Owning a tub transfer bench is a big necessity for people who have limited mobility.
The truth is that these benches make life a lot more comfortable, and decrease the need to always have caregivers assist when trying to shower. Showering is one activity that many disabled or paralyzed persons have challenges with because it sometimes requires complex movements.
Now, there are so many types, brands, and models of these benches. They are just too many that you might not be sure which one is the best for you. Well, that is why exactly we have written this guide, to help you make an informed decision quicker.
Bathtub transfer benches come in different styles, some offer a sliding seat, others a swiveling seat, while some have a commode opening to facilitate the proper cleaning of private areas.
We’ll be looking at the best models there are on the market right now.
We narrowed all the options to just 5, and we will mention what category of persons each one is most suited for. Let’s start by highlighting our top 5 tub transfer benches, we’ll go into their details, what to look for when selecting the best for you, and how to care for a transfer bench later.
Best Tub Transfer Benches in 2018
1. Platinum Health Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench with Swivel Seat- Overall Best
2. Drive Medical Plastic Tub Transfer Bench- Best For A Low Budget
3. Drive Medical Heavy Duty Bariatric Transfer Bench- Best Bariatric Transfer Bench
4. Duro-Med Heavy-Duty Sliding Transfer Bench with Cut-out Seat- Best Sliding Tub Transfer Bench
5. Moen Non-Slip Adjustable Transfer Bench- Best in Design and Style
Now that we have listed our top 5, its time for us to go into their specific details. We would be discussing their features, what customers who bought it had to say about them, and a summary of their pros and cons.
This is by far the best tub transfer bench on the market right now and there are so many reasons why. This bench offers the highest level of quality, safety, and convenience among other products in its category.
Its frame is made of rust-proof aluminum, helping the chair support up to 330 pounds of weight. Its seat, backrest, and armrests are well padded, providing a much-needed comfort that most shower transfer benches lack. The pads also don’t absorb water and are very easy to clean and disinfect.
It also has a really unique design. The seat is able to swivel and slide on its axes, so you don’t need to change your position before getting seated on the chair. Once seated, you can then rotate to face the shower and enjoy a good bath. Once done, just slide the chair to the outside of the bathtub, then rotate the chair to step out. The armrests can also be raised to create enough space when attempting to sit or get up from the chair. You can adjust the seat height to match your convenience.
When it comes to safety, this product is also the best. It is strong and well-built, with safety belts to keep you from sliding forward or falling while in the tub. It also comes in a very obvious but pretty blue color that is easy to see. This is very important so that people with vision problems can be able to distinguish the chair from its environment to prevent bathroom falls.
The only downside about this chair may be its price. It is considerably more expensive than other chairs, but then, you’ll be getting a very good value for the money you’re spending on it, and it should also last you a long time.
Almost every customer had very good things to say about this bench. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive. Its safety features, convenience, and sturdy design were appreciated. However, there was a suggestion that the locations of the slide and swivel buttons could be better located. (These buttons are located under the chair).
Below is the summary of the pros and cons of this chair.
- Excellent design
- Sliding and swiveling seat
- Padded backrest, armrests, and seat for comfort
- Safety belt to prevent falls
- Adjustable height
- High quality
- Costlier than most tub transfer benches
Now, if you aren’t looking to get something quite expensive for your bathtub but focused on buying a tub transfer bench that can take care of the basics, you should get this.
This bench has all the basic features of a good transfer chair. It is made of strong and durable materials that can support you even if you weigh up to 400 pounds. The seat height and backrest are also adjustable.
To provide stability, it has an armrest that you could hold when in the shower. This armrest can be installed on either side of the chair, so you can still use the chair if your shower head is located on the right side or left side of the bathtub. To also make the chair more stable, each foot of the bench is equipped with rubber suction devices that make it stick to the floor of the bathroom floor and bathtub.
One very attractive thing about this bench is its price, it costs significantly less than other benches in its category, so you can shower with ease without spending too much money. It also provides good value for the money spent on it.
Now about its downsides. It is not the most comfortable chair out there. There are no pads on its seat, armrest or backrest, so it could feel a bit cold and hard. Other than this, it is a good shower transfer chair to get.
Most customers were happy with the durability and sturdiness of the bench, even elderly patients seemed to be satisfied with its performance. However, there were some reports of the rubber suction cups getting dislodged, poor assembly instructions, and structural problems over time.
Heres is the summary of the good and not-so-good sides of this bench.
- Relatively cheap
- Easy to use
- Suction cups on feet help with stability
- Backrest and armrest to keep you comfortable
- The seat is not padded
- Not the easiest to assemble
This bench was built to handle very high weights. So, if you weigh more than 400 pounds or are concerned that most transfer benches won’t be stable enough for you, you should absolutely get this. It was built to cater to people who weigh up to 500 pounds! This is amazing, considering that most chairs have a max capacity of 400 pounds.
It also has rubber suction cups attached to its feet to ensure that the chair doesn’t wobble or slip on the bathroom or tub floor. It also has a wide plastic backrest and one armrest to further help with stability and comfort. It is a pretty much sturdy, comfortable and safe chair for people who are overweight or elderly.
Apart from its durability and strength, its price is also not high. It is under $100 and should last for a long time.
The bench’s sturdiness and comfort were commended by many people, seniors also found the transfer chair useful. On the other hand, there were also concerns that it was a bit too bulky.
- Very high weight capacity (500 pounds)
- Ideal for seniors
- Good price
- A bit bulky
- No pads on seat, armrest or backrest
This bench has a sliding feature that ensures you can get into the bathtub conveniently, without having to make too many movements.
This is quite different from most benches that require you to make side-to-side movements with your hips till you can get to the middle of the tub. This side-to-side movement may not be practical in many people who have conditions like arthritis of the hip joint or those recovering from surgery.
