What Is a Walk-in Tub?

What Is a Walk-in Tub?


Elderly man using a walker to cross a bathroom that has a walk-in tub and roll-in shower.For many products, the description of what it does serves as its name: air fryer, dishwasher, toothbrush, etc. And walk-in tubs certainly fall into this category. However, while the name outlines the basic premise, it does little to explain how these bathing enclosures work, their features, or their benefits. What is a walk-in tub? A bit of a mystery, perhaps. But not for long! Let’s review the basics.

How Do Walk-in Tubs Work?

All walk-in tubs share one feature in common: a waterproof door. This is what makes the “walk-in” possible. A bather opens the door, steps inside the enclosure, and settles into a comfort-height seat. When the door closes, it seals tight, preventing any water from leaking out. Tub doors can open either inwardly or outwardly. The advantage with inward swinging doors is that the water pressure strengthens the seal by pushing against them. The disadvantage is that you may have to shimmy around the door to reach the seat, although this isn’t an issue for most premium tubs. Outward swinging doors can provide easier access, but there’s also the potential of bursting open if the locking mechanisms fail.

What Are the Benefits of a Walk-in Tub?

Other than the obvious benefit of walk-in entry and exit, these enclosures offer many advantages over a standard tub. Because of their design, walk-in tubs are sitting spaces, not reclining spaces. That means you won’t have to rise from the floor of the basin when you’re ready to get out. Premium tubs are also fitted with massaging water and air jets, creating a spa-like environment that relaxes and reinvigorates in equal measure. Optional features such as heated seats, chromotherapeutic lighting, and padded headrests can take soaking to the next level.

Who Can Use a Walk-in Tub?

Walk-in tubs eliminate the need to step over an obstacle to bathe, but they still require a small step up. They are not roll-in accessible, and so are not a good fit for homeowners who use a wheelchair or cannot walk confidently without an aid. But for those who want to improve safety by getting rid of a tripping hazard, they are certainly a great option. They are also recommended for those with back issues who could benefit from daily hydrotherapy sessions.


If you live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and are interested in upgrading to a walk-in tub, the company to turn to is the Barrier Free Store. As a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), we offer premium products and services to improve home accessibility, from the bathroom to the backyard and every place in between.

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