The 6 Best Handrails For Pools
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in August of 2019. They might not be as exciting as a diving board or a slide, but handrails serve an important function around pools, helping to make them more safe and accessible. The right design can also add style to your space. We've featured a variety of options that are suitable for offering support around all kinds of entryways – including ramps, ladders and stairs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 07, 2019:
Typically constructed with stainless steel piping and strategically installed next to ladders, ramps and steps leading into hot tubs and pools, hand railings are designed to offer extra support to swimmers – as they navigate often-slippery terrain on the way into (or out of) the water. While railings are a sure way to improve your swim space’s safety score, there are also a couple safety concerns associated with these installations, that our users should be aware of:
In order to satisfy National Electrical Code (NEC) or Canadian Electrical Code (CEC), pools in North America must have all metallic components bonded to all electrical components (like pumps and heaters) through the use of low impedance copper conductors. This equipment is then provided a safe path to ground through system grounding, as a fail-safe in the event of a fault. Hand rails that are not bonded to ground can potentially electrocute users during fault situations.
If you’re shopping for a replacement railing, and looking to re-use your old railing’s anchor points, chances are that provisions for bonding have already been made. If you’re looking to add an additional railing to your existing pool, but don’t fancy the idea of breaking up a bunch of concrete to install a new bonding conductor, you might want to consider an option like the Saftron Figure 4 White, that’s Polymer coating eliminates the need for equipment bonding. In any event, consult a reputable, licensed electrician if you have any doubt whatsoever that the addition of your new railing might not be to code.
A second safety concern that might not be as serious but certainly is worth keeping in mind: When exposed to prolonged, direct sunlight or a surplus of oily palms (think careless hands post sun screen), hand railings can easily become too hot to touch or slippery to grab. With no shortage of water nearby to cool/rinse railings off with, most homeowners just suffer through and cope with this problem. That being said, suffering is quite optional in this situation. Several handrail guards are available on the market today, typically made of weather-rated textiles designed to offer users a better (and cooler) grip.
A few things to keep top of mind while shopping in this category:
How do you plan to handle the installation of this unit? While installing many of these railings is as easy is putting in a few screws, many users report that they needed to hire a professional from their local pool store to help with more complicated installations – which involve the use of some power tools, such as a hammer drill. Familiarize yourself with the installation process for the railing of your choice, and make sure you have a plan in place, ready to execute.
Does the railing you're considering include mounting hardware? Are you sure? Some of them don’t! How about escutcheon plates? There’s a good chance they’re sold separately by the company, which makes a certain amount of sense given that they often aren’t required during retro installations. Speaking of retro installations: If you’re planning on doing one, check the distance between your existing anchor points and make sure it aligns with the design of your new would-be purchase.
Last but not least, although stainless steel seems to be a relative standard in this category, different companies use different grades, with different coatings, protected by different warranties. The last think you want on your hands is a bunch of corrosion on your hand railing, so make sure you select an option that can stand up to all the pool chemicals, UV rays and salt that you’re likely to put it through.
Once you’ve got all that factored in, all you really need is a cooler full of cold drinks and a few floating toys to lounge around on with your friends next weekend. Enjoy that pool!