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    by Shelley Webb Senior Products Contributing Editor

    Walk-in showers offer an alternative to the classic shower-bathtub combination and help make bathing safe and convenient for people with limited mobility. Our research team vetted seven walk-in shower companies that are rated by more than 3,112 customers. Read our guide to choose the best walk-in shower for you by comparing safety features, shower prices and custom options.

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      What features matter most in a walk-in shower?

      Walk-in shower size

      Walk-in showers are one of the most versatile features of a home when it comes to size. As long as there is space in the bathroom, the walk-in can be as small or large as you like. Walk-ins are a great small bathroom idea because they provide more shower space than traditional tub designs.

      • Single: The single shower is a great space saver. It can be made smaller to better accommodate your space, or it can be made larger to provide more comfort.
      • Double: Double-sized walk-in showers are designed to fit two people comfortably. These are great for the handicapped or elderly that need assistance showering.
      • Large: Larger walk-ins are all about luxury. They may or may not be enclosed, and they can feature more than one shower head.

      Walk-in shower ideas

      Depending on the space and style of your bathroom there are a number of walk-in shower ideas. Make sure to take your time and research these different types of walk-in showers to determine which one you would like featured in your bathroom.

      • Enclosed: Enclosed showers are completely surrounded and are easy to access through a door.
      • Open: The open walk-in has no door and a wide expanse of tiled floor. It usually requires a great amount of space so that excess water doesn't pool on the floor of the bathroom.
      • Surround spray: In this design, multiple shower heads are placed around the walls of the shower so that you are hit from multiple angles by the spray.

      Walk-in shower heads

      The shower head is arguably the most important part of the shower system since it is responsible for getting you clean. Shower head designs with certain water pressure or spray methods are available, such as the rain shower head, high-pressure shower head and the water saving shower head. Many shower heads are also programmable or multi-functional so you can switch back and forth between certain settings.

      • Massage spray: This pulsating spray penetrates and soothes the muscles while performing its regular cleaning duties.
      • High-efficiency spray: This mode feels strong and effective, but it actually uses less water than a straight-on spray.
      • Adjustable full body spray: This spray pattern widens to cover a large portion of the body at once. It’s great for shampooing thick hair and for relaxing.

      Walk-in shower designs

      Many beautiful walk-in shower designs come from a variety of manufacturers. Depending on the space you have to work with, certain shower enclosures may fit better than others.

      • Corner shower: A corner shower occupies one corner of your bathroom. This is a classic and popular placement since it makes the best use of smaller spaces.
      • Suite shower: The suite shower is attractive and luxurious. Its large enclosed space separates it from the rest of the bathroom, making it appear like an entirely separate room or ensuite.
      • Round shower: The round shower is a popular modern trend that treats the shower space like the central feature of the bathroom. This is a beautiful way to showcase a large bathroom space.

      Shower materials

      As with most home appliances, walk-in showers are available in a wide range of shower enclosures. They vary in price, durability and overall aesthetic appeal.

      • Glass: Durable glass is a popular material for shower enclosures when designing a clean, modern image.
      • Tile: For open walk-in showers, tile gives a luxurious look to the entire bathroom. It can be installed along the walls and the floor to match.
      • Plastic: Plastic has a lot to offer in terms of style and durability while far easier to clean than some of the other options. Often used for enclosed showers, it is available in clear, colored or frosted styles.

      Safety Features

      Walk-in showers are ideal for people with certain physical disabilities because they allow entrance and exit without the need to step over a bathtub rim or shower riser. If you are looking to purchase a walk-in shower for an elderly or disabled individual, here are other safety features you may want to consider.

      • Bench seat: A bench seat is perfect for times when you’d like to relax or for those who are aging or have a disability. The bench seat also is great for shaving.
      • Safety bar: Designed to provide support, grab bars can be installed virtually anywhere within the shower space. They are usually inexpensive and highly effective.
      • Anti-slip floors: Tile, cement and other floorings can be incredibly slippery. Anti-slip floors provide grip for your feet and help keep prevent falls.

      Special Additions

      These features are not normally included with a basic shower, but they can be useful and can add an air of luxury to your walk-in shower.  Additional features can provide more safety and security as well as aid caregivers who are assisting the bather.

      • Programmable: Programmable showers allow you to select settings such as temperature and spray type for different members of the household. Simply select your preferences through a digital control device.
      • Steam room: This is an addition that works with enclosed showers to create and trap steam—perfect for anyone who enjoys a sauna experience.
      • Handheld shower hose: This feature allows you to unfasten the shower head from the wall and move it so you can rinse more effectively.
      • Foldable and flexible doors: These doors allow extra room for caregivers to assist the bather and can also allow a walker or shower chair into the shower.

      What are different types of walk-in showers?

      Enclosed

      Enclosed showers are completely surrounded and are easy to access through a door.

      Open

      The open walk-in has no door and a wide expanse of tiled floor. It usually requires a great amount of space so that excess water doesn't pool on the floor of the bathroom.

      Surround spray

      In this design, multiple shower heads are placed around the walls of the shower so that you are hit from multiple angles by the spray.

      Who can benefit from walk-in showers?

      Singles

      Single people can customize their walk-in shower to meet their particular needs, whether it be a luxurious shower experience or a compact shower to fit in an apartment.

      Couples

      Couples can opt for a double shower if they choose, and they can customize their walk-in shower based on the size of their bathroom and any extra features they want.

      Families

      A family that uses one bathroom for bathing needs plenty of space for storage and their shower. In addition, any fixtures need to be durable and safe to use.

      Disabled and elderly

      Individuals with special physical needs can find it much easier to get in and out of a walk-in shower than a bathtub. Elderly people can benefit from the ease of access as well, particularly when coupled with certain extra features such as benches, safety grab bars and flexible doors.

      Caregivers

      Caregivers will find these certain features that enable them to more easily help with bathing of their care recipient.

      Not sure how to choose?

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        Walk-in shower author reviews

        AUTHORIZED PARTNER
        Safe Step Walk-In Showers

        Safe Step is an American-owned and operated company whose products are made and manufactured in the USA. They aim to provide the best product for the best price.

        • Anti-scald: Special controls keep the water temperature comfortable and ensure the water never gets too hot.
        • Safety grab bar: The company includes a safety grab bar that is an extra-long 24 inches.
        • Anti-slip floor: The floor of the shower is extra-thick and provides grip to prevent slipping.
        • Seated or standing shower: A folding seat comes with every installation. It can be folded down for a seated shower, or up and out of the way for a standing shower.
        • Hydrotherapy: The Dual Hydrotherapy Massage System relieves pain and reduces stress. The massage system makes the shower a great place to relax.
        • Lifetime warranty: The company prides itself on great products and confidently offers a complete lifetime warranty upon purchase.
        Read 126 Reviews
        Barrier Free Living

        Barrier Free Living focuses on providing a variety of home design elements for people with physical disabilities. You can find accessible kitchen and bathroom appliances and fixtures in their catalog.

        • Roll-in shower: The large shower entrances designed by Barrier Free Living allow for roll-in access by people using wheelchairs.
        • Corner shower: This model makes the most of a smaller bathroom space, with all the safety and accessible features expected of a walk-in shower.
        • Portable showers: These are great for those that want to save money on a remodel. They also work well in a variety of environments, from hospitals to homes.
        • Easy installation: The one-piece walk-in shower provides low-threshold access with simple installation.
        • Designer series: For a luxurious touch and total bathroom remodel, the designer series is ideal. A variety of tile and color designs are available to choose from.
        by Shelley Webb Senior Products Contributing Editor

        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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