The 5 Best Walk-In Tubs of 2020

Find the best option to making bathing easy

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First Look

Taking a shower or a bath should not be a source of fear and dread, but for many seniors and people with a disability, it often is. According to a study published in the International Journal of General Medicine, nearly 30% to 50% of falls happen due to environmental factors such as slippery floors, uneven floors, and poor lighting. 

Bathrooms can be especially dangerous places because of the water and humidity that can make floors, both inside and outside the tub, slippery. The obstacles in the bathroom make it even more difficult; stepping over the side of the tub to get in, for example. If someone loses their balance, slips, or trips, there is usually no soft place to land in the bathroom. The result can be serious injuries.

One way to minimize these risks is to install a walk-in tub. Walk-in tubs have a lower entry barrier, in some cases only requiring someone to raise their foot less than 3 inches to get in or out. We reviewed the top picks for walk-in tubs assessing the best manufacturers in the categories you care about.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide

AmeriGlide is an online distributor with exceptional price transparency and product documentation. If the price ranges listed by other manufacturers and dealers scare you away as they approach around $10,000, check to see what AmeriGlide has to offer.

At AmeriGlide, for less than roughly $1,000 plus installation, you can simply convert your existing tub to have a low threshold for walk-in access, with or without a leak-proof door for a full bath-soaking experience.

The lowest-priced full walk-in tub AmeriGlide offers starts at around $2,300. The tub does not have a seat, but rather a traditional single-level tub elevation. For an upcharge, there are options for hydrotherapy jets, an air jet option, and an auto-drain feature, which drains the tub in under one minute. Even with this low-priced product, there is a lifetime warranty on all door seals, a 10-year warranty on the tub itself, a five-year warranty on the pump and motor, and a one-year warranty on the faucets. 

Once you get into the $3,000 to $4,000 price range, AmeriGlide sells walk-in tubs with a seat. There are several styles with slightly different designs, sizes, and features.

In AmeriGlide's $4,000 to $5,000 offering, you’ll find walk-in tubs that have wheelchair-accessible features such as wide, swing-out doors and higher seats. These more expensive tubs also have hydro and air therapy jets for a luxurious feel.

Best Therapeutic Options: Safe Step

Safe Step

Safe Step

Made in Tennessee with a lifetime warranty, Safe Step makes walk-in tubs easy, safe, and comfortable to use so that you don’t have to sacrifice hygiene or independence. Safe Step earns high marks for the best therapeutic options.

Its Hydro-Jet Water Therapy uses 10 strategically placed hydro jets that you can adjust to your comfort. You can manipulate the direction of each of the jets, as well as their speed and intensity. Target your entire body, or just certain areas that need attention, such as your lower back or your feet.

SafeStep’s MicroSoothe(R) Air Therapy System can be turned on to circulate millions of oxygen-rich bubbles through your bath. You’ll feel like you are in a spa, as the microbubbles stimulate and nourish your skin.

Chromotherapy is a standard feature on every Safe Step walk-in tub, since it has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. With Safe Step, you can choose from seven different colors to see which one helps you relax best based on how you are feeling at that moment.

The aromatherapy feature allows you to pour your essential oil into a specially-designed channel that will emit the aroma while you use the tub, while the personal hygiene therapy feature is a built-in bidet, so you can clean those hard-to-reach places in the privacy of your bath with dignity and independence.

Prices for the Safe Step walk-in tubs range from about $3,000 to $5,000.

Best Design for Caregivers: Elevate

Elevate

Elevate

Walk-in tubs are a great solution for people with mobility challenges who want to retain their independence and dignity by allowing them to keep living in their homes without assistance.

Some people still require a homecare worker or have a family member act as their caregiver. In some cases, one of the responsibilities of the caregiver could be helping in the bath. Elevate has some features that balance dignity for the owner with comfort advantages for the caregiver.

The Elevate Bathtub is all one level inside the tub, which means you can sit in it like a traditional one, but at a higher level. Unlike other manufacturers’ products that include a seat with bent knees and feet on the floor, Elevate’s design is completely at a chair or wheelchair level.

This means you can transfer laterally from a wheelchair or back into it with your walker. Once inside, you can either raise the door upward to its full height for a deeper soak, or, a caregiver can raise the door halfway to make it easier on your back while bathing the user.

The handheld sprayer enables the caregiver to quickly and effectively clean the whole body, and wash off any soap or salt at the end of the bath for a well-rinsed and clean feel.

The tub has a button for emergencies as well, which drains the water in approximately 10 seconds and has an emergency override in case the electricity goes out.

Additional features include a color light therapy system and a heated backrest. The Elevate Bathtub can cost around between $10,000 and $15,000 and comes with a five-year warranty.

