04 March Acrylic vs. cast iron bathtub side by side

Acrylic vs. Cast Iron Tubs: Pros and Cons

Posted by PlumbWize

The main difference between acrylic and cast iron tubs is their makeup. Cast iron is inherently heavier than acrylic, and they cost more; however, they are also more durable and require less maintenance.

Finding the perfect bathtub is an essential part of creating a spa-like experience, right in the comfort of your own home. Bathtubs also offer practical and aesthetic purposes — such as providing an easy place to bathe children or family pets and adding value to your space. 

However, when choosing a bathtub, many homeowners are torn between acrylic vs. cast iron tubs. We’ll cover everything you need to know in these sections: 

Let’s get started!

An acrylic bathtub at a hotel

Acrylic vs. Cast Iron Tub: Similarities and Differences 

When choosing between acrylic and cast iron tubs, taking a look at their differences and similarities will help you reach a decision much faster.

Here are the key differentiators:

1. Available Styles

Both acrylic and cast iron tubs come in a wide array of styles. For both of these materials, you will find bathtub options in the following:  

  • Freestanding tubs;
  • Soaking tubs;
  • Alcove tubs;
  • Clawfoot tubs;
  • Corner tubs;
  • And more.

One difference to note is that acrylic bathtubs are easier to shape during production. This means that there is a greater likelihood of finding more finetuned and unique designs for acrylic tubs.  

2. Durability

It’s fair to say that both acrylic and cast iron tubs are meant to last for years and years of usage. However, cast iron tubs are made of inherently more durable materials. 

Cast iron bathtubs are made from porcelain combined with iron, which is then coated in enamel to protect it. In contrast, acrylic bathtubs are made of acrylic sheets that are reinforced with fibreglass. 

Though both of these sets of raw materials are combined for durability, the presence of iron in cast iron bathtubs gives them superior durability over acrylic bathtubs. So when we compare the two tubs in the durability department, it’s a win for cast iron. 

A cast iron bathtub in a bathroom with orange hues

3. Lifespan

A bathtub made of acrylic reinforced with fibreglass can last up to 15 years. Meanwhile, cast iron tubs can last up to 70 years

4. Scratch and Crack Resistance

Because of the make-up of cast iron tubs (especially their protective enamel coating), they are resistant to scratches and cracks. In comparison, acrylic tubs scratch and crack more easily. However, this does not mean that cast iron tubs are indestructible. 

Another factor to consider is that though acrylic tubs scratch more easily, their cracks are easier to repair than cast iron tubs.  

5. Maintenance Needs

Cast iron tubs are considered easier to maintain than acrylic tubs. This is because acrylic tubs are more prone to staining and damage by abrasive cleaners. 

 A man cleaning a bathtub

6. Heat Retention

If you enjoy warm baths, it’s important to look at acrylic vs. cast iron tubs in the heat retention department. Due to its materials, a cast iron tub will absorb and transmit heat to the surroundings faster than its acrylic counterpart.

This means that acrylic tubs are better at insulating and can keep the water warm for longer. 

7. Cost

Cast iron tubs are generally more expensive and can cost around two to four times more than their acrylic counterparts. This cost does not only include the tub itself, but also the tub’s installation. For some homeowners, however, this is money well invested because cast iron tubs have superior durability. 

8. Weight & Ease of Installation

Cast iron tubs are heavier than acrylic tubs. This is why the former has higher installation fees. In addition, due to the weight of cast iron tubs, they may need extra floor support when installed.

Acrylic vs. Cast Iron Tub Summary

Undoubtedly, making a choice in the battle of acrylic vs. cast iron tubs can be challenging. They each have advantages that the other does not have.

In this section, we’ve summarized acrylic bathtub pros and cons and cast iron bathtub pros and cons to aid you in finalizing the better choice.  

Acrylic Bathtub Pros and Cons


Acrylic Tubs
Pros Cons
  • More affordable
  • Lightweight and easier to install
  • Comes in many interesting styles
  • Cracks are easy to repair
  • Good insulator of heat
  • Less resistant to scratches and cracks
  • Has a shorter lifespan than cast iron tubs
  • More sensitive to abrasive cleaners


Cast Iron Bathtub Pros and Cons


Cast Iron Tubs
Pros Cons
  • Longer life span than acrylic tubs
  • More durable than acrylic tubs
  • More resistant to scratches and cracks
  • Easier to maintain
  • Also available in many styles
  • More expensive than acrylic tubs
  • Heavier and not as easy to install
  • Not as good at insulating heat
  • Cracks are trickier to repair


Get the Bathtub of Your Dreams 

That wraps up our guide on acrylic vs. cast iron tubs; which one has become your top pick?

Once you’ve found the tub of your dreams, you can count on PlumbWize for a quick and efficient installation!

PlumbWize has over 50 years of industry experience in repairing and installing bathtubs. This is just one of the many services we offer. If you need plumbing work done, our expert team is here to resolve it in the shortest time possible. Contact us today to get started on the process of professional bathtub installation!


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