We put 11 different baby bath tubs to the test to find the safest, comfiest, cutest, and most durable baby bath tubs of the year! We tested the tubs out with four different babies, from one month to 7 months old, with varying heights and chub-factor. We tried them out in the sink, bathtub, floor, and countertop, to check out which was the most versatile and easy to position in each circumstance. In the end, we found several candidates for our best baby bath tubs list.
To find the best baby bath tubs of 2018, we focused primarily on the following factors: the fitment to various sinks and tub configurations, ease of filling and draining, mildew build-up and cleaning flexibility, safety, versatility from infant to toddler, and cost. To view more details about how we used these factors to find the best baby bath tub, scroll down to the bottom of this article. Otherwise, here are the best ones we found!
The Best Baby Bath Tubs of 2018.
This is an all-around awesome baby bath tub, with both simplicity and the right features to make bathing easy and comfortable. It starts as a newborn bath tub, using a mesh attachment that suspends baby above the tub like a hammock. This is a great feature for newborn babies that only need to be wiped down with a sponge or washcloth. For example, babies who have not had their umbilical cord dry up and fall off. The idea is that the baby does not sit down in the water at all, they are suspended up above the tub, so they don't get too submerged or wet. When we tested it, we thought this was a great feature for the first week or two of newborn life, but then you might as well be using the main tub area below. The main tub has some good contours to it. It has grooves along the side to pool the water away from the baby, a foot-stop to keep baby from sliding down too far, and a grippy padding for baby's back. It has nice tall sides that help keep even a wiggly baby secure. That foot-stop doubles as a seat for toddlers, by turning around to face the other direction. We found this seat very versatile. It sits very stable on the floor, counter, or in the regular bath tub. It also has unique grooves on the bottom that can help it fit into a standard size sink, and some double-basin sinks. It fit our double sink very nicely, though we suspect every sink will prove a little different for fitment. A couple other things worth mentioning about this tub. First, it has a little cubby area down near baby's feet that is great for holding soap, a toy, and a washcloth. Second, it has a convenient drain plug in the bottom that can be used for draining out most water at the end of bath time, and before tipping the tub over to rinse it out. Finally, we mentioned that it uses a bit of padding along the back, which we really liked, and it's worth mentioning that it's mildew resistant, which is a nice touch. This tub should last your baby until they are just over a year old and able to sit reliably on their own in the regular bath tub. Cons? Well, it's big so storage can be an issue, though if you're crafty you can figure out a way to hang it inside your tub using an adhesive hook. Overall, this is the best baby tub that we were able to find, for its versatility, simplicity, safety, and durability. Coming in at only about $20, and available in blue or pink.
While our best baby bath tub is a rigid and versatile plastic tub, this is the number one option for parents who want to do all of the bathing in their kitchen sink. This absolutely adorable lotus flower style foam bath sink insert is one of the cutest things we've tested in our 8 years of doing this! It reminded us of the old giant pieces of contoured foam that parents would put in their kitchen sinks, but this was so much nicer! It fit very nicely into the larger side of our double kitchen sink, making a nicely contoured papasan-style pod for our baby to sit into. Four overlapping petals make for a great contour to support your baby, and make it versatile enough to expand and contract to fit different size sinks. Our reviewers commented that it looked so comfortable that they wanted an adult version! Not only is it cute and comfortable, it's also made very well. It has soft fabric and foam insides that are durable and easy to wash and dry, and it has a nice soft and flat bottom to safely support the bum without too much sliding around. After you use it, you can hang it up to drip-dry, or you can throw it into the dryer for about 20 minutes and it will come out as good as new. In our testing, our test babies seemed to really like it and found it super supportive and comfortable. We liked it too. After using it, we would ring it out a bit to get the extra water out, and then put it in the dryer. Worked really well, without any issues, though we didn't try the drip-dry method, which we guess could just as easily just hang in your regular bath tub to dry. There are a few downfalls for choosing this type of baby bath tub. First, because it is not a larger plastic tub, babies tend to grow out of it after about 6 months or so. Second, this particular flower-style baby tub fit really well into our kitchen sink, but we tested it out in a larger sink it was close to its limits. The larger sink (a farm style sink) measured 24" wide and 18" deep; with that sink, the flower opened up quite a bit so it didn't have the nice contours that it had in the smaller test sink that was about 18" by 18". Basically, the bigger the sink, the flatter the flower lays down. We suggest the largest sink to use this in would be about 24" wide. Overall, if you can't help but get one of these adorable bath tubs, and your sink isn't too big, then this is an excellent option for those looking for something a little cuter and comfier than a traditional plastic baby tub. This usually goes for about $40, and comes in a ton of different colors and patterns.
