Bath tub vs shower: What should you go for?

Wednesday October 30 2019

A bathtub, below is a closed and walk-in shower

A bathtub, below is a closed and walk-in shower option. What you opt for depends on different factors. Photos by ismail kezaala 

By Joan Salmon

Whether it is a new bathroom, or one in need of remodelling, nothing makes the homeowner think hard like when it comes to the decision of whether they will go for a bath tub or a shower. That is because all that is done in this space rotates around this choice.

Not forgetting that both come in different types, sizes, and styles, and that will also affect our decisions on which tub or shower type it will be. But before we get there, there are some basic features that will help you when making the decision to install a tub or shower in your home.

Who will use the bathroom?
Nathan Masaba, a plumber, either option is appealling depending on who is using the bathroom. “If you have elderly people using the bathroom, you will want to go for a shower because getting in and out of a shower will be easier for them than it would be with a tub. More to that, you can avoid accidents that come with sliding when they are using the tub.”

However, if it is small children, a tub maybe ideal because supervising them gets easier.

“Bathing them in a tub is a whole lot easier than it is in a shower lest you do not mind getting a shower in your clothes because they will surely splash water on you. More to that, as you wash the lather off their bodies, you are likely to get wet which is not so in tub,” Maureen Muwanga, a mother of three shares.

Grace Kibedi, an expectant mother, also vouches for a tub while bathing her children because she does not strain a lot.


“I just get on my knees and before long, I have scrubbed and poured water on them. In all that, my back does not have to ache.”

Benjamin Matovu, a house owner, was between a rock and a hard place because much as he loved a tub, he had not more than 15 square feet for his bathroom.

“I had always longed to have a tub for the relaxation after a long and strenuous weeks. However, with this limited space yet needed storage space within the bathroom, this made the tub an impossibility. Much as it hurts, I had to opt for a shower that needed less space yet affording me enough room to enjoy the bathroom.”

Matovu still hopes that when the children leave the nest and there is more room for expansion, he will get his long desired tub.

Another factor to consider is the cost before making your pick. Reddy Dharani, the director at ABC Stiles, says showers range between Shs200,000 and Shs3.5m while tubs go for Shs460,000 to Shs18m. That puts showers at a lower range compared to tubs. However, that depends on your budget. Therefore, a conscious decision must be made on what suits you.

Energy efficiency
If you are a minimalist as I tend to be sometimes, then a tub will not be your go-to option. That is because the amount of water you use in a tub before you can enjoy your bath is way more than you will have to use in a shower. Therefore, when looking at cutting back on utility bills, a shower may be your ideal option.

Mellisa Maseruka, a mother of three, decries the use of tubs saying that in those months she worked late nights, her boys used her absence to use as much water as possible during their bath driving her water cost from Shs20,000 to Shs150,000 per month.

“I always told them to be more careful when using the tub in as far as water was concerned. But when I was away, I guess they chose to give themselves a treat at my expense. I guess it is time to disconnect the tub from water supply until they learn to behave,” Maseruka shares.

Easier building option
Masaba who began as an apprentice, attests to the fact that it is easier to install showers than it is with tubs.

“Even when I did not know much, I was able to install a shower two weeks into being left to my own devices. However, with a tub, I am still learning a few things here and there, two years into the practice. That aside, it is bulky yet one has to work around it to ensure that all is well fixed. That does not speak for the fact that any poor handling will cause fracturing or that a poorly levelled floor will affect their fitting.”

He says the same cannot be said of showers that can easily be manoeuvred with.

Depending on the number of people going to use the bathing space, you may want to think through your options. “I prefer showers, more so in shared bathrooms because there is less scum to deal with as is with the tub where you will see it after every use. That calls for cleaning after every use which some people are not ready to do. However, with a shower, a weekly wash may be good enough,” Sheila Bagire comments.

Therefore, if more than one person are using the bathroom, a shower may be a better option.
More to that, if it is rental, a shower still takes precedence as various users have varying tastes but a shower is a better way to play safe.

There are a cocktail of decisions that really matter as you make the finishings within your bathroom seeing that when not well thought out, there will be regrets as well as loss of money, say when you choose to fit a bath tub in a small bathroom.

Nonetheless, both fixtures are beautiful and it does not hurt to go for a high-end shower to afford yourself more benefits that you would be missing out when you give up a tub such as the therapeutic advantages.

Anthony Ntambi, a building consultant with McFaj ltd, says planning in advance is necessary when making your building plan.

“It helps when you know what you need before time, more so if it is a tub and as such, you will leave the right amount of space for your bathroom.” Ntambi adds that you may choose to install a tub in only the master bathroom while putting a shower in the other bathrooms.

“That will put out the headache of trying to ensure all is well with the users as well as minimise on bathroom space.”