Bath Buying Guide: How to Choose a Bath

Bath Buying Guide: How to Choose a Bath

18th Jul 2024

The bath can be the main vision of any bathroom, but it can also be one of the hardest decisions to make when it comes to design. Plus, our recent research found that over 50% of people spend between 30 minutes to an hour in the bathroom each day, so investing in a good bath is essential for creating a relaxing space.

Our bath-buying guide will walk you through everything you need to know – whether you’re opting for a full redesign or replacing an older model. Our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Toward, here at Wholesale Domestic, has also shared some expert insights when it comes to what you need to consider finding the perfect bath for your home.


What type of baths are there?

At Wholesale Domestic, we know that choosing the right bath begins with understanding the different types available.

1. Straight baths

Straight baths are the most common type you’ll find in bathrooms across the UK. Their straightforward design makes them easy to fit into most spaces, whether against the wall or in a recess.

These baths are ideal if you want a classic, no-fuss bathing solution, and they come in two different styles: single or double-ended.

  • Single-ended straight baths are the most popular style. They’re essentially designed with a set of taps on one side and a sloped end on the other, allowing you to relax comfortably.
  • Double-ended straight baths, on the other hand, take on a more modern design – the taps sit in the middle, and both sides are sloped, which means you have the choice of which side you want to rest on.

2. Shower baths

Shower baths combine the best of both worlds, allowing you to enjoy a relaxing bath or a quick shower. They’re often designed with a wider, open end for easy access in and out and a shower screen to prevent water from getting on the floor.

Shower baths are perfect for smaller or multifunctional bathrooms, as they optimise the available space without compromising comfort or functionality.

 At Wholesale Domestic, you can find a wide range of shower baths, including P-shaped, L-shaped, and B-shaped, allowing for a more spacious showering area.

3. Freestanding baths

If you’re looking for refined luxury, say hello to a freestanding bath. In terms of durability and aesthetics, these baths are available in a range of different materials, including metal, stone resin, acrylic and plastic, making them a must-have when redesigning your bathroom space.

But which freestanding style should you choose? Slipper baths have one end higher than the other, providing a comfortable backrest for lounging. Roll-top baths have a classic curved edge, perfect for a traditional look if that’s what you’re after. Or, if you don’t want to sacrifice space, back-to-wall freestanding baths are positioned against a wall.

4. Back-to-wall baths

Back-to-wall baths sit flush against a wall, saving space while looking sleek and modern. These baths are easier to install than freestanding ones since they allow for simpler plumbing connections.

They often feature minimalist designs that blend seamlessly with contemporary bathroom styles, with clean lines and smooth surfaces.

5. Corner baths

Corner baths free up valuable floor space and are perfect for making the most of a small bathroom or unique layouts. Fitting neatly into a corner, many styles come with built-in seating areas for added comfort, making them great for relaxing or helping to bathe children.

From compact models ideal for en-suites to larger, more luxurious options that offer a spa-like experience, corner baths come in various sizes and styles.

6. Whirlpool and spa baths

For the ultimate relaxation, whirlpool and spa baths are hard to beat. With additional features like adjustable jets to massage your body, chromotherapy lighting for therapeutic effects and adjustable controls, these baths turn your room into a luxe home retreat.

They come in all shapes and sizes, from single-person baths to larger models with double-ended designs that fit two. Whirlpool baths can also help alleviate muscle tension and stress, making them an excellent choice for those looking to add a restorative approach to their bathing routine.

Learn more about how to create a spa bathroom at home today.

What to consider when buying a bath

When it comes to picking the perfect bath, there are a few key things to consider.

1. Bathroom size

“The size of your bathroom is a big deal when choosing a bath,” explains Brian. “If you're playing with limited space, compact baths like back-to-wall styles can save you a lot of floor area. Shower baths are also a smart choice for ensuites and cloakrooms since they let you enjoy both a bath and a shower in one.”

