Accessible Bathtubs vs Accessible Showers: How to Decide Which Is Right for You

Image spilt between accessible bathtub and accessible shower
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Can’t decide between a walk-in tub and a barrier-free shower? Both options are great ways to make your bathroom safer and more accessible but depending on your situation, one option may be better than the other. To figure out the best choice for you, we’ll look at the benefits of both accessible bathtubs and accessible showers and then do a quick comparison to see the main differences between the two accessible products.


The Benefits of Walk-in Tubs

They Make It Easier to Get Clean

Let’s start with the most obvious benefit: getting clean is easier and safer than it is with a traditional tub. With a walk-in tub, the bather can feel better knowing the struggle of climbing over bathtub walls is over. The risk of injury is lowered, and loved ones will also feel better about the bather’s safety.

They’re Incredibly Relaxing

As you can imagine, soaking in a bath is quite relaxing for many people. The constant feeling of hot water cleansing your skin and calming your mind is already satisfying, but then there’s the add-ons. You can get heated water jets, warm air massage, ozone sanitizer, microbubbles, chromatherapy, pillows, cushions, and more. These options turn a regular bath into a thing of luxury that you’ll look forward to even more.

They Can Be Affordable

There’s a range of models for you to choose from when shopping for a walk-in tub. If you’re on a budget, try models like the So-Lo, the Fairmont, or even the Conversion Kit. If you’re interested in enhancing your bath, have a look at the Grandeur, the Zen, the Oasis, and the rest of our walk-in tubs lineup. When compared to accessible showers, accessible bathtubs tend to have a wider price range, meaning the costs can be lower. It often takes more effort to install a barrier free shower as well, bringing up the installation costs.

They’re More Versatile

If you have other people in your home that prefer showers to baths but still use the same bathroom, you can modify a walk-in tub to accommodate this. Just communicate to your installer that you want to keep the shower head, and add on a shower door to your walk-in tub purchase.

The shower door is a great add-on for accessible tubs that sit in nooks or corners, as it only takes one additional wall to enclose the space and keep the rest of the room dry. This way, people who like showers are happy and so are those who like to take baths.

Additionally, some walk-in tubs are designed for smaller bathrooms and many can fit anywhere a traditional tub fits. When compared to a barrier-free shower, they can save valuable bathroom space since barrier-free showers typically take up more space.

They Can Be Wheelchair Accessible

Many people who are looking to make their bathroom more accessible are doing so because they use wheelchairs. While all walk-in tubs make it easier to get in and out, some make it much easier for those who use wheelchairs. Specifically, tubs that have outward swinging doors are ideal because the bather can open the door, move onto the seat, then swing their legs in. This is opposed to an inward swinging door where the bather has to walk in first, then sit down.

If you’d like to see a model in person to see if its compatible with your needs before making a purchase, we recommend visiting one of our dealers near you.

They Add Resale Value to Homes

As with any sized renovation, adding a walk-in tub to your home will surely increase its resale value. It’s an enticing option for couples who want to age-in-place; with an accessible tub, they won’t need as much help bathing themselves when their mobility slows down. This means they can stay in the home longer, without having to consider moving elsewhere for assistance.

Walk-in tubs are also attractive for any bather, regardless of their ability. These tubs make bath time a thing of luxury that anyone would be happy to indulge in.

They Give Back Independence

Loosing independence with age can be difficult on mental health. We all know someone who refuses help, no matter how much they need it. Getting physical assistance can be embarrassing for some people, so having the option to do daily tasks without help is huge for their confidence.

Walk-in tubs are therefore excellent for people who want a bit of independence back. People who need assistance lifting their legs over tub walls often love walk-in tubs because it may mean they can get in and out of the bath by themselves again. It may seem like just another daily task to outsiders, but we know how important this one task can be.


Benefits of Accessible Showers

They Make It Easier to Get Clean

Again, we have to mention the main benefit of accessible showers first. Of course they help the user get clean in a safe way. This is done with low thresholds (so they don’t have to lift their legs very high), grab bars, seats, gripped flooring, and more. These features are an improvement over many traditional showers that pose safety risks for people with limited mobility.

They’re Wheelchair Accessible

Barrier-free showers are great for people who use wheelchairs. If their chair is waterproof, they can take it right in the shower with them. The same goes for walkers. Having said this, there’s often a built-in or movable seat in these kinds of showers as well.

They’re Great for Guests

While an accessible bathtub might grant a moment of luxury for guests, accessible showers give them a sense of normality if they’re used to taking showers, not baths. They’re straightforward to operate so the homeowner shouldn’t have to give any instructions.

They Add Resale Value to Homes

Just as a walk-in tub adds resale value, so does a barrier-free shower. It still hits the mark for couples who want to live in their house for as long as possible, and the renovation will look great.

They Increase Independence

Again, this benefit is shared between both accessible bathtubs and showers, as both options make it easier for people to clean themselves with little or no assistance. People living with limited mobility often need assistance for everyday tasks, so freeing up this one task can be a big relief.


Comparing Accessible Bathtubs and Accessible Showers

In summary, both accessible bathtubs and accessible showers make it easier for people with limited mobility to get clean in a safe, confident manner. The differences are that walk-in tubs can be more affordable, relaxing, and versatile (since they can be modified into a shower), whereas barrier-free showers allow the user to take their wheelchair in with them, and they may be better suited for guests.

Both options also add resale value to homes, increase independence, and most importantly, make the bathroom a safer place.

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