The human body has complex structures of bones and joints that form its skeleton. Usually, the level of synovial fluid that provides lubrication for these joints diminishes with age. When there's low lubrication, the condition might trigger pain and immobility. Many elderly people often require assistance to walk, climb stairs, take a shower or perform regular daily tasks. However, shower chairs can give these senior citizens some level of independence at home.
My experience of working in a nursing facility brought the opportunity to assist seniors (individuals that are above 65 years) with shower chairs. This piece of furniture provides stability for seniors when they use wet bathroom floors. Normally, it's difficult for seniors with mobility issues due to old age, injury, weak bone mass or chronic joint conditions to maintain their balance when they shower. So, it's kind of imperative to consider shower stools when you live with such elderly people. However, if you can manage to buy the best shower chair out there, they'll do more than just providing sitting aids.
In the following sections, I'll guide you through the fundamentals of these medical tools before coming up with their top deals on the market. Let's get started.
Why you should trust us
The ToiletsGuide team comprises a team of architects, plumbing engineers, and interior designers providing innovative solutions for medical equipment and bathroom accessories to thousands of individuals in need. We founded this website in a bid to share our research-based findings with our global audience. Our mission is to spread factual information through our intensive how-to blogs and elaborate product reviews.
Each of our recommended products is carefully handpicked from hundreds of others based on our specific criteria that single out top-of-the-line models. We put our research findings open for everyone to see and get benefitted from. This also reconfirms our transparency as one of the most celebrated toilet fittings reviewers on the internet.
We are not affiliated with any brand or manufacturer, so you won't be hearing any promotional jargon. Instead, our buying guide will set you on the right track to find the right product based on your requirements.
How did we pick these products?
The shower chairs under our review are top-of-the-line products. However, our team of physiotherapists chose ten of these top-rated products after some rigorous tests.
First, we did 30 hours of extensive online research to find out high quality 25 shower chairs with the highest number of positive consumer reviews.
Then we hired a group of volunteers who had valuable experience from working in nursing facilities. This set of aid workers and our team members ran a field-test session on each of our initially listed models. During the tests, we carefully monitored the following points:
- Weight and portability
- The strength and quality of build-material
Based on the above points we narrowed our final list down to 10. Then we reached out to some of the celebrated plumbing engineers and leading industry experts of the country to get their valuable insights. They helped us rank the models of the final list according to certain categories which you'll see in our list below.
Usually, the process of choosing quality products is painstaking because customers rely on our judgment before they spend their money. So, we did our homework, and we did it well. Now it's your time to choose for yourself.
Our Top 15 Best Shower Chair
So, what is the best shower chair for elderly? Choose your one from the list below. Regardless of some minor flaws that we saw in our final list of top 15 models, they are unquestionably dealbreakers and the best rated models! Don't forget that our team of furniture experts and physiotherapists left no stone unturned to select our top-of-the-line models. However, many of our preferred products have superior features and different prices. You will agree that high-end models cost more than regular products in the market.
The difference is because ours' have more quality, features, and durability. Consequently, we are offering you products that will make your choice for a shower seat easy. It's the reason for highlighting the specifications, pros, and cons respectively. Let's share these features that make our shower seat models must-haves for the elderly and disabled people.
Why buy a shower chair
The practice of using of light-carriage shower chair is as old as the 19th century. At that time, there was much difference between a transfer bench and the bath chair. Early designs of these medical aids have three wheels like the tricycle. While being used by disabled persons, the inventor of bath chairs (James Heath) improved the design with a steering device.
Chairs made for bathrooms are safe seats that are designed as benches and stools. They help to transfer elderly and disabled people with mobility problems from their wheelchairs into bathtubs. Also, these chairs prevent the risk of falling on the shower floor or tub. It's not enough to place a non-slip mat on the floor when the user can't stand upright. So, a quality stool for the elderly can provide both balance, and anti-slip support when they take their bath. Apart from the risk of injury, bathroom falls often lead to sudden death. The use of a shower stall for vulnerable people is something that you cannot do without, so investment in accessories like shower seats, stools, and shower benches is inevitable.
Models that we reviewed had different designs and styles of mounting. For elderly homeowners with walk-in shower panels, wall-mounted models are ideal. People who can't stand for too long find the foldable shower seats or bath benches very effective. Also, we have posture support chairs with full transfer systems that can handle all bodyweights.
Do you know that high-quality shower seats for the elderly might improve the quality of their lives? Our team of experts includes administrators of nursing facilities, and they recommend the use of well-designed models with perforations. It's these holes that prevent the growth of bacteria (Serratia marcescens) on damp show chairs.
