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Best Walk In Tubs

Best Walk In Tubs

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Best Walk-in Bathtubs Reviews

A walk-in tub is a bathtub with a door. It lets you walk directly into the tub, rather than stepping over a high edge.

Walk-in entry is the defining feature of the category, but walk-in tubs usually have several other design elements that set them apart from a standard tub.

many manufacturers offer walk-in tub models that are compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and designed to promote accessibility and mobility.

Aging in place: One of the most common use cases for walk-in tubs is for older homeowners or those who wish to age in place. Walk-in bathtubs are safer for older people who face greater risks of harm from a fall. 

Also, Walk-in tubs have very high walls and an elevated seat. This means you can submerge yourself in water without sitting on the floor.

A walk in bathtub is one of the most popular ways to bathe for seniors looking to age in place at home. Not only are they safer than regular bathtubs and walk-in showers, but they can even provide water-massaging joint relief and an easy way for seniors with mobility restrictions to safely bathe.

This is especially important for seniors, since falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits for the elderly. And the bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in the house, with roughly 235,000 people going to the emergency room each year due to injuries in the bathroom. The elderly are particularly at risk, since injuries increase with age and peak at age 85. Around 28 percent of these emergency room visits are due to bathing.

A walk-in tub has a door with a watertight seal. It also has a faucet that fills the tub with water, just like a standard tub. It may have a handheld showerhead attached to a hose as well.

When you’re done bathing, the water flows down the drain. Once the tub is empty, you can walk out of the tub.

Walk in tubs reduce bathroom injury risk

These tubs remove potential hazards by providing easy entry-exit, non-slip surfaces and a seated position for bathers. It’s no wonder why so many retirees and seniors look to replace their old tub with a new, safe walk-in tub—often one that’s much nicer than their previous bathtub.

Getting in and out of a standard bathtub can be dangerous if not impossible for those with mobility issues. Walk-in tubs, which have doors that swing open and low thresholds, are a safe and comfortable solution, allowing the bather to enter the tub without climbing over a 2-foot wall. Walk-ins feature depths of nearly 3 feet and an ergonomic bench, so the occupant can sit and soak up to the neck, rather than lie down as in a traditional tub. Some walk-in tubs also include spa functions, such as air jet and whirlpool jet massage functions.

EllaAmerican StandardIndependent HomeArielKohlerSafe StepJacuzzi
Best Walk-in Tubs
RatingExcellentGoodVery GoodAverageGoodAverageAverage
Approximate Drain Time80 seconds90-120 seconds90-120 seconds120 seconds120 seconds180-300 secondsN/A
Type of DrainDual DrainSingleSingleSingleSingleSingleSingle
Air Jets17282818178N/A
Water Jets14-241686101010
Step-In Height5 inches7.5 inches5 inches7 inches3 inches4 inches8 inches
Warranty on ShellLifetimeLifetimeLifetime3 YearsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Warranty on SealLifetimeLifetimeLifetime3 YearsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Warranty on ComponentsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime3 YearsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Warranty on LaborN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A1-2 Years
Soaker Tubs
Aerotherapy Tubs
Hydrotherapy Tubs
Chromotherapy Tubs
Wheelchair Accessible Tubs
Hand-Held Shower Head
Heated Seating

 CostSafety FeaturesSpecial FeaturesWarranty
Safe-StepCustom EstimatesTextured non-slip flooring, anti-scald technology, water-cleaning system, built-in grab barsFoot-massaging jets, chromotherapy, aromatherapy, dual hydrotherapy, air therapy system, rainfall shower headLifetime warranty on the walk-in tubs, faucets, pumps, blowers, heater, door seal, and parts and labor
American Standard$4,400 – $11,000Textured, non-slip flooring, convenient grab bars, ADA-compliant seatingQuickDrain system, neck rest, aromatherapy, targeted massage jets, in-line heating, whirlpool jets, air jets, hydrotherapy jets15-year warranty on the premium acrylic walk-in tubs, 10-year warranty
KohlerCustom EstimatesAnti-slip flooring, easy-access controls, extra-wide door, ADA-compliant seat and grab handles, low threshold entryHeated backrest, BubbleMassage jets, hydrotherapy jets, fast-drain technology.Limited lifetime warranty on door seal, hand shower, faucet, and hydrotherapy system
Independent HomeCustom EstimatesSelf-purging jet system, overflow valve, ADA-compliant seating, ergonomic grab bars, anti-slip flooring.Heated seats and backrests, chromotherapy, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy.Lifetime warranty for key components, including shell, frame, and door seal.
Ella’s Bubbles$5,500 – $10,000Wide seating, ADA-compliant grab bars, toe-kick access panel Wide seating, ADA-compliant grab bars, toe-kick access panelFast-fill faucet system, add-on shower kit, easy-touch control panel, hydromassage system, heated seats and backrestsLimited lifetime warranty on door seal, shell, frame, and door.
BOCA$7,000 to $16,000Anti-scald technology, quick-release drain, overflow drain, leak-proof locking door, ADA-compliant grab bars, slip-resistant flooring, low-step thresholdLimited lifetime warranty on door seal, shell, frame, and door.Lifetime warranty
Walk-In TubPriceCapacitySeat DimensionsOverall DimensionsHighlights and Optional FeaturesWarranty
Ella Ultimate Walk-In Dual Air and Whirlpool Bathtub with Foot Massage$6,20895 gallons21″ W59.75″ L x 29.75″ W x 38″ HDual two” drains Clear door Adjustable intensity hydro jets Independent foot massageLifetime limited warranty on shell, frame and door five years on parts
Kohler Walk-In Bath$3,200 and upN/A21.5″ W x 17″ H52″ L x 28″ W x 39″ HHydrotherapy Heated surfaces Fast-drain technology Factory-trained installersLifetime limited warranty
American Standard Exclusive Series 60″ x 30″ Right Hand Walk-In Whirlpool Tub$3,79075 gallonsN/A60″ L x 30″ W x 37″ HQuick drain Gelcoat finishLifetime warranty on door seal 10-year limited warranty on body
Ella Transfer26 Walk-In Tub$4,080 and up45 gallons20″ W52″ L x 26″ W13 hydro jets Ozone sterilization Dual two” floor drains Integrated grab barsLifetime limited warranty on shell, frame and door five years on parts
Universal Tubs HD Series 60″ Right Drain Step-In Walk-In Soaking Bathtub$1,53140 gallonsNo seat58.5″ L x 29.5″ W x 23.75″ HMarine-grade, glossy-white acrylic finish Deep-soak12-year limited warranty on shell, lifetime on door seal
Ella Companion 60″ Walk-In Whirlpool$8,23795 gallons20″ W59.75″ L x 30.25″ W x 38″ H32″ soaking depth 39 jets Seating for two peopleLifetime limited warranty on shell, frame and door five years on parts
ANZZI 27″ x 53″ Walk-In Wide Opening Tub$2,89593 gallons23″ W x 17.75″ H52.5″ L x 26.5″ W x 40″ H20 air-massage jets 12 hydro-powered water jets three integrated grab bars 4.25″ H thresholdN/A
Therapeutic Tubs HandiTub 60″ x 30″ Whirlpool and Air Jetted Wheelchair Accessible Bathtub$4,29980 gallons29″ W x 10″ H60″ L x 30″ W x 43″ HADA compliant with wheelchair-accessible door 26 air injectors Triple gelcoat reinforced with fiberglassN/A
Ella Bariatric Seat Air and Hydro Massage Whirlpool Walk-In Tub$5,585115 gallons30.5″ W x 17″ H55″ L x 35″ W x 41″ HTrim kit included 18 air jetsLifetime limited warranty on shell, frame and door five years on parts
Universal Tubs Rampart Nova Heated 3.3 ft. Walk-In Whirlpool Bathtub$3,28450 gallonsSeat dimensions unavailable38.75″ L x 27″ W x 35.75″ H13 air jets with three adjustable settings Wall surround with corner caddies included Comes with four-piece Roman faucet set with extendable, handheld shower headN/A

Best Walk-in Bathtubs Reviews

After our evaluation, we selected three types of walk-in tubs to represent the best for various buyer needs: Safe Step, American Standard and Independent Home.

Safe Step

Best Therapeutic Walk In Tub – Great for arthritis and joint pain |

Tub Type and Size

Safe Step offers a soaker style walk-in tub plus a hybrid shower-tub combination as their core products. Safe Step’s walk-in tubs are highly customizable in size, with the ability to manufacture tubs to the exact specifications required for a customer’s space. Safe Step can accordingly be manufactured to a length of between 4 and 5 feet long. While this customizability is a positive, one downside of Safe Step’s offerings is that they have fewer standard options available when compared to other tub manufacturers.

Door Style and Accessibility

Safe Step has wide, U-shaped doors that can be configured to swing to either the right or left depending on what makes most sense in the bathroom space. Notably, Safe Step’s doors only open inward, which is a benefit for saving space in the bathroom and preventing leaks, but also provides less room for users to maneuver when getting in and out of the tub.

Safety Features

Safe Step delivers on the promise made in its name with a variety of features that help protect bathers. Safe Step tubs have a low threshold height of 4 inches, built-in grab bars, anti-slip flooring, and anti-scald technology among their positive safety features.

Tub and Hardware Materials

Like many walk-in tub competitors, Safe Step offers its products in both acrylic and gelcoat materials. Safe Step notes that these materials are finished in a way that minimizes bacterial growth and keeps shine and luster over time with good care.

Fill and Drain System

Safe Step advertises quick fill and drain components on par with many of the features found in comparable offerings from other companies. Safe Step uses a single gravity-based system for the drain, which may make the draining process longer than in tubs with a pump or multiple drains, while Safe Step claims that its fast-fill system fills the tub up to 20% faster than a standard faucet.

Jets and Other Therapeutic Options

Safe Step boasts arguably the best, most comprehensive set of therapeutic options of walk-in tub companies. Hydrotherapy comes in the form of 10 adjustable jets that can be repositioned to target certain areas or adjusted for speed, while the MicroSoothe Air Therapy system circulates tiny bubbles into the tub to stimulate the skin. Safe Step tubs additionally have heated seats and surfaces to keep users warm. But Safe Step sets itself apart in making aromatherapy and chromotherapy features standard to its offerings, creating a more holistic therapeutic experience in its tubs than competitors do.

Cost

As with other walk-in tub companies, the prices of Safe Step’s products vary by style, size, and features included. Unfortunately, Safe step does not list specific prices on its website, which means that accurate pricing information is only available by obtaining a quote. That said, Safe Step’s tubs generally range from about $2,500 to $8,500. Safe Step’s estimates are free, and the company also provides discounts and upgrades for certain customers and product types.

Installation

Professional installation is included in the price of every Safe Step walk-in tub. Safe Step’s network of dealers and installers can help identify the size needed, and design each tub to fit your bathroom’s existing space. Once the tub has been manufactured, installers remove the existing tub and install the new walk-in. The process typically takes one or two days.

Warranty

Safe Step has one of the stronger warranties in the industry, covering manufacturing defects on the tub, door seal, faucets, water pumps, heaters, parts, and labor on a lifetime basis. This means that Safe Step customers can have the assurance that major issues with the tub can easily be resolved under the terms of the warranty.

Company Reputation

Safe Step has a good reputation within the industry based on its customizability and strong warranty. Safe Step has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau since 2009 as an A+ rated business, which means that Safe Step customers can be assured that they will be dealing with a fair, honest, and responsive business.

Recommendation

Safe Step makes standard many of the therapeutic options that require costly add-ons for other tub companies. For that focus on providing a relaxing, comfortable, restorative bath experience, Safe Step is our top choice for Therapeutic Options.

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The primary benefit of Safe Step walk-in tubs is ease of use for seniors with joint pain. Their tubs are equipped with hydrotherapy, aerotherapy and lower back heating systems which are designed to alleviate the pain of arthritis, back pain, muscle pain and other conditions. All Safe Step tubs come with an ozone cleaning system. Safe step walk-in tubs have received widespread, overwhelmingly favorable reviews. Safe Step is a company whose primary focus is manufacturing and installing walk-in tubs.

To determine pricing, Safe Step has committed to send a safety specialist to your home to take a look at your bathroom. Once there, the specialist will measure the dimensions of your bathroom and hallways and discuss available options. They will give prospective buyers an exact price, along with available discounts, which is valid for one year. There is no obligation to buy, and the in-home walk-in tub consultation is complementary.

Generally speaking, Safe Step tubs offer discounts of up to $750 per individual or a total of $1,500 per household. Free heated seating and backrest upgrades are also available. Additional discounts for members of the American Seniors Association are also available. Safe Step has the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use certification, an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, and is a National Aging in Place Council accredited company.

To get a quote, visit Safe Step’s website .

For more information, read our Safe Step review

Product Highlight – Safe Step with Dual Hydroptherapy Option
ProsCons
– Arthritis Foundation Ease of Use approved
– Step threshold is less than four inches
– Includes dual hydrotherapy and aerotherapy jets, positioned in key locations to provide joint relief
– Lifetime warranty
– Easy, no-strength locking handle
– ADA compliant anti-slip seating and floor
– Option rich (chromatherapy, lower back heating systems, aromatherapy and more)
– You must call to request a free price estimate. This is because Safe Step’s price includes both
– ‘One stop shop’ service for removing and replacing existing tub
– You must call to request a free price estimate.

Kohler Walk-in Tub Review

Best For Luxury

 

 

Price Range
$4,000 to $12,000
 
 
Tub Types Available
Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy
 

Tub Type and Size

Kohler has a limited number of tub styles compared to its competitors, with no options for types like bariatric, wheelchair-accessible, or two-person tubs. Most of Kohler’s options are instead a familiar soaker style with a built-in seat. However, Kohler can customize tub sizes to accommodate the size of nearly any space, with tubs that can be manufactured from 4 to 5 feet long and 28 to 32 inches wide.

Door Style and Accessibility

One of Kohler’s distinguishing walk-in tub features is its tub doors. Kohler’s walk-in baths have wider bath doors than are standard for many other companies, which helps people navigate in and out of the tub more easily. The doors can be configured to swing to either the right or the left, depending on the layout of your bathroom. Kohler also boasts a threshold height of 3 inches, which is one of the lowest heights in the industry, decreasing the likelihood that a bather might trip while entering or exiting the tub. One limitation of Kohler’s tubs, however, is that they do not offer any options that are easily accessible by wheelchair. While the wider doors do help with mobility generally, they are not sufficient for a wheelchair user to transfer into the tub.

Safety Features

Kohler has an excellent array of safety features in its tubs. In addition to the extra-wide door and low threshold described above, Kohler tubs come standard with a handrail located inside the tub for support. Kohler’s thoughtful design also includes an indentation running along the outside edge of the tub door that allows bathers to steady themselves while lifting or lowering themselves. Kohler tubs also have slip-resistant, textured flooring and anti-scald valves to improve safety as well.

Tub and Hardware Materials

Kohler’s tubs are available in both acrylic and gelcoat materials, offered in two customized colors of white and biscuit (a creamy off-white color). Kohler’s hardware materials are available in brushed nickel or polished chrome. While Kohler offers fewer hardware combinations to customize the look of your tub compared to other companies, Kohler’s materials are generally high-quality and durable.

Fill and Drain System

Kohler walk-in baths come equipped with fast fill and drain technology that can fill and drain the tub within a couple minutes. Kohler claims that their most up-to-date drain designs are now 4 times faster than older models. However, like many other competitors, the true fill and drain rates on a Kohler tub will depend on the quality of your existing plumbing system, including your water pipe capacity. One additional nice feature of Kohler’s tubs is that they include heated surfaces that keep the bather warm while the tub is draining.

Jets and Other Therapeutic Options

Kohler has excellent therapeutic options that provide comfortable, targeted massages and sensation to bathers. Tubs come with hydrotherapy whirlpool jets to massage the back, legs, and feet and BubbleMassage air jets that pump tiny bubbles into the tub, and each jet in the tub can be moved to target the flow according to the bather’s needs. Kohler also has Bask heated rests that warm the back and neck to help bathers relax in the tub.

Cost

Because each Kohler walk-in tub can be customized with options, such as hydrotherapy, a quick-drain system and integrated LED lights, pricing is provided directly from Kohler. Costs for the Kohler Walk-In Bath start at $3,200 for a basic unit, while tubs with whirlpool jets cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000.

Kohler’s pricing information is not readily available online. Instead, Kohler will quote homeowners a price for their tubs after conducting a free in-home appointment and evaluating the type and design of the tub to be installed. While this lack of information can be frustrating, Kohler does offer a price guarantee when they quote the cost of a tub, which locks in the cost, including installation. This means that customers receive information about the full price they will pay for the entire process of selecting and installing a new tub. With that said, the price of Kohler walk-in tubs start around $4,000, slightly higher than other brands, and go up from there. 

Installation

Kohler works with a network of trained dealers and technicians who can help homeowners custom design a tub for their space. The cost of installation is included in the quote for a Kohler walk-in tub. Kohler’s technicians work quickly to install the new tub and take away any debris and the old tub from the bathroom.

Warranty

Kohler tubs come with a limited lifetime warranty for walk-in tubs installed by an authorized Kohler dealer. The warranty extends to material and workmanship on all bath components including the seal, the jet systems, and the faucet and handshower in the tubs. This is a stronger warranty than many companies offer because it covers all components of the tub with a lifetime warranty.

Company Reputation

Kohler is a familiar, leading name in bathroom fixtures, including walk-in tubs. However, Kohler receives a rating of B from the Better Business Bureau, which trails behind many other competitors in the walk-in tub market. This suggests that Kohler may not be as strong as other companies in dealing with customer complaints and issues fairly.

