Water in walk-in bathtubs is about 2.5 feet deep compared to just over 1 foot in a standard bathtub. The added depth provides owners with a spa-like relaxing soak, and the step-in design makes it easier for those with joint or mobility problems to get in and out.

A variety of types of walk-in tubs offer consumers different features, including aerotherapy and wheelchair accessibility. Different manufacturers offer different features, so consumers should compare brands, models and features before making a purchase.

Top 10 Most Reviewed Walk-In Bathtubs

Safe Step Walk-in Tubs are carefully designed to combat bathroom slips and accidents. They come installed with anti-slip surfaces, built-in grab bars and low steps that make them accessible to virtually anyone.
Independent Home helps seniors stay at home for as long as possible by reducing the risk of accidents in the bathroom. Their one-day installation option lets residents get walk-in tubs on their own schedules.
With over 30 years of experience, Premier Care in Bathing is a company that provide bathing solutions for seniors, those with limited mobility, the handicapped, those with chronic conditions, veterans, caregivers and more.
Jacuzzi Walk-in Tubs offer a massaging experience designed to work out daily aches and pains. The extra tall design lets bathers relax in water up to their necks, as jets propel a carefully balanced mix of air and water.
Hydro Dimensions takes the walk-in bathtub to the luxury level. Their tubs are designed to work with existing bathroom designs to create a bathing experience that is functional and beautiful.
VETERAN OWNED. Bathing Safety Walk-in Bathtubs help with the prevention of falls in the bathroom. Products include a safety bar, built in seat, and hand-held shower. There are even options for hydrotherapy and air massages.
Bathing Solutions offers walk-in tubs at an affordable price point with a lifetime warranty on the shell, frame, finish and door seal. This allows buyers to have peace of mind and fill their tubs with confidence.
American Standard Walk-in Baths makes shopping for an accessible tub quick, easy and intuitive. Simply input the desired measurements and see a variety of options that will fit in the available space.
Spirit Walk-in Tubs offers handicapped accessible bathing at an affordable price. A simple phone call allows buyers to get all the information they need to make a decision and line up installation.
Ella Walk-in Baths are available in a wide range of sizes and styles. They also have a limited lifetime warranty to give buyers peace of mind about leaks or other issues with their new bathtub installation.

Shelley Webb is a registered nurse, geriatric care manager and freelance writer who concentrates on the subjects of eldercare and health.

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What features matter most?

Safety features

It’s important to note the different types of safety features available on the walk-in bathtubs. Almost all companies offer the following safety features.

  • Wall height: Models vary from approximately 37 to 47 inches. This is helpful to the person with limited mobility or to one who has become unsteady as it decreases the possibility of them falling out of the bath tub or worse yet, through the glass of a shower door. Sometimes the lever on the door is difficult for seniors and those with mobility issues to operate.
  • Built-in shower seat: Most are chair height and include a textured surface in order to prevent slipping off the seat, which allows for safer bathing. Rising from a chair-height seat is much easier than from a standard tub floor.
  • Textured floor: All models listed here include a textured floor surface in order to prevent slipping. Do not buy a walk-in tub without this feature.
  • Grab bars: There should be at least two grab bars. Consider whether the bather is left-handed or right-handed when determining where these grab bars should be located. In some cases, the grab bars are an optional item and should be chosen if the tub is to be used for a senior or a person with limited mobility. In some cases, just one grab bar is included.
  • Anti-scald valve: This keeps this water from becoming too hot in order to prevent burns.
  • In-line heater: The in-line heater helps to keep the water at a constant warm temperature as the hydrotherapy jets are being used. They are not available on the soaker tub or air jet models.

Basic tub features

The basic tub features can vary widely so be sure to know what is included in your purchase.

