Steel v Acrylic Baths – which should I choose?


Many customers contact us who are set on having their bath made out of a set material; in this blog Bathshop321 discuss the merits and pitfalls of the two main types – steel baths and acrylic baths.

Both steel and acrylic baths have strengths and weaknesses but they also have many misconceptions usually caused by a bad experience in the past with either type and then completely written off that type of bath for all future installs.


It is a common misconception that steel baths are stronger than acrylic. To measure that strength you could turn it upside down and jump up and down on it, the bath won’t break but neither would an acrylic bath.

For resisting impact damage then acrylic wins every time. If you drop an object into an acrylic bath there is a better chance of it not chipping than in a steel bath.The reason being steel baths are coated in enamel for a hard wearing white finish, although this surface looks good it’s not as flexible as acrylic and will chip if items are dropped on it. If an acrylic bath scratches it can often be polished out or filled with acrylic. Steel baths tend to chip instead of scratch so they are more difficult to repair.

Another common misconception is that the thickness of the bath whether 3mm, 4mm, 5mm or 8mm determines the strength and quality of the bath. This is totally wrong! The acrylic is just a clean white surface for the bath, the strength is derived from the amount of backing sprayed onto the back of the acrylic and the density of the baseboard.


Steel baths can be manufactured to form sharper and flatter lines than an acrylic bath as the steel is pressed rather than vacuum formed. These sharp lines lend themselves well to modern sanitaryware and minimalist design. The enamel finish is extremely bright white, hardwearing and resistant to damage from cleaning materials. Steel is a natural material that is able to be recycled after its use has come to an end, meaning it is an environmentally friendly option.

Acrylic baths offer more choice with design as the material is more malleable, they are also generally available in more sizes than steel baths and on many occasions may be the only option which will fit. All Bathshop321 baths are made from A grade sanitary acrylic which is the best colour match for basins and toilets. The acrylic is also the best grade to be vacuum formed ensuring that the bath is flat in the bathing areas with no bubbles, ripples and pin holes which you will find in many imported baths from the Far East. The whole range of baths developed by Bathshop321 are manufactured by 3 factories producing over 15,000 baths per week so you can be assured the quality is excellent.

Acrylic slipper baths are elegant and stylish.


Steel is a very cold surface and when people enter a steel bath they don’t like that cold shock, particularly when looking forward to a relaxing soak!  After the initial shock though there is one advantage to steel which is a very good conductor and will aid heat retention of the water, meaning a longer soak without having to top the bath up.  Acrylic Baths are warmer to touch but don’t conduct as well as the steel, therefore they cool quicker and you may have to top them up with hot water for a long soak.

Steel baths look good in any bathroom.


We understand that budgeting is important when choosing bathroom products. Steel baths are generally more expensive than acrylic baths due to the higher production costs.


Acrylic baths

  • Lower price
  • Durable and resistant to scratches and stains
  • Warm to the touch
  • Vast range of designs

Steel baths

  • Requires more care
  • Sharp lines
  • Solid construction and hard wearing enamel coating
  • Retains heat very well
  • Typically comes with pre-drilled tap holes


Luckily Bathshop321 offer a range of baths for consumers who would like a bath to be as strong as a steel bath and have the heat retention properties. But they also want the sizes, design and touch of acrylic baths.

We call this bath our Premier range, It’s basically an acrylic bath which is manufactured to the highest possible standards.

The A grade acrylic is vacuum formed into shape then the baseboard is applied, the bath is then sprayed with fibre glass and resin to form a skin around the acrylic bonding the baseboard to the acrylic.  This skin creates rigidity and density.  At this point a standard acrylic bath would  be at the end of its production cycle.  A premier bath is then over sprayed with a special reinforced coating greatly increasing strength, rigidity and heat retention properties. The perfect solution for anyone who can’t decide between steel baths or acrylic baths -premier reinforced baths are the answer.

Our P shaped shower baths have proven to be a popular option.

We hope that our guide has helped you to decide what type of bath will work best in your bathroom. For more bathroom-related advice, stay up to date with our blog.