Recommendation

Though Kohler offers less in the way of variety and customization than some other competitors, the options it does provide are high-quality and built for comfort, which makes Kohler our pick for Best Luxury Walk-In Tubs.

 
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Kohler makes and sells the Walk-in Bath – a walk-in tub with multiple safety and comfort features avaialbe to be added on for an improved bathing experience. Kohler offers an industry-leading warranty for the Walk-in Bath. It’s a limited lifetime warranty which can be found at other companies, however, Kohler’s warranty covers more. Pumps, motors, jets, the bath door seal and hand shower are all covered under the warranty.

Read our full Kohler walk-in tub review for more details.

Product Highlight – Kohler Walk-in Bath
Pros Cons

– Low 3-inch high threshold
– 2 handrails
– Textured flooring
– Lifetime warranty
– Easy-to-reach control panel
– Hydrotherapy whirlpool jets
– Adjustable heated surfaces
– Retractable handshower
– Custom finishes
– Fast-drain technology

  • Kohler has been in business since 1873 and currently distributes products worldwide
  • Wheelchair-accessible
  • Industry-leading three” threshold for easy entry and exit
  • Interior seat measures 21.5″ W x 17″ H
  • Exterior frame is 52″ L x 28″ W x 39″ H, and the enclosed trim kit creates a finished size up to 60″ L x 32″ W
  • Customers can customize their tub with features, such as massage jets, LED lights and designer Kohler LuxStone bath walls
  • The tub can be ordered in a variety of classic bath colors
  • Factory-authorized installers ensure the tub is installed correctly
  • Backed by Kohler’s Limited Lifetime Warranty

– The Walk-in Bath is not wheelchair accessible

Customers commented on the lack of up-front pricing, as they need to phone a Kohler sales agent to find out exactly what the total cost of the tub is. The inward-swinging door is also a concern for some users, as this design may be difficult for those with limited mobility or who are taller than average.

American Standard Review

Best for small spaces and small budget

Price Range
$3,592 to $11,767
 
Tub Types Available
Soaker, aerotherapy, hydrotherapy
 
 

Tub Type and Size

The American Standard Exclusive Series 60″ x 30″ Right Hand Walk-In Whirlpool Tub is an affordable option for consumers who want a combination walk-in/whirlpool tub. It holds an impressive 75 gallons of water and has a soaking depth of 29 inches, and there are 21 integrated air jets that can be activated to deliver an invigorating, relaxing water massage.

This walk-in tub costs $3,790

American Standard’s walk-in tubs are mostly provided in a typical soaker style with a built-in seat. These offerings are less varied than you can find with some other providers on the market, which is a slight downside to American Standard. Tubs come in varying lengths between 4 and 5 feet, with extenders available to fit certain spaces, and widths usually between 28 and 32 inches.

Door Style and Accessibility

American Standard’s tubs provide a number of walk-in door options to promote easy accessibility and fit each bathroom space. Most American Standard walk-in tubs have a low 4 inch threshold and wide, U-shaped doors that can open inward or outward and be set up to swing to the left or the right as needed. American Standard does also offer handicap-accessible door entries with extra-wide widths and a shape that facilitates wheelchair transfers.

Safety Features

American Standard delivers many of the most common safety features in walk-in tubs. In particular, American Standard’s walk-in tubs have durable built-in grab bars, and customers can add an additional grab bar when customizing their tubs. American Standard’s tubs also have a textured floor surface to prevent any slips. One additional feature on some American Standard tub models is a timer that helps bathers keep track of how long they have been in the tub. This feature helps reduce the chance that a bather might soak for too long and allow the water to cool to an uncomfortable or unsafe temperature.

Tub and Hardware Materials

American Standard offers its tubs in both acrylic and gelcoat fiberglass material. Additionally, American Standard goes further than many of its competitors in providing “Entry,” “Value,” and “Premium” lines of gelcoat tubs, which allows customers more choice in evaluating the tradeoffs between material quality and price. Fixtures on American Standard tubs come in multiple materials and finishes, including solid brass, stainless steel, and chrome.

Fill and Drain System

American Standard is an industry leader in the use of its fast-filling faucets and Quick Drain pump system to support walk-in tubs that fill and drain quickly. These features are not included on all American Standard tub models, but they can be included for an additional charge, and for higher-end American Standard tubs, they come as a built-in feature.

Jets and Other Therapeutic Options

American Standard’s therapeutic features are among the best available on the market for walk-in tubs. Certain American Standard tubs include targeted back, leg, wrist, and foot massaging jets using both air and water, chromatherapy lighting with seven colors, and built-in aromatherapy systems.

Cost

Most American Standard walk-in tubs cost between $3,000 and $7,000 for the tub unit, with more luxurious, feature-heavy models running higher. Pricing information about American Standard tubs is fairly easy to find online, though the most accurate estimates will come from an American Standard representative. American Standard frequently offers discounts and promotions to ensure that you get the best possible price for your tub.

Installation

Some American Standard tubs can be purchased through regular retail stores, which requires customers to use that retailer’s home services team or else find another qualified contractor to install the tub. For tubs purchased through American Standard, a trained and certified professional can provide a free consultation to choose the right model for your bathroom and then quickly install your chosen walk-in tub.

Warranty

American Standard’s warranty varies by the walk-in tub line. Some models have a lifetime warranty that covers fixtures, parts, labor, and installation for life. However, other models may have a more limited warranty, providing a lifetime warranty only on the door seal and a shorter warranty on the tub itself and other components. When compared to Ella, this is certainly a downside. Because of this, customers who go with American Standard should check carefully to understand what exactly is covered under the warranty for their specific model.

Company Reputation

American Standard is one of the country’s leading manufacturers and sellers of bathroom fixtures, and it is a leader in walk-in tubs as well. The company holds an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau, which trails some other competitors reviewed in this guide but still generally indicates a business that is fair and respectful of customers.

Recommendation

With multiple walk-in tub product lines that offer quality features at several different price points, American Standard is our choice as Best for Buyers on a Budget.

 
 
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This walk-in tub by American Standard is designed for smaller spaces. It has a contoured seat for maximum comfort, along with 26 air jets for relaxing water-based therapy. Safety features include push-button controls, grab bar, and textured floor.

It also has an ergonomically shaped neck rest, which is a stand-out feature, according to Severson. This may be ideal if you’re concerned about neck support. Most walk-in tubs lack a built-in neck rest.

The tub “has a quick-draining system so you’re not stuck waiting several minutes to the open door,

 
 

American Standard is one of the best known names in tubs thanks to its 140-year history of making plumbing products. Among its line of bathtubs are some 50 models of walk-in tubs that vary from basic soaker models to feature-loaded hydrotherapy and aromatherapy tubs.

With such a broad range of tubs, buyers can expect to find a wide selection of door styles and installation sizes. American Standard’s line of walk-in tubs cover the gamut of available features on walk-in tubs, including quick drain and quick-fill systems, massage therapy and LED lighting. 

Our Recommendation:

American Standard Premium Series Air BathtubWith its 26 air jets that create a full-body massage, plus a variable-speed blower that delivers heated bubbles to improve circulation, this tub offers a full space experience. And, when the bath is over, a quick drain system rapidly pumps water out of the tub.

Brand Features

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American Standard is one of America’s most recognizable brands, having been a manufacturer of home appliances for 140 years. American Standard builds practically everything home related, kitchen related, from walk-in bathtubs to kitchen sinks and even heating and cooling systems. American Standard products consistently rank in the upper-rating echelons of home appliances, and their products are most likely at your closest small or large hardware store.

American Standard walk-in tubs have a ton of options, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding a walk-in tub of your desire, from basic soaking tubs to aromatherapy and whirlpool systems. Most American Standard tubs come with an ozone cleaning feature to eliminate bacteria.

If you purchase through an American Standard store, installation is included in the walk-in tub price. New American Standard customers receive $1,000 off their walk-in tub, plus a free $500 Cadet Pro Toilet. Qualified customers can receive 18-month, no-interest financing.

American Standard has the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use certification and has an “A-” Better Business Bureau rating. The warranties are 10 to 15 years on the shell, with 5 to 10 years on all other components and a lifetime warranty on the door seal. Free in-home evaluations are available.

Product Review – Acrylic Luxury Series with Combination Air Spa and Whirlpool Massage Systems
Pros Cons

– Rapid draining system
– Uses 26 air jets and 13 water jets
– Chromatherapy light system
– Lifetime warranty on door seal, 15-year warranty on tub shell, 10-year warranty on everything else
– Self-cleaning system
– In-line heating
– ‘Legs-only’ massage option

  • Lifetime warranty on door seal
  • Patented Quick Drain system removes all water from the bath in under two minutes
  • eight integrated water jets for a legs-only massage option
  • 21 air jets for a whole-body effervescent massage
  • Includes an in-line Whirlpool heater to maintain comfortable water temperature
  • Extension kit included for tidy installation in a standard 60″ tub opening
  • Built-in safety bar
  • Textured antislip floor and durable, hi-gloss finish
  • Integrated comfort-height seat

– No aromatherapy option
– Price point from $8,000 to $10,300

The door swings into the tub, which some customers found awkward to manage, while others had concerns about how they would exit the tub with assistance from a caregiver. A number of reviewers mentioned that the tub must be connected to a dedicated GFCI circuit, which adds to installation costs. Another mentions, “I wish I had known prior to purchase that essential oils and Epsom salts cannot be used with the jets.”

About the company

American Standard is a leading manufacturer of plumbing and building products with a legacy of more than 140 years. It offers more than 50 models of walk-in tubs, ranging from basic soaker tubs to luxury units that feature a larger water capacity, aerotherapy and hydrotherapy.

American Standard walk-in tubs come with a lifetime warranty on the door seal, a 10-year warranty on the tub shell and a 5-year warranty on all other components. You can purchase American Standard walk-in tubs via Amazon and many other retail outlets.

Noteworthy product features
  • Built-in grab bar for safety
  • Wide selection of door and installation configurations
  • LED lighting system available
  • Combination massage tubs available
  • Quick-drain or ozone sanitation systems available
  • One of the best known names in bathtubs
  • Features the most comprehensive number of walk-in bathtub models on the market.
  • Offers a wide selection of features

Independent Home Review

Great Bariatric tub |

Like Safe Step, Independent Home is a company whose primary purpose is the manufacture and installation of walk-in tubs. Independent Home offers eight walk-in tub models with a variety of additional features like heated seating, aromatherapy, LCD control panels, 60-second speed drains, designer faucets and quiet water pumps.

Independent Home walk-in tubs are all ADA compliant and come in a variety of sizes. Reviews online from verified customers are consistently positive. The variable sizes and amenities of Independent Home’s walk-in tubs should be considered for larger individuals and those with serious mobility issues. For example, their “Royal” walk-in tub model is equipped with a motorized seat which safely lowers or raises the person into or out of the tub.

Product Review – Independent Home Celebrity Walk-in Bathtub
Pros Cons
– 17-inch chair height seat
– 18 air jets for hydrotherapy
– 31 x 50 x 38 inch size accommodates individuals up to 500 pounds
– Dual massage system
– Combination of air and water jets
– Comes with extension panel
– ‘Legs-only’ massage option
– 80-gallon capacity requires a large water heater or additional tankless system

AmeriGlide

Price Range
$2,279 to $4,850

Tub Types Available

Soaker, Hydrotherapy, Wheelchair Accessible, Shower Enclosure

About the company

In business since 2004, AmeriGlide offers a wide range of walk-in tubs at its showrooms in multiple states across the U.S. and  Toronto in Ontario, Canada. AmeriGlide walk-in tubs range from smaller tubs with a compact, free-standing design to full bathing and wheelchair-accessible tubs.

All walk-in tubs on AmeriGlide’s website include the tub’s dimensions, features and a set starting price, along with prices for additional features so customers can select which package best suits their needs. All AmeriGlide tubs come with a lifetime warranty on door seals, a 10-year warranty on the tub itself and a 1-year warranty on the faucets.

Noteworthy product features
  • Step-in threshold as low as 6 inches
  • ADA-compliant seat
  • Anti-slip surfacing
  • Stainless steel frames and acrylic or triple gel-coated fiberglass shells

Ariel Bath

Price Range
$1,856 to $5,475

 

Tub Types Available
Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy
 

Ariel Bath has been making affordable bathroom products since 2005, produces a line of 20 walk-in bathtubs, many of which are available at major retailers such as Home Depot. Whereas other company’s tubs may hover around the $5,000 price point, Ariel’s tubs are among the most affordable with walk-in tubs starting at $2,000. This makes them a great option for those looking for a well-made accessible bathtub who don’t mind sacrificing such features as hydrotherapy and aero therapy. Ariel focuses on accessibility over flash with low thresholds, ample grab bars and ADA compliant seating. 

Our Recommendation:

Ariel 5 ft. Walk-in BathtubThis affordably priced walk-in tub features a low threshold and an ample bar and non-skid floor for accessibility, making it an ideal choice for those on a budget.

About the company

Since 2005, Ariel Bath provides high-quality bathroom products at more affordable prices than some competitors. The company offers a line of more than 20 walk-in tubs and free shipping on all walk-in tubs anywhere in the continental U.S.

The tubs come with a 1-year warranty on defects in workmanship and materials for structural, electrical, mechanical, sprayer, finish and glass components. You can order Ariel walk-in tubs from the company website or at certain home improvement stores and other retail outlets.

Noteworthy product features
  • Made of Gelcoat with reinforced fiberglass
  • Tubs drain within two minutes
  • Offers curbside delivery by common carrier
  • Some of the most affordably priced walk-in bathtubs
  • Available at several major retailers
  • Tubs offer ADA compliant seating
 

Bathing Solutions

 
Price Range
$3,500 to $6,000

 

Tub Types Available
Soaker, Bariatric, Wheelchair Accessible
 
About the company

Founded in 2000, Bathing Solutions is an industry leader in walk-in tubs. Its tubs are designed to fit into the space of a standard bathtub and feature one-piece construction for leak and structural change prevention. Bathing Solutions tests and certifies all its walk-in tubs to meet all plumbing, mechanical and electrical codes to ensure quality and safety. All of the company’s walk-in tubs have a lifetime warranty on the stainless steel frame, tub shell, tub finish and door seal. Bathing Solutions walk-in tubs must be ordered from the company website.

Noteworthy product features
  • Polished, stainless steel frame for exceptional strength, durability and longevity
  • Watertight door that forms a hydro seal when latched
  • 17-inch ADA-compliant seat and built-in grab bar for safety
  • Aromatherapy, chromotherapy and ozone sanitizer upgrades available

Ellas Bubbles (Best Overall)

Price Range
$3,325 to $9,767
Tub Types Available
Soaker, Wheelchair Accessible, Two-seater, Lay-down

We especially recommend the Ella Transfer26 Walk-In Tub

Ella’s Bubbles is a well-known OEM manufacturer of acrylic walk-in bathtubs based in Chicago, Illinois. They make a wide range of walk-in tubs designed for people with reduced mobility. Ella Transfer26 Walk-In Tub is a great option for homes with narrow doorways where a standard-sized tub can’t be installed. This ADA-compliant premium unit is built with all of the same features offered in larger models, including dual two-inch drains, a secure two-latch door, a reversible end panel for left or right installation, and three removable access panels.

The L-shaped door makes for easy access and allows the door to swing over an adjacent toilet, allowing for installation in areas where space is limited. Wall and deck-mounted safety bars are standard, and the unit is built with adjustable leveling legs to enable easy draining. The Transfer26 is available in a variety of packages with options, such as hydro massage, jetting and an in-line water heater. Pricing for this walk-in tub starts at $4,080.

Every Ella tub is backed by a limited lifetime warranty of the door, frame and shell, and the company maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau

Ella distinguishes itself from its competitors in the walk-in tub market with a large variety of tub configurations, styles, and sizes—more than two dozen different tub types in total. Ella’s product offerings include both soaker and lay-down style, shower-tub combinations, two-person tubs, wheelchair-friendly tubs, and many more. All told, the variety of sizes and styles of walk-in tubs offered by Ella is nearly unmatched.

 

Features of this premium whirlpool tub include an 18 GPM fast-fill faucet, two safety grab bars, double two-inch drains and a triple massage system with a separate leg and foot-only option. Measuring in at 29.75″ x 59.75,” this unit is the same length and width as a standard residential bathtub, making it an easy upgrade of an existing tub. Unlike most other walk-in tubs that have solid doors, this tub has a transparent door trimmed in chrome for a sleek, high-end look and feel.

Door Style and Accessibility

Given Ella’s variety of tub options, it should be unsurprising to learn that Ella also has varied door styles available in its product offerings. Ella offers tubs with both U-shaped doors with both inward and outward swinging options. Ella also has more handicap-accessible, ADA-compliant tub designs than many of its competitors, all of which include an outward-swinging L-shaped door that allows for easy wheelchair transfers.

Safety Features

Ella’s safety features include support handrails that can be mounted in a variety of shapes and positioned on both the interior and exterior surfaces of the tub, which allows users good support when moving in or out of the tub or repositioning. Ella tubs also include a thermostatic control valve as a standard feature to minimize the risk that the user will be scalded by hot water.

Tub and Hardware Materials

Ella offers both acrylic and gelcoat tub options, which means that users have a choice between the more durable acrylic and the more affordable fiberglass material. However, one downside is that Ella’s acrylic tubs are not available for every size and configuration due to the manufacturing process, so you should check to be sure that Ella offers your preferred design in acrylic. In terms of hardware, Ella provides several different options including brass and both brushed and polished stainless steel.

Fill and Drain System

One of Ella’s best attributes is its rapid fill and drain systems. The quick fill faucet technology has a maximum fill rate of 16 gallons per minute, which fills a standard tub in under 4 minutes. On the drain side, Ella tubs come with a gravity-based dual drain system that they claim reduces the wait time of a traditional drain to under 2 minutes. However, both the fill and drain features may take longer depending on your home’s existing plumbing.

Jets and Other Therapeutic Options

Ella’s tubs include an impressive array of therapeutic features. Ella’s hydro massage system uses 24 water jets placed throughout the tub to target different parts of the body, an air massage system with adjustable speed controls, and a unique infusion microbubble therapy feature which infuses the bath with billions of microbubbles to stimulate the skin. Ella tubs also come with chromatherapy options as well.

Cost

Pricing information about Ella tubs is fairly easy to find online. Most options fall between $3,000 and $6,000 just for the cost of the tub, with some options—particularly the handicap-accessible and larger models—tending to come in at a higher cost.

Installation

If you choose an Ella tub, professional installers can conduct a consultation to make sure that you have the right type, size, and features for your space. Ella has a trained network of professional installers who can then install the tub in your home in as little as one day.

Warranty

Ella’s warranty is one of the strongest on the market, with a limited lifetime warranty on all parts of the tub. This is in contrast to other competitors who offer different warranty lengths on components of the tub and usually only guarantee the tub’s seal for life.

Company Reputation

Compared to other brands, Ella is a newer entrant to the walk-in tub market, having around 15 years of experience designing and installing walk-in tubs. However, in that short span, Ella has developed a strong company reputation thanks to its quality product array. One indication of this is Ella’s A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Ella has additionally been accredited by the BBB since 2015, which means that Ella meets the BBB’s highest standards for fairness and integrity in its business practices.

Recommendation

With its unmatched array of tub types and features, excellent warranty, and reasonable pricing, Ella is one of the strongest, most well-rounded companies on the walk-in tub market. These qualities make Ella our choice for the Overall Best Walk-In Tub Company.

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Ella has been making luxury walk-in bathtubs since 2005. Its line of 25 walk-in tubs are loaded with luxury features and come at a premium price with some costing more than $7,000. Ella’s walk-in tubs, which include wheelchair transfer models, also come loaded with impressive features you won’t find on other walk-in tubs, including ozone sterilization, a water temperature control valve, chromatherapy and a foot massager.

Ella tubs also come with both air massage as well as hydrotherapy jets. Ella’s tubs are widely available via both online retailers such as Amazon as well as brick and mortar stores, including Lowes. 

Our Recommendation:

Ella Wheelchair Transfer 30This wheelchair-accessible bathtub features a wide door that opens outward, an ergonomic seat, and massaging whirlpool jets. Grab bars on the top of the outer wall and interior of the inner wall give the bather something to hold on to when sliding in and out of the tub. The tub features 17 massage jets that provide massaging relief to the back, legs, and feet, and two drains that empty the tub in about 80 seconds. 

Brand Features

  • Makes line of wheelchair transfer tubs
  • Includes unique features such as ozone sterilization and chromatherapy
  • Tubs feature durable acrylic and stainless steel construction
About the company

In business since 2005, Ella’s Bubbles offers a line of more than 25 luxurious walk-in tubs. All tubs are made with solid, long-lasting acrylic in a high-gloss finish atop a rust-proof, stainless steel frame and several fiberglass mesh and Gelcoat layers. Ella’s Bubbles offers many optional luxury features, including foot massage, chromotherapy, ozone sterilization and a control valve to regulate the temperature of the water before it reaches the faucet.

All walk-in tubs come with a limited lifetime warranty on the tub shell, frame, motors, pumps, fixtures, electronic controls, faucet, drain and overflow. You can purchase Ella’s Bubbles walk-in tubs via Amazon and many other retailers.

Noteworthy product features
 

Highlights

  • Dual two” drains allow the tub to fully empties in about 80 seconds
  • Transparent door
  • Easy-to-clean, white acrylic finish over a reinforced fiberglass shell and a stainless steel frame
  • Can be installed in a two-wall, three-wall setting or as a free-standing unit
  • nine adjustable legs for leveling
  • 26 hydro and air jets
  • Separate foot-massage system can be operated without completely filling tub
  • Includes two-four’ supply lines and two overflow valves
  • 1500W in-line water heater to maintain a comfortable bathing temperature
  • Push-button ozone sterilization system
  • LED lighting system
  • Limited lifetime warranty on door seal, frame and shell
  • Most tubs have 14 strategically placed water jets to help relieve arthritis, muscle or joint pain
  • Heated seat and back on all walk-in tubs for comfort while filling

Cons Of Ellas Bubbles

two 120V hard-wired connections with dedicated GFCI breakers are required, which involved hiring an electrician. One reviewer mentioned that “the only thing we don’t like too well is that the air massage is quite strong and causes a tremendous amount of bubbling in the water

Ella Transfer26 Walk-In Tub

Best Walk-In Tub for Narrow Doors

Ella Transfer26 Walk-In Tub is a great option for homes with narrow doorways where a standard-sized tub can’t be installed. This ADA-compliant premium unit is built with all of the same features offered in larger models, including dual two-inch drains, a secure two-latch door, a reversible end panel for left or right installation, and three removable access panels.

The L-shaped door makes for easy access and allows the door to swing over an adjacent toilet, allowing for installation in areas where space is limited. Wall and deck-mounted safety bars are standard, and the unit is built with adjustable leveling legs to enable easy draining. The Transfer26 is available in a variety of packages with options, such as hydro massage, jetting and an in-line water heater. Pricing for this walk-in tub starts at $4,080.

Highlights

  • Measures just 26″ W x 52″ L, making it perfect for installation in homes with narrow doorways
  • Two preinstalled grab bars for safety
  • ADA compliant
  • Easy-to-clean acrylic finish with textured, slip-resistant floor
  • Comfortable 20″ W molded seat with a soaking depth of 38″
  • 45-gallon capacity
  • L-shaped outward-swing door that can be removed for cleaning
  • Dual drains for rapid draining
  • Extension panel included for a clean installation in 60″ L openings
  • 7″ threshold height
  • 5-piece faucet set with retractable handheld shower included
  • Optional upgrades include LED chromotherapy lighting, air and hydro jets and MicroBubble Therapy

The Takeaway

The Ella Transfer26 makes enjoying a safe, comfortable walk-in tub possible for those who have older homes with narrow hallways and doors. This unit has all of the same high-quality features offered in Ella’s larger tubs, so customers don’t have to compromise on quality or comfort.

What Customers Like

Customers commented on the high quality, comfort and attractive look of this walk-in tub. One happy user said, “The bench seat is great. The size and length is perfect for me at 5’6.” Another mentioned, “It came very well packaged and protected.”

What Customers Don’t Like

With a 45-gallon capacity, some users found that they needed to upgrade their existing water heater in order to fill the Ella Transfer26. Others mentioned the need to hire an electrician to install a dedicated breaker to support optional features, such as the in-line heater, adds to the overall cost of the unit.

Ella Companion 60″ Walk-In Whirlpool

Best Two-Person Walk-In Tub

Limited mobility shouldn’t keep you from doing the things you enjoy — that’s why Ella’s Bubbles, an industry-leading U.S. manufacturer of walk-in tubs, offers the Ella Companion 60″ Walk-In Whirlpool. Designed and built in Chicago, Illinois, this two-seat model allows two adults to bathe together in safety and comfort while enjoying a relaxing water massage from the 39 water jets.

This innovative walk-in tub holds up to 95 gallons of water, has an integrated safety grab bar and a textured floor for secure footing. As with all Ella tubs, it’s covered by a lifetime limited warranty on the acrylic shell, metal frame and door as well as a with a five-year warranty on parts. The unit costs $8,237.

Highlights

  • Two-person, walk-in whirlpool that fits into a standard bathtub opening
  • 39 high-powered jets provide a relaxing whirlpool experience
  • Dual two” drains
  • Includes a retractable, handheld shower head
  • Center door for easy access
  • Generous 32.5″ soaking depth
  • Tub-mounted faucet
  • Seven height-adjustable legs for leveling the tub
  • Integrated ozone sterilization unit for sanitation
  • 95-gallon capacity

The Takeaway

If you’re looking to enjoy an in-home spa experience with that special someone, the Ella Companion 60″ may be the right walk-in tub for you. It’s designed and manufactured in Chicago and available through a network of nationwide dealers.

What Customers Like

As with all other Ella’s Bubbles bathtubs, this unit is well-loved by consumers. One reviewer commented, “This tub is awesome! Exactly as described works great!” They went on to say, “My MIL loves it! She’s 85 and we just finished her master suite in our house for her.”

What Customers Don’t Like

Although the overall satisfaction level with this tub is high, some consumers were worried about the 95-gallon water capacity and the amount of added weight this involved. One reviewer mentioned, “My only concern with this tub is the number of knobs and buttons — there are a lot of features and options that can be a bit overwhelming for my father-in-law.”

Ella Bariatric 35 Air and Hydro Massage Whirlpool Walk-In Tub

Best Bariatric Walk-In Tub

Customers who want a walk-in tub that offers plenty of room without compromising on features can appreciate the spacious and well-equipped Ella Bariatric 35 Air and Hydro Massage Whirlpool Walk-In Tub. It offers a relaxing 36.5 inches of soaking depth combined with 18 air jets and six hydro jets, providing a therapeutic bathing experience.

This walk-in tub can be ordered with either a left or right-hand door, and it holds between 80 and 100 gallons of water when occupied, depending on the size of the bather. It plugs into a standard 120V GFCI outlet, however, it’s important to know that a dedicated circuit may be needed.

As with all Ella’s Bubbles walk-in bathtubs, the Ella Bariatric 35 comes with a limited lifetime warranty on the tub shell, door seal and the stainless steel frame, and a five-year parts warranty.

Highlights

  • 5″ threshold height
  • Accommodates bathers weighing up to 600 lbs.
  • 115-gallon capacity
  • Comfortable 17″ H x 30.5″ W seat
  • 18 air jets with adjustable three-speed air pump
  • Six hydro jets
  • Integrated in-line heater
  • 36.5″ soaking depth
  • five-piece faucet set with hand-held showerhead
  • Slip-resistant floor and a built-in grab bar
  • 1500W heater

The Takeaway

Customers who are in the market for a high-quality, walk-in whirlpool tub that’s spacious, comfortable and safe to use should take a look at the Ella Bariatric 35 Air and Hydro Massage Whirlpool Walk-In tub. Measuring 35-inches across, it’s the widest tub in the Ella’s Bubbles lineup, while the 55-inch length is made to fit into a standard-sized bathtub opening.

What Customers Like

One customer wrote, “I will be 89 years young in 2 months … the ability to keep water at the same temperature and receive massage from the wonderfully, movable jets gives me immense relief from much pain and allows me most nights to get real sound sleep.” Others like the overall quality of the unit, while some happy bathers appreciated the generous-sized seat.

What Customers Don’t Like

Reviewers mentioned that at an average time of five minutes, draining is somewhat slow, especially when compared to other walk-in bathtubs. Some complained that the swing-in door can be awkward, particularly for those who require extra space due to size and/or mobility issues.

Freedom Bathtubs

Price Range
$4,840 to $5,720

 

Tub Types Available
Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy
 

Freedom walk-in bathtubs are manufactured by Accessibility Professionals, Inc., which also makes other accessible and ADA-compliant bath products. Freedom Bathtubs are cost-effective and offer many therapeutic and safety benefits. They come with a 10-year limited warranty on defects of workmanship or material as long as the product is installed and maintained according to the company’s installation and maintenance instructions.

All walk-in tubs also come with a limited lifetime warranty on door seals and a 5-year limited warranty on water and air pumps. You must purchase Freedom walk-in tubs directly from the company.

Noteworthy product features
  • Handheld showerhead and faucet
  • Slip-resistant textured tub floor for safety
  • 17-inch-high seat (and some models come with an extra-wide seat)

Hydro Dimensions

Price Range
$5,000 to $8,764

 

Tub Types Available
Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Lay-down
 

A walk-in tub manufacturer for more than 15 years, Hydro Dimensions offers 16 walk-in tubs, each including a minimal-effort, contoured door latch and 17-inch-high seat. Available walk-in tub upgrades and options include a high-speed drain, air and water massage therapy systems, custom jet placement, a heated backrest and UV or ozone sanitation.

Hydro Dimensions offers a lifetime warranty on the tub, systems and faucet, a 1-year warranty on parts and labor, and a parts-only warranty after one year. You can purchase a Hydro Dimensions walk-in tub from specialized walk-in bathtub dealers across the U.S.

Noteworthy product features
  • Angled grab bar (with option to add additional bars) for stability and safety
  • Handheld shower wand in all tubs
  • Optional high-speed drain and UV or ozone sanitation systems
  • Easy-to-use and easy-to-reach faucet
  • Outward-swinging door for easier access

Meditub

Price Range
$2,336 to $10,100

 

Tub Types Available
Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Wheelchair Accessible
 
About the company
 

Founded in 2007, Meditub makes the largest walk-in bathtubs in the U.S., including wheelchair-accessible tubs and a variety of walk-in tubs designed to fit a standard bathtub opening. Meditub walk-in tubs have a 10-year limited warranty against manufacturer defects on the bathtub shell, frame and finish and a lifetime guarantee on the tub door seal.

Meditub sells its walk-in tubs exclusively through high-end showrooms or certified dealers and has an inventory of at least 2,400 tubs in stock at all times.

Noteworthy product features
  • Extensive selection of both acrylic and Gelcoat models
  • Hydrotherapy units come with an in-line heater at no additional cost
  • Extension kit available to hold soaps, shampoos and other toiletries
  • Optional ergonomic pillow

Universal Tubs

Best for design

Price Range
$2,807 to $5,453

 

Tub Types Available
Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Wheelchair Accessible
 

This tub offers ADA-compliant seating and slip-resistant flooring. “It also has a quick-fill faucet and buttons that are designed to reduce stress on fingers and joints,” said Severson. The tub has a built-in grab bar, and the step-in threshold is 7 1/4 inches tall.

Severson points out that the tub’s drain is powered by a pump, so all the water will drain in about 1 minute. This might be ideal if time and convenience are your priorities.

The tub has specialty features as well. It has 12 adjustable whirlpool massage jets and colored lights, which are used for chromatherapy, or color therapy. Universal Tubs offers a 10-year warranty on the tub shell, frame, and finish, as well as a lifetime warranty on the door’s watertight seal.

 

Universal Tubs is the featured brand of home improvement retailer Home Depot, which makes finding their tubs easier than other boutique brands. With 18 sizes available, all of which offer either a left-drain or right-drain option and ADA compliant seating, Universal Tubs boasts one of the more comprehensive collections of walk-in tubs.

They also are renowned for their leak-free performance, which is due to the bolt-action locks and beefy water-tight seals the company uses with its tubs. Universal tubs also include features that improve accessibility, including low entry thresholds, multiple grab-bars that make it easier to enter and exit, and slip-resistant flooring for safety. Customers will even find some nice additional features not typically found on walk-in tubs, including aromatherapy and chromotherapy. 

Our Recommendation:

Universal Tubs HD Series Walk-in Whirlpool Bath TubA low-step threshold and a door that opens inward make this walk-in tub easier to enter for those with difficulty lifting their feet, while a textured floor helps prevent slips. The bather has the option to engage 13 massage air jets located on the backrest, behind the lower legs, and on the sidewalls via controls conveniently positioned on the top of the front wall. This tub also fills and empties quickly, thanks to a Quick Fill faucet and a power-assisted drain that empties the water in about a minute. 

About the company

Founded in 2011, Universal Tubs are sold exclusively through Home Depot. Universal sells 18 sizes of walk-in tubs, all with either a left-drain or right-drain design. The tubs are made with watertight seals and bolt-action locks to keep the door closed securely.

Door seals on Universal tubs are covered by a lifetime warranty and the tubs themselves have a 10-year warranty extended to the original owner on defects in workmanship and material in the bathtub shell, frame and finish.

Noteworthy product features
  • Low entry thresholds: Entry threshold as low as 6 inches and a built-in grab bar for safety
  • Slip-resistant, textured flooring
  • Aromatherapy and chromotherapy are available on some models
  • ADA-compliant seating
  • Numerous safety features including grab bars and slip-resistant flooring

Universal Tubs HD Series 60″ Right Drain Step-In Walk-In Soaking Bath Tub

Best Budget-Friendly Walk-In Soaker Bathtub

With prices for walk-in tubs reaching upwards of $20,000, finding one that’s budget-friendly can be a real challenge. Thankfully, there’s an option for consumers who want to enjoy the safety of a walk-in bathtub without spending thousands of dollars.

Sold exclusively through Home Depot and made in the United States, Universal Tubs HD Series 60″ Right Drain Step-In Walk-In Soaking Bath Tub is priced at just $1,531, making it one of the most economical options on the market today.

The tub measures 58.5″ L x 29.5″ W, and it has an overall height of 23.75 inches with a soaking depth of 17 inches. It holds 40 gallons of water, which means the average residential water heater is large enough to fill this tub, saving consumers the cost of upgrading their water heater. As with all Universal Tubs, it’s backed with a 12-year warranty on the shell and a lifetime warranty on the door seal, and Home Depot has a 30-day return policy.

