Best Walk-In Tub Reviews & Comparison 2018

American StandardIndependent HomeEllaArielKohlerSafe StepJacuzzi
Best Walk-in Tubs American Standard Walk-In BathsIndependent Home Walk-in Baths Ella Walk-in BathtubsAriel Walk In BathtubKohler Walk-In BathSafe-Step Walk-In TubJacuzzi Walk-in Bathtubs
RatingExcellentVery GoodGoodAverage ExcellentGoodAverage
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Approximate Drain Time90-120 seconds 90-120 seconds80 seconds120 seconds120 seconds180-300 seconds N/A
Air Jets282810-1618178N/A
Water Jets16812-186101010
Step-In Height7.5 inches5 inches8.5 inches7 inches3 inches4 inches8 inches
Warranty on ShellLifetimeLifetimeLifetime3 YearsLifetimeLifetime Lifetime
Warranty on SealLifetimeLifetimeLifetime3 YearsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Warranty on ComponentsLifetimeLifetime5 Years3 YearsLifetimeLifetimeLifetime
Soaker Tubs
Aerotherapy Tubs
Hydrotherapy Tubs
Chromotherapy Tubs
Wheelchair Accessible Tubs
Hand-Held Shower Head
Heated Seating
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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 many 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: Some 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.


Buyer Tips To Find The Best Walk-in Tub

Low Walk-in Threshold Height

The lower the lip to get into the tub the better. That said, most 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 an exceptionally low threshold 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.

Get a Tub That Drains Quickly

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.

You'll Want Heated Seats

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!

Get a Tub With a Hand-Held Shower Head

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.

Make Sure Your Hot Water Tank is Big Enough

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!

Get Protected With a Solid (Free) 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.


Compare Walk-in Tub Types

Soaker

This is a basic walk-in tub. It may still come with heated back, neck and seats but it there will be no water or air jets. It's a more economical option and could be perfect if all you're looking for is the ability to get in and out of the tub easily and safely.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy tubs use water jets to apply pressure and massage your skin, muscles and joints. Great for people with arthritis, soreness and stiffness. Water jet therapy can reduce pain, discomfort and increase range of motion. Also great to just relax and enjoy a good whirlpool massage!

Aerotherapy

Aerotherpy tubs use air jets to massage your skin, muscles and joints.

Chromotherapy

Chromotherapy uses lights to create a relaxing, meditative environment.

Bariatric

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.


The "Good" About Walk-in Tubs

  • 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

The "Bad" About Walk-in Tubs

  • 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.
  • Walk-in tubs are more expensive than standard tubs or showers
  • Walk-in tubs require a little more cleaning and maintenance than standard tubs
  • Some walk-in tubs may require a larger hot water tank in your house