The 12 best baby bathtubs 2020

11 June 2020

best baby bath tub

Bathing your baby can be a tricky business, but a good baby bath or bath support can take the stress out of bath time. Here’s our pick of the best baby bathtubs and bath seats to buy this year.

If you’re pregnant, a baby bath may well feature somewhere on your newborn essentials list. You can certainly get by without one (and many parents have), but first-time parents often say they find them useful for taking the worry out of handling a slippery baby. Many babies also enjoy bath time more when they are able to freely play and relax in the water.

There are various types of baby baths on the market so we’ve done the legwork for you to find the best at every price point and for every lifestyle, with information in our buyer’s guide below to help you pick the right model. There are baths for tiny bathrooms, baths for homes with no bath at all, baths for travel, and even blow-up baths, so we think you’ll find the right tub for you here.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we believe parents who have been there before know best, most of our recommendations come from Mumsnet users themselves. We trawled the Mumsnet forums for posts about which baby baths they liked and which left them a little lukewarm, and then checked those recommendations out ourselves.

We then turned to other review websites to see how the baby baths had performed in testing and which impressed parents most, and we looked at recommendations from the NHS and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to check that the baths we were looking at complied with their bath safety advice.

We pooled all that information to come up with a final list of 12. Here are the best baby bathtubs for 2020.

1. Best overall baby bathtub: Shnuggle Baby Bath

“The Shnuggle Bath is absolutely fantastic – one of the best baby items I’ve ever bought.”

1. Best overall baby bathtub: Shnuggle Baby Bath

Incredibly popular with Mumsnetters and indeed parents the country over, the Shnuggle offers something a little different to most baby baths.

It’s somewhere between a bucket-style and a traditional slipper-style bath – the best of both worlds in many ways. If dunking your baby into a bucket feels odd to you but you still want them to remain largely upright (perhaps if they have colic), and to feel snug and secure, this is the happy medium.

The foam back rest is soft and warm, making it a much comfier soak for your baby, and it has a nifty ‘bum bump’ rather than a seat on the base – your baby’s bottom goes on one side of it and their feet on the other, so they can’t slide downwards. When they are tiny they can recline in it, and as they get older they'll be able to use it in a sitting position.

The edges are roll top, like a Victorian bath, and the whole design is softly curved. On the practical side, it’s very lightweight and also has a plug, so if you’re using it in the bath or sink you can easily let the water out to empty it or refill. It can just as easily be used on the nursery floor or wherever your baby is happiest being bathed, and the rubber feet mean it stays steady on any surface.

The Shnuggle holds two litres so it’s a great water-saver, and is light enough to carry even when full, but its compact size means the water can come right up to your baby’s shoulders.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Can be used anywhere
  • Baby can stay upright

Cons

  • Doesn’t fold to store
  • May be too large for smaller sinks

Need to know

  • Type: Traditional baby bathtub
  • Suitable from: Birth to 12 months
  • Dimensions: 30 × 60 × 40cm
  • Extras: Stand available separately if you need something at waist height

Price: £24.95

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

2. Best baby bath for a newborn: Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support

“The Angelcare Bath Support is brilliant. It fits in the bath, dries quickly, and you don't have to hold your baby in place and try to bathe them at the same time.”

2. Best baby bath for a newborn: Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support

This ergonomically-designed Angelcare Soft Touch is a bath support rather than a tub so it sits directly in your full-sized bath with the water at the desired level.

It has a comfy hammock for your baby to lie in made of a mildew-resistant rubber mesh that feels warm to touch, and it gently cradles your baby’s whole body, leaving their legs free to kick away in the water.

Because your baby is completely supported, it allows you to go hands-free. This makes washing easier and bath time more fun for your baby too, as you’ll be able to start some bath play, pour water on their tummy and introduce a few bath toys. It’s also great for nervous first-time parents.

When you’re finished, this bath support rinses off easily and you can hang it up by its hook to dry. While there's not much growing room, the Angelcare Soft Touch is a great piece of kit for the birth-to-six-month age range.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Hands-free

Cons

  • Uses a lot of water
  • Only lasts to around six months

Need to know

  • Type: Bath support
  • Suitable from: Birth to 6 months
  • Dimensions: 58.5 × 33.5 × 22.5cm

Price: £20.99

Buy now from Amazon

3. Best foldable baby bathtub: Stokke Flexi Bath

“We loved our Stokke folding bath – nice to be able to tuck it away and, as it's a really good size, we still popped it inside the tub for more efficient bath times until well after 12 months. It even came on holiday with us to wash older kids.”

