Choosing a bath tub big enough to soak in: I change my Kohler recommendation

If you need to buy a new bath tub, read this post for information about how to ensure the one you buy is truly deep enough to soak in. Cynthia, a reader, asked about the soaking depth of my Kohler bath tub… and the great PR team from Kohler was quick to provide advice.

Cynthia writes:

Hi, Pam,

I saw that you have a Kohler Dynametric bathtub (maybe more than one…?) and I have a few questions. We are adding a new master bedroom and bath on our 1958 tri-level house. We are trying to keep it looking like original construction as much as possible, both inside and out.

We have a Kohler Villager tub in our kids’ bathroom; I had thought I would go with that for the new master bathroom, but after taking a bath in it (I had actually never bathed in it before; we also have a jet tub in the basement that previous owners installed, so I use that) — I found the Villager was shallow and uncomfortable. So I want something deeper…just something I can have a nice full bath in, without worrying that the tub will overflow.

So my question is — do you bathe in your Dynametric, and if so, how is it? And if it’s not too personal — how tall are you? I am 5’1″ and average weight, so I’m not a large person — but even with my fairly small size, I found the Villager too small for me.

The Dynametric is significantly more expensive, however, so I want to make sure it’s something I’ll be happy with before we invest that kind of money in it.

If you or any of your readers have a review of what the bathing experience is like in a Dynametric, I would really appreciate hearing about it!

Thanks,
Cynthia

I respond to Cynthia that, sure enough, that while I love the looks and quality of my Dynametric, in my experience the water does not fill up high enough for a luxurious soak — about 8.5 inches til it hits the overflow — the same as Cynthia’s Villager.  This was not something I thought about before buying the tub — my goof. Fortunately, no one in my house– except Astro — takes too many baths, so it’s not a big deal.

So, I then ask my contact Vicki Hafenstein at Kohler — who is always snap-to-it helpful — and she quickly responds with this advice:

Hi Pam,

I spoke with one of our product managers in bathing this morning about the baths. The Villager and Dynametric baths are great for bathing children, but because of their shallow depths, they are not best suited for adult soaking baths. It is important to think about a number of criteria when finding the right bath:

  • the use and user of a bath
  • the application/installation of a bath (stand-alone, bath/shower)
  • overall depth as well as water depth to overflow (this second portion will indicate the soaking capacity more clearly)

If it is a stand-alone bath (no shower involved), and an adult is looking for a great soaking experience, we recommend the Tea for Two or Parity bath. Both are very deep baths, and their overflow drain systems allow for a higher water level in the bath. Tea for Two and Parity will give you just under 14” of water depth.

If the application is in a bath/shower environment (which requires flanges), we suggest the Highbridge bath. This bathing depth still offers a great soaking experience while accounting for a shower as well. The Highbridge bath will give you right around 13” of water depth. On a personal note, our product manager added that at 5’3”, she finds her Highbridge bath to be very comfortable.

Tea for Two 5’ bath list price is $1,946.60 and Parity $1,785.00. Highbridge cast iron bath list price is $1,703.40.

I hope this helps your reader! Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks!
Vicki

Kohler Mendota cast iron tub. Depth to overflow: Just under 11″

Readers, Vicki spotlighted true soaker tubs — and these are all tile-in tubs. If you just want a regular “integral apron tub,” I think the Mendota bath tub appears to be the best choice in their lineup — its depth to overflow is 11″ and it holds 45 gallons — that’s a whopping 10 more gallons that my Dynametric — and the tubs still seems to have a kind of traditional, vintage look. Online prices from the big box home stores appears to be around $800.

Anyway… all these Kohler tubs mentioned are cast iron, which I personally like. There other makers out there to look at — remember, the key is to look at the technical specifications / measurements and dimensions and look for water depth to overflow… in fact, it might be good to put all your potential choices on a spreadsheet to compare the water depth to overflow, gallons held, various measurements, and of course — price.

Some of my initial research found:

  • American-Standard: 66″ Spectra cast iron tub is 11″ deep. 53 gallons. No 60″ cast iron tub available.
  • Toto: Has a nice looking offering — their spec sheet does not indicate depth to overflow. I will try to get this from their PR dept. and add it. Looks to be about $1,000 online.
  • Eljer: Does not offer cast iron.
  • Briggs: Porcelain on steel, I could not see depth to overflow; doesn’t look promising.

Finally, and I cannot believe my life has come to this: You can get a Slip-X Bottomless Bath… and Deep Water Bath… hoodies promise to cover that overflow altogether when you take a bath. I guess I need one of these. And maybe — if you only take a rare bath and want to save mucho dinero, you could just go with the Villager ($300-$400 at big box stores and still cast iron) and use the Slip-X or Deep Water when you’re ready for that me-time. Hey, Cynthia: You can test drive one or both of these in your kids’ bath — and report back! I’ll do the same with the Dynametric. Precautionary Pam notes: Don’t flub up, though, and let your drain accidently overflow. *Disclosure”: Buy a Slip-X or Deep Water from Amazon after clicking on the widget below and I get a teensy commission. Hey, if every reader buys one here, I bet I make like $20! woo hoo!


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Comments

  1. Valencia Bathe says

    Just a suggestion…I have a hot tub just outside my back door which has water in it at all times…I soak every day, sometimes for an hour or so…the jets are a wonderful bonus too. I only add water about every month (so hardly any wasted water) or so and change it about three times a year (I’m the only one who uses it). I water the plants around it when I drain it (just don’t add chlorine for a few days before). It probably adds about $10-$12 to my electric bill (I live in a temperate zone), but I have friends in MN who have one they use year-round, too. To shampoo my hair, of course, I use the shower in the house, but I’m quick. I also shower at the place I take swim aerobics a couple of times a week…not luxurious, but with the hot tub…I’ve always got a little luxury! People are selling them now, so you can probably get a used one for about twice what the bathtubs you’re discussing cost. Highly recommended for many reasons, therapeutic and relaxational (HA! I made up a word). My friends in MN both get in at once and use it as their alone/conversation time. Sometimes it’s too cold outside to do much besides submerge myself up to my chin, but it’s a wonderful way to warm up in the winter and (turn down the heat) cool off in the summer. Enjoy!

  2. KKCG says

    We have what I believe to be a late forties Briggs that only allows 10″ of water before it hits the overflow, coming directly from a fiberglass tub to this one, (yes, cast iron does cool the water much more quickly than fiberglass) I was angry about not being able to take a long, hot bath. My husband solved it in two ways, one- a small space heater to warm up the tub before I take a bath, and two- he covered the lower four overflow holes with silicone caulk, leaving only the upper two uncovered. The tub does drain a little slower but not dramatically slower, you wouldn’t even notice it if you didn’t know how fast it went before, we timed it, and it added four inches to the water level, and I’ve never had a problem with water overflowing the tub, plus the caulk is fairly easy to remove.

  3. Christa says

    Hi Pam- ( It’s Christa, the former Kitchen and Bath designer again) A note…if you are planning on using the soaking tub ( or a whirlpool tub for that matter) as a shower as well, make sure to check for ease of getting in and out. For someone on the shorter side ( 5’4″) getting in and out of a soaker every morning for a shower is not easy, it’s a big stretch for my legs. Add water into the mix, and it can get pretty scary. If you are going to do the soaker with the shower, use grab bars…even if you don’t think you will need them, (trust me, you will thank me) or if you have the space, a deeper tub plus a seperate shower. ( make the deeper tub with a wider ledge at the front, so that you can sit down and swing your legs into the tub, rather than steping in…much safer ( and don’t EVER put stairs up to a soaker…you are just asking for a fall at that point…they are dangerous! water + bare feet+ tile= woops!)

  4. Burt says

    WARNING: it is not a good idea to cover the overflow hole on your tub to gain more inches when filling up your tub. If you get distracted or forget that your water is running (yes, it can EASILY happen) you could find your entire home flooded. And if you live in an apartment above someone else, you could get evicted. Just don’t do it.

  5. teardown townie says

    I’m finally on the verge of installing a tub as part of our bathroom renovation; and as I was looking at what all I would need to do the installation, I came across this drain from Kohler that allows one to close the overflow to make the water deeper for a soak. I’m putting in a Kohler Bellwether tub that has a water depth of 11 5/16″, I wonder how much more depth I’ll pick up. When reading about this closing drain, I notice it warns you to close the overflow after you’ve entered the bath and then to add more water. I guess that protects you from learning about water displacement the hard way!

    http://www.us.kohler.com/us/ClearFlo-closing-overflow/productDetail/Bathroom-Fittings/427805.htm?brandId=788686&skuId=407726&categoryId=788648&hash=id%3Dfilters%26startIndex%3D40%26scrollTop%3D110

  6. William says

    While this is very late for this discussion, I’m going to air my pet peeve. Please publish the dimension of the tub floor – from one end to the other and side to side. Counting the railings around the edge is very useful for installation, but doesn’t tell you if you will be able to actually get under the water – toes to shoulders. I’m 5’9″ and most 6′ tubs don’t even come close. The floor dimension is usually only about 4′ or so. I’m planning an addition and a bathroom remodel and, short of actually going to a shop and sitting in each model, can’t tell if most of these tubs will even begin to fit.

  7. Klaus Harte says

    We are a handicapped couple. We are in need of a new bathtub/shower. I myself am a large man, wife is disabled. Showers are not a problem for us, but in our older years a nice hot bath would feel good on our aching bodies. Our current tub size is too small for me to sit in, but for her it is ok. We do not have the option to do a remodel project to accommodate both, so we need something that would fit into the same location as our current tub/shower. The unit length may not extend current length, but there is room for a little width. I am having a hard time finding a large wider tub to fit our needs. can you help ?

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Klaus, I don’t know the answer to this question…. You will need to survey all the current available tub-makers today… Good luck.

  8. Victoria says

    I’m searching for a 72″ drop in soaker tub. I want it to be deep, but not too deep. I don’t want any jets or anything fancy. Just a plane old tub made of porcelain or durable material that won’t crack and will last the rest of my lifetime without the need to replace.

  9. Lesley Bonnet says

    I keep coming back to this post to see if there are any new tub options! When we did our bathroom a few years ago we needed a 60 inch alcove tub with an installed width of 30 inches or less. I really wanted a cast iron tub deep enough for a nice bath, and since it’s the only full bathroom in the house it also had to have a shower over it. We are in California so I’ve never noticed cold tub/water to be an issue. I liked the tile-in Porcher one (which has since been discontinued), but our contractor said tiling in would add a few inches, making it too wide. With no time left, we had to go with an acrylic Americh Wright tub. It’s deep and it looks nice, but I hate it! It’s very hard to clean compared to cast iron–the soap/dirt ring really seems to stick, and of course you can’t use anything abrasive to clean it. Plus the caulk staying put is always an issue with acrylic. And even though it has a curved lumbar support, the angle at my neck is awful. Plus, we have to climb over it to get into the shower. I’d happily have taken a cast iron tub a few inches shorter, but could not find one. On vacation recently, I bathed in a tub just like the one at my first apartment–perfect length, plenty deep, narrow width, cast iron, and so easy to clean! I got upset about our expensive Americh tub all over again. Now I’ve found the Kohler Soissons drop-in tub with a width of 27-1/2, which should accommodate tiling it in. The max water depth is 11-5/16, but overall height is 16″ and I’m thinking this could work along with the Clearflow closing overflow. I’d love to get some opinions on this idea!

      • Lesley says

        Thanks, Pam. I think I was confusing a drop-in tub and a tile-in tub. The Kohler Soissons is a drop-in tub, which I guess means it needs a deck which could be tile, stone, etc. In any case the specs say it’s not meant to be used in an alcove with a shower. Funny they’ve made this narrow tub that would seemingly be a good replacement for all those vintage alcove tubs, yet it’s NOT an alcove tub. Now why can’t they just make this same tub with an apron front and integral tile flange? Judging from all my googling, that is a business opportunity!

  10. Patti says

    Check out the American Standard Evolution tub (both 60 and 72 inch). It is has 18.5″ water depth as long as you install their ‘Deep Soak Max Drain’. I experienced this tub at a hotel and it was great. I will be installing it in the bathroom of our new house!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *