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Best Bathtub Transfer Bench: Types & Features Suitable For Different Mobility Needs

Bath tub with old bench

Last Updated: July 19, 2021

Stepping over to the bathtub or shower can be dangerous especially for the elderly.

That’s because…

There’s a huge possibility that they trip on the tub ledge or slip on the wet shower floor.

We reviewed the best tub transfer bench together with a few more great choices, so you don’t have to worry about these risks anymore, whether you have a bathtub or a shower.

The product we recommend the most is the Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench. Read further to find out why!

Top 4 Best Shower Transfer Bench Reviewed

1. Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench - Best Overall

Carousel Sliding Transfer BenchThis bench is called a “carousel” because of its extraordinary structure - the seat does not only slide from one end to the other, but it also rotates by 360°! This provides increased mobility and convenience for those with frail bodies.

The seat also has a dual armrest and a backrest which provide leverage when getting in and out of the tub. The entire seating area is padded with closed-cell molded polyurethane, making it comfortable, anti-slip, waterproof, and easy to clean and disinfect.

Both armrests can be raised and lowered to access the seat easily. It also features an adjustable safety belt that prevents the person from slipping forward.

The bench’s framework is constructed with rust-proof aluminum that has a weight capacity of 330lbs.

It can be set up in less than five minutes without the use of any tools.

Each leg can be adjusted individually to accommodate the tub’s height. The bench’s overall measurements (seat to floor) are 19-23.5 x 34 x 20 in (height x width x depth), weighing 20lbs. The seat itself measures 13 x 15 in.

The legs also have a rubber grip which prevents the bench from moving around. You can also buy a leg extension kit that boosts the total height by 3 inches (22-26.5in).

The two available seat colors are blue and gray, although blue is recommended if the person has a cognitive or visual disorder.

Pros

  • Easy entry, exit, and maneuvering
  • Water-resistant and comfortable padding
  • 330lbs weight capacity
  • Dual-armrest and backrest for leverage
  • Bright color for cognitive or visual disorders

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not fit for tall people

Takeaway

The Carousel is the best sliding transfer bench shower chair due to its maneuverability. Being able to rotate and slide the seat and lift the armrests ensures that the person can go in and out of the tub from all angles.

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2. Drive Medical 12011KD-1 - Best Budget Buy

Drive Medical 12011KD-1This Drive Medical model is a non-sliding bench that gets the job done for an affordable price.

Its framework is made of aluminum, supporting up to 400lbs. The whole bench can be assembled by hand, where it features a pinch-free lever for safe installation.

All four legs can be adjusted in 0.5in increments. The measurements from the seat down are 17.5-22.5 x 32 x 23in (HxWxD), weighing 10lbs. The seat measures 26 x 17.5in.

Two of its legs have an enlarged suction footing which makes it more secure when attached to the bathtub.

Its seating area is made of blow-molded plastic with drainage holes that prevent water build-up, reducing the chances of mold or slipping on the seat.

It also features a backrest made of the same plastic and a metal armrest that can be installed on either side of the bench. These provide balance and stability while bathing.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Reversible armrest and backrest for leverage
  • Drainage holes on the seat
  • Enlarged suction cups
  • 400lbs weight capacity

Cons

  • No padding
  • No safety belt

Takeaway

If you’re on a tight budget, the Drive Medical 12011KD-1 is the best shower transfer seat. It has everything necessary in a transfer bench - an adjustable height, large suction footing, and a back and armrest.

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3. HydroGlyde Premium - Best Weight Capacity

HydroGlyde Premium Heavy Duty, Padded Sliding Bathtub Transfer Bench and Shower Chair with Cut-Out SEAT. Adjustable Legs and Safety Belt. Quick Tool-Less Assembly (Blue) The HydroGlyde Sliding Bench is structured with lightweight, robust, and rust-proof aluminum, offering a total weight capacity of 420lbs!

The frame’s legs are also adjustable, measuring a total of 17-21.5 x 36 x 18in (HxWxD) from the floor to the seat, with a weight of 20lbs.

Each leg has a rubber footing that prevents any wobbling, shaking, or tipping during use. For high tubs, you can install a leg extension kit that increases its height by 3 inches (20-24.5in).

The entire bench can be assembled tool-free in less than five minutes. Its placement is reversible to accommodate your bathroom.

Its seating area (seat, backrest, and single armrest) is completely padded for a warm, comfortable, and stable bathing experience. The seat itself measures 14 x 20in.

The seat also has drainage holes to prevent water build-up and slipping, as well as a shower holder for mobile showerheads. Additionally, there is a removable cutout on the seat to access and clean the rear area. A mounting bracket keeps the cutout within arm’s reach.

Finally, the seating area has a safety belt to prevent the person from slipping forward. It also comes in a bright blue color which helps people with cognitive and visual disorders to navigate the bench.

Pros

  • 420lbs weight capacity
  • Comfortable padding
  • The seat has additional features
  • An armrest and backrest for leverage
  • Bright color for cognitive or visual disorders

Cons

  • Expensive
  • The cutout may fall out of place

Takeaway

If the person is quite tall and heavy and they can’t carry their weight, the HyroGlade Transfer Bench allows them to easily slide over to the tub with its weight capacity of 420lbs. The additional features on the seat also provide extra convenience.

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4. Drive Medical - Best Multifunctionality

Drive Medical Padded SeatThis particular Drive Medical model is a non-sliding bench that doesn’t only serve as transport, but as a toilet as well. This way, elders don’t have to go to the toilet in the middle of bathing.