Highlights

  • Priced under $1,600
  • Slip-resistant flooring
  • Includes a quick-fill faucet, handheld shower with 60″ reach and a matching tile flange
  • Constructed with marine-grade, glossy-white acrylic reinforced with fiberglass over a freestanding steel frame
  • Right-hand drain and door
  • Designed for easy installation in place of a standard bathtub
  • Free delivery to the nearest Home Depot store or curbside to residential addresses in the United States (except AK, GU, HI, PR or VI)
  • Financing available through the Home Depot Consumer Card and customers can pay with cash, credit card or PayPal

The Takeaway

If you’re looking for a low-cost walk-in tub that’s designed to replace standard tubs, this unit from Universal Tubs may be a great option. It lacks many of the bells and whistles found on more expensive models, such as a seat heater and whirlpool jets, but those savings are passed on to the consumer. Because it holds less water than some other walk-in tubs, most standard residential water heaters are large enough to service the tub.

What Customers Like

Customers like the fact that this walk-in tub is priced well under $2,000, making it an option for those on a tight budget. One reviewer commented, “I think it made a great addition to the home after my mom became handicap … I am so please[d] with this product I told 37 other people about it.” Others commented on the high-quality construction and excellent door seal.

What Customers Don’t Like

A number of customers commented that the eight-inch high threshold is difficult to navigate, especially for those with restricted mobility. Others mentioned that the door is only six inches from the outer edge of the tub, giving it a tight clearance in small bathrooms. Because this is designed as a soaking tub that users can lie down in, there’s no seat, making this particular tub unusable for those who cannot pull themselves up from a prone position.

Universal Tubs Rampart Nova Heated 3.3 ft. Walk-In Whirlpool Bathtub

Best Combination Walk-In Tub

Universal Tubs is a U.S. manufacturer, based in Miami, Florida, of quality bathtubs, tub surrounds and faucets. Their lineup of walk-in tubs includes the Rampart Nova Heated 3.3 ft Walk-in Whirlpool Bathtub that comes complete with an easy-up adhesive shower surround to create a functional combination tub-shower unit.

With an overall length of 38.75 inches, a width of 27 inches and a height of 35.75 inches, this walk-in tub has a relatively small footprint compared to other models, making it perfect for installation in small bathrooms where space is limited. It also includes a wall surround complete with corner caddies to create a combination walk-in tub and shower stall that costs only $3,284.

Sold exclusively at Home Depot stores nationwide, Universal Tubs are available for curbside home delivery in all locations except AK, GU, HI, PR and VI. Eligible customers also have the option of financing their purchase over six months using the Home Depot consumer card, and they can also pay via cash, credit card or PayPal.

Highlights

  • 38.75″ L x 27″ W by 35.75″ H, plus the height of the tub surround
  • 28″ soaking depth
  • 50-gallon capacity
  • 13 adjustable whirlpool jets powered by a 1 HP pump
  • Heated seat backrest
  • Solid stainless steel frame
  • Bathing salts and aromatic oils can be safely used
  • Designed for alcove-style installation
  • Integrated friction heater to maintain comfortable water temperature
  • Slip-resistant floor
  • Includes shower-height wall surround sheets, two corner caddies, clear silicone, caulking and double-sided adhesive strips for installation

The Takeaway

While smaller in size than many other walk-in whirlpool tubs, this combination unit includes many of the same features you’ll find on higher-priced, full-sized models, making it ideal for consumers who want a tub-shower combo that’s affordable and functional. This product may be perfect for those who live in smaller homes or anyone who’s looking for a walk-in tub that requires less than half the amount of water than many larger units.

What Customers Like

Customers commented on the convenience of having a walk-in tub that also functions as a shower, which is particularly important in homes with only one full bathroom. Others mention that the price is fair, especially since the unit includes the wall surround that’s sized to match the tub. One reviewer said they picked this walk-in tub because it didn’t involved upgrading their water heater, as it has a 50-gallon capacity.

What Customers Don’t Like

Despite the overall high satisfaction ratings of this combination walk-in tub and shower, consumers mentioned the lack of an owner’s manual made it difficult to figure out how all the features work. In the words of one reviewer, “The only shortcoming that I see with this tub is that mine came without any sort of owners manual. I got most of the controls figured out … if anything need[s] service in the future, I’d like a working parts list to work from.”

ANZZI –

Best for luxury

Brand Features

  • Affordably priced options
  • Tubs feature multiple grab bars and slip-resistant surfaces
  • Useful features such as chromatherapy aromatherapy

For a spa-like experience, consider this freestanding walk-in tub from ANZZI. “This walk-in bathtub comes with whirlpool jets that provide a soothing massage,” said Ryan Thompson, plumber and owner of Plumbing Informer.

“It has a quick-fill faucet, which can quickly fill up the bathtub. This is important because one of the most common complaints about walk-in bathtubs is that they take too long to fill up.”

The step-in threshold is 4 1/4 inches tall. Other standout safety features include a showerhead with a 60-inch hose, grab bars, textured flooring, and an ADA-compliant seat. The term “ADA-compliant” refers to design standards defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, for accessibility.

In addition to the whirlpool jets, other spa features include color therapy lighting and air jets. The tub has a built-in heater to maintain the water temperature as you bathe.

According to ANZZI, all products come with a lifetime warranty.

Walk-in bathtubs typically cost four or five times as much as a standard bathtub. Given that Medicaid and private insurance rarely cover the cost of a walk-in bathtub, this can make adding one very difficult for anyone on a budget. Anzzi’s walk-in tubs include many of the features and other bells and whistles of more expensive models at a much more affordable price.

Anzzi’s tubs have low threshold, large grab bars and non-slip coatings, making them just as safe as more expensive brands. The company’s tubs also include useful additional features, including quick-fill faucets and fast drains that won’t leave bathers sitting in the cold for many minutes and low thresholds for those with mobility issues. 

Our Recommendation:

ANZZI Soaking Walk-In BathtubIt features excellent accessibility with a broad door, a low threshold, and a wide bench. A large grab bar on the opposite wall helps with entrances and exits, while a nonslip floor prevents falls. Once the bather is seated, a quick-fill faucet ensures the bather won’t have to wait long to enjoy a bath, and there’s an extendable sprayer for easier bathing.

ANZZI 27″ x 53″ Left Drain Walk-In Wide Opening Tub

Best Full-Featured, Great-Value Walk-In Tub

They have a 27″ L x 53″ W walk-in tub retailing for $2,895, making it one of the least expensive jetted walk-in tubs available.

ANZZI’s walk-in, wide-opening tub is packed with high-end features that usually only come with more expensive units, such as 20 air-massage jets, 12 hydro-powered jets and a massive 93-gallon capacity. There’s an auto-drain feature that completely empties the tub in 60 seconds, and the unit comes with a safety-lock feature that prevents the water temperature from exceeding 104 degrees F.

For added luxury, there’s integrated LED lighting controlled with a touch-pad panel, a three-setting shower head and an in-line heater to keep the water at a comfortable temperature while bathing. The three built-in grab bars add safety, while the threshold is just 4.25-inches high, making this bathtub easy to enter and exit.

Highlights

  • Made in Miami, Florida
  • Auto-drain feature empties tub in 60 seconds
  • Equipped with an in-line friction heater to maintain a comfortable water temperature
  • 93-gallon capacity
  • 20 air-massage jets
  • 12 hydro-powered water jets
  • Three-setting shower head with 60″ retractable hose
  • 104 degree F safety lock on integrated thermostatic mixing valve to prevent scalding
  • Color LED lighting
  • Three built-in grab bars
  • Low 4.25″ step-over height for easy entry and exit
  • Generous 23″ wide seat
  • Antislip floor
  • Digital control pad
  • Padded headrest

The Takeaway

Although ANZZI isn’t one of the better-known brands, their walk-in tub could be a real bargain for consumers who want all the attractive accessories normally found in units that costs thousands more. This walk-in whirlpool tub could be a great option for anyone who’s looking for a full-featured walk-in tub that delivers a truly luxurious experience.

What Customers Like

Reviewers say they love the sleek, high-quality fit and finish of this walk-in tub. The relatively low price is also something consumers commented on, especially since it includes a number of added features that normally are only found in much more expensive units.

What Customers Don’t Like

Consumers have expressed concern over the lack of brand recognition, and the fact that ANZZI only sells one type of walk-in tub. Reviewers also commented on the fact that there isn’t any warranty information available on the company website, so it’s unclear whether or not ANZZI stands behind its product in the long run.

Total Care

Total Care in Bathing’s tubs come fully loaded with aero therapy and hydrotherapy jets, built-in heat exchanges that ensure the tub won’t go cold and even luxury add-ons like LED lighting. The company’s walk-in tubs are highly accessible as they offer some of the lowest threshold of any walk-in tub brand and designs with multiple grab bars for safety. The company also offers optional upgrades, including aromatherapy and chromatherapy and a UV sterilizer. All those extra features do come at a price as Total Care in Bathing’s tubs are among the most expensive on the market. 

Our Recommendation:

Total Care in Bathing Walk-In Tub This model showcases much of what Total Care’s walk-in tubs are all about. It boasts a full set of spa functions including 20 air jets, 10 whirlpool jets, and one bidet jet, and a built-in heat exchange ensures that the water temperature stays constant throughout the entire bath. This tub also includes an LED faucet light kit, allowing the user to bathe in darkness while still being able to see the faucet for controls.

Empava

If you’re looking for a freestanding walk-in tub, you might like this 52-inch tub by Empava. “The Empava 52 has a curved and practical shape that makes it easy and convenient to install in bathrooms,” said Thompson. It has safety features like ergonomic control knobs, interior grab bars, and a handrail along the rim. The door is extra wide, and the floor is slip resistant.

A unique feature is the extra-low step-in clearance height, which is less than 4 inches tall. “[This] is great for people who don’t want to, or can’t, raise their feet too high when entering the tub,” said Thompson. Empava also offers a 3-year limited parts warranty.

Empava makes a broad line of bathtubs and kitchen appliances, all of which are well-regarded for their quality. The company uses high quality acrylic in its tub construction. With thresholds that are as low as 4 inches, Empava’s tubs are also among the most accessible on the market.

Empava’s products are also versatile, with many of its models coming in multiple sizes to suit different needs and spaces. 

Our Recommendation:

Empava Acrylic Walk-in BathtubA broad curved door with a low threshold height of 4 inches makes it one of the most accessible tubs for those who struggle to raise their feet. Adding to that accessibility are deck-mounted grab bars on the right side and left side of the doorway and a third on the other side of the faucet. It’s also versatile with three length options—48 inches, 52.5 inches, and 67 inches.

Get the Empava Acrylic Walk-in Bathtub at Amazon for $2638.42

Brand Features

  • Tubs are available at various offline and online retailers
  • Empava’s walk-in tubs are more affordable than other brands
  • Empava tubs feature numerous grab bars and low threshold heights

Therapeutic Tubs HandiTub 60″ x 30″ Whirlpool and Air Jetted Wheelchair Accessible Bathtub

Best ADA-Compliant, Wheelchair-Accessible Walk-In Tub

While walk-in tubs are easier and safer to use than standard bathtubs, most walk-in tubs aren’t fully wheelchair accessible because the doors are too small to transfer directly from a mobility device. The good news is that the Therapeutic Tubs makes a fully ADA-compliant whirlpool tub designed especially for wheelchair use.

This 60″ L x 30″ W walk-in tub fits into any standard bathtub space, making it perfect for use when upgrading a bathroom. The oversized door swings out for ease of access, while the large 29-inch wide seat makes for smooth chair-to-tub transfers.

The tub holds up to 80 gallons of water and includes 26 air injectors to deliver a relaxing, spa-style bathing experience. There’s also integrated aromatherapy and chromotherapy options, a four-piece faucet set with shower and side paneling for a clean installation. It’s priced at $4,299.

Highlights

  • -ADAcompliant, walk-in tub with oversized wheelchair accessible door
  • Grab bar, nonslip floor and low threshold make this tub safe and easy to use
  • Four-piece, Roman-style faucet set with shower head included
  • 80-gallon capacity
  • Integrated aromatherapy and chromotherapy (color-light therapy)
  • Stainless steel frame
  • Tub-mounted faucet
  • Low seat for shoulder-height soaking
  • 400 lbs. user weight capacity

The Takeaway

Consumers who are searching for a true ADA-compliant, wheelchair-accessible tub should take a look at the HandiTub from Therapeutic Tubs. With it’s oversized, swing-out door and large seat, transferring in and out from a wheelchair is safe and comfortable, while more than two-dozen jets provide bathers with a relaxing water massage.

What Customers Like

In general, customers are very happy with this tub, and one reviewer wrote, “This is more than I needed but at 1/3 the price of [comparable name-brand models] at Home Depot, why not get all the bells and whistles?” Another says, “This tub is a dream for me! After 2 knee surgeries, I can’t wait to be able to have a nice long bath!”

What Customers Don’t Like

Despite the high ratings for this wheelchair-accessible tub, some consumers have mentioned the lack of a heated seat or backrest takes away from the spa-like experience. One reviewer wrote, “Directions [are] a little hard to follow and hidden electric cords made this a 4 star rather than 5.” Another mentioned that they needed to install a new water heater just to fill the tub, which added to installation costs.

Summary: Best Walk-In Tubs

MANUFACTURER PRICE RANGE TUB TYPES AVAILABLE LEARN MORE

Kohler

$4,000 to $12,000 Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


American Standard

 

 

$3,592 to $11,767 Soaker, aerotherapy, hydrotherapy Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


AmeriGlide

 

 

$2,279 to $4,850 Soaker, Hydrotherapy, Wheelchair Accessible, Shower Enclosure Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Ariel Bath

 

 

$1,856 to $5,475 Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Bathing Solutions

 

 

$3,500 to $6,000 Soaker, Bariatric, Wheelchair Accessible Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Ella’s Bubbles

 

 

$3,325 to $9,767 Soaker, Wheelchair Accessible, Two-seater, Lay-down Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Freedom Bathtubs

 

 

$4,840 to $5,720 Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Hydro Dimensions

 

 

$5,000 to $8,764 Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Lay-down Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Meditub

 

 

$2,336 to $10,100 Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Wheelchair Accessible Get Quotes

 

 

 

 


Universal Tubs

 

 

$2,807 to $5,453 Soaker, Aerotherapy, Hydrotherapy, Wheelchair Accessible Get Quotes

 

 

 


The Pros and Cons of Walk-In Tubs

PROS CONS
Independence for people aging in place Expensive
Comfort and potential health benefits Difficult to install and may require electrical or plumbing upgrades
Safety features to prevent slipping and reduce fall risk Potential increased water usage
ADA compliance ensures high quality Additional parts means greater possibility for maintenance

What are the disadvantages of walk-in tubs?

  • Fill and drain time: Because users must be in the tub with the door sealed for the full time that a walk-in tub is filling and draining, bathers spend more time sitting and waiting at the beginning and end of their baths. Further, walk-in tubs that have a taller height to accommodate greater water depth may also take longer to fill and drain. Unlike a bathtub, a walk-in tub cannot be filled before you enter. For a walk-in bathtub to work, you’ll have to enter the tub, lock the door and wait for the tub to fill up. Takes time to fill and drain a walk-in tub. It’s an issue because you have to be in the tub, with the door closed, while the tub fills and drains. That’s why we recommend walk-in tubs with heated seating and quick filling and fast draining times.
  • Temperature control: Similarly, because users must sit in the tub as it fills and drains, they may be uncomfortable if water runs too hot or too cold when filling or if the temperature cools too quickly while draining. Some tubs do have features for temperature control when filling, especially to avoid scalding water.
  • Leaks and flooding: While doors are designed to minimize any leaks, an improperly installed tub or a door that is not latched and secured appropriately could lead to gallons of water spilling into the bathroom. This is especially a risk with tubs that have outward-facing doors, which can fail against the weight of water in the tub.
  • Cost: Walk-in units and the associated expenses of installation can be very pricey compared to a regular tub, with thousands of dollars in costs even at the low end. This expense may be prohibitive for some individuals who might otherwise prefer to install a walk-in tub. Walk-in tubs are more expensive than regular tubs. They often require professional installation. This is usually done by removing the old tub, which both opens up space and provides adequate plumbing hookups.
  • Some walk-in tubs may require a larger hot water tank in your house
  • Walk-in tubs require a little more cleaning and maintenance than standard tubs

What are the advantages of walk-in tubs?

  • Accessibility: One of the main reasons people elect to install a walk-in tub is because they are easier to get into and out of, especially for older or disabled individuals. The lower threshold to enter and features like built-in seats or wheelchair access help improve accessibility for people who might have more difficulty with a standard tub design. Walk-in tubs are great for seniors with mobility restrictions. Those in wheelchairs can transfer from their wheelchair to the seated position of the tub and bathe. Seniors who have a hard time standing up for long periods of time will also benefit from the tub’s seat.
  • Safety: Walk-in tubs are also designed to make slips and falls more infrequent. These tubs usually have built-in handrails or grippy, non-slip surfaces that keep users safer when getting in and out. With built-in seats in many models, users are kept in a more vertical position, which also reduces the risk that they might slip or fall when trying to stand up as they might in a lay-down tub.
  • Comfort: Some walk-in tub features also make the bathing experience more comfortable for any user. One of the more comfortable features in many walk-in tubs is their elevated seats, which are easier on users’ knees. Walk-in tubs may also have other add-ons like water jets similar to a whirlpool tub.
  • Value for the home: A walk-in tub is often a unique, distinguishing feature for a bathroom, which can help boost the value of one’s home when selling compared to similar homes with standard bath fixtures. A walk-in tub will be particularly valuable in markets with older buyers who wish to age in place.
  • Massage jets can help soothe pain, while other options, like aromatherapy and chromatherapy, provide a relaxing experience.
  • Safe & easy to get in and out, with low walkover threshold
  • Prevents falls with non-slip floors, ADA recommended seating, grab bars & easy walk-in
  • Preserves independence, by allowing assistance free bathing
  • Provides pain relief and increased range of motion for sore and stiff joints and muscles
  • Wheelchair bound individuals can transfer easily from chair to tub

Who Needs A Walk-in Tub?