We have tested the models that ensure easy transfer of patients from wheelchairs. Another medical benefit of using this product is the range of mobility improvement. People living with physical disabilities or joint conditions will feel more empowered by using wheel-driven bath chairs.
Shower chair: A buying guide
There are hundreds of shower chairs for sale, but we only listed the competent ones. While testing our listed bathroom seat models, our team noticed some of them offered unique features. So, buyers that need high-quality seats must consider these basic features.
Every brand tries to introduce a unique design that can accommodate different body types. These are a few types currently available on the market.
The standard chair for bathing is a stool with two armrests and a backrest for convenience. Usually, a standard chair has pads on the areas that support the user's limbs and backbone. You can choose between wall mounted shower seats or moveable standard chairs and sliding or non-sliding chairs. However, the high-end models of standard chairs are lightweight and have anti-slip materials over their frames. These types are ideal for people with mobility problems.
A transfer bench is an extended version of a standard shower chair, but it comes with an armrest, a wide/long seat, and a backrest. It's an ideal bathroom aid for handicap or elderly persons that use wheelchairs. Usually, the height of a transfer shower chair from the ground ranges between 17 – 19 inches. With this mobility device, patients can move out and into the tub with ease. Many high-quality transfer benches come with folding shower seats and have multiple holes to drain residual bathwater and soap lather. Ideally, transfer benches are built with aluminum frames to prevent corrosion. However, buyers should know the dimension of their shower area before buying any transfer bench model.
The shower stool has a simple design without arm and back supports for users. They fit any size of bathtubs or bathroom readily. Usually, stools have small holes (self-draining seat) that prevent pooling, and adjustable legs to make users comfortable.
2. Construction & quality
An important feature to consider before buying shower seats is the quality of the construction. A compact model should be lightweight, but it should have sturdy frames, anti-slip body, and legs. These features ensure that most well-made seats can guarantee the safety of their users. Also, their seats should be roomy to allow for convenient use, and self-draining to prevent the growth of molds and bacteria.
3. Weight capacity
All shower seats are not designed to handle the same weight as users. Usually, the risk of sliding is high when people use models that can't accommodate their weights in wet conditions. The ideal weight benchmark of these seats is between 250 to 400 lbs. With this range, you wouldn't have to worry about changing the seat even when your weight increases.
4. Back & armrests support
The armrests of bath chairs provide lumbar support, and their backrests give balance to the neck and waist of users. Without these features, it would be very difficult for users with limited movement to use a seat for bathing. Unlike the stools, the seats with armrests and back support give the elderly high levels of comfort, stability, and support.
Generally, shower chairs that are not mounted on bathroom walls are portable. Many models of these special chairs come with foldable legs and frames. The frames of their interior legs often allow for easy stacking and adjustments. Also, you'll see the weight limit on the body or instruction manual of every product. Using shower stools or chairs that are not suitable for your weight might increase the risk of bathroom falls.
6. Seat, compartments, and legs
Generally, most of the shower seat models that we reviewed had crack-proof seats, and leg frames that are resistant to stains or corrosion. Normally, wet hands or floors increase the chances of going off-balance. These legs, handles, and seats of premium shower chairs have special (non-slippery) textures that reduce the risk of bathroom falls. However, some legs are mounted with large suction cups for more stability on wet bath floor or tubs. Also, transfer benches are compartmentalized to ease the transport of disabled users to and from bathrooms. It's this seat compartment that gives them extra assistance.
The installation process might not be easy for the elderly or physically-challenged people. It's better to buy a pre-assembled models when you are not sure of getting any assistance for installation. However, most premium brands of bathroom seats for the elderly come with easy-to-understand installation manual.
8. Ease of use
The shower seat is designed to assist individuals with mobility or physical disability problems when they need to shower. Except when they are confined to wheelchairs, these chairs offer ease of use during bathing to be independent of the caregiver. Usually, these types are collapsible or wall-mounted so that users can use them with ease.
Bath seats, benches, and stools are often designed with anti-slip materials to enhance the user's stability. Normally, the bathroom is a wet place and lather from soaps often increases the risk of tripping down accidentally. So, shower chairs are designed with comfortable grip handles, and legs to withstand any wet condition. This safety feature shouldn't be ignored when you want to buy any models.
The ideal shower seat should not cut a hole in your pocket. Ideally, a lightweight shower seat that can be adjusted and lifted with ease come with a lower price point. You'll get a decent wall-mounted model for between $50-150. However, customized seats are more expensive than regular models, and they are above $250.
