A walk in bathtub is a very convenient bathroom appliance – who could say no to a deep tub, with a built-in seat and door for walking straight in without having to step over high walls? Such a unit is also much more space saving than a normal bathtub, as they are meant for sitting rather of laying in a horizontal position. If you’ve never seen or heard of a walk in bathtub before, you might want to know what exactly is it before going into more details. To start off, a walk in bathtub is nothing more than a pretty deep tub, usually deep enough for a seated person to be able to soak up to their neck, with a built-in seat for more convenience (as you’d be swimming underwater without that, given the depth), and a door, which makes for a more comfortable entrance into the tub. These are very popular in Japanese households, as the sitting position is considered more optimal for the hot water to evenly deliver its relaxing and soothing properties.
Moreover, the seats are a convenient feature for all those who struggle with bathing in a laying position – mainly elderly, disabled or injured people, and even tall people, who usually cannot find a tub big enough to fit in comfortably while in a laying position. The door makes for a very convenient entrance mechanism, as it would be pretty hard, even for a perfectly healthy person, to get into a tub whose walls are usually over 40 inches high. These doors can be made of glass, plastic, acrylic or several other materials, and are also enforced with a vacuum closing mechanism, which helps keep the water inside, without any risk of leaks. They come in two main types, based on their direction of opening – inward and outward opening doors. Inward ones usually make for a more durable water isolation, minimizing the risk of leaking (as the weight of the water will press against the door, making it even more tightly closed, while the outward ones are more convenient for wheelchair users and elderly people, as they require less movement to be opened or closed.
In case you were wondering, a walk in tub is the kind of tub where you’d have to get in first, and then turn on the water to fill it up. While it might do magic for relaxing your sore muscles, it won’t keep the water in if you fill in the tub and open the door! In addition, you or the person bathing will have to drain the water first before getting out of the tub. This brings us to the first things you’ll have to look into before purchasing a walk in tub – the advantages and disadvantages of such a unit.
We want to ease your search of finding the perfect walk in tub, offering you a ‘Top 4’ of the best quality, bestselling and most praised by customers walk-in bathtubs out there. We’re pretty positive that you’ll find the perfect one among them – so let’s get started!
1. Ariel Bath EZWT-3060 Soaker R Walk-In Bathtub
Starting off with one of the best deal on the market nowadays, this walk-in bathtub has all the essentials to bring your bathing experience to the next level. The Ariel Bath EXWT-3060 is a soaker-type bathtub, being rather deep and coming with a built-in seat for greater convenience and comfort. The unit measures 61 x 31 x 40 inches, which makes it a rather smallish tub, perfect for tucking it into a small or medium sized bathroom.
Material-wise, this unit is made out of stainless still with a fiberglass enforced body. This means it will literally last you a lifetime, as this combination of materials is one of the most resistant when it comes to bathroom equipment, but also does have a couple of drawbacks – the steel core will cool down the water inside the tub rather quickly, and the whole unit will be rather heavy (150 pounds by itself, plus the water inside it and the weight of the person inside). You might want to have this on the ground floor to avoid any kind of weight-related damage.
The door on this unit is an inward-opening one, which makes for a tighter seal between the tub and the outer medium. However, this might not be the best option for a wheelchair user.
If you plan to have your parents, grandparents or any elderly bathing in the tub, you can always rest assured for their safety, as the unit comes with a textured bottom for a non-slippery surface, a high seat and a handle for easier standing up and sitting down.
For even greater convenience, this unit comes with a faucet set, made to fit perfectly into the pre-drilled holes, and a handheld showerhead, so you really need not purchase any additional details, unless your older drains are damaged or you just wish to change them. The installation of this unit should be rather easy, as it comes with an instructions manual. Grab the wrench and you’re ready to go!
Be careful, as the listing on Amazon advertises that this model has 18 air jets – it doesn’t, as it’s just a normal soaker tub. The listing refers to the Ariel Bath series in general, and they do have a similar model, called Ariel Bath Air Jet, that has them.
