The 10 Best Shower Chairs
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in February of 2015. For those who have trouble with mobility, either due to an injury or a long-term chronic condition, even basic hygiene routines can be difficult. These shower chairs, benches, and stools are designed to provide comfortable and safe seats while bathing. However, it is important to be aware of weight limitations and make sure you use them in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 27, 2020:
Wet tubs can get slippery, which can increase the chance of falling. And for those who have experience balancing issues, taking a shower can be difficult. A shower chair solves this problem by providing a secure place for you to sit while bathing. Models with a backrest and armrest like the Nova Medical 9026 make the showering experience more comfortable. While transfer options like the Eagle Healthcare Tub-Mount 77762 make it easier to enter and exit the tub.
But before you buy a shower chair, you will need to know your tub's dimensions. Most height-adjustable models take a wider stance the higher they go. Unfortunately, this may prevent the feet from making full contact with the surface, causing the seat to wobble.
If you share the space with other people, you may opt for lightweight models like the Essential Medical B3010 and the Drive Medical 12486 that lift out of the tub with ease. Keep in mind, you may need to install a shower grab bar for added safety.
As stated previously, customers were split about the sturdiness and durability. But since there were more satisfied customers than dissatisfied buyers, we kept the same brands. However, we changed the ranking and eliminated the Medokare Padded 002 since it is not available. We added the Vaunn Spa Bench with an anodized aluminum frame and a contoured polyethylene seat. It has a removable back and can support up to 250 pounds.
December 17, 2019:
One thing you might notice if you take the time to read both positive and negative reviews on products, like we do, is that almost every shower chair model has horror stories about it collapsing under a user who was well within the manufacturer's recommended weight guidelines. Yet at the same time, that same model will often have hundreds, if not thousands, of four and five star reviews from happy customers. This begs the questions, was that particular unit defective or was it simply user error. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing the answer to this question. We also can't guarantee that you won't get a faulty unit. Instead, the best we can do is recommend models that have a high percentage of satisfied users. We also suggest that you have an able-bodied person test any shower chair your buy before you rely on it for safety. This should entail putting more stress on it then you expect to subject it to on a regular basis. It can also be helpful to check with a local specialist or speak with your doctor regarding the model you have chosen to see if they feel it is safe for your needs.
With the above in mind, we felt the need to eliminate the Drive Medical Designer. Though it comes from a reputable brand that offers a variety of other seemingly safe and sturdy shower chairs, there were simply too many complaints of its legs bending or collapsing that we no longer felt safe recommending it.
For those who use wheelchairs or walkers and have trouble stepping over the wall of a tub, we recommend taking a look at the Duro-Med Sliding 522-1734-1900, Platinum Health Deluxe All Access Transfer, and Med Mobile Transfer Bench. All of these allow a user to sit down on the outside of the tub, and then slide themselves into the bathing area. Of these, the Eagle Healthcare Tub-Mount 77762 and Duro-Med Sliding 522-1734-1900 make for the most convenient transition due their sliding seats.
If tub space is an issue, the Dr. Maya Armless is one of the best options since it has a small footprint. Despite that, it is still stable and offers a wide seat. Another good model when space is an issue, specifically storage space, is the Drive Medical 12486, which folds up compactly. However, it is worth noting that it doesn't fit in narrow tubs.
Teakworks4u TBF-30WS Shower Bench Teakworks4u offers a variety of shower benches, ranging from 17 to 37 inches. The TBF-30WS is available in Burmese or Plantation teak, mounts to the wall, and folds up out of the way when it is not needed. It comes with stainless steel brackets, resists mold and mildew, and supports up to 300 pounds. teakworks4u.com
Making Showers Safer For Seniors And The Disabled
Suction cup grab bars should be avoided, instead look for ones that can be be securely anchored to a stud.
The majority of falls within a house result in relatively minor injuries, but falls in the bathroom are often more serious. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011, using data from 2008, found that almost 200,000 Americans a year are treated in the emergency for bathroom related falls. This is because bathrooms present a number of additional hazards over most areas of the home; the surfaces are slippery and there are very few well anchored items to grasp onto.
