Three best walk-in bathtubs

Karen Roth Ridder

It may be helpful to have your towel or a robe handy to keep you warm while your walk-in bathtub fills and drains.

When it becomes difficult to lift your legs up over the edge of your bathtub, it may be time to consider installing a walk-in bathtub. A walk-in bathtub is designed with a door on the side to make the bathtub more accessible. The swinging doors on these tubs seal after the bather enters the tub area. Most include a stool or bench to allow the bather to bathe in a seated position rather than sitting on the bottom of the tub. The best walk-in bathtubs come with therapeutic jets and heaters. These accommodations making bathing easier for people with mobility challenges.

Considerations when choosing walk-in bathtubs

A walk-in bathtub has much higher sides than a traditional tub. Usually, walk-in bathtubs have one side that is between 36 inches and 40 inches high. Doors may open inward or outward. Keep in mind the tub door will not open when the tub is filled. You will have to enter the tub before filling it, and you will not be able to exit until after the tub has fully drained.

Even though you will likely have a seat in your tub, you may also want to install grab bars to help you safely enter and exit the bathtub. The doors on walk-in bathtubs are not designed to be used for balance. A separate bar should be included or installed.


Much of the cost of a walk-in bathtub lies in the installation, particularly if you need an electrician or plumber to help retrofit your bath area with jets or motors to run therapy options included with your tub. The basic cost for a soaking tub should run about $3,000 to $5,000 with installation. The tub itself will be about half to two-thirds of that cost.

For $5,000 to $7,000, your walk-in bathtub should include water jets or air jets for help with circulation. If you need a larger tub or if you want hydrotherapy in your walk-in bathtub, you may find yourself paying somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 with installation.

Other important details

Doors may swing in or out on a walk-in tub. The best model for you will likely depend on your bathroom space and preference.

Consider how much space you want inside your tub. If you choose a larger or taller tub, keep in mind that it will require more water and take longer to fill. The best walk-in bathtubs come with heaters to keep large amounts of water at the desired temperature longer.


Q. Will I need to completely remodel my bathroom to install a walk-in tub?

A. Most walk-in bathtubs are designed to fit into the same size space as a traditional bathtub. The plumbing for your current bathtub should be able to be used with the new tub. Some tubs may also be the right size for your shower space.

Q. How long will it take to drain my walk-in bathtub?

A. This will vary according to the brand and your home plumbing. It could take several minutes--even 10 to 15 minutes--to drain the larger amounts of water used in walk-in bathtubs. However, some of these tubs are equipped with fast-drain features. With this feature, your drain time should be cut in half.

Walk-in bathtubs we recommend

Best of the best: American Standard 30"x60" Premium Series Walk-in Combo Whirlpool and Air Spa

Our take: This walk-in bathtub costs a little more, but it has many features that make it a full therapy tub.

What we like: It features both air jets and water jets. It also includes a heater to keep your bath at a consistent temperature and built-in grab bars. This tub comes with a decent warranty, too.

What we dislike: You will have to be able to stand and sit or use a lift with this tub. It does not have a slide-in bench option.

Best bang for your buck: Empava 53" Walk-in Tub

Our take: This walk-in bathtub offers an easier entry than many tubs and comes at a low price.

What we like: The threshold on this entry is lower than many--four inches compared to the usual six inches. This tub includes a quick-drain option, good handrails, and a wide entry door.

What we dislike: There are no jets for air or water in this tub. It is only a soaking tub.

Choice 3: American Standard 32"x52" Value Series Walk-in Whirlpool

Our take: The slide-in entry on this tub makes it a good option for people who use wheelchairs.

What we like: This walk-in bathtub includes water jets, and it's an easy design to use. It has a quick fill and drain time, too. A heater keeps the tub comfortable.

What we dislike: It doesn't have as many jets as other American Standard walk-in bathtubs.

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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