If you are searching for a walk-in tub, chances are that you or a loved one experience mobility issues that prevent the use of a regular bathtub (Source).
There are many different models of walk-in tubs out there, some featuring the bare minimum of safety and bathing features and others providing an entire spa experience within the tub.
Any tub should be safe and easy for the bather to use regardless of mobility or pain issues.
These types of tubs require professional installation and can be expensive so it is important to shop around and consider all your requirements, as well as your budget, before purchasing a tub.
Walk In Tub Reviews: Who Can Benefit from Walk-in Tubs?
Walk-in tubs are designed for people with limited mobility and disorders that might make sitting in a tub or standing in a regular shower difficult.
The actual features of each tub will vary but they all have some of the same safety features, such as built-in seats, grab bars, anti-slip surfaces on the floor, a low threshold for stepping in easily, and doors that are watertight.
Some walk-in tubs also include extra features, such as the ability to use them for aromatherapy or hydrotherapy. They may also include massage features or whirlpools for an added spa-like experience. Some even have Bluetooth speakers!
Comparing the Top 8 Walk In Tub Models
|Ella Deluxe 30"x 55" Air and Hydro Massage Acrylic Walk-in Bathtub||Air and hydro massage jets||Lifetime limited warranty on the door, frame, walk-in tub shell, and door seal. 5-year parts warranty.|
|American Standard 32"x52" Right Hand||Quickly pumps out and drains water in two minutes or less||Lifetime warranty on the door seal, 10-year warranty on the tub shell, and 5-year warranty on parts and other components.|
|American Standard 30″x 52″ Whirlpool and Spa||Quickly pumps out and drains water in two minutes or less||Lifetime warranty on the door seal, 10-year warranty on the tub shell, and 5-year warranty on parts and other components.|
|Arista Walk-In Bathtub 2753||Many air and hydro massage jets||Lifetime warranty on the watertight seal.|
|Spa World Venzi Vz2747rws Rectangular Soaking Walk-In Bathtub, 27x47||Optional wall kit for use as a shower||10-year limited manufacturer warranty. 1-year parts warranty.|
|Ellas Bubbles 60″ x 30″ Walk-In Tub||Dual seat system||Lifetime limited warranty on the door, frame, walk-in tub shell, and door seal. 5-year parts warranty.|
|Ariel EZWT-3048-DUAL-L Walk-in Tub||Whirlpool jet and heating system||3-year limited warranty.|
|Ella Titan Outward Swing Dual Massage Walk-in Tub with Left Drain||Extra wide seat||Lifetime warranty on door seal, frame and shell. 5-year warranty on hardware and|
1. Ella Deluxe 30″x 55″ Air and Hydro Massage Acrylic Walk-in Bathtub – Super Easy to Step-In
It also has a beautiful gloss finish and a white color that will easily blend in with whatever bathroom decor or tile surround you already have in your bathroom.
It measures 30”x55”x38” and includes an integrated seat that is 20” wide. The depth from the seat to the waterline is 18”.
The safety features include two stainless-steel grab bars, slip-resistant floors, and a low threshold for easy step-in. It also has additional features for added comfort, such as 18 separate jets (10 air jets and 8 hydro jets).
The air jet system has three different air settings and automatically removes any water from the pipes so your air stream isn’t backed up. The hydro jets are great for massaging sore feet, backs, hips, and legs and are gentle enough to use on a regular basis without issue.
This model comes with pre-installed faucets and does not have holes for installation of faucets you may already have. If you want to install your own faucet, you will need to make a special order from the manufacturer.
It also comes in one piece, weight 250 lbs, and cannot be disassembled. You will need to be sure that the door opening to your bathroom is at least 30” wide, if not more, in order to accommodate the size of the tub when moving it for installation.
American Standard’s right-hand walk-in tub has a balance of safety and therapeutic features. A left-hand version of this tub is also available from the manufacturer.
The tub featured here is white but a linen color is available as well. This walk-in tub has a chrome drain that quickly and efficiently pumps out water in under two minutes so that you don’t have to wait long for all water to be drained so you can safely exit the tub.
It is made from fiberglass and has an hi-gloss gel coat. The tub measures 52”32”40 and the seat is 24” wide.
There is also a grab bar and the floor is textured to increase its anti-slip effectiveness. The door to the tub is contoured, durable, and easy to grip so that you can fully transfer yourself over the low threshold safely. The tub has been tested for weights of up to 1,000 lbs so you bathe easy knowing it is going to be able to handle your weight and hold up over time.
Therapeutic features include an in-line water heater, 6 hydro jets, leg massage, and a fast-fill faucet. Combined with the quick draining feature this makes it an excellent choice if you don’t like to sit around waiting for your tub to fill and drain. This makes taking a quick bath into an easy experience, not a chore.
