Best Bath Lifts for Seniors

Bath lifts for seniors
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For people who suffer with aching joints, the wonderful pleasure of being able to sooth away their pain in a warm bath, is so enjoyable.

For people like me however, who have had a knee and hip replacement, or for anyone that have undergone a recent operation, or those who suffer with arthritis, the longing for a relaxing bath is fought with anxiety. Nobody likes to ask for help in getting in and out of a bath, it takes away their dignity.

What would happen if someone was on their own, and couldn’t get out of the bath by themselves or worse still, suffered a fall? Having your bathroom adapted can be both disruptive and costly.

This is why bath lifts can offer seniors peace of mind, allowing them to bathe safely and independently without having to struggle getting into or out of the bath.

In this article, we will cover the different types of bath lifts that are available and the factors to consider when choosing one. Finally, we will cover some of the best bath lifts that are currently available to suit a range of different needs.

Contents

Best Bath Lifts for Seniors Comparison Chart

Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed bath lifts. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.

Lumex Splash Bath Lift Drive Medical Bellavita Bath Lift Mangar Bathing Cushion Aquatec XL Heavy Duty Bath Lift
Image
Type of Bath Lift Fixed Reclining Inflatable Cushion Reclining
Max Lift Height 18.1" 18" 16" 16.5"
Min Lift Height 2.8" 2.3" 1.9" 2.3"
Seat Size 13.4"(D) x 13"(W) 16.54"(D) x 13.7"(W) 17.5"(D) x 23"(W) 19"(D) x 15"(W)
Max Recline Angle N/A (Fixed) 50 degrees N/A 40 degrees
Weight Capacity 280 lbs 300 lbs 330 lbs 375 lbs
Product Weight 14.3 lbs 20.5 lbs 4.5 lbs 27 lbs
Low Battery Safety Feature Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

What is a Bath Lift?

Bathtub Lifts for the elderly

A bath lift is a bathing aid that consists of either a seat or inflatable cushion that assists in lowering a user slowly into the bath, and then lifts them out afterwards. The use of a bath lift can make bathing more comfortable and it can help to reduce the risk of any slips and falls.

The bathing aid eliminates the need for any excessive bending or straining as it allows users to remain in a seated position while having a bath. It also promotes greater independence as users can bathe without requiring additional assistance when getting into and out of a bath. 

A bath lift is suitable for a number of users including:

  • Those who suffer with impaired mobility who may struggle getting into and out of a bathtub.
  • Anyone who is unsteady on their feet. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis for example, can affect the user’s nervous system and impact their balance which can make bathtub transfers dangerous.
  • Those suffering with dizziness, vertigo or light-headedness which can increase the risk of slips and falls in the bath.

While a bath lift is useful for users with reduced mobility and those suffering with other types of disabilities, it is only suitable for those who are able to lift their legs over the side of the bathtub while remaining seated on the bathing aid. For users who are unable to do this, a bath hoist would be a better alternative.

Bath lifts come in a range of different designs and sizes. They are simple to install and require no special installation and attach to the bathtub floor using suction cups which helps to keep it securely in place. When not in use, a bath lift can easily be removed.

Most bath lifts are battery operated and are fitted with a handset which is used to help lower and then raise the user with just a simple touch of a button.

Benefits of Using a Bath Lift

Bath lifts can offer a number of benefits for senior users and those suffering with mobility impairments. Some of these benefits include:

Increased Independence

Soaking in a warm bath can be particularly beneficial for anyone suffering with impaired mobility. It can help to soothe aching muscles and joints as well as elevate someone’s mood and help them relax.

Users with reduced mobility however, often find that they struggle getting into and out of a bath and they worry that they may get stuck in the bathtub. In these cases, users may have to forgo having a bath and instead opt for a shower, or they may need to rely on the assistance of others to help them bathe.

The use of a bath lift can allow users even with impaired mobility to independently have a bath in total privacy whenever they want, without having to rely on others for help.

Simple to Install and a Less Expensive Option

Installing a bath lift is a relatively straightforward process. No special tools are required to install one and it can be fitted in less than 10 minutes in most standard sized bathtubs. It can also easily be removed when it is not needed.

A bath lift is also a much cheaper alternative than replacing an existing bath with a walk-in bath. A walk-in bath will need to be fitted by a skilled professional which may take up to a few days, causing disruption and leaving them without a bath in the meantime to use.

A less costly alternative to a walk-in bath is a bath hoist, these however take-up additional floor space in the bathroom as they need to be positioned next to the bathtub unlike a bath lift which fits directly inside the bath therefore taking up minimal space.