Another unique feature of this bench is that it has a cut-out seat that gives you full access to your perineal area when bathing. So, with the cut-out, you can easily and practically wash your private areas without much struggle. Many other transfer bench manufacturers didn’t consider the importance of this feature and it is quite surprising.
The bench can also handle high weights. It has a 400-pound weight capacity, so you can enjoy a stable and convenient shower without worrying about breaking the chair or falling over. To further prevent the latter, there is a safety belt that keeps you from sliding off.
About its downsides, the bench is not cheap, there are cheaper alternatives (non-sliding).
There were so many good comments about this sliding bench, people loved the fact that you didn’t need too many movements to get into the shower. They also felt it was well-built and worth their money.
On the other hand, there were a few complaints that the sliding bracket could break off and is a weak point in the product’s design.
- Sliding seat for convenience
- High weight capacity
- Adjustable height
- Has a seat cut-out to provide space for you to wash your private areas
- Backrest and armrest for comfort
- A bit expensive
This is the best when it comes to beauty, elegance, and style. The finish is terrific, with a glacial white glow that is very pleasing to the eyes. Now, this doesn’t mean that the makers sacrificed function for beauty.
It has a wide non-slip seat that is perfect for comfort by giving you enough sitting space. Many other chairs just have a small sitting area that may not give you the balance you deserve when showering.
The bench also has a high weight capacity of 400 pounds and it has some awesome features that make it a comfortable piece of bathing equipment for those who need to sit in a bathtub to shower. It has a well-designed handle that is easy to grip, you can use it to support yourself when getting into the chair or when trying to leave the tub.
Unlike other benches that have two outside legs, this one has a single outside leg that looks very stable and sturdy. So, this stable leg and its wide seat serve to keep you balanced when having a shower. The bench also has a place you could keep a shower head and a cup holder- surprising additions that may be very useful.
There were very few negative things said about this transfer bench. Apart from concerns about its durability, there were so many positive reviews. The uniquely designed leg was one thing that was praised, it seemed to provide an extra balance. The addition of a cup holder and shower head holder was also appreciated.
Below is a summary of its pros and cons
- Very beautiful and stylish
- Unique design
- Wide non-slip seat
- 400-pound weight capacity
- Has a showerhead and cup holder
- Easy to assemble
- The seat is not padded
How To Use A Tub Transfer Bench
These benches are designed to help you get into the shower safely. But if you don’t install or use them as appropriate, you stand the risk of falling, slipping, and getting yourself injured.
So, we decided to add this section to ensure that you stay safe when using these benches. Here are some best practices:
1. Ensure that both the outside and inner legs are well aligned when installing. The seat should be well balanced and not angulated before you use.
2. Ensure each of the height adjustment pins completely protrudes out of the hole beside it. This will keep the chair from suddenly collapsing under you.
3. Read your instruction manual. You can’t guess how to install these benches or know the complete best practices for each one without consulting the product manual. Before setting up yours in the bathtub, please read this manual in detail and understand every step before using it.
4. Be patient when trying to get on or off the bench. To get on it, feel for the bench then gradually sit down. Move your legs over the tub wall one by one, then slide your body towards the center of the bathtub with the backrest directly behind you. To get out, slide to the edge of the bathtub, then move each leg out of the tub slowly, then stand up.
5. If you were advised to always have a caregiver assist you with bathing, don’t try to shower independently because you have just bought a transfer bench. To avoid any problems or injury, consult with your doctor and physiotherapist before deciding to do things without help.
What To Look For When Selecting A Tub Transfer Bench
Selecting which one suits you can be quite challenging, especially when you see the many options available. Here are some things you need to look out for before making your choice.
1. Comfortable Seat
I think the most important part of these pieces of shower equipment that make them useful is the seat. If a seat is not comfortable, you can find showering very terrifying. Generally, get a bench that has a relatively wide seat, is soft enough, and non-slip. Many benches have plastic seats but a few of them have extra non-slip features or are even padded. Padded seats are the most comfortable.
2. Weight Capacity
If you are overweight, you need a chair that can support you without bending or breaking. As a rule, you must be sure that whatever bench you’re getting can comfortably handle your weight before you order it. Making the mistake of not checking the weight capacity can lead to a collapse of the chair and potential injury for you. Most chairs can handle weights from 300 to 500 pounds.
3. Reversible Design
What this means is that the direction the bench faces can be reversed to suit the design of your bathtub. If the shower is located on the right side of the tub, your bench should be installed with the seat and backrest facing the right side. Many benches have this capability, but you must look out for it before purchasing or even installing yours.
4. Sliding Seat
Some transfer chairs have sliding seats. Generally, these types of benches are more expensive but quite convenient, especially for people with hip problems and injuries. These set of people may find the process of manually sliding to the middle of the tub very strenuous or painful. The sliding seat helps you move from the middle of the tub to the edge (and vice-versa) by pushing a button.
5. Swiveling Seat
This is an extra advantage that most benches do not have. A swiveling seat can rotate on its axis to face you. So you don’t need to move much to get on or off the chair. Though not a necessity, it can increase your comfort significantly.
Most people pay attention to the price of an item before committing to it. Just because a bench has the best features around does not mean that it suits your budget. So, when trying to select a chair, I believe that what should matter is the value you get for your money. You can spend a lot on a bench, and not use most of its features.
Generally, tub transfer benches cost about $50 to $300 dollars, the cheaper ones tend to have the basic features, but if you want special benches that have sliding, swiveling seats with pads, you should be ready to spend over $200 on a piece.
Over To You
So this brings us to the end of this post, and we will like to hear from you. Have you used any of these benches before? If you have, we will love to know what you think of them. Also, if you think any other bench is worth adding to this guide, please let us know, we would be glad to review it too.
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