3. Best foldable baby bathtub: Stokke Flexi Bath

Finally – a bath that folds completely flat! This baby bath from Stokke has plenty of room for splashing and playing but, once you’ve emptied it, it folds down like a cardboard box and can be tucked neatly away.

Mumsnet users say it’s very handy for camping and other holidays so we're also recommending it as the best baby bath for travel.

The Flexi is available in a smaller size from newborn to age four or in extra-large, which should last all the way up to six years old. So if you don’t have a bathtub at home, this is a great option for shower-averse children.

It’s also available to buy as a bundle with a newborn insert, which acts as a little sling for your baby to lie in, leaving you hands-free to wash them.

A plug means you can empty the Flexi easily if you’ve used it in a bath or shower tray, and the plug is heat-sensitive so will change colour to warn you if the water is too hot.

Pros

  • Folds down for easy storage and travel
  • Grows with your child

Cons

  • Quite expensive

Need to know

  • Type: Collapsible baby bathtub
  • Suitable from: Birth to 6 years (depending on size you choose)
  • Dimensions: 66 × 24 × 30cm (regular); 83 × 26 × 51cm (XL)
  • Extras: Newborn insert

Price: From £38

Buy now from Amazon

4. Best baby bathtub that grows with your baby: Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling Three-Stage Tub

“This has a mesh bit for your baby to lie in until they can sit up. So they're in the water but supported, and you have your hands free.”

4. Best baby bathtub that grows with your baby: Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling Three-Stage Tub

This attractive whale-themed baby bath from Skip Hop grows with your child in three stages.

At the newborn stage, there’s a mesh sling for your baby to lie back in, then as they are growing and learning to sit, the sling rolls into a cushioned seat. Once they can sit unaided, you remove the seat and give them more room to splash and play.

A plug makes emptying the Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling Three-Stage Tub easy if you’ve used it in the bath or shower tray, but it’s very lightweight and compact so can be used almost anywhere.

Pros

  • Grows with your child
  • Hands-free sling for newborns

Cons

  • Small in size so not a great deal of room for babies to play

Need to know

  • Type: Bathtub with sling insert
  • Suitable from: Birth to 6 months+
  • Dimensions: 69.8 × 48.2 × 29.4cm
  • Extras: Whale-themed accessories, such as a hair rinser, available to buy separately

Price: £30

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

5. Best budget baby bathtub: IKEA Lättsam Baby Bath

“I got the IKEA Baby Bath and we got loads of use out of it. It's hardly expensive, plus a washing-up bowl isn't really the right shape for them when lying down.”

5. Best budget baby bathtub: IKEA Lättsam Baby Bath

If anyone’s telling you not to bother with the expense of a baby bath, show them this. For those on a budget, at only £7 you really can’t go wrong.

Yes, you can just use a washing-up bowl, but for a couple of pounds more you can have something actually designed for the job it’s going to do – and be able keep your washing-up bowl free for your dirty pots and pans.

A rubber base stops the IKEA Lättsam from moving around on the floor and a textured bottom prevents your baby from sliding around inside.

It’s a good size so should last up until your child is two years old if you need it to. And we hear it makes a pretty good booze cooler once you’re through the baby stage too.

Pros

  • Amazing price
  • Simple, solid design

Cons

  • No frills
  • Quite large to store

Need to know

  • Type: Classic baby bathtub
  • Suitable from: Not stated
  • Dimensions: 71 × 43 × 24cm

Price: £7

Buy now from IKEA

6. Best baby bath seat: Fisher Price 4-in-1 Sling 'n' Seat Bath Tub

6. Best baby bath seat: Fisher Price 4-in-1 Sling 'n' Seat Bath Tub

Fisher Price's 4-in-1 Sling 'n' Seat has great potential to grow with your baby, plus a few lovely little extras that'll please most parents.

It has four different arrangements to take your baby from newborn to toddlerhood: a sling for the early days, a support to stop them from sliding down as they get bigger, a seat for when they can sit up, and finally, once they're big enough, you can remove everything to give them more room to sit and splash alone.