Reduces the Risk of Injuries

Disabilities and mobility impairments can increase the risk of slips and falls within the bathroom.

Slipping or falling when entering or exiting a bathtub can be particularly dangerous. It can cause serious injuries including broken bones, fractures, concussion and in some cases it can lead to death.

Falls can be particularly worrying and dangerous for seniors. They may take longer to recover from them and it may cause them to lose their confidence resulting in them having to move into assisted living or residential care which can prove costly.

Bath lifts can help to make having a bath safer especially for seniors and those suffering with disabilities. A bath lift allows the person to be safely lowered into the bath while remaining seated and they can be safely raised out of the bathtub afterwards without having to put unnecessary strain on their limbs.

Types of Bath Lifts

There are a wide range of different types of bath lifts that can help to make bathing easier and safer for all types of users. The most common types of bath lifts include:

Fixed Bath Lifts

A fixed bath lift usually consists of a seat and backrest that is made from durable plastic. The bath lift is motorized and is powered by a rechargeable battery and the lift is controlled via a waterproof handset by the user.

Fixed bath lifts are easy to install and do not require any expert installation. They attach to a bathtub floor using suction cups which helps to keep it in place and stable. If required, the bathtub can easily be removed and some models have detachable parts that make it easier and lighter to store and transport.

Some bath lifts are fitted with side flaps which extend over the bathtub rim when the lift is in its highest position. Side flaps can make lateral transfers to and from the lift easier and safer. It allows users to simply slide over the edge of the bath therefore reducing the amount of effort when getting on and off the lift.

In order to avoid users from getting trapped at the bottom of the bath when the battery charge is low, it will first check before it can be lowered that is has sufficient power for it to be fully raised afterwards. To recharge the battery, the battery simply needs to be removed from the lift or handset and it can then be placed in the charger and put back once it is fully recharged.

Reclining Bath Lifts

A reclining bath lift is similar to a motorized fixed bath lift, the only difference is it has a reclining backrest.

It operates in the same way as a fixed bath lift does. It will lower the seat in an upright position, once fully lowered, the backrest can be reclined allowing the user to lie down so that they can enjoy a relaxing bath in total comfort without needing to sit straight up.  

A reclining bath lift is ideally suited for users with back problems who may find a fixed bath lift less comfortable to use or for taller individuals who need to extend their legs so that they lie down and be submerged fully in the bath.  

The backrest recline angle can vary depending on the model of bath lift, some can recline up to 50 degrees.

Inflatable Bath Lift Cushion

An alternative to a fixed or reclining motorized bath lift is an inflatable bath cushion which comes with a battery-powered air compressor and is controlled via a handset.

The major benefit of an inflatable cushion over a more traditional motorized bath lift, is it allows users to fully immerse themselves in the bathtub when the cushion is deflated so that they can lie down and enjoy a good soak. Bath cushions are lightweight which makes them extremely portable so they can be used elsewhere and they can easily be taken on vacation or used in other bathrooms.

To use a bath cushion, you first place it in the bath and ensure it is securely attached to the bathtub floor using the suction cups. Next, activate the air-compressor using the handset to inflate the cushion which should take no more than a couple of seconds. Once the bath cushion has fully inflated, fill the bath with water. Now sit on the cushion and use the handset to slowly deflate it so that it slowly lowers you into the bathtub. Once you want to get out of the bathtub again, simply re-inflate the cushion and it will slowly raise you back up again so that you can safely get out.

Bath lift cushions are better suited for individuals who have good upper body strength as the low rise backrest means that users require better balance when getting on and off the cushion and the inflatable surface is less stable.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Bath Lift

Bath Size

An important factor to consider before purchasing a bath lift is the dimensions. While bath lifts are designed to fit most standard-sized and shaped bathtubs, you should ensure it is suitable for your particular bath.

If you have a small bath or one that is unconventionally shaped, the lift mechanism may fail to operate safely which could prove dangerous for the user.

To make sure it is suitable, always measure the size of your bathtub, ensuring that you measure the inside width and inside length of the bathtub.

If you have a particularly short bath, you may need to opt for a fixed bath lift or an inflatable bath cushion over a reclining one which will require more space.

It is recommended that you choose the widest possible bath lift that will fit in your bathtub.

Lift Range

A bath lift should be able to rise to at least the same height as the bathtub rim or even higher to ensure that users can safely transfer to and from the seat without having to struggle.

Always measure the inside depth of your bathtub. If you have a high-rise bath, check that the lift’s maximum height comes to at least the same level as the bathtub rim. If the bath lift has side flaps, they should be able to rest comfortably on the bathtub rim in order to allow for easy and safe transfers.