  • Step-up: The step height into the tub is generally 4 to 7 inches but one company offers an upgrade option of a 2-inch step-up.
  • Watertight door: Most tubs are offered with an inward opening door but an outward opening door is sometimes an option that is great for those who need to transfer from a wheelchair or shower chair. Keep in mind whether the individual using the tub is right- or left-handed. Also some seniors and others with limited mobility may have trouble operating the door handle. There is usually a lifetime warranty on the seal of both types of doors but it may only be offered to the original owner. Bear in mind that the outward-opening door may have more pressure placed upon it by the water it contains and be considerate of the space that an outward-opening door needs.
  • Size: Models vary in height from approximately 37 to 47 inches; Width and length (which is the length of the unit, not the tub itself) vary widely from providers, but generally width is 28 to 32 inches with a length that generally caps off at 60 inches, the standard bathtub length. There are optional trim kits available to ensure that the tub fits in the space correctly.
  • Hand-held shower head: This shower head is usually located at the front of the tub along with the faucets but some companies offer the option of adding a raised shower head with an adjustable rod.

Cleaning functions

Unlike hot tubs and outdoor Jacuzzis, the walk-in bathtub is not maintained with chlorine or other chemicals so it’s important to have a system to keep bacteria and mold from forming in the hydrotherapy jets.

  • Rapid drain or double drain option: This allows the tub to empty in as little as 80 seconds depending upon the weight of the individual, the amount of water and the plumbing that is connected to the bathtub drainage system (when connected with a T or Y fitting to an existing 1.5” wastewater pipe.) Sometimes it is necessary to change the plumbing because of where the drains are located. Also, those companies who offer the quick draining option generally need a T or Y fitting to connect to an existing 1.5” wastewater pipe. Because the tub is large and holds lots of water, check to be sure that the water heater is large enough to accommodate it. If the water heater needs to be upgraded, count this as an additional expense. Keep in mind that the individual who is bathing must remain in the tub while the bath tub fills and until the water drains completely. With most walk-in bathtubs, draining can take between 2 and 3 minutes which can be a chilling experience.
  • Ozone cleaning system: The ozone cleaning system was developed in order to prevent molds from growing in the aerotherapy and hydrotherapy jets.
  • Surface area: There is a larger amount of surface area to clean than with an average bathtub.

Jet therapy

Warm water jet therapy is great for those who have arthritis, leg cramps, or chronic pain and also allows for a therapeutic spa experience in a limited amount of available space. Combinations of the following therapies are also available.

  • Aerobath therapy: This type of bath therapy consists of air jets.
  • Hydrotherapy: This type of bath therapy consists of water jets.
  • Chromatherapy: Chromatherapy is lighting that is used to evoke peaceful moods.
  • Aromatherapy: Essential oils can be added to a special diffuser in order to create a spa-like experience.

Ordering process

You won’t get much information by phone. Most providers offer a complimentary home visit to help you assess your needs. Unlike the hot tub and spa industry, there are very few brick-and-mortar shops that allow you to bring your aging parent or loved one with a disability for a test run. Salesmen may be quite persistent to make a sale and do not always provide the most correct answers. Don’t believe anything the salesman tells you unless it is in writing.

  • Shipping: Some shipping charges are built in to the price; some are not.
  • Installation: Installation can be a big expense. Although many of the tub manufacturers provide installation as an option, some state that installation can easily be performed by any plumber and that’s not necessarily true.
  • Return policy: Once shipped, there is generally a restocking fee and some companies do not allow returns at all so if you are measuring the space where the tub will go, be very careful.

Warranties

It’s important to know what warranties are offered and on which features.

  • Water-tight seal: Most offer a lifetime warranty but be sure to ask if the lifetime warranty only applies to the original owner or is extended to other owners, as well.
  • Tub and faucets: Most offer a Limited Lifetime warranty on these. Be sure to check if this only applies to the original owner or is extended to other owners, as well.
  • Water pumps, heaters and blowers: Most offer a 10-year limited warranty.
  • Hydrotherapy: The warranty on the hydrotherapy jets is usually for 1 year parts and labor.

Customization and accessories

There are many wonderful additional features available but they can also be very expensive. Know what is included in the model you choose before it is delivered.

