Slide-in Tubs: Our Advice to Prospective Buyers
Slide-in tubs can be used to enhance bathing independence. Once a slide-in tub is installed, it will become a semi-permanent fixture in your home, so it’s wise to do your due diligence upfront, prior to purchasing one and having it installed.
If you have not already read the Slide-in Tub Buying Guide, then we recommend you begin there first to aid you in determining whether a slide-in tub is suitable for your needs, as well as to learn about what types of slide-in tubs exist and their various pros and cons. If you have already concluded a slide-in tub is a suitable solution for you, we have provided a list of helpful tips below to aid you in being a more informed slide-in tub consumer.
1. Try it out in person. This is easier said than done. Slide-in tubs are not on display in most stores and in the stores that do carry them, there will typically only be one or two different models, at most, on display. If you have identified a tub you like, contact the manufacturer of the tub to see if they know of any of their tubs that are physically on display at a store in your local area. You can also try calling your local home improvement stores directly to see if they have any on display.
2. Measure First! Confirm the dimensions of the slide-in tub model you are interested in will be be able to fit through all the doorways and hallways located between the outside of your home and the bathroom where the tub will be installed. Uh oh! Did you just measure and learn that the width of one or more of your home’s door frames is too narrow for the tub to pass through? If so, all hope might not be lost just yet. One or more door frames can be uninstalled to move the tub into the home, then reinstalled afterwards. Doing so will add to the overall cost of installing the tub though, so it is useful to take this detail into account as you are deciding whether or not to purchase and install a slide-in tub.
What if your doorways and hallways are technically wide enough, but you still aren’t fully confident the installers will be able to maneuver the tub through the twists and turns of your home? Contact the tub’s manufacturer to ask them for the names of any local tub sellers they are aware of in your area. Then, contact the sellers to see if any of them do home visits to help assess whether the tub will work in your home. Many sellers do provide home visits and oftentimes they will even do them for free.
3. Insist on a quote. We highly recommend to avoid buying a slide-in tub from any seller who refuses to quote you a general price point of any kind over the phone. We have observed that the companies who are resistant to quote any prices whatsoever over the phone, prior to them setting up an appointment to visit your home, tend to charge over-the-top prices, engage in high pressure sales tactics, and have the longest rap sheet of customer complaints.
4. Confirm your water heater’s size is sufficient. Confirm upfront what size water heater is required to run the slide-in tub model you’ve selected because if your existing water heater is not large enough, you will need to pay to have a new, larger-capacity water heater installed in order for the tub to work properly.
5. Ask about any additional hidden costs. Ask the vendor if the tub model you’ve selected will require the installation of an extra drain or if there are any other modifications they know of (such as upgrades to the plumbing or electric) that will foreseeably add to the overall cost when you have the tub installed.
6. Ask about certifications. Ask if the slide-in tub model has received ETL, UL, or CSA Certification. One or more of these marks helps to indicate that a product meets minimum North American safety standards.
7. Use reviews with caution! Due to the overwhelming number of fake and/or intentionally biased product reviews and review websites present online, it is always helpful to maintain a healthy does of skepticism when you are reading through reviews of any kind. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to try to seek out and read reviews on as many different websites as you can (i.e. Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google Reviews, Angie’s List, and so on).
8. Be highly skeptical of “Best of […]” lists. It is wise to be skeptical of any website or article that you come across featuring lists with titles such as “Best Slide-in Tubs” or “Top Slide-in Tubs”. Always make sure you understand who is authoring the content and why, before you deem the list to be a trustworthy reference point.
9. Research carefully. We recommend to always check the product’s name, the product manufacturer’s name, and the name of the company you plan to purchase it from, in conjunction with the words “scam” and “complaint” to see what might come up, prior to purchasing a tub from anyone.
10. Seller + Installer. Generally, the best approach is to try to purchase a slide-in tub from a reputable local company that is set up to both sell and install this type of tub. Installers who are familiar with these tubs will tend to be more aware of a specific tub model’s potential nuances and how to optimize for them during the installation process. Slide-in tubs are not a common, mainstream product, so while it may be possible for some people who read this to be able to identify someone in their local area who both sells and installs this type of tub, it will unfortunately not be possible for everyone who is seeking such a tub to be able to do so.
11. Vet Online Sellers. If you plan to purchase the tub online and to then set up a local contractor to install it, it is helpful to be aware that there are different types of online sellers.
- Manufacturer: Most tub manufacturers will provide the option to buy a tub direct from them on their company-specific website. This is typically the most expensive avenue for purchasing a tub because manufacturers will usually, but not always, give third-party sellers the ability to sell their products cheaper than they themselves sell them because the third-party sellers help the manufacturers to advertise, spread the word, and to educate the public that their products exist.
- Third Party: Slide-in tubs can be found for sale online by third-party sellers. A third-party seller is an independent entity that is separate from the manufacturer. Third-party sellers often specialize in a type of product (i.e. products for persons with disabilities or products for seniors) and will typically sell a variety of many different products made by different manufacturers. Purchasing the tub through a third-party seller will usually be the cheaper avenue to take, but it also adds an additional layer in between you and the manufacturer, which has potential to cause some unwanted headaches. Getting an issue you might experience with the tub resolved or a part replaced in the years ahead has potential to be more of a hassle if the third-party, online vendor who sold it to you shuts down.
- Large Public Platform Online: You can also choose to buy it on a website, such as Amazon, that offers a large public platform where many sellers post their products for sale. With this last option, it is helpful to know that both the manufactures themselves and third-party sellers may both post the same products on the platform’s website, so it is helpful to look closely to see who the seller posting the products on these sites is. Sometimes a larger public platform will offer free shipping or offer a return policy that is not available with other online vendors, so it is good to look closely at all the details before deciding upon where to purchase the tub.
Slide-in Tubs on Amazon.com
To learn out about alternative bathing options, visit the following links:
- What You Need to Know Before You Buy a Bath Lift Chair
- Getting in & Out of the Bathtub: Benches, Lifts, and Transfer Chairs
- Sliding Swivel Bath Seats Guide: The Basics
- What is a “Tub Cut?””
- Tips for Picking a Prefab Accessible Shower