Shower chairs are vital pieces of safety equipment. Also known as shower benches, shower chairs are used by senior citizens, the physically disabled and the handicapped as well. Essentially, shower chairs are essential additions to the bathrooms of an entire range of individuals. With all of that being said, the field of home medical equipment is so diluted with misinformation and poor product design that we feel compelled to help clarify the situation. Today, we are going to be showcasing the best shower benches for elderly and disabled individuals. We will also be outlining the information that you will need in order to make the right purchase for your home.
Why Are Shower Chairs Important?
Shower chairs are incredibly important additions to the bathrooms of individuals who struggle with movement, age or disability. Shower benches are made to be installed directly into the shower or bathtub of the individual user. Once installed, the person using the chair will be able to sit down and relax while they go through their bathing process.
Shower benches give comfort and stability to individuals who struggle to maintain their own footing and upright position while cleaning themselves in the shower. Whether we are talking about a senior citizen who simply gets too tired or an individual with a physical impairment, the best shower chair will offer them a viable solution.
Every single year, thousands of individuals end up in the E.R. with injuries caused by falling in the shower. Slipping and taking a spill in the water is a common problem but it can also be a dangerous and, potentially, a deadly one. Nobody wants to be put in a position where the very act of showering could cause them irreparable harm.
With all of that being said, shower chairs aren’t simply plug-and-play devices. Shower chairs come in a variety of different styles and they can be designed for a variety of different individual impairments. In order to help you facilitate the acquisition of your next shower chair, we decided to put together a buying guide that will lead you to the perfect product for your specific needs.
What To Look For In A Shower Bench.
As shower chairs are incredibly important devices for caregivers, it is important that we understand what it is we are purchasing before we buy them. The ideal shower chair will offer a host of beneficial features and traits, all buoyed by a price that you can afford. Now, before we let you go on to our section dedicated to the best shower benches for disabled and elderly individuals, we have to teach you what to be on the lookout for.
1 – Material Build.
We have to start our discussion by focusing on the different construction materials that present themselves with shower chairs. You are largely going to be selecting from a small handful of material options.
A) Wood – If you are interested in a shower bench that offers a beautiful aesthetic to go along with comfortable functionality, wood might be the way to go. Most wooden shower benches are made of either Teak or Bamboo. These woods are resistant to mold, comfortable to sit on, and attractive to the eye.
B) Plastic – Traditionally, every shower bench outside of the wooden options will feature a plastic resting area. The frame of the shower benches will change depending on the type of plastic chosen. The most common plastics are High-Density Polyethylene, Seachrome SOlid Surface and Phenolic Plastic. All of these plastic options are going to allow for a lightweight build that is durable, easy to clean, as well as corrosion and mold resistant.
C) Metal – If you want something that is sure to be durable, consider buying a shower bench that has a metal frame. The most common metals used in the construction of quality shower benches include aluminum and stainless steel. These benches will likely still have a plastic sitting area.
2 – Weight Capacity.
Understanding your needs as far as capacity goes is incredibly important. Most shower chairs are rated to handle at least 250 lbs. If you require the ability to handle more, consider looking for a geriatric shower bench. Geriatric shower benches are large and more durable with higher capacities pushing upwards of 300 to 400 lbs, depending on the model.
3 – Key Measurements.
In order for your shower chair to be comfortable enough for regular use, you have to pay attention to a few different measurements. Ideally, you’ll focus on getting a shower chair that has a wide enough seated area for the person using it. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your chair is tall enough for the user to place their feet firmly on the floor while keeping their knees bent comfortably at a 90-degree angle. There are shower chairs out there that allow you to adjust the height, so that is also an option.
4 – Type of Seat Design.
Seeing as your loved one will be using this shower chair with regularity, you must also make sure that the sitting area itself is comfortable to sit on. Shower chairs come with many different kinds of seats ranging from contoured seats to padded seats. You’ll also find seats that come in different shapes as well, ranging from round and square to rectangular and triangle shape. Shapes really only matter for design and comfort reasons as they’ll be functional no matter what.
5 – Type of Legs.
We have to know that our shower chairs aren’t going to fall apart on themselves, so paying attention to the legs of the chair are important as well. Ideally, you’ll be looking for chair legs with these features:
A) Slip Resistant – It is obviously important that the legs of the chair itself do not move. Low-quality shower benches with chair legs that lack slip-resistant qualities can end up being quite dangerous to the user. The shower can be a slick place already and sitting on an unsteady chair only expands on the possibility of injury.
B) Durable & Corrosion Resistant – From coated steel frames to high-quality plastic, your shower bench legs should be both durable and resistant to corrosion.
C) Height-Adjustable – Some of the shower bench options that you will read about below possess the ability for the user to change the height of their chair. This is a great feature for flexible usage.
6 – Type of Installation.
As we begin our review section, you’ll no doubt notice that many types of shower benches can be installed directly into the shower itself. Other chairs have the capability of latching onto the side of the tub, or into the wall. Finally, you’ll also note that some chairs are made with movement in mind as the legs themselves possess wheels. The ideal adult shower chair for your bathroom will be based on your own specific needs.
7 – Mobility Capability.
If you have to be able to move the shower chair in and out of the shower then you should prioritize a shower bench that is mobile. Mobile shower benches are ideal if you have to transfer your loved one to different areas after they are done showering.
8 – Backrest Style.
Not all of the shower bench options that you read about will have a backing area to lean against. If this is a feature that you require for the comfort of the person using the bench, prioritize it during your shopping. A comfortable back area can help the user to lean back and relax, thus taking some stress and strain away from their body during the shower.
8 – Model Types.
Finally, we should point out that there are a variety of different shower bench model types to choose from. Each model type has its own set of benefits.