You Have Difficulty Getting in & Out of a Regular Tub or Shower

 

One in three adults have difficulty getting in and out of a bathtub. Stepping over a regular bathtub’s side can be a significant challenge for many with mobility or balance issues and presents a big risk for falling. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 30% of older adults fall each year, and the majority of those falls take place in the bathroom.

Solution: Walk-in tubs have a swinging door, with a low threshold of 3-8 inches to step over, making it easy to walk in and out of the bath tub safely and securely.

You Have Difficulty Sitting Down and Getting Up in a Regular Tub

Sometimes just sitting down and getting up in a bathtub is difficult, even with grab bars. It requires strength and balance both on the way up and down. It can also be difficult and awkward for caregivers to provide assistance.

Solution: Walk in tubs have built in seats usually at the ADA suggested height of 17 inches, with grab bars and non-slip surfaces making it easy to get up and down without the assistance of a caregiver.

You Fear Falling or Had a Recent Fall

Bathtubs and showers cause more older adults to fall than any other area of a home. Whether it’s getting in and out, up and down, slippery surfaces or standing on one leg, bath tubs and showers are high risk areas for older adults.

Solution: Walk in tubs were designed to prevent falls as best possible. They have low walk-in thresholds with swinging doors, so they’re easy to get in and out of. They typically have a built-in contoured non-slip seat at an ADA recommended height of 17 inches, so it’s easy to sit down and get up. They have a built-in grab bar to further stabilize yourself as you get in, sit down and get up and out of the tub. And most have non-slip, textured floors to prevent slipping.

You Have Arthritis or Joint Pain

If you suffer from arthritis, chronic pain, soreness, stiffness, diabetes, restless leg syndrome or cramping, finding relief is not easy.

Solution: Research at Harvard has shown heat and the soothing water and air jets offered in the best walk in bath tubs to be an effective therapeutic treatment, relieving pain and increasing range of motion in a safe, convenient spa like environment in your own home.

You Use a Wheelchair or are Immobile

If you have a wheelchair or are otherwise immobile, it can be next to impossible to get into a regular tub or take a shower, even with adaptive devices. Even with caregiver help the task can be exceptionally difficult and dangerous.

Solution: The best walk in tubs have swinging doors with a wider opening, designed specifically to make it easier to transfer directly from your wheelchair to the seat inside the walk in tub.

You Have Difficulty Fitting in to a Standard Sized Tub

If you’re larger than average, fitting into a standard sized bathtub or shower can be very difficult and uncomfortable.

Solution: Bariatric walk-in bath tubs are specifically designed for larger sized individuals. Both the seat and the entrance to the tub are wider, making for a more comfortable bathing experience and more water available.

Size Of Walk In Tubs

Walk-in bathtubs come in various sizes, so it’s essential to choose one that fits the space.  Some are the same standard size as a regular bathtub (60 inches long by 30 inches wide), which is convenient when selecting a walk-in tub to replace a traditional one.

Walk-in bathtubs are also available in smaller lengths, including 45.5 inches, 48 inches, and 52 inches. Of course, walk-in bathtubs are significantly taller than standard models to provide the depth required:  about 42 inches high, compared to most standard tubs measuring around 20 inches high

It’s important that you have enough room for your new walk-in tub. If you aren’t planning on performing any serious bathroom renovations, you’ll want to take a look at the size of your existing tub.

Walk-in tub models are typically around 60 inches long, the same length as a traditional tub. They can range from 25 to 60 inches in terms of width, though the 30-32″ range is most common.

What Is a Walk-In Tub and How Do They Work?

With a walk-in tub, you simply open a hinged, water-tight door, step inside (or transfer from a wheelchair) and take a seat on a built-in bench. You then fill the tub, bathe or shower, and drain the tub before getting out.

Entering a traditional tub is potentially exhausting and risky for anyone with mobility issues. The process can cause anxiety for caregivers as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 non-fatal bathroom injuries occurred in the United States in 2008 (the last time the CDC studied them), sending thousands of people to emergency rooms. Bathtub and shower injuries were four times more frequent in people older than 85 than in those ages 15 and 24.

With a walk-in design, seniors may be able to bathe independently when they couldn’t before. “A walk-in tub provides a seat that is chair-height, making stand-to-sit and sit-to-stand easier,” says Debra Young, vice president of the American Occupational Therapy Association and owner of EmpowerAbility, a consultancy in Newark, Delaware, focused on improving accessibility and inclusive design.

A walk-in tub’s lower-entry threshold makes it safer and easier for a person to get in and out compared to navigating the high walls of a conventional tub, Young says. Most walk-in tubs are equipped with grab bars, non-slip surfaces and anti-scald devices to further enhance the safety of bathers.

“When considering whether a walk-in tub is the right fit, a person’s range of motion, strength, balance and coordination should all be taken into consideration,” Young says. Additionally, future abilities and bathing needs should be weighed, she advises.

5 Types of Walk-In Tubs

From basic styles to state-of-the-art innovations, walk-in tubs vary greatly.

Walk-In Soaking Tubs

A soaker tub is the most basic walk-in tub design. These tubs are deep enough for your torso and lower body to soak fully submerged while seated on the built-in bench. Soaker tubs don’t include water or air jets, so the bathwater is still.

Many walk-in bathtubs are soaker style, which have higher vertical walls to allow users to submerge more of their body while sitting upright.

Lay-down

In contrast to soaker tubs, lay-down walk-in tubs frequently have the same design as a standard bathtub (apart from the door), allowing the user to stretch out their legs and recline a little bit while sitting in the tub.

Aerotherapy Tubs

Aerotherapy walk-in tubs release air bubbles into the water from holes in the sides of the tub, providing a gentle massage that can have therapeutic benefits.

“Both hydrotherapy and aerotherapy walk-in tubs may benefit persons who may have muscle aches, muscle spasms, tightness or and/or pain,” says Young. “It’s recommended to consult with a doctor prior to hydrotherapy and/or aerotherapy to ensure there are no precautions or contraindications based on potential medical history and/or current health conditions.”

These tubs may not be good for people with balance issues, open wounds or skin infections, according to Young.

Hydrotherapy Tubs

Much like a conventional whirlpool tub, hydrotherapy walk-in tubs use therapeutically placed water jets to massage sore muscles. People with hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions are commonly warned to check with their doctor before using such a tub.

Bariatric Tubs

Bariatric walk-in tubs feature a wider seat design for the comfort and safety of larger people. While regular walk-in tubs accommodate people up to 300 pounds, a bariatric tub’s capacity is up to 600 pounds.

Bariatric tubs are larger tubs with wider seats and entry ways, ideal for larger individuals and the handicapped. A standard tub is designed for those under 300 pounds. Bariatric tubs can accomodate a person of almost any size and still include all the safety features of a regular walk-in tub, such as a low threshold, grab bar, built-in contoured seat and textured non-slip floors. They also typically have doors that allow for easy transfer from a wheelchair to the tub seat.

Wheelchair Accessible Tubs

Wheelchair accessible tubs are designed to allow people in wheelchairs to transfer more safely and easily from their chairs onto the tub’s bench. Thanks to a wider door, lower threshold and chair-height seat adjacent to the door, a bather can transfer onto the seat unobstructed, lessening their fall risk.

Another option for those with mobility concerns is a “sliding wall tub.” With this tub, a sliding wall creates an extra-wide entry opening. The tub floor can be raised to chair height.

“The extra-wide opening and chair-height tub surface allow more space for users with diverse abilities to enter and exit the bath via a variety of transfer methods,” says Young. “Sliding wall tubs also allow the user to be completely immersed in a reclined position versus in a seated position.”

Shower-tub combinations

Choosing a walk-in tub does not mean having to sacrifice the occasional shower. In fact, having showers built into a walk-in bathtub can help address concerns about the length of time it takes to bathe in a walk-in by offering a quicker, more convenient alternative. A walk-in shower-tub combination simply includes an overhead shower component along with the side door and occasionally higher walls that come with a walk-in tub.

2-person tubs

For those who want to bathe with a companion, some manufacturers provide walk-in tubs designed for multiple users. Typically, these configurations come in one of two styles: either the tub itself is wider and two seats are positioned next to one another, or two built-in seats face each other with the walk-in door in the middle.

Buyer Tips To Find The Best Walk in Tub

We used several criteria when selecting models for our list of the best walk-in bathtubs. Considering that the most important feature of a walk-in tub is accessibility, we chose models designed for easier entering and exiting, including low door thresholds, wide doorways, and multiple grab bars. Sitting for many minutes while waiting for the tub to fill and empty can be tedious and uncomfortable, so we opted for models with fast-fill faucets and power drains. We also favored units with spa features such as whirlpool and air jets for massage. While cost was not a major factor, we looked for models with reasonable prices for the features provided and sought to include a range that includes affordable basic models as well as walk-in tubs loaded with high-end accoutrements.

Step Threshold

The step threshold is the portion of the tub wall between the bottom of the door and the bottom of the tub. Thresholds vary in height from as little as 3 inches to as much as 7 inches. The lower the threshold, the easier the tub is to enter for those with mobility issues.

The lower the lip to get into the walk in tub the better. That said, most walk in tubs have a walk-in threshold height range of 3 to 8 inches. Not sure whether the 5 inches makes a difference for the majority of people, but a lower threshold height can help some who have difficulty raising their legs. The whole point of a walk-in tub is to make it easy to get into and out of – the lower the threshold the better.

How high a tub threshold will you be able to handle now and in the future? Walk-in tub entry thresholds vary in height. For instance, Kohler’s walk-in tubs feature a 3-inch threshold while other manufacturers’ models can be as tall as 7 inches.

Heated Seating

Because you have to sit in the tub with the door closed while it fills and drains, we recommend heated seating. It increases your warmth and comfort while at your most vulnerable moment!

Grab Bars or Handrails

Because so many people need grab bars, many walk-in tubs have them. Young recommends visiting a showroom to test a walk-in tub’s grab bar location. Many factors, including the bather’s arm and leg strength, range of motion, grip strength, balance and coordination (plus their height, weight and body measurements) affect optimal grab bar placement. Check with your contractor, dealer or manufacturer to find out if a tub’s built-in grab bars can be moved to best meet your needs. Consider installing grab bars outside the tub to further prevent falls and injuries.

Most walk-in tubs have handrails and grab bars that help occupants steady themselves as they enter and exit the tub. Grab bars are the smaller rounded metal bars that allow bathers to pull themselves up from or lower themselves down into the tub. Handrails are long and typically extend along the tub’s deck, providing something sturdy for the bather to grasp while entering and exiting the tub. It’s important to note the height and positioning of both to make sure they suit the occupant’s height and range of motion.

Non-Slip Surface

A bathtub slip-and-fall accident may be even more serious to a user with limited mobility, so the tub’s nonslip bottom is an essential factor. As a rule of thumb, a rougher texture is a better option than a smoother one. It’s also possible to add nonslip bathtub rugs and mats or stickers to the bottom to improve traction.

Choose a tub with a surface that’s safe when it’s wet. Most walk-in tubs feature non-slip surfaces.

We recommend a textured surface over a smooth one, noting that adding a bath mat and traction stickers inside the tub will further decrease the risk of falls. A non-slip rug or mat outside the tub is also essential.

Drainage Time

Before you can open the door to get out of a walk-in tub, it has to be completely drained or you’ll have a flood. Waiting for the tub to drain while you’re wet is not fun. While some tubs can take 5-10 minutes to drain, the best walk in tubs will have quick drain times in the 80-120 second range.

Filling Time

Since the occupant must be inside a walk-in tub while it is filling and draining, the amount of time it takes to do both is important; otherwise the bather may become uncomfortably cold while they wait. How quickly a tub fills depends mainly on the amount of water pressure from the home’s water heater, but this typically ranges from 60 to 70 psi. Quick-drain tubs will empty in as little as 4 minutes, shorter than the roughly 6 to 10 minutes it can take a conventional tub to drain.

Because walk-in tubs are filled and drained while you sit inside them, an unclothed person can get chilly. A tub’s fill time depends on the flow rate from your water heater, and drainage time varies among tub models. Quick-drain tubs can drain in four minutes or less while conventional-drain tubs may take anywhere from six to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, choosing a tub with a heated seat or installing a ceiling heater in the bathroom can help keep you or your loved one warm as the tub fills and drains.

Inward vs. Outward Walk-In Tub Door

Walk-in tub doors open either inward (toward the tub) or outward (toward the room). Outward-opening doors are generally easier to move through, especially for people transferring from wheelchairs. However, an inward-opening door may be necessary if your bathroom is small.

However, the bather’s specific physical challenges determine which door is preferable. An outward-opening door may be difficult for someone with limited arm range of motion to close. With an inward-opening door, it may be difficult to get legs and feet out of the way when you close it.

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Walk-in tubs have doors that open either inward or outward. Outward doors free up space inside the tub, making it easier to move around inside, but they require considerable room around the tub to allow clearance for the door. Inward doors don’t require clearance outside the tub, but they offer less space inside. Inward doors also do a better job of preventing leaks, as the water pressure in the tub helps keep the door secure when closed.

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There are two basic door styles on walk-in tubs — doors that swing into the tub and doors that swing outside the tub. Each style has pros and cons, so you’ll want to carefully review which style best suits your needs and preferences.

Inward-swinging doors are widely used because this style of door self-seals when the bather closes it and fills the tub with water, creating a solid, leak-free barrier. These doors also save space in the bathroom and require a low threshold height for easy entry and exiting.

It’s important to know that some bathers find inward-swinging doors difficult to manage while opening and closing, as the door has to swing in past the bathers’ knees and feet. This style can be especially challenging for anyone who is transferring into the tub from a seated position. Another major drawback of inward-swinging doors is that this type of door makes it difficult to assist a bather who needs the assistance of a caregiver to exit the tub or in the case of an emergency, since the water must be completely drained out before the door can be opened.

Outswing doors are less common on walk-in tubs largely due to the extra space this type of door takes up in the bathroom. This door style is also more likely to leak than an in-swing door, and users who bath without assistance need to have the strength and dexterity that’s required to close and seal the door locking mechanism.

The distinct advantage of a walk-in tub with an outward opening door is the ease of entry. Outswing doors leave lots of room for a bather to either step into the tub or transfer from a seated position, and this design makes cleaning easier.

Self-Cleaning Functionality

Keeping a walk-in tub clean, which can be a challenge given its size, is essential to ensure it remains free from harmful bacteria and mold. Cleaning such a large tub can be difficult for a caregiver and impossible for someone with mobility issues. Fortunately, many models include jets that automatically spray the tub with cleaner after use. Some also include ultraviolet lights that kill viruses and bacteria between uses.

A clean bathtub is essential to preventing skin infection and mold contamination, but cleaning a tub can be unsafe for seniors. Self-cleaning bathtubs spray jets of antibacterial and anti-mold chemicals into the empty tub after a bath. Pipes are purged of hazardous materials, keeping the bathtub safe and clean. Ultraviolet lights also sanitize bathtubs, and some manufacturers use this technology as well.

In-Line Water Heating Instead Of A Tank Water Heater

Will your current water heater handle the volume of water needed for your tub? Walk-in tubs, especially those with hydrotherapy jets, use large quantities of water. Your contractor may recommend an in-line or tankless heater to keep up with the demand.

A tankless water heater provides a uniform supply of hot water, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The water is available on demand because you don’t need to fill up a larger reservoir with hot water. However, you may experience a slower flow than with a conventional tank-style heater.

Walk-in tubs generally hold between 40 to 80 gallons—a lot of hot water for each use. This demand can overwhelm a standard tank water heater, so installing an in-line water heater (a heating element that goes into the plumbing around the tub to heat it continuously) may be necessary. Some walk-in tubs include in-line water heaters as part of their design. Homes with a tankless water heater, which heats water as it flows through a heating element, are better suited for walk-in tubs, as they can provide a steady stream of hot water. Keep the water heater’s flow rate in mind as well, as it will affect how quickly the tub fills.

Many walk in tubs require 50 gallons of water to fill or more. Before purchasing, check the size of your water heater. If your hot water tank is 40 gallons, you may need to get a bigger tank, or you could end up sitting in some pretty cold water!

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Some smaller walk-in tubs only require 45 gallons to fill, while many larger walk-in tubs hold upwards of 80 gallons, and the biggest models hold more than 100 gallons. Residential water heaters come in 20, 40, 80 and 100-gallon sizes. Whether or not you’ll need to upgrade your water heater to service a walk-in tub depends on both the size of the tub you pick and the capacity of your existing water heater.

Shower Option

A walk-in tub and shower combination enables you to enjoy the benefits of a walk-in tub and the convenience of a shower. Some of these tubs surround the bather with a tall transparent wall, and some are three-sided with a shower curtain rod above the entry side of the tub.

If you’re looking for a less expensive option, consider purchasing a separate enclosure to install above your walk-in tub. Ask your contractor or the manufacturer if this is a viable option with your choice of tub.

