Those who struggle with mobility problems could be putting themselves at risk when attempting the simplest tasks such as taking a bath. Whilst a warm bath may be comforting on occasion, it is much more safe and preferable to bathe in a shower. That being said, even this can be challenging without the right equipment.
However, there is some good news. A shower wheelchair will enable you or your loved one to wash safely and easily. But there are many choices when it comes to purchasing this type of equipment and one of the primary concerns is how safe the user will be when in the chair.
In this guide, we will be looking at every aspect of the shower wheelchair with the aim of providing you with a good knowledge of what to look for. Additionally, we will be exploring some of the best shower wheelchairs currently available for a wide range of needs.
Best Shower Wheelchairs Comparison Chart
Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed shower wheelchairs. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.
|BathMobile Folding Shower Wheelchair||Aquatec Ergo VIP Tilt-in-Space Shower Wheelchair||WheelAble Shower Wheelchair||Showerbuddy Roll-InBuddy Lite Shower Wheelchair|
|Chair Overall Width||22"||22"||18.9"||21.8"|
|Weight Capacity||286 lbs||330 lbs||220 lbs||300 lbs|
|Seat Width||17.6"||18.7"||15"||17.3", 18.1"|
|Seat-to-Floor Height||20.2" – 21.8"||18.5" - 23.4"||36"||19.6" - 22.6"|
|Product Weight||22 lbs||51.8 lbs||25.5 lbs||48 lbs|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
What is a Shower Wheelchair?
A shower wheelchair is a type of wheelchair that is ideal for use in wet rooms or bigger shower cubicles that have been made accessible and allows the user to have a greater sense of independence whilst bathing.
This type of equipment works well for those who either cannot stand for the entire time that they are in the shower or for those who find accessing the shower more of a challenge. They are also an excellent accessory for people who may be at risk of falling when transferring from their main wheelchair into the bath or shower.
There are two main types of shower wheelchairs – much like the wheelchairs we see being used outside of the shower, these can either be self-propelled or require an assistant to propel them. The model you choose will depend on your ability to operate the wheelchair alone and how well you can shower unaided.
It is important to keep in mind that, unlike regular wheelchairs, the wheelchair designed for shower use is constructed with rust-free components owing to the fact that it will be frequently exposed to water and moisture.
There are some shower wheelchairs that can double up as a commode for users who are unable, or who find it challenging to use the toilet.
Who is a Shower Wheelchair Suitable For?
A shower wheelchair offers many benefits to patients who may have trouble being transferred from their wheelchair into the shower and can offer somewhere to sit whilst bathing. This is essential for anyone whose mobility does not allow them to stand for prolonged periods of time.
Furthermore, many patients with limited mobility find reaching the bathroom challenging but with a shower wheelchair, this problem can be effectively addressed, making showering much more accessible. Essentially, using a shower wheelchair offers users a safer and less difficult way of completing their daily bathing routine.
However, the benefits do not stop there, since many caregivers may find that employing the use of a shower wheelchair eases the task of showering for them too. Sometimes, a caregiver may have to physically support the patient whilst they get in and out of the shower, perhaps even whilst they are being washed. This can put a huge strain on the assistant and can make it more difficult for them to help with washing. If the patient is sitting in a shower wheelchair, the caregiver has both hands free to help them. What’s more, the risk of falling is almost completely eliminated.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Shower Wheelchair
As with any mobility aid, it is important to be sure that the piece of equipment you buy meets your needs. No disability is the same and for this reason, there are various options when it comes to choosing your shower wheelchair. Looking at the following factors can help you be sure that you have found a product that is the right fit for you.
For the most part, bathrooms are not the largest room in the house and so it is important to be sure that the shower wheelchair you choose is easily able to fit into your bathroom.
It pays to measure the width of the wheelchair to be sure that it will easily pass through the entrance to the bathroom and the shower – this is of particular importance if you have narrow doorways. Of course, you do not want to compromise on comfort so it is important to find a wheelchair in which you will fit comfortably and that will easily navigate the bathroom.
Furthermore, you should keep in mind how lightweight the equipment as this will give you an idea of how easily it can be propelled. Depending on who will be propelling the wheelchair will depend on how lightweight it needs to be. As a rule of thumb, these wheelchairs are always much lighter than their day-to-day cousins.