A plug makes for easy emptying and an integrated hook lets you hang the tub up out of the way to dry. It fits easily into baths and most sinks, but can realistically be used anywhere.

The 4-in-1 Sling 'n' Seat is slightly more expensive than some grow-with-me baby baths, such as the Skip Hop Moby Three-Stage Tub, but we liked the four different stages that allow you to be hands-free whatever your baby’s age and ability.

We think the familiar Fisher-Price colours will appeal to young bathers too.

Pros

  • Good longevity
  • Comes with a squeeze bottle and scoop bath toy

Cons

  • Lots of bits to store for the various stages

Need to know

  • Type: Baby bath seat and tub
  • Suitable from: Birth to 11.3kg (approximately 18 months)
  • Dimensions: 45 × 77.5 × 22.2cm

Price: £56.62

Buy now from Amazon

7. Best luxury baby bathtub: Aqua Scale 3-in-1 Digital Baby Bath

7. Best luxury baby bathtub: Aqua Scale 3-in-1 Digital Baby Bath

If you’re in the market for something a bit special, this multi-tasking baby bath from Aqua Scale may be just the ticket.

As well as being somewhere comfy for your baby to bathe, this tub weighs your baby on a digital scale and has a built-in digital baby thermometer for the water temperature so you’ll always know it’s just so.

The thermometer will then continue to monitor temperature throughout the bath so you’ll be alerted if the water is getting a little chilly. It measures in kilos, pounds and ounces, and Celsius as well as Fahrenheit.

Admittedly, these aren’t extras that everyone cares about, but if you have a baby whose weight you need to check on regularly, or you're sort of parent who really enjoys looking at stats, then this baby bath may well be for you.

And the basics aren’t forgotten either. The Aqua Scale Digital Baby Bath is light to manoeuvre with a plug for easy emptying. It has a non-slip base to keep it steady on hard surfaces like your bath, and an insert that stops your baby from slipping down. It also has pretty good longevity and should last up to around two years of age if you want it to.

It’s definitely at the pricey end of the market but, considering the tech built into this, we think it’s worth the money.

Pros

  • Displays weight on LCD screen
  • Built-in thermometer
  • Good longevity

Cons

  • Pricey!

Need to know

  • Type: Digital baby bath
  • Suitable from: Birth to 2 years old
  • Dimensions: 25 × 49 × 80cm

Price: £69.99

Buy now from Argos

8. Best baby bathtub for 6 months plus: Munchkin Hot Safety Duck Bath

“We have a blow-up bath. It’s been a lifesaver. We put it in the shower tray. We also take it on holiday when there's only a shower, and you can fly with it and inflate it when you get there.”

8. Best baby bathtub for 6 months plus: Munchkin Hot Safety Duck Bath

Bath times should be fun and this inflatable rubber duck is sure to raise a smile with your baby.

The Munchkin Hot Safety Duck Bath has a contoured head rest and textured base to help prevent your baby from sliding down, and it also has a thermometer on the bottom to tell you whether or not the water is the correct temperature.

This bath is best for use from six months when your baby can sit up properly, but it’s a decent size so will last a long time once they’re in it.

Pros

  • Deflates to a small size for travel
  • Fun design
  • Good size so will last until they’re quite big

Cons

  • Not recommended for use from birth

Need to know

  • Type: Inflatable baby bath
  • Suitable from: 6 months+
  • Dimensions: 79 × 48cm
  • Extras: Can be bought as part of a bundle with rubber bath toys

Price: £12.50

Buy now from Amazon

9. Best baby bath for sinks: Puj Infant Bath Tub

“It's really easy to use as I can stand at any sink with it. It folds down flat for storage and it supports our baby boy really well. Perfect after a c-section.”

9. Best baby bath for sinks: Puj Infant Bath Tub

The cleverly-designed Puj Infant Bath Tub turns any sink into a baby bath. It's made of soft, lightweight PVC and simply folds and squashes into a sink (it even fits pedestal sinks), giving your baby a soft base in which to sit and enjoy their wash.

It’s mould- and mildew-resistant, unlike some of the sponge products that work in sinks, and hangs up behind a door to dry. Once dry, it can then be folded down flat for storage.

The Puj is suitable from birth up to around six months, or whenever your baby can sit unaided. It’s a lifesaver for anyone with a tiny bathroom or for parents with back trouble who would struggle to bend over an adult bath.