Most walk-in baths can be converted to also include a shower by adding a separate shower faucet. The best design will have a glass half-wall to prevent shower water from leaking onto the bathroom floor.

Handheld Showerhead

A handheld showerhead makes bathing easier for those with mobility challenges. “A handheld shower can be an enhancement because it allows more flexibility for the user,” says Fritzi Gros Daillon, a senior home safety specialist and educator with Age Safe America, a training and advocacy organization.

A handheld shower also helps with shampooing and tub cleaning, and it makes it easier for a caregiver to assist with a bath.

Hand-held shower heads make it easy to wash and rinse your hair and to get access to those hard to reach body parts. It’s also ideal for any accidents that need to be washed off the body, before soaking in a tub. Also, if you’re in a rush and don’t want to take a bath, a hand-held shower head may be all you need for a quick clean. We highly recommend the option.

Make Sure The Tub Fits

There is quite a bit of size difference between walk-in bath tubs. The interior of the tub is generally 48 inches long and 38 inches high for a standard sized adult. You can typically get the tub retrofitted to your existing tub with custom extenders making the length 52 to 60 inches

Some cheaper tubs may come with a lower height, but that means less of your upper body will be covered by warm water, making you cold and uncomfortable. The best walk-in tubs will be sufficiently high so you don’t feel like your bathing in a puddle.

Walk-in tubs often include mechanical systems that require dedicated electrical connections. These tubs also come equipped with extra drains that may involve moving existing water pipes or even installing new fittings. Remember, walk-in tubs are usually twice as tall as traditional bathtubs, so your existing tub surround will likely need to be upgraded.

Warranty

Walk-in bath tub warranties are generally divided into 3 categories, the watertight seal, the frame of the tub and the parts. Most limited lifetime warranties, are good for the length of time the purchaser lives at the address of where the tub was initially installed.

The biggest difference in walk in bath warranties is between length of coverage and whether the warranty covers the cost of labor, which is where the biggest expense when fixing a tub can be.

The most important warranty to look for is the door seal. If it doesn’t work, you can’t use the tub. Every manufacturer you choose should offer a lifetime warranty on the seal.

Lightning And Ambiance

 Other features include LED lighting for setting a relaxing ambiance and cushioned headrests for comfort.

Walk-In Tub Costs: How Much Are Walk-In Tubs?

The average cost of product, material and labor for installing a walk-in tub is about $10,000, according to HomeDepot.com. Tub size, therapeutic features, design, materials, your geographic location and your desired customization are all factors that may increase the price. The amount of remodeling and plumbing work needed can also affect your walk-in tub costs.

Tub prices often don’t include installation or shipping. Before purchasing a walk-in tub, engage a contractor with extensive experience in walk-in tub installation.

How Much Do Walk-In Tubs Cost to Install?

If you are considering a walk-in bathtub, it is important to remember that the unit itself will not be the only major expense associated with the process. Installation is an important consideration in your budget as well, and you may find that the cost of taking out an old tub and putting in a new walk-in easily exceeds the cost of the tub.

One of the reasons why this is the case is that installing a walk-in tub may require costly renovations to your bathroom or upgrades to your plumbing system. For instance, a walk-in tub may not have the same dimensions as a standard tub, or you may want to reconfigure your bathroom layout to ensure that the unit is accessible. Perhaps you have older, smaller pipes or water heaters that are less than ideal—or altogether incompatible—for use with a walk-in tub. All of these situations could require much more extensive work from a plumber or other contractor and drive the installation costs higher.

Experts recommend setting aside another $1,000 minimum for a standard installation of a walk-in tub, but that number can easily exceed $10,000 when the installation involves a larger bathroom remodel, new plumbing, electrical work, or tiling.

Factors That Affect the Price of Walk-In Tubs

Cost is one of the main factors people have in mind when shopping for walk-in tubs. With total costs that can run in the thousands of dollars, it’s worth asking what contributes to those figures. This will allow you to understand where you can make trade-offs to find tubs that have features you want while staying within your budget.

Some ongoing costs associated with walk-in tubs, like water usage or ongoing maintenance and upkeep, could look different over time depending on which tub model you choose. In general, however, the drivers of walk-in tub costs break down into two categories: factors related to the walk-in tub itself, and factors related to the installation process.

Walk-in Tub Cost Factors

There are hundreds of walk-in bathtubs on the market, each offering different designs, features, and materials. It makes sense that with all this variety, each tub option also has a different price tag, with simpler models costing less and models with more features or special design attributes costing more. Here are some of the main factors that contribute to the cost of different walk-in tub models:

  • Tub type and size: Tub type and size are probably the most important factors affecting the cost of your chosen tub. Walk-in tubs with greater length and width, multiple seats, or other design features that increase the size often cost more because they use more material and may be more difficult to manufacture.
  • Tub material: The most common materials for walk-in tubs are acrylic and fiberglass. As a rule, acrylic tends to be slightly more expensive upfront, but may be more durable and require less maintenance over time.
  • Air and water jets: Walk-in tubs with hydrotherapy and whirlpool features tend to cost more because of the built-in systems that power the jets. These systems can also require additional maintenance costs over the life of the tub.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: Some of the most expensive walk-in tubs on the market are those specifically designed to be accessible to handicapped users. A major reason for this is that wheelchair-accessible tubs require a larger size.
  • Safety features: Tubs may not always include features like grab bars, non-slip surfaces, temperature controls, and other safety features. These sorts of features usually only increase costs incrementally, but if you opt for a cheaper tub, some protections like grab bars and non-slip surfaces can be installed as a DIY project or by a handyman.

Installation Cost Factors

Installation should be done by a licensed plumber, and you may also need to hire an electrician, as most walk-in tubs are powered by a dedicated GFCI circuit. Some tub manufacturers have a network of factory-trained installers that customers must use, otherwise, the warranty on the tub may be invalid, so be sure to ask about installation in advance.

Many walk-in tub purchasers quickly learn that the real expense comes from installation. To accommodate walk-in tubs’ size and features, you may need extensive work done to your bathroom, up to a full remodel. This can take costs from a couple thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Here are some of the factors that contribute to installation expenses:

  • Bathroom space: Walk-in tubs often have unusual shapes or sizes different from a typical bathtub’s dimensions, so they can require some work to fit into a bathroom while also making sure that other bathroom fixtures remain functional and accessible. This may involve a full remodel of the bathroom, with adjustments to your floor plan to fit in the tub. Even if you can squeeze the tub into your existing layout, you may still need to have cabinets, toilets, or other fixtures removed temporarily to get the old tub out and new tub in, which can add to labor costs for the project.
  • Pipes and water heater: Installation of a walk-in tub may also require you to install a new water heater and pipes. Experts recommend hot water heaters with a capacity of at least 50 gallons, and water supply lines with three-quarter inch pipes rather than half-inch pipes.
  • Electrical system: Electrical work in your bathroom might be required for your walk-in tub, especially if you have air or water jets or a pump system powered by an electric motor. You may end up paying an electrician to run a new line and hook up the tub to your electrical system.
  • Flooring and tiling: After the work of installing the tub has been done, you may need to pay someone to repair or replace your bathroom’s flooring or tile to help protect against water damage and have your bathroom looking its best.

A Cheaper Alternative: Walk-In Tub Conversion Kits

For those who want a walk-in bathtub at a lower cost, one potential option is to convert an existing bathtub into a walk-in.

Companies offer walk-in tub conversion kits that allow you to cut out a portion of the side of a tub to lower the threshold for getting in and out and placing a frame over the cut area. Conversion kits frequently come in several different configurations, allowing users to simply leave their converted tub as a walk-in shower with an open entry, add a water-tight door, or install an insert to transition from walk-in shower to a full bath with ease.

Modifying an existing tub is much less expensive than installing a new unit for several reasons. For one, the kits themselves typically cost less than a walk-in unit—hundreds of dollars for a conversion versus thousands for a new walk-in tub. Further, installation is much simpler and straightforward because it is unlikely to require any related plumbing, electrical, or tiling work to install the kit. In fact, some conversions are simple enough that they can be done as a DIY project if you’re handy and have the right tools and supplies available.

One downside of this route is that many of the additional design features available in a walk-in unit will not be available in a standard tub configuration. If features like an elevated seat or taller walls are important to you for comfort or mobility reasons, converting a traditional tub will likely not address those needs.

Alternatives to walk-in tubs

If you want to create a safer bathroom environment, walk-in tubs aren’t your only option.

Other potentially effective alternatives include:

Step-in shower

A step-in shower is a pre-fabricated shower that has no threshold to step over. It has a seat or bench that allows you to sit while bathing. This is ideal if you prefer to use a handheld showerhead versus soaking in a tub.

According to Severson, you can install non-slip flooring, safety rails, and comfortable seating in a step-in shower. The floor tile can also be continued throughout the bathroom.

A good option is the Freedom ADA Roll In Shower. Safety features include a folding shower seat, grab bars, and a textured floor. It also meets all ADA guidelines and has a 30-year limited warranty.

Built-in shower

If you’d like a shower that’s built-in and tiled, contact a licensed contractor who is experienced in bathroom remodeling. If possible, work with a contractor who has experience installing accessible showers for people with limited mobility.

Your contractor can install safety features such as a bench, grab bars, and ergonomic doors. They can also provide suggestions based on your budget and personal needs.

Grab bars

For an inexpensive and simple way to make bathing safer, install grab bars in your existing tub or shower. A contractor who has experience designing bathrooms for limited mobility can determine the best location for each bar.

It’s worth noting that towel bars aren’t the same as grab bars. Towel bars lack sufficient support, so using them as grab bars might be unsafe.

Shower bench

A shower bench or chair is another budget-friendly option. When choosing a bench, make sure the feet have a non-slip grip. Some benches fit into the tub, while others are placed over the edge so you can sit and slide into the tub.

Non-slip mat

To reduce the risk of slipping, place a non-slip mat in your tub or shower. Consider placing a non-slip mat or anti-slip rug just outside of the shower, too.

Door Style & Accessibility

One of the distinguishing design features of the walk-in tub is the side door, but doors can be configured in multiple different ways with associated pros and cons. Here are key details about the walk-in tub door to consider when evaluating your options:

 
  • Seal: One of the concerns that many users have about walk-in tubs in general is the possibility that they might leak or lead to flooding. Tub designs can address this in several ways. One is by using rubber or another impermeable material around the door, hinges, and other potential leak points to hold water in the tub, similar to what one might see around the door of a refrigerator or a car. This can be reinforced by latches or other reinforcements that hold the door in place against the weight of the bathwater.
  • Inward vs. outward-swinging doors: Most walk-in tub doors are hinged, which means that they must either swing inward or outward as users open the tub to enter. The benefit of an outward-swinging door is that they take up less room in the tub, which means that there is more room for users to enter and get situated, but the downside is that this requires more space in the bathroom. An inward-swinging door offers the inverse: they are more compact when it comes to bathroom space, but offer less space in the tub itself. Walk-in tubs with inward-swinging doors may also fare slightly better at preventing leaks or flooding, as the weight of the water reinforces the security of the door.
  • Door shape: Swinging walk-in tub doors frequently come in either a “U” or “L” shape. U-shaped doors are most common, suitable for most bathers, and can be configured to swing inward or outward or inserted. L-shaped doors look like an upside-down letter “L” and are designed so that wheelchair users can more easily slide to and from the tub seat.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: One major benefit of walk-in tubs is their accessibility for those with mobility issues, including wheelchair users. Most wheelchair-friendly walk-in tubs have an L-shaped, outward-swinging door and a grab bar that allow the user to transfer from their wheelchair to the tub seat.
  • Threshold height: If the threshold on a walk-in tub is too high for a user, some of the tub’s benefits for mobility and accessibility will be reduced. The lowest entry threshold for most walk-in tubs is around 3 inches, but they can frequently be higher, so users should check to see what they can step over comfortably to maximize the walk-in design.
Walk-in bathtub with an L-shaped outward-swinging door

Safety Features

High on the list of reasons why someone might choose to install a walk-in tub is safety. Walk-in bathtubs are typically designed with safety in mind, with features that are well-suited to the needs of older or disabled users and that address the common risks associated with baths and showers.

These features include: 

  • Handrails: Installing grab bars in the tub or shower is one of the top recommendations from the National Institute on Aging for making homes safe and accessible for older residents. Likewise, the ADA recommends a number of features that help ensure a design’s safety and accessibility. For walk-in tubs, one important ADA component are handrails and grab bars. To be ADA compliant, these bars must be placed and installed in certain positions within the tub and be able to hold up to a certain weight load to provide users with adequate support. Some manufacturers will alternatively (or additionally) include ridges along the edges of the tub that allow users to have a secure grip when lowering or raising themselves.
  • Floor: Anyone who has ever taken a bath knows the feeling of losing traction on the tub’s wet, smooth surface. To help maximize safety, manufacturers of both walk-in and traditional tubs have come up with different ways to make sure bathers don’t lose their footing while moving around in the tub. Some have a non-slip, textured surface on the floor of the tub, while others mold grooves or treads into the tub itself to create more traction.
  • Seat height: A built-in seat is one of the features that helps promote safety in a walk-in tub. Because users do not have to lower themselves or climb out of the tub in the same way they would with a traditional lay-down tub, they are less likely to slip and fall with their bodies remaining upright and elevated. The Americans with Disabilities Act suggests a 17 inch seat height, and most manufacturers advertise seat heights between 17 and 20 inches.

Tub & Hardware Materials

The materials used in the construction of a walk-in tub will affect the cost of the tub and its long-term upkeep and durability. The most common materials for walk-in tubs are acrylic, fiberglass, and enameled steel, each of which is explained in detail below:

  • Acrylic: Acrylic is one of the most common materials used for walk-in tubs. Acrylic tubs are made by heating acrylic sheets and shaping them into a tub mold. The advantages of acrylic are that it is nonporous, durable, and retains color for longer than other materials. All of these advantages mean that the lifespan of an acrylic tub is much longer than most other materials used in walk-in tubs. The downside, however, is that these benefits usually come at a greater price.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass tubs are made of interwoven glass strings that are heated and shaped, then covered with a gelcoat or other treatment. The greatest advantage of fiberglass tubs is affordability, as it is one of the cheapest tub materials available on the market. However, fiberglass tubs tend to have a shorter useful life and may be easier to damage. They also tend to be more porous, which means they are harder to clean and more likely to grow mold and mildew from absorbing water.
  • Enameled steel: Enameled steel is a material common in older, traditional bathtubs, which is rare—but still findable—for walk-in tubs. The main cons of enameled steel tubs are that they are much heavier and (perhaps counterintuitively) more prone to damage. Cracks to the enamel surface can lead water to interact with the steel and potentially cause rust and discoloring. That said, one advantage is that the enameled surface is easy to clean, especially in comparison to more porous materials like fiberglass.

The material of the tub itself is only one element worth paying attention to. The hardware within a walk-in tub will also be made with different materials, each offering its own pros and cons. Below are some of the materials to consider when looking at walk-in tub hardware:

  • Brass: Brass is a popular choice for bathroom hardware because it resists moisture and stands up well to brushing and scratching, which means it can stand the test of time. Brass is sometimes thought of in its reddish or yellowish brown metallic color, but fixtures can additionally be coated with another material to provide more aesthetic options. Of common bathroom materials, brass tends to be on the more expensive side.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is one of the most common materials found in bathroom fixtures, including walk-in tubs. Stainless steel hardware usually costs less than brass equivalents, but may be more likely to corrode or stain than a solid brass fixture.
  • Zinc and zinc alloys: Zinc and zinc alloys are frequently chosen as an alternative to brass and stainless steel because they come at a lower cost. However, they also tend to be less durable and a little more susceptible to corrosion from water.
  • Plastic: Walk-in tubs may have plastic hardware like showerheads or faucet handles. The appeal of plastic is usually its lower price compared to any metal options, but it is also much less durable over time.

Fill & Drain System

Fast filling and draining systems in a walk-in tub are not only a matter of convenience for the bather—they can also be an important safety feature to reduce the risk of scalding or chills and allow users to exit the tub quickly in the event of an emergency. Some other key fill and drain features include:

  • Temperature controls: One of the main risks associated with a walk-in tub is having water that runs too hot or cold at the beginning of the bath and cools quickly at the end of the bath. Scald prevention valves or thermostatic control valves mix cooler water with hot water entering the tub to ensure that the tub doesn’t run too hot when filling.
  • Dual drain: To speed up the process of draining a walk-in bathtub, some models include two separate, independent drains that effectively double how much water can drain out of the tub at one time compared to a single-drain configuration. These features can significantly speed up the amount of time it takes to drain a walk-in tub in full.
  • Drain pump: Most drains rely on simple gravity to empty a tub, but manufacturers are increasingly incorporating pumps that can drain water at faster rates. Unlike dual drains, which are a standard design feature for some walk-in tub manufacturers, pump systems usually come with an extra cost.

It’s worth noting that some of the factors that affect your walk-in tub’s ability to fill and drain quickly and at safe, comfortable temperatures have less to do with the tub itself than with your plumbing system. For instance, if your home has pipes with a greater width, that might allow you to fill and drain faster. Another significant factor is the capacity of your home’s hot water heater. Most walk-in tub manufacturers recommend that your water heater have a tank size of at least 50 gallons to ensure that you have enough hot water to fill your tub at a comfortable temperature.