If you are planning to take your shower wheelchair on vacation or a stay somewhere other than home, it is essential that it can be transported easily. Many shower wheelchairs can be disassembled and reassembled without much of a problem and so are ideal for traveling but you should check before you buy to be sure that your wheelchair can do this.
If buying a shower wheelchair comes with the intention of preventing accidents whilst bathing, it is important to consider the weight capacity of the chair. If the wheelchair you have decided on is not designed to meet your weight, there is a risk of it collapsing and causing injury to both you and your caregiver.
Whilst weight can be a sensitive subject, wheelchair manufacturers do not discriminate and there is an excellent selection of bariatric shower wheelchairs for patients who are larger.
When purchasing your shower wheelchair, always be sure to look at the maximum weight capacity and do not risk buying something that is not sufficient – your safety is paramount.
Shower Wheelchair Construction
Similarly to regular wheelchairs, shower wheelchairs can be made from a variety of materials and the one you choose will depend on a number of factors.
Most commonly, shower wheelchairs are made from one of four materials, let’s take a look at the benefits of each of these.
- Aluminum is a very lightweight metal and is one of the most effective when it comes to creating a rust-proof product. However, thanks to its desirable benefits, this material tends to be a little more on the expensive side.
- Stainless steel is a very common choice and provides excellent strength and durability as well as being very resistant to corrosion.
- PVC is lightweight and will not rust. However, this material may not be as strong as the metals we have already discussed. This material is quite frequently used for dual-purpose chairs.
- Vinyl shower wheelchairs are very easy to clean and so make a good option for people who struggle with incontinence. This is also a common material for dual-purpose shower wheelchairs.
Self-Propelled or Assistant Propelled?
Each patient has a unique set of needs, some people are able to propel the wheelchair by themselves whereas others will need assistance from a caregiver. This is an important factor to consider when buying a shower wheelchair.
As we mentioned earlier on, much like regular wheelchairs, the shower wheelchair can come as a self-propelled model or one which must be propelled by an assistant. Those that are self-propelled can also be pushed by your caregiver so may be a good option for people who want to retain some independence but will need help at certain points.
Many shower wheelchairs will come with a safety belt but this is usually just a lap belt so if the patient has trouble keeping themselves upright, it is important to check whether a different belt can be added on.
You should also check how quickly the water will drain away from the chair since if it is left sitting, this could cause discomfort for the user.
It is also vital that you ensure the wheelchair features lockable wheels to avoid accidents or injuries whilst bathing.
Best Shower Wheelchairs
Now that you have a good understanding of what to look for when buying a shower wheelchair, let’s explore some of the best options that are currently on the market.
1. BathMobile Folding Shower Wheelchair
Best Economical Shower Wheelchair
- Chair overall width: 22"
- Weight capacity: 286 lbs
- Seat width: 17.6"
- Seat depth: 17.6"
- Seat-to-floor height: 20.2" – 21.8"
- Product weight: 22 lbs
One of the first things that you notice about the BathMobile shower wheelchair is the immense array of customization options that you have. This makes it a versatile wheelchair that, no matter what your needs, will work for most people. One of the most notable features is the detachable bedpan rails making this a good option for a dual-purpose shower wheelchair.
If you need a shower wheelchair that can be easily transported, this one boasts a very easily foldable design. Once disassembled, it fits nicely into a small package that can be taken in cars or on trains and airplanes without an issue. Furthermore, there are no tools required to take it down or put it up making the process even simpler.
It features a moveable armrest which makes this ideal for transfers and also boasts adjustable footrests which can be completely moved out of the way for forward transfers.
The chair is constructed from both plastic and stainless steel making it a very sturdy option but it is important to note that it has a weight capacity of just 286lbs so is only ideal for smaller patients, but this really is the only drawback of this product.
It is quite a narrow wheelchair at just 22 inches in width so is perfect for those with a smaller bathroom. What’s more, the basic model comes in at a very reasonable price and even if you select a number of the add-ons, you’re still looking at something that won’t break the bank.
