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Acrylic Vs. Porcelain Tub– Important Things to Know in 2022

Acrylic Vs. Porcelain Tub– Important Things to Know

Bathtubs are expensive, and you must check out every factor before purchasing one for your family. There are a handful of factors that you should consider: material, cost, maintenance, type or style of the bathtub (either western or eastern style), installation, and accessories. The material is the most important factor you should consider before purchasing.

Do you know which is the most popular material for a bathtub? According to fortunebusinessinsights, the four most popular bathtub materials are Acrylic, Cast iron, Porcelain, and Fiberglass. When they decide to buy a bathtub, most people will have a dilemma about which is better: Acrylic or Porcelain Tubs.

This article helps you to decide without difficulties by showing the outcome of acrylic vs porcelain tubs.  

7 Differences That You Should Know for Acrylic Vs. Porcelain Tubs:

First, it is helpful to know what acrylic and porcelain tubs are and how they differ. Acrylic tubs come from sheets of fiberglass. These sheets of fiberglass come with acrylic coating, which is their namesake.

The porcelain tub is made of iron with a porcelain enamel coating to get the overall look. This makes the porcelain tub much heavier than the acrylic bathtub, which makes installation difficult. However, it is important to note that due to the presence of iron, it is much harder and more resistant to scratches and other structural abnormalities due to external factors.

Now that you understand the differences between these tubs, it is clear why there is a divide between choosing these.

However, there are several factors to consider before making a decision, which will help you erase any doubts:

1. Cost of the Tubs:

First and foremost, the cost is one of the important deciding factors for a bathtub. Porcelain tubs are made of a tub of iron, along with the enamel coating of porcelain. Compared to the process of manufacturing acrylic bathtubs, porcelain tubs have a higher price. Adding the maintenance cost and the bathtub's pricing is also important in regard to the cost. Another factor in the cost is the size of the bathtubs. Hence, regarding the cost factor, the Acrylic bathtub is the winner.

2. Weight of the Tubs:

Weight plays an important role when buying and installing a bathtub in your bathroom. Not considering how much your bathtub weighs and placing it in your bathroom may damage your floor, or it may damage the plumbing line in your bathroom floor. This is the main reason why the installation of porcelain bathtubs is difficult.

On the other hand, acrylic is much lighter. It gives you great freedom of movement when you install an acrylic bathtub in your bathroom. As said, acrylic is simple to manipulate, and because of that reason, there is an abundance of acrylic bathtubs available in various shapes and sizes. So, regarding the weight factor, the Acrylic bathtub is a winner.

3. Heat Retention of the Tubs:

To learn more about the heat retention of bathtubs, it is necessary to look into the manufacturing process. Acrylic bathtubs are made of sheets of reinforced fiberglass. These sheets are neighboring together and create an insulating environment. Because of that, acrylic bathtubs can retain heat for a longer period.

When it comes to porcelain tubs, they are made of iron or sometimes metal and have porcelain enamel. This enamel process does not complement iron or metal, as it creates a layer that separates the base material and the coating. Due to this gap, heat dissipates to the surroundings much faster. However, there are porcelain tubs that come with insulation. If you consider that, then acrylic and porcelain bathtubs have almost the same performance in heat retention. 

So, regarding the heat retention factor, two conditions determine the winner.

  • Without any insulation in porcelain bathtubs– an Acrylic bathtub is a winner.
  • With insulation– Both perform the same. 

4. Durability of the Tubs:

Regarding durability, porcelain is better in every way. Due to its rigid and hard body, it can withstand scratches, cracks, and sudden chipping of the bathtub surface due to external force. On the other hand, acrylic is much less durable. It is susceptible to small damages and scratches. Even if you perform any coating that helps prevent scratches, acrylic is inferior to porcelain bathtubs. So, when it comes to durability, Porcelain is the winner. 

5. Maintenance of the Tubs:

One of the most important factors when maintaining acrylic and porcelain bathtubs are cleaning agents. You can use a commercial cleaning agent and a paper towel for acrylic bathtubs to clean them. This makes it easy for you to take care of your bathtub without much help. But for porcelain, handwashing with a custom cleaning agent is best. You can do this without much work as all the necessary tools are everyday items.

Take lukewarm water and vinegar in a 1:3 ratio and clean your tub with a soft cloth. Dry it as soon as you clean the tub. Without proper cleaning, it can lead to discoloration and may damage the surface of the tub beyond repair. So, regarding the maintenance of the tubs, considering the intricate steps involved in porcelain bathtubs, the Acrylic bathtub is the winner.

NOTE: It is best to use a soft cloth, kitchen towels, or paper towels to clean any bathtub.

6. Repair and Restoration of the Tubs:

Repairing a bathtub need not be complicated. There are various types of repair kits available both online and in local stores. For repairing an acrylic, you can buy a repair kit and the acrylic for spray coating to finish the job. You can restore your acrylic tub for $15 to $20. While the same method works for porcelain, it is better to call a professional plumber to check for the damage and get an estimate about the situation. If you are going for a professional path, an average repair can cost you around $100/hr, which can vary depending on the skill and the damage to the bathtub.

Hence, regarding the repair and restoration of the tubs: Both are the same.

7. Resale value of the Tubs:

Most people do not buy new bathtubs since they are expensive. Second-hand bathtubs are more popular now thanks to their cheaper cost. Regarding resale value, both of these materials go for a fair market value. Note that the price can differ based on the size of the tub. For example, a 47” freestanding acrylic tub can go up to $995-$1100, and the same goes for porcelain which can go up to $1200. This price can differ depending on the condition of the tub. 

So, regarding the resale value of the tubs: Both are the same.

The below table summarizes the deciding factors that help to determine the outcome of acrylic vs. porcelain tubs.

Deciding Factors

Acrylic Bathtubs

Porcelain Bathtubs







Heat Retention









Repair and Restoration



Resale value




  • Who is the winner in Acrylic vs. Porcelain tub?
  • The answer is the Acrylic bathtub since it performs better in cost, weight, and heat retention. These are factors that are necessary elements that help you to decide on what bathtub to buy. 

  • Do acrylic bathtubs turn yellow over time?
  • The answer is no. Acrylic is a non-porous material, meaning it does not hold any moisture or water, restricting the mold's growth and causing discoloration.

  • Does porcelain damage easily?
  • The porcelain bathtub’s surface is rigid and hard. Meaning it has high resistance to scratches and damages due to external force. But it is to be expected that dropping a heavy object can cause damage to any bathtub. 

    Final Thoughts:

    There is a dispute about the result of acrylic vs. porcelain tub, so the answer is subjective. If you take that factor into consideration, then there is no single bathtub that stands tall among its peers. But with a handful of factors, we can conclude that, in the “match” of acrylic vs porcelain tubs, it is safe to say that the acrylic bathtub wins. After a long day at work, taking a dip in a bathtub is a rejuvenating experience that everyone should encounter. Go through our Bathtub Buying Guide to pick the one that best suits your needs.

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