Best Walk-In Tubs: A Complete Guide (With Our Top 5)

David Bolton

/

October 22, 2020

Retirement Health
Walk-In Tubs: A Complete Guide (With Our Top 5) | Retire Fearless

For seniors, a walk-in tub is one of the best and safest ways to bathe. In addition to being the safest way to bathe, a walk-in tub can provide water massaging joint relief. Whether you're having difficulty with mobility issues, health concerns, or just want to indulge in a luxurious bath safely, here's everything you need to know before buying a walk-in tub.

Aging in place can be an overwhelming experience, especially for people struggling with mobility issues. You'll not only have difficulties in doing certain day-to-day tasks such as bathing but will also feel frustrated and disappointed at the loss of independence.

Fortunately, walk-in tubs are godsend products that allow you to maintain a sense of personal freedom, especially when it comes to your personal hygiene needs. Walk-in tubs are arguably the safety method of bathing and are generally designed with comfort features such as air massage systems, hydrotherapy jets, built-in grab bars, and many more. But with so many options available, choosing the best walk-in tub for you or your loved one can be overwhelming.

Bathrooms remain one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, especially for the elderly. The risks of falling remain high, particularly for those with mobility and strength issues. Although walk-in tubs are costly, they're an outstanding investment not just for your overall safety and well-being but also when compared to the much higher costs of an accident or spending time in an assisted living facility.

Walk-in tubs come in a variety of sizes, configurations, and cater for various needs. So whether you're shopping for yourself, a loved one, or a client, it's vital to understand all the walk-in tub basics before you make a purchase. In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide you with all the basics that can help you find the best walk-in tub for your situation. We'll highlight what to expect, the right features to look for in a walk-in tub, and the best walk-in tubs currently available on the market.

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Table of contents

What is a Walk-In Tub?

Simply put, a walk-in tub is a type of bathtub that allows users to walk in and out of the tub without necessarily having to step over the side. Walk-in tubs are designed to provide users with a safer, more comfortable, and convenient bathing experience. They're generally designed so that you can sit down in a comfortable position so that you do not have to stand underneath a shower or lay down when bathing.

Many walk-in tubs are specifically structured for users with mobility issues so that they are even safer. This, however, doesn't mean that you can't get a walk-in tub just because you're physically healthy. They're luxurious and are more convenient than standard bathtubs.

According to a report by the U.S. CDC, the majority of injuries that occur in the bathroom are sustained in or around the tub or shower. If anything, these injuries are more likely to increase with age. This is essentially why safety features and proper craftsmanship should be among your top priorities when looking for the perfect walk-in tub. With a walk-in tub in place, you or your loved ones should not only feel secure and more independent when it comes to personal hygiene and care but should ensure that bathing is never engulfed with distress or anxiety. 

Importance of Walk-In Tubs

 The importance of walk-in tubs, especially for seniors or individuals with mobility issues cannot be downplayed. And whether you consider them luxurious, they're an upgrade of the standard bathtubs and shower.

In addition to offering a relaxing and revitalizing bathing experience, walk-in tubs are of great importance in preventing slips and falls that are one of the main causes of injuries and deaths, especially among seniors. In short, the main importance of walk-in tubs is to ensure that you're safe and comfortable in the bathroom no matter your age or condition.

Features to Consider when Looking for an Appropriate Walk-In Tub

There are various features to consider when looking for the right walk-in tub for you or your loved one. They include:

Size

Walk-in tubs are designed in a variety of sizes ranging from small units to even large sizes that are bigger than standard bathtubs. The size of a walk-in tub that you settle for should be influenced by your size and, of course, the size of your bathroom. You certainly do not want to buy a walk-in tub that cannot fit within your bathroom. Just make sure that it's of the perfect size to fit within your bathroom. Some are even designed for wheelchair use while others are made for individuals with weight issues.

Safety

Safety is, without an ounce of doubt, one of the most critical factors to consider when choosing the right walk-in tub. They should be more accessible for everyone including seniors and those with disabilities. If you're using any mobility device, it's important to consider it when choosing the right walk-in tub. Remember, there are walk-in tubs that are designed for wheelchairs and walkers so that you remain safe when getting in and out.

Some of the safety features to consider when choosing the perfect walk-in tub include:

  • ADA-compliant built-in seat
  • The slip-resistant textured floor surface
  • Durable and safe built-in grab bars
  • A leak-free door system
  • A quick-draining water system
  • Low-entry threshold

Therapeutic Features

Many walk-in tubs are designed with therapeutic features that can be beneficial to those using these tubs. Generally, most walk-in tubs will include features such as aromatherapy, chromotherapy, air massage, and many more. These are meant to help you in relieving pain and relaxing while also making your bathing experience more invigorating and enjoyable. Keep in mind that most of these features are add-ons and might come at an extra cost.

