Walk In Bathtub Buyers Guide

Is a Walk In Tub right for me?

The first step in buying a walk-in bathtub is determining if a walk in bathtub will work for me or my loved ones. If someone is having difficulties stepping over the rim of the existing bathtub or is looking for a way to bathe, without having to worry about getting down and up off the floor of the bathtub, the walk in bathtub is the only answer. The walk in bathtub will also offer showering capabilities as well as bathing features. The major difference between the walk in bathtub and a conventional bathtub is the door and seat inside the tub. Be careful when selecting a walk in bathtub without a seat because all that will offer is a door to eliminate the step in of the tub but not a way for you to bath safely. These style tubs without a seat range from $1200-$2700. They will not have a permanent molded seat and will be mostly used as a shower. If you are currently in a wheelchair, please look for only outward swinging doors for easy transfer from wheelchair to exposed Walk In Tub seat. Understand that the outward swing door may not fit in your bathroom due to size of the door swinging outward. There are special size models to fit into smaller areas as well as larger models for the bariatric needs. Please look for size or just explain your needs (Weight, Mobility and limited space)

The second step is finding what tub correctly fits your space. Many people who are buying a Walk In Tub are replacing a conventional bathtub. The traditional size bathtub is 30″x60″ (LxW). Walk-in bathtubs come in a variety of sizes and styles ranging from small units about the size of a shower stall (36″x48″), to sizes larger than a conventional bathtub. The normal range for walk in bathtubs go from 26″ wide to 33″ wide and 37″ to 60″ long. Height is normally 38″-40″ high and if you are looking for a deeper soak please seek out a company with a higher tub than 40″. Models that are shorter than a conventional tub often come with extension boxes, usually looking like a shelf, to match up to the tub and make it fill a full 60″ stall.

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What Are Walk In Tubs Made From?

Walk in tubs are usually made of one of two materials: Fiberglass or Acrylic. For more information about this, check out our articles section on Fiberglass VS Acrylic.

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How To Choose the Correct Door Side For You?

Click Here to View Diagram

To start this conversation, you have to know that there are two main classifications for doors. There is the inward swinging, and the outward swinging doors. You should also know that most walk in tubs have the door on the side of the tub. Very few companies offer a front door entrance and that is because they normally do not work with a standard bathroom configuration.

Bathtubs with inward swinging doors usually do not require as much room in the bathroom, because the door requires no space to open. They are also ADA compliant because they do not require you to step back as you open the door. The downside of an inward swinging door is that in an emergency, you must wait for the tub to drain before the door can be opened. These doors are also less likely to leak because water pressure helps to tighten the seal.

Bathtubs with an outward swinging door require more space for the door to open out into the bathroom. They do allow for an easier emergency exit but all the water will rush out into your bathroom. These doors are also more likely to leak because the water pressure is forcing the door open. The main reason for an outward swing door would be for wheel chair transfer tubs or special size tubs to accommodate for the door size of entrance way.

Lastly, you must choose right or left hand door opening, and this depends completely on your bathroom. This choice is made depending where your toilet bowl, sink and existing plumbing is located in your bathroom. To start, while looking at the bathtub, determine whether the faucets would be on the right or the left. If the faucets were on your right, you would want a right hand door and vice-versa. Next see if while sitting in the tub and facing the faucets, would anything get in your way of stepping out of the tub. If the answer to the second question is no, then you have found which door would work best for you. If the answer is yes, then you may need to have your installer reverse the plumbing for you to use the tub, this is common and the plumber will have no problem doing this in most cases. Click Here to View Diagram

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Do I Need a Seat In My Walk In Tub?

A seat is one of the most important parts of a walk in bathtub, it allows you to easily sit down at chair height (typically 17″ ADA height) and completely submerge, rather than having to lay down on the floor of your existing tub. The seat will also take the burden off ones legs and can be used as a seat to shower. The walls of the tub compensate for the seat so that you can enjoy a deep soaking bathtub. The walls are also an added support for getting in and out of the seat.

Not all walk in bathtubs have a seat, some are traditional looking tubs with a small door, these do not offer all of the safety features that come from a real walk in bathtub and are not recommended by us.

Powered lift seats are another way to go, these can raise and lower the user into their walk in bathtub. These seats range from a belt that you sit on, to a solid piece that you can sit on. Typically these tubs are much more expensive and can cost between ($6000-$18,000)

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What kind of Jetting Systems Are Available On Walk In Tubs?

On most walk in bathtubs, you have a choice of either air, water or both air and water to be included with your tub. Most of these systems are variable speed, so you can set it to your comfort level.

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What Is The Difference Between Air and Water Jets?

In a nutshell, the biggest difference is how powerful the jets are.

Water jets are larger, usually directional jets and have a more powerful spray of water. The water jet systems usually contain a fewer number of jets and are less common. Water jet systems often leave water in the jets and pipes, which can increase the chance of buildup of mold or bacteria in the pipes.

Air jets usually have a less powerful spray and have a greater number of jets around the tub to increase the bubble and soothing action. Air jets are the more commonly seen jetting systems in these tubs, and many of these systems self-clean to prevent build up of bacteria.

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What Fixtures Come With The Walk In Bathtubs?

Most of these walk in tubs come with chrome fixtures, some offering gold or bronze faucets options. Some tub manufacturers provide 5 piece or 3 piece faucet sets, some providing the option of either. Please ask the company to send you an image of the faucet set to you liking. The 5 piece faucets include a shower head and some companies will offer a riser rod for you to mount the shower head on the wall for showering purposes. Please also ask if any safety grab bars are included.

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What Color Do Walk In Tubs Come In?

Most manufacturers make tubs in two colors, white and cream, the most common color of tub being white. You may have an extended wait time or an additional fee for a color other than white. Other manufacturers do make custom colors for an additional cost.

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Where Can I Get A Walk In Tub?

There are four main outlets for walk in tubs: Online Retailers, In Home Salesmen, Dealer Showrooms, and Retail Chain Outlets.

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How Do I Get My Walk In Tub Delivered and Who Installs Them?(back to top)

Most companies ship the tub directly to your house. Some use Residential Lift Gate service, which is more expensive but usually insures that the tub gets to you with no damage. Shipping on Walk In Tubs usually costs about $300.

  • Some manufacturers provide authorized installers and/or dealers who will do all of the work, including plumbing and electrical work needed to install the tub.
  • Some manufacturers provide the names of plumbers that can be used to install the product, people that have been recommended to them or that they have used before.
  • Some manufacturers allow anyone to install their product without voiding warranty, and provide an install manual with all of their tubs along with a help line for the person installing the tub.

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