Best Tub-Shower Combo for a Versatile Bathroom

Which is the better option, a bathtub or a shower? The answer to this enduring question goes beyond the design of your bathroom to function.

A bath shower combo is more functional than either one especially if you have a family with kids to consider. For example, it’s easier to wash the kids in a tub than in a shower while at the same time a shower takes less time in the morning when getting ready to go work.

A combo unit has the advantage of giving you the benefit of both the shower and the tub. It is also a convenient unit if you have limited bathroom space and an affordable option if you’re upgrading a bathroom.

In this article, we highlight 5 best tub shower combos that can make an excellent design option in your bathroom upgrade.

The Sterling 71220110 Ensemble 60″x32″ Bath/Shower Combo is a great choice because of its simple yet beautiful aesthetic, easy installation and durability. It is a left-hand drain unit with the 71220120 unit being an identical right-hand drain unit.

The Best Tub Shower Combos Are:

ProductDetails
1. Sterling 71220110 Ensemble 60

  • 4-Piece modular unit
  • Left-hand drain
  • Vikrell material
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2. Sterling 71120110 Ensemble Tile Bath/Shower Combo

  • Alcove installation
  • Tile design
  • Left-hand tub drain
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Vikrell construction
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3. Sterling 71220122 Ensemble AFD Bath/Shower Combo

  • Alcove installation
  • Vikrell construction
  • Above floor drain
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Has a 20" apron
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4. Sterling 71220120 Ensemble Bath/Shower Combo

  • Alcove installation
  • 18" apron
  • Vikrell construction
  • Right-hand drain position
  • Snap together wall surround
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5. Sterling 610401120 All-Pro Bath/Shower Combo

  • Tight alcove installation
  • 15" apron
  • Vikrell construction
  • Realistic wall tile design
  • Lightly textured finish
  • Right-hand drain
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1. Sterling 71220110 Ensemble 60″x32″ Bath/Shower Combo — Best Bath Shower Combo

The Sterling 71220110 Ensemble 60″x32″ Bath/Shower Combo is molded from solid Vikrell material which provides strength, durability and long-lasting color retention.

This combo is a 4-piece modular unit with a floor level, left-hand drain designed for alcove installation. The tub is 16.5″ deep which can hold up to 55 gallons of water when full.

The unit also includes a 75″ high tongue and groove wall surround that fits directly to studs. The wall features an etched niche design and integrates corner shelves that can hold big shampoo bottles.

The tub features an ergonomic design with armrests and a contour back to fit your body’s natural curve making this a comfortable soaking tub.

Specs

  • 4-Piece modular unit
  • Left-hand drain
  • Vikrell material

Pros

  • Has a quick installation
  • Easy to maintain nonporous surface
  • Molded with structural ribs for strength and durability
  • Patented Vikrell material that doesn’t chip or crack

Cons

  • Vikrell cracks easily if not properly installed.

The unit is simple to install and makes for a quick and affordable upgrade to your bathroom. The wall surround can be cut easily with a jigsaw to accommodate house features such as windows.

Rating – 4.3/5

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2. Sterling 71120110 Ensemble Tile Bath/Shower Combo

The Sterling 71120110 Ensemble Tile Bath/Shower Combo features a modern angular design that is highlighted with a 6″ tile pattern design. This unit fits perfectly within a contemporary designed bathroom that features straight lines and minimal color.

The bathtub allows for comfort with an ergonomic design and armrests. Because of its angular shape, the tub allows better standing space than a curved tub.

It also has a 55-gallon water capacity and is designed to channel all water into the left-hand tub drain to reduce water stains and make cleaning easy. The unit fits into a three-wall alcove and comes in 4 modular parts that are easily installed.

The walls come with 4 corner shelves that can fit standard size soap and shampoo bottles, plus you also get a wide rim area for extra storage space.