Best for Optional Features: Boca

Boca

Boca

This Georgia company makes well-equipped walk-in bathtubs with standard features like a low, 2-inch threshold. However, it’s their long list of options and their ingenuity to add more comfort features that make them worth your consideration.

You can customize your Boca tub to have up to 18 air jets and 10 water jets, or some combination of the two. You also have a say in the design of your tub on where those jets are placed so that they are doing the most good for your body. You can choose to be massaged by more than just bubbles; the Vibrosonic Massage System can add to the experience as well.

You can choose an in-tub bidet with an ozone cleaning system if you need that kind of help for better hygiene. Add light therapy, aromatherapy, the company's Vibes Sound System, a heated seat or heated back, or an overhead rainfall shower, all designed to elevate your comfort, reduce stress and anxiety, and help you relax.

Safety-minded options include a “warm and safe” temperature readout and grab bars that can mount to the wall and tub. Boca provides a lifetime warranty with prices starting at roughly $5,000.

Best for Luxury: Kohler

Kohler

Kohler

Walk-in tubs have features that can inspire you to look forward to bathing, beyond just getting clean. And, Kohler has some of the best products to keep you comfortable for a spa-like experience every time you bathe.

Kohler’s 10 Hydrotherapy Jets produce bubbles that invigorate and massage your back, legs, and feet. Each jet moves independently, so you can tailor your bath to the parts of your body on which you want to focus. The tub is Epsom Salt-friendly, so go ahead and add it to soothe your muscles even further.

Bask(R) heated surfaces surround you and support your shoulders, neck, and back to further release tension. Choose from three temperature settings to adjust your comfort. Heated surfaces and hydrotherapy jets have long been used in physical therapy rehabilitation and by professional athletes because the warmth and jets are gentle but effective.

The extra-wide seat provides a safe and comfortable perch upon which you can recline in your tub and let the surrounding features do their job. The Kohler Walk-In Tub has one of the fastest fill-and-drain capabilities on the market. Ergonomically designed, so it’s easy to use, it minimizes the time you need to wait in a cold tub of water in order to get out.

Even stepping into the tub is easy: Kohler has one of the lowest step thresholds at just 3 inches. And while in the tub, there’s a multifunctional hand shower so you can get those hard to reach places and also rinse off bath residue at the end.

Rounding out the finishing touches of this luxury design is Kohler’s LuxStone(R) Bath Walls. Engineered stone makes the wall surrounding your tub durable and elegant.

Kohler walk-in bathtubs are installed by Kohler-authorized dealers located in virtually every state and can cost between about $12,000 and $17,000 with a full suite of luxury options.

How We Chose the Best Walk-In Tubs

We consulted with consumer affairs organizations such as Aging In Place, Consumer Affairs, and Consumers Advocate in order to highlight for you the best manufacturers and models in the categories that concern you most. We looked at pricing, features, design, and overall value.

AmeriGlide was our Best Overall pick for its pricing and warranty options, while Safe Step stood out for its therapeutic features like chromotherapy, air therapy, aromatherapy, and hydro-jet water therapy. If you're looking for a spa-like experience, Kohler stood out as our luxury option.

What Are Walk-In Tubs?

Walk-In tubs typically have a door that swings in or out of the tub, and in some cases slides up and down. The purpose of a walk-in tub is to enable the user to easily and safely enter and exit the tub, especially if they have difficulty raising their feet over the side of a traditional tub.

Is a Walk-In Tub Right for Me?

Walk-in tubs are typically chosen for seniors or people living with a handicap that limits their physical mobility. Some people decide to move to an assisted living residence in these conditions, but many people want to stay in their home for as long as they can before they give up some of their independence. A walk-in tub can make bathing a much safer experience because it minimizes the risk of falling while getting into or out of the tub or shower. 

How Do Walk-In Tubs Work?

Walk-in tubs have a watertight seal on their doors. This is one of the key mechanisms that enable people to open a door, walk in over a very low threshold, shut the door, sit on the built-in seat, and soak in a bath. When the user is finished, they drain the tub before opening the door to step out.

How Much Do Walk-In Tubs Cost?

The typical price range for most manufacturers is between about $5,000 and $10,000, and at the high-end prices are closer to roughly $15,000. There are online retailers where you can find walk-in tubs for less than around $4,000, and walk-in tub conversion kits for less than about $1,000.

Are Walk-In Tubs Covered by Insurance?

Unfortunately, walk-in tubs are not typically classified as durable medical equipment, so Medicare and private insurers don’t cover their cost. There is always a chance that you may find a doctor who can write a medically necessary appeal for your insurer to consider.

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  1. Dionyssiotis, Yannis. "Analyzing the problem of falls among older people." Int J Gen Med. 2012; 5: 805–813.