This unit also comes in both right hand and left-hand configurations, for greater comfort and easier fitting with any plumbing you might have in your bathroom. Warranty for this unit is available upon request from the seller. If you decided this is the tub you want for your bathroom, check out the latest price here:
2. American Tubs CARE-3048 Soaker Walk-in Bathtub
Another recommendation of ours, the American Tubs CARE-3048 is another soaker walk-in bathtub which will make for a great replacement for you current normal tub. In terms of material, this is a way better choice than the previous unit, as it is made of pure enforced fiberglass with a durable gel coat finish. Grace to this choice of material, the tub shall be much more lightweight, thus easier to install and suitable for apartments or upper floors. The get coating also makes for an antibacterial surface, which is always a great thing, as you won’t have to scrub it after every use.
It measures 60 x 30 x 33.5 inches, being a tad bit smaller than the previous unit. Works best for small and medium-sized bathrooms. For safety features, this unit is much similar to the Ariel Bath above – it comes with a textured floor for a non-slippery bottom, a high seat and a handle for easier sitting down and standing up. The seat in this unit is slightly bigger than on a normal one, making for a good bariatric tub as well. In addition, the American Tubs CARE-3048 also has the door reaching down to the floor, without any additional footsteps that would complicate the whole getting-into-the-tub-process. However, the door on this unit is still inward-opening.
This set come without any built-in hardware. You might be fooled by the pictures on the listing, but this tub only comes with pre-drilled holes for the faucet, water knobs and showerhead. However, this one does actually have 13 built in massage jets, which will hit the neediest spots on the person’s back. It also does come with a convenient control panel, which can be accessed directly from inside the tub, where you can set the temperature of the water, intensity of the massage jets, etc…
This bathtub come with a 2-year warranty on limited parts, and falls into the upper limit of the low-priced walk-in bathtubs out there. Check the latest price and shop for this unit here:
3. Ella Deluxe Dual Massage Acrylic Walk-In Bathtub
A beautiful design is probably the last thing you think about when investing in a walk-in bathtub. After all, they’re all about convenience, comfort and safety! However, the Ella Deluxe Dual Massage is here to prove you wrong, and prove that this model of bathtubs can be equally as beautiful as they are convenient. The most spectacular piece on this units is the glass door, with a brushed bronze gold frame, which will harmonize well with a vintage-inspired bathroom design. Speaking of the door, you’ll have to know that it is an inward-opening one as well, which makes for a great isolation, yet it might not be as convenient for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.
This unit is an acrylic tub shell with fiberglass enforcement, which is the most popular combination of materials regarding bathtubs nowadays. It makes the tub lightweight, the surface antibacterial and preserves a constant temperature of the water for longer – which is all you’d wish for from your bathtub. This unit measures 32 x 60 x 48 inches, being more on the big side. However, if this wasn’t enough to convince you, this unit also has some really nifty safety features, which include an anti-slip floor, two grab bars for easier standing up and sitting down, a high seat and a removable rubber backrest. This makes it the ultimate bathtub, where the risk of falling, slipping, or being uncomfortable is simply not there.
The Ella Deluxe Dual Massage bathtub is called so for a reason – it’s also a treasure in terms of comfort features, not only safety ones. This particular unit comes with 22 jets, both air massage and hydro massage ones for a greater diversity of your bathing experience. It also comes with an in-line water heater and an ozone water purifier, which make your massage water cleaner and warmer. In addition, this tub has all sorts of additional gimmicks, such as Chroma therapy illumination, a foot massage system, and even a bidet air massage one! All of these can be easily controlled, switched on and off from the conveniently placed knobs on the edge of the tub.
This set comes with a handheld showerhead, a full body brass chrome faucet, and all the hardware parts included, so you don’t need to buy any additional pieces unless you wish to change something in your old plumbing. The unit also is one of the fastest draining ones on the market, having two 2” copper drains, which claim to get all the water out in less than 80 seconds! A nifty way to neutralize one of the disadvantages of walk-in bathtubs!
This product falls into the medium-priced range and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty upon the buyer’s request. If its elegant design and features have caught your eye, shop the latest price for it here:
4. American Standard 3060.104.WRW Walk-In Tub
We couldn’t leave you without a high-end product, could we? The American Standard 3060.104.WRW will cost you way into the $10 000 price range, but its quality does pay off in the end. However, note that the features on it won’t be much different to the ones on the units above – you’re paying mostly for a reputable brand name here.
