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The Best Bath Lifts of 2020

Oct 03, 2020 0 comments

 

The Best Bath Lifts of 2020

Bath lifts can be a vital product in many people's bathrooms. Typically, we use bath lifts for the elderly, but they can be useful for other populations as well. Without a bath lift, the very act of getting in and out of the tub would be impossible for some. So, this product provides a functional and convenient way for people with mobility problems to wash regularly. 


Naturally, bath lifts come in many varieties and at different price points. How do you know which one is the best that money can buy? We've created an in-depth guide that will explain everything you need to know about bath lifts for the elderly. It'll answer all of your burning questions and show the best bath lifts of 2020.

What is a bath lift?

Bath lifts are a medical device that helps people get in and out of the tub. As a result, it can assist with the process of showering and washing. This is crucial for many health and lifestyle reasons, which we will cover later on. Effectively, a bath lift is a safe way for individuals to deal with bathtime without worrying about slipping or falling. It reduces the risk of injury in the bathroom, putting your mind at ease. 

How do bath lifts work?

The precise mechanism behind a bath lift can vary based on the device you've chosen. As you make your way through this guide, you'll soon see that there's more than one variety of bath lifts. However, we can provide a general overview of how these devices work. 


A bath lift is power-operated, meaning it needs an electrical charge. This tends to come from a battery pack, which will need to be charged when not in use. There's a seat for the user to sit on, and a lifting mechanism will move the seat up or down. This can be controlled by a remote that lets you determine how high or low the seat needs to go. 


Now, the seat itself will be different if you choose specific products. Some of them have flaps on the side to let you ease yourself onto the seat, while others swivel over the side. Again, you'll learn more about this later! When seated, you can lower yourself to submerge in the water or sit comfortably under a shower. 


When you're ready, the waterproof remote can be used to lift the seat back out of the tub, ready for you to step out. It prevents the need to clamber over and out of the bathtub when washing. Then, the seat can be put in charge, ready for tomorrow. 

Who needs a bath lift, and why buy one?

Bath lifts are essential for different sections of the population. Of course, bath lifts for seniors are very common as elderly people suffer from mobility restrictions. As your body gets older, your joints lose their flexibility. Therefore, you find it harder to do common tasks that involve moving in and out of complicated positions. Lifting your leg over the side of a bath can be too tough for many seniors, which is why a bath or shower lift can help out. 


Not only that, but bath lifts can be useful for anyone with a physical disability. People in wheelchairs will benefit from these as they offer an easy way of getting in and out of the tub and back into the wheelchair. Anyone with a long-term injury that's caused a disability will also find them handy. If you struggle to move your legs, this device will work for you. 


Lastly, it's been said that people suffering from dyspraxia should consider buying bath lifts. For those that don't know, dyspraxia is a developmental coordination disorder. Basically, it affects your ability to coordinate physically, meaning you're likely to be quite clumsy. Simple tasks become riskier, such as getting in and out of a bath. It's very easy for someone with dyspraxia to slip and fall by mistake. 

Why buy a bath lift?

We've already touched upon a few of the benefits of bath lifts earlier in this guide. The underlying benefit is that it gives a safer way for people to bathe and shower. You minimize the risks involved when moving to and from a bath. 


However, a bath lift can also offer the following advantages:


  • More independence for people with mobility issues
  • A more cost-effective option than the alternatives
  • Added comfort as the user can sit down while showering or in the bath
  • Suitable for both baths and showers

Ultimately, safety is the major concern. The stats back this up, with the CDC finding that over 200,000 people in the US injure themselves in the bathroom every year. Bath lifts exist to reduce this figure as much as possible. 

Should you get a walk-in bath or a bath lift?

The main alternative to a bath lift is a walk-in bath. Should you consider one of these over a bathtub lift? Well, there are a few pros and cons you may want to consider. For one, walk-in baths require a lot of work and installation; your entire bathtub needs to be altered, and part of your bathroom as well. This can make them very expensive, and you'll have to wait a few days for the work to be done. 


By contrast, bath lifts are easy to install as many of them can be set up by the user. They're far more cost-effective, requiring almost no changes to your existing bathroom. As far as safety goes, both options will reduce the risks of injuries. A walk-in bath or shower has the benefit of no siding to deal with. You simply walk in and do your business. Still, they often need to be combined with a wall railing or a shower seat for people that can't stand up while washing. 


Here's a summary table of both options, so you can decide which one is best for you:



Bath Lifts

Walk-in Baths

Cheaper to purchase

More expensive to purchase

Easy to install

Harder to install

No changes required to your existing bathroom set up

May require additional products - like bath seats and railings

Convenient

Offers excellent added safety and can minimize falls

Available in different varieties

Provides added safety for people with mobility issues



The Best Bath Lifts of 2020

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What are the different types of bath lifts?

Regardless of whether you want bath lifts for the elderly or bath lifts for disabled people, you'll find two main categories to choose from:


  • Floor-mounted
  • Wall-mounted

Floor-mounted bath lifts explained

A floor-mounted bath lift is also seen as a traditional bath lift. Most products on the market are made like this, and they tend to represent the most affordable options. Minimal work is required when setting one up, and you can have it up and running in a matter of minutes. 


So, what is it?


As the name suggests, a floor-mounted bath lift is stuck to the floor of your tub. The entire device will fit into your bath, so be sure you purchase one that's small enough to go in there. The exact mounting mechanism can differ, though most will use suction cups to stick to the bottom of the bath. This prevents the device from moving around, keeping it firmly in place. As a bonus, this allows these lifts to be packed back up and transported - if necessary. So, if you were moving house, you don't have to worry about buying a new bath lift; just take your current one with you. 


Sometimes, you will get floor-mounted bath lifts that are mounted outside of the tub. These are rare, and they are often more medical-grade appliances. You'd probably find them in care homes or hospitals, rather than in your home. None of the products we reviewed fall into this category, so we won't go over how they work. 

Wall-mounted bath lifts explained

In contrast, wall-mounted bath lifts are often more expensive than floor-mounted ones. These devices will also require some extra installation and a bit of DIY know-how. But, the trade-off is that they arguably provide additional safety benefits for the user. 


What is a wall-mounted bath lift?


Yep, you guessed it, this is a bath lift that's mounted to the wall of your bathroom, rather than the floor of your tub. Suction cups aren't used here; the lift is mounted to the wall using screws and a secure fixture. The idea is that the seat starts outside of the tub, then lifts the user over and into the bath. By mounting on the wall, it can carry you across thanks to the fitting. In theory, this makes it even easier for people with mobility issues to get in and out of the bath.


Of course, as mentioned, the downside is that they are more expensive and will probably need to be professionally installed. Plus, they take up more space so it might not be ideal for a small bathroom. 

Summary of floor-mounted & wall-mounted bath lifts 

Below, you'll find two tables that walk you through the pros and cons of each lift. 


Floor-mounted bath lifts

Pros

Cons

Very affordable

Need to ensure the lift fits the size of your bath

The easiest option to install

Some brands are cheap and flimsy

Fits securely in the bathtub

Wall-mounted bath lifts tend to be safer

Ideal for small bathrooms

Still provides protection from slips & falls

Can be transported to a different bath

Wall-mounted bath lifts


Pros

Cons

Offers the highest amount of safety for people with mobility issues

The more expensive option out of the two

More secure and sturdy than floor-mounted ones

Requires a great deal more installation

The size of your tub doesn’t matter that much

Not suitable for small bathrooms



The best way to sum up this section is to say that floor-mounted bath lifts are the most accessible for the general public. If you're looking for a product that definitely works - and enhances safety - then floor-mounted bath lifts are ideal. Especially if you have a budget and want to save money. On the other hand, wall-mounted bath lifts are best for people with money to spend and the room to install them.


It’s also worth pointing out that ceiling mounted bath lifts exist. Unfortunately, these tend to operate more as hoists to help people into chairs in the bath. Also, you’re only likely to see them in medical settings as they cost many thousands of dollars. 


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What are the key features to look for in a bath lift?

Technically, you could argue that the mounting system is a feature of bath lifts! In which case, you should look for either a floor or wall-mounted one based on which one you think suits your needs most. 


Anyway, enough about that, let's consider some of the key features you can find on bath lifts for seniors and people with disabilities:


  • Swivel seats
  • Battery-powered
  • Manually-powered
  • Recline
  • Non-slip seats
  • Portability

Swivel seats

Swivel seats are exactly what they sound like; seats that swivel. With a bath lift, this can have serious benefits. The concept is that the seat swivels around the side of the bath facing outwards. The user can then sit on the seat, press a button, and it swivels back around. From here, the usual lifting mechanics kick in and take you up and into the bath. 


It's not an essential feature, but it is an option that can make your lift that little bit safer. As you can imagine, bath lifts with swivel seats will be more expensive than ones without them. Whether you need this feature or not comes down to a combination of personal preference and the needs of the user. 

Battery-powered

It was touched upon earlier, but most of these lifts are powered by batteries. This is highly advantageous as it takes all the work out of it for you. All you have to do is press a button and the lift starts operating. It is so convenient and very accessible for individuals with bad motor skills or excessive muscle weakness. 


Speaking of batteries, it's worth looking for a bath lift that has a fast charger feature. Again, it's not an essential thing to have, but it will make life a bit simpler. With fast charging, you can recharge the battery in no time at all. This is helpful in situations where you might forget to put it in charge as soon as your bath is over. It ensures you can still get a full charge - or close to it - in just an hour or so. 


Generally, everyone should look for a battery-powered bath lift. Why? Because you don't need to be physically strong to operate it. Therefore, it helps people retain a sense of independence as you can manage the lift by yourself without the need for anyone else's help. 

Manually-powered

On the other hand, some bath lifts are manually-powered and require brute force to crank them up. You will operate a hand crank that lifts you up over the bath and into the tub. It works like a jack you'd use to lift your car up when changing tires. 


The clear disadvantage of this is that it won't suit elderly people with arthritis or mobility conditions. It can be too hard for many people to operate - particularly when you consider the special populations that require bath lifts! Overall, there's no reason to choose a manually-powered device, unless you're physically fit and want to save money. 

Recline

Some bath lift seats come with a recline feature that provides additional comfort. This allows the user to alter the angle of the seat, meaning you can lie back and relax while in the bath. It's also a useful feature when doing certain tasks - like shaving your legs in the bath. Of course, the recline feature may be essential if an individual has back problems and needs to sit at a certain angle. 

Non-slip seats

While we're talking about the seats, you need to make sure they're made with a grippy material. In essence, the seats stick to your body and stop you from sliding off. Many of the cheaper devices won't have non-slip seats, which makes them slightly more dangerous - especially if combined with a recline feature. 


Now, you can buy some anti-slip taping to put on your bath seat if it lacks grip. So, this feature isn't critical, but it can save you a trip to the local hardware store. 

Portability

Finally, you may want to consider how portable the bath lift is. Does this matter for everyone? No. Still, it can be handy if you move around a lot or have multiple bathrooms in the house. Some bath lifts are portable in that you can pack them up and move them out of the bath and into another one. This could also be useful if you share a bathroom with other family members. Having a bath lift in the tub can be a nuisance for other members of the family, so it's nice to be able to take it out. 

Does Medicare cover bath lifts for the elderly?

It's only natural to wonder if bath lifts are covered by a Medicare insurance policy. After all, they cost a fair bit of money and it seems unjust to have to pay for something that keeps you safe. So, is it covered?


Unfortunately, Original Medicare Part B does not cover the costs of bath lifts. This is frustrating as it does cover other lifts - like hoists used to help people get out of bed. So, why don't bath lifts fall into the same category?


The exact reasoning can be found here, where it goes into great detail as to why bath lifts aren't covered by Medicare. To paraphrase what it says, the argument is that these lifts are more of a convenience item than something that's medically necessary. On the contrary, 'patient lifts' - which are the lifts used to move people who can't walk - are considered a necessity. Whether you agree with this ruling or not, it doesn't really matter. There's not a lot you can do about it, so don't look to Medicare as a source of funding for your bath lift. 


Thankfully, most manufacturers and sellers will offer finance options if you're struggling to afford the bath lift. This is definitely the case for the higher-end products that cost a few thousand dollars. 


The best bath lifts 2020

After reading all of the above, you're ready to find a bath lift for your bathroom. A quick Google search will show you a multitude of different options. We'll save you hours of research by saying that most of the products aren't worth your money. Instead, we've scoured the web and found the best bath lifts available to buy in 2020. 

Drive Medical: Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter

We start things off with arguably the best floor-mounted bath lift money can buy. Instantly, it has a couple of great features that make it a hit in many homes. The battery is super quiet, meaning you barely hear it as it kicks into action. This is a downside of many bath lifts as they can be a bit noisy. Four suction cups on the base hold this device securely in place, making it almost impossible for the lift to slip and slide around. 



The Drive Medical Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter also boasts 50 degrees of reclinability for added relaxation. The seat comes with a backrest, both of which are nicely padded and can be adjusted to different positions. There’s a swivel function here, which makes it so simple and safe to get in and out of the lift. It can handle up to 300lbs of weight, making it strong enough to lift most people. We also found that it offered incredibly simple installation instructions for the user. It comes in two pieces, and you don't need any tools to set everything up. So, it can just as easily be taken down and transported elsewhere, adding some excellent portability. 


Overall, there's a lot to love about this bath lift, with the only downside being somewhat flimsy armrests. It weighs a measly 20.5lbs, which makes it the one of the lightest bath lifts money can buy at this moment in time. We also admire the additional accessories you can add to this product. If you want, you can buy washable hygienic covers to put over the seat and backrest. This can be essential if more than one person needs to use this bath lift - or to maintain the quality of the seat for longer. Secondly, you can also buy a headrest for even more comfort. 


To be honest, there’s not much to look down on with this product. Perhaps it is not the most portable of options? It’s lightweight and folds, but there’s another lift on the market that beats it in the portability aspects. Either way, this is an excellent place to start your journey when looking at bath lifts for the elderly. 


Price: $565


Merits Health Lightweight Bath Tub Lift

The Merits Health Lightweight Bath Tub Lift is another excellent product to consider. With this review, we'll start by getting the negatives out of the way first. Don't worry, they're in short supply! The only fault we could find is that it has no armrests. Now, there's a reason for this - it's designed to be the most portable bath lift available. Adding armrests would make it slightly harder to fold away and carry around. However, you can't deny it does take away some of the safety features from this device. 

Merits: Lightweight Bath Lift


Nevertheless, the Merits Health Lightweight Bath Tub Lift has a lot of excellent features. The smart-battery stops it from getting too low and prevents descending on a low charge. It comes with its own anti-slip mats, making it even harder to fall over in the bath. As you would expect from a floor-mounted product, it uses powerful suction cups for incredible stability. 


On the topic of stability, it will hold weights of up to 300lbs with no problem at all. You also get a reclinable backrest that can be moved back 40 degrees. The cool thing about this backrest is that it will instantly move back to the starting position when you press the button to start the lift. Everything is done via a remote control - which is the same for all the other lifts. The only reason this one deserves a mention is that it has a nice suction cup on the back to stick to the wall. 


It's a compact product that's easy to install and fold away when needed. For this reason, it's arguably the best option if you need a portable bath lift. What we mean is that, if portability is your key selling point, this is the product for you. 


Price: $748

Graham Field: Splash Bath Lift

Our final pick is the Graham Field: Splash Bath Lift, which brings an interesting look and feel to the conversation. Most bath lifts are designed with practicality and safety in mind - and nothing else. While they don’t look ugly, they’re not the prettiest things to have in a bathroom. This product is different; it’s designed to be safe and functional, but also to look stylish. The sleek and elegant white design blends in perfectly with your bathroom and looks at ease. This isn’t a product you’re embarrassed to have people see - it’s more of a bathroom accessory!



Naturally, you need to know about the features and functions. Well, this is the lightest bath lift on the market in the US. It weighs a mere 14.3lbs, so it’s very easy to carry up to your bathroom and install. There’s a maximum weight capacity of 280lbs, so it more than holds its own in this department. The unique thing about the slim design is that it can fit as close to the back of the tub as possible, maximizing the legroom for the user. 


As far as getting in and out of the tub is concerned, it doesn’t boast a swivel seat. This is a slight disappointment, but it does come with large ‘wings’ that make it easy to slide on or off. You can also add a splash soft cover to the seat, which makes it more comfortable when you’re sitting down. 


In conclusion, this is a bath lift that gives you the key functions but without an overly medical appearance. It won’t look too out of place in your bathroom, and the sleek design means it will fit even the narrowest of tubs. 


Price: $579

The best bath lifts summary

To round off this whole guide, we'll leave with a quick summary of the best bath lifts for seniors. All of the products listed above are worth your money. However, they will suit different people based on your needs/requirements.


If you want the best value-for-money bath lift, opt for the Drive Medical Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter. This product has all the features you need in a bath lift for elderly people, but without a massive price. We think you’ll enjoy the swivel seat and padded support, making it a comfortable and practical option. 


For those of you that need a portable bath lift, you should choose the Mertis Health Lightweight Bath Tub Lift. It offers the best portability in the industry, as well as some other useful features. You won’t find a better bath lift if you need to keep taking it out and putting it away, or moving it to different bathroom locations. 


Now, if you want the most stylish and discreet bath lift, your attention should turn to the Graham Field: Splash Bath Lift. The simple design looks really elegant and blends in with the rest of the bathroom. It comes in at a budget-friendly price as well, so it won’t break the bank. It might be short on a few additional features, but this lift is easy-to-use, quick to install, and fits nicely in your bath. 


After taking all of this in, you should understand how to find the best bath lift for the elderly. Weigh up your options, look at your budget, then select the right product for your bath. 




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