“Is there a tub bench that fits a whirlpool or jacuzzi bathtub?” -Yes!
If you have been struggling to find a bath bench to make it easier for you to get in and out of a whirlpool or jacuzzi-style bathtub, you have probably already come to the conclusion that there are very few, if any, bath seats available. While it is true the choices are extremely limited, the good news is – a few good options do exist.
A Variety of Tub Styles!
Whirlpool and jacuzzi bathtubs come in a variety of types and can vary significantly in the height and thickness of the tub walls, the length and width of the tub, as well as the molded contouring inside of the tub. Some will have platforms surrounding the bathtub walls or steps to enter. All these variations in shapes and styles can make it quite difficult to find a compatible bath seat – but not necessarily impossible.
Bath Seats for Whirlpool & Jacuzzi Tubs
We have researched and identified the best bath seat options for jacuzzi and whirlpool-style bathtubs and summarized these below.
1. Add Leg Extensions to a Standard Bath Bench
Basic bath bench models, available for sale in local medical supply stores or online, are usually not equipped with long enough legs to allow the seat to clear the high tub walls commonly found on whirlpool and jacuzzi bathtubs. With a small adaptation, however, namely the addition of bath bench leg extensions, many of the standard bath benches will work in a deep tub.
Leg extensions are available in different lengths and can add between 4 to 8 inches in height, making it possible for bath benches to clear tub walls as much as 26 inches in height.
Bath bench leg extenders are not compatible with all bath bench models! It is therefore important to carefully pick a bath bench model that has a corresponding set of leg extensions. To learn more about bath bench leg extensions, click here.
2. Sliding Bath Transfer Bench
Bath Slider Systems effectively create a bridge between the inside and outside of the tub. Some models consist of a stationary frame and a sliding seat, which can make it possible for a person to enter and exit the tub independently. Other models have a detachable wheelchair, making it possible for a caregiver to wheel a person directly into the bathroom and much more easily assist a person into and out of the tub. Some Bath Slider System models are capable of clearing tub walls up to as much as 24 inches tall.
If the Bath Slider System’s off-the-shelf dimensions aren’t sufficient for your tub or needs, contact the manufacturer to discuss the possibility of ordering the equipment with some modifications. Some manufacturers have the ability to add longer legs or a wider track, upon request. To learn more about bath slider systems, click here.
3. Bathtub Board
Whirlpool and jacuzzi tubs come in varying widths. If yours is similar in width to a standard bathtub, a bathtub board that rests across the top of the tub walls is one possible consideration. Bathtub boards provide a nice place to rest while bathing and also create a bridge between the inside and outside of the tub, allowing you to sit down on the side of the seat first and then from a safe seated position you can lift one leg at a time over the tub wall and scoot yourself across the board and into the center of the tub. To learn more about bathtub boards, visit the Homeability guide: Bathtub Boards: The Basics.
4. Custom Bath Bench
If your tub is too wide for a standard bathtub board; or the interior of your tub has molded contouring that won’t permit using a bath bench with legs, or you have a tiny bathroom and the bath bench’s exterior legs will interfere with your ability to move around inside the bathroom, then consider consulting with a local handyman or contractor about creating a custom bath seat for your tub.
- (a) Freestanding Tub: If you have a bathtub that is freestanding, or that has tub walls that extend a little above a surrounding platform (see picture), a wide board can be cut to fit across the top of the walls and small wood wedges can be attached on either side (on the exterior) to prevent it from sliding.
- (b) Tub Touches Bathroom Wall: If the outer edges of both tub walls are not exposed (because one is attached to a bathroom wall), but there is a sufficient lip present around the top edge of the tub, another alternative is to cut a board to rest flat across the top of the walls. Then attach a board underneath (a bit shorter in length than the one above) that will rest against the interior walls and help prevent it from sliding back and forth.
The custom-built bath seat should be sanded and varnished and/or refinished in a way that will make it waterproof and safe for you to scoot your bottom across. The wider and heavier the board used to create the seat, typically the safer it will be. Rubber pieces should be attached to the bottom of the seat to add additional friction between the seat and the tub walls to help prevent the seat from moving.
A bathtub board that rests on top of the tub walls provides a nice place to rest while bathing. It also creates a bridge that allows you to sit down on the seat first and then from a safe seated position you can lift one leg at a time over the tub wall and scoot yourself across the board and into the center of the tub. A drawback of a bath seat that rests on top of the tub walls is that it has potential to tip forward if you lean down to wash or shave your legs. For added safety and stability, we recommend to secure the seat to the bathroom wall (i.e. see hinges in the picture above).
Obviously, it goes without saying that it is important for the bath seat to be constructed in a safe manner that is suitable for your specific tub and needs, so make sure to hire a reputable handyman or contractor to tackle this project.
A standard bath bench will cost an average of $50- $350. Bath bench leg extensions must be purchased separately and will cost, on average, an additional $15-$75.
Bath Slider Systems will cost an average of $1,500-$4,000. This can sound rather expensive on the surface, but it is a one-time expense, which may actually save you money in the long run, so it is important to closely compare it to your other options before dismissing it outright. This type of equipment can make the tub more easily accessible, without needing to undergo expensive bathroom renovations. It can also make it possible to get in and out of the tub independently, thereby eliminating the need to hire and pay a caregiver on a regular basis to assist you with getting into and out of the tub.
A bathtub board can cost an average of $40-$400, depending on the model selected. The cost of having a custom bath seat built will vary based on your handyman or contractor’s hourly rates, and the geographic region in which you live. Expect a custom-built seat to cost more than a standard, off-the-shelf bath bench or bath board, but less than a bath slider system.
The Homeability Advice™
If you have a tub with unique dimensions and none of the solutions identified above will work, you may want to consider removing the tub and replacing it with a shower stall. A prefab shower stall, the ones with a small threshold at the entrance, can oftentimes be installed in less than a day for $1,000-$5,000. To learn more about prefab shower stalls, read Homeability’s guide on Prefab Shower Stalls. One of the most future-proof solutions is to install a shower with “no threshold” present at the entrance (aka curbless shower). A curbless shower will take longer to install and will typically cost a minimum of $10,000 to install. To learn more about the benefits of curbless showers visit the following article: Curbless Showers – A Great Age-Proof Bathing Solution!
If you are unsure which, if any of the solutions listed above is right for your tub and physical needs, a local Occupational Therapist can be hired to help you in determining which one is right for you.
One drawback of bathtub boards and bathtub benches is that they make it impossible to tuck the shower curtain inside the tub and therefore make it more difficult to keep the water inside. To learn more about selecting an appropriate shower curtain, visit our Accessible Shower Curtain guide.
Sitting while bathing is definitely safer and easier for many people, but it too comes with a drawback, which is that you will be further away from the shower head. A simple remedy is to install a handheld shower head. To learn more about selecting an appropriate one for your needs, visit our Handheld Showerhead guide.
To learn more about other bathing alternatives, read:
- Beginner’s Guide to Accessible Showers
- Tips for Selecting a Prefabricated Accessible Shower
- Comparison of Wall, Floor, & Ceiling Mounted Bath Lifts
- Getting In & Out of the Bathtub: Benches, Lifts & Transfer Chairs
- Slide-in Bathtub Buying Guide