Grab bars in the bathroom are intended to prevent dangerous falls. They are bars attached to the wall that you can grab for balance. Grab bars are usually installed in shower or bath areas where wet floors can cause a slipping hazard. Grab bars can also aid someone who has a hard time getting up from a sitting position on the toilet. These bars are supportive and should be able to hold the weight of the person using them. We have put together this shopping guide to help you compare bathroom grab bar models, and we've also included our top picks for the best grab bars on the market. Our favorite is from Moen and can bear up to 500 pounds - the most we've seen on the market.
Considerations when choosing bathroom grab bars
Bathroom grab bars can either be temporarily or permanently installed. Temporary grab bars often have suction cups that stick securely to smooth walls. These bars usually have lower weight limits and do not come in the same variety of lengths as permanent grab bars. However, they are inexpensive and easy to install. If you don't think you'll need a grab bar long-term, temporary bars may be a good choice.
Permanently installed bathroom grab bars provide a high level of security. Many can withstand the pressure of up to 500 pounds when properly installed on the studs of your walls. The disadvantage is that the installation will put holes in your tile or walls. You may also need to hire a professional to ensure these grab bars are installed correctly.
Whether you choose temporary or permanent grab bars, make sure you read the installation instructions carefully. Small changes, like installing a temporary bar over a grout line, can make a difference in the bar's reliability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that shower and toilet grab bars in public bathrooms be at least 36 inches in length and installed 33 to 36 inches off the floor. While you are not required to follow the same rules in your home, these measurements can be a good guide.
Longer bars are better for inside your shower area or if you are concerned about losing your footing as you move around the bathroom. Shorter grab bars are usually installed vertically and should only be used for assistance when entering and exiting the shower or bath or when standing up from the toilet.
A textured grab bar provides an extra layer of protection against a wet hand slipping off the bar.
Thicker bathroom grab bars can be helpful for people who have a difficult time gripping.
End covers protect the screws from rusting and provide a more finished look for your bathroom grab bars by concealing the installation.
An inexpensive temporary grab bar will cost between $10 and $15. This will most likely be a plastic bar and attach with suction cups to the wall. If you are looking for a metal bar that can be permanently installed, expect to pay between $15 and $25, depending on the length of the bar. Longer bars are more expensive. Bars with extra features like texturing or higher weight limits can cost up to $40.
Q. Will one grab bar be enough for my bathroom?
A. You may want to consider purchasing more than one bathroom grab bar. Two or three grab bars positioned horizontally, vertically, and at an angle will provide optimal coverage for most bathrooms.
Q. How do I figure out the width that's best for my hands?
A. Bathroom grab bars are generally between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Thinner bars can be better for people with smaller hands. Thicker bars are better for people who have problems with gripping, which is common when suffering from arthritis.
Bathroom grab bars we recommend
Best of the best: Moen Stainless Bathroom Grab Bar
Our take: This solid choice is affordable and comes in several lengths to fit your bathroom space.
What we like: Bars can hold up to 500 pounds. They have a stainless finish and can be installed at an angle if necessary.
What we dislike: You may need extra help to install this permanent bathroom grab bar.
Best bang for your buck: Vive Suction Bathroom Grab Bar
Our take: This bathroom grab bar is a good choice if you have temporary mobility limitations or guests who may need the extra balance of a grab bar during their stay.
What we like: Easy to install. Suctions to any smooth surface. Color indicator assures that the bar is installed correctly. Temporary but can support up to 300 pounds.
What we dislike: It only comes in one length, which is on the short side.
Our take: A quality bathroom grab bar that comes in a range of finishes and lengths.
What we like: Easy installation. Has end covers to conceal screws. Can handle 500 pounds of pressure. Choose from a number of finishes to match your other bathroom fixtures.
What we dislike: Thinner than other grab bars, which may not be ideal if you have trouble gripping.
Karen Roth Ridder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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