If stepping over the knee-high threshold of a bathtub or standing for a long period of time to shower are challenging for you, a walk-in tub can offer comfort, relaxation, safety, and more independence in your home.
"The bathroom is one of the most common places where falls occur," says Liron Sinvani, MD, the director of the hospitalist service at Northwell Health and associate professor of medicine at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in the New York City area.
"The wet and often small environment along with prolonged standing, necessitates maneuvers that lead to imbalance. A walk-in tub may provide a safer option since you can walk in without stepping over a regular tub," she says. Plus, walk-in tubs may have more room to allow devices such as a shower chair, which Dr. Sinvani says can also reduce falls.
The National Institute on Aging reports that one in three people over 65 will experience a fall, and over 80 percent of these falls happen in the bathroom. Of course, age isn't the only reason to make safety in the bathroom a priority. If you use a wheelchair or another assistive device like a cane or walker to help with limited mobility, installing a step-safe walk-in tub is an excellent way to maintain independence at home. If you have muscle weakness or balance problems, experience lightheadedness or vertigo, have high or low blood pressure, or encounter other challenges that make bathing difficult, you may prefer a walk-in tub to help manage your health and hygiene, reduce falls, and improve your overall quality of life.
And since a walk-in tub is designed to make life easier, safer, and more comfortable, you get peace of mind and the freedom to remain independent for years to come—not to mention the luxurious benefits that come from creating a spa-like experience in the privacy of your home.
Health researched several companies to find the best walk-in tubs. Here are the best-rated walk-in bathtubs, according to our editors.
To come up with our top picks, we first considered the company's reputation and commitment to customer service. We also looked at online reviews from customers and plumbers, as well as recommendations from experts who work with older adults. But, because we are so thorough and know you are too, we also considered the following factors before making our list:
American Standard is one of the most recognized names in bathroom fixtures. With over 200 walk-in tubs to choose from and 130+ years of experience, it comes as no surprise that American Standard wins the top spot for Editor’s Choice.
American Standard walk-in tubs come in a wide variety of models and sizes. The company offers walk-in tubs in four categories: walk-in air baths, deep soaking tubs, combo massage tubs, and walk-in whirlpool tubs. Tub finish is available in a high gloss gel-coat or premium acrylic.
Most of the walk-in tubs come with the option of an inward or outward facing door and left- or right-hand side door and drain. Also standard with most tubs is the ozone cleaning system, which is a self-cleaning sanitary system.
If you’re looking for a spa-like experience, some models come with special features like heated air, heated whirlpool, combination systems, multiple targeted water jets, and an exclusive massage feature that allows you to fill the tub halfway for a quick massage for your legs.
For safety, you can count on the durable grab bars installed inside the tub; an ADA-compliant, 170-inch chair-height built-in seat; slip-resistant floor surface; outward and inward door opening; ultra-low threshold; and a wide door for easy entry and exit.
Another winning feature of American Standard is its Quick Drain water removal system, which drains the water in two minutes or less. The higher-end walk-in tubs also feature a Whole Body Hydrotherapy system with 44 air and water jets.
American Standard walk-in tubs range from $4,300 for the Value Series to over $10,000 for the Luxury Series. You can purchase an American Standard tub directly from the manufacturer or at most home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes.
That said, retail stores have a limited stock of walk-in tubs, so make sure to check the manufacturer's website if you don’t find the model you want in the store. Trustpilot reviewers rate American Standard walk-in tubs as excellent, with 4.4 out of 5 stars (out of 531 reviews).
Why soak alone in a luxurious tub when you can share the experience with a partner? Although most walk-in tubs are quite large, they’re only meant for one person. Ella’s Bubbles Companion two-seater is its first and original walk-in tub for two.
Not only is this an excellent choice for safety, but the Companion is also a top pick for luxurious features and accessories. The tub is available in multiple package options, including the hydromassage and air massage system.
The hydromassage system comes with four adjustable and 18 fixed hydro jets, and the air massage system has 10 air jets strategically placed for optimal therapeutic relief. You also have the option of adding light chromotherapy for a visual relaxing element and aromatherapy to add essential oils.
Plus, the in-line water heater keeps the water nice and toasty, and the heated seat and backrest mean you’ll never want to get out of the tub. And when it is time to get out, the Dual Drain Technology drains the water in approximately 80 to 120 seconds.
