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Choosing a Bath Seat

Bath transfer bench

A transfer bench makes it easier for users with limited mobility to get into and out of the tub.

When it comes to choosing a bath seat, there are a few things you need to think about in order to make sure the bath seat fits your tub and is comfortable and safe for the user. Here are a few questions to ask for purchasing a bath seat.

Will the bath seat fit your bathtub or shower?

The bath seat must be installed properly in order to be used safely. Do not use a bath seat if it does not fit properly (i.e. the legs rest on the tub wall instead of the tub floor, etc.). Before making your purchase, measure the width of the bath tub and the height of the tub wall. Also, make sure the bath seat is designed to work with the tub rim, whether flat or curved. Some seats require a flat rim to attach to the tub wall.

If your tub or shower has sliding doors, we recommend removing the doors and replacing them with a shower curtain for use with a transfer bench or a bench that is designed to rest on the tub wall. When the bath seat is installed, you will not be able to fully close the sliding doors and the floor will get wet. Also, the doors can be dangerous if the towel bar is used as a grab bar.

With a shower curtain, you can tuck the curtain into the slot on the bath seat to prevent water from pooling on the floor. For the best fit, cut slits in the shower curtain and tuck it through the slot.

How limited is the user’s mobility?

If the user has a difficult time stepping over the tub rim, use a bath transfer bench. A transfer bench allows the user to sit on the outside edge of the bench, lift each leg over the tub rim, and slide over into the middle of the tub.

For users with more limited mobility, look for a bath bench with a sliding seat. Keep in mind that even with a sliding seat, it would take a considerable amount of strength for a caregiver to move the seat with a person seated on it. The person seated should help move the seat as much as possible.

Does the bath seat need a cutout?

Users with difficulty standing may benefit from a bath seat with a cutout to make cleaning personal areas easier. A cutout is not recommended if the user has difficulty sitting upright and could slide into the cutout.

Does the person meet the weight limits for the bath seat?

Check the weight capacity for the bath seat before your purchase to make sure it will safely hold the person who will be using the bath seat. A bariatric or heavy duty bath seat may be required for heavier users.

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