The Best Baby Bathtubs for Every Need

These awesome baby bathtubs make a real splash.
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Updated January 26, 2023
father washing baby in bath
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For a tiny human being, baby can make some really big messes, from epic diaper blowouts to next-level spit-up explosions. And as most parents will attest to, cleaning up a small, floppy, slippery newborn isn’t without its challenges. Fortunately, a baby bathtub can make the job easier. You’ll probably only rely on an infant tub until baby is about 6 months old or developmentally able to sit up on their own—but a baby bathtub is still well worth the investment. (Some tubs even grow with your child into toddlerhood.) Aside from being safe and convenient, bathing baby in a mini tub sets the stage for fun times once your kiddo graduates to the big tub. Ready to dive in? Find key shopping considerations and a list of the best baby bathtubs for every type.

Do You Need a Baby Bathtub?

In short the answer is no, you don’t technically need a baby bathtub. You can certainly use your kitchen or bathroom sink—provided the areas are cleaned regularly and baby is monitored closely. That said, a baby bathtub makes the process easier and potentially safer. Why? Because it’s specifically designed to cradle your little one and offer ample neck support. Keep reading to learn more about why you should add a baby bathtub to your registry or baby-prep shopping list.

  • Safety features. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends caregivers use a hard plastic baby bathtub with a sloped, textured surface or sling that keeps baby from sliding. Other safety features include body-contouring newborn inserts or cleverly placed “bum bumps” that can prevent baby from slipping down into the water and support their head and neck.
  • Comfort. Recovering from a vaginal or C-section birth is no joke. And bending over to wash baby in the sink or holding them up in the shower may prove to be too painful during the postpartum period, not to mention a clear safety concern (adults can slip in the tub just as easily as kids can, especially when sleep-deprived). A baby bathtub—particularly one that you can sit beside or position on a kitchen countertop—frees up your hands to get bathtime over with swiftly and reduces any strain on your recuperating body.
  • Convenience. An infant bathtub is easy to clean and there’s less risk of cross-contamination with kitchen or bathroom cleaning solutions. (Newborn skin is super-sensitive, so you don’t want it to come into contact with any harsh soap or detergents.) If you choose to wash baby in the kitchen or bathroom sink, it will need to be scrubbed before and after each bath.
  • Touch supervision. A small baby bathtub makes it easier to practice touch supervision during bathtime. As recommended by the AAP, touch supervision simply means keeping all of the essential bath supplies—like body wash, shampoo and a towel—within reach, so you can keep a steadying hand on baby at all times. Remember, never leave an infant alone in a bath, even for an instant.

Types of Baby Bathtubs

There are three main types of bathtubs that are safe to use for infants. Before we list them, it’s important to note that bath seats that position baby upright in an adult tub are not safe to use, as they may be at risk of tipping over.

  • In-sink baby bathtubs. Ideal for a newborn, these infant bathtubs fit inside or over a kitchen sink. Typically made of mesh, foam, cloth or plastic, many of these baby bathtubs are collapsible and take up very little storage space.
  • Basin baby bathtubs. Designed to sit on the counter, on the floor or even in your actual tub, these plastic baby bathtubs offer flexibility at bathtime.
  • Convertible baby bathtubs Not all babies are ready for the big-kid tub at 6 months old, and that’s where a transitional tub can help. This type often features a removable baby sling or reclining seat, which can be adjusted to suit baby’s stage of development.

What to Look for in a Baby Bathtub

Tub time is bound to become one of your little one’s favorite pastimes, but before you stock up on bath toys and bubble bath (aka the fun stuff), you’ll first want to find the right baby bathtub. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Anti-slip technology. Opt for bathtubs with non-skid textured surfaces on the inside and exterior.
  • Built-in support. Young infants don’t have much muscle control, so it’s best to buy a bathtub with built-in support for their head, neck and shoulders. Options with a sling insert or a reclined and contoured inner seat keep baby comfortable and help prevent them from slipping.
  • Easy to drain. Once bathtime is over you’ll want to get rid of that dirty water quickly, so you can tend to baby. The best baby bathtubs offer easy-drain features to make clean-up a breeze.
  • Built-in thermometer. Baby should be bathed in warm but never scalding or cold water—between 98.6 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot. So while it isn’t strictly necessary, a built-in temperature gauge or color-coded heat indicator is a nice-to-have feature you may want in a baby bathtub. Of course, you can always dip your wrist into the water to check the temperature.
  • Portability. A collapsible or foldable bathtub is a great option if you’re tight on space or plan to travel with baby in tow.
  • Room to grow. Many baby bathtubs can be used during the newborn stage and well into the early toddler years—as long as there’s enough room for baby to grow and move their ever-maturing bodies.

