Tips for Buying a Walk-In Bathtub

Share: copied!

The Senior List is compensated when you click on the provider links listed on this page. This compensation does not impact our ratings or reviews. Click here to learn more about our editorial review process and click here to learn more about how we are compensated.

Our Walk-In Bathtub Recommendations

Overall Rating:
4.6 / 5

For those with mobility issues, the bathroom poses several safety concerns. There’s the issue of the toilet, which can prove challenging to seat oneself upon if your loved one has arthritis or joint issues. Then there’s the matter of wet surfaces, which increase the likelihood of slips and falls. A fall in the bathroom is twice as likely to cause an injury when compared to falls in the living. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to fall-proof your bathroom.

You can try to wipe up any spills or condensation that collects on the floor. You can also install grab bars for increased support by your shower and toilet. An additional method that I can’t recommend enough is investing in a walk-in bathtub.

Safe Step Tub
Safe Step Tub

Through their combination of door-based entryways and low step thresholds, walk-in tubs prevent you from having to step over high tub walls. Not only is this high step painful for the many folks with osteoarthritis. It also presents a significant danger source, as a slip is likely to occur during entry or exit. What’s more, walk-in tubs also feature many additional features in terms of both safety and luxury.

But with the many different walk-in tub manufacturers, models, and add-on features, it can be overwhelming to figure out which tub is right for you. Moreover, a walk-in tub is no small home renovation, nor are they the cheapest devices available, so you’ll want to start by doing your research.

In this guide to walk-in tubs, I’ll walk you through all the things you should consider before purchasing and plunging into your new walk-in bathtub.

Walk In Tub
Walk In Tub

Reasons to Consider a Walk-In Tub

In this short video, Managing Editor Ryan Molloy walks through the three best reasons to consider a walk-in bath.

Tips for Buying a Walk-In Tub

There’s a lot that goes into purchasing a walk-in tub for your home. These questions are designed to help you through the process, from choosing a model to basking in your new, luxurious unit.

#1. Do Your Research

There are many different types of walk-in bathtubs offering a breadth and depth of features and functionality. Before heading to the store, take time to research various products and their pricing online. If possible, head to the store for an up-close-and-personal look.

Here are the main types of walk-in tubs:

To make matters more complicated, the features described in these models are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There are certainly bariatric tubs that feature air jets and whirlpool jets. This is just to give you an outline of the basics.

#2. Purchase Directly from a Manufacturer

Amie touring American Standard
Amie touring the American Standard factory

While walk-in bathtubs can be viewed, purchased, and even installed through a brick-and-mortar retailer, I always recommend speaking directly to a manufacturer. American Standard, one of my favorite walk-in bath brands, has a helpful customer service team who can walk you through the different models and point you towards the best option for your safety and comfort needs. What’s more, they have a nationwide network of installers who can come directly to your home to complete the process after your purchase.

FYI: Many walk-in tub manufacturers will either cover the cost of installation or include it in your pricing estimate, taking away some of the guesswork on your part.

#3: Set Up an In-Home Consultation

Due to the nature of walk-in tubs, most companies offer free in-home consultations. Kohler, for example, will send a specialist to your house for an in-home consultation. During this time, they’ll assess the limitations of your bathroom. For example, some walk-in tubs are too large for smaller bathrooms. Others, however, can be adjusted to fit nearly any space.

Something else that an installer will do is review the types of models that will suit your preferences. Most likely, the in-home consultation will conclude with a price quote, one that includes the cost of the tub, the additional features, the installation, and even the removal of your existing tub.

Bob Vila walk in tubs for seniors

#4. Know Your Safety Needs

Any walk-in tub will feature a low entry threshold, a sealed door, and one (if not more) grab bars. What you’ll need to ask yourself, though, is if you or your loved one would benefit from additional safety features. These will most likely come at an additional cost.

Some common walk-in tub safety add-ons:

#5: Know Your Luxury Wants

Sure, safety is what’s most important, but if you’re going to shell out for a walk-in tub, then it’s worth considering adding on some luxury features. Depending on the model, a walk-in tub can be finely crafted to soothe each of the five senses.

Here is a closer look at walk-in tub luxury features:

walk-in bathtub prices
There are many types of walk-in bathtubs.

#6: Don’t Forget the Drain

Sure, with all the features available in walk-in tubs, it’s easy to forget about one of the most important features––the drain! Since a walk-in tub’s door must remain closed during use, a user must remain inside of it until all of the water drains from it. Considering the average walk-in tub consumes about 50 gallons of water, this could potentially be a long time.

This is why you should look for a model with some sort of quick-draining technology. Otherwise, you’ll be left sitting in lukewarm water.

A Note on Drainage: Most walk-in tub manufacturers have different names for their own rapid draining technology. Mostly, these features are the same, so you’ll just want to make sure there is some form of accelerated drainage.

#7: Set a Budget

Walk-in tubs range from basic to luxury with price tags to go along with them. Aligning your needs and wants with your budget is an important part of the walk-in tub buying process. This is all information that you should discuss with your walk-in tub consultant. Just keep in mind that most walk-in tubs cost between $4,000 and $8,500, not including the cost of installation.

#8: Explore Financial Assistance Programs

In most cases, Medicare will not cover a walk-in tub, leaving most people struggling to pay for the costs of tubs and their installation. Luckily, there are a number of government programs that pay for walk-in tubs.

Between these federal and state-based grant programs, there are a variety of ways that older adults can pay for some (if not all) of the costs for a walk-in tub. Many of them are designed to help low-income seniors modify their homes for safe aging in place.

#9: Consider Warranties and Return Policies

Just like any expensive piece of equipment, a solid walk-in tub should last you for life. So be sure to inquire about warranties and return policies. Every company handles this aspect slightly differently, so be sure to understand exactly what you’re getting when you make your purchase.

Some manufacturers cover the entire walk-in tub system, whereas others offer warranties for specific components such as the door seal, tub frame, or system of water jets. If a company offers piecemeal warranties such as this, be sure to identify which parts they guarantee for life and which ones have a warranty expiration date.

#10: Consult a Plumber

The last thing you want is to deal with the hassle of purchasing a walk-in tub that doesn't work with your current bathroom setup. Depending on how the plumbing is wired, projects can range from simple and straightforward to a complete tub relocation. Knowing what to expect early in the process can help you adjust your wish list and budget, as necessary.


Studies show that older Americans are more likely to live alone than those of any other nation. Moreover, many of these folks wish to remain in their home. To those people, we at The Senior List salute you! However, our goal is to help you age in place safely. When planned and installed carefully, a walk-in tub can be another way to prevent injuries in your home, not to mention that they’ll likely give you the most enjoyable baths of your life.

Walk-In Tub Frequently Asked Questions

Written By
Amie Clark

Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.