Walk-In Tub
pros and cons

There are many reasons why you or someone you care about may benefit from a walk-in tub. They offer a safer bathing option that provides more independence than traditional tubs while also offering health benefits and peace of mind for people who have physical limitations as well as their loved ones. However, there may be some drawbacks of walk-in tubs that you haven’t considered.

1 in 3 people over 65 will have a fall.

80% of those falls
will take place in
the bathroom.

— National Institute on Aging

Walk-in tubs are a type of bathing equipment that can be installed in place of a standard bathtub. Don’t worry—a walk-in tub will still accommodate your existing faucet, shower head, and drain pipe.

The first thing you’ll notice about these types of tubs is their doors. For ease of access and security, many walk-in tubs open at the side with a small space to clear for entry.

They also feature a slip-resistant floor and sometimes grab bars for additional support.

If you are considering purchasing a walk-in tub, follow along below. We map out the pros and cons of installing and owning a walk-in bathtub to help you determine if it is a good fit for you and your home.


of walk-in tubs


A walk-in tub is much safer than traditional tubs, thanks to various safety features. For example, there is a large opening and a short threshold to clear upon entry. The user can then hold onto grab bars, step on the slip-resistant bottom, and have a seat while they bathe. These help prevent accidents while standing up, getting into position, and getting out after bathing.


In a regular bathtub, people have to contort their bodies as they grab onto the sides of the tub and gingerly put their feet onto a slippery surface before lowering their bodies down. For walk-in tubs, you simply step in and sit down on a comfortable seat while you bathe yourself.

Easier to enter and exit

A walk-in tub is more easily accessible because there’s no need to lift yourself into a slippery surface or lift yourself out of a deep pool of water.

Reduces strain on hands and knees

  • Walk-in tubs require much less strength to enter and exit than standard bathtubs do because there’s no need to climb into them or over slippery surfaces like slick tile floors. This makes the bathing process much safer.

Reduces stress on back

The average bathtub can contain up to 15 gallons of water, and this weight puts a lot of strain on your back muscles when you get in and out of it. There is also no need to bend over in a walk-in tub. You can remain upright.


Many walk-in tubs have jets with adjustable speed and pressure settings that can massage aching muscles and promote blood circulation, which can have significant benefits for a variety of ailments that people suffer from, including diabetes, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and pain in joints and muscles.

Easier to clean

Walk-in tubs are easier to clean than traditional baths. With the door open, they provide an unobstructed view from top to bottom. This allows you to thoroughly observe all surfaces while eliminating blind spots such as behind and under the faucet, where dirt tends to accumulate over time with standard bathtubs.

Promotes relaxation

Once you’re in a walk-in tub, you have complete control over water temperature and pressure. You can turn all faucets on or off with the touch of a button, so you don’t have to worry about manually controlling them by hand.

Independence and privacy

A person with physical limitations may need assistance when bathing in a traditional tub or shower. A walk-in tub can eliminate that need or significantly reduce it for many people. With more safety measures in place than a regular tub, including fewer tripping hazards and grab bars, a person with some mobility issues can get into the tub more easily, access all of the bath controls, and bathe themselves from a comfortable seated position.

The whole tub is also positioned higher up with high walls, so there is more privacy if anyone else enters the room.


of walk-in tubs

Although there are many benefits that come with owning a walk-in tub, they have some drawbacks as well:


Can be expensive

Walk-in tubs typically cost more than traditional baths because labor costs for installation are higher. However, certain states offer tax incentives for purchasing walk-in tubs. Sit down with your contractor before installation to discuss financing options, including grants and loans provided by the government.

For some brand-specific cost numbers, see our cost pages, including Average Cost of Kohler Walk-in Tub and Average Cost of American Standard Walk-in Tub.


Sometimes require renovations

To install a standard bathtub, you typically only need to remove the old one and maybe put up new tile. However, depending on your bathroom’s specific layout, installing a walk-in tub may require additional changes before installation can begin.

For example, suppose you have an existing pre-fabricated shower stall in place of where you want to put your tub. In that case, the entire unit will have to come out first to have enough room to fit the tub. You may even need to rearrange a bit around the area because walk-in baths are generally larger than traditional ones.


Take up more space

Walk-in tubs are larger than standard showers and baths, so they require more space in the bathroom to accommodate them. Before committing to a purchase, measure your bathroom dimensions (length x width) to determine whether you have enough room for it.


May need professional installation

More than likely, you will need to purchase installation along with your walk-in tub. This is an added expense, but you will most likely be covered under warranty if anything goes wrong for a certain amount of time. It’s crucial to select a reputable brand that offers customer support when needed.


Water needs to be out of tub when you enter and exit

This means you need to be undressed and sitting in the empty tub while the water fills up. However, some tubs come with heated seats to make this a more comfortable experience. On the flip side, when you are done bathing, you need to wait for the water to drain out before you can get out.