Don't let the name fool, you this baby bath tub is made in the USA! This is another rigid-body plastic bath tub, that is similar in some ways to the First Years option. However, it is much larger and can work with kids all the way from newborn up to about 3 years old! So just how big is this thing? We measured it at about 36" long, 20" wide, and 10" high. That's nearly 10" longer than the First Years tub, and about 6" wider. The way they've designed the tub is pretty neat. They have a newborn area with a contoured seat and wings that nicely secures the baby in place, even during the wiggles. A bump between the legs helps keep baby from sliding down too far. But you can also put a larger baby sitting in the opposite direction, and they have tons of room to grow, making this a super versatile baby bath. We found that it worked great on the floor, in the regular bath tub, and on the counter (but see our note about this later). It was just too big to get to work well in (or on) our kitchen sink, so don't get this baby bath tub if you have that in mind. It has two little cubbies on the end that are great for placing a bottle of baby shampoo, sponge, toy, or washcloth. The little cubbies have little drain holes to keep water from pooling; if you use it on the counter, it will drain onto your counter, so probably not the best way to use this tub. One of our reviewers said this was an amazing tub for their vacation home, which only has a walk-in shower and no bath; we hadn't thought of that, it does seem perfect for a home without a regular bath tub! We found the tub to be very sturdy, well-constructed, and the plastic is free of BPA, phthalates, and lead. And it has a little drain plug in the main bath area, so it's easy to drain. Of course, we found it easier to just dump it out, but that's just our style. Note that there is no padding or other grip on the area where the baby's back lays down; we found it helpful to put a small thin towel in the tub before starting the bath, which helped keep things a bit comfier for baby. This tub is a usually a few dollars more than the First Years option, coming in at around $25, and available in white or a couple primary colors. Nothing fancy here, just a very well-built baby tub that will last for many years! Highly recommended!
This is another rigid baby bath tub, similar to the First Years option in a few ways, particularly its use of a newborn sling attachment that removes for larger babies to use the lower tub area. There are a lot of good things going for this tub. First, it can be used from birth with the mesh newborn sling that attaches at four points on the top, similar to the First Years attachment. Second, you can attach only the two back hooks of the sling and use it as more of an upright seat, which is a great transition around about 3-4 months of age. Finally, you can remove the sling entirely and use it as a flat-bottom tub for babies over 6 months of age who are comfortable sitting without support. At ages above about 8 months, the tub quickly becomes a bit too small to comfortably support a baby over 20 or so pounds. It also has a really cute whale tail design, and felt really well constructed and durable. The bottom of the tub itself is textured to prevent sliding around. We liked how you could throw the mesh sling into the washer and dryer on the gentle cycle, which is helpful for preventing mold on these types of products. It also has a drain hole down near baby's feet, which is nice, however it doesn't really sit high enough to get a fast flow going out of it. Cons? Well, unlike the First Years, it doesn't have any grooves on the bottom to help it fit into or onto a kitchen sink. It's also really small, and babies will grow out of it around 8 months (in our opinion). It's also really small in its height. The lower sides only sit about 5-6" off the ground, which is really low, and limits the amount of water you can have in the tub without it constantly splashing out of the side. We also worried a bit about babies sticking their toes into the side holes where you hook the sling on. Never happened to us, but one of our reviewers pointed it out as a possibility. Overall, we suggest checking out this baby tub. Good enough to make onto our best baby bath tubs list, but not good enough to be higher up. Mostly because it's limited in size, and isn't designed to sit on the edges of a kitchen sink. But if you're OK with those limitations, you're going to be really happy with this tub! Usually sells for about $30, and only comes in the blue color.
This is our top-pick for parents looking for a super compact, lightweight, and simple but elegant baby bath tub. It's designed for use with babies from newborn up to about 12 months of age. In our testing, we think it worked well up to about 12 months of age for a smaller baby, but larger babies will graduate sooner from it, at which time they will probably be ready to transition to a bigger tub. Let's talk about the overall size of this baby bath tub. At the top edge, it's just about 24" long and 15" wide. The top edge is much larger overall than the bottom, which is an awesome design so that it fits readily in most kitchen sinks. This was a real positive. We could fit it easily into the bigger side of a double kitchen sink, and easily into any other sink with length and width over about 15". It has grippy feet on the bottom, which helps keep it from sliding around the sink or regular bathtub, and we also found it nice and stable for use on the floor. The bottom of the tub itself is textured, and it has a hump in the middle to form a little seat for baby's bum to rest into, with just enough of a hump to keep them upright and stop from sliding forward. Infants will lay back against the padded back area, which is soft and a little bit grippy to stop baby from sliding side to side. That grip also helps it from getting too cold against the back when first getting into the tub. There is no drain plug on this baby tub, but it's so small and lightweight that it's easy to dump out the water when you're finished using it. Overall, this is an excellent baby bath tub, especially if you're looking for something a bit smaller and more upright positioned than most of the others on this list. And it's only about 35 bucks, so that's pretty great, and available in pink, grey, or blue. Not for everyone given the smaller size and more upright bathing position, but excellent overall!
Here are more details on the factors we considered in our hands-on reviews!
