How do I Choose the Best Handicap Bathtub?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 11 January 2019
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The best handicap bathtub is often determined by the extent of the mobility and physical therapy needs of the handicapped individual. Those with some minor mobility may prefer a walk in tub with high walls and water controls positioned near a stationary chair. Individuals who are unable to walk and require the assistance of a caregiver to bathe often enjoy the convenience of a side entry walk in tub with a wide door. Both styles of tubs can be installed below the level of the bathroom floor, reducing the height of the entry threshold to make the bathing area safer and more convenient. Some tubs are also equipped with water jets for individuals who need continued hydrotherapy.

Most styles of handicap bathtub feature a side door entrance. Homes can usually have this type of custom feature installed into the current bathroom area. The unit is placed between three existing walls while the fourth, which holds the door assembly, is constructed at a height two to three times that of a traditional tub. The door opens onto a full tub which includes a bathing seat built into one wall above a slip resistant flooring. Once shut, the door creates a water proof seal and the tub may be filled with water without the danger of flooding the bathroom.


Walk in tubs are generally designed with either a narrow or wide door entry. A narrow door entry is often used in deep tubs with high sides. This type of handicap bathtub allows the bather to fill the water level past the hips and may include a full water control assembly beside the stationary seat. Walk in tubs with lower sides can accommodate a door that is the full width of one wall of the tub. This type of setting is ideal for individuals who must be physically lifted onto the stationary chair, allowing caregivers to place them into the tub from a sideways angle without entering the tub themselves.

Some models can be equipped with a zero threshold door assembly. This type of handicap bathtub must be installed by a professional contractor. During the installation process, the lower portion of the tub is designed to be recessed into the floor. When open, the level of the bathroom floor and the interior floor of the tub are at the same height. The door can open and shut without difficult and will continue to create a waterproof barrier without requiring the bather to step over any unnecessary obstacles.

A walk in handicap bathtub may also be fitted with water jets to simulate the water action of a spa. These models are generally more expensive than a standard walk in tub, and feature multiple jets situated around the lower ring of the unit. They can prove extremely beneficial for patients who need continued daily hydrotherapy, providing them with the ability to perform this therapy at home and not in a hospital or therapy center. Some doctors may prescribe water therapy for handicapped individuals to stimulate circulation in the lower extremities. This aids in the prevention of bed and chair sores which can occur on the undersides of legs and lead to blood clotting problems over an extended period of time.



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