2. Aquatec Ergo VIP Tilt-in-Space Shower Wheelchair
Best Shower Wheelchair for Heavier Patients
- Chair overall width: 22"
- Weight capacity: 330 lbs
- Seat width: 18.7"
- Seat depth: 18.7"
- Seat-to-floor height: 18.5" - 23.4"
- Product weight: 51.8 lbs
Once again, you are getting a shower wheelchair that has a healthy number of options for customizing it to your needs – for example, you might add a splash-guard or upgrade the seat to make it more comfortable.
This one has a maximum weight capacity of 330lbs so is able to handle slightly larger patients than the previous model we looked at, however, if the patient is obese, this would not be a viable option.
Thanks to the hardy stainless steel frame, this is a shower wheelchair that offers superior stability which is perfect for patients who are concerned about their wheelchair tipping.
The height can be adjusted to suit your needs meaning it can be made more comfortable for the patient as well as raising them up to make washing easier for a caregiver.
If you have struggled to find a comfortable shower wheelchair in the past, this could be a good option owing to the improved design which aims to keep the user in an upright position equalling greater comfort and independence.
This is certainly a good choice for those with smaller bathrooms since it is just 22 inches in width and features a wheelbase that has been designed to move easily in enclosed spaces.
The only major drawback of this option is that it is on the higher end of the price scale especially when you factor in any extras you might add on. That being said, you are getting value for money and a very safe wheelchair, which is priceless.
3. WheelAble Shower Wheelchair
Best Portable Shower Wheelchair
- Chair overall width: 18.9"
- Weight capacity: 220 lbs
- Seat width: 15"
- Seat depth: 17"
- Seat-to-floor height: 36"
- Product weight: 25.5 lbs
It isn’t difficult to notice that the customization options with the WheelAble are substantially less than the models we have already looked at and whilst this isn’t a great start, the wheelchair more than makes up for this in other areas.
First of all, if you are looking for something that everything you will need is built-in, then this is a very good option. Most notably, this is a wheelchair that is perfect for those who travel a lot thanks to how easy it is to take apart and reassemble. This can be done without any tools and once down, the wheelchair is compact and easy to carry.
Whether you have a smaller bathroom at home or are frequently using hotel bathrooms which are notoriously small, the narrow design of this wheelchair is the ideal solution. What’s more, you can’t help but notice the sleek aesthetic of this one – if you wanted a good-looking shower wheelchair, you’d be hard pushed to find anything better than this.
This is a good choice for patients who need help with both showering and using the toilet since the dual-function allows for assistance in both areas.
As far as we can see, aside from the lack of add-ons, the only real downside to this wheelchair is the very low weight capacity of just 220lbs which doesn’t make it a good option for larger patients.
4. Showerbuddy Roll-InBuddy Lite Shower Wheelchair
Best Dual-Purpose Shower Wheelchair
- Chair overall width: 21.8"
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Seat width: 17.3", 18.1"
- Seat depth: 16.9"
- Seat-to-floor height: 19.6" - 22.6"
- Product weight: 48 lbs
One of the first things that grabs your attention when you look at this shower wheelchair is that it comes with a very affordable price tag, of course, there are some optional add-ons that will bump up the price depending on what you choose but even the basic model has a lot of interesting features.
Primarily, this is a wheelchair that has been designed with ease-of-use in mind and thanks to its dual-purpose design will easily accommodate the user whilst in the shower and with toileting. It can be rolled over any standard toilet which gives the patient a greater sense of independence but also comes with a commode bucket, should you prefer this method.
It comes with removable armrests which can also simply flip back making transfers so much easier. You will also notice the adjustable footrests which are an essential component in any shower wheelchair for both comfort and easy transfer.
The wheelchair is made from robust stainless steel which makes this a very sturdy and reliable piece of equipment but will also mean that it can withstand as much moisture as it is exposed to without rusting.
In terms of its pitfalls, there aren’t too many to report. However, since this one weighs in at 48lbs when empty, this is a less lightweight option than some of the others on the market. Additionally, it only has a weight capacity of 300lb making this unsuitable for bariatric patients.
Owning a shower wheelchair can make a world of difference to anyone who struggles with getting around, especially when it comes to washing and toileting.
There are many different aspects that make up a shower wheelchair and your needs will play an important role in the model you select.
Shower wheelchairs can be customized to meet your needs with the addition of such things as cushions, seatbelts and other add-ons that will make your bathroom experiences more comfortable, safe and enjoyable.