The Pros and Cons of Walk-in Tubs

You might be consider replacing your existing tub or shower with a walk-in tub for you or a loved one. These tubs are a good solution for those with limited mobility and great for seniors. They give your bathroom a modern appearance and restore personal independence. Most importantly, they provide ease of access and bathing comfort for all. Walk-in baths may still not be a good fit for everyone. Purchasing a walk-in tub is a big decision. With all the mixed reviews out there, it can be hard to know whether one is right for you. To help answer your most pressing questions, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to buying a new walk-in tub.

Are Walk-In Tubs Safe?

A walk-in tub is a bathtub with a watertight door that allows the bather to step into the tub over a low threshold to increase safety. The door closes, the tub fills with water and after draining the bath, the person opens the door and steps out safely. Slipping and falling in the bathroom is a dangerous hazard and a common source of injury among seniors. One of the most popular reasons for purchasing a walk-in-tub is the added safety they offer with their handrails, built-in seating, and textured flooring.

Safety Pros:

Much of the remodeling suggested for aging in place revolves around safety, specifically preventing falls. Over one-third of adults over age 65 fall each year and over 80 percent of those falls are in the bathroom. Walk-in tubs generally provide an array of features designed to reduce falls. These often include built-in handrails, an ADA compliant overall design, anti-slip flooring, contoured built-in seating, and a low step height for entry.

Some models also include wide doors designed to allow those in wheelchairs to transfer easily to the tub seat without assistance. Another safety feature, although not related to falls, is a scald prevention valve, designed to prevent hot water burns. Seating allows you to submerge yourself without bending down to the floor.
Handrails help you steady yourself when you sit and stand.

Safety Cons:

A concern with a walk-in tub is temperature. Since you must enter the tub before filling it, there is no chance to adjust the water and get it just right before exposing your body to the water. Also, because you must sit in the tub while it fills, it is very easy to experience dangerous temperatures as the water slowly climbs. Because of this, it is important that any tub you consider be equipped with a scald prevention valve. This device is designed to prevent dangerously hot water from entering the tub. Even then, it could take some uncomfortable minutes to get the water temperature adjusted comfortably in the tub as it fills.

Walk-in tub molds can be constricting when a person needs complete bathing assistance.
If you have a medical emergency, such as chest pain, you must wait for the tub to drain before you can exit and dial 911 (a waterproof medical device eliminates this risk).

Do Walk-In Tubs Ease Pain?

Soaking in warm water can be a great way to relax and reduce muscle pain and tension. It’s also beneficial for those with arthritis. These benefits make walk-in-tubs attractive to many, but there are some things to watch for.

Pain-Relief Pros:

Walk-in-tubs allow you to fully submerge yourself in warm water safely, helping reduce back pain and other aches.
Unlike outdoor hot tubs, walk-in tubs can be used anytime for fast pain relief.

Pain-Relief Cons:

Some walk-in tubs fill and drain slowly, meaning you have to sit there and wait, which can lead to discomfort. Walk-ins that operate quickly and come with heated seating can significantly mitigate this problem.

Are Walk-In Tubs Economical?

Walk-in tubs can cost a lot, and some companies are less than forthcoming about their expense. For many customers, though, the cost is well worth it.

Cost Pros:

Certain walk-in tub models offer a lot of features in a single tub. Rather than purchasing modifications such as over tub seats, add-on handrails, anti-scald valves, and non-slip flooring, a walk-in tub combines all of these features and more in one package. This can reduce the amount of construction needed in your bathroom for remodeling as well as reducing the time required to make the modifications. Regardless, many walk-in tub providers offer affordable payment plans.

Cost Cons:

Walk-in tubs can be pricey and Medicare does not consider them Durable Medical Equipment (DME) or cover any part of the costs. A few states may offer some assistance under their Medicaid programs but most do not. The base price of a walk-in tub can range from just under $1,000 to well over $5,000. Installation costs can vary widely, however, with costs after installation running up to $10,000 for the tub and installation, depending on the complexity of the construction needed for installation.

New Jersey Installation Experts Make the Transition Easier 

As you can see, walk-in tubs might not be for everyone, but for those looking for secure, handicap-accessible tubs, a walk-in fixture offer the perfect solution. If you’d like to learn more about walk-in tub features and options, contact our New Jersey walk-in tub installation experts today!

Give us a call to connect with one of our bathroom remodeling professionals to discuss your renovation plans. We also invite you to submit our quick and easy online form to request your free quote.