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Falls in or near the bathtub are common and result in a significant number of annual emergency room visits, according to the
While anyone can fall while showering, the likelihood of falls in or near the bath increases as we age. One way to reduce this risk and gain stability is to use a shower chair, also called a bath chair. These chairs provide support and safety by letting you sit while bathing.
Shower chairs are made from waterproof, non-rusting materials, such as plastic and aluminum. Well-designed chairs have slip-resistant seats and nonskid foot tips, making them safe to use on slippery or wet surfaces. Some have hoisting abilities and backs and arms for added support. Others are designed to help with transferring in and out of the tub.
Shower chairs are not classified as durable medical equipment (DME) by most insurers, including Medicare. But a sturdy shower chair can help you maintain balance and stability while in the bathtub. This can significantly reduce the potential for injuries, including bruising, concussions, and broken bones.
How much do shower chairs cost?
Shower chairs range in price from around $25 to $300 or more. The type of chair, weight capacity, and other features affect the overall cost.
Where can you buy shower chairs?
Shower chairs can be purchased from online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. You can also find them at big-box stores like Home Depot and medical supply shops. Some pharmacies carry shower chairs, too.
Does insurance cover shower chairs?
Most insurance plans do not cover shower chairs purchased for home use. If you use a shower chair in a facility such as a nursing home or hospital, your insurance company may cover that itemized cost.
Does Medicare cover shower chairs?
Original Medicare doesn’t classify shower chairs as medically necessary DME. Medicare doesn’t cover their cost or the cost of other types of bathtub safety equipment, such as grab bars.
But is it a commode chair?
Medicare does, however, cover the cost of commode chairs, which are used for toileting. Some commode chairs are waterproof and may be used as shower chairs. If you purchase a commode chair for this use, make sure it’s safe for this purpose by determining its durability, nonslip capability, and weight capacity.
Some Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans cover a percentage of the cost of shower chairs. If you have a Part C plan, check with your insurance company to determine what your coverage for this purchase will be.
The shower chairs on this list come from trusted, transparent manufacturers that have a track record for safety. We did not include chairs that have lots of customer complaints about durability, safety, or longevity.
This bath seat is designed to aid with transfer in and out of the bathtub. The bench side enables you to slide your way into the tub and onto a nonslip bath seat with a back and armrest. The seat back can be moved to either side of the chair, making it viable for right- or left-handed tub transfers.
Users say it’s very sturdy and can hold up to 300 pounds.
The legs are adjustable from 16 to 20 inches.
Assembly is required, but users say it’s lightweight and easy to put together.
This transfer bench bath seat weighs 11 pounds and can hold weight up to 550 pounds.
It has six legs with cross-base supporting legs for added durability. The legs have suction cup feet grips.
The back of the bench is removable, and there is no arm rest. The chair has a white plastic clamp on the back that can be used to hold a shower hose or bottle. There is also a gap between the transfer bench and bath chair where a shower curtain can be placed so that your bathroom floor remains dry.
The bench can be purchased with or without expert assembly.
According to the manufacturer, this lightweight aluminum bath chair can support up to 400 pounds. However, some users say that its capacity is closer to 300 pounds.
The back, seat, and legs all snap together for easy setup and dismantling. No tools are required for assembly.
The legs are angled outward for added stability. They can be adjusted for height in 1-inch increments up to 19.5 inches.
The seat is contoured and contains drainage holes that reduce slippage.
Each side of the seat has a built-in handle for security and comfort.
This heavy-duty anodized aluminum chair has a protective oxide layer for added strength. It weighs 8.5 pounds and has a weight capacity of 250 pounds.
It has very high, padded armrests for added support and stability when you’re ready to stand back up.
The antibacterial polystyrene seat is contoured and has drainage holes for added safety.
The adjustable legs can be adjusted in 1-inch increments from 16 to 21 inches.
This backless is lightweight at 4 pounds and small in size. It may be a good choice for shower stalls and smaller bathtubs.
It has a weight capacity of 250 pounds.
It features built-in side handles and drainage holes in the contoured seat. It also has a crossbar under the seat for added durability.
It provides a height range of 12.5 to 18.5 inches, making it a good choice for shorter people who may have difficulty with higher chairs.
Assembly is required. Some users say that assembly is easy, but others mention that it can be challenging.
This bright blue chair may have added benefits for people with low vision.
It can support up to 310 pounds.
It has an ultra-padded, polyurethane foam seat and backrest. It also has ultra-padded, weight-bearing armrests. The fabric is soft, comfortable, and designed to be gentle on sensitive skin that tears easily.
The adjustable legs are 19 inches long and have nonslip rubber grips.
Note that assembly is required. The chair comes with a lifetime warranty.
Your height, weight, and mobility level should all be considered when purchasing a shower chair.
Will the chair stay in place or need to be moved?
Shower chairs can weigh 10 pounds or more. They may also be cumbersome to put in and out of the tub. Determine if you want a shower chair that will remain in place or if you want one that is mobile and can be used in multiple locations.
Look at the chair’s measurements
Measure your bathtub to determine what size chair it can accommodate.
Do you want extra bench space to transition onto the chair?
Getting in and out of a bathtub can be difficult. Some shower chairs include attached transfer benches, which provide added stability. However, if you have a walk-in shower stall, you may not need a transfer bench.
The weight capacity of most standard bath chairs is in the 250- to 400-pound range. Bariatric shower chairs can typically hold up to 550 pounds.
Ergonomics and chair height make a difference
Many shower chairs have height-adjustable legs. Look for a chair with a height that allows your feet to remain stable and flat on the floor. Avoid getting a chair with a seat that is too low to the ground for your height. A too low seat can be hard to get in and out of.
If you’re 5 feet tall or shorter, you may feel most comfortable in a chair with a seat height of 12 inches up to 16 inches. If you’re 6 feet tall or taller, you may like a shower chair that has a seat height of 18 to 20 inches.
Will a chair back, arms, or handles help?
Determine if you need a chair with a back or with handles for hoisting. Some chairs have arms, while others have built-in handles that help you lift yourself up and down.
Stability is paramount
Bath chairs on wheels are available. But these may not provide enough stability for people with mobility issues. If this is a concern, look for a shower seat that has large or oversized nonslip suction cup feet.
Consider comfort features
Your comfort during bath time is important. Consider what’s most comfortable to you. Some seats are contoured rather than flat. Others may be padded and have padded backs. Trying out several styles may help you decide which type is best for you.
If you anticipate needing your chair temporarily, consider storing the chair when it’s not in use. Some chairs have parts that easily snap apart for easy dismantling and storage.
Many people fall in the shower because there’s nothing to safely grab onto when they lose their balance. Instinctively reaching for a towel bar or shower curtain may make a fall worse, as it may come down too.
If you prefer to stand or lie down while bathing, you may wish to consider installing bathtub grab bars. Grab bars can be placed at multiple locations on the inside and outside of your tub. They’re a viable alternative to shower seats for people without a high risk of falling.
Shower seats can help reduce the risk of injury in and around the bathtub.
When purchasing a shower seat, always consider its durability and slip-proof capacity. You should also consider your height, weight, and mobility level.
Before you buy, be sure to measure the diameter of your bathtub.