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5 Cost Effective Alternatives to a Walk-in Tub

The allure of a walk-in tub is strong, with good reason, but not always ideal. The features available on walk-in tubs allow us the peace of mind to sit, soak and be comfortable while bathing, sometimes our ability to move, or our budget limits us from making it a reality.

And while soaking has benefits such as relieving arthritis pain, keeping us warm, helping us breathe better, or improving our mood, if safety/longevity is a concern the benefits of a walk-in tub may be short-lived, and we need to plan for the future.

Unfortunately, there are 3 reasons not to buy a walk-in tub, and it may have led to this article to help you figure out a few alternatives. First, you want to consider WHY you are thinking of purchasing one, and HOW you move now, and in the future.

Having Issues Stepping Over the Tub

  • A tub cut-out is a an excellent alternative. It reduces the height of the threshold between the tub and the floor, and some tub cuts outs even have doors. This lowers the step-over height, while still maintaining the ability to soak the way you normally do. I do suggest a professional install unless you've done them before. They can be complicated and may not be an option for some tubs.

  • Getting a shower chair allows you to back up to the tub, sit on the chair butt first, swing your legs around, and safely avoid tripping on a high wall. An added bonus is you can pair a tub cut-out with a door, and a shower chair, to have a safe way in/out but maintain your ability to soak. This is especially helpful for those who may have hip issues.

  • Often, a well-placed grab bar or two can also make a big difference to increase your confidence when getting in/out of the tub and tends to run in the range of a few hundred dollar range.

Looking for a way to stay warm while showering

  • I often suggest an electrician for this. Weird right? Water and electricity are NOT friends, but a heat lamp might be!

  • Sometimes clients want to be the warmest they can be, and like the idea of warm water enveloping them, however, a cheaper way to simulate that feeling is by adding a heat lamp that is turned on a few minutes before you shower.

This can allow you the safety of sitting on a chair, letting the water run over your body, but getting added benefits of warmth, water conservation, and the illusion of soaking.

And last but not least: If you Want to Soak, but Don't Have the Mobility To Do So

  • A bath lift could be a good alternative for you. These lifts are removable (perfect for renters or visiting family/friends,) and do the lifting/lowering for you.

  • There is no need to wait for the water to drain, and you can fill the water up first (*but not too high so you don't overflow!*)

  • They add safety or a much lower price tag than a walk-in shower or full shower remodel.

If these alternatives don't work, it may be worth it to have a rehab professional come out to see how well you move, and what your goals are, and look at your medical conditions/thoughts/fears to help you figure out a personalized plan that fits your budget. There are professionals who specialize in Home Accessibility and Home Safety who may be able to help.

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