A) Freestanding Shower Chairs – These chairs stand alone without any mounted restraints or restrictions. This is the most basic style of shower bench and often the most affordable. Typically, these benches are fixed in height but models that allow for adjustments are available.
B) Transferring Shower Chair – This type of shower chair can change from a regular shower chair to a chair with wheels. These chairs are created with flexibility and usability in mind.
C) Bariatric Shower Bench – Heavier users require a more durable and sturdy chair. Bariatric shower benches are ideally going to be wall mounted so that they can stay stable and allow for easier use.
D) Flat Shower Bench – Without a back rest, these shower benches are easy to use but relatively limited in terms of their features. These are ideal for individuals who have issues with their flexibility and require extra assistance during the transportation process.
Shower Bench Review Section.
Now that we have a good idea as to what you should be looking for while shopping around for a shower bench, we can showcase a few of the top products available. We’ve split up our reviews of the best shower seat options into a number of different categories, based on the style of the bench itself. Each chair will have its own unique benefits that may or may not be applicable to your specific situation.
1 – Top Overall Elderly Shower Chair: EssentialMedical Supply Shower Bench
If you are looking for a shower bench that packs in a ton of features into a functional, durable package — here it is. Created by EssentialMedical Supply, this shower bench is one of the top options in the industry.
The frame of this shower bench is made out of aluminum while the chair’s legs have non-slip plastic caps. Since the product is made out of aluminum it will be both lightweight and durable as well as corrosion resistant. While not an expensive model, you don’t have to spend a ton of money in order to come away with a shower bench that can help your senior or disabled loved ones get the care and attention that they deserve.
2 – Top Budget Shower Bench: Invacare 9781-1 I-Fit Shower Chair
If we want a shower chair that is effective and affordable, Invacare is the company to go to. This shower chair weighs in at only 10 lbs and that is due entirely to the premium plastic build. With legs that can be manipulated to change the height of the chair itself, this unique shower bench offers flexibility and usability in a small package. The seats on this model are deep as well as wide which makes them especially comfortable for users of all size requirements.
3 – Top Adjustable Shower Chair: Healthline Tub Bench
Made by one of the biggest companies in the caregiving supply field, Healthline offers a flexible transport bench that is as good for sitting in the shower as it is for getting out of the shower. This chair is made with an aluminum frame that fights corrosion while providing a lightweight build. The back assembly is easy to put together and the built-in armrests are comfortable for prolonged usage. The Healthline Tub Bench was crafted to be flexible for use by pretty much anyone thanks to the legs that can be adjusted to different heights.
4 – Top Mounted Shower Bench: Teak Wall Mount Fold Down Shower Bench
There is no reason that a shower bench cannot be visually appealing as well as fully functional. This shower bench, created by TeakWorks, offers a natural wooden aesthetic as well as a functional mounting mechanism. This bench is all-natural and can mount directly into the wall of your shower area. The teak itself will resist mold and mildew while retaining its beautiful finish.
5 – Top Mobile Shower Chair: DMI Shower Transport Chair
DMI is one of the major players in the entire field of medically crafted products for home usage. The DMI Shower Transport Chair acts as both a shower chair with wheels and a commode chair. Put simply, this chair does it all. Weighing in at only 16 pounds and possessed of casted wheels, you’ll be able to move the chair where it has to go when you have to get it there. Featuring armrests, large wheels, and a waterproof back support, you can’t go wrong with this chair for your loved ones.
6 – Top Geriatric Shower Chair: DriveMedical Premium Series Shower Chair With Back/Arms
Geriatric shower benches are made to handle more of a burden for longer periods of time. Made by DriveMedical, one of the biggest names in the industry, this premium shower chair has a changeable height with a wide seating option. With a comfortable backing and a set of armrests, featuring special grips, this tool-free shower bench is ideal for anyone who requires a bariatric shower bench. The maximum sized user for this chair is 350 lbs.
7 – Top Slider Shower Chair: DMI Sliding Shower Bench
This unique shower bench was created with health and functionality in mind. Featuring a sliding design, users are able to both enter and exit their shower without running the risk of slipping and falling. As sliding shower chairs for elderly users go, you cannot go wrong with a DMI product. This chair allows for up to 400 lbs of carrying capacity while weighing in at only 15 lbs itself.
This chair features an aluminum frame, a molded and cushioned sitting area, and a special security belt during transfers. This shower bench can be assembled in only a couple of minutes thanks to clear and crisp directions. As an additional benefit for people who are renting or cannot otherwise alter their home, this shower bench does not require any permanent hardware to mount. So before you grab a different sliding chair, give DMI a chance.
Key Questions To Consider.
Now that we’ve highlighted the best of the best shower bench for elderly users, we can talk a little more about making your first purchase. We’ve outlined the special features that are required for a great shower bench. We’ve also talked about all of the small details that you must take into account before making a purchase. Here are a few more questions that you can ask yourself before heading to the checkout aisle.
1) Do I want a shower bench that can be permanently installed into the shower itself? Or do I want a shower chair that can be moved and put away when not in use?
2) What shower chair offers my loved one the most comfort when they are using the product? Do molded seats and cushioned back rests matter much, or would my loved one prefer a chair that they can quickly get in and out of.
3) How difficult is it for my loved one to sit down for their shower? If getting up and sitting down is an issue, I should focus on a shower chair that has a height-changing device.
4) What shower benches offer me the best features to keep my loved one safe during use?
Aging with grace can only happen when we take care to give our disabled and elderly loved ones the accessories that they require in order to live a comfortable life. A quality shower bench can go a long way toward making life easy and enjoyable again. Use our shower chair buying guide in order to aim you toward the best product for your those that you care for.