While it is certainly possible than anyone can slip and fall in a bathroom or in the shower, the elderly and disabled are particularly susceptible. Having poor balance or muscle strength makes it harder to catch oneself when falling, increasing the risk of injury.
Bathrooms can be made safer by installing a few safety features, which can significantly reduce the risk of falls. One or two strategically placed grab bars can greatly assist a person when stepping into or out of the tub. They can also assist a person when moving from lying in a tub to a standing position. Grab bars should be installed in easy to reach places, ideally where one would naturally reach for when stepping in or out of a shower.
Grab bars with a contrasting color to the wall and that feature a non-slip surface are best. Suction cup grab bars should be avoided, instead look for ones that can be be securely anchored to a stud. Grab bars are only suited to people who have sufficient upper-body strength to support themselves. If one cannot hold onto a grab bar, they won't be very effective.
For these people, a shower chair is a better choice. They can provide stability for those who have impaired balance or trouble standing for a long period of time. If used with a hand-held shower head, they allow a person to remain seated when bathing.
A non-slip mat should be placed in all bath tubs to reduce the chance of slipping while bathing. One should also place a bath rug just outside the bathtub to catch water that drips off a person as they exit the shower. Good safety options for those who have trouble getting on and off of a toilet seat are raised toilet seats and toilet seat rails.
Choosing A Shower Chair
There are a number of factors one should consider when choosing a shower chair, though we feel safety should be the top priority. This is why it is important to check with your doctor before you purchase any shower to make sure it is the right model for you. It is also a good idea to have an able-bodied person stress test it before you put your full weight onto it. You should also ask yourself if you need back support, and how much. Some may need full back support, while others who don't need back support may find that it gets in their way when scrubbing certain parts of their body.
This is why it is important to check with your doctor before you purchase any shower to make sure it is the right model for you.
Some models feature hanging baskets or compartments to hold soap and other toiletries, which can be very convenient for those who cannot stand at all or choose not to. If you have difficulty stepping into and out of a tub, consider a shower chair that doubles as a transfer chair. Some models are wide enough to extend out of the tub and can slide back and forth. This allows you to avoid stepping into or out of a tub. Instead you can sit down on the chair while it is outside of the tub, and then slide it into the bathing area.
Height adjustable chairs are also a good choice. A chair that is too high and doesn't allow you to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground may be uncomfortable and cause feelings of instability. On the other hand, one that is too short can interfere with bathing and cause the user to sit in a hunched position.
The seat itself should be wide enough to comfortably fit the user and have a non-slip surface. Those with drainage holes on the seat are best as they dry quicker with less chance of bacteria build up. No matter which shower chair you choose, it should feature non-slip feat to keep it from sliding around on wet surfaces.
Keeping Shower Bacteria At Bay
Most of us have seen that pink slimy material build up on our shower curtain or in the corner of a tub, but did you know that it is actually a form of bacteria known as Serratia marcescens and not mold? What's worse, is that once it begins to colonize, it is extremely difficult to get rid of and will often com back again and again. Luckily it rarely causes diseases, but it is not unheard of, so it's best if you eradicate completely.
If you already have some pink slime in your shower, you can attack it with a few common household items.
Serratia marcescens prefers to live in damp areas, and its growth is also aided by soap scum. Ideally one should do their best to prevent it from ever forming. This is why shower chairs with holes are a better choice. The holes allow excess water to drain away, letting the chair's surface dry quicker.
If you already have some pink slime in your shower, you can attack it with a few common household items. You can mix together a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. This solution should be sprayed directly onto the areas with pink slime along with surrounding areas, as there may be the beginnings of a colony that is not visible yet. Let it soak for 10 minutes to break down the bacteria before scrubbing it away.
Tea tree oil is also very effective at getting rid of the bacteria that causes pink slime. It is actually even more effective than vinegar as it has anti-bacterial properties. The key to using either other these products is to let it sit. If you wipe it away too soon, it won't kill all of the bacteria, allowing it to recolonize quickly.