  • Raised hand-held shower system: Most tubs have the hand-held shower head located in a slot along with the faucets but an ADA compliant slidebar with handshower holder is available. Because the hand-held shower and faucets need to be accessed while the person is seated, the space is limited and can feel claustrophobic to many people. If an adjustable shower head is chosen, shower curtains tend not to contain the water well and puddles can occur outside the tub, thus creating a fall hazard.
  • Lower-entry step up: Most tubs feature a 4-to-7-inch step-up but some companies offer a 2-inch step-up.
  • Tub extender: Many tubs do not correctly fit into the space allotted for them in the standard bathroom; therefore extensions are available so that there will be no gaps between the tub and the wall. These extensions can be used as shelves but are difficult to access because the built-in seat is usually in front of them. Also, the extenders may necessitate that the shower curtain be placed inside the tub at the back of the shower seat, thus causing a claustrophobic feeling. If the shower curtain is left on the outside and the hand-held shower wand is used, water can escape over the shelf and onto the floor.
  • Neck rest: Most neck rests are optional.
  • Wall surround: An acrylic wall surround can be added.
  • Tile flange for acrylic models: This allows for an aesthetic seal between the tub and the floor.

Types of walk-in bathtubs

Soaker tub

The soaker tub is a basic model and does not have any air or water jets. It includes a leak-proof door and a low-entry step-up. Grab bars are sometimes included but may be an optional feature. A seat is molded into the tub. Most soaker tubs also include a hand-held shower head that fits into its place at the front of the tub. All soaker tubs listed in this comparison have anti-slip floor and seat finishes.

Aerotherapy tub

This includes everything that the soaker tub includes plus allows for water circulation therapy via air jets. For a person who goes more than one week between soaks, air jets are recommended because once you are done bathing, you can turn the jets back on for a moment or two in order to dry out the pipes and prevent bacteria. You cannot do that with the hydrotherapy jets (but the ozone cleaning system can help with that).

Hydrotherapy tub

This includes everything that the soaker tub includes plus it allows for water circulation therapy with water jets. If the hydrotherapy option is chosen, it usually includes some air jets, as well.

Bariatric tub

This is a tub specifically made with the larger individual in mind and includes everything that the soaker tub includes. It may be available in the soaker tub, aerotherapy and hydrotherapy models.

Wheelchair-accessible tub

The wheelchair-accessible tub has an outward facing door and allows for the transfer of an individual from the wheelchair into the bath tub. The tub seat is generally lower in height than the other tubs.

Combination walk-in bathtub

This tub has both air and water jets (aerotherapy and hydrotherapy), includes everything that the soaker tub includes plus may also may include chromatherapy (color lighting) and aromatherapy (essential oil infusions).

Who's it for?

Individuals with limited mobility

These are people who may have been born with or developed a mobility problem and have difficulty using a standard bathtub.

Senior Citizens

As we age, our mobility may decrease, our eyesight may lessen and we may develop instabilities that make using a standard bathtub more difficult.

Individuals considering aging-in-place features

These are individuals who wish to remain in their own homes as they age and are preparing for their golden years.

Individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs

Many people who are above average height or weight may find using a standard bathtub difficult

Individuals with arthritis, restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain

Individuals with these conditions would find the aerotherapy and hydrotherapy features that the walk-in bathtubs offer helpful.

Caregivers

Persons who are caregivers to aging parents or loved ones with disabilities may find walk-in bathtubs to be helpful.

Persons with dementia

These bathtubs are not for people with dementia unless a caregiver is at the side of the tub at all times. Persons with dementia might turn on the aerotherapy or hydrotherapy jets when no water is present they might open the door when the tub is filled with water. The controls are also very confusing to them.

What do the experts have to say?

  • Bathing Safety Walk-in Bathtubs

    Owned and operated by a veteran who wanted to offer a lower-priced option to senior citizens, Bathing Safety Walk-in Bathtubs offers the highest quality walk-in tubs in the industry with the lowest price guaranteed.

    • Product options: They have a variety of styles and sizes all priced between $2000.00 and $6500.00.
    • Telephonic price quotes: They will provide multiple price quotes over the phone, which many companies won’t do.
    • Limited-space option: They offer a tub with front-entry access to use in tight spaces.
    • American products: Bathing Safety offers a line of bathtubs that are “Made in America” certified.
    • Low-price guarantee: They encourage customers to shop around the web and then return to them for the lowest price guaranteed.
    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals considering aging-in-place features, individuals with arthritis, restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain and individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs.
  • Hydro Dimensions