Specs

  • Alcove installation
  • Tile design
  • Left-hand tub drain
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Vikrell construction

Pros

  • Modular design allows for easy mobility and installation
  • Solid Vikrell construction for strength and durability
  • High gloss finish that is scratch and stain resistant
  • Easy snap-together installation
  • Textured tub to reduce slippage

Cons

  • The unit cracks easily when poorly handled or installed

The off white colors of the unit are more grey and brown than white which may not color match other existing fittings in the bathroom.

Rating – 4.0/5

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3. Sterling 71220122 Ensemble AFD Bath/Shower Combo

The Sterling 71220122 Ensemble AFD Bath/Shower Combo is another top quality unit that also features a versatile design that blends in with a variety of bathroom styles. The unit features gentle curves in its design with curved niches on its wall surround and a curved basin.

This unit’s drain is located on the right side of the tub. It has a 3″ drain to floor clearance for above floor drain installation which makes installing this tub on a slab floor much easier especially if you’re remodeling.

The unit’s nonporous surface allows for easy washing with soap and water and is also resistant to stains and scratches. Its basin has a generous 20″ apron that allows a water depth of 13″ and a capacity of 51 gallons. The curved basin also has a reclining back that allows for better comfort while soaking.

Specs

  • Alcove installation
  • Vikrell construction
  • Above floor drain
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Has a 20″ apron

Pros

  • Curved bathtub for maximum comfort
  • 4-Piece modular parts for easy mobility and installation
  • Nonporous scratch-proof surface
  • Tongue and groove joints that snap together
  • 3″ drain to floor clearance for above floor drain fitting

Cons

  • Corner shelves have a shallow width.

This unit has a simple installation process which reduces the risk of leakage because the pieces have a tongue and groove joint that snaps together during installation providing a tight seal.

Rating – 4.1/5

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4. Sterling 71220120 Ensemble Bath/Shower Combo

The  Sterling 71220120 Ensemble Bath/Shower Combo is a popular unit similar to the Sterling 71220110. The difference is that this unit features a right-hand drain. It has the same contemporary design that features elegantly curved niches etched on the wall surround with corner shelves.

The unit is constructed with Vikrell material that is molded without layers under extreme heat and pressure. This makes the tub strong and easy to clean and gives it a high gloss nonporous finish.

The wall surround is molded with tongue and groove joints which are easily snapped together to form one solid panel. The wall panels fit seamlessly to the tub and are directly fitted to the studs.

The tub has an 18″ apron that holds 55-gallons of water. It has an ergonomic design that provides support to the back while soaking. The rim provides extra space for large bottles and can also be used comfortably as armrests.

Specs

  • Alcove installation
  • 18″ apron
  • Vikrell construction
  • Right-hand drain position
  • Snap together wall surround

Pros

  • Slip-free tub for safety
  • Quick and easy self-installation
  • 4-modular panels for easy mobility
  • Wipes easily with soap and water

Cons

  • Some wall panels may not have level edges to create a seamless joint

This unit has a beautiful, contemporary design that is adaptable to any bathroom style. It’s also quite easy to install and its modular design allows it to be moved inside the house with ease.

Rating – 4.3/5

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5. Sterling 610401120 All-Pro Bath/Shower Combo

The Sterling 610401120 All-Pro Bath/Shower Combo has the most easily accessible bathtub in our best tub/shower combo reviews. The unit’s tub features a lower 15″ apron that would be easier for children and people with physical mobility issues to access.

The unit is designed to fit inside a three wall alcove. It is also slightly narrower with a width of 31.5″ compared to 34″ of the other tubs in our review. The water depth is at 9″ with a water capacity of 35-gallons. If your bathroom has a really tight space, this combo unit would be a good option.

This unit has a classical aesthetic to it. It has a realistic tile design on the wall surround that gives the unit a modern look. Aside from the tile finish, the walls feature 4 shelves situated on opposite sides of the walls and an 18″ acrylic towel bar on the center panel.