Best Bathtubs to Buy

There are tons of baby bathtubs on the market, but before working yourself into a lather trying to choose between them, take a peek at our curated list of favorites. From a deluxe newborn tub and sink-situated spa soaker to a foldable travel tub, these are the best baby bathtubs we’re bubbling up over.

Overall best baby bathtub

4moms Cleanwater Tub
Image: 4moms
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Innovative design provides a constant flow of clean water
  • Includes a newborn insert
  • Built-in digital thermometer
Things To Consider
  • High price point
  • Requires batteries

Bathtime can be a fun bonding experience for you and baby, but washing a wriggly newborn isn’t always the easiest task. While there are plenty of no-frills options out there, it’s worth investing in a high-quality tub as it’ll get plenty of use. The Cleanwater Tub by 4moms was voted a Best of Baby winner for two years running, thanks to its genius design that replenishes clean, running water on a constant loop. A side drain filters away the used, soapy water for maximum cleanliness. It fits neatly inside most sinks and standard bathroom tubs and comes with a newborn insert. But our favorite part has to be the built-in, color-coded digital thermometer that measures the temperature from start to finish to keep the water appropriately-warm and safe at all times.

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Best newborn baby bathtub

Skip Hop Moby Recline & Rinse Bather
Image: Skip Hop
What We Love
  • Non-slip treads keep it stable on any surface
  • Contoured flexible rubber center cradles baby’s entire body
  • Beloved by parents of preemies
Things To Consider
  • Parents say some babies outgrow the tub after three months

Once you get past those first few sponge baths (remember, baby’s umbilical cord stump needs to stay dry until the scab falls off), you’ll need an infant bathtub that keeps your squirmy newborn secure without sacrificing baby’s comfort. Skip Hop’s whale-shaped tub—with two reclinable positions (nearly flat and low-grade slant)—is up to the task. It can be used on top of the kitchen counter, inside a sink or a standard tub. No matter where you set it down, you can customize the water level and keep it shallow so baby’s sensitive skin and still-healing areas aren’t overly saturated. When bath time’s over, simply unplug the valve at the bottom and let the water drain away. Then fold it flat for storage or use the built-in hook to hang it up to dry.

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Best in-sink baby bathtub

Frida Baby Soft Sink Baby Bath
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Easy to set up—sides snap together
  • Compact design fits into most sink shapes and sizes
  • Cleverly placed water level drains on each side ensure the bath won’t overfill
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the cushioned bath becomes flimsy over time
  • No suction cups or grips on the bottom

If you’re a millennial parent, your folks probably still have pictures of you taking a bath in the kitchen sink—it was just the thing to do back then. These days, in-sink soaks for babies are still mainstream, but brands like Frida have shown up with some much-appreciated improvements. This soft, padded tub cushions and cradles your infant from head to toe, and fits neatly into most kitchen and bathroom sinks. Made with a quick-dry material, this baby bathtub is machine-washable (that’s right, you can throw that tub in for its own sudsy bath), and folds away for easy storage and travel.

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Best baby bathtub for small spaces

What We Love
  • Great for newborn sponge baths
  • Narrow side reclines for infant baths; toddlers have room to sit up in the wide side
  • Color-changing drain plug turns white to indicate the water’s too hot
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the anti-slip bump isn’t comfortable for babies
  • High price point

Not going to lie: Baby bathtubs are great, but the standalone options can take up a lot of space. If you don’t have much room to spare, then you’d do well with a collapsible model. Our top pick? Boon’s Naked 2-Position Collapsible Bathtub. It folds away flat thanks to a collapsible basin and sturdy legs that retract with the click of a button. Plus, a swivel drying hook lets you hang the tub up to dry, right in your shower. Thanks to the compact fold it’s easy to store away in your shower, linen closet or bathroom console. Bonus points go to the anti-slip bumps and color change drain plug that turns white to let you know when the water’s too hot.

