Baths: Acrylic or Steel?

Some people have very clear ideas on what makes the best baths and others – well, they can take it or leave it. But when it comes to making a choice on whether to have a steel bath or a plastic/acrylic one you need to be well informed on why you are making the choice. Basing it on cost alone might not be the best answer for you.

To be honest, if you are choosing a basic bath, the difference in cost between a steel bath and an acrylic bath is minimal. Both start at around the £50 mark, with steel being slightly more expensive. So what are the other reasons you might want to choose one or the other?

Steel baths

  • They are considered to be more durable and are much stronger than the plastic version. In fact they are even stronger than a cast iron or stone bath. For this reason they will last a long time.
  • This type of bath will retain the heat of the water much longer than acrylic. This can make filling a bath more economical as you will need less hot water and that water will stay hotter longer.
  • These baths will usually maintain their looks for longer without scratching or being affected by cleaning. If your bath is coloured, the colour will stay pure for longer.
  • Steel baths are also thought to be more hygienic as the surface does not harbour germs.
  • These baths can be easier to clean because of the nature of the smoother surface. There will be no scratches to hold the dirt.
  • One drawback of a steel bath is the fact it can be very heavy and requires a good sturdy base.

Acrylic baths

  • Getting into an acrylic bath is a pleasure because it is warmer to the touch than steel. This makes it perfect for children and the elderly who may not appreciate a cold metal bath.
  • A plastic bath is much lighter and easier to transport. It can be easily lifted upstairs and put into awkward positions with ease.
  • The acrylic bath is easy to clean and non-porous. As long as it is free from scratches it will maintain its looks for many years.
  • Acrylic baths tend to come in a larger range of shapes and sizes than steel. This means they can be used in a modern bathroom or used as a corner bath. The acrylic bath is formed using a vacuum to get all sorts of shapes. This makes it very flexible.
  • Generally, an acrylic bath is cheaper than steel or any other materials. Manufacturers and retailers tend to sell them as part of bathroom suite deals because they are cheaper for them to manufacture. However, the more detailed the design the higher the price will be.

Chipping your bath

The fact is that you are more likely to chip the finish off a steel bath than an acrylic one. The colour is usually baked into the product with a plastic bath and with steel it is a coating. However mending a chip is possible and bath sealing and repair kits are readily available.

If you find a second hand steel bath it is certainly possible to refinish it and have it looking as good as new. A metal bath can always be recycled if it has to be replaced while a plastic bath may not be accepted by recycling centres.

Deciding on the right bath for your needs may be down to nothing but cost for most people, but if you are the discerning type and need a bath which is cooler or hotter, easy to clean or flexible in terms of design, you now know which style of bath to choose.

acrylic or steel baths

If you're looking for more information on the different types of baths, take a look at the following posts - Freestanding Baths Guide - Corner Baths Buying Guide - Shower Baths Buying Guide.

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