Walk-in Bathtub Overview

Walk-in bathtubs, also known as accessiblebathtubs are mostly used by people with limited mobility or the physically challenged. The bathtubs are made accessible for people by the addition of a watertight built-in door, a safety grab bars or hand grips, or through the use of lifts that lowers and raises the bather into and out of the water. These bathtubs are specially designed for accessibility.

Walk-In Bathtub Options

Many accessible bathtubs are available with hydrotherapy or whirlpool, air massage therapy, aromatherapy, and Chroma therapy features. They include an internal safety grab bars, an anti-slip floors and seats, and handheld showerheads that, in some cases, can also be wall mounted to enable a person to take a standing shower.

Walk-in bathtubs have either an inward or outward-opening or "cap" like fitted door that is self-sealing. Most walk-in bathtubs also have a chair-height seat, but some, which are the same basic configuration as a standard bathtub, do not have any seat. Although for these bathtubs, there are aftermarket bath lift seats available. Multiple walk-in bathtub manufacturers design their walk-in bathtubs to have seat heights compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, this being 17” high.

Bathtubs categorized as "walk-in" actually require a low step-in, as they have higher seats and outward-opening doors that enable a person to simply sit on the seat and pivot and swing his or her legs into the tub. This type of walk-in bathtub can be helpful to those confined to wheelchairs and to others with mobility challenges.

Walk-in tubs take up a similar amount of space in a bathroom as a traditional bathtub. This allows for a quicker installation and simpler alignment of the water drains. There are also smaller walk-in tubs that offer front and side entry for a less than standard space.

The Argument of “inward vs. outward doors”

In some instances an inward-opening door may be considered a disadvantage because emergency access is difficult, since the pressure of the water on the door is holding it closed. However, the advantage is that an inward opening door is "self-sealing" due to the pressure of the water inside the bath assisting in maintaining a water-tight seal.

Outward-swinging doors are equipped with a special seal so that they will not leak. These types of doors also facilitate access for users who need to perform a lateral transfer from a wheelchair in order to gain access to the bathing area.

Who is a Walk-in Bathtub for?

Walk-in bathtubs, although initially designed for the physically challenged, have grown in popularity with the general public. Its added features and benefits appeal to consumers of all age groups, offering convenience and practicality with its compact designs, fitting in small spaces, and allowing for maximum space usage and access. The innovation of the walk-in bathtub has revolutionized how the elderly, the injured, and the infirmed are treated in the comfort of their own home, offering freedom, security and an improved quality of life.