Although there are many benefits of using a walk in bathtub, there are some cons that seriously need to be considered before buying a walk in bathtub for yourself or a family member.
With standard safety features and added luxury features (hydrotherapy jets, chromatherapy, aromatherapy, etc) the cost of a walk in bathtub can be considerably more expensive than a traditional bathtub. Many seniors living on social security or limited income may find it difficult to cover such an expense. While some walk in bathtubs can be as low as $1,500 there can be serious safety risks if tub features do not adhere to ADA strict standards. Top-of-the-line walk in bathtubs can be as expensive at $10,000 or more, but most walk in bathtub manufacturers costs will range between $2,500-$5,000, which doesn’t include installation.
If a walk in bathtub is on your list of things to buy, make sure to have your bathroom inspected by a licensed contractor to see if you will need to upgrade electrical or if installing a walk in bathtub will require remodeling or construction to get your walk in bathtub into your bathroom. Installation, bathroom remodeling, improved electrical wiring, and plumbing could get quite costly, so these all need to be budgeted before purchasing a walk in bathtub.
One of the cons with a walk in bathtub is that you have to be seated in bathtub while draining the water. Since the walk in bathtub door has to be completely closed for safety, a slow draining tub could be dangerous in the event of an emergency where you have to get out of tub quickly. Some walk in bathtubs provide quick drainage systems that drain tub water in a minute or less which makes it not only convenient but a must for safety in event of an emergency.
As with water drainage in order to fill the walk in bathtub, this also requires you to be seated in tub prior to filling the tub with water. Water that is too hot could scald the skin and water too cold can rapidly reduce body temperature which are both very dangerous. If the individual is taking a bath independently it is important they are able to manage the water temperature. Some walk in bathtubs provide an inline water heater that maintain consistent water temperature providing a safer and longer bathing experience.
Outward vs Inward Swinging Tub Doors
Walk in bathtub doors come in two options; outward swinging which the door opens outward and inward swinging where the door opens inward into tub. Both have their own pros and cons, so here is what to consider for each:
Outward swinging tub doors provide easy access in and out of the tub for everyone; whether elderly, handicapped, or mobility-impaired. These are easier to step in or slide-in for handicapped accessible tubs. These are also safer for fast and safe exiting in the event of an emergency. The cons with outward swinging tub doors is they generally cost more, could drip water outside of tub when opening door and presenting a risk of slip and fall accident outside of tub, and because the door swings outward the space limitations around tub would have to allow for the door to swing outward.
Inward swinging tub doors provide easy access into tub, are available in a variety of models, and generally cost less than outward swinging tub door models. Some cons to consider are inward swinging walk in bathtubs are not recommended for people in wheelchairs, are more difficult to exit tub (especially in event of emergency exiting tub), and may not be as easy to close once seated in tub due to space and size inside tub.
Mental and Behavioral Impairments
For individuals suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other serious mental or psychological impairments bathing alone should never be attempted. Although a walk in bathtub would benefit a caregiver taking care of individuals with these conditions, they should never be left alone in a traditional or walk in bathtub.
Individuals with severe claustrophobia may also have difficulty in a small confined bathtub, so if you are considering a walk in bathtub this will need to be addressed. Some walk in bathtubs would be too small and confined for their needs, whereas others provide a safer, relaxed, and more roomy environment for bathing. In some cases a bathroom remodel can provide a much more open floor plan providing you with a relaxed and calm space for individuals suffering from claustrophobia.
Much is to be considered and questioned before purchasing a walk in bathtub for yourself or a loved one. Ask your walk in tub manufacturer and licensed contractor all these questions, as a walk in bathtub can be a perfect solution for many individuals- in some cases a walk in bathtub is not the best choice for independent bathing situations.
What is your experience with a walk in bathtub? Please share your pros or cons you’ve experienced with others below, so others can benefit from your experience.