If safety and comfort are top on the list of your priorities, a walk in bath tub is a quintessential bath accessory that you must certainly own. Designed for maximum bath comfort and safety, the walk in tubs are particularly useful for the elderly and people with mobility issues who cannot sit or stand without the assistance of a caregiver. Apart from promoting a healthy and independent lifestyle among the old and the disabled, walk in bath tubs are a great option even for the young and the healthy, looking for an immersive spa-like bath experience at a decent price. However, given the countless varieties available in the market today, buying a walk in bath tub for your home can be quite an overwhelming chore. To make things easier for you, we here have a discussion on a few smart tips and tricks that will help you zero in on the most suitable and value for money walk-in bath tub for your home. But first, let us understand what exactly a walk in bath tub is.
All you need to know about walk in bath tubs
Given the fact that the baby boomer generation is almost nearing its retirement, the popularity of walk in bath tubs has essentially skyrocketed in the recent times. Walk in tubs are an incredible solution to the varying bath needs of the old and the dependent people who suffer from grave mobility issues. So how exactly are walk in bath tubs designed? Specifically designed to cater to the needs of people who cannot get in or out of the regular bathtubs of their accord, walk-in tubs feature an elevated inside seat that can be accessed via a hinged door on one wall of the tub. The users can safely step inside the walk in bath tub, as opposed to raising their foot to hop inside a conventional bathtub and enjoy an immersive bath secured on the inside seat.
Depending upon your specific needs and requirements, you can also opt for a bevy of additional convenience features such as anti-slip floor, internal grab rails/bars, handheld showerheads, whirlpool, rapid drain systems, hydrotherapy and more to make your walk in bath tub safer and more comfortable to operate. Given the fact that they allow the user to sit on an elevated chair high position while bathing, the walk in tubs are a God send for people who have knee problems and cannot squat.
So, what are the benefits of a typical walk in tub?
Apart from offering a measure of safety and comfort for the users, the walk in bath tubs are also great for:
- Relaxing tension in stressed out muscles
- Addressing pain issues in joints and muscles
- Boosting blood circulation
- Promoting stretching
- Providing support for aching joints or painful injuries
- Alleviating the effects of painful chronic medical conditions such as fibromyalgia
- Relieving stress
What are the features that you must look for in a walk in bath tub?
As aforementioned, walk in bath tubs are essentially specialty products that have been designed to cater to the needs of people who cannot comfortably use the traditional bath tubs. That being said, here are the basic features of a walk in bath tub that you must look out for while exploring your various options in the market.
Quality of the tub
Given the fact that a bath tub is not something that you buy every day, it is worthwhile to invest a little extra to get your hands on a good quality product that will perform well and last several years without causing you much trouble. In addition to exploring the leading brands in the market, you might also consider checking out the walk in tub’s door seal warranty for leak proof functioning.
Size of the tub
Another important consideration to make is the size and shape of the walk in tub that will not only provide you a comfortable bath experience but also easily fit into your existing bath floor layout without making any drastic modifications in the room’s configuration. The most commonly bought walk in tubs typically feature dimensions of 60 inches x 32 inches and can be easily installed in place of your regular bath tub.
Type of the tub
If you have been out shopping for a walk in tub in the market, you would know that there are countless varieties of tubs featuring top of the line functionalities for the convenience of the user. While the most basic walk in type is the soaker tub, there is a plethora of other advanced feature packed walk in tubs such as the therapeutic or hydrotherapy tubs that offer high end technologies including bubble massage air jets and whirlpool water jets as well.
Drain and Fill time
For added convenience, most walk in tubs nowadays feature rapid filling faucets and pump supported drainage systems that can easily fill the tub in less than 6 minutes and empty it within 3 minutes respectively! Some walk in tubs also feature multiple 2 inch drains to further speed up the process of drainage.
Height and Size of Seat
It is important to research the various options available for seat size and height and opt for tubs that feature large seats that are installed at a height of at least 17 inches from floor level for maximum comfort. It goes without saying that lower seats are pretty inconvenient to both use and get up from.
Types of Doors
You can choose from both inward and outward opening doors as per your convenience and requirements. While outwards opening doors are more convenient to operate, they also require a greater clearance space in your bathroom. On the other hand, inward opening doors require clearance area within the tub and are often installed with fold up seats for the convenience of the user.
Air or Water Hydrotherapy
If you want your walk in bath tub to provide you an all-round therapeutic bath experience, you can go for versions that feature hydrotherapy functionalities. You can choose from both water and air jet technologies as per your specific requirements. While water jets are typically more powerful as compared to air jets, they also need to be fitted with an automatic ozone disinfection system to keep off bacterial growth. You can also go for quieter jet systems that do not make as much noise as the regular ones.
It is a good idea to invest in some useful additional features in your walk in tub for higher safety and convenience. From hand showers to glide bars and grab rails, there are plenty of useful tub accessories that you can choose from. You can also install thermostatic limiters to ensure optimum mixing of hot and cold water with an upper limit to control the rising of temperature beyond a certain threshold.
Tips for buying a walk in tub
Now that you are well aware of the various functionality features and accessories available with high performance walk in bath tubs, let us have a look at a few basic guidelines that you must essentially follow while buying one for your home.
Understand your needs
Before you head out to the store, you must first ascertain as to what exactly your specific needs and requirements are. Will a simple soaker tub solve your purpose? Are you looking for a full-fledged bath experience, complete with top of the line therapeutic fixtures such as hydrotherapy jets, air massagers, in line heaters and so on? Knowing exactly what you need will help narrow down your list and make it easier for you to take your pick from within a sea of products.
Research your options
Since a walk in tub is a significant investment, it is important to avoid rushing things and take your time in researching the various options available in your budget range. From their size and shape to the various features and functionalities, there is an enormous variety of walk in bath tubs available in the market today. You just need to pick out the one that solves your purpose most cost efficiently.
Talk to a plumber
You wouldn’t want to invest in an extravagant walk in tub, only to realize that it cannot be installed without reconfiguring your entire bathroom layout! It is advisable to speak with your plumber and determine whether the tub that you are planning to buy can be installed without having to make any drastic adjustments to your plumbing and floor plan.
Check out warranties
Another important aspect of buying a walk in bath tub is the type of warranty or return policy that the manufacturer supports for it. There are different types of coverage for all the various components of a walk in bath tub including blowers, heaters, water pumps, water tight door seals and so on. Also, it is easier to invest in a product if you know that you can return or replace it in case you end up changing your mind after it is delivered at your place.
Most importantly, you must set out a budget before buying a walk in tub, to avoid splurging on additional ‘bells and whistles’ that might eventually be of no use to you. Understand what you need and then pick a product that effectively solves your basic purpose of safety and convenience above all.