If you’re hesitant to give up your shower, consider adding the shower kit. You get a shower kit with an overhead rain shower and a powerful handheld shower head, for an additional cost.
The tub has a high-quality cast acrylic finish in white with a stainless steel and tempered glass door. And the door is removable, making it easier to clean in hard-to-reach spots.
For safety, the Companion has ADA-compliant grab bars and a wide seat for security. The threshold step is 9.5 inches, which is slightly higher than other tubs, but you do have the option of lowering it to 6.5 inches. It also comes with two removable access panels and one toe-kick access panel for service access.
Ella’s Bubbles Companion walk-in tub starts around $5,500 and goes up depending on features. You can purchase the Companion tub directly from the manufacturer or at most home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes.
The Companion measures 30 inches wide and 60 inches long, making it a good choice for two medium to petite bathers. It does come with one reversible end panel for left or right corner installation options.
If you want a two-seater with more space, consider upgrading to their Big4Two or Tub4Two walk-in tub. The Big4Two measures 36 inches wide and 80 inches long, and the Tub4Two measures 32 inches wide and 60 inches long. Ella’s Bubbles has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Walk-in tubs provide a wonderful therapeutic spa-like experience, but what if you still want to take a shower? The Safe Step Hybrid Shower-Tub combo made our list because of its luxurious features and top-of-the-line shower kit.
The Hybrid has a fully adjustable handheld shower wand and an 8-inch rainfall shower head, which can both produce water simultaneously. You get the choice between a right- or left-handed door, but it only opens inward.
For a luxury spa-like experience, the Hybrid has 10 strategically placed hydro jets that are fully adjustable and allow you to change the speed and intensity. It also features the MicroSoothe Air Therapy System that releases oxygen-enriched bubbles.
Chromotherapy—or color therapy—and aromatherapy are other features available with the Hybrid. And the heated seat and back system solves the problem of sitting in a cold tub while you wait for the water to fill or drain. It preheats in two to three minutes and reaches full heat in seven to eight minutes.
For safety, the Hybrid model has an ADA-compliant, 17-inch-high built-in anti-slip comfort seat that allows you to sit down without having to squat too low to reach the seat. The threshold is 4 inches from the ground, which is the average walk-in step height. And the rapid-fill faucet is also ADA compliant. The sanitation ozone purification system ensures you have safe water while bathing. It also features an extra-wide, inward-swinging door.
Safe Step determines the price of the tub by including the installation costs since installation is facilitated by the company. To get a quote, you need to call the company. During this call, make sure to ask about the size of the Hybrid because they do not publish dimensions online.
The company offers one of the best warranties in the industry, including a lifetime warranty on the tub, door seal, faucets, water pumps, heaters, blowers, and parts and labor. Some restrictions do apply, so make sure to ask about the warranty before purchasing a tub. Safe Step has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. That said, there are several complaints on the BBB site worth reading before making a decision.
KOHLER is synonymous with luxury, so it comes as no surprise that this brand takes the top spot of best luxury walk-in tub.. You’ll get a luxurious soak and can soothe sore muscles with powerful hydrotherapy targeted at your feet, legs, and spine. The adjustable jets allow you to change the speed and intensity. Plus, you’ll stay warm before, during, and after your bath with the heated back, neck, and shoulder surfaces.
KOHLER walk-in baths are designed with an extra-wide door and 3-inch step-in threshold, which is one of the lowest on the market. Slip-resistant flooring and textured surfaces make it safer to move around, while the ADA-compliant grab bars and indented handrail make it easier to get in and out of the tub. The seat is 17 inches high and offers 21.5 inches of seating space.
The walk-in tubs range in size from 52 to 60 inches long, 28 to 32 inches wide, and 39 inches tall. KOHLER offers professional installation for an added cost. KOHLER starts with a basic model that comes with standard features.
The cost of a KOHLER walk-in tub is determined by the features you add to the basic model. Plus, the company often bundles the cost of the tub with installation, so it doesn’t publish exact prices online. To find out about the cost, you need to call and ask for an estimate.
