Pros/Cons of Freestanding AIr Bath

thisishishouseMarch 29, 2014

HI all. We're trying to nail down a few of the big decisions for our new home build.

For the MBa, we love the classic look of a freestanding/pedestal tub. But in these forums we've also discovered air baths. I've looked on a few of the websites and discovered that there are freestanding air bath tubs.

I haven't really been in a bath tub since I was maybe 10 years old, so I figure if we're going to have a tub it might as well have some therapeutic benefit.

Wondering if the freestanding pedestal-style air bath tubs perform as well as, and are reasonably priced, or should be just avoid fall in love with the idea and move on to something else?

Are air baths hugely priced over regular soakers?

Will a freestanding tub (air or otherwise) be hugely different in price over a drop-in? (Manufacturers don't see to post pricing info)

Will a freestanding air bath lose heat faster than a drop-in style tub?

Who is the good names in reasonably-priced solid performing air baths? Not looking for weird stuff like aroma therapy or chroma therapy of build-in speakers. Just a solid hot soaking soothing bath.

On a related note. Settle an argument for me. Do people shower before getting into the tub? The idea of soaking in a rolling stew of your own filth just skeeves me out. I'd like to believe people shower clean first before sitting in a tub for a half hour. eh?

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divotdiva

I can't speak to the stand-alone style, but I definitely take a shower before the bath and so does my hubby. Pretty much the entire nation of Japan will also do this, bathe before soaking in a furo.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 11:40PM
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nancyjla

I can't answer most of your questions since I'm still in the shopping stage as well, but I have to make a decision by tomorrow so am hoping to see responses from others.

I can speak to the questions regarding pricing because I've been pricing out freestanding air tubs for the last 2 weeks.

You asked:

Are air baths hugely priced over regular soakers?

Will a freestanding tub (air or otherwise) be hugely different in price over a drop-in? (Manufacturers don't see to post pricing info).

What I've found is that air baths seem to run about $1000-$1200 more (with a wide margin of error) than their identical, soaker counterparts. So a particular model of Kohler might run $2000 as a soaker and $3000 as an air bath.

As for the price of drop-in vs air bath, it's difficult to generalize because there are so many more drop-ins to choose from. It seems just about everyone makes a drop-in air bath while there a select few who make freestanding air baths, so there's a big range of pricing for drop-ins. However, keep in mind that with a drop-in you also have to pay for the surround, which I'm told runs about $1000 give or take, so I think it about evens out.

Given that, we've definitely decided on a freestanding air bath. I live in LA so you'd think I'd have a lot of options to see several in person, but I'm finding that each plumbing showroom might have one or two at most, so after visiting several showrooms I'm not much more educated on them than I was 2 weeks ago. My frontrunner right now is an Aquatic freestanding (Serenity Studio 26 or 24) from Quality Bath. They're having a 33% off sale on Aquatic right now, but they had the same thing last weekend so I think it must be a regular thing. Even though it's sort of a fake "sale", they still seem to have better pricing than anyone else on the Aquatics. Other freestanding air baths I've seen online that I love are by Kohler, MTI and Hydro Systems (what I wouldn't do for their Michelangelo!), but those exceed our budget.

I'm off to do some more online searching at DecorPrice (have no idea if they're legit, but I have them on my list to search), Signature Hardware (recommended by several on here) and Vintage Tub.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:14PM
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divotdiva

Jason International has prices on line, you have to drill down to the specification page on each tub but there is a price on them, look under "details" for each tub and then "price page". They don't have a lot of stand alone tubs but you might want to take a look.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:56AM
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thisishishouse

nancyjla: However, keep in mind that with a drop-in you also have to pay for the surround, which I'm told runs about $1000 give or take, so I think it about evens out.

I was just thinking about that. With a drop in, they need to build up something to drop it in to, and then tile/stone surround, etc.

The only freestandings I've looked at so far are Americh. I really like the style of the Andrina & Sirena models. But the price list shows them at $10K! I guess I hadn't yet even considered what a tub should/would cost.

On average, what do people pay for their tubs? $2-5k was my guess.

I think I'm looking for something with a timeless feel. I'll have to start looking thru all the other names I see here.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:34AM
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nancyjla

Yes, I think on average people pay $2-5K for a freestanding air bath. You could get a drop-in air bath in the $1500-3k range, but a nice freestanding air bath is going to run a minimum of about $2500-5K. The Aquatic I chose is $2800 and that's on the low end of prices.

The two you posted above remind me of the ones I'm lusting over but can't afford. There's the Waterworks Empire, Hydro Systems Michelangelo and MTI Parisian. All are available in freestanding air and all run a minimum of $6K. I looked around for less expensive, similar tubs but couldn't find anything. So I settled on the Aquatic Serenity Studio 26, which still looks really nice to me (but let's face it, it's no Michelangelo :) ).

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:34AM
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