For many seniors, a walk-in tub is a vital mobility aid that makes bath time a lot easier and safer. Finding the right walk-in tub can be challenging – naturally you want to find the very best option for the older adult in your life. We’ve made the choice easier by researching the best walk-in tubs on the market today and picking our top favorites.
To help you make your decision, we’ll take a look at our top choices of walk-in tub retailers. After that, we'll go over the basics of walk-in tubs, important safety features and how to choose and walk-in tub that's right for you.
Top Walk-In Tubs: Retailers
To make it easier, we’ve looked at walk-in tub options from top walk-in tub retailers.
About: Home Depot stocks a range of walk-in tubs with different features. All models are designed to fit easily into a standard bathroom with few modifications.
Type: Home Depot features known brands like Kohler, American Standard, Universal Tubs and more. One interesting model is the Kohler tub featured on the Home Depot website. Instead of opening like a standard walk-in tub, Kohler’s Elevance model features a wall that is lifted by hand after the user has settled in the tub and sat down. Their specifications state that it takes less than 5 lbs of force to lift the wall. This Kohler model is a nice option for wheelchair users who can slide from the chair to the tub with ease or for those with limited mobility.
Features: Each bath comes with an extra wide opening, and a seat height designed for added accessibility. Grab bars and dual water-tight seals also come as standard. Some models feature water jet-based bubble massage and an added ledge to keep the massage controllers close at hand.
Cost: From $9,009.26 – $10,171.54
About: 1800wheelchair offer a range of basic, affordable walk-in tubs which are ideal for those on a tighter budget who still need the benefits of a walk-in tub. 1800wheelchair also offers numerous bathroom safety products in their bathroom safety store. They offer free shipping on all orders over $59.
Type: All models are basic soaker models, with a wheelchair-accessible version available too.
Features: Their range includes extra low thresholds, non-slip coating, safety grab bars, and quick draining. Some models offer an extra 2” of soaking space.
Cost: From $2,950 – $3,718
About: Mountainside Medical Equipment offers a wide range of equipment to make everyday life easier and safer for seniors.
Type: Although Mountainside Medical Equipment don’t stock walk-in tubs, they have a range of equipment to aid bathroom safety, such as folding bath benches, toilet support rails and seats, padded shower chairs and shower commodes, safety frames, non-slip mats and bath handrails.
Cost: Starting at $25 for a mat and ranging to $600 plus for some models of shower chair/commode.
About: Amazon needs no introduction! The worldwide online retail giant stocks everything you could need – including walk-in tubs.
Type: We found every kind of tub from the most basic soakers to wheelchair-accessible and even heated and massage-capable models.
Features: There is a huge range of tubs available with many features, from standard safety features such as grab bars and non-slip coating to comfort features such as heated and molded seats, water jet or whirlpool massage, and even micro-bubbles.
Cost: From just $1500 or so for a basic model all the way through to $5000 plus for advanced models.
About: Overstock is an online retailer based in Salt Lake City. They offer a wide range of homewares at reduced prices – including walk-in tubs.
Type: Overstock offers a great range of walk-in tubs, from basic soaker to wheelchair-accessible tubs.
Features: The Overstock range covers an impressive array of features. Some tubs feature whirlpool or air jet water movement. You’ll find both left and right drains, wider tubs, and of course non-slip coating, grab bars, and easy drain tubs.
Cost: From as little as $1,999 for a basic model, through to $6,000 plus for the most luxurious models.
About: Safestep Tub is a specialist walk-in tub manufacturer. Their tubs are designed with the needs of seniors in mind, with comfort and ease of use being paramount.
Type: All Safestep tubs are hydro jet models that offer water massage therapy as standard.
Features: Safestep tubs are packed with features including water therapy, air therapy, light therapy, and aromatherapy. They are also fitted with a personal bidet for hygiene. They are built to last with an aluminum frame, and come with a full complement of safety features including (but not limited to) anti-slip surfaces, grab bars, anti-scald shower heads, and mold-resistant coating.
Cost: Safestep don’t list prices on their website, but you can submit a form for a free, no-obligation estimate based on your needs and situation.
What Are Walk-In Tubs?
Walk-in tubs are essentially ordinary looking bathtubs, but with a watertight door in the side. The bath user only has to open the door and they can walk into the tub and sit down. There are many different walk-in tubs on the market today, with different features. Let’s take a look at some of them.
What Is the Purpose of a Walk-In Tub?
A walk-in tub makes bath time much easier and safer for anyone with mobility issues, including seniors. Climbing in and out of a standard bathtub can be risky for anyone who suffers with balance problems, joint problems, stiffness or weakness. It’s all too easy to lose balance and fall, which could result in bruises or even broken bones. A walk-in tub is much easier and safer to get into.