That said, don’t be surprised if some of the luxurious models run $12,000 or more. You can contact a KOHLER authorized dealer or go through the website. If you need help paying for your project, the company offers financing (with approved credit).
If size is an issue, then check out the massive selection of BOCA walk-in tubs, which features seven categories of tubs. Sizes listed as width x length x height.
Every tub is custom-made to order. This means if the dimensions listed above don’t work for your bathroom, the company will partner with you to create a layout that meets your needs.
What makes BOCA a great company is the ability to customize a walk-in tub that fits both your budget and needs. To create a spa-like experience in your bathroom, consider one or more of the therapeutic upgrades. These include 16 air jets, 10 whirlpool jets, chromotherapy, aromatherapy, heated seat and back, overhead rainfall shower system, and more.
Standard features on a BOCA walk-in tub include fast fill time, quick drain, head pillow and seat cushion, automatic purge system, and more.
Safety features that come standard with all tubs include a low step-in threshold of 2 inches, fast-fill time and quick-drain time, ADA-compliant seat and grab bars, easy lock- and leak-proof door, and left- or right-hand entry.
Since the company offers various sizes and features, BOCA does not publish exact prices on its website. That said, you can expect to pay anywhere between $7,000 and $16,000, with $7,000 being the most basic walk-in tub and $16,000 a fully loaded walk-in tub that you will never want to leave! All prices include installation, which is quick, according to reviews.
Plus, the company offers a lifetime warranty. BOCA walk-in tubs received a score of 9.9 out of 10 stars from Best Company.
A walk-in tub is a major household purchase. But with so many to choose from, it can feel overwhelming to know which one is right for you. The best way to make a decision is to educate yourself on the features, support, and warranties each company offers. To help narrow your search and find the walk-in tub that best fits your needs, start by asking yourself a few key questions.
One of the first things you should do before dipping your toes in the water is set a budget. With a price tag ranging from $3,000 to over $15,000, walk-in tubs are not cheap. Sure, you can find decent tubs for under $3,000, but they may lack many of the features on your list. You also need to include the cost of installation in your bottom line. Depending on who you hire, this could cost an additional $700 to $1,500. It's important to ask exactly what you're paying for.
The average step-in threshold is around 6 inches tall, with the highest generally at 8 inches and the lowest between 2 and 3 inches tall.
Walk-in tubs come with a door that swings inward or outward. Most have an inward-swinging door, but some people opt for an outward opening for safety reasons. An inward door creates a seal after the tub fills with water, eliminating moisture on your floor. It is also easier to accommodate in a small space.
However, in order to open the door, you have to wait for the water to drain, which is not ideal in an emergency. That's why some people look for a walk-in tub that comes with an outward-swinging door. Plus, because they are easier to access, an outward door may be a better choice if you're in a wheelchair. Keep in mind this feature will likely cost more than an inward-swinging door.
Some companies offer a free, in-home consultation. During this appointment, a representative will come to your home and provide guidance and suggestions on the best walk-in tub for your space. They will also go over cost, installation details, and answer any questions you may have.
Safety is a key component of a walk-in tub. With that said, look for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sign, which means the tub is ADA certified to meet specific safety standards such as non-slip surfaces, controls that are easy to reach and operate, low thresholds, and strategically placed grab bars that are easy to reach.
All walk-in tubs should come with a low threshold, anti-slip textured flooring that allows for grip, and built-in safety grab bars. The faucet should have an anti-scald device. Additionally, you may want to consider a high, ADA-compliant seat that reduces how low you have to squat to reach the seat.
Before signing on the dotted line, make sure to check the warranty. The best walk-in tubs will have a lengthy warranty on the operating system and the tub. Also, ask about any leak-proof warranties on the door seal.
As you age, you may need support to stay healthy, safe, and independent, and a walk-in tub is one way to help. By making your bathroom safer, you may be able to avoid the injuries that sideline many older adults, and you may be able to age at home comfortably for many years to come.
Sara Lindberg is a mental health and fitness expert who enjoys writing about health, wellness, nutrition, parenting, and education. With a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science and a Master of Education degree in counseling she's spent the last twenty years helping people improve both their physical and mental health. Her work has appeared in publications such as Healthline, VeryWell Health, VeryWell Fit, Livestrong, Men's Health, SheKnows, Runner's World and many more.