Types of baby bath tubs. First, there are the type of tubs that fit into your kitchen sink, assuming your sink is large enough to accomodate the tub. For these, you ideally want to have a kitchen sink faucet that is long and can be repositioned out of the way; it's also nice to have one with a wand so you can use it to fill and rinse the tub. Even without a fancy big faucet and wand, you can use bowls or cups of water to fill and rinse. Some of the sink baby bath tubs are plastic, but most are a flexible foam material to conform to several sink shapes and sizes. One big advantage of the in-sink bath tubs is that you can stand during the entire bath process, right up close to your baby. A downfall, however, is that your baby will likely grow out of the sink tub within about 4-5 months. The second type of bathtub is the more rigid, and typically larger, baby bath tub that is ideal for using on the floor, counter, table, or in your traditional bath tub. These tend to be more versatile, longer lasting (usually for about a year), and easy to use. They also likely have a drain plug on the bottom, and some have an infant insert for little babies. But when they are used on the floor or in your regular bath tub, they also involve bending way down or being on your knees for the entire bath (like kneeling beside your house tub, or next to it on the bathroom floor), which can get uncomfortable. They are also usually quite a bit larger and more rigid, so they can take up a lot of space in your bathroom or closet. For our testing, we reviewed both types of tubs, and both types ended up in our best baby bath tubs list.
Baby's First Bath. For the first week or two after birth, we suggest only hand-washing with a washcloth or sponge to gently wipe away anything on your baby. This gives your baby's skin some time to acclimate to its new environment, and time for the umbilical cord to fully dry and fall off. Once that umbilical cord has fallen off and the area looks completely healed (no redness, puss, or rash), you might be ready to venture into your first newborn bathtime! This can be an exciting and sometimes hectic experience, depending on your baby's temperament. Some babies will love the bath, and some will freak out. Don't panic if your baby doesn't like the first couple baths, they'll get used to it and likely will end up really enjoying them. It's a great sensory experience for your baby, and great bonding time with mom or dad. Once you get into the swing of giving baths, you'll want to bathe your baby about 3 times a week or so until they start crawling and getting themselves a bit dirty. A bath can be a great way to wind down before bedtime, so keep that in mind as a possible strategy and routine. Now that you're ready to try out the first bath, be sure you have everything you need before you start. A comprehensive step-by-step guide with instructions on how to give your baby a first bath can be found at the bottom of this article!
First bath? Follow these steps!
Step 1: Spread out a hooded towel that you will use to lay your baby onto after the bath. Next to it, place a fresh diaper, and any clothes you want to put on after the bath. You might also want to put a binky or little toy there too, just in case.
Step 2: Make sure the room where you're doing the bath is warm, and not drafty. You don't want to take your baby out all wet and have them get chilly and grumpy.
Step 3: Get out all the bath essentials. We suggest a gentle bath soap, like the Aveeno Gentle Wash & Shampoo. Also have a washcloth ready, binky or toy (as you see fit), and a few plastic cups for pouring water.
Step 4: Here's where the fun begins. Depending on your tub type, you'll want to put a couple (2-3") inches of warm water into the tub. You want it to be warmer than the room temperature, but not feel hot when you touch it to your wrist. The ideal temperature is right around 92 to 93 degrees (F), or 33 to 34 degrees (C), which isn't quite as warm as a warmed baby bottle. If you're worried about water temperature, definitely get yourself a thermometer (like one of these!) to help you out. We don't suggest putting in any soap yet as that could create a lot of bubbles that baby will end up getting in his/her mouth.
Step 5: Place your baby into the tub, feet first, being careful to support the head and neck. A good way to hold your baby whenever handling for a bath is to have your left hand behind the head and neck, and right hand between the legs, wrapping your thumb and pointer finger around the upper thigh of one leg (and rest of your fingers on the bum). This is a really helpful hold, especially when your baby is wet. Once your baby is in the bath DO NOT LEAVE YOUR BABY'S SIDE! This is why preparation is key.
Step 6: Always use cups or buckets to get baby wet. You will need to keep putting water slowly onto your baby's body to keep him/her from getting cold. When washing the hair, we suggest keeping one hand on the forehead while you slowly pour water down onto the head and hear, with it dripping off the back of the head. Use soap sparingly, as too much will dry your baby's skin out. Just enough to get things clean. A bath should only last about 5 minutes or so, so once you've washed and scrubbed any trouble-zones, you will want to start rinsing your baby off. Never use a faucet or sprayer directly onto your baby: the temperature can change suddenly and introduce dangerously hot or cold water. Instead, use a cup to pour fresh water on your baby and rinse off any remaining soap. If you use the faucet to fill the cup, be sure to keep checking the temperature before putting water on your baby.
Step 7: Once your baby is washed and rinsed, you'll be ready to get the baby out before the water gets too cold. Using the same holding grip we talked about in Step 5, pick your baby up and gently place them onto the hooded towel, and then wrap them up nice and cozy in the towel to gently pat them dry and keep them warm.
Step 8: Enjoy the amazing sweet smell of your freshly bathed baby!