Selecting the Right Walk in Bathtub

Walk-in tub door styles

By, Nicolas J. Boatner

The walk-in bathtub industry has evolved into a competitive web of ads and promotions. It can be daunting trying to navigate this market of therapeutic jets, low step-in heights, and gimmicky sales pitches. Several key factors are consistent throughout, and that should be observed very closely when making your final decision.

Most folks will need to address safety, accessibility, muscle and joint soreness, personal hygiene, and aesthetics. I recommend you prepare yourself with a punch list of items that your bathtub needs to be equipped with that will afford you enduring value. Build your bathtub based on your needs.

Safety and accessibility will factor in step-in height, door type, door swing, and safety integrations. Inward and outward swing doors offer varying levels of accessibility. Inward swing doors will be comfortable for most bathers and will fit all bathrooms. Outward swing door bathtubs offer increased accessibility while you are in the tub, as they do not need to swing past your legs when you operate them. Transfer-style bathtubs have the largest doors. They are easily accessible for all bathers but require more space in the bathroom to swing the extra-wide outward swinging door. Built-in grab bars strategically placed in the tub will offer safety and increase your confidence during use.

Transfer-walk-in tubsWalk-in bathtubs can do a fantastic job of providing you with therapeutic pain relief. I recommend starting with water jets. Some units will offer multi-zone jetting, independent foot and back massage is an excellent choice if you intend to use the tub as a leg and foot spa. Heated seats and backs will warm your muscles as the tub fills, and inline water heaters maintain the warmth while you soak.

You may have limited mobility, and this impacts your ability to bathe properly. Your walk-in bathtub can facilitate and assist you with personal hygiene. I recommend a multi-speed air jet massage system. The air system can power a variety of jets throughout the walk-in bathtub, including bidet jets. Air jetting systems are primarily used to put motion in the water and aid in removing oils, dead skin cells, and debris. If you have skin irritations, eczema, dry skin, or other chronic skin issues, we recommend a micro-bubble system. Micro-bubbles will aid in deep cleaning of the skin and compliment your daily moisturizing and topical routines. An ozone generator can help in the cleanliness of the mechanical pipes and hoses and provide an increased level of sanitation while bathing. This can be of increased importance to folks who are sensitive to infection or have frequent open wounds or sores.

Optional features that stand out and provide a considerable amount of residual value to walk-in bathtubs are glass shower screens and handheld showers. Bathing in a walk-in bathtub is not like your standard tub or shower unit. They do create much more splash. We recommend a glass shower screen with a heavy rubber sweep to contain any splash and overspray.

Safety and therapy are your absolute priorities, but aesthetics should be considered as well. The web is saturated with competing models of walk-in bathtubs. Each tub is not created equally, and no two tubs look alike. Browse several models and select a few that stand out to you—from there, beginning focusing on the tub model with the safety, therapy, aesthetics, and optional features that will provide you with the most value.

Shopping for a walk-in bathtub is quite like car shopping. Do your research and select your model and features. Contact the local dealer and set up a time to discuss and survey your home. Come to terms and set up a date to have it installed. If you can stay focused on what this tub will do to add long-term value to your life, you will be delighted.

Cheers!