This unit is made out of a fiberglass core, with a gel coat covering, which makes for a non-porous, antibacterial surface, that will spare you of cleaning it with chemicals after every bath. It will also help preserve the aspect of the tub better, as the white pigment is mixed into the gel coat and not painted on top, so you don’t have to fear about scratches, paint cracks, and many other unpleasant surprises. Besides, this alloy is still a good one for preserving the water temperature constant, yet it tends to be a bit heavier than the acrylic. However, the difference is nowhere near significant, so you can go ahead and purchase this tub even if you life in an apartment.
The unit measures 60 x 30 x 33.5 inches, being rather big and probably not a good fit for a small bathroom. However, if you chose to go for a $10k tub, we assume you already have a pretty spacious room to put it into. Left-hand and right-hand configurations are available.
In terms of safety, this tub will offer you the old but gold safety grab bar, a textured floor for a non-slippery bottom, and a high seat. As far as comfort features go, this unit has 13 water massage jets, places so as to hit the back of the person bathing, as well as their feet and calves. The unit is also equipped with an ozone tub-cleaning system, minimizing the time you’d have to spend on cleaning it.
Knowing the issue with slow draining for this kind of bathtubs, American standard has equipped this model with a patented Quick Drain pump system, which claims to drain the water in the tub in around 80 seconds.
Last but not least, you’re paying for a lifetime warranty on this product you’re buying, namely a lifetime warranty on the door seal, 15 years on the tub shell and 10 years on the components. This kind of explains the price of the unit, as you’ll be assured with a replacement or free service from the manufacturer during over 10 years after the purchase, completely free.
Check out the latest price for this unit here:
Advantages of walk in tubs include:
• They are smaller, thus more space-savvy, which makes them the perfect choice for small and medium bathrooms.
• They are deeper, providing a much more comfortable and relaxing soak than your normal bathtub. A bliss if you’re a tall person, as you’ll finally be able to get yourself fully immersed in the water, without curling up in an uncomfortable position. You might be put off at first by the idea of bathing in a seated position – but believe us – once you try it, you’ll never want to switch to something else again!
• They are very accessible. If you or a member of your family has limited mobility issues, this kind of tub will bring their bathing experience to a whole new level. Due to the door-based entrance and the built-in seat, even a disabled or injured person might be able to get into the tub by themselves, without any additional help. This will make a world of a difference to you or your family members, by helping them become more independent when it comes to bathing.
• They can offer you all the benefits of a normal bathtub, and plus some extras, including a whirlpool or Jacuzzi system, hydro massage or aero massage heads, built-in faucets and even shower systems, Chromatherapy lights and LED displays for easier control of the features.
• They are more economical. Due to the fact that you have to get in first, and turn on the water afterwards, this will help you save the extra water that usually goes down the overflow drain when you get into a full tub. It might not be much to reflect on your water bill, but it will definitely help your household be more environment-friendly on the long run.
Much like any other products, these tubs do have some disadvantages to them. However, they come more like features, rather than disadvantages, but it still might be a bummer for all those who are used to a normal bathtub:
• You have to fill in the tub before you actually get into it. Doesn’t sound like much of an issue just yet, but for many people, half of the experience is immersing into a steaming hot tub all at once. With this kind of tub, you’d have to wait around 20-30 minutes, depending on its size, for the tub to fill up, and eventually get really cold until the water reaches its maximum level. A walk in tub would imply having a steady warm temperature going on in your bathroom – if you don’t want to grow icicles until your tub fills up, that is.
• The other end of it – you’ll also have to wait until the water is fully drained from the tub before you can get out using the door. However, if you have a shower system built in, you can cheat a bit on this one and use the time to rinse yourself while the bath water is draining. You can avoid both of these disadvantages by using a specially designed bathtub footstep, but again, that would also make it harder and more dangerous to enter. However, many manufacturers have come up with creative ways of solving this problem, by implementing more than one drain hole, a special pump draining system, or other technologies that are meant to shorten the time of drainage.