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Best versatile baby bathtub

Lalo The Bath Tub
Image: Lalo
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Made with non-toxic plastic and EVA foam
  • Modern aesthetic
  • Bath time accessories bundle includes knee and elbow pads for parents, a spout cover and a rinse cup (sold separately)
Things To Consider
  • Doesn’t fit inside a sink
  • High price point

How about a baby bathtub that checks all the boxes for safety, comfort and versatility? Enter: The Bath Tub by Lalo. This brand is known for sleek and functional baby products, but their latest bath line is truly suds above the rest—and the multistage bathtub is a standout piece from the collection. Elegantly shaped to resemble a contemporary free-standing soaker, the tub comes with a removable newborn insert and gives baby room to grow as they move to sitting up and splashing. Once they’ve graduated to the big-kid tub, the bath can be adapted for use as a sensory bin or water table.

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Best portable baby bathtub

The Summer Foldaway Baby Bath
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Cushy inflatable base
  • Compact fold for easy storage
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • The plastic base is slick, so you may need to invest in anti-slip stickers
  • Setup isn’t exactly intuitive (you’ll need to read the instructions carefully)

Going on vacation, or maybe just to Grandma’s house for a sleepover? If you want a reliable bathtub to take with you, the Summer Foldaway Baby Bath is your best bet. The innovative (and super fun) design of this baby bathtub features an inflatable base with a soft cushion for baby’s butt, complete with slide-resistant vinyl. Leave the reclined positioner in place for extra head and neck support, or remove it once baby’s past the floppy, newborn stage. The easy compact fold makes it a storage- and travel-friendly option, while the playful under-the-sea details will have you (and baby) hooked from the get-go.

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Best budget-friendly baby bathtub

What We Love
  • Comes in three colors
  • Mesh sling is machine-washable and anti-slip padding is mildew-resistant
  • Special drain plug changes color if the water is too hot for baby
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say it’s difficult to fit in a kitchen sink
  • No anti-slip treads on the base
  • It takes up a lot of space

For a pretty inexpensive infant bathtub, The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Tub includes a number of impressive features. A mesh sling attachment makes it newborn-ready, and the deep ergonomic basin can hold a toddler too. A specially engineered seat with a gentle recline and an anti-slip bump stops tiny bums from sliding down. What we’re really excited about, though, is that bonus reservoir, giving parents a separate place to keep clean rinse water or to store bathing supplies.

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Best temp-sensitive baby bathtub

Baby Patent Aqua Scale 3-in-1 Digital Scale Water Thermometer and Infant Tub
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Built-in digital thermometer displays the temperature at all times
  • Digital scale works with or without water
  • Ergonomic shape holds baby in the correct position
Things To Consider
  • No storage hook
  • High price point

Searching for a smart bathtub for baby? Look no further than this three-in-one option by Baby Patent. Suitable for use from the newborn stage and into toddlerhood, this bathtub has an easy-to-read LED screen that continuously displays the temperature to ensure that the water is never too hot or too cold. Better yet, this infant tub has built-in weighing scales (adjustments are made for water and movement) so you can monitor baby’s growth while they bathe. Genius!

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Best basic baby bathtub

IKEA LÄTTSAM Baby Bath in White/Green
Image: IKEA
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Minimalist design
  • Affordable price point
  • Shallow stature means you can keep the water level low
Things To Consider
  • Not suitable for newborns (no insert or sling included)
  • Has a hole for a hang-up hook, but you need to buy the hook separately

IKEA always comes through with affordable and design-forward furnishings, and their baby goods don’t disappoint either. The LÄTTSAM Baby Bath is sleek and streamlined, and at under $15, it’s a real steal too! With slide protectors underneath and anti-slip green squiggles on the interior, the tub won’t budge. It has a modern look and soft edges, so you won’t have to worry about baby bumping their head or scraping their skin off hard plastic. Oh, and that smooth overhanging rim is great for carrying the tub from the sink to the floor—with zero spillage.

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