What is a Shower Stool?
A shower stool (aka shower seat, bath seat or shower stool) consists of a water resistant, back-less bath seat with three or four legs extending down from below. Most have a slip-resistant seat and slip-resistant rubber stoppers or suction cup-style feet to prevent the stool from sliding. Shower stools give users a place to rest while showering and a place to sit while washing feet or shaving legs.
Who Would Benefit From a Shower Stool?
- are unable to stand for long periods of time.
- have the balance and strength to remain seated upright for the duration of the shower without a backrest for support.
Portable Shower Stool Types
- Standard Shower Stool: Most shower stools have a stationary seat and three or four legs that extend down from below.
- Shower Stool With Swivel Seat: Some shower seat models are equipped with a seat that swivels, making it easier to turn hips when getting in and out over the tub wall.
- Foldable Shower Stools: Some models are designed to fold-up making them easier to store out of the way when not in use and easier to pack when traveling.
- Bariatric Shower Stools: Some models are designed to support a higher weight capacity. They will often have cross-bars between the legs to provide added support and stability.
Shower Stool Features
Shower stool models can be found offering one or more of the features listed below.
- Adjustable Height Legs: The majority of shower stool models offer height adjustable legs. Some are adjusted via moving a button up and down notches at preset intervals along the leg, similar to what’s found on crutches. Others adjust by turning a screw-like mechanism found in the bottom of each of the legs. The latter type is better for shower floors that are sloped or have edges that round in at the bottom, because it allows for more fine-tuned adjustments to accommodate the varying heights of the shower floor.
- Feet: Most shower seats have rubberized feet attached at the bottom of each leg to prevent the stool from slipping away when you sit down. Some models are equipped with suction cup-style feet that can further help to prevent the seat from slipping if they are paired with the right flooring surface. Suction cup-style feet work best in showers with a clean, smooth shower floor. They do not adhere well, or at all, to shower floors that are textured, or to shower floors with small tiles interlaced with lots of grout lines because textured surfaces and grout lines disrupt the vacuum effect of the suction cup. If there is a model with suction-cup style feet that you like, and your shower floor is textured or full of grout lines, it is not necessary for you to feel deterred from buying it. Even though the suction cups may not stick to the floor, the rubber material the suction cups are made out of will still aid to prevent the shower stool from sliding.
- Handles/Armrests: The majority of shower stool models do not include handles or armrests, however, there are some models that do. Handles offer a nice place to hold onto when you are sitting down and provide some added “oomph” when you are standing up because they give a higher surface for your hands to push up from.
- Shower Stool With Rotating Seat: A shower stool model with a rotating seat is a consideration for someone who has a tiny cubicle-style shower stall and a grab bar attached just outside of the shower stall entrance. It user can stand with their back facing the shower stall, lean backwards over the shower threshold and sit down on the stool while their feet are still positioned outside the shower. Once seated, the rotating seat assists a user to turn their hips to face the showerhead. Upon exiting the shower stall, the user would rotate the stool seat to face the outside of the shower again and use the grab bar located near to the opening of the shower stall to stand up. A person considering this option should have reasonably good balance skills, as necessary to sit down on a seat with a component that moves.
- Shower Stool Materials: Shower stools can be found made entirely from plastic or wood or made from a combination of materials (E.g. aluminum or steel legs with a plastic or wood seat). Some models have a vinyl-padded seat.
- Folding Shower Stools: Models that are designed to fold-up make them easier to store out of the way when not in use and easier to pack when traveling.
- Shower Stool Shape: Shower stools can be found in a variety of different shapes which include: round, square, rectangular and triangular-shaped models that are designed to sit in the corner of the shower stall. There are even some artistic shapes as well. Regardless of the seat shape, the larger the seat the stool has, normally the better because there is more sitting surface to land on safely. Rectangular stool models are usually the most stable and easiest to transition safely on and off of.
- Shower Stool Colors: The majority of shower stools are white or gray. There are some models available in fun, vibrant colors as well.
Shower Stool Considerations
The following are considerations to keep in mind when picking a shower stool.
- Height of Shower Seat: Shower Stool models will differ in the minimum and maximum achievable seat height ranges, so make sure to select one with a seat height adequate for your needs.
- Width of Shower Seat: The wider the seat, the more surface area you will have to safely land on when sitting down. It is ideal to choose a model that not only has a wide seat at the top, but also has a wide base of support at the bottom to help prevent the stool from tipping if you do not land perfectly squarely in the middle when you sit down.
- Stability: In general, bath stool models with four legs will be more sturdy than shower stools with only three legs. No big surprise there! The larger the shower stool’s base and the heavier the stool is, typically the more stable it will be as well.
- Shower Stools With Padded Seat: A model with a padded seat can be helpful if you are prone to skin tears or developing pressure sores. If you do not need a padded seat for medical reasons, you might opt to forgo this feature because the padded seat covers are more likely to dry out and crack with age, requiring the shower stool to be replaced sooner than a model that does not include this feature.
- No Return Policy! Once you purchase it you own it! Due to FDA regulations shower equipment purchased in the USA cannot be returned (unless it is still sealed in the original packaging). Make sure the height, weight capacity, and features are appropriate for your needs prior to purchasing. Addendum: Some retailers have now begun accepting returns on these types of products. Check the manufacturer’s policy prior to ordering.
The Homeability Advice™
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend to select a shower stool model with the widest base of support and widest seat your shower stall will comfortably accomodate. These two features help to make the stool more stable, less likely to wiggle, and easier to sit down on and stand up from. If you have visual deficits, select a model in a color that contrasts with your tub and bathroom walls to enhance your sense of depth perception. If you fatigue easily, we recommend to consider a bath chair or bath bench with a backrest for added support.
Since portable-style shower seats are free-standing, they do have the potential to wiggle or tip a bit, so at a minimum you must have enough strength and balance skills to sit down and stand up from a surface that isn’t firmly fixed in place. If you do not, you may alternatively want to consider a bathtub bench or a wall-mounted bath seat.
Sitting while bathing is both safer and easier, but it comes with a drawback, which is that you will be further away from the shower head. A simple remedy is to add a handheld shower head. To learn more about selecting an appropriate handheld showerhead for your needs, visit our Handheld Showerhead guide.
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