    Having been in business since 1993, Hydro Dimensions specializes in creating walk-in tubs and custom hydro-therapy and air massage systems. Located in southern California, they are a distributor for bath showrooms nationwide.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, caregivers, individuals considering aging-in-place features, individuals with arthritis and those with restless leg syndrome.
  • Independent Home

    Independent Home has been manufacturing and installing walk-in bathtubs since 2002. They also offer walk-in showers.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, individuals with arthritis and those with restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain.
  • Premier Care

    Premier Care in Bathing started as a family-owned company in 1985 with the goal of making bathing safer and more independent for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

    • Best for Senior citizens, individuals with limited mobility, individuals with arthritis, those who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, those with restless leg syndrome and individuals with cramping or other chronic pain.
  • Jacuzzi Walk-in Tubs

    Jacuzzi has been know as the leader in whirlpool bathtubs for over 50 years, and they have recently begun offering walk-in tubs to their customers. Roy Jacuzzi was the first person to add air jets to a standard bathtub.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals with arthritis and those restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain.
  • Safe Step Walk-in Tubs

    Safe Step Walk-In Tubs is located in Tennessee. Safe Step Walk-In tubs are made in America and have several licensed service locations across the United States and Canada.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, individuals with arthritis, those with chronic pain, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, senior citizens and individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features.
  • Safe Bathing Solutions

    Located in Springhill, Tennessee, Safe Bathing Solutions has partnered with suppliers and manufacturers around the world in order to offer one of the largest selections and variety of walk-in tubs available.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, individuals with arthritis, restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain and caregivers.
  • Spirit Walk-In Tubs

    Spirit Walk-In Tubs is a small, locally-owned company serving the St. Louis, Missouri and Springfield, Illinois areas. They offer American-made walk-in bathtubs along with installation and are dedicated to providing customers with a great consumer experience.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, caregivers, individuals considering aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, individuals with arthritis and those with restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain.
  • Ella Walk-in Baths

    Ella Walk-In Baths (Ella’s Bubbles, LLC) is a nationally distributed OEM manufacturer of walk-in bathtubs and accessible showers based in Chicago.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, individuals with arthritis, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, senior citizens and those with restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain.
  • Accessibility Professionals Inc.

    Accessibility Professionals Inc. (www.FreedomBathTubs.com)

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, individuals with arthritis and those with restless leg syndrome, cramping or other chronic pain.

  • American Quality Walk-In Tub

    Based in California, American Quality Walk-In Tubs want all people to be able to have the freedom and dignity to bathe alone, without risk, through their walk-in bathtubs. A number of styles are available with varying features based on customers' needs, and estimates are offered free of charge. American Quality also provides a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

    • Best for Customers who would like to bathe with no assistance while still preserving their safety, independence and dignity while reducing the risk of slips and falls.

  • Safeguard Tubs

    Safeguard Tubs is a patented brand of Palladium Group Inc, established in Wyoming on an unknown date.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, individuals with arthritis and those with restless leg syndrome.
  • Tub King

    Tub King Brothers Alan and Kerry Knight started out in the antique clawfoot bathtub business and bathtub refinishing training.  They currently offer refinishing services and refinishing training so the sale of walk-in bathtubs is a sideline for them.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals who are obese and have difficulty bathing in standard tubs, individuals with arthritis, individuals who are good at Do-It-Yourself projects and those with chronic pain.
  • American Standard Walk-in Baths

    American Standard Walk-in Baths has been in business more than 130 years and has placed its products in 3 out of 5 homes in America as well as numerous airports, hotels and sporting venues.

    • Best for Individuals with limited mobility, senior citizens, individuals who want to consider aging-in-place features, individuals with arthritis and those with cramping or other chronic pain.

11 – 15 Most Reviewed Walk-In Bathtubs

Tub King offers inexpensive walk-in bathtubs designed for those who have trouble getting in and out of traditional tubs. Each of their bathtubs comes with a hydrotherapy spa system to turn every bath into a luxurious soak.
Out of Business
Safe Bathing Solutions offers fully customizable walk-in bathtubs to meet the needs of any person with mobility challenges. They offer installation or direct sale, so buyers can work with the contractor of their choice.
Out of Business
Safeguard Tubs is a patented brand of Palladium Group Inc, established in Wyoming.