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Walk-In Tubs Buyer's Guide

by Stella Robinson

If you have an elderly family member or someone with special needs, the risk of slipping and falling in the tub or shower can be especially daunting. With a walk-in bathtub, there is less chance of falling since they won't have to step up and over the lip of the tub to get in. Before you purchase a walk-in tub for your home or theirs, here are some helpful tips to make your purchasing process easier and to help ensure that you choose the right options.


Not all walk-in bathtubs are the same. Some are specially designed for people who use a wheelchair, so if this is something you need, make sure to tell the installer about these special requirements. Some tubs come with various features including a special grip bar that can make getting in and out easier. A non-slip floor can also be added to give extra security when getting up and down. The higher end models also include additional spa like jets that can provide therapeutic relief for people with arthritis and other aches and pains. All walk-in tubs should have a completely water tight seal around the door that is hinged on the side of the tub unit.


When you're shopping for a walk-in tub, be sure you purchase one that is made in the USA and comes with a special lifetime leak proof warranty on the door seal. This will help protect your investment. Warranties should also be included on the water jet system if you purchase this model. Most of these bathtubs are larger than a typical tub, but the sizes do vary. Make sure you select one that will fit your existing bathroom, otherwise some extra costs may be incurred to install a larger one. The door to the tub can open inward or outward, and an outward opening door is recommended for larger people or those who need to use a wheelchair to get around. This gives the user much more room to get in and out. Soaker tub models are the most common, but you may also opt to purchase a bubble massage or water jet option.

Finding your Tub

Some companies specialize in these types of bathtubs only, and their installers have an extensive knowledge about the proper installation. They can also help you determine which features you will need before you get one installed. If you wish, you can also choose to have one of the big box hardware stores install one. Since the walk-in tub has become more popular in recent years, more larger retailers, such as Twin City Stair Lifts, are also offering these types of bathtubs. Currently the price will vary depending on the model you choose and the features you wish to add. Medicare does not currently cover these types of tubs, but most companies do offer financing and payment plans.