At Wholesale Domestic, we’ve got baths ranging from 1200mm to 1800mm in length, so no matter what space you’re working with, you can be sure you’ll find the right solution.

It’s also a good idea to consider the overall layout and how the bath will fit with the other fixtures you have in mind. For more tips on making the most of a small bathroom, check out our guide on maximising space in a small bathroom.

2. Bath shape

The shape of your  bath isn't just about looks; it's also about how comfortable and functional it is.

"P-shaped, B-shaped and L-shaped baths are perfect if you want a bath that doubles as a spacious shower area, offering more room to move around," says Brian.

"You should also think about whether you want a square or round bath – each offers unique benefits and caters to different design preferences."

"Square baths are modern, marked by clean lines and sharp angles that fit well in contemporary bathroom layouts. They're practical, too, efficiently fitting into corners or flush against walls."

"Round baths, in contrast, lean towards a more traditional or classic look. Their smooth, curved edges bring a touch of luxury, making them ideal for placement at the centre of a larger bathroom to serve as a standout feature."

You should also consider the orientation of the bath. At Wholesale Domestic, we offer both left and right-hand baths to accommodate various bathroom layouts and space requirements, ensuring you get a perfect fit for your space.

It's important to remember how you like to relax and consider what fits best with your bathroom's design.

3. Taps

Taps can make or break the design you’re aiming for. But the type of bath you choose can also dictate the style of the taps.

Most single-ended baths have taps at one end, which is perfect if you like to lean back and relax on the opposite side. This is ideal for dual-flow  mixer taps, which feature two chambers in a single spout to keep hot and cold water feeds separate. These taps are convenient because the overflow and waste usually sit underneath where the taps are located, making it easier to connect everything.

Double-ended baths have taps in the middle, providing a balanced look and more room to relax at either end. Like single-ended baths, they work well with mixer taps.

With some bath styles, like  freestanding options, you can select freestanding or wall-mounted taps, depending on the tub’s position in your bathroom. Freestanding taps can be placed anywhere around the bath, offering flexibility in design. Wall-mounted taps, however, need to be aligned with the bath’s placement and may require additional plumbing work.

You’ll also need to consider the style of your bath and choose taps that complement it. For example, sleek  waterfall taps are a good choice for modern baths, like a back-to-wall design. On the other hand, crosshead taps pair well with traditional baths, such as a freestanding slipper bath, adding to the timeless look.

Looking for some inspiration?  Our bath taps buying guide has you covered.

4. Bathroom style

Your bath should seamlessly fit into the overall style of your bathroom, especially if you’re only replacing a current model and not opting for a complete redesign.

“For a modern bath,” explains Brian, “consider straight or whirlpool baths with clean lines and minimalistic designs, as these styles can help enhance the contemporary feel of your bathroom. On the other hand, traditional bathrooms benefit from the classic charm of freestanding baths, which can serve as a stunning focal point – especially with claw feet and pillar taps adding an exquisite finishing touch.”

Pay attention to the materials and finishes, too – glossy white is great for modern styles, while vintage-inspired finishes – like matt black – work well in more traditional settings.

5. Material

“The weight and material of your bath matters, especially when it comes to installation,” says Brian. “Heavier baths, like those made from stone resin or steel, need strong floor support and can be trickier to install. But they’re also extremely durable and have a more premium feel.

Lighter materials like acrylic are easier to handle and install, and they still offer great heat retention and a smooth finish.

Each bath material has its pros and cons, but it’s important to think about what matters most to you. Are you looking for style? Durability? Heat retention? The best bath material is really down to personal preference.

6. Positioning of the bath

Where you place your bath can make a big difference. Think about how close it is to the plumbing – keeping it near existing pipes can save you money and hassle.

Consider how the bath fits with other elements in your bathroom, like the sink, toilet and shower. You want it to be easily accessible but also leave enough space to move around comfortably.

It’s also a good idea to think about natural light and whether you want a nice view while you soak. Proper positioning can really enhance your bathroom’s look and feel.

