The lack of personal hygiene can lead to some serious health problems, like bedsores, in the disabled, elderly, or people recovering from a serious injury. The bathing experience can, however, isn’t entirely risk-free if your loved one has limited mobility and has trouble getting in or out of the tub.
But as a caretaker, you are probably considering redoing your bathroom to accommodate your elderly loved one, if you haven’t already. Or perhaps, you’re considering replacing your current bathtub with a walking tub. But remodeling your bathroom or even replacing your tub, to fit your senior loved one’s needs can be costly. Fortunately, there is a more elegant and affordable option, which can make their bathing experience, not only more comfortable but also safer.
Enter bath lifts.
A bath lift is essentially a seat that lowers the user down into the tub and can lift them back up once they’re finished. It prevents excess strain on their limbs and safeguards against falling and slipping. These units are attached to the bathtub itself and are powered by a battery.
We’ll go into great length about how they work, but please note that you’ll need to do your homework before you can settle on a product. There are a number of things you’ll have to factor into your purchase – dimensions, portability, maximum weight capacity, comfort, and ease of installation to name a few. So you can’t just pick the first bath lift that fits your budget and call it a day.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the absolute best bath lifts available in the market today:
We’ll kick things off with a bath lift from AquaJoy. If portability, ease of installation and use, and quality are your first concerns, you can’t go wrong with this purchase. It is manufactured by Medical Depot Inc. which markets it as one of the most comfortable bath lifts available in 2019. Whether that holds is debatable, but the seat cover is washing machine friendly, which allows for better hygiene. The surface of this fabric is textured to prevent slipping. The seat itself durable and has a width of 27 inches when the flaps are deployed.
The bath lift can be installed in any standard sized tub with four different suction cups featuring an easy-release mechanism. But if you have a textured bathtub floor, you should consider skipping this model, since suction mechanisms can’t be secured properly to such floors.
It can support up to 375 lbs. of weight and can achieve a maximum height of 18.1 inches (which is more than enough for most bathtubs). This height allows the user to safely exit the bathtub, and it can go as low as 3 inches, which allows you to be immersed in the water better. Once the user is submerged, the backrest can be reclined to afford maximum comfort.
The unit is battery-powered, but it is not a safety concern because it is completely waterproof, so water virtually never comes in contact with the internals. There is also a failsafe in place, in case the model is low on battery, which keeps the machine from descending into the tub.
The AquaJoy bath lift offers some impressive safety mechanisms, as well as comfort and easy controls, for a merited price tag.
If your bathtub is deeper than the standard size, then this bath lift from Bellavita would be an excellent pick. It can descent as deep as 2.3 inches and ascend as high as 18.8 inches — which again is higher than the standard, and should be apt for taller bathtubs. The backrest can recline as far as 50 degrees allowing for maximum comfort while the user is inside the tub. But you’ll have to purchase it separately before you can attach it to the
For better safety, the lift comes with flaps which, once extended cover the entire width of the bathtub, so there are no slipping or falling hazards. It is operated with a simple handheld control with color-coded buttons. Note that they’re not labeled, so it might take a while for you to familiarize yourself with them. Also worth mentioning is the water-proof feature of this particular control. You can just leave it floating on the water and easily access it once you need to transfer out of the tub.
As for the power, the battery can take as much as three hours before it’s fully charged, and it can last you at least 5 lifts on a full charge. One caveat though, you’ll need to replace the battery once every three years, and the replacement can cost you north of $200.
The manufacturer offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and internals, save for the battery and control which is limited to three years.
Next up, we have another quality bath lift from Clarke Healthcare. It stands out from the rest, thanks to its portability and lightweight design. Weighing in at only 29 lbs., this unit has a maximum width of 14 inches — which translates into a lesser cross-sectional area than our previous pick. It can reach up to 17 inches in height and it can support up to 300 lbs. of weight. The maximum height is the standard for bathtubs, however, some tabs can be taller.
The design itself is a sturdy stainless steel construction paired with a durable plastic build. The lifting mechanism and the bottom-plate are equally rugged, if not more. And the unit isn’t just durable, but also well-designed, which ensures proper weight distribution — the absence of which can seriously damage your bathtub’s walls and floor.
The unit is easily installed via a set of four self-release suction cups, which are secured to the bathtub floor for a stable setup. Aside from stability, it also affords better convenience. For instance, this model features a swivel seat, which allows the user to get on the seat easily. The seat cover is textured which prevents the user from slipping off the seat.
