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Pros and cons of walk-in tubs

Walk-in bathtubs are ideal for anyone with mobility issues

by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team
elderly woman sitting in walk-in tub

Who should buy a walk-in tub?

A walk-in bathtub can be a great choice for anyone with mobility issues, including people with disabilities and those who are aging in place. The pros outweigh the cons for many individuals who are considering buying a walk-in tub.

Pros

  • Safer than traditional bathtubs
  • Therapy options help you relax
  • Provides symptom relief and improves circulation
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • More expensive than traditional bathtubs
  • Installation may require electrical work
  • Usually not covered by Medicare
  • Could require a water heater upgrade
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Top PickSafe Step Walk-in Tubs Visit website
  • Walk-in tubs, showers and combos
  • Sanitizing system
  • Free consultation
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Runner-UpIndependent Home Visit website
  • Walk-in-tubs
  • Self-cleaning system
  • Free consultation and site inspection
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Runner-UpAmerican Standard Walk-in Baths
  • Walk-in tubs and air baths
  • Self-cleaning options
  • Free safety evaluation and estimate

Benefits of walk-in tubs

Walk-in tub safety benefits
A walk-in tub is safer than a traditional tub because of its design; you can walk in over a low threshold and sit in the tub, so there is less chance of slipping and falling than with a traditional bathtub. Walk-in tubs also come with specific safety features such as grab bars, anti-scald valves, slip-resistant flooring and built-in seating. Some tubs are equipped with emergency safety switches and self-cleaning systems, which resist mold and bacterial growth.

Walk-in tub health benefits
Walk-in tubs make bathing safe and convenient, and they can also improve your overall health in several ways:

  • Provides symptom relief: Those suffering from conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, rheumatism, fibromyalgia or general muscle or joint pain and stiffness can benefit from the soothing effects of a walk-in tub.
  • Improves circulation: A walk-in tub can also help improve overall circulation, leading to increased mobility and less pain.
  • Promotes relaxation and stress relief: A walk-in tub can provide peace of mind as well as giving you a relaxing and stress-relieving experience. It can also improve your quality of sleep with soothing chromatherapy, hydrotherapy, massage and air bath features.

Disadvantages of walk-in tubs

Walk-in tub fill and drain time
One downside of a walk-in tub is that you have to get in the tub before you fill it and you can’t exit until it’s drained, so it’s important to ensure the water starts out as a safe and comfortable temperature. Walk-in tubs take about 7 minutes to fill and drain, features like heated seats and quick-drains can help you stay warm throughout the process.

Walk-in tub cost
Walk-in bathtubs are an investment, and the tub itself is not the only financial investment walk-in tub owners may need to make.

  • Higher initial cost: Walk-in tubs can cost significantly more than traditional bathtubs, especially if you need to do any pre-installation electrical or plumbing work.
  • Might require a water heater upgrade: Walk-in tubs can hold anywhere from 40–100 gallons of water, with most averaging 50 gallons. If you have a small water heater, you’ll want to upgrade in order to ensure you have a hot bath every time.
  • Installation could be complicated: Some homes, especially older ones, will need to update their electrical and plumbing systems before a walk-in tub can be installed. Your walk-in tub company can work with you to determine what needs to be done before installation.
Bottom line: Overall, walk-in tubs provide a safe and comfortable bathing experience. They can be a welcome addition to any bathroom and are especially beneficial for individuals with mobility issues.
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by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.