Best cheap walk-in tubs
Entry-level walk-in tubs typically don’t include installation costs
Walk-in bathtubs can provide practical solutions for those interested in increased safety or those seeking a more luxurious bathing experience. However, with the average walk-in tub starting at $1,500 to $5,000, it’s essential to find good value in your purchase. Here are our top three picks for the most affordable walk-in tubs.
Our top picks
The best walk-in tubs are durable, have a variety of customization options and come with lengthy warranties. We looked at these factors, along with price, financing options and customer reviews, when choosing our top picks for cheap walk-in tubs.
- Starting cost: $4,000
- Installation: DIY or local contractors (contractor network provided)
- Financing offered: Yes
Ella’s Bubbles has been manufacturing acrylic walk-in tubs for 16 years and has more than 25 models of tubs to choose from. The company specializes in unique walk-in tubs, such as its custom two-seat model (the Tub4Two) and the ShaK, which it advertises as being the largest one-seat walk-in tub in the world.
Though the company doesn’t offer financing options directly, it does partner with local distributors that do. Ella’s Bubbles also offers a number of luxury add-ons, including aero and hydrotherapy jets, microbubble therapy, models with faster fill/drain times and shower column kits to transform your tub into a stand-up shower.
The company offers a five-year warranty on components and a limited lifetime warranty for the tub.
What we like: Ella’s Bubbles 4.5 customers who left satisfied reviews on our site appreciate the company’s customer service, and many people stated they were happy with the selection of wheelchair-accessible tubs and walk-in tubs designed for two people.
“[We] are beyond thrilled with every aspect of our experience with this company,” said a customer from Arkansas. “Customer service is awesome. … As a DIYer, the tub was easy to install.”
What to consider: Ella’s Bubbles has a contractor network you can use to install your tub, but the company does not provide installation itself. It’s essential to properly vet any contractor you hire, though — the most common issues ConsumerAffairs reviewers had with their Ella’s Bubbles tubs stemmed from problems with third-party contractors.
- Starting cost: $7,000
- Installation: Available for additional cost
- Financing offered: Yes
Boca differentiates itself by marketing walk-in tubs with step-in heights of 2 inches or less. The company has been making quality fiberglass tubs for more than 14 years and offers seven different sizes to meet your needs, ranging from its Petite Narrow to its Wide/Deep models.
You can then customize your tub by choosing between two colorways and three different finishes. Boca offers a lifetime warranty on all components and parts. The company has multiple therapeutic add-ons, including air jets, whirlpool jets, chromotherapy and aromatherapy.
What we like: Boca 4.9 has tubs with step-in heights between 2 and 3 inches, which are among the lowest in the industry and good for those who have mobility issues. Many people who left satisfied reviews of Boca tubs on our site commented on the company’s safety features, including a reviewer from Florida:
“[My husband] can’t get around very well and getting in and out of the tub was dangerous for him, so [Boca] made things easier,” they said. “He’s more comfortable. I already recommended it to others.”
What to consider: The company has lifetime warranties for tub parts and components, but the one-year labor warranty only applies if you use a factory-trained installer. Be sure to work with Boca to find a qualified installer if you want to be eligible for the labor warranty.
- Starting cost: $4,700
- Installation: Not included
- Financing offered: Varies by retailer
American Standard is best known for its premium Liberation line of walk-in tubs that are sold directly to customers, but the company also sells entry-level bathtubs through major retailers, including Lowe’s, Home Depot and Amazon.
The company’s site lists 60 models of entry-level tubs in multiple sizes with a variety of options. The tubs are made from acrylic or gelcoat and are equipped with American Standard’s patented quick-drain system that can drain a tub in two minutes or less.
Unlike the premium Liberation line, American Standard’s entry-level tubs sold at retail locations do not include installation or a home inspection by the company.
The warranties vary based on the tub model.
What we like: American Standard 4.5 has a wide variety of walk-in tubs in its entry-level line — while these tubs may lack the customization options of its Liberation line, most people should be able to find a tub that fits their needs. The company’s entry-level tubs are available in both gelcoat and acrylic.
What to consider: American Standard’s entry-level tubs come with varying warranty lengths that typically range from 10 to 15 years for the tub and five to 10 years for components, which doesn’t match the lifetime warranty for parts, fixtures, labor and installation that comes with the Liberation line.
If you plan to keep your walk-in tub for a while, it may be worth working directly with American Standard to receive the longer warranty and extra assistance from the company’s technicians and installers.
What to consider when buying a cheap walk-in tub
When you work directly with a walk-in tub company, it’ll typically send a technician to inspect your house, discuss your options and prepare a detailed estimate. Whether you choose to purchase a tub and install it yourself or use a third-party contractor, there are several things you should consider to ensure you’re satisfied with your purchase.
Installing a walk-in tub can be difficult without training. Hiring a professional may be best unless you’re an experienced DIYer.
One issue is finding someone to install the tub, as one American Standard customer from Texas who left a review on our site discovered:
“I decided to try American Standard and they have them at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but they said they had installers available and they didn't. … It was difficult finding somebody who wasn’t with American Standard to install it,” they said. “When I finally got two people to quote the installation, they seemed rather reluctant and not all that interested, so I went with American Standard and the installers were great.”