Fill and Drain System

You certainly do not want to sit inside the walk-in tub waiting for the water to fill up as this can be so frustrating. This is one of the main reasons why you should go for a walk-in tub that has an excellent fill and drain system. This means that you should choose fast-filling faucets and fast-draining systems.

Materials and Durability

Even though modern walk-in tubs are generally made of acrylic or gel coat together with fiberglass molds, durability should also be top of your priority. This is because you do not want something that will have you spending more on repairs and unnecessary maintenance.

Acrylic Tubs - Walk-in tubs made from acrylic materials are generally more durable, easy to maintain, and calls for minimal maintenance. They also allow for different designs and are commonly used in designing seats, whirlpool jets, headrests, and other parts that require attention to detail.

Gelcoat - Given that gelcoat is lighter and thinner than acrylic, walk-in tubs made from this material are often very easy to clean but may not be as durable as those made from acrylic. They're also easy to install.

Price

Of course, most walk-in tubs are costly but this doesn't mean that you can't afford them. If anything, we can state that they are affordable if you take into account the expenses that you may have to incur if you fall and injure yourself just because you were using standard bathtubs.

With that in mind, the average cost of a walk-in tub can range between $3,000 and $9,000. These prices, of course, depend on the type of tub, its features, and other add-ons. Additionally, the price that you pay for a walk-in tub may also be influenced by its size and additional therapeutic features. 

Best Walk-In Tubs

Here are the best walk-in tubs currently available on the market.

Safe Step Walk-In Tub - Best Walk-In Shower

As a premier walk-in tub and shower manufacturer in the U.S., Safe Step seems to understand that in addition to a walk-in tub, we still love the convenience of a standard shower too. That's why it provides walk-in tubs that still have walk-in showers. The tubs are equipped with great features such as anti-slip floor, an easy-grip handheld showerhead, waterproof remote, an anti-scald device to thwart hot water accidents or injuries, as well as comfortable seats that are removable if you are strong enough to stand in the shower.

Safe Step Walk-In tubs are also designed with features that might be considered luxurious on other walk-in tubs. They have heated seats that are comfortable, as well as secure and durable towel rails. Many users agree that these walk-in tubs are the best for arthritis and joint pain and can be customized to meet specific sizes and designs to suit your needs. They are not only comfortable and safe but are designed in a way that they are completely wheelchair accessible.

Whether you choose the walk-in tub model or the walk-in shower model, you'll be impressed by their streamlined looks, quick-release drain, anti-slip floor and seats, built-in grab bar, anti-scald faucet, wide and safer doors, and many more.

Pros

  • Have more features than other models
  • Offers various design options such as a variety of metal finishes and sliding glass doors
  • Available in barrier-free and low-threshold models
  • The company provides full-service installation and removal
  • Installation can be done within a day
  • Comes with limited lifetime warranty product 

Cons

  • You may have to pay an upfront deposit

Jacuzzi Walk-In Tubs - Best Luxury Model

Famous for its excellent hydrotherapy tubs, Jacuzzi is synonymous with hot tubs. It's known worldwide for manufacturing quality and luxurious walk-in tubs that are also great for their health benefits. In addition to offering hydromassage, these walk-in tubs offer a wide range of options to suit your needs. They have 10 jets, fast-fill faucets, leak-proof doors, and have been remodeled to use a SmartTub mobile app to allow users to monitor and control various features.

These walk-in tubs are also designed with an incredible ClearRay management system that oversimplifies cleaning and maintenance. Available in two walk-in tub lines (the Finestra Bathtub and the Jacuzzi Walk-In Tub), these walk-in tubs are modernly designed to fit in place of a standard bathtub. This means that you won't have to struggle to find a place to fit it in. They're also designed so that you no longer have to worry about climbing over. This, therefore, reduces the risks of falling.

Other built-in features include textured floors, comfortable seats, firm handrails, and many more. The featured jets are in place not just to augment a bathing experience you would find in a spa but also to help relieve sore muscles, invigorate your entire body, and offer pleasant scents. In short, these walk-in tubs are highly revered because they can offer the full spa experience including chromotherapy, aromatherapy, air spa, and whirlpool.

