As we get older, it can become difficult, if not impossible, to safely step over the 17-19” rim of a standard bathtub without assistance. While help may sometimes be necessary, most seniors prefer to maintain their dignity and privacy while bathing. Walk-in tubs can be an invaluable asset in addressing this issue and in helping to maintain independence and security for seniors who wish to remain in their homes.
Depending on the features you choose, walk-in tubs may also provide hydrotherapy by combining heat, buoyancy, and massage to treat symptoms associated with arthritis, circulation challenges, fibromyalgia, diabetes, and other health issues. The warm water stream relaxes muscles while stimulating the release of endorphins.
If you are considering purchasing a walk-in tub for yourself or a loved one, here’s some information to ensure you are a well-informed consumer.
Country of Origin
If the tub is not made entirely in the USA, make sure safety features are present and that they adhere to our safety standards and regulations.
There are safety regulations set by leading testing laboratories and organizations that are committed to consumer safety. When purchasing a walk-in tub, make sure it is certified by UL®, IAMPO/R&T, UPC®, IPC®, or ETL. In addition, be certain it is ADA compliant.
Look for non-slip floor, ADA approved seat, safety grab bars, solid stainless steel support frame, reinforced door system with lifetime door seal, fast draining system, overflow protection drain, door drain, and easy to use tub doorway. These safety features should all be standard features.
Consider these therapeutic options for an enhanced bathing experience: water massage jets, air jets, dual jets (water and air jets), chromatherapy (light therapy), aromatherapy (aromatic therapy), inline heater (maintains constant water temperature), ozone generator (sanitizes tub and equipment), UV sterilizer (eliminates water-borne pathogens and cleans water), and a soothing headrest for relaxation.
Ease of Use
Does it have a quick drain system? Are the controls, faucet, and hand-held shower within easy reach while sitting down? Is the seat contoured to your body and comfortable to use? Are safety grab bars positioned in all the necessary places for maneuvering in and out of the tub?
Make sure you have a licensed contractor install the tub to keep your warranty in force.
Service and Warranty
Be certain your tub comes with a lifetime warranty and includes service in the event something needs to be repaired. Of primary concern is the door seal. The tub door seal should come standard with a lifetime warranty. If the manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty make sure you understand everything covered and the term of the warranty. If it is a limited warranty, it should have a minimum term of 10 years on all parts and labor to protect your investment.