These are some general features of walk in bathtub, but just as any other bathroom device or furniture unit, these tubs come in many different types and purposes. To choose the best one for you and your family, check out these main walk in bathtub categories:
1. The soaker tub.
This is the deepest kind of walk-in bathtub, the one which has a built-in seat and is usually deep enough to fit one fully grown adult and bring the water to the level of their neck. These are great if you’re looking for a more comfortable alternative to your normal bathtub, you struggle with back or lower back problems that make your laying down in the bath uncomfortable, or you are a taller person who finds it incredibly uncomfortable to take a bath in the normal units out there.
2. The therapy tubs.
These come in two different variations of their own, and resemble more a Jacuzzi system rather than your average bathtub. You have your hydrotherapy tubs, which come with jets that will direct powerful jets of water to the neediest areas on the body (back of the neck, shoulders, calves and feet), making for a great massage in addition to your relaxing bath. On the other hand, there are the aero therapy tubs, which come with a similar massage jets technology. What’s different about them is the fact that they use bubbles or a gentler stream of air to provide the massaging sensation – which makes for a softer and more relaxing experience. However, these aero therapy tubs tend to get the water cold way faster than the hydrotherapy ones, as the air in the bubbles is usually not heated beforehand. Most therapy tubs come with a built-in showerhead of some sort, which helps you rinse off the foam, oils or anything you might have going on in your tub.
3. The bariatric tubs.
This kind of tub is usually wider than a normal soaker tub, and the seats are adjusted for both big and small body sizes. Besides, they usually have all sorts of security equipment around them, including handles and non-slippery floors, being the best choice if you plan to install this tub for an elderly person, or for someone with mobility issues or who struggles with obesity or other weight-related health problems. The bariatric tubs are very convenient to help this kind of people feel more confident and independent, as they might even be able to get into the tub by themselves, given the convenient door system.
4. The wheelchair-accessible tubs
Taking a bath might be a great struggle for a person who’s bound to a wheelchair, so the bath equipment companies have given it some thought, and came out with these specially designed wheelchair-accessible tubs. These have the seats at the same level as most wheelchairs, and a convenient door, which opens outwards and to the side, so that even a person who has a completely immobile lower body can get into this tub by themselves.
5. The combination walk-in tubs
These tubs will offer you the best of both worlds, as they are designed to serve both as a bathtub and a shower. This means they usually come with an included shower system, as well as everything you’d need in your normal bathtub – massage jets, non-slippery floors and seat, overflow drain and many more. This is the best commitment you could possibly get if you don’t want to compromise your personal comfort, neither that provided by a relaxing bath, nor that of a fast and refreshing shower. Much like any of the previously mentioned types of walk-in tubs, the combination ones come with more or fewer special features and options for you to choose from, so you can always adjust your tub to your personal preferences and needs.
After you’ve decided on one type of walk-in tub, the next question that pops up in your mind is probably what to look for in such a unit. In technical terms, they don’t differ much from the normal bathtub you might have at home right now; features like size, capacity, depth, additional accessories, price, warranty and installation process details are what you’ll have to go through. To simplify your search, we’ll get you through the most important questions you’ll have to have the answers ready to before going on Amazon.
1. Type. The most popular and distinct types of walk in bathtubs have been covered in the list above, but you can also find a lot of tubs out there that serve a multitude of purposes, and thus classify under more than one of the above mentioned categories: you can have a wheelchair-accessible soaking tub, a combination-therapy one (these are extremely common), or a bariatric and wheelchair-accessible unit. The point here is not to look for one particular type, but widen up your search to more versatile units. The type you choose depends entirely on your or your family’s needs.
2. Size and position. Most walk-in bathtubs are classic rectangular shapes (some even come close to a square shape in the base), so you won’t have too much trouble with unusual shapes that will have to align well with your plumbing. They’re also smaller in size than a normal lay-down bathtub, which makes them a great choice for smaller bathrooms. So, grab your measuring tape and check how much space you can spare for your future walk-in bathtub.