Pros

  • Folds flat for travel
  • Good for compact homes

Cons

  • May not fit in some tiny sinks
  • Only takes you up to 6 months
  • Quite expensive

Need to know

  • Type: In-sink baby bath
  • Suitable from: Birth to approximately 6 months
  • Dimensions: 59.7 × 26.7 × 3.8cm

Price: £41.50

Buy now from Amazon

10. Best baby bath support: Baby Bath Flower Support

10. Best baby bath support: Baby Bath Flower Support

The Baby Bath Flower Support is a blooming (ahem) lovely bath support that turns your sink into a big flower, with soft petals to provide a comfy bath for your baby.

The petals are made of sponge and are covered in a plush material for maximum comfort and warmth. The only downside is that you’ll need to ensure the Baby Bath Flower Support is properly dried and aired after every use as these types of products tend to harbour mould.

Having said that, it’s only really designed for use from birth until approximately six months, so it should last for as long as you need it to.

It’s very lightweight and can be moulded into any shape of sink, which also makes it a great option for slinging in the car for holidays or taking to the grandparents’. It’s also a good buy for anyone who can’t bend over a bath or get down on the floor as it allows you to wash your baby from a standing position.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple design
  • Allows you to bathe your baby while standing

Cons

  • Will need careful drying
  • Only recommended for the first few months

Need to know

  • Type: Baby bath support
  • Suitable from: Birth to 6 months
  • Dimensions: 70cm in diameter

Price: £16.98

Buy now from Amazon

11. Best compact baby bath: Nuby Baby Bath

11. Best compact baby bath: Nuby Baby Bath

This simple, traditional mini bath from Nuby gets the job done nicely and comes with lots of design features to make life easier for you and your baby.

An anti-slip base means the tub won’t move around on hard surfaces and easy-grip handles make it simple to pick up and move to empty after use. There’s also a water indicator to show you where to fill it to.

A built-in seat stops your baby from sliding down and a soft foam headrest ensures they are comfy while enjoying their soak.

If you want a baby bathtub from a renowned baby brand that's easy to use, the Nuby Baby Bath is a solid buy.

Pros

  • Hands-free
  • Has a built-in seat and foam headrest

Cons

  • Doesn’t grow with your baby

Need to know

  • Type: Baby bath tub with built-in seat
  • Suitable from: Birth to 12 months
  • Dimensions: 23 × 41 × 66cm

Price: £17.99

Buy now from Amazon

12. Best bucket-style baby bath: Tummy Tub

“It really quietened all three of my children as soon as they went in it as they are up to their neck in warm water (unlike any ordinary baby bath) and it's like being in the womb again. It's well worth it and you can always sell it on afterwards.”

12. Best bucket-style baby bath: Tummy Tub

The Tummy Tub, originally designed in the Netherlands, was a bit of a novelty when it first came on the market and somewhat divided opinion.

While it does feel strange to dunk your baby into what is essentially a massive bucket, newborns seem to find the foetal-like position very soothing and it has received positive responses from parents of colicky babies who prefer to remain upright as much as possible.

The wide rim and ergonomic handles make the Tummy Tub very comfortable and easy for parents to use, and the small footprint means your baby can be submerged up to their shoulders without using much water.

Instructions on the side of the tub explain clearly how to use it and, as it’s lightweight and portable, you can use it anywhere in your home. Bath in front of In the Night Garden, anyone?

The Tummy Tub can be used from birth to six months, but some parents say they found it tricky to use until their baby was old enough to hold their neck steady. Once you get the hang of it, though, it’s a very simple way to bathe your baby and lots of them love the feeling of being submerged as if they were back in the womb.

Pros

  • Uses very little water
  • Good for colicky babies

Cons

  • It’s a bit of a Marmite choice – you’ll either love it or hate it

Need to know

  • Type: Bucket tub
  • Suitable from: Birth to 6 months
  • Dimensions: 38 × 16.5 × 16.5cm

Price: £30.77

Buy now from Amazon

Do I need a baby bathtub?

A baby bathtub isn’t a necessity and many parents will tell you that they got by just fine without one. However, some do find them to be very useful.

If you have any issues with your back, a freestanding bathtub offers you the freedom to bathe your baby wherever you like. Alternatively, a bath support designed for a kitchen or bathroom sink will allow you to be completely hands-free and bathe your baby while standing up.