Who are these products for?
Usually, patients with joint, back or bone injury find difficulty in standing alone when they use the bathroom. A shower seat is an ideal support for disabled adults and elderly people. Generally, these safety aids bring many benefits to people of all ages (excepts kids) that might need support in the shower. Regardless of the bodyweight, you will see well-designed shower seats that are convenient for use. Here's a list of people that might need this support.
- Seniors that are in nursing facilities, and are suffering the effects of old age
- Patients that are recovering from back injuries or living with joint pain
- Patients that are suffering from weak bone mass, broken legs, bones or damaged joints
- Athletes that are in casts, or use crutches
- People that have permanent disabilities, especially with their limbs
However, we advise homeowners to remodel their bathrooms when they have shower chair users living with them. With a little modification to the wall and floor tiles, the shower seat user can attain more stability when there's a chance of sliding off the tub or bathroom's floor.
Safety tips for seniors and handicapped
Generally, shower seats and transfer benches provide support and stability for vulnerable people that practice assisted lifestyles. The user must ensure proper safety tips regardless of the product manufacturer's claims of safety and ease of use. These few tips will guide any user, including a handicapped person, when they take their shower.
- There are different shower chairs for the elderly. Read comprehensive reviews that show you how to get the top deals. Consider the user's weight limit and the dimension of the bathroom's outline too. Also, handicappers have various levels of physical challenges. So, it's proper to decide whether a transfer bench with swivel seats or sliding mechanism will have more functionality.
- When you use shower chairs in bathrooms alone, the addition of rails and grab bars to bathroom walls can give you more protection. These extra bath aids help to reduce the risk of fatal bathroom falls. In promoting hygiene, it's proper to clean the seat with vinegar and water after use. This cleaning solution will inhibit the formation of Serratia marcescens bacteria too.
- Don't purchase a bath chair, stool or a transfer bench that is not designed with drain holes. Apart from draining residual bathwater from the surface of this equipment, the holes prevent moisture. Usually, its moisture from damp bathrooms that promote the growth of bacteria and molds on bath chairs. When these microorganisms fester, they can cause serious skin infections.
- A soft polyurethane seat, padded armrests, and backrests will reduce the risk of skin tear. These components also enhance the comfort of elderly folks and mobile challenged people. To avoid strains on the body while bathing, set the seat, armrest, backrest, and aluminum frame to a suitable level before getting into the bathtub.
- Avoid slippery surfaces even when you use bath chairs that have anti-skid bottoms. You can dry your body with a towel, and the bathroom floor with a long-handled mop stick. Remember to use bath chairs with fine-textured seats because they have poor water-retaining features.
Finally, we did our homework so you could choose your deal fast, provided that you go through our reviews thoroughly. We might not have any single favorite chair for the shower for everyone, but we know how choices can vary from person to person. However, we are confident that the research conducted by our team of health aid experts will help you substantially.
Regardless of their designs and brand, we have presented high-end products suitable for injured persons, post-surgery patients, the elderly, people with special needs, and moms-to-be. The Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench with Swivel Seat from Platinum Health is a premium product because of its space-saving design and technology. With this ergonomically-enhanced transfer bench, any wheelchair-bound patient with the worst mobility condition can find extra support and stability.
Also, seniors with slight effects of aging on their joints and muscles can use the Shower Chair with Backrest by VIVE. As a medical-grade product, it's the best shower chair for seniors in home-care, hospitals, and nursing facilities.
We don't intend to confuse our audience; the list of products in these reviews are not in a particular order of quality. Our recommendations for these products are backed by the results obtained from a series of rigorous field-tests that were conducted over a period of two weeks. Additionally, these 15 products have between four to five-star ratings on popular online retail shops. We hope to read your positive reviews and confirm the results of our tests after using any of these shower chairs.
During the painstaking research of finding the best models for you, we noticed that no product from many reputed brands like Flamingo, Shower Buddy, Columbia, Invacare, Freedom Showers, Charli Chair, RAZ, ActiveAid, Mobb, Lumex, Arjo, DMI, JUVO, Care Quip, KosmoCare, AquaSense, Equate, Otter, Ezee Life, Etac, Kcare, and more could make it to our final list. These companies manufacture high-quality products but failed to match our benchmark due to the strict selection process we followed.
The ToiletsGuide team also reviewed other shower accessories to help you choose the right one. Check out the following articles.
- Top Shower Water Filters
- Top Shower Valves
- Top Shower Pans
- Top Rain Shower Head
- Top Led Shower Head