Check the minimum lift range for the bath lift as well. This will determine how low the seat can reach on the bathtub floor. If you want to be fully immersed, choose one that can go as low as possible. Some bath lifts can go as low as 2.5 inches from the bathtub floor.

If you need a bath lift that can go as low as possible, opt for an inflatable bath cushion. These can be deflated allowing the user to enjoy a good soak while they recline in the bath.

Weight Capacity

A bath lift should be able to safely support the user’s weight so it’s vital that you check the maximum weight capacity for the lift. If the advertised weight capacity is exceeded, it could prove unsafe and the lift may give away.

Most bath lifts have a lifting capacity of between 250 lbs – 300 lbs. For larger individuals, heavy-duty bariatric bath lifts are available that can support weights in-excess of 400 lbs.

Installation

While most bath lifts do not require any special installation, it is recommended that you check the installation process beforehand to ensure that it is hassle-free.

If you need to store your bath lift when not in use or you want to take it with you when you go on vacation, check that it is light-weight and that it can be removed easily and quickly. Some bath lifts can separate into several pieces which allows for easier storage and transport.

User’s Needs

When deciding on an appropriate bath lift, it is also important to consider the individuals needs and abilities. If the user has poor upper body strength, a bath lift cushion may not offer sufficient support and a fixed or reclining bath lift with a rigid back support and seat may be a better alternative.

If the user struggles when transferring to and from the bath, consider opting for one that has side flaps. This will make lateral transfers to and from the bath much easier and safer for anyone with impaired mobility. Alternatively, a swivel seat can be purchased separately from the lift’s manufacture which fits on top of the seat. These help to reduce the amount of strain on the user’s hips and back, allowing them to swivel without needing to twist or turn when getting into and out of the bath.

If the user suffers with a particular back or hip condition, a reclining bath lift may prove more comfortable over a fixed upright one. A reclining bath lift will mean the user will not need to sit straight up when having a bath, instead they can lie back and enjoy a relaxing bath to soothe their aching muscles.

Seat

The size of the seat and the materials that are used for the seat’s construction can determine how comfortable it will be for the user.

Check the seat’s size including its depth. For larger individuals, choose a seat with a larger depth.

Some seats do not have a soft covering while others are padded for extra comfort and some have a mesh fabric.

Handset Controls

Consider how easy it is use the controls on the handset. This is a particularly important factor if the user has poor finger dexterity or if they have a visual impairment.

Check how big the buttons are on the handset. Can they be operated by someone with limited dexterity?  Controls on some handsets are colour coded as shown below, these may be more suitable for users with impaired vision as they will be able to distinguish the button more clearly.

Best Bath Lift Reviews

Lumex Splash Bath Lift (Best Lightweight Fixed Bath Lift)

Key Features

  • Type of Bath Lift: Fixed
  • Max Lift Height: 18.1"
  • Min Lift Height: 2.8"
  • Seat Size: 13.4"(D) x 13"(W)
  • Weight Capacity: 280 lbs
  • Product Weight: 14.3 lbs

The Lumex bath lift is perfect if you’re looking for one that has a fixed frame and is lightweight. Weighing just 14.3 lbs, it is the lightest of all fixed and reclining bath lifts that we’ve reviewed. Due its compact design and lower weight, the bath lift can easily be fitted as well as removed without any hassle.

The lifting mechanism is smooth as well as extremely quiet. To assist with easier transfers to and from the lift, it has side transfer flaps which is ideal for anyone with limited mobility as they can simply slide along them.

The easy to operate handset features two large buttons making it suitable for users with limited finger dexterity. The handset has a battery indicator allowing you to easily see when it needs charging. As an added security feature, when the charge is low, the bath lift will not lower meaning you will never need to worry about get stuck in the bath.

It has low minimum lift height of 2.8″ allowing the bather to fully immerse themselves in order to enjoy a relaxing bath. The lift also raises to a maximum height of 18.1″ making it suitable for higher baths.

Despite it being compact and ultra-light, the seat is well-constructed and sturdy and it has a good weight capacity of 280 lbs.

Drive Medical Bellavita Auto Bath Lift (Best Reclining Bath Lift for a Deep Soak)

Key Features

  • Type of Bath Lift: Reclining
  • Max Lift Height: 18"
  • Min Lift Height: 2.3"
  • Seat Size: 16.54"(D) x 13.7"(W)
  • Max Recline Angle: 50 degrees
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Product Weight: 20.5 lbs

The Bellavita bath lift from Drive medical is one of the best reclining models out there.

