Best Shower Stools and Chairs
Thirty million adults aged older than 65 fall every year, of which 30,000 falls are fatal. Bathrooms are the most common places where falls occur because, in the absence of grab bars and skid-free mats, there are slick surfaces and not much to hold on to if you lose your balance. And impairing of physical faculties, including balance and stability, is an inevitable part of aging, but that doesn’t mean falling is too. With an effective fall prevention plan, this risk can be minimized, and even eliminated.
Naturally, the first place that needs addressing would be the one where the risk of falls is the highest – the bathroom. With that said, slipping and falling isn’t the only threat to your elderly loved one’s wellbeing. Even if they have no trouble maintaining their balance, their mobility issues aren’t severe, and the likelihood of a fall is negligible, showering can lead to fatigue (especially if they want to take longer showers). And anti-skid mats might prevent slips but they aren’t much of a help if your loved one has trouble standing upright for an extended period. With that in mind, there’s a solution which can address both these problems. Enter shower chairs and stools.
Having a shower chair not only ensures your loved one’s safety, but it also makes showering and bathing a more comfortable experience. Additionally, they save you the effort and money of having to redo and redesign your entire bathroom. But even more importantly, they allow a senior to retain their independence since it is not uncommon for older people to become dependent on their caregiver for even the simple act of bathing.
In the post that follows, we’ll break down some factors that go into choosing the right shower seat and stool. To save you wading through the rough to find the gems, we’ll also give you a rundown of some of the best shower stools and chairs available in 2019.
Shower Stools v Shower Chairs
Before we dive into what needs your consideration before you can take the plunge, we’ll get the definitions out of the way. A shower chair – as the name might give away, is a chair with four legs (usually crafted from aluminum) and armrests and a (often removable) backrest. The legs have rubberized suction feet that offer a secure grip and prevent slipping and sliding. These seats serve to provide support while the user bathes or showers, effectively counteracting mobility limitations.
Shower stools, on the other hand, are simpler and far more basic in design. Essentially, they’re just a four-legged molded-plastic seat without armrests or back support. They aim to prevent weariness and body aches that come from standing upright for long. However, they’re only meant for seniors who can keep on their feet and don’t suffer from any balance-related issues, for instance, dizziness.
Unlike shower chairs which only fit a bathtub with certain dimensions, shower stools can easily fit almost any bathtub size.
The stools and chairs we’ll be listing feature adjustable height, which is important because there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Users with different heights need stools and chairs of different heights that accommodate them well enough. Generally, to use bath chairs and stools comfortably, your hips should be on the same level as your knees, while your feet rest flat on the floor. Adjustable stools and chairs attempt to solve this problem by allowing you to extend the legs to any height.
Same as the height factor, not all shower seats are designed for users with a range of different weights. Most seats you’ll come across can hold up to 250 lbs. but if you weight more than that there are seats that can support up to 400 lbs. Before you decide on a unit, make sure it can support more than what you weigh, so it doesn’t crack or tip over under strain.
There are bariatric seats available as well. These seats have frames with crossbars that allow for more weight capacity and better stability.
Design and construction
The most common materials used for the construction of shower seats are aluminum and molded plastic. However, shower seats crafted entirely from wood are also available. Aluminum is generally used for the frame of the seat because it is sturdy, tarnish-free, and light-weight. The seats themselves are usually made of molded-plastic which is crack-proof and lightweight. Some models feature a textured pattern on the seat to curtail slips.
Speaking of which, the shower seat you pick must have enough drainage perforations to allow effective water draining which, in turn, prevents water from pooling at the bottom. This feature also keeps bacteria and mold growth in check. If comfort is a priority, consider investing in a padded seat. One caveat about padded chairs though, over time the cover will fray and crack, and will eventually need replacing.
Ease of Assembly and Use
If you live alone, then it might not be viable for you to assemble the chair or stool yourself often. If so, you can pick a pre-assembled model. But if you go for a unit that requires assembly, ensure that it can be assembled without the need for any special tools. Many shower seats are easily snapped together with the use of push-buttons. There’s also the option of purchasing a permanent seat which only needs to be installed once. But if you’d rather put it away after each use, a foldable seat is your best bet.
You’ll also find stools with swivel seats which make for convenient transfer into and out of the bathtub. Some units come with storage options, as well as slots for showerheads. You can use the storage compartments for storing shampoos and similar products.
Once you purchase a shower seat, you won’t be able to return it because of certain FDA regulations. So before you decide on a product, make sure that you’ve got the weight capacity and height of the seat right. As for the budget, a decent lightweight shower seat will cost you between $50 to $150. But there are high-end models available as well which can run you to $250.
This covers our buying guide section and now for our rundown of some of the best shower chairs and stools available today.
- Easily assembled in minutes without tools
- Aluminum frame with legs capped with non-slip skid-resistant rubberized tips
- The height can be adjusted between 13.5 to 18.5 inches
- It can support up to 300 lbs.
- Comes with drainage holes
- FDA approved and ships with a shower handle
- Weighing in at only 4 lbs., it is extremely lightweight
- It can hold up to 250 lbs.
- Anodized aluminum construction
- Height adjustable from 12 to 18 inches
- Anti-slip seat design
- Non-slip rubber feet on the legs
- Crossbars for added stability
- The detachable padded seat which can be easily cleaned
- The design features anti-slip rubber feet and pool-preventing drainage holes
- weight capacity of 280 lbs.
- Height adjustable between 12.5 inches and 18.5 inches
- Can fit even the smallest tubs
- Heavy-duty rust-free aluminum construction
- Angled legs with rubberized grips on the base
- Anti-bacterial plastic seat with drainage holes
- Tool-free assembly and disassembly
- Weight capacity of 300 lbs.
- Backrest for better support
- Padded seat and armrests
- Commercial-grade design
- Supports up to 300 lbs.
- Adjustable height between 16.5 and 20.5 inches
- Medical-grade aluminum construction
- Rubberized tips
- Easily assembled in minutes thanks to a snap-on design and push buttons
- Rust-proof aluminum construction with skid-resistant rubber tips
- Height adjustable between 16 and 20.75 inches
- It can support up to 300 lbs.
- Features drainage holes
- Doesn’t require assembly
- A unibody plastic design with height adjustable legs
- Can support up to 400 lbs.
- Can be extended between 16 to 21 inches
- Fits the majority of bathtubs and shower stalls
- Smooth slot on the edge for holding the showerhead
- Anti-slip rubber tip feet
- Tool-free assembly of removable backrest and armrests
- The composite material used for the seat is subtly textured to prevent slips
- Corrosion-resistant durable aluminum construction
- Adjustable height between 14 and 19.5 inches
- 23-inch wide seat with rubber-capped legs
- Can hold up to 300 lbs.
- Comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s guarantee
- Can rotate 360 degrees for convenient entry and exit
- Padded chair for added comfort
- Quick and easy tool-free assembly
- Slip-free suction feet
- Aluminum construction
- Has a maximum weight capacity of 300 lbs.
- Adjusts from 15.5 inches to 20.6 inches
- Textured and contoured seat design
- Drainage holes and side handle slots
- Height adjustable from 16.5 to 18 inches
- Backless foldable design
- Rubberized feet for a better grip
Now to wrap up this post, shower seats are a welcome addition to any fall prevention plan. Not only they make the bathing and showering experience safer and more pleasant for the elderly, but they also let them regain a sense of independence. But before you go shopping for a unit, keep the aforementioned factors in mind, so that your hard-earned money doesn’t go to waste.