Home > Buyers Guides

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

Photo of author
Medically reviewed by Mary White, MD
Updated on

We independently research, test, and review every walk-in tub. We may receive a commission if you click through our links. Learn more

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 decide which walk-in tub to buy.

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, you probably have some seniors or someone with a disability in your family. The walk-in tub must offer safety, and the person who will bathe needs to be able to use it independently.

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 range from $1700 to over $10,000, depending on the features they have, whether you´ll have it professionally installed, and, most importantly, the quality of the product you´ve chosen.

For example, Safe Step Walk-in Tub is a best seller, starting with $9,000 + installation.

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

We will show you a list of the most critical 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 walk-in tubs produced nowadays are made of fiberglass.

But that´s not all. You also have to check the quality of the fiberglass that goes into the tub. Pick Marine Grade Gel Coat over Chinese fiberglass, which has an abysmal record.

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

Some walk-in tubs have nothing special besides a door for easy entrance. Others, for example, have air jets or bubbles for a relaxing bath. We recommend you buy a hydrotherapy tub, which is a walk-in tub with both features.

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

Is your walk-in tub built on a steel frame or not?

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

Why drain time is important?

But why is it important? You can´t open the door until all the water is drained. If you are considering getting a frameless tub, you 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 offer you something called “a minute valve”. This extra pump, which you will install under the tub, requires electrical power. We don´t recommend tubs with that option because if it fails, it will be extremely difficult to drain the tub and open the door. Your tub must 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 lifetime warranties on door seals and other parts.

There are 600-800lbs of water, which creates a lot of dispersion, which puts a lot of pressure on the door and mold; 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 least, you must check your tub’s installation process. You will need professionals to install one walk-in tub because it requires carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and sometimes more.

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