The surface of it has been lightly textured to make the tub slip-free for safety. It also hides light scratches that come about from everyday use, especially with children. You’ll be able to keep this unit and maintain its color for some years.

Specs

  • Tight alcove installation
  • 15″ apron
  • Vikrell construction
  • Realistic wall tile design
  • Lightly textured finish
  • Right-hand drain

Pros

  • Strong and durable construction
  • Anti-slip finish for safety
  • Lower tub height for better accessibility
  • Attractive wall tile design
  • Small tub to fit a smaller space
  • Smaller tub uses less water

Cons

  • Texturing makes it harder to clean stains.

This tub requires caulking on all the joints which may reduce its aesthetic beauty. The textured finish retains stains more than a smooth finish. So while it provides safety by making the tub anti-slip, it adds to the cleaning work of the unit.

Rating – 4.5/5

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How to Buy A Tub and Shower Combo

Tub and shower combos come in different styles and features to make them a versatile bathroom choice. Bathtubs offer a little luxury while showers save space and water.

A combination of the two gives you both options in one space while at the same time giving your home added value. This buying guide highlights some of the things you’ll consider when shopping for the best tub shower combo.

What is a Tub + Shower Combo?

This is a two-in-one unit that combines a bathtub and a shower into a single unit. These combo units make the most of limited spaces or small bathrooms. They are also affordable and quite easy to install, especially if you’re upgrading an old bathroom.

The units can be installed in one of two ways. You can opt for a prefab unit if you’re renovating an existing bathroom or installing a new one. Prefabs have the advantage of being affordable and are so easy to install that it doesn’t require a professional installer.

On the other side, custom, built-in units are expensive and require a professional installer but they are also more customizable which gives you more design options.

Types of Prefabs

Prefabs come in two styles — one-piece kits and sectional kits.

One-piece kits have the tub and wall surround molded as one piece. They are best installed when you’re having a new construction because they are bulky and will not fit the doorway or bathroom space of an existing building. They are also watertight because they don’t have joints between the unit sections as they’re all molded together.

Sectional kits have the wall surround sectioned vertically into three parts and the tub comes as a fourth part. These units are easier to install in an existing bathroom because it’s in parts that can be brought in through your standard doorway. They are vulnerable to leakage because they have joints that put the various sections into one.

Materials

Some of the most common materials include acrylic, Vikrell, and fiberglass. Here are a few features of the materials.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass tub and shower combo units are made by molding layers of fiberglass into the desired shape. They are more affordable and lightweight which makes them easy to install.

Because it is a thin layer, fiberglass scratches, and cracks more easily and doesn’t retain its colors well. Fiberglass can be repaired and repainted if damage occurs which may require a professional to do.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a popular option because of its affordability and durability. The material is often reinforced with fiberglass to add to its durability. Though acrylic is lightweight, it doesn’t crack easily.

It has a slightly porous surface that is prone to scratches and is easy to stain because it is highly reactive to the chemicals found in soaps and shampoos. It is also available in a wide variety of colors.

Vikrell

Vikrell is a specially engineered material created by Kohler for their range of bathroom fittings. It is a combination of resins and fiberglass and it is an affordable, aesthetically attractive and durable material option.

Vikrell looks better than acrylic over time because its nonporous surface doesn’t stain, so it retains its aesthetics for a longer period. But it is lighter than acrylic so it is easier to crack or damage.

Drain Direction

The tub shower combo units come with the drain openings either on the right or left-hand side of the tub. It is necessary to know which side your drainage is located and if its an above floor drain or below floor drain.

Conclusion

Installing your tub and shower combo unit is easy if you’ve had some previous installation experience. Otherwise, consulting with a professional on the installation, plumbing, and the best unit size might be a good thing to consider.

All the units reviewed here are good options to consider but the best tub shower combo I can recommend is the Sterling 71220110 Ensemble which is a simple and beautiful combo unit to have in your bathroom. It is easy to install and thereafter clean and maintain and offers a nice deep soak without being too high to get in and out of the tub.

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