The bath lift has a maximum lift height of 18″ and it can go as low as 2.3″ making it suitable for both standard and deeper bathtubs. When the lift is fully lowered, the backrest will tilt back to 50 degrees allowing the user to fully immerse themselves in the bathtub.

After the lift is raised, the side transfer flaps will extend over the edge of the bath allowing for easier and safer transfers.

Seat and backrest covers come with the bath lift, both of which can be removed and washed when required.

The tool-free assembly means it can be fitted quickly without any hassle. The lift is fitted with four suction cups which keeps it securely in place and helps keep the user safe.

The lightweight, waterproof handset features a power on button, a power off button, and up and down button. The buttons are color coded which is a useful feature for anyone that suffers with a visual impairment. The handset also features a battery indicator light which will turn red to indicate when the charge is low. The lithium battery takes no more than 4 hours to fully charge, a charge can last up to 6 cycles. If the lift has insufficient charge, it will not lower unless it is fully able to lift back up again.

The Bellavita is one of the lightest bath lifts currently on the market, weighing just 20.5 lbs. It can be disassembled with ease and the back rest folds down so that it can be easily stored away.

Mangar Bathing Cushion (Best Easy Transportable Inflatable Bath Cushion)

Key Features

  • Type of Bath Lift: Inflatable Cushion
  • Max Lift Height: 16"
  • Min Lift Height: 1.9"
  • Seat Size: 17.5"(D) x 23"(W)
  • Weight Capacity: 330 lbs
  • Product Weight: 4.5 lbs

The bathing cushion from Mangar is ideal for individuals with good upper body strength who are looking for a bathing aid that is both portable and lightweight.

The air-powered battery-operated cushion is constructed from a polyurethane coated nylon fabric making it both lightweight and durable. The seat also has an anti-microbial coating which makes it easy to clean as well as being quick drying.

Fitting the bathing cushion can be done in less than 10 seconds, the cushion simply needs to be fitted to the tub using the four suction cups.

The cushion is powered by an Airflo compressor which is easy to use and can be inflated or deflated quickly.

Once the user is sat on the inflated cushion, it needs to be deflated which gently lowers the individual into the bath. Once lowered, the cushion can either be left partially inflated or it can be fully deflated allowing the user the fully recline at the bottom of the bath. Afterwards, the cushion simply needs to be inflated again which gently lifts the user up so they can get out of the tub. 

Due to the lightweight nature of the materials used, the cushion and compressor only weigh a mere 4.5 lbs making it ideal to take on vacation or it can easily be used elsewhere.

As a security measure, it will not lower unless there is sufficient charge to inflate the cushion back up again.

Aquatec XL Heavy Duty Bath Lift (Best Bariatric Bath Lift)

Key Features

  • Type of Bath Lift: Reclining
  • Max Lift Height: 16.5"
  • Min Lift Height: 2.3"
  • Seat Size: 19"(D) x 15"(W)
  • Max Recline Angle: 40 degrees
  • Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
  • Product Weight: 27 lbs

If you’re looking for a heavy duty bath lift, the Aquatec XL from Invacare is a good one to consider. It has a weight capacity of 375 lbs making it suitable for bariatric use. The reinforced scissor lifting mechanism provides extra stability as well as making it safer for heavier users.

The seat lowers to just 2.3″ and reclines to 40 degrees allowing the user to enjoy a relaxing and more comfortable bath without needing to sit up.

The seat has a textured surface which is non-slip and comes with optional removable washable covers and features pinch-free side flaps that allow for more secure lateral transfers.

When the lift is not in use, the backrest can be folded down and it also automatically unlocks from the base with just one hand. As the lift detaches into two sections, it allows for easier storage and transportation.

The waterproof battery-operated hand control has been ergonomically designed so it feels comfortable to hold and use. The hand control can be conveniently stored on the back of the backrest when it’s not being operated.

A nice feature is the hand control floats in the bath which means you never need to search for it after having a bath. The three buttons are easy to operate and are large enough for even users with impaired dexterity. In case of an emergency, the lift can be immobilised simply by pressing the “Stop” button.

The bath lift comes with a 3 year warranty (excluding the cover material) and 2 year warranty on the handset and batteries providing you with extra piece of mind in case anything does go wrong.

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Jackie

Jackie

Jackie is a passionate advocate for keeping people with all types of mobility problems active. After suffering complications after a knee replacement she knew that she wanted to remain as active as before her numerous operations. Her passion is to advise others on how to be able to lead a fulfilling and independent life no matter what disability they may have.

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