The best baths for every home

Best bath for space-saving

Palermo 1700mm x 800mm Round Double Ended Freestanding Back to Wall Bath

“This freestanding back-to-wall bath is perfect for anyone looking to save space while keeping a stylish, modern look in their bathroom,” says Brian.

“The back-to-wall design means it fits snuggly against any wall, freeing up floor space without losing that freestanding bath ambience. Plus, the double-ended design makes it extremely comfortable when you need to unwind. It’s a great way to add a touch of luxury to a smaller bathroom.”

Best traditional bath

Kensington 1710mm x 740mm Single Ended Freestanding Slipper Roll Top Bath with Chrome Tiger Feet

“If you’re looking for the epitome of traditional style and elegance,” explains Brian “then the Kensington Single-Ended Bath is a top choice.”

“The slipper design and roll-top edge offer timeless charm and comfort, while the chrome tiger feet add a classic, vintage touch. This bath perfectly combines luxurious comfort with vintage aesthetics, making it an outstanding choice for anyone looking to create a beautiful bathroom.”

Best for modern bathrooms

Loire 1700mm Left Hand L Shaped Shower Bath with Matt Black Bath Screen and White Acrylic Front Bath Panel

“This bath is the ultimate choice for modern bathrooms. Its sleek L-shaped design offers both a spacious showering area and a comfortable bathing space, making it perfect for multipurpose use,” says Brian.

“The matt black bath screen adds a chic, contemporary touch while the acrylic front panel ensures durability and a clean, minimalist look. This bath effortlessly combines style and practicality.”

Best bath for families

Arc 1700mm x 750mm 12 Jet Chrome V-Tec Right Hand Curved Whirlpool Shower Bath with White Acrylic Front Bath Panel

“This whirlpool shower bath is ideal for families. Its generous size and curved design provide plenty of space, making it easy for parents to bathe children while offering a comfortable alternative to leaning over the bath. The wider edge is perfect for sitting and assisting with bath time,” explains Brian.

“Plus, the 12-jet whirlpool system adds a touch of luxury, perfectly balancing functionality and indulgence.”

Best budget option

Summit 1700mm x 700mm Straight Single Ended Bath

“The Summit Straight Bath is our top pick for those looking for a cheap bath without compromising on quality,” says Brian.

“Its straightforward, single-ended design offers a spacious and comfortable bathing experience, ideal for any bathroom. Made from durable materials, this bath ensures long-lasting use and easy maintenance. For those on a budget, this bath provides excellent value.”

Frequently asked questions

What size is a standard bath in the UK?

In the UK, the standard bath length is usually about 1700mm, but it can vary. At Wholesale Domestic, our baths range from 1200mm to 1800mm so there are plenty of options for different spaces.

How many litres of water does a bath hold?

On average, a standard size 1700mm length bath in the UK holds around 180 litres of water depending on its size, design and how high it’s filled.

People only tend to fill a bath just over halfway, meaning it uses approximately 100 litres.

Do I need bath panels for my bath?

If you have a built-in bath, you’ll definitely need bath panels. They cover the sides and give your bath a neat, finished look. For tips on installing them, check out our guide on how to fit a bath panel.

Do I need a bath waste?

Bath wastes are an essential part of any bathroom. So, yes, you’ll need a bath waste to drain the water properly.

Make sure to pick one that matches your bath type and plumbing setup.

How much does a bath cost?

Bath prices can vary a lot, depending on the make, model, and features.

At Wholesale Domestic, we have baths for as low as £170, ranging to prices over £3,000 – it’s all down to personal preference and what you want your bath to look like.

Shop baths online today at Wholesale Domestic

Now that you know the different types of baths out there and what you should consider, it’s time to choose the best style for your budget, space and design.

Shop all baths online or in-store today, or get in touch with a member of the Wholesale Domestic team for any help and advice you need. For more inspiration, take a look at our blog.