3. Doors. This is probably one of the few features that applies exclusively to walk-in bathtubs. As the person willing to take a bath has to enter and get out of it using a door, unlike stepping over the edge, like with a normal tub, it’s essential that you choose a door that will fit your needs. As we mentioned before, there are two main types of doors on these units –the inward opening and the outward opening ones. Inward opening doors are a more practical choice in general, as they will close more tightly due to the water in the tub pressing against them, thus making for a longer life for your bathtub. However, these can be inconvenient if you’re planning to have a person with limited mobility or an elderly go into the tub, as it requires more effort to be opened and closed. For these cases, it’s best to opt for an outward opening door, which can be easily opened and closed with one hand. Some tubs even come with automatic doors, meaning the tub has a built in control panel where the person inside can close the door with the push of a button.
4. Capacity and depth. These tubs are usually designed for one person only, as the seat is only big enough to fit one person. You might be able to find one designed for collective use, but it might be rather challenging. When it comes to depth, most of these bathtubs are pretty deep compared to what you might be used to. While the average tub is meant for a laying-down position, these are mostly oriented towards bathing in a sitting position. When inside, a fully grown adult might not be able to see over the edge to the tub – that’s how deep they can get. However, the overflow drain will be usually placed around the height of your neck, making the water not raise above that level.
5. Price. You can find a walk-in bathtub for any budget. To get an idea, you’ll have to spend between $2000 and $10000 on such a unit. Always go for a product tat has a warranty, even if it comes for some sort of additional cost – it might not make much of a difference to the final price, yet it will spare you a lot of unwanted spendings in case your unit breaks during the warranty period.
6. Extra features. Here, we’ll have to break it down into 2 main categories:
• Safety features. Especially if you’re looking for a tub for an elderly person, a disabled, wheelchair-bound or overweight person, you want to make sure your tub comes with safety features. These can include: non-slippery floor coverage, handles for easier getting in and out of the tub, bariatric seats (the kind which extend horizontally, making it more comfortable for an overweight person), and outwards opening doors. Things to be avoided if you want ultimate safety in your bathroom – tubs that come with footsteps; better go for a unit whose door goes down to the floor, so you or the person in need does not have to take on any additional danger.
• Comfort features. These include anything related to massaging jets, shower systems, illumination, etc… As they are not essentially necessary for the well functioning of your tub, they will add up to the final price quite significantly. However, if comfort is something you put a great deal of thought into, these will make for a great addition to your investment. Hydro massage jets, aero massage jets, led lights, water purifiers and many more – all of these can be checked out in the listing of your product of choice.
7. Installation process. Last but not least, here’s a thing people like to postpone until the last moment, when the carrier knocks on their door with the ready-to-install tub. Much like any other tub, these can be installed by oneself, if one has some kind of tools and knowledge about plumbing and connecting pipes and drains. Look for a unit that comes with a clear and explicit set of instructions, especially if you’re not very experienced, but still plan to do the job by yourself. However, you can always call a plumber, pay for the service and get it done in under an hour. If you can afford the extra cash, you’ll also ensure a longer lifespan for your brand new walk-in bathtub.
As you could see, there are a lot of walk-in bathtubs to choose from, and we tried to include ones from different price ranges so that you can find one that suits your budget best among them. We preferred to stick to the classic types – soakers, therapy bathtubs, and combinations between them. Most of these also include a showerhead, or at least have pre-drilled holes, so you can mount one in yourself, making them a complete bathtub and shower system. In this top, we preferred to stay away from very specific types, such as the bariatric and the wheelchair-accessible ones, but if that’s what you’re looking for, you can easily find them on Amazon as well, by typing in the specific key term. The reason why we did not include them is that they are a rather specific type of bathroom equipment, which deserves an article on its own. However, these are still great choices for elderly people, people with limited mobility, injured or disabled – as they still have most of the safety features that will help them get in and out of the tub without another person’s help.
Handles for sitting down and standing up, non-slippery floors, doors down to the bathroom floor level and high seats will make for a danger-free bathing experience for anyone in your family! All the units we mentioned in this top also came with a solution to the long-time draining problem, either by having a pump draining system or multiple drain holes, so the nasty waiting-in-the-cold time after the bath shall not be an issue anymore. Last but not least, all these walk-in bathtubs come with special comfort features, be it massage jets, air bubble jets or Chroma therapy light, so you can always transform a simple bath time into a relaxing and luxurious spa treatment. This being said, we hope our top helped you find the perfect walk-in bathtub for you and your family, and this next purchase will bring lots of positive emotions in your household.