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Essential and Luxury Walk In Tub Features – Ultimate Buyers Guide

essential vs luxury features

How many people does it take to buy a walk in tub? Just one, if you're lucky. 

With so many nifty features, it's easy to get bogged down and give up. What's aromatherapy? Do I need a quick release drain? And what the f**k is chromotherapy

Deciding which features are essential and which are luxury changes from person to person. Our needs are not only different, but change as we get older.

The last thing you want is spending $7000 on a walk in tub with features you don't use, or worse end up hating

Walk In Tub Jargon

Shopping without doing your homework is a recipe for disaster. To make the research process easier for you, I've compiled a list of the most used walk in tub terminology:

Walk In Tub

Whirlpool Jets

Tub Threshold

Extension

Hand-Held Shower Head

Grab Bars

Drain and Overflow Kit

Inward Door

Outward Door

Industrial Grade Acrylic

Marine Grade Gel Coat

Keep these words in mind the next time your shopping for a walk in tub. The more you know, the more informed and better decision you'll make. 

A million and 1 features


walk in tub basic features

Basic walk in tub features

It's pointless to think about features without knowing the basics of the product you're buying.

Not all walk in tubs are the same, but they all, more or less, share these 5 basic components:

Step-up 

The height of the threshold into the tub. The average bathtub has a threshold of 15 inches.


A walk in tub step-up is anywhere from 3 to 7 inches, making it easier to get in and out of the tub.

Watertight door

Keeps the water from ruining your bathroom.

Hand-held shower head

Exactly what it sounds like. The shower head makes it easy for anyone to bathe while sitting down.


Most shower heads have adjustable water pressure. You can also add a fixed holder for the shower wand, giving you the best of both worlds.

Built-in chair

The best part of the walk in tub if you ask me. The build in chair provides comfort and safety.

Average Size

1.5 times the depth of your average tub (1ft vs 2.5ft). The extra depth creates a spa like experience when bathing.

Essential Vs Luxury Features

With so many features to choose from, picking the ones you need can be overwhelming.

To help guide you through this daunting process, I separated the features into three categories: Therapeutic, safety, and comfort

Therapeutic:

If you want the added health benefits of walk in tubs, then therapeutic features are for you. 

Aromatherapy

Pleasant relaxing aromas fill your bathroom as the essential plant oils dissolve.

Numerous clinical