Who would benefit from


Walk-in tubs can provide safe bathing and convenience for everyone, as anyone can stand to benefit from a reduced risk of slipping on shower floors or tripping over tub edges. Still, the people who benefit most from walk-in tubs are:


A walk-in tub provides a safer, more comfortable bathing experience for seniors with mobility issues or balance problems.

Anyone With Physical Limitations

This includes people who are in wheelchairs or use walkers, canes, crutches, etc. It is simply much easier to get into a walk-in tub and comfortably bathe than it is for standard tubs and showers. The use of regular bathtubs can be dangerous for people who have physical conditions that make standing difficult or impossible. While a shower is an option, it doesn’t provide the same benefits as an actual bathtub.

Certain Health Conditions

For people with arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, rheumatism, and joint and muscle pain, walk-in tubs are much more accessible and often come with massaging jets. Daily submersion in the water and jet usage can also help relieve the pain of various ailments and increase blood circulation.

anyone Larger in Weight or Size

A walk-in tub, specifically the bariatric tub type, will accommodate a larger individual, unlike a standard bathtub.

People with Limited Upper Body Strength

With a walk-in tub, a person does not need to put any weight on their arms to lower themselves down into a low tub.

pregnant Women

Slipping and falling in a tub or shower can be catastrophic for a pregnant woman. Some women are put on bed rest by their doctors for conditions such as high blood pressure, preeclampsia, growth, placenta, or cervical issues, and other concerns.

What Are Some

Safety Features

of Walk-in Tubs?

Although covered more in-depth throughout the page, here’s a quick highlight of the safety features that many walk-in tubs have available:

Built-in Grab Bars

Walk-in tubs often have built-in sturdy grab bars for added support when getting in and out of the tub.

Easy Entry Point

When getting into the tub, a user simply opens the door and steps into the tub. There is no tall tub edge to swing your leg over as you balance on the other one.

High Seat

Perhaps the most important safety feature of a walk-in tub is the most obvious one. Individuals can sit comfortably on a high seat that they do not need to strain to get in and out of while they bathe themselves or simply relax and enjoy the massaging jets.

Non-Slip Flooring

Slip and fall accidents can be disastrous. People with balance problems or certain medical conditions are exponentially more prone to them. To reduce the risk of this kind of accident, walk-in tubs have slip-resistant stripping along the floor leading up to the edge of the tub.

Easy to Use Controls

There’s no need to bend and contort to adjust the temperature of the water or pressure of the jets. Walk-in tubs have easy-to-use controls that are within reach from their comfortable seated position.


Some tubs come with the ability to cap the water temperature so that no accidental scalding occurs.

Safety features like those listed above are huge reasons why walk-in tubs are desired by so many people. You can also add a shower head to turn it into a walk-in tub and shower combo.

Frequently Asked


Here are some answers to common questions that people have about walk-in tubs:

Walk-in tubs generally cost more than standard baths. The average cost of a walk-in tub is about $4,000. If you need to make renovations in order to accommodate the installation, expect to pay even more.

A walk-in tub holds up to 60 gallons of water.

Walk-in tubs come with a warranty that should be documented in the walk-in tub vendor contract. The length of time should be noted, as well as any limitations on the manufacturer’s responsibility for repairs or replacements under the warranty.

All of the safety features are important, but if you have physical limitations, perhaps the grab bars, non-slip flooring, and anti-scalding features are most helpful for safe bathing.

A walk-in shower with a seat is an option for someone with limited mobility as well. However, it still leaves some potential for slipping and getting injured. It also lacks the benefits and relaxation that submerging your body in water with massaging jets can provide.

On average, it takes around 10-15 minutes to fill a standard walk-in tub.

There are many different types of walk-in tubs available, including standard soaker tubs without any bells and whistles, aerotherapy and hydrotherapy tubs with special jets, and bariatric tubs, which accommodate people of larger weight and size.

Walk-in tubs are usually a luxury, but the investment may be worth it, especially if you have a chronic condition or your health is deteriorating due to old age. To qualify for Medicare coverage, walk-in tubs have to be prescribed by a doctor as medically necessary rather than luxurious. Some doctors will recommend walk-in tubs for certain patients with conditions such as arthritis and mobility issues that make bathing difficult.

Yes. When installed correctly, all walk-in tubs will meet the ADA guidelines for a more accessible bathroom.

With the help of a professional plumber, you can install a walk-in tub in your bathroom yourself. However, if you lack experience with plumbing lines and/or installation work, it would be best to hire a professional. Additionally, you may void the warranty if you install the tub yourself. Installation typically takes between 8 and 24 hours, depending upon the size of the bathroom and other factors such as whether or not your bathroom needs renovation work to accommodate the walk-in tub.

In conclusion, walk-in tubs can provide a safe and effective way to bathe independently. If you live alone, have limited mobility, or struggle with chronic pain, these types of baths might be right for you.

However, it is essential to be aware that walk-in tubs are more expensive than showers and generally require special planning.

We hope this guide has helped you through the process of whether or not a walk-in tub is right for you or your loved one. It is important to make an informed decision before taking the first step toward independence and peace of mind.