It is controlled by a small handy remote, which also alerts you when the unit is low on battery and needs a recharge. Speaking of battery, it is powered by a lithium-ion battery, with a waterproof build, so an electric shock isn’t a concern. Another safety mechanism prevents the lift from dipping into the tub when there isn’t enough charge left to power the descent or ascent.
If reclining and extra comfort are your first priorities, this bath lift from Bathmaster should fit the bill. You can easily descend into and climb out of the tub, and the backrest supports your back.
The design is fairly compact and lightweight, which makes it portable yet stable. Weighing in at only 15 lbs., the unit can support up to 375 lbs. and the whole frame can be disassembled into two pieces, for better portability and storage. You can simply take it out of storage, and snap the pieces together and you’re good to go.
The battery and charging capabilities of this model deserve a special mention. Unlike most bath lifts, which can take as long as 6 hours to charge completely, this model can be charged in as little as an hour, and each charge is enough to last you at least 7 lifts. Aside from the visual alert, it also beeps to notify you when it’s running low on charge. It is completely waterproof and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty of four years — which is great for some peace of mind. The frame itself is corrosion-resistant and durable enough to last years of heavy usage.
That said, the bath lift isn’t ideal for taller people since they need more legroom and a longer tub. Aside from this minor flaw, this bath lift is a great option for anyone whose mobility is limited and needs assistance to transfer into and out of the bathtub. It is easily operated and robust.
This bath lift can practically enhance the bathing experience for the frail elderly individuals and all while making it safer. The lift is designed for users as young as 3 years old, which makes it perfect for all ages.
It can be secured to the bathtub with the help of suction cup feet and can support a maximum weight of 300 lbs. The suction cups are self-ventilating and can be easily detached. The design is reinforced plastic and stainless steel, which affords it durability as well as stability — so it won’t tip over or slip when in operation. The seat can recline up to an angle of 35 degrees, which makes it easier to shampoo without inflaming your eyes.
The seat and backrest have soft covers for added comfort, and they’re washing-machine friendly. You can simply unbutton the covers and tumble dry them afterward. The unit can be used without the covers as well since the side flaps can be deployed without them.
The lift is operated with a hand control and powered by a lithium-ion battery with a fail-safe mechanism when the system is low on charge. You get a limited three-year manufacturer’s warranty, excluding the covers and the battery — which is maintenance-free.
In this section of the post, we’ll explain a few key considerations which you need to take into account before you take the plunge. For instance, you’ll need to factor the ease of operation — whether you can mount the seat with ease or not. If you have trouble transferring into and out of the lift, a seat with a swivel feature might be a safe bet. This scenario is only one of many, you’ll have to consider. Let’s dive in.
Before you can go shopping for a unit, you’ll have to do some homework. As you can probably tell by now, you’ll need to take measurements of your bathtub, to ensure that the lift lines up with the dimension of your tub.
It is important because the side flaps cannot be relied upon to support your weight, and if they snap under it, your loved one is at the risk of falling off. Even if the faps don’t break, an improperly lined up lift means there is an appreciable gap between the lift and the wall of the bathtub — which again is a slipping hazard.
If you choose to go with a lift sporting suction feet, you’ll have to ensure that the bathtub floor they’re supposed to stick to is completely plain — without any textures or grips.
It’s very rare for the backrests of bath lifts to be locked in a single 90-degree angle. A backseat that can recline offers better immersion in the water, as opposed to the upright position. It also lets the user relax and spend more time in the tub bathing. Some bath lifts feature backrests which can automatically recline as the unit descends. However, there are models that let you control the reclining feature manually — with a simple push of a button.
Most bath lifts you come across will support up to 300 lbs., but it’s not uncommon for some units to max out at 350 lbs. You’ll also find lifts with a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs. So before you decide on a product, make a point of checking the weight capacity to see if it meets your physical requirements.
The weight of the unit itself matters as well. Here’s where it can get a bit tricky because not all light-weight machines provide the same level of stability. Said another way: stability is often traded off for compactness and portability. That being said, the models reviewed above manage to strike a balance between both weight and stability.
If portability and ease of transport and storage are deal breakers for you, consider going with a lightweight model that can be disassembled and assembled when needed.
So there you have it; a rundown of some of the highest quality bath lifts you can find in the market today. There’s a good possibility that you’ll be able to find a bath lift in our lineup that fits you like a glove. On the off chance that you can’t, consult the buying guide to search for one that will.