Walk-In Tubs & Showers For The Elderly & Luxury Bathrooms

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Bathtubs come in a wide array of shapes, sizes and styles, allowing consumers to select the perfect fit for their budget, style and needs. Whether you’re looking for high end and stylish options, or simply an easy to enter and exit walk-in, use this guide to bathtub options to help you find the best walk-in bathtub. For more information on other styles of bathtubs, see Bathtub Buying & Information Guide

What Is A Walk-In Bathtub?

Walk-in bathtubs are traditionally designed to literally be walked into, rather than climbed into. Often featuring much higher walls than a traditional tub, they use a swinging door that allows the occupant to enter and exit without the struggle of stepping over a sidewall. Further, they feature a seat placed higher than the bottom of the bathtub, dramatically reducing the amount of bending required to sit in them. 

Other forms of walk-in bathtubs may feature a small set of stairs, similar to those found in a pool or hot tub. These are seen more frequently in luxury bathrooms, as they may still require bending and movement to enter and exit, which may be difficult for the elderly or disabled. For more information on designing a luxury bathroom, see Luxurious Home Spa Bathroom Design.

Where To Buy A Walk-In Bathtub

Many companies offer walk-in bathtubs, including noted hot tub maker Jacuzzi. Selecting the right walk-in bathtub retailer for you depends upon your budget, location and needs.

  • Visit the websites for walk-in bathtub retailers to view their entire collection, and browse the features you’ll need for your tub.
  • Check where the retailer is geographically located. Often, the closer they are to your home, the less expensive your purchase will be.
  • Check the website or call to verify whether the specific company you are interested in purchasing your walk-in tub from offers free estimates. Representatives will need to visit your home to determine the size and space available for your walk-in bathtub’s installation and placement.
  • Request an estimate for the cost of your walk-in bathtub online or over the phone.
  • For reviews on specific brands and styles, visit Walk-In Bath Tub Reviews.

Retailer websites to visit for walk-in bathtubs include:

Walk-In Bathtubs For The Elderly Or Disabled

If you are looking into purchasing a walk-in bathtub for yourself or a loved one, review the available features to determine which option is best for you.

  • Walk-in bathtubs with doors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are designed to fit in the same space as your current bathtub, and can therefore be longer and shallower, or shorter and deeper according to your spatial limitations.
  • Keep in mind that walk-in tubs with higher walls (making them deeper) will require less bending and movement to sit in, as the seat will also be placed higher. Extremely high walled walk-in tubs may be only a few feet long, and feature a deep-set chair. This set up allows the occupant to comfortably sit down in a full tub of water, with minimal to no bending required.
  • Walk-in bathtubs for the elderly or disabled should also include handrails and non-slip flooring options. These features, combined with the ease of entry and a raised seat, make walk-in tubs a drastically safer option than traditional bathtubs.
  • Some walk-in tubs also include a shower head affixed to a hose, allowing the occupant to comfortably shower while sitting down.
  • Because walk-in bathtubs are much deeper than traditional tubs, they frequently feature rapid fill and drain options, allowing them to fill with water much quicker than a traditional faucet could allow. Quick draining also allows the occupant to exit the bathtub sooner than traditional bathtubs would allow, as the tub must be drained before the door can be opened.
  • Some walk-in tubs also include hot tub style jets, creating a soothing and therapeutic experience. These are a great option for anyone with chronic pain, muscle soreness or joint stiffness. Jets can also help increase circulation, range of motion and help reduce soreness and stiffness after exercise.
  • Some walk-in bathtubs are also wheelchair accessible.
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Luxury Walk-In Bathtubs

With the same general concept in mind, varying forms of bathtubs can be designed with a walk-in feature involving steps, rather than a door.

  • Luxury walk-in bathtubs typically feature a series of exterior steps leading to the bathtub, allowing the occupant to walk up to the height of the edge of the tub, then step down inside it.
  • Exterior steps are built into the ground around the edge of the bathtub, in the same flooring material as the surrounding bathroom.
  • Some luxury bathtubs utilize interior stairs inside the actual tub, similar to a hot tub or pool. These are constructed of the same material as the bathtub basin itself.
  • While the occupant will still need to step up to the height of the bathtub’s edge, the stairs do ease the amount of effort required when entering (with exterior stairs) or exiting (with interior stairs).
Last Updated: March 21, 2013
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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