What Safety Features Are Important In a Walk-In Tub?
A good walk-in tub should have the following safety features, so be sure to check for them.
- Anti scald systems – anti scald shower heads regulate the temperature of the water coming out of the shower head or faucet, even if someone turns a tap or switches on a water-using appliance elsewhere in the house. This is vital to protect delicate elderly skin from burns.
- Anti-slip surfaces – slips and falls are a risk for elderly people. Walk-in tubs should come with anti slip floors and seats as standards, to help reduce the risk of a fall.
- Quick drain system – look for a quick-release drain feature that lets the bath user, or a caregiver or EMT, hit a button and drain the bath rapidly to prevent accidental immersion. Quick drain systems also make waiting for the bath to drain more comfortable, as users don’t have to sit for a long time before opening the door to leave.
- Safety bars – many elderly people are a little unsteady, especially when entering or exiting a tub, or moving from a seating to standing position. Check for ample safety bars for users to grab.
What Other Features Should Any Walk-In Tub Have?
The above listed safety features are a must. We also recommend you look out for:
- Low threshold – many users who choose a walk-in tub do so because climbing into a standard tub is hard for them. Look for a low threshold to make sure the walk-in tub is easy to enter.
- Extra wide door – a wider door makes it easier to get in and out of the tub, especially for larger patients, or those who suffer from stiffness or pain in their hips.
- Self cleaning systems – no one wants a build up of mold or harmful bacteria in the water lines! Check that the system you choose is self cleaning to keep water lines flushed and hygienic.
- Leak-proof door seals – any good tub should have a leak-proof door seal with a lifetime guarantee, to prevent bathroom flooding.
- Lifetime guarantee – a walk-in tub is a considerable investment. Be sure when purchasing yours that you’re guaranteed for life in case of any problems.
- Easy to use buttons – check out the controls on your tub of choice and make sure they’re easy to press even for arthritic hands.
You’ll also find many tubs come with extra comfortable contoured seating, and a range of hydrotherapy and massage options. While not strictly necessary these are a nice touch and enhance the relaxing and stress-relieving properties of a nice warm bath, and may provide some relief from joint pain and stiffness:
- Soakers – a soaker bathtub is one without any added massage or water jet functions. They are perfect for a soak in the bath, but many users appreciate the addition of massage options.
- Whirlpool – whirlpool models use water jets to keep water moving and provide a massage experience.
- Air jetted – air jetted models use compressed air rather than water, and provide a gentler massage experience.
What Are the Different Types of Walk-In Tubs?
There are several kinds of walk-in tub, to suit different budgets and needs. Here are the most common:
- Inward swinging door – These are the most common kind of walk-in tub for home use as they tend to be both the cheapest, and the classiest to look at. For general use for an elderly person with no special requirements (such as needing an extra large or wheelchair accessible tub), these are a good choice.
- Outward swinging door – These are bulky, unsightly and expensive. They’re mostly used in health institutions rather than in someone’s home, so you are unlikely to need one!
- Bariatric tubs – these are designed for bariatric patients weight 300 lbs or more. They are very similar to inward swinging tubs and have all the same safety features, but are larger and sturdier with a wider entrance.
- Wheelchair-accessible tubs – also known as slide-in tubs, these walk-ins have a wider entrance and no step to climb over, making them ideal for wheelchair users who can be helped from their chair and into the seat. They are larger and more expensive and take up more space due to their outward opening door, but for wheelchair users they make bath time much simpler.
Why Would Someone Need or Consider a Walk-In Tub?
A walk-in tub is ideal for seniors who have mobility issues, balance problems, or who are in a wheelchair or struggling with their weight. A walk-in tub is much easier to get into and out of than a standard tub, and much safer too thanks to the built in safety features such as non-slip surfaces and handrails.
Stepping into a walk-in tub is much simpler and safer than climbing over the edge of a standard tub. A walk-in tub can help seniors retain their independence and make the difference between whether they can manage bathing alone, or not. For those who do need a little help bathing, a walk-in can make life easier for their caregiver.
How To Choose a Walk-In Tub
With so many options to choose from, deciding on a walk-in tub can seem challenging! Start by taking note of your loved one's specific needs and conditions. Do they need a wheelchair-accessible or bariatric tub? Which safety features are a must for them?
Related: Tips for Buying Top Walk-in Tubs
Once you know the size and shape of tub you need, you can consider which extra features, such as massage or hydrotherapy, would be good for your loved one to have.
Then it’s simply a case of shopping around and finding which tubs tick off all your needs, and still fit your budget.
With so much choice on the market you are sure to find the best walk-in tub for the senior in your life. Remember to check for the safety features listed here, and make sure the tub you choose has all the features necessary to make life easier for you and your senior.