Other Therapeutic Options

For users who want a full spa-like experience with their walk-in tub, many manufacturers have developed extra features that both make baths more comfortable and relaxing and enhance many of the holistic health benefits of bathing. Key features in this category include:

Water jets: For targeted massages to certain parts of the body, walk-in tubs with water jets are a good option. These models usually place jets along where the user’s back or legs will sit in the tub and shoot warm water to deliver deep massages that release tension, stimulate blood flow, and reduce soreness in the muscles. Some models have adjustable jets, allowing an even more directed massage experience.

Air jets: Walk-in tubs with air jets shoot warm air into the bath to create small bubbles that surround the body and stimulate muscle relaxation. Air jets provide a different type of massage experience than water jets, with a generally gentler sensation from the movement of bubbles in the water.

Aromatherapy: One way to take your relaxation to a new level in the tub is aromatherapy. While some people try to make pleasing, relaxing scents like lavender or jasmine part of their bathing experience with candles, flowers, and other scented items, some walk-in tubs make it even easier by including aromatherapy systems. These systems often have built-in diffusers that release aromas from essential oils or aromatherapy beads directly into the tub.

Chromatherapy: Another phenomenon that can affect people’s moods and ability to relax is color. Some colors are perceived to be more serene or calming, while others are stimulating or energizing. Walk-in tubs with chromatherapy features include lights under the water that can be adjusted to different colors—sometimes with a half dozen options or more—to suit whatever mood or energy you wish to encourage in your bath.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Walk-In Bathtubs

How do you install a walk-in tub?

Depending on the walk-in tub manufacturer, the company may supply its own contractors to remove and dispose of your old tub and install your new walk-in tub. You may also be allowed to hire your own contractor.

Walk-in tub installation could cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, depending on factors like needing to install a tankless water heater, clear drain blockages, replace inadequate drain piping, widen the bathroom door or complete other renovations to accommodate the walk-in tub.

How much water does a walk-in tub hold?

The average walk-in tub fills with around 50 gallons of water, but larger tubs may have a larger fill capacity.

A typical walk-in bathtub requires a 50-gallon or larger water heater to adequately fill the bathtub with warm water.

Depending on its size, a walk-in tub can hold anywhere from 40 to 80 gallons of water, significantly more than the 25 to 45 gallons a standard bathtub holds.

How long does it take to fill a walk-in tub?

While a standard bathtub takes about 5–10 minutes to fill and slightly less time to drain, certain walk-in tub models can take up to 15 minutes due to their larger volume. A standard tub holds 42 gallons of water; whereas, most walk-in tubs hold 50 gallons or more. In addition to tub size, the time it takes to fill a walk-in tub is dependent on the home’s water pressure as well as the fixtures—some of which allow for a higher flow rate.

It typically takes anywhere from six to 10 minutes to fill a walk-in tub. Fill times vary, depending on the water pressure and plumbing system in your bathroom.

It depends on both the tub you choose and your plumbing system’s pressure capacity. Some tubs can take upwards of 20 minutes to fill completely.

Are all walk-in tubs ADA-compliant?

Not all walk-in tubs are ADA-compliant, which is a mark of safety and accessibility to people with disabilities. However, many manufacturers offer ADA-compliant models that may include a wider and/or higher seat, seating and grab bars, and other accessibility features.

How do you clean a walk-in tub?

It’s best to perform a surface wipe-down or cleaning with warm water after each use. However, you should also complete a deeper cleaning weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Always consult the owner’s manual for your model or the manufacturer’s website for specific cleaning instructions.

Are walk-in tubs dangerous?

Walk-in tubs are generally safer than a regular bathtub due to the low entry threshold and other built-in and optional safety features, such as a non-slip floor and built-in grab bars.

Are walk-in tubs tax deductible?

If your tub was prescribed by a doctor, then yes, it can be considered a medical expense when filing your federal tax returns.

Does a walk-in tub devalue your home?

It depends on who might purchase your home in the future. A walk-in tub might hold more appeal for an older person interested in aging in place, but may be viewed as an impediment or less-than-ideal bathroom design element to a family with young children.

Are Walk-In Tubs Worth it?

The answer to this question hinges upon several key factors. If you have money to spend and a fair amount of mobility, then a walk-in tub could be a life-changing addition to your home. If your mobility is trending downward–or if you’re daunted by the thought of an installation process that could entail significant plumbing and electrical work–then perhaps the answer is no. Regardless, it’s wise to consider the costs–literally and figuratively–before proceeding.

How long does it take to drain my tub?

Most modern walk-in tubs drain in less than two or three minutes.

Most standard bathtubs take between 6 and 15 minutes to drain, which is a long time to sit exposed to the air. Luckily, walk-in tubs have power drains that drain the entire tub in 4 minutes or less.

most high-end walk-in tubs feature dual drains, and some even incorporate drain pumps that can reduce the time to 2 minutes or less.

 

Will the water stay warm in my walk-in tub?

This also depends on your tub. If you have a 55-gallon tub but only have a 50-gallon water heater, you will likely deplete your hot water before the tub fills up. This can be alleviated by replacing your hot water heater with a higher capacity one, or buying an additional tank-less water heater for your walk-in tub.

Will the VA pay for my walk-in?

In the past, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has provided walk-ins as a medical benefit for veterans.

 

Are walk-in tubs safe?

Yes. Walk-in tubs are equipped with handrails and non-slip surfaces so you won’t fall. Walk-in tubs are designed in such a way that falling in them is practically impossible, and the ADA-compliant seats ensure a safe bathing process.

 

Many walk-in tubs have the option for the door to swing in or out. Which should I choose?

Doors that swing inward take up slightly less room since the door folds into the bathtub itself. However, these bathtubs are usually larger in size. The biggest downside is that, in an emergency, it would be very difficult to open the door inward while the tub was full.

Outward swinging doors are more common in smaller tubs and can easily be opened in an emergency.
Many walk-in tubs come with the customizable option to switch the door from swinging inward or outward, so you can pick which one you want after testing.

 

How do I clean my walk-in tub?

It depends on the type of tub you have, so you’ll want to contact the manufacturer. For example, cleaning the innards of a Safe Step tub is as simple as adding automatic dishwashing soap and a cup of bleach to a running system for 15 minutes, draining, and then running the system again for another 15 minutes. Check your owner’s manual or call the manufacturer for specifics.

Will Medicare Cover The Walk In Tub?

No. Medicare only covers durable medical equipment (DME). DME includes equipment and devices deemed medically necessary. A walk-in tub isn’t considered a DME, meaning Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for related costs.

Depending on which state you live in, Medicaid may provide partial coverage for a walk-in bathtub when it’s proven to be medically necessary and allows a Medicaid-insured individual to remain in their own home and avoid institutionalization.

Medicare doesn’t currently cover walk-in tubs because they’re excluded from Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment list, as these units are classified as convenience rather than medical devices. However, in some rare situations, post-purchase reimbursement may be provided if the consumer can show that the walk-in tub is medically necessary.

Before You Buy: 6 Tips for Purchasing a Walk-in Tub

  1. Consult with your physician. Find out if a walk-in tub is a safe and helpful choice for you or your loved one’s specific medical conditions. Which features and benefits (hydrotherapy, wheelchair access) are essential for you? Which should you avoid?
  2. Consult with a senior aging specialist and/or an occupational therapist. A certified aging-in-place specialist (CAPS) is someone who specializes in home modifications for older adults. They can provide insights into the logistics and safety of your walk-in tub purchase. Your local area agency on aging can connect you to someone with this expertise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Occupational therapists are medical professionals trained to help with home modifications, as well as provide hands-on training as seniors adapt to changes in their home environment. Contact the American Occupational Therapy Association or your state’s occupational therapy association.
  3. Establish your walk-in tub budget. You may choose to consult with your financial planner to determine what you can afford. Explore different financing options, and, again, check with your local area agency on aging about Medicaid or VA assistance. 
  4. List your must-haves. Pre-shop online to find the tub that matches your list, then follow up with a manufacturer or dealer as questions arise.
  5. Find a reputable walk-in tub contractor. Local medical equipment stores, occupational and physical therapists, and recommendations from friends and family may provide you with reliable contractor contacts. Ask contractors for references, then follow up and see if past customers were satisfied with the contractor’s work.
  6. Ask your contractor the important questions. Gros-Daillon recommends these questions as a starting point:
    • Are they licensed and insured?
    • Do they have experience installing walk-in tubs? Which brands?
    • Will permits be required?
    • What are the plumbing requirements?
    • Will the tub require supplemental water heating?

Additionally, ask about the company’s warranty and service policies. An in-home visit will reveal any installation challenges that may add to your costs.

Fully Custom Walk-In Tub Solutions

Some walk-in tub manufacturers, such as Independent Home and Safe Step, provide very little information about their products online because they are fully customized to a customer’s existing bathroom. Due to this lack of public information, we couldn’t include them in the best rankings above, but they are reputable companies that offer quality walk-in tubs.

Independent Home

Independent Home walk-in tubs come with a textured anti-slip floor, ergonomically designed grab bar, 17-inch ADA-compliant seat, overflow valve and self-purging system for air jets. Aerotherapy, hydrotherapy, chromotherapy, heated seats and backrests and other features are also available.

All Independent Home walk-in tubs come with a lifetime warranty on key components, as well as the door seal, frame and shell. You must schedule an in-home consultation with Independent Home for pricing and installation information.

Safe Step

All Safe Step tubs feature an anti-slip seat, anti-scald faucets and automatic temperature regulation, rapid-fill and rapid-drain systems and a door that requires little strength to lock. Safe Step walk-in tubs come with a lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects, door seals, faucets, water pumps, heaters, blowers and parts and labor on repairs.

The manufacturer also provides a two-year warranty on walk-in tub caulking. The cost of Safe Step tubs can vary greatly depending on your needs, and you must order directly from the company.


Concluding Thoughts on Walk-in Bathtubs


Bottom Line:
Walk-in tubs can significantly cut down on bathing-related injuries.

Erring on the side of caution may prevent or help you cope with a life-altering injury. As an added bonus, while you will have to sit down in the tub and wait for it to fill, a good walk-in tub will have enough features to offset the inconvenience. Aside from safety, a walk-in tub can provide a truly spa-like experience, replete with pleasant smells, soothing lighting and massaging jets of water. There really is a walk-in tub for everyone.

The type of tub you choose comes down to what you’re looking for. Massage jets can soothe aching joints and other ailments, while air-powered jets can provide a low-pressure therapeutic massage for those with sensitive skin. There are tons of options, with the price to match.

That’s why it’s no wonder why walk-in tubs can get so expensive. Adding extra bells and whistles like aromatherapy and chromatherapy can cost more, but may not be necessary if you’re on a budget. Don’t shy away from getting several quotes from competing companies and see if any will price match or offer additional discounts when shopping for your ideal walk-in bathtub.

The Best Walk-in Tub Companies

  Walk In Tub Company Best For Phone
1 Safe Step Great for Arthritis and Joint Pain (844) 935-3449
2 Kohler Great Warranty (844) 773-2195
3 American Standard Great for Relaxing (888) 594-8649
4 Boca Walk-in Tubs Great Pricing Options (877) 712-8278
5 Ella’s Bubbles Great for couples  
6 Jacuzzi Great Affordability  
 
 

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The 6 Best Walk In-Tub Brands

Safe-Step Walk-In Tubs

 

Safe-Step walk-in tubs are made in Tennessee and are some of the best walk-in tubs for joint pain and arthritis.

They also happen to make some of the best bathtubs for elderly people on the market.

If you’ve read anything about walk-in tub manufacturers thus far, you’ve probably read a thing or two about Safe-Step, as Safe Step walk-in tubs are the premier walk-in tub models in today’s market.

One of the things we truly love about Safe Step is that the company provides bathroom modifications, including electrical work and plumbing, in the installation cost.

Every Safe Step walk-in tub provides several high-end features, including anti-scald faucets, anti-slip seats, automating temperature regulation, rapid-drain systems, rapid-fill systems, and easy-lock doors. In addition, the lifetime warranty on the tub models covers manufacturer defects, blowers, heaters, water pumps, faucets, door seals, and parts/labor for repairs.

If you’re looking for a walk-in tub that is completely customizable for your existing bathroom, then we highly recommend checking out the lineup that Safe Step offers. However, it’s also important to note that Safe-Step makes walk-in showers as well, which come with all of the same features as their regular walk-tubs, though there are showerheads are also included.

 

If you’re in the market for a high-end walk-in tub that is great for total relaxation, then American Standard walk-in tubs are excellent options. These ultra-low entry walk-in tubs are great for massage therapy and can be completely customized to fit the space in your existing bathroom.

As with some of the other companies on this list, American Standard offers a lifetime warranty on the tub and the installation, including the labor. Some of our absolute favorite features on these walk-in tubs include LED lighting, built-in grab bars, quick-fill and drain systems, and ozone sanitation.

There are more than 50 walk-in tub models to choose from in this incredible lineup, ranging from your basic walk-in tub models to your luxurious walk-in tubs.

So whether you want hydrotherapy whirlpool jets, aromatherapy, high water capacity, or all of it, you can get what you desire with an American Standard walk-in tub.

Click the button to get more specific answers on pricing and models in your area. We bring free price quotes to you! Compare and save on your big purchase.

Kohler Walk-In Tubs

 

Kohler is one of those walk-in tub companies that is synonymous with luxury. If you’re looking for an all-around luxury walk-in bathtub, then you truly can’t go wrong with a Kohler walk-in bath.

Every Kohler walk-in bath comes with powerful hydrotherapy jets that target your spine, legs, and feet for the ultimate hydrotherapy experience.

Plus, with total adjustability, you can find the speed and intensity that works for YOU with a Kohler walk-in tub.

All Kohler walk-in tubs come with heated seats and heated neck, back, and shoulder surfaces to keep you warm while your walk-in tub fills.

You’ll also find an extra-wide door on each tub, as well as a three-inch step-in threshold, one of the lowest step-in thresholds on the market.

With an ADA-compliant built-in grab bar and slip-resistant flooring, maneuvering about or getting in and out of your walk-in tub will be much easier. Beyond these great features, you can completely customize your Kohler walk in tub. This walk-in tub company even offers a lifetime warranty on the hand shower, faucet, hydrotherapy system, and door seal.

 

Independent Home focuses solely on installing walk-in tubs, offering eight incredibly walk-in bathtub models with a wide range of features, including quiet water pumps, designer faucets, 60-second speed drains, LCD control panels, aromatherapy, and heated seat designs.

All Independent Home walk-in tubs are ADA-compliant, though you can choose from a wide range of sizes depending on your needs.

One of our favorite models in the Independent Home lineup is the Royal Walk-In Tub, which comes with a motorized seat to safely lower or raise you in or out of your walk-in tub.

You’ll find a combination of air and water jets in these walk-in tubs, as well as dual-massage systems for the most comfortable hydrotherapy experience out there.

 

Ella’s Bubbles walk-in tubs are made in the United States and are some of the best walk-in tubs for couples.

There are plenty of unique comfort options available, as well as a lifetime warranty for every walk-in tub.

One thing that sets Ella’s Bubbles apart from other walk-in tub manufacturers is the two-seater walk-in tub they manufacture, which is an excellent walk-in tub for couples!

Beyond that particular model, they have several other sizes and options to gel with your individual situation. All of the walk-in tubs use fiberglass layering, gel coating, and rust-proof stainless steel frames for added strength.

You’ll find plenty of luxury features to choose from, including a control valve for regulating temperature, ozone sterilization, chromotherapy, and a foot massage system. In addition, most of these walk-in tubs come with 14 strategically-placed water jets for alleviating joint and muscle pain, as well as 16 air jets for a spa-like hydrotherapy experience.

As the cherry on top, you can even enjoy heated seats while your walk-in bathtub fills!

 

If you’re worried about fitting your new walk-in bathtub into your existing bathroom, then we recommend checking out what BOCA has to offer. This walk-in tub company has a wide range of sizes, perfect for everything from tight spaces to two-person walk-in tubs and beyond. BOCA even happens to have the largest walk-in tub on the market, which can support people up to 450 pounds and 6’6″ in height.

Each of these tubs are custom-made. If you can’t find a walk-in bathtub model that fits your needs, BOCA will work with you to construct the right dimensions. You can also customize your purchase with a variety of therapeutic upgrades, including whirlpool jets, aromatherapy, rainfall shower systems, heated seats, and more!

Some of the standard features found on BOCA walk-in tubs include the quick fill and drain system, the automatic purge system and a head pillow. In addition, all of the walk-in tubs in the company’s lineup come with a lifetime warranty, giving you the peace of mind you need when buying.

How Much Do Walk-In Tubs Cost?

The cost of walk-in tubs varies based on the included safety features, luxury features, and size. The more features you find in a walk-in tub, the higher you can expect the price to be. You must also consider ongoing walk-in tub costs, including heating and electricity. Larger walk-in tubs will cost more to operate, as they’ll require more water and more gas to heat the water.

An average walk-in tub will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000. Usually, standard walk-in bathtubs without tons of luxury features will cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000, while bariatric walk-in tubs will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

You can choose to add custom features on most walk-in tubs, which will increase the cost. Some of the most popular walk-in tub features that cost extra include fast-draining technology, heated backrests, showerheads, and hydrotherapy options.

Everyone wants the best deal out there. Instead of spending hours calling your local dealers to compare pricing, we bring the quotes to you! By clicking the button below, you will get multiple price quotes based on your specific location and hot tub preferences. Start today!

Factors To Consider When Buying

Walk-In Tub Type

When looking for the best walk-in tub models for your needs, you must first consider the type of walk-in tub you want. For example, a soaker tub might be a good idea if you want the most simple, cost-effective option. On the other hand, if you’re planning for long-term needs, such as wheelchair accessibility, or you want relief features, such as hydrotherapy whirlpool jets, you might want to take it a step up.

