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Expert Advice: Top Tips for Choosing and Purchasing a Walk-In Tub

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Medically reviewed by Mary White, MD
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Buying a walk-in tub might seem an easy job to do but, you have to consider a lot of aspects. There are a lot of different models available on the market nowadays, and you need to think about your needs, before getting one.

With this article, we will try to help you to decide which walk-in tub.

First of all, let´s talk about safety. Safety is the main topic when we talk about a walk-in tub. If you are considering buying one walk-in tub, it probably means that you have some seniors or someone with a disability in your family. The walk-in tub must offer safety and the person who is going to bathe needs to be able to do it independently.

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Tips to buy best walk in tub

As we know, what distinguishes a walk-in tub from a regular tub is the door located in it. The door makes the entrance much easier and safer. Usually, their prices go from $1700 to over $10,000, depending of course, on the features they have, if you´ll have it professionally installed, and the most important thing; the quality of the product you´ve chosen. For example, Safe Step Walk-in Tub is one of the best sellers and starts with 9.000$ + installation.

Don´t base your decision on prices only; you might regret it later. What are the benefits of buying something because it´s cheap, but in the end won´t meet your needs? It will be just a waste of money and time, and that´s why we are here to help you.

We will show you a list of the most important features to evaluate when considering buying a walk-in tub:

The material

What is the walk-in tub that you are checking made of? Is it acrylic or is it fiberglass? Which one is stronger? Well, comparing both of them, acrylic and fiberglass, we´ve noticed that fiberglass is stronger. Maybe that´s why most of the walk-in tubs produced nowadays are made of fiberglass.

But, that´s not all, you have to check the quality of the fiberglass that goes into the tub as well. Pick Marine Grade Gel Coat over the Chinese fiberglass, which has a very poor record.

Is it just a tub with a door, or it offers other things?

Some walk-in tubs don´t have anything special besides their door for easy entrance. Other ones have, for example, air jets or bubbles for a relaxing bath. We recommend you buy a hydrotherapy tub; which is a walk-in tub with both features; bubbles and air jets.

Hydrotherapy is highly recommended because of its benefits for our health. It was proven that hydrotherapy relieves arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, insomnia, the symptoms of diabetes, MS, MD, and many more. But that´s not it; it also helps to regenerate injured tissues.

Your walk-in tub is built on a steel frame or not?

The framed ones have their bottom suspended off of the floor, and they usually have a 6” to 12” entry threshold. Now, the frameless ones don´t have their bottom suspended in the air, because they were designed with an extra strength mold.

The next aspect to consider is the drain time

But why is it important? Because you can´t open the door until all the water is drained. If you are thinking about getting a frameless tub we will be glad to know that they have a much faster natural drain time than framed ones. Usually, they take 2 minutes to drain.

Some companies with a slow drain will offer you something called “a minute valve”. This is an extra pump, which you will install under the tub, and requires electrical power. We don´t recommend tubs with that option because in case it fails, it will be extremely difficult to drain the tub and open the door. Your tub will need to be removed from the opening to service or replace a failed minute valve


This is very important, especially the warranty on the door seal. Kohler and American Standard offer a lifetime warranty on door seals and others.

There are 600-800lbs of water and that creates a lot of dispersion, which puts a lot of pleasure on the door and mold, and, if your walk-in tub is poor in quality, it will result in door leaks. And, if the door seal leaks, it will be impossible for you to use the tub.

Last but not less important, you have to check about the installation process of your tub. To install one walk-in tub, you will need professionals because it requires carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and sometimes more.

So, even if it costs you more, the smarter decision you can make is to buy a walk-in tub from one company that will install and service your tub.

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