- 06 Aug, 2020
Let's face it; comfortable bathing experiences are one of life's greatest daily joys. And you want every aspect of it to feel that way. If reduced mobility has compromised your bathing habits, finding the best shower and bathroom grab bars should be at the top of your agenda. It may seem like a small addition to the home, butit has the potential to transform your life forever.
There's no reason why bath time should be a struggle any longer. Shower and bathroom grab bars are the ultimate example of revamping the property to suit your changing requirements. When done right, it will help make the house a home once more.
Table of Contents
What Are Shower & Bathroom Grab Bars?
Bathroom grab bars, also known as grab rails and shower grab bars, are a key feature for assisted and accessible living. They are wall-mounted devices that are designed to improve user safety and aid mobility in a variety of daily bathroom activities that range from bathing or showering to using the toilet.
Grab bars are available in a range of materials and sizes while the best bathroom grab bars can be fitted to virtually any wall surface. Their main function is to provide stability when moving position around the bathroom facility, perhaps from a standing position to a seated one. Given thatover 1.5 million tripsare made to the Emergency Room as a result of slips and falls in the bathroom, the value of grab bars as a precautionary measure should not be underestimated for a second.
Who Needs Bathroom Grab Rails?
Grab bars for seniors are the most common type of bathroom rails, helping you navigate the bathroom as you get a little older and less agile. Whether you've lost a little strength and stability in your legs, or experience reduced mobility due to postural issues, grab bars are a great bathroom accessory. While bathroom grab rails can be used by anyone, they are most beneficial for individuals with the following conditions;
- Chronic back pains,
- Joint pains,
- Parkinson's disease,
- Vertigo or tinnitus,
Bathroom grab bars for disabled users are also a common feature in homes and public restrooms alike, supporting users with musculoskeletal conditions, chronic pains, or individuals with temporarily reduced mobility as a result of accidents or sporting injuries.
What Are The Benefits Of Bathroom Grab Bars?
Despite their very simple function of providing stability when using the bathroom, bathroom grab rails for elderly users and individuals with restricted mobility deliver a wide range of rewarding features. They can improve daily bathing rituals with immediate results. The key lifestyle upgrades are;
- Gain increased independence by restoring the ability to use the bathroom without supervision from a relative or carer.
- Remove the aches and pains that are caused by making unnatural movements from one position to another.
- Allow yourself to move around the bathroom with greater speed and efficiency, giving you more time to enjoy the bath.
- Enable yourself to take up more natural and comfortable positions in the tub and shower, or on the toilet.
- Reduce the threat of slips, falls, and other bathroom-related accidents that would otherwise lead to hospital visits.
- Maintain better physical health by placing less stress on your muscles and joints, thus slowing regressions in your physique.
- Regain peace of mind by knowing that your comfort and safety are under control, which will subsequently enhance the bathing experience.
- Gain a better relationship with your spouse by placing less stress on them during daily bathing activities.
Installing the bathroom grab rail today also prepares you for the challenges that may surface as your mobility issues worsen over time.
What To Consider When Buying Shower & Bathroom Grab Bars
Before checking out individual models, you should think carefully about what's required. No two people are the same, and you need the best shower grab rail for your circumstances. Make that happen by prioritizing the following features:
When buying shower grab bars, safety should be the priority. While homeowners are free to install any handrail or grab bar, looking forADAapproved bathroom grab bars for seniors is advised. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 states that public spaces should adhere to the following:
- Grab bar diameters should be 32-38mm.
- Grab bars should incorporate a clearance of at least 38mm to the nearest wall.
- All bars should not rotate.
There are other safety features for public restrooms, but the above ADA regulations are the most relatable.
The Type Of Fixture And Fitting
If you remember your grandparents having a bathroom rail when you were a kid, there's a good chance that they used one with a flimsy suction that offered very little reliable stability. In turn, this could have caused more harm than good.
Nowadays, concealed fittings that are drilled into the wall are the most common solution. Most will then incorporate solid bars and grips, although some utilize hinged or lift and lock mechanisms to provide versatile positioning.
The positioning of the bathroom rail is another feature that will significantly influence your experiences of using grab bars. The three main solutions are;
- A vertically positioned bathroom grab bar for seniors that helps you stand up from the bath or a shower seat. They are most commonly placed by the shower entrance, above the bathtub, or inside wetrooms.
- Horizontally positioned bathroom and shower rails that run parallel to the rim of the above, usually at a height of around 10cm, subsequently providing added stability when standing up and getting out of the bath.
- A diagonally positioned sloping rail that provides support for the forearms and wrist. The slight downwards slope is ideal for anyone with arthritis and/or weak wrists.
Compared to most home improvements focused on accessibility and maneuvering, affordable bathroom handrails cost very little. Nonetheless, you must still pay attention to the cost. Value for money doesn't mean opting for the cheapest option, though Instead, you need a cost-effective shower grab that offers stability and will be made to last for several years.
The physical size and style of the surface you grab onto will make a big impact on the experience. It needs to suit your natural grip and comfort. The key questions to consider are;
- How thick should the rail be?
- Do I want a flat surface or a rounded rail?
- How long does the bar need to be?
One of the most important requirements of any grab bar is that it must feel sturdy. For some users, a 200lb load capacity is more than sufficient. However, bigger users may need a grab bar that can handle a far bigger weight.
Remember it's not just about your body weight, the force you put onto the rail needs to be considered. If you are unsure, go a little stronger than you feel is necessary. Otherwise, the shower rail could snap in the middle of usage, leading to serious injuries.
Bathroom Grab Bar Types
Bathroom grab bars for seniors can support users with many conditions through a range of bathroom-related activities. Understandably, then, there are several types on the market. In addition to the standard bars for the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal positioning, the bathroom may include the following units;
- Inclined rails that are essentially horizontal rails with an angled piece towards the head, providing a rest for your hand or wrist.
- Bath side rails, which are clamped to the side of the bath for added support when stepping out of the bath. They may be floor-mounted or bath-mounted.
- Cross bath rails that rest across the bath rims, they are designed for support while in the bath rather than getting in and out of it. They can be wall-mounted or tap-fixed.
- Drop down hinged rails that are mounted to the wall next to the toilet and can take your weight for stability when moving to the seated position.
- Toilet surround frames that offer horizontal support when pushing up from the toilet back into the standing position.
Stability during use
Bath side rails
Cross bath rails
Weak wrists users
Drop hinged frame
Metal Bathroom Grab Bars Versus Plastic Bathroom Grab
Finding the right type of ADA approved bathroom grab bars should be followed by selecting the right material. Wood, brass, and standard steel are still relatively common. However, most homeowners will find themselves deciding between stainless steel bathroom rails and plastic ones.
Plastic flute grab bars are usually white, meaning they can suit the bathtub and toilet areas with greater success. Conversely, though, metal is usually a better option for many modern shower units and wetrooms while they can also compliment metal taps.
The stainless steel is responsive to temperatures, which can make them a little less comfortable than the plastic options that stay at room temperature. Both styles handle good load capacities, although metal may be better suited to heavy users. However, plastic can utilize more versatile designs such as curved styles and multiple inclines.
In terms of maintenance, stainless steel may require a little more cleaning. However, discoloring and cosmetic issues suffered by plastic are harder to reverse.
Available In Multiple Colors
Use In All Bathrooms
The Best Shower & Bathroom Grab Bars 2022
After confirming what exactly it is that you're looking for in an ADA approved bathroom grab rail for seniors, finding solutions to meet your requirements is a lot simpler. Nonetheless, with so many brands, styles, sizes, and materials to choose from, the process can be a little daunting. Fortunately, we've taken care of sifting through the array of information by testing out hundreds of products to build the following shortlist. These are the best bathroom safety rails of 2022.
#1. Mobb Healthcare Soft Grip Grab Bar
The vertical grab bar is available as an 18” or a 24” model and epitomizes theMobb Healthcarefocus on comfort. This is most noticeable in the design of its soft, textured, zig-zagging handle. The soft rubber is soft to touch and boasts a large diameter, making it ideal for arthritis sufferers that cannot close their fist with ease. The grip also offers better warmth on cold mornings than metal alternatives.
It is primarily designed to be used as a vertical shower rail and bath grab bar. The decorative flange coverings ensure that the unit looks great in conjunction with bathtubs while the fitting is sturdy to withstand a little pressure. However, its supportive attributes are a little limited. It is better for moving in and out of the shower or lowering yourself down. Pulling on it while lifting yourself can pull the grab bar out of place.
When standing up from a bath using this bar, it is best to couple it with a horizontal bar or bath side rail to guarantee stability. Given the reputation of the brand too, the product is – at this price range - one of the best value for money solutions available today. It is probably best to avoid using it in the diagonal mounted position as there are better options available.
#2. Arc First Fold Up Support with Adjustable Leg
Arc First's fold-up support with an adjustable leg is designed primarily to be fitted next to toilets, although it can also be installed near the sink. Its space-saving design incorporates an adjustable leg so that it can be retracted to take up minimal space when not in use. Once extended, though, the device delivers excellent stability that can support users as they move from a standing position to a seated one.
The main support bar can be adjusted from 26.25” to 34.25” in 0.75” increments and supports up to 440lbs of downward force. The addition of a clamp-on toilet roll holder is a nice touch while the materials are manufactured with regular and long-term use in mind. Easy maintenance and cleaning, along with the fact it causes minimal impact to the lives of other household users are important features for home users too.
Given that using the toilet is perhaps the one bathroom experience where independence is wanted more than ever, the appeal of this adjustable toilet grab rail cannot be underestimated. For the sake of long-term joint health, as well as fall prevention, the Arc First unit is the best apparatus to stand by your toilet by far.
#3. Healthsmart Steel Grab Bars
As far as budget supplies are concerned, theHealthsmart steel grab barsare the perfect shower accessory that can be used as a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal support to help you step in and out of the shower. Likewise, it can be used for stability when showering, although it should not be utilized to support your body weight, which makes it a poor choice for bathtubs.
The compact design features a 12” stainless steel bar, although a 16” version is available, is particularly suited to compact shower units, including those that are incorporated above the bathtub. The bar diameter is only 1” while it has a clearance of just 3.5” to the wall, which makes it very well suited to users with small hands. Its handle is textured for an easier grip too and also avoids any slipping caused by moisture.
All screws and fittings are included for easy installation. Perhaps the best reason to love this compact design is that it is less noticeable than others. This can make it easier to accept that you need a little help when entering or exiting the shower. Furthermore, it causes less impact on your spouse's daily bathing experiences.
#4. Grabessories 48” Smooth Grab Bar
When bigger is better for your specific requirements, theGrabcessories 48”smooth grab bar is probably the best solution. The stainless steel guarantees no rust while the satin finish is comfortable to the touch. Its smooth grip and 1.25” diameter is suited to most users while the flanges are easily screw mounted to walls and will provide a particularly sturdy solution.
As a vertical unit, the 48” bar is ideal for showering. Whether it's to the side of your shower unit or on the rear wall is a matter of preference. It can serve its purpose when you're seated or standing, which makes it the perfect addition to showers or washrooms with shower benches fitted inside. The length of the unit also allows users to place both hands on it, making it easier to slowly rise from or lower down into the seat.
The bar's supporting flanges are very well made, while the one-piece bar is safer than some of the alternatives that are in multiple pieces but run the risk of breaking at junctures. This unit is simple, sturdy, and suited to a range of purposes while delivered at an excellent price. It requires minimal maintenance other than general bathroom cleaning duties. Perfect.
#5. Arc First 42” Straight Grab Bar
Ace First is a name synonymous with quality. The42” straight grab baris ADA compliant and delivers a subtle appearance combined with excellent grip. Given its length, it is suited to helping users transfer from seated to standing positions and vice versa. Moreover, some users may utilize it as a bath side horizontal solution.
While it might be plastic, it's far from weak. In fact, the product supports weights of up to 420lbs and will never rust because it has internal aluminum piping. The grip remains warm to the touch while fasteners are covered by decorative escutcheons, ensuring that it doesn't compromise the appearance of the room. The UPVC cover is of the highest standard so that it does not discolor over time while cleaning can be completed with soapy water.
The unit is split into four sections, which additionally offers the chance to shorten it if required. At 42”, though, it is an excellent addition to help you move from one vertical position to another and can be further supported by the use of a diagonal unit too. The color and materials are well suited to most bathtubs and shower units too, as well as bath side grips and support bars used by toilets.
#6. Arc First Alcove Grab Bar Kit
Supporting weights up to 420lbs, theArc First Alcove grab bar unitis one of the strongest. Better still, the versatile design means that it can provide support from three sides. The vinyl grip is particularly soft while the metal core provides strength and durability at all times. The grooves of the grip prevent slipping while the material stays warm when the internal metal would feel cold.
While installation is a little harder than other units, the results of optimal stability make it worthwhile. The blue material is designed to help visually impaired users too, which is a very useful touch for spectacle wearers. The ADA-approved models 1.25” grip is a suitable size for most users, especially as you can lean against the other parts of the alcove unit for added stability. Other reasons to like the unit include the use of 100% recyclable materials.
The kit contains elbow brackets (180° and 90°), corner elbow brackets T elbow brackets, and long aluminum tubs (12”, 18” and 39”) plus covers. This gives users optimal flexibility to work with showers and wetrooms of varying shapes, sizes, and dimensions. In turn, this can provide a solution that feels truly tailored to your ongoing comforts.
#7. Mobb Healthcare Clamp-On Tub Rail
When looking for tub rails to support you getting in and out of the bath, the clamp on side options are more convenient than floor-mounted solutions. TheMobb Healthcareitem stands out as the best in class. It requires zero tools and is compatible with virtually all bathtubs apart from fiberglass units. It offers simplicity and stability in a cost-effective solution that can be removed at a later date if needed.
The powder-coated, scratch-resistant, white design is manufactured with care and will retain its attraction for the long haul. The clamp-on bath rail features a rounded rail that offers a comfortable touch. Crucially, it stands 14” above the bath edge but can be safely grabbed at any point, delivering versatility to meet your personal preferences for optimal assistance when leaving the tub. It can help you when standing up and support your balance when stepping out.
While there are cheaper bathroom grab bars available, the Mobb Healthcare clamp-on tub rail is still competitively priced at under $50. Despite not being floor or wall-mounted, it offers great stability, as long as you avoid pushing your whole weight on it. Still, it is far more convenient than ripping out the bath to get an assisted living accessible tub.
#8. Grabcessories 3-In-1 Grab Bars
When you need grab bars in a compact bathroom space, the multifunctional3-in-1chrome solution by Gracessories is a one-of-a-kind product that adds storage space as well as increased safety. It can store various bathroom items and even incorporates a towel holder. So, you can use it for stability while exiting the shower or bath before gaining instant access to your towel. Independence and comfort are assured.
The stainless steel with nickel finish provides an attractive design that won't rust while it can support weight loads of up to 500lbs, making it one of the most stable wall-mounted grab bars for seniors and disabled users alike. Meanwhile, the glass tempered storage shelf is a safe, practical addition. Grabcessories is known for blending innovation and style, this bathroom grab bar is arguably the best example in their cabinet.
It offers an inconspicuous solution that aids showering routines and daily tasks, such as simply putting towels and other bathroom items away. It is also available in oil rubbed bronze and matte black designs, allowing users to find the perfect style for their bathroom settings. For preventing falls in the danger zone of general bathroom navigation, this solution is ideal.
#9. Healthsmart DMI Swivel Suction Cup Grab Bar
Unlike many suction cup grab bars for seniors, theHealthsmart DCIis an exceptionally sturdy device that incorporates a 180° adjustable bar. When combined with the ability to reposition the unit as a whole, it is the ultimate device for users seeking versatility, especially if you want a single solution for both bathing and showering.
The suction cup pads are very reliable, staying in place even when you put a fair amount of weight onto the device. Even when wet, the grab bar offers excellent grip and remains comfortable and warm to the touch. The best feature, however, is that the suction cups have red and green indicators that will confirm whether the product is correctly secured to the wall. The simple safety feature stands it out from the crowded marketplace.
When straight, the bar is 24”. However, the ability to change the angle means that you can fit it into a smaller width, as long as you utilize the right inclines. Horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, the choice is up to you. For that reason, this is one of the most versatile units on the market, and easily our favorite product that uses suction cups.
Shower & Bathroom Grab Bar FAQs
How Do I Install The Bathroom Grab Rail?
Temporary rails are still available, but permanent bathroom grab bars are the most common. They should not be fitted to floors that have underfloor heating and are most commonly mounted to the wall itself. The fact that you have mobility issues means that you should probably ask a friend or professional to tackle the job. After all, a poorly-fitted shower rail is a major health hazard.
Can I Install Several Bars?
Yes. In fact, many homeowners will add multiple bars. For example, you may use a vertical shower bar and a horizontal or inclined one to ensure that there is support when entering and existing the shower as well as when using it. Likewise, many users have bars for baths, showers, and toilets. Thanks to their size, versatility, and affordability, it is possible to create a bathroom setup to suit your needs.
What Other Bathroom Safety Precautions Can Be Used?
In addition to bathroom grab bars for seniors, elderly users may wish to add a range of bathroom accessories, such as non-slip mats and moveable shower head grippers.Accessible bathtubs, bath seats, and toilet safety frames can be purchased for added safety too. Individuals who are still concerned can also get safety cords fitted and install locks that can be opened from the outside in an emergency.
Why Does The Grip Size Matter?
If you cannot grip the bathroom grab bar properly, the support it provides will be severely compromised. If you have small hands and are capable of making a fist, a slimline design is better. If, however, you have arthritis and struggle to close all of the fingers, a thicker bar is the best solution for comfort and ongoing support.
Bathroom grab bars are no longer the frail rails of yesteryear, which often caused more harm than good. The modern rails are available in multiple designs to suit the needs of the individual as well as the interior surroundings of the bathroom. Whether used for baths, showers, toilets, or wetrooms, their presence can deliver significant lifestyle upgrades.
From a safety perspective, they will instantly reduce the biggest threats of bathroom slips among elderly and mobility-challenged users. This subsequently enhances your independence and happiness around the home.
To learn more about the best bathroom grabs for elderly homeowners or to place your order, get in touch with Scooters N Chairs today on 1-800-674-8395, and one of our sales team will be ready to help. Alternatively, you can send an email firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll help you rediscover the simple joy of safe, comfortable bathing experiences in no time.