One downside is that you will need two separate circuits when hooking up the tub, one for the pump and drain and another for the heater. It can also take a while to install and is definitely not something that can be done quickly in a weekend, even with professional installation.
The tub has a full-size, contoured door that has a watertight seal. The low threshold allows for partial transfer. It has easy-touch control buttons and is constructed of fiberglass with a high-gloss gel coat.
It also features the same quick-fill faucet and quick drain that pumps out water in two minutes or less. The tub measures 52×30”x40” and the seat is 22” wide.
The tub has standard safety features such as the low threshold and watertight seal. It also has a grab bar and a textured, slip-proof floor. The seat within the tub is also contoured in order to make it easier and safer to sit down and stand out, as well as making it more comfortable to sit on while bathing.
Therapeutic features include an air spa system that has 21 separate air jets. This only has one speed but it effectively blows heated air for a relaxing massage and creatures thousands of bubble to encourage circulation. There is also an automatic purge feature to keep the system running smoothly. In addition to the air jets, there are six hydro-jets that provide legs-only massage.
The tub is free standing but only the front side is enclosed so you would still need some sort of cover on the back and sides to give it a finished look. It also comes with a tub extender that can fit on either side of the tub for ease of installation within your existing tub surround.
One downside is that the owner’s manual isn’t as thorough as it could be. It can take some tinkering around to figure out the adjustable door latch and all of the control knobs, as these aren’t well explained in the manual.
Arista’s model 2753 walk-in tub is available in both left- and right-hand configurations for easy installation into your current bathroom. It has an acrylic finish that is reinforced with durable triple-coat fiberglass.
The frame is made from solid stainless steel and features eight different support points for added stability. The door swings inward and has a watertight seal with a lifetime warranty. The tub measures 53”x27”x40”. It weighs 300 lbs.
Safety features include three built-in grip bars and slip resistant flooring. The molded bathing seat, grab bars, and low threshold are all ADA compliant. The tub takes about 3-4 minute to drain so you won’t have to wait too long.
The tub also has a variety of extra features. It comes with a hand-held shower hose that can be easily used while sitting. 20 air jets and 12 hydro jets are also included for a spa-like massage experience. The tub is also deep enough to allow for a relaxing deep soak and it has an in-line electric water heater that will allow you to enjoy a long, warm bath. It’s electronic soft-touch control pad is both comfortable and easy to use.
This tub has easy to remove front access panels that allow for quick and easy maintenance. It is freestanding but is also designed to be installed into an alcove if you need to. If you do have a shower head above this tub keep in mind that it does not have a lot of room to stand and take a shower.
The shower hose included makes washing hair and rinsing easy, though. It is recommended that you have a hot water heater of at least 50 gallons in order to be able to fill this tub to capacity.
The seat measures 20.5”x15”. It has an outward opening door that opens easily without draining the tub in case of emergencies.This is a relatively simple tub but it includes all the necessary safety features to have an easy and enjoyable bathing experience.
The tub also comes with an optional wall set that enables it to be used as a standing shower as well. The tub itself has a seat low enough for a person up to 6’ tall to comfortably bathe.
The tub comes with a heater and a hand-held shower hose for easy bathing and rinsing even if you do not purchase the separate wall set. A 65-gallon hot water heater is required to fill the tub to capacity.
If you want to enjoy a romantic soak with your partner this is a great option as it features two seats and a centered door that allows for easy access for two people. It has a gloss finish, acrylic shell, and fiberglass gel coat. It measures 30”x60”x38” and both seats are 20” wide. It weighs 220 lbs, lighter than some other models.
The tub includes two independent drains that will drain your tub in about 80 seconds. It has a stainless steel door with tempered glass that is easy to remove for cleaning and maintenance purposes.
It also has 15 air jets with three different speed settings and an auto-purge system. 18 hydro jets with inline heaters are included as well and a microbubble therapy system exfoliates your skin to help ease skin conditions.
The seats come with removal backs. There is a reversible end panel so you can install the tub in a right or left corner. Keep in mind that his tub does not include faucets so you will need a wall mounted tub filler.
This is a free-standing walk-in tub from Ariel. It is constructed with a stainless steel frame and has adjustable feet for ease of installation. It has a heavy-duty fiberglass coating and a trip gel coat. This is one of the larger tubs on this list, measuring 48”x30”x39”. The seat measures 17”x23”. It weighs 237 lbs.
Safety features include reinforced doors, a built-in grab bar, and textured floors. Therapeutic features that are included are a whirlpool and heating system.
It also has an air jet system with 18 jets. A hand-held shower hose is included as well. Lumbar support on the backrest provides additional comfort.
Keep in mind that faucet holes are not pre-drilled and you will need to either use wall-mounted water fillers or have your installer drill the holes for your faucets. It requires a 65-gallon hot water heater and requires 3 20-amp circuits so you may need to expand your electrical service if your electric box cannot accommodate that.
