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Walk-in tubs are an excellent way to create a more comfortable, luxurious bathing experience. These low-entry bathtubs have a sealed door that you enter before filling the tub and keep shut while the bathtub drains. This makes entering and exiting the tub safer, particularly for older adults or people with limited mobility.
However, walk-in tubs don’t work for everyone. We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching the best walk-in tubs to help you determine if one is right for your home.
What Are Walk-In Tubs?
Walk-in tubs have a watertight door and either a low threshold or none at all. The accessible design makes entering and exiting the tub more effortless and secure, helping bathers of all ages and mobility levels enjoy a comfortable bathing experience while remaining independent.
How Much Do Walk-In Tubs Cost?
The average cost of a walk-in tub is $4,000 to $15,000. That’s $2,000 to $5,000 for the tub itself, plus another $2,000 to $10,000 for professional installation. Bathroom remodels provide a high return on investment (ROI), and walk-in tubs can be a part of that.
A walk-in tub’s ROI depends on a few variables. Your home value increases if you live in an area where homebuyers are more likely to be elderly or experience mobility issues, such as a retirement community. Luxury add-ons, such as water jets, chromotherapy, and other spa features, may also increase your home value.
Walk-In Tub Upsides
Safety is just one of a walk-in tub’s benefits. Walk-in tubs often offer customizable water or air jets to massage your neck, legs, feet, and back. Walk-in baths can also have aromatherapy or chromatherapy systems for a spa-like experience at home. Depending on your location, a walk-in tub may also increase your home value. Read more about walk-in tub benefits below.
Walk-in tubs make bathing more comfortable for those with trouble standing or using a standard tub. Lower entryways and deeper tubs make getting in and out and cleaning your upper body easier. They can also feature wide doors, backrests, and custom showerheads. Most walk-in tubs have a water capacity of up to 80 gallons, so getting a full-body immersion soak is possible.
Walk-in tubs can improve the overall health of those with specific ailments. For example, the soothing effects of a walk-in tub help those suffering from conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, or general muscle or joint pain and stiffness. They also improve circulation, which leads to increased mobility and less muscle pain.
If you want a more relaxing experience, try adding chromatherapy, hydrotherapy, and other massage features that can help relieve stress.
Depending on your home’s location and potential buyers, you can increase your property’s ROI. A walk-in tub can be used by anyone from children to seniors, making it a wise investment for accessibility. If you find an interested buyer within these demographics, it may lead to a higher selling price. We recommend contacting a local real estate agent to learn how much a walk-in tub adds to your home’s value.
Walk-in tubs are a safe and accessible option for people of all ages. They’re also great for anyone who wants a calming, spa-like experience at home. Upgrading to a walk-in tub elevates your bath routine to allow for ultimate relaxation.
In addition, walk-in tubs make cleaning and maintenance easier. Some walk-in tubs have self-cleaning systems to resist mold and bacterial growth. Otherwise, cleaning the tub is similar to cleaning a standard bath.
The primary appeal of walk-in tubs is their safety features. A walk-in tub is safer than a traditional tub because of its design. Its low threshold allows you to easily step into and sit in the tub, so the fall risk is less than traditional bathtubs.
Walk-in tubs have additional safety features, such as grab bars, handrails, anti-scald valves, slip flooring, and built-in seating. To confirm whether the walk-in tub model you’re interested in has high-quality safety features, check for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. An ADA-compliant tub meets or exceeds standards set by Section 4.20 of the ADA, so it’s designed to make bathing safer and more comfortable for people with disabilities.
Walk-In Tub Downsides
Walk-in tubs have some disadvantages, making them less ideal for certain homeowners. Check out these downsides below.
Fill Time and Drainage
You have to get in the tub before you fill it, and you can’t exit until it’s drained. Standard walk-in tubs take six to eight minutes to fill and up to 15 minutes to drain. Some newer models, like Kohler walk-in tubs and Ella’s Bubbles, have quick-drain technology that empties the tub in just two minutes.
Some tubs offer heated seats and quick drains that can keep you warm throughout your bath. A scald-prevention valve is critical for preventing dangerously hot water from burning you.
Many walk-in tubs require professional installation, but companies don’t always include this in their cost estimates. Some homes may also need to have their electrical and plumbing systems updated before a walk-in tub can be installed. This is especially likely with older homes.
Keep in mind that walk-in tubs are pretty large—you might have to temporarily remove your bathroom door to fit the new tub inside.
Some walk-in tubs are more affordable to install than others. Gelcoat tubs are typically easier to move and thus easier to install, while durable acrylic tubs are heavier and may take longer to install.
Your walk-in tub company should work with you to determine preinstallation needs.
Most walk-in tubs have 40 to 50 gallons of water at the fill line. This aligns with other stand-alone tubs ranging from 40 to 80 gallons (size dependent). If you’re buying a large walk-in tub, consult the manufacturer to see if your water heater is up to the task. While a walk-in tub is generally deeper than a traditional tub, depth does not always equate to volume. In some cases, a walk-in tub may be narrower than a standard tub, and a walk-in tub’s seat takes up much of its potential volume.
Many walk-in tubs offer similar benefits, but only some stand out. We found Boca to provide some of the best, most unique, and luxurious walk-in tubs on the market. The company uses a fully customized approach to design and install walk-in tubs.
Ella’s Bubbles is a close runner-up with its massive tub model selection. Kohler is also an excellent choice for full bathroom remodels, as the company lets you customize the tub, its fixtures, and the surrounding area.
Walk-In Tubs FAQ
Are walk-in tubs hard to maintain?
Walk-in tubs are fairly easy to maintain, requiring the same amount of cleaning as a traditional bathtub. Many walk-in tubs also feature self-cleaning and sanitizing systems to make maintenance and cleaning effortless.
Does a walk-in tub hurt resale value?
No, a walk-in tub doesn’t hurt resale value. Adding a new tub to your home generally increases its resale value. If prospective homebuyers include senior citizens or families with small children, a walk-in tub may increase your home’s value even more.
What is the best price for a walk-in tub?
The best price for a walk-in tub depends on your wants and needs, but most walk-in tubs range from $1,500 to $10,000. If you find a tub within this price range that matches all your requirements and desires, you’ll pay a fair price for a walk-in tub.
How We Chose the Top Walk-In Tub Brands
We researched and analyzed dozens of walk-in tub brands. Then, we created a rating system based on each brand’s tub designs, safety features, and luxury options. We also analyzed each brand’s warranty options to ensure they offered comprehensive limited lifetime warranties on more than just a few parts.
We visited each company’s website and spoke directly to representatives to learn if the brand provides fully customizable walk-in tubs and how the installation process works. We then closely compared each provider’s offerings to see which brand offers the most customizable and comprehensive walk-in tub selection with an eye toward luxury.