Working with a walk-in tub company that can connect you with a network of contractors with experience installing walk-in tubs like yours can make the process easier and reduce the amount of extra work you might spend finding an installer.
You should also ensure your water heater is large enough to provide sufficient hot water to fill your tub, find out if your home’s structure can support the tub and check whether the tub is the proper size for you and your bathroom.
Using an unlicensed installer may void your new tub’s warranty, so be sure to choose a qualified contractor and check with the manufacturer about how to keep your warranty’s terms in force.
What affects the price of a walk-in tub?
Finding exact costs can be difficult when shopping for walk-in tubs — many companies require an inspection of your home for an accurate quote. Your home’s layout, the location of your bathtub and your current plumbing can all affect the total price.
If you purchase a tub that does not include installation, you’ll need to budget to have a local contractor install the tub in your home. That can add several thousand dollars to the total cost.
In either scenario, it’s essential you know exactly what’s included in the price and how other factors affect the overall cost.
- Most walk-in tubs have optional features that can add thousands of dollars to the price. The most expensive are hydro or air jets, but any add-ons, such as chromotherapy, durable coatings, foot massage jets or heated seats, increase the cost.
- In general, larger tubs cost more. Most manufacturers offer a range of sizes to accommodate the available space in your bathroom and your individual needs. If you need a larger tub, you’ll pay more upfront and may have additional costs if your space needs to be expanded or your plumbing needs to be modified.
- Installation costs
- Installation costs are nearly impossible to predict without an estimate. The best way to get an accurate quote is to have a licensed technician inspect your space. If your new walk-in tub can fit easily into your existing space, your total costs will be lower.
However, if the contractor needs to create more space, update old plumbing lines or install a larger water heater, your costs will be higher. This is why almost no manufacturer will advertise a set installation price (and none of our top three choices do).
- Available health care benefits
- Most health plans, including Medicare, generally don’t cover the costs of a walk-in tub. However, disabled veterans may be able to receive funding through the Department of Veterans Affairs Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) benefit, a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant or a Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grant.
- Tax deductions
- You may be able to write off the cost of a walk-in tub on your yearly taxes if it’s deemed a medical expense. Currently, you can write off any medical expense that exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
What walk-in tub features do you need?
Most basic walk-in tub models are soaker tubs with no additional features. While these tubs offer standard safety features and therapeutic value, you may want to add hydrotherapy or air jets, shower attachments or quick-drain and -fill options. While these increase the cost of the tub, they also add to your overall bathing experience.
- Hydrotherapy/air jets: Air and water jets promote relaxation and provide massage benefits while helping with arthritis, muscle soreness and circulation.
- Shower attachments: Adding a hand-held showerhead or installing a model with a shower stall gives you more options and may help with your home’s future resale value.
- Extremely low step threshold heights: A standard walk-in tub usually has a step-in height of around 6 inches, but some manufacturers offer 2-inch to 3-inch step thresholds that make it easier to get into the tub.
- Fast drain/fill features: Walk-in tubs have a deeper soaking basin than standard tubs and can take longer to fill and drain. Fast-drain and -fill features speed these processes up and limit the amount of time you have to sit in the tub before and after your bath.
- Heated seats: Heated seats can further increase your relaxation and comfort.
- Chromotherapy: Colored LED lights can fill the tub with just one color or rotate through the rainbow to provide a relaxing environment.
- Aromatherapy: Specially designed aromatherapy systems can transform your bath into a spa-like experience.
Is a walk-in bathtub worth it?
Be sure to consider the total price of installing a walk-in tub (not just the tub price). Installation can add several thousand dollars to the cost.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether a walk-in tub is worth it — it depends on your specific needs and your available funds. If you are a senior concerned about safety, have a disability that causes mobility issues or have a health condition that could benefit from walk-in tub use, you should consult with your family or doctor about the advantages of a walk-in tub.
You should also make sure you’re aware of the total costs before signing any contract. Remember that most listed prices are for the tub alone and don't include shipping or installation.
You should also consider how installing a walk-in tub will affect the future resale value of your home. If you’re planning to move in the next year or two and only have one bathroom, a walk-in tub may discourage future buyers.
However, if you have more than one bathroom and your neighborhood is popular with retirees (or young families interested in having an indoor hot tub!), it could end up being a selling point. When all's said and done, if you have the space and the budget for it — especially if it aids in your safety or health needs — then it’s likely worth it.
- Do walk-in bathtub companies offer financing?
Many tub manufacturers offer financing assistance either directly through the company or by partnering with third-party financing companies. Companies may also offer rebates or discounts at specific times of the year, and there are financial assistance programs you can use.
- Can I take out a personal loan to purchase a walk-in tub?
You can take out a personal loan for a walk-in tub. You’ll need to go through a bank, credit union or online lender to get pre-qualified or preapproved and find out how much you can borrow.
- What are alternatives to buying a walk-in tub?
There are many easy-to-install products to make your bathroom safer, including nonslip mats, grab bars and shower seats. Additionally, some walk-in tub companies sell bathtub modification kits that require cutting a doorway in your existing bathtub wall and replacing part of the tub wall with a watertight door.
- Do walk-in tub prices include installation costs?
It’s rare to see a list price for a walk-in tub that includes installation costs. No manufacturer or retailer can possibly know the plumbing and space needs of a prospective customer; for this reason, most require an in-home consultation before giving a quote.
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