the term “soaking tub,” it often refers to the same luxurious standalone tubs that are commonly labeled as garden tubs.

With installation, soaking tubs remain versatile. You have a range of options, from freestanding soakers that become the focal point of your bathroom to tubs that can be dropped into a pre-constructed platform or snugly placed against a wall. However, in most cases, a garden tub specifically denotes a freestanding bathtub designed for ultimate luxury, allowing you to fully submerge yourself in its depths.

Garden tubs, distinguished by their generous proportions, surpass the standard bathtub dimensions, offering a wider, deeper, and longer bathing experience. Typically oval in shape, these tubs also come in various styles, ensuring there’s a design to complement your bathroom aesthetic.

Quality soaking tubs come in a variety of sizes to cater to your preferences. The exterior dimensions can vary significantly, with lengths ranging from 100 cm to 189 cm, widths from 70 cm to 169 cm, and heights from 40 cm to 74 cm. Whether you envision a compact unit or an expansive design, you’ll likely find a soaking tub that perfectly fits your bathroom.

Undoubtedly, luxury comes at a cost, and soaking tubs are no exception. Typically pricier than standard bathtubs, garden tubs, in particular, carry a premium because of their use of natural materials like cast iron or copper. These materials contribute to prolonged water warmth, allowing you to indulge in soaks without sacrificing comfort.

Both soaking tubs and garden tubs share common ground as luxury items, offering an elevated bathing experience. The choice between the two depends on your preferences, space availability, and how you perceive the indulgence of a bath. If you find bathing to be an essential luxury and are blessed with ample bathroom space, a garden tub might be the ideal choice. Consider it not just as a practical addition but as an investment in the highest standards of comfort, especially if you’re eyeing a potential return on your investment when it’s time to sell your home.


On bathroom luxury, the choice between a garden tub vs soaking tub ultimately comes down to your personal preferences, space considerations, and budget. As we’ve seen so far, these terms often overlap, with both types of tubs offering an escape from the daily hustle. Soaking tubs provide versatility in installation and sizing, catering to a range of bathroom layouts and budget constraints. While garden tubs, with their grand dimensions and grand designs, allow you indulge as much as you want. What is certain is that both promise to transform your daily bath into moments of serene relaxation. Don’t forget to pick a tub that fulfills your practical needs!

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