Let’s look at some of the most popular types of walk-in tubs available:

Soaker Tub

A soaker tub is a basic walk-in tub model, perfect for those who don’t need luxury features, such as water jets. Instead, you’ll find standard features on these walk-in tubs, such as comfortable seating and built-in grab bars for easy entry and exit.

Wheelchair-Accessible Tubs

Wheelchair-accessible tubs are not only great for those in wheelchairs, but they’re also excellent choices for those who need to enter the walk-in tub from a seated position. In addition, wheelchair-accessible tubs are different from standard walk-in tubs, as they have doors that open wide, making entry and exit much easier.

Bariatric Tubs

In a way, bariatric tubs are very similar to wheelchair-accessible tubs. However, bariatric tub models are far more heavy-duty, perfect for those who weigh more than 300 pounds.

Hydrotherapy Walk-In Tubs

Some people refer to hydrotherapy walk-in tubs as “whirlpool tubs.” They are fundamentally the same, as they both come with water jets that provide massage experiences. These jets offer a bit more strength than air jets, perfect for those who suffer from chronic ailments, such as arthritis.

If you have sensitive skin, you might find water jets a bit too strong. In that case, we recommend going with air jets.

Aerotherapy Walk-In Tubs

Aerotherapy walk-in tubs offer gentler massages with air jets. The strength of air and water jets are much different, as air jets feel more like champagne bubbles rising in the water as opposed to the strong blast of water that comes from water jets.

One of the great things about walk-in tubs with air jets is that they come with built-in cleaning features. So when you’re done with your bath, you simply run the jets to clean out any excess water. Getting rid of this excess water helps prevent unwanted bacteria in the plumbing.

Water Capacity

Water capacity is another thing to take into account. Most walk-in tubs require at least 50 gallons of water to fill completely. Therefore, you’ll want to check your water heater size before making your purchase. For example, if you have a 40-gallon water heater tank, then you’ll have to wait for your water to reheat before you can completely fill up your walk-in bathtub.

Of course, your other choice would be to purchase a larger water heater, which might be worth it if you’re planning on installing a large walk-in tub, such as a bariatric tub.

Inward Vs. Outward Swinging Door

Walk-in tubs come with two door options. The first is an inward swinging door (where the door swings toward the tub) or an outward swinging door (where the door swings toward the rest of the bathroom).

If you want a door that is easier to move through, we recommend going with an outward swinging door. Outward swinging doors are typically found on wheelchair-accessible tubs. However, they might be a bit more difficult if your range of motion is limited, as you might have a hard time opening and closing it.

On the other hand, an inward swinging door might be a better choice if you have a small bathroom. Note that if you have trouble getting your legs out of the way to close it, an inward swinging door could be frustrating.

Safety Features

While luxury features are great for providing total relaxation, it is more important to consider safety features. Here are some of the necessary safety features you should look at when installing walk-in tubs.

Built-In Grab Bars

Built-in grab bars, often referred to as “handrails,” should come installed on your walk-in tub. It is not advised to use your door or other slick parts of your walk-in tub to provide stability as you get in and out. A grab bar stays out of the water, giving you a stable place to grab onto so you can lift yourself in and out of your walk-in tub safely.

You may also want to install a grab bar on the wall near your walk-in tub, depending on your particular needs.

Anti-Slip Flooring

Your walk-in tub should come with textured, anti-slip flooring. That anti-slip mat that you have on your old tub might not work for you, as it’s too difficult to replace or clean regularly. Plus, many anti-slip mats do not cover the entire bottom portion of your current tub or shower, leaving remaining slippery areas.

A good walk-in tub will already have anti-slip flooring installed.

Cleaning Features

You want to look for walk-in tubs that don’t have extensive pipe cleaning processes. A good walk-in tub should have self-cleaning features. One of the best walk-in tub features out there is the ozone cleaning system. With this type of cleaning system in place, you can ensure that bacteria isn’t growing in your walk-in tub.

Quick Fill and Drain

Look for walk-in tubs fill and drain quickly. Unfortunately, some standard walk-in tubs take a long time to fill and drain, leaving you sitting in the cold while you wait around for the water level to rise up or down. But, of course, you can’t open the door on your walk-in tub until the water is completely drained, which is why you want a walk-in tub model that can drain the water as fast as possible.

Step-In Threshold

You’ll want to find a walk-in tub with a low step-in threshold. Many walk-in tubs have step-in clearances anywhere from three to seven inches. The step-in threshold is the measurement between the floor of your bathroom and the doorway of your walk-in tub. It is the portion of the tub that needs to be stepped over in order to get in.

If you have limited mobility, look for a walk-in tub with the lowest possible clearance. Kohler is one of the few walk-in tub companies that offer walk-in bathtubs with ultra-low step-in clearances at three inches.

In-Line Heater

Some of us like to soak for a long time. It might be disappointing to find yourself sitting in lukewarm water after filling the water up only 15 minutes prior. In-line heating keeps the water in the tub warm for a longer amount of time, allowing you to soak comfortably.

Warranty

When buying a walk-in tub, finding the right warranty is extremely important, as it can provide you with the peace of mind you need. Walk-in tubs are high-end bathroom fixtures. If you find yourself with one that is defective or faulty, you do not want to be on the hook for forking over the full cost of repairs or replacement.

Of course, a lifetime warranty is the best option. First, however, you must look at what the lifetime warranty covers. For example, a lifetime warranty may only cover the tub itself, while another lifetime warranties may cover other components, such as the door seal.

To get a better idea of your lifetime warranty and what it covers, you must read the fine print carefully.

Installation Costs

Beyond the walk in tub cost, you need to look at the cost of walk-in bathtub installation.

Different walk-in tub companies have contrasting approaches to the installation process. Also- different consumers have different needs when it comes to walk-in tub installation. For example, you may only need to install your walk-in tub in a spot in your bathroom, though someone else might need to remove their old tub to put their new walk-in tub in place of it.

Even the removal process of an existing tub can cost quite a bit of money, often between $500 and $2,500.

It’s essential to get walk-in tub installation estimates from different walk-in tub companies before you commit. Many walk-in tub companies provide in-person evaluations at no cost, giving you professional estimates on the potential cost of your new walk-in tub without you having to fork over a dime.

You may also look for walk-in tub companies that offer financing, especially if you’re not comfortable paying for your walk-in tub upfront.

FAQ

Are Walk-In Tubs Safe?

Absolutely! Walk-in tubs are made with anti-slip surfaces and built-in grab bar designs for additional safety compared to your standard tub. You’ll find plenty of ADA-compliant safety features that ensure the safest bathing process possible.

When you look the benefits, it becomes apparent why so many seniors look to replace their regular old tub with a safe walk-in tub.

What Kind of Walk-In Tub Doors Should I Get?

When shopping for walk-in tubs, you’ll either find inward swinging doors or outward swinging doors. An inward swinging door folds into the walk-in bathtub, leaving you with more room to maneuver around your bathroom before you get in. One of the biggest downsides to inward swinging doors is that they can be difficult to open in the case of an emergency.

Outward swinging doors are found on most walk-in tubs. The biggest upside to these doors is that they are easy to open in the case of an emergency. However, they can take up quite a bit of room if you have a small bathroom.

We recommend testing out different doors ahead of time to determine which one works best for your needs.

What Are The Most Important Safety Features In Walk-In Tubs?

There are many important safety features to search for when looking at walk-in tubs, as safety is one of the key components. The first thing you might want to look for is the ADA-compliant sign, which says that the safety features available on those particular walk-in tubs meet ADA-certified safety standards.

Some of these safety features include:

  • Strategically-placed grab bars
  • Low thresholds
  • Easy access controls

     

  • Non-slip surfaces

Most walk-in tubs come with low thresholds, grab bars, and non-slip flooring, though it’s important to check ahead of time to make sure.

In addition, some walk-in tubs come with anti-scald technology to ensure that water doesn’t get too hot as the walk-in tub fills.

You might even want to consider walk-in tubs that come with high, ADA-compliant seats, as they reduce how much the tub user has to squat to sit down.

 

Lastly, look for a leak-proof door. The last thing you want is for water to leak out of your walk-in tub door while you’re soaking. While many models come standard with this, it is a good idea to make sure the model you are interested in provides this feature.

Final Thoughts: Which Walk-In Tub Brand Is Best?

The best walk-in tub brand depends on what you’re looking for in a walk-in tub model.

For example, if you’re looking for a walk in tub shower combo, we recommend going with a Safe Step walk in tub. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a luxury walk-in tub that comes with a low-entry threshold, then Kohler is your best bet. Premier Care walk in tubs and Costco walk in tubs are additional highly reputable brands to consider.

It’s important for you to take a close look at the features these various walk-in tubs come with to determine the right one for your needs, as there isn’t a “one size fits all” when it comes to the different models.

For more information on walk-in tubs, see our Walk In Tubs Reviews Consumer Reports.

If you’re in the market for something more affordable, start your research at our portable bathtub for elderly review article.

Want accurate quotes now? The simple questionnaire below will match you to the companies in your city who have exactly what you’re looking for, and its free. Get the lowest quotes today!

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Before Buying A Hot Tub

Before investing in a walk-in tub, it’s essential to understand how they differ from standard models. Walk-in tubs are designed to meet the needs of individuals with limited mobility. Not only do they have doors that eliminate the need to climb over the tub wall, but they also have benches that put the occupant in an upright position while bathing. The tub door seals the water in, so the bather must enter the tub before it fills and remain in it until it drains completely. This extended time means exposing the bather to potentially cool air for 4 to 8 minutes while the unit fills and empties. A walk-in bathtub also uses significantly more water than a traditional tub, so the home’s water heater must be large enough to support it.

1. First, look at the dimensions of the space you need to fill

You will also need to have enough room for your walk-in tub. A typical walk-in tub is usually around 60 inches long—the same size as your standard tub. Their width ranges from 25 to 60 inches (30 to 32 inches is the most common width size) and they typically have a height of around 40 inches.

2. Next, consider your hot water capacity

Many walk-in tubs require upwards of at least 50 gallons of water to fill. Check the size of your water heater—if you have a 40-gallon tank, you will probably need to wait for the water to reheat in the tank. Consider upgrading to a larger water heater or purchasing an additional tank-less water heater so you’re never sitting in cold water, or sitting in a half-full bathtub waiting for more hot water to come pouring in.

3. Pick a walk-in tub type that fits your needs

While looking for the best kind of walk-in tubs, we had to consider the following types of tubs and their various features. If you are looking for the simplest, most cost-affordable tub, you’ll want a soaker tub. Still, other tubs can serve specific needs and should not be overlooked — particularly if you plan to age in place. In other words, consider your long-term needs. The various walk-in tub types include:

  • Soaker tub
    The soaker tub is your basic walk-in bathtub. If you aren’t looking for anything too fancy, like water jets, this is the type of tub you’re looking for.
  • This type of walk-in tub is the most similar to a standard bathtub. The tub walls are high enough to provide ample depth for soaking the whole body while seated on a bench.
  • Wheelchair accessible tubs
    A wheelchair-accessible tub is beneficial for both those who use wheelchairs and those who need to move from a seated position into the tub itself. These walk-in tubs have a door which swings open wide, allowing for an easy transfer into tub’s seat.
  • A wheelchair-accessible tub is designed to allow the user to transfer from a wheelchair to a tub bench more easily, reducing the risk of a fall. To facilitate this, there’s a wider door that opens closer to the base of the tub.
  • Bariatric walk-in tubs
    Bariatric tubs are very similar to wheelchair accessible tubs but they are heavier duty, designed to accommodate individuals 300 lbs or heavier.
  • This type of walk-in tub consists of a door and a seat designed to hold occupants that weigh more than 300 pounds. These tubs feature a larger overall size and wider doors and seats.
  • Aerotherapy (air jet) tubs
    These tubs are basically gentle massage tubs. The jets are designed to move water in a gentle way, provide a champagne-like bubbling. Additionally, these tubs have a cleaning feature: after a bath, drain the tub and run the jets to clean out water and prevent bacteria build-up in the jet piping.
  • An aerotherapy tub has numerous jets integrated into the tub floor and walls that blow heated air into the water, creating a sensation that massages the entire body. The jets have convenient controls that allow the bather to adjust the intensity.
  • Hydrotherapy (water jet) tubs
    Hydrotherapy tubs (may be referred to as whirlpool tubs) use jets to provide a massage-like experience. These jets are stronger and the extra water pressure is said to relieve some pain associated with joint pain like arthritis. The added power may be uncomfortable for seniors with sensitive skin.
  • A hydrotherapy tub is equipped with the type of massaging water jets typically found in a hot tub or jacuzzi-style bathtub. A walk-in hydrotherapy tub is equipped with jets designed to massage the occupant’s back, legs, and feet to relieve sore muscles and joints. These jets are typically located in the backrest of the bench and the area behind and in front of the legs and feet.
  • Aromatherapy tubs
    Aromatherapy tubs mix essential oils with the water, which creates a relaxing scent that some bathers love. If you don’t want to mess with second-market products to get your water smelling like lilac or other types of pleasant scents, this is the way to go.
  • Chromatherapy
    Walk-in tub with chromatherapy use subdued, colored lighting to enhance the relaxed mood of bathing.
  • Combination tubs
    Walk-in tubs aren’t restricted to just these categories only. In fact, most tubs you will look at will be a combination – for example, a wheelchair accessible bariatric whirlpool tub.

4. Insist on these walk-in tub features

Moreover, you should seriously consider investing in these useful and/or necessary features will help you maximize the benefit of using your walk-in tub.

  • Hand rails
    The right walk-in tub should come with hand rails already installed. You don’t want to depend on using the door or slippery outside parts of the tub for stability when getting in or out of the tub. Depending on your needs, it can also be a good idea to install a hand rail on the wall near the tub.
  • Textured flooring
    It’s very important for a good walk-in tub to have non-slip, textured flooring. Non-slip mats aren’t an option for all seniors because it may be too difficult to clean and replace them on a regular basis—not to mention they might not adequately fit the entire tub’s bottom. Therefore, we felt the best tubs should have non-slip flooring already built-in.
  • Quick drainage
    You don’t want to sit in quickly cooling water, waiting for it to drain out when you’re done bathing. Remember, the tub door cannot be opened until the water has been drained.
  • Easy cleaning
    To find the best tub, we looked for tubs that did not require extensive manual cleaning of the jet piping. Good options have a self-cleaning option, such as an ozone cleaning system. Keeping the tub clean should be a priority, because research reveals bacteria can grow in a tub.
  • In-line heating
    If you want to soak for a while, you don’t want to be sitting in lukewarm water after fifteen minutes. An in-line heating system keeps your bathwater warm.
  • Sitting or lounging layout
    Most walk-in tubs come with a seat so the bather can sit. While many seniors will find this preferable, some may also want the option to sprawl out.
  • Step-in height
    The lower the step-in height on a tub, the better. Most tubs have a step-in clearance (meaning the height from the floor to the tub’s doorway) between 3 and 7 inches. Seniors with limited mobility should look for the lowest clearance possible.

5. Arrange quotes for professional installation

You may need to get your walk-in tub professionally installed or even remove your old bathtub to make room for the walk-in tub. That could be a big job, so be sure to get professional estimates before you proceed. Many walk-in tub manufacturers offer free in-person evaluations and bundle the removal cost of the old tub with installation of the new walk-in tub. This could be an expensive endeavor ($500-$2500+). If you don’t have the cash up front, look for a company that offers financing options.

We make our walk-in tub recommendations based on a series of criteria that we believe make an excellent walk-in tub for seniors with a variety of needs. Here’s how we did it.

  1. We searched for a comprehensive list of walk-in tub companies
    There are many walk-in tubs options: from no-name brands to manufacturers advertising on TV and radio. We started our search for the best walk-in tub companies with a broad selection of 25 companies that represented the market.
  2. We evaluated these companies based on our expert guided buying criteria: reliability, safety and customer satisfaction
    A good walk-in tub needs to be safe, therefore all walk-in tubs considered had to be ADA compliant. Companies with additional certifications, such as those from the National Aging in Place Council and the Arthritis Foundation, were given higher marks. We also checked for BBB rating and cut companies with failing scores. Businesses with excessive complaints, a poor rating, or those with no company response were dismissed.

     

    Next, we researched company websites, read user reviews and checked product availability. If the user reviews were favorable, the website was clear and easy to use and the tubs were available anywhere in the country, we went on to the next step. Companies with reviews that mentioned “leaks” “problems” or with frequent customer service issues were removed from our shortlist.

    We also called walk-in tub companies. Companies with friendly and helpful representatives were seen favorably. For example, whether or not a representative could clearly tell us what available options and models were available.

  3. We removed walk in tubs not made in the USA
    The market also has many foreign-made walk-in tub options. We chose to focus on manufacturers based in the USA, because we believe that still matters.
  4. We insisted on some extras
    We chose manufacturers who provided tubs with a range of options. To make the cut, a company could not just make the basic soaker tub. A good walk-in tub company should provide the option for things like hydrotherapy, areotherapy and additional heating.
  5. We brought you the best walk-in tub companies for consideration
    Just beginning the search for the best walk-in tub for your personal needs can be dizzying. There are many of walk-in tub manufacturers out there, so we combed through them and separated the best from the rest. We found that Safe Step, American Standard and Independent Home were the trio of walk-in bathtub makers to produce quality goods that matched our expectations.