First-time parents often like the security of a baby bath and, if your bathroom only has a shower or you’re going to be staying somewhere with no bath, it can come in very handy.

While parents can get by with a using a sink or a washing-up tub to bathe their baby, many parents will prefer shelling out for something designed specifically for the job.

How long can you use a baby bathtub for?

That depends on the tub. Some are only big enough to last until around six months, while others can be used all the way up to six years of age.

Once their baby can sit unaided, many parents move onto a non-slip bath mat.

Which type of baby bathtub is best?

Much depends on your lifestyle and budget. If you have a good-sized adult tub at home, you might prefer a larger bath seat. If your bath is awkward to get to or you only have a shower, a traditional baby bathtub may be more suitable.

Also consider other factors like where you will store it. Do you need something that folds down easily or can hang on a hook to dry, or are you happy to have a freestanding tub that'll live in your bathroom for a few months or more? If you’re going to be using it in your bath, look for a plug for easy emptying.

Think too about how long you might want to use the item for. If you don’t have a shower, you might want a larger baby bath or one that will grow with your baby. If you'll be moving to a full-size tub by six months, a small bucket-style baby bath might be all you need.

There are several different types of baby bath to choose from.

1. Bucket-style

These look like a large bucket and you simply pop your baby in it in a seated position. Lots of babies with colic prefer this as they remain upright and newborn babies find this soothing as it reminds them of the womb.

2. Inflatable

You can buy baby baths that are a bit like mini paddling pools. These can then sit inside your full-sized bathtub or on your bathroom floor.

3. Traditional baby bathtub

Shaped like an old-fashioned metal tub, these are small baths, usually made from sturdy plastic that you can use on the bathroom floor or in your baby’s nursery. They are typically shaped to support your baby’s head and shoulders and sometimes have a built-in seat for extra comfort.

4. Baby bath support

These are used in a full-sized bath and are more like a bath seat, but they allow your baby to lie back on a specially-shaped base.

5. Bath supports for the sink

Usually made out of something squishy like foam or soft plastic, these fit straight into the sink.

What to look for in a baby bathtub

Make sure it’s safe, solid and unlikely to tip over. Although you’ll never leave your baby in the bath, drowning can happen in a matter of seconds.

Many baby baths have supports for the head and shoulders or come with a sling to keep babies secure. Gently curved supportive areas will also make the experience more comfortable for your baby. The more comfy your baby is, the more likely they are to take to bath time happily.

Look for non-slip areas on any hard plastic parts so that, as they get bigger and move around, they're less likely to wriggle and slip. Also check the base to make sure it’s not going to slide about on a hard surface.

Some baths have built-in temperature checks so you know the water is at optimum temperature, which is a useful feature if you’re nervous about getting the elbow test right.

How do you bathe a newborn?

The NHS has a good step-by-step guide on how to bathe a new baby, but the key things to know are:

  1. Have everything (towels, nappies etc) to hand first because you mustn’t leave your baby in the bath unattended, even for a second.
  2. Ensure the room is warm enough.
  3. Fill the bath with 8 to 10cm of water, running the cold first and then adding hot. Make sure it’s the right temperature (37 to 38 degrees) and that there are no hot patches.
  4. Strip your baby down to their nappy and wrap them in a towel while you first wash their face and then hair, leaning them over the bath. Dry their hair off gently with the towel, then remove their nappy, clean the nappy area and get ready to lift them into the bath.
  5. Gently lower them into the water, with one hand under their bum and one arm behind their head and shoulders, supporting the arm furthest from you. Keep this arm around them while they're in the bath if you aren’t using a tub that supports them with a sling or similar.
  6. Using a flannel, muslin, sponge or your hand, clean your baby gently from top to bottom. You don’t need to use any soap for a new baby.
  7. Lift them out onto a towel, wrap them up then dry them quickly so they don’t get cold.

How do you stop a baby from slipping in the tub?

Using a baby bathtub with some kind of support and a non-slip floor helps with this, but if you don’t have one with those features, just keep one arm behind their head and shoulders at all times, with your hand supporting them.

How often should you bathe a baby?

It’s up to you. New babies don’t need a proper bath more than once a week – a top and tail will do. But as they grow, three times a week is fine. If your child loves having a bath, you might want to do it every night as part of a relaxing bedtime routine.

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