Swivels for easy entry and exit, seat is gentle on skin, armrests provide extra protection against slips and falls.
Expensive and needs a lot of room to swivel.
Budget friendly. Lightweight, yet holds up to 250 pounds. Great for smaller showers and tubs.
Doesn't swivel and has no armrests, so not as friendly for people with limited mobility or those who have trouble staying upright without support.
Eco-friendly, naturally water resistant and easy to set up so it doesn't wobble.
Heavier than all aluminum chairs and wears out more quickly because it's made of wood. A bit on the expensive side, too, and doesn't swivel or adjust for height.
Has both a swiveling seat and slides to make it a snap to enter and exit.
Expensive and a bit heavy to set up. Also, needs a lot of space to work correctly.
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Showering is a simple pleasure that most people take for granted. Bif you can't stand unaided or are worried about slipping and injuring yourself, it might seem like showering is off limits – unless you get yourself a shower chair, that is.
With so many different types available, how do you pick the best shower chair? It can be tough to cut through all the jargon and find the right model to fit your needs. The good news is, we’ve done all the shopping and research to help you know which one will work best for you.
At BestReviews, we pride ourselves on helping consumers discover top-notch products. We present all the information you need to make a confident shopping decision in a clear, concise fashion that will aid you in making tough purchasing choices. We test products in our lab and/or out in the field, consult experts, and gather feedback from existing customers who know what it's really like to use these items on a regular basis.
Read on for our full guide to shower chairs. Then, when you're ready to buy, head to the top of the page to see our product recommendations.
As the name suggests, a shower chair is a seat that you use in the shower. Some are designed to be used in shower cubicles or wet rooms, whereas others fit over the tub. Shower chairs are traditionally used by the elderly, disabled, or people who are injured and unable to safely stand in the shower. However, simple shower benches are gaining popularity with the population in general as a convenient washroom addition – for instance, as a perch on which to shave one’s legs, an easy-reach spot to place toiletries, or just as a place to sit for a relaxing shower.
For optimal stability, shower chair feet should sit flat against the bottom of your bathtub or shower floor rather than up against curved or angled sides.
You'll find two main types of shower chairs on the market: freestanding shower chairs and over-tub shower chairs.
Freestanding shower chairs have four legs and are designed to stand independently in a shower stall, bathtub, or wet room.
Freestanding shower chairs are easy to move in and out of position, which is useful in households where not all the residents need a chair.
You can find freestanding shower chairs to suit all needs – some are designed for those with limited mobility, whereas others are more appropriate for casual use.
Freestanding shower chairs are easy to use and generally require little to no assembly.
Freestanding shower chairs aren't always as stable as over-tub options – especially those that are anchored in place.
Price: Basic freestanding shower chairs start at about $30 to $40. High-end models with extra features are usually priced between $100 and $150.
Both backed and backless shower chairs are widely available. Some backless models look more like benches.
Over-tub shower chairs are designed to be used in a bathtub with a showerhead. Some clamp to one side of the tub and have legs on the other, and some have one pair of legs that sit inside the tub and one pair that sit outside the tub. Other models have no legs and mount to the top of the bathtub.
Over-tub shower chairs tend to be very stable.
Some over-tub bath chairs are designed to make transfers from wheelchair to shower chair much easier.
Over-tub shower chairs fit easily in and over a tub, whereas some freestanding models are too wide.
Over-tub shower chairs are less portable and harder to move once in place, which may be an issue in some households.
Price: You can find budget over-tub shower chairs from around $50. The most expensive models – suited to those with very low mobility – often cost $200 to $300.
Transfer shower chairs are specially designed for people with little or no mobility. These chairs simplify the process of getting into the shower, whether the bather is doing it independently or with the help of a caregiver.
Many shower chairs are height-adjustable, and some have adjustable backs and armrests. While this might not be a feature that everyone needs, it can be useful for people who require a lot of support from their chair. Height adjustability helps people who are particularly short so their feet can touch the ground while sitting in their shower chair or tall so their knees aren't bent uncomfortably.
If some people in the household won't be using the shower chair and space is an issue, look for a portable or foldable model so you can fold it up and move it out of the shower when not in use.
Some shower chairs have handles, armrests, or both in order to help people who may have balance issues and need additional support. Look for a chair with armrests that can be moved to make it easier to get into the chair. The ability to move the armrest helps those who find it tough to slide into the chair with an armrest in the way.
Some shower chairs have waterproof, padded seats for increased comfort.
A locking mechanism is a must-have in chairs that slide or swivel. Sliding and swivelling is beneficial for getting into the shower chair and moving around in the shower, but a chair that slides or swivels when you don't want it to could be dangerous. Look for a shower chair with a locking mechanism that's easy to reach and operate, particularly if you shower independently.
Wall-mounted, fold-down shower seats are great for occasional use, but they’re not ideal for people with low mobility or who need a lot of support.
You can find shower chairs in a range of materials, but you should always think about how well the material will stand up to frequent soakings.
Most shower chairs designed for the elderly or the disabled have plastic seats (sometimes with waterproof padding) and rust-proof metal legs. These materials are both water-resistant and easy to clean, which is what makes them such a popular choice.
Shower chairs and benches designed for casual use rather than for use by people with mobility issues are often made from treated wood, with a focus on form over function.
If you'll be moving your chosen shower chair in and out of the shower or bath rather than keeping it permanently in the shower, opt for a lightweight chair that's easy to haul from one place to another.
Opt for a shower chair with non-slip feet. This helps prevent the chair from slipping and sliding while in use. Some chairs even have suction cups on the bottom of the feet to help them stay in place.
Find out how much assembly your chosen shower chair requires before you buy it. Some shower chairs require little or no assembly or installation, whereas others need quite a bit of work to get them ready to use. If assembly or installation is a complicated process, be prepared to enlist help from friends, family, or a professional if you're not up to the task yourself.
Before buying a new shower chair, evaluate the size of your space. Some larger shower chairs are best for wet room use, since they're too large to fit inside most shower stalls.
Some shower chairs serve multiple functions. For example, you can find a shower chair with openings in the seat so you have better access to intimate areas while bathing. Some of these chairs can also serve as commodes.
Q. Do shower chairs have a weight limit?
A. Yes, shower chairs do have a maximum weight limit, which should never be exceeded for safety reasons. The maximum weight limit varies depending on the make and model, so always check before making your purchase. If you exceed the maximum weight limit of most standard shower seats, consider buying a bariatric shower chair. This type of chair is designed for larger bodies and has a higher weight limit.
Q. What are the best options if I only want to use my shower chair occasionally or I'm buying it for visiting relatives to use?
A. Some people only want to use a shower seat occasionally, so a fixed or bulky model isn't ideal. If your mobility is at least fairly good, you can opt for a fold-down, wall-mounted model that stays out of your way until you want to use it. If you need something a bit sturdier, look for a compact freestanding model that can be stored in a corner or closet..
Q. Are shower chairs easy to clean?
A. Shower chairs need regular cleaning to prevent a buildup of mold and mildew. Some are easier to clean than others. The easiest models to clean are seamless and made from plastic with no nooks and crevices where dirt can get lodged.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.