This walk-in tub from Ella features an outward swing door with an easy-grip handle on top. The shell is made from sold acrylic reinforced with fiberglass.
The tub measures 35”x53”x37.5”. The seat is 30” wide, making it the widest seat on this list. The threshold step is 6” and you have the ability to raise it another 2” if needed. It weighs 245 lbs.
Safety features include two built-in grip bars, outward swinging door for easy opening in case of emergencies, and an anti-slip floor. The dual massage system has both air and hydro jets included. This model also comes in a right-hand drain option. All plumbing and safety features are ADA compliant.
When moving this tub for installation, the handle can be a problem when it comes to fitting through doors as it sticks out beyond the top of the tub.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Walk-In Tub (Buyer’s Guide)
Walk-in tubs can be an expensive investment. They are often necessary for older people and others with mobility issues so you want to be sure that you are getting the best tub for both your needs and your budget. Here are some things to consider before buying a tub.
All walk-in tub doors should be sealed and watertight, that is a requirement for safety. The majority of tubs will come with an inward swinging door but outward swinging doors are also an option.
Inward swinging doors are better at sealing the door due to the water pressure that forms against the door and they are also easier to open and close. On the other hand, they are nearly impossible to open when there is water in the tub. Outward swinging doors can be opened in an emergency without draining the tub first.
You should also look at the height of the threshold. Most models are going to be low-step so that you can get into the tub without tripping but if those are still too high, extra low step models are available.
The width of the door is important as well. Extra-wide doors make it easier for wheelchair users to transfer themselves in and out of the tub. Safety rails on the side of the tub, near the door, also make transfer easier.
A basic walk-in tub with no jets is going to be a better option if you are on a budget and simply looking for a safe and easy way to bathe.
If you have extra money to spend and suffer from any sort of chronic pain, such as arthritis, hip replacement, back pain, or other conditions then a walk-in tub with air jets, hydro jets, or a combination of both is a great way to massage sore areas and improve circulation. Jets are also good for exfoliating the skin, an added bonus if you have any skin conditions.
Walk-in tubs come in a wide variety of sizes, with 60”x32” being the average size. You will need to consider the size of your bathroom as well as the size of your doorways when selecting a size.
If the tub comes in one piece and cannot be disassembled, you need to get something that will fit through your door. Narrow staircases or hallways can also pose a problem when moving the tub.
Wider tubs are easier to use if you need to transfer from a wheelchair or if you need to use a lift chair with the tub. Also, consider the size of your current tub. If the walk-in tub you want is longer than your current tub, you will potentially need to make additional renovations to your bathroom. If your walk-in tub is shorter than your current tub, tub extenders and extension shelves are an easy way to fill up the extra space.
Your bathroom floor and subfloor need to be able to support the weight of your tub. Walk-in tubs are much heavier than regular bathtubs so do not think that just because your floor supports your old tub fine that it will support the new one. It is a good idea to get a professional contractor to check your subfloor for its weight limits. If your floor cannot support the tub you will need to make additional renovations.
Fill and Drain Features
Due to the fact that walk-in tubs have a door, you have to sit inside the tub while it fills and drains with water. Standard tubs tend to take about as long as you’d expect a regular bathtub to fill and drain, meaning you may be waiting in the tub for a while before and after your bath.
If you do not want to wait, consider getting a tub with fast-fill and quick drain features. Tubs are available that fill quickly and pump out water fast, some being able to fill and drain in under five minutes. These features tend to cost more so keep that in mind.
Left-Hand or Right-Hand
The drain and the doors need to fit the drain you currently have in your bathroom. Be sure to check the orientation of your drain before buying a tub. Both left- and right-hand options are available for most walk-in tubs so do not worry about being unable to get the tub you want due to it not fitting with your current drain.
Some walk-in tubs are free standing. This means that you do not necessarily need a tub surround in order to install them into your bathroom. These models may be enclosed on all sides or they may only be enclosed on the front and require extra covers or paneling on the other sides.
Tubs that are not free standing will require a tub surround to cover the back and sides. If you have a pre-existing tub surround you simply need to ensure that the tub will fit within it or that you can make renovations to the surround in order to better fit the tub. If your bathroom does not have a surround, you will need to do heavier renovations in order to create a surround or simply consider another model that is free standing.
Our Final Review
Walk-in tubs are a necessary home addition for anybody with mobility issues or pain issues that prevent them from using a regular bathtub. All walk-in tubs will allow the user to independently move in and out of the tub but features beyond that will vary widely by model.
The most important consideration in choosing a walk-in tub is safety. All the models featured here include all the required safety measures such as watertight seals, slip-proof floors, low thresholds, and grip bars. These products are high-quality and reliable. Consider any other requirements or wants that you have (such as massage jets) when choosing a tub but any of these walk-in tubs are a great choice.