Pros

  • They come with the standard ADA-compliant seats
  • The grab bars are among the best
  • Their low-threshold features make entry and exit from the tub easy and safe
  • The company offers free in-home consultations
  • The company offers one of the best lifetime warranties in the industry
  • They are made from durable and scratch-resistant acrylic and steel body
  • The company's famous jet massage systems are among the best

Cons

  • They offer just two models, which can be limiting 

American Standard Walk-In Tubs - Best Value

Priced to perfectly fit in the lower spectrum of the walk-in tub market, American Standard walk-in tubs are enough proof that you do not have to compromise great features even if you are on a tight budget. The fact that they're available in various models gives you the option of choosing your preferred model depending on price and needs.

One of the main features of American Standard walk-in tubs is their accessibilities. These are walk-in tubs that are designed to make bathing safer and easier not just for seniors but for people of all ages. For seniors, they'll enjoy the benefit of never having to climb over the wet tub, which can risk slippery, falls, and, god forbid, fatal injuries. Instead, these walk-in tubs are designed with easy-to-open doors and built-in grab bars that are ADA-compliant.

For over 140 years, America Standard has been manufacturing quality walk-in tubs and is continuing to reshape the industry to conform with today's consumer needs in terms of luxury, reliability, and health benefits. Whether you're looking for a walk-in tub that can make all the difference in terms of your health or a walk-in tub that will ensure that you enjoy bathing, look no further than American Standard walk-in tubs.

Pros

  • Offers several types of walk-in tub models
  • The company offers free installation estimates and limited lifetime warranty
  • This is a well-known and trusted brand
  • It's one of the most affordable brands in the industry
  • There are spa and hydrotherapy packages that are available at a fair price

Cons

  • The company charges freight and shipment costs

Kohler Walk-In Tubs - Best Soaker Tub

When it comes to walk-in tubs, we always do not need something that offers therapeutic water or air massage. So if you've been looking for a simplistic walk-in tub that makes you feel secure, comfortable, and pampered when bathing, Kohler Walk-in tubs could be worth checking. Since 1873, the company has grown immensely and is known as one of the market leaders, especially when it comes to combining innovation and technology that are aimed towards offering consumers quality products that can satisfy their needs graciously.

These walk-in tubs are built of high-quality and durable fiberglass that make them an ideal option if you just want to get fully-immersed and soaked. Some of its impeccable features include textured bath surfaces, easy-grip handrails, and is known for having one of the lowest threshold entries in the industry. The door is also wide and swings inwardly to offer safe and easy entry and exit.

These walk-in tubs are available in a variety of colors and textures. They can be easily customized to suit your preferences and to match the finishes of your home. And even without many therapeutic features, Kohler's walk-in tubs still offer one of the best bathing experiences in the industry. So if you feel like you do not need all the extras, the Kohler walk-in tub might be worth your time.

Pros

  • Offers a quiet, simple and relaxing spa-like experience
  • Offers one of the best warranties in the industry
  • Comes with a fast-drain technology that's reliable, convenient, and time-saving
  • The faucet system fills is faster than any other in the market
  • The handheld shower wand comes with three spray settings
  • Comes with one of the lowest thresholds in the market 

Cons

  • It's not wheelchair-accessible

Ella's Bubbles - Best for Two-Person Walk-In Tubs

Ella is undoubtedly a less-known brand when compared to some of the biggest walk-in tub names in the industry such as American Standard, Kohler, and Jacuzzi. However, this doesn't mean that it doesn't have high-quality walk-in tubs. Ella has been giving bigger brands a run for their money thanks to its unparalleled dedication to quality, beauty, and modern design.

While this brand offers various models such as the petite walk-in tub and the slide in the tub models, its best model is perhaps the two-person walk-in tub. Imagine a situation where you want to have a good time with your loved one. Well, this walk-in tub will offer enough space for the two of you. In other words, it is excellent for couples aging in place together.

The two walk-in tub features two seats that face each other, which makes it a perfect option for couples. There are also other models such as Ella's transfer tub, which features an L-shaped door and is ideal if you're in a wheelchair as you can slide into the walk-in tub with minimal effort.

Some of the standard features of these walk-in tubs include heated seats, dual drains, handheld showers, acrylic shell, fast-fill faucets, chrome finish hardware, ADA-compliant grab bars, and anti-slip floors.

Pros

  • They have heated seats
  • They're among the safest walk-in tubs in the industry
  • They're made of high-grade and durable acrylic
  • The dual drain system is reliable, convenient, and fast
  • Spa and hydrotherapy options are available

Cons

  • The brand is less known

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