Walk-in Tub vs. Roll-in Shower

What’s Better, a Walk-in Tub or a Roll-in Shower?


A roll-in shower with a shower rod, grab bars, and shower wand.A walk-in tub with pale green marble tiling. There’s no denying that bathrooms can become increasingly problematic for many homeowners aging in place. Wet floors can be dangerous for anyone, but those with reduced mobility are particularly vulnerable to spills. In fact, bathrooms are the second most common place seniors fall in their homes (stairs are the first), resulting in more than 230,000 injures annually. Thankfully, there are many ways to make your bathroom safer, including adding non-skid mats in the shower, taping down rugs, and having grab bars installed in strategic locations to provide handholds.


Two of the bigger and more popular renovations that improve bathroom accessibility are walk-in tubs and roll-in showers. Both of these bathing enclosures eliminate the need to step over an obstacle to bathe, but which is the better option for your situation? That will depend on a number of factors. Let’s dive in!

Your Mobility Level

The most obvious variable is how capable you are when it comes to getting around. If you and the members of your household can walk without assistance or need only moderate support like that provided by a cane, both a walk-in tub and a roll-in shower should be easy to get in and out of. Walk-in tubs do have a threshold, but it’s only an inch or two high. As long as you feel comfortable taking a small step up, this shouldn’t create an accessibility issue. Roll-in showers, also known as no-threshold or Roman showers, transition seamlessly from the bathroom floor to the stall floor. Obviously, anyone who can get into and out of a walk-in tub will be able to do the same with a roll-in shower, but these enclosures can also accommodate those who use a walker or wheelchair. A third option is a low-threshold shower. Some homeowners prefer this option since it allows for a door or curtain to be installed (no-threshold stalls usually have neither), and reduces the chance of water leakage.


Both walk-in tubs and roll-in showers can be installed for an average price of between $2,000 and $5,000, but this can be a little misleading. For roll-in showers, $5,000 will usually get you a premium model with higher-end materials. For walk-in tubs, $5,000 is more of a mid-range product. Luxury tubs with all the bells and whistles such as multiple massaging jets, fast-fill and fast-drain features, and heated seats can run you $10,000 or more.


If you don’t require a roll-in shower, a low-threshold is generally the most affordable option, costing on average $500 to $700 less than a no-threshold shower. That’s because no-threshold stalls require more labor to properly install.

Your Preferred Method of Bathing

If your mobility and budget allow both walk-in tubs and roll-in showers as options, the next factor to consider is how you like to bathe. For those who love a good soak, walk-in tubs take things to the next level. In addition to their watertight doors, these enclosures feature comfort-height seating, which eliminates the need to recline on the basin floor as you would in a traditional tub. They also usually feature air and water jets for hydrotherapeutic massage, creating a truly spa-like environment.


For shower takers, don’t let the term “stall” fool you. Roll-in enclosures can be as luxurious as walk-in tubs. Body jets, rainfall showerheads, built-in storage, and even bench seating are available. Other advantages include not having to wait for the basin to fill or drain before entry or exit and a better ROI if you ever sell your home.


If you are a homeowner in the Upper Michigan Peninsula and are thinking about ways to make your bathroom more accessible, the company to turn to is the Barrier Free Store. We specialize in aging-in-place renovations that make homes a safe place for individuals within a broad spectrum of mobility levels. Reach out to us today to learn more.

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