Just like the previously mentioned 12011KD-1 model, its frame is made of aluminum that has a weight capacity of 400lbs. It features a pinch-free cover and no exposed hardware to protect the person from injuries.

Each leg can be adjusted by 0.5in increments, measuring 18.5-22.5 x 28.5 x 17.5in (HxWxD) from the seat down and weighing 10lbs. Two of its legs have an enlarged suction cup for better stability. The seat itself measures 24 x 16in.

The seat and backrest are cushioned for a comfortable seat. It also features an armrest for leverage that can be installed on either side of the bench.

There is a hole on one side of the seat for the commode bucket, which can store up to 7.5 quarts.

Pros

  • Transfer bench and commode in one
  • Reversible armrest and backrest for leverage
  • Enlarged suction cups
  • 400lbs weight capacity

Cons

  • No safety belt
  • Small seat
  • No drainage

Takeaway

We’ve all felt like going to the toilet while taking a bath. It may be difficult and unsafe for elders to go back and forth between the tub and toilet, but the Drive Medical Combination bench solves this problem.

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Tub Transfer Benches And Their Importance

Tub transfer benches are seats made of plastic and/or rust-resistant metal that are installed between the bathtub and the floor, serving as a bridge in between.

They are created to provide mobility and independence for a person whose body is frail due to old age or physical conditions.

By eliminating the action of stepping over the ledge of a bathtub or shower, chances of falling over are reduced which makes it easier and safer to get in and out.

The person can slowly sit on the bench on the side that’s outside the tub, slide their body into the tub, then bathe while sitting.

What To Look For In A Bathtub/Shower Transfer Bench? 

In choosing the best shower transfer bench, you need to consider many factors since the person’s safety while bathing is on the line.

Type Of Bench

There are two types of transfer benches:

Non-sliding

This is the standard type of transfer bench. It is composed of four legs and a long seat, along with other features that we will discuss later.

With this bench, the person will sit down, scoot their lower body over to the tub, then take a bath.

Now, if this bench seems a little bit hard to use, you can check out this YouTube video about how to safely use a non-sliding tub transfer bench:

Sliding/Rolling

Compared to the non-sliding variant, this has a smaller seat (about three-fifths of the bench’s frame) but it’s connected to a rail or sliding frame.

The person can use the mechanism to slide over the tub without having to scoot with their hips. This is best if the person is in a wheelchair or they can’t carry their weight.

Size And Adjustability

Not all showers and bathtubs are built the same, so you have to make sure that the best shower transfer seat fits your bathroom.

You want a model that’s smaller than your floor and tub area, keeping enough space for the person to sit and maneuver safely. If the person is in a wheelchair, you need to consider the space needed for that too.

Additionally, each leg should be adjustable. A bathtub or shower’s base may be higher than the floor, so you need to adjust the legs so the bench doesn’t become lopsided.

Additionally, this accommodates the person’s height, whether they’re 4’6” or 6’4” for a comfortable sitting position.

Before we move on, a little reminder. Always remember that it is crucial to have certain knowledge on the safe and proper installation of transfer benches.

old and used bench inside a tub

Construction

Since transfer benches are made for shower/bath use, they have to be waterproof.

There are products made of only plastic, but the best bathtub transfer bench material is a combination of plastic for the seat and rust-resistant metal (typically aluminum) for the frame.

This provides more structural stability and support, where the average aluminum and plastic bench has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Some heavy-duty brands can support up to 500 pounds!

Additionally, the legs must have a suction or padded footing to prevent the bench from moving, although suction is better since it sticks to the bathtub’s surface.

You also want the bench to have drain holes to prevent water build-up which can lead to mold.

Convenience And Comfort

The best tub transfer chairs tend to have additional features (which are optional), some of which include:

Seat Padding

Having a padded seat provides comfort during prolonged baths, especially if the person is quite thin and boney.

However, you have to maintain and replace the padding If the fabric wears down and cracks over time to prevent mold growth.

On the other hand, a non-padded bench is cheaper and easier to scoot over from one end to the other.

Arm And Backrest

Although a model with an arm and/or backrest is more expensive, these can provide additional balance and comfort if the person has a weak torso.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Safe Are Shower Transfer Benches?

As long as you choose the appropriate measurements for your bathroom and follow the installation procedures, the shower transfer bench should be safe to use.

Don’t forget to check the bench’s weight capacity and make sure that you maintain its cleanliness since any cracks or mold build-up can put the person in danger.

Considering That The Person Is Thin And Frail, Does The Size/Measurement Of A Tub Transfer Seat Matter?

No. The size/measurement of a tub transfer seat depends on your bathroom floor and the tub’s available space. In this scenario, you need to consider its type and construction.

If the person is thin and frail, the best bathtub transfer bench we recommend is a sliding/rolling type that has a padded seat for an easier transfer to the tub and a comfortable sitting position.

Closing Remarks

Once again, the best tub transfer bench is the Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench. On the other hand, the Drive Medical 12011KD-1 is a good affordable option.

The Carousel’s frame is made of rust-proof aluminum with a weight capacity of 330lbs. Its legs are adjustable which accommodates all tub heights while keeping the bench stable.

Its padded seat slides from one end to the other and rotates by 360° for easy access from all angles. The backrest and dual-armrests also provide leverage.

We hope this shower transfer bench review helped you find the product that makes bathing safe for elders!

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