All You Want To Know About Drop-In Acrylic Bathtubs

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Drop-in bathtubs materials can be enameled cast iron or acrylic, while acrylic drop-in bathtubs are lower-cost, more stylish, much lighter and become more popular in recent 20 years and gradually replaced cast iron in most markets of the world. So we mainly talk about acrylic drop-in bathtub here.

Table of Contents:

What is drop-in bathtub?

Drop-in bathtub pros and cons.

How much does drop-in acrylic bathtub cost?

The secret of drop-in acrylic bathtub industry that your supplier won’t tell you.

Will drop-in bathtub finally be replaced by freestanding bathtub or shower door in the future?


What is drop-in bathtub?

Drop-in bathtub is a tub only with a rim and without outside skirts, so needs to be “dropped in” to a frame or structure known as a surround to use. Once it is built or dropped in the outside surround, only the interior of the bathtub and the rim is visible. The surround can be constructed by natural stone, brick or wood with tile, sand and cement. Yes, it still needs construction, this is the fatal drawback of such drop-in bathtub which may lead to its failing in the future. Let’s analysis the advantages and disadvantages of drop-in bathtub in details frist.

Drop-in bathtub pros and cons.

Pros of drop-in acrylic bathtubs

1, Lighter on weight.

Acrylic drop-in bathtubs are made of new material: acrylic sheet, which is smooth and shiny on surface, feels not that cold in winter as cast iron bathtub does, while the bottom is reinforced by fiberglass and resin, also add wooden board to support the structure. Its total weight is much lighter than cast iron bathtub, so more convenient and lower cost for delivering.

2, Affordable.

Acrylic drop-in bathtub’s materials are cheaper, producing process easier, structure much simpler, making the total cost affordable for users, compared with other materials or other bathtubs like skirted acrylic bathtub or freestanding bathtub, which have one more outsider skirt or second layer, and extra feet underneath.

3, More various on design, shapes and sizes.

With a lower cost on moulding, such acrylic drop-in bathtub enjoys a various of different shapes, design and sizes, which is quite difficult for cast iron bathtubs. We have designed to put the soap holders on corner for one of our clients in 2013, it’s still selling till now.

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4, Durable and easy for maintenance.

Acrylic drop-in bathtub can be used for many years under correct using, you won’t worry about any broken on any accessories, the only accessories are waste and drainage unless you chose very bad quality. Then comes with another suggestion: never save money on bathroom’s small accessories like drainage and floor drainer etc, as you will suffer from it and pay more cost later. Acrylic sheet surface can be repaired by soft sanding cloth with toothpaste, so if getting scratched, it’s very easy to maintain, right?

Cons of drop-in acrylic bathtubs

1, Need further construction.

Such drop-in acrylic bathtub still needs to build a surround, can’t use directly. This would be the biggest disadvantage of it. Once you set it in one corner, can’t move it again. While skirted bath or freestanding bathtubs are not limited by places, can be moved anywhere you want.

2, Expensive to replace if product defects found later.

As drop-in bathtubs cost a lot to construct the surround, mostly cost much more than the bathtubs price itself. So once the end-user find any product defect later or damaged after use and require to replace it, all the suppliers will suffer. Here comes one more suggestion: never choose too cheap acrylic drop-in bathtubs, you save cost here when import, but will pay more later on after-sale service, also risking of long-term-built brand ruined in one night.

How much does drop-in acrylic bathtub cost?

Normally an acrylic drop-in bathtub’s cost price range from $30 to $130, not considering brands like Kohler, their acrylic drop-in bathtubs sell about $360 (rmb2321) in China market, while cast iron tub price doubled. We really doubt if they have sells on such items…. If don’t consider brand premium, the pure cost should be less than $100. You may ask why lowest to $30? I didn’t write $20, some factories even sell at $21 or $22 per piece two years ago, which totally rubbish quality. Now I’m hesitating if speaking out the secret of the drop-in acrylic bathtub industry…. It’s quite a top-secret in this bathtub circle and seldom tell the buyers or importers.

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The secret of drop-in acrylic bathtub industry that your supplier won’t tell you.

Most of acrylic drop-in bathtubs are made of recycled acrylic, not virgin materials, what worse is, most of factories mix water into the resin for reinforcement, and add too much stone powder inside which cost cheaper, making the bottom reinforcement looks thicker, powdery bumpy, but weaker, like a fat man. While pure resin no need too much stone powder, the overall appearance looks thinner, crystal clear, but stronger. As the raw materials cost raising in recent years, and some low quality recycled acrylic materials easily cause quality problem later, like crackles on surface or directly cracking or delaminating, such drop-in acrylic manufacturers turn to use ABS-acrylic, also called PMMA-ABS, which the two sides surfaces are PMMA acrylic, inside layers are ABS. The advantage of such material is more flexible than 100% acrylic. But the problem is many drop-in bathtub manufacturers choose recycled ABS-acrylic, not virgin materials, as the cost price matters. Such manufacturers are totally ruining this drop-in acrylic bathtub industry….

You may wonder why we know so much of the inside information? We entered shower enclosure industry since 2005, and then the acrylic bathtub industry in 2007, about 15 years experiences on acrylic drop-in bathtubs, we can see through those tricks: promised to use 100% pure virgin acrylic but still mixing recycled acrylic, or use recycled ABS-acrylic instead of virgin material…. We also got the lesson written in blood. Now we insist to use only the good quality materials, virgin ABS-acrylic and pure resin, alkali free glass fiber, to make sure all of our products can stand time’s test and 100% guarantee the quality. Not only us ourselves, we also propose other peer manufacturers and suppliers to improve the quality of such acrylic drop-in bathtubs, to win back the fame of Made in China, we can’t lose face for the name of “Made in China” by vicious competition, as it not only ruin our name, also ruin the name of customers, buyers, and their brands.

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The last question:

Will drop-in bathtub finally be replaced by freestanding bathtub or shower door in the future? 

Our answer is yes, so many years in this industry, we have been seeing cast iron bathtubs fading in the tide and been replaced by acrylic drop-in bathtubs, now we can clearly see the trend that freestanding bathtubs or skirted baths would gradually replace drop-in bathtubs, or we should say it’s happening now. Less and less drop-in bathtub manufacturers, while more and more freestanding bathtub factories. We see many previous acrylic drop-in bathtub producers give up the drop-in baths sector, and now focus on freestanding bathtubs only. For shower door, shower enclosure or shower cabin, it depends on the user’s favorit. For me, I prefer to use shower screen rather than quadrant shower enclosure or corner entry shower enclosure, they are too small and too limited shower space, shower screen also sells quite well in China demestic market. In 2018 when I moved my new house, I spent lots of momey and labor to remove the new Kohler drop-in bathtub (never take bath in it even for one time), and replaced it with our own shower screen. It’s so pity I forgot to take photo of it to compare and share with you. The market is smart, changing as it needs. Today we record it by this article, let’s see what it will be in the future.

Whatever it becomes in the future, our principle will not change: whatever products we supply, we do our best to be expert on it, and choose only the good quality products, because we have to be responsible for all goods we export. No company wants to be busy with after-sale service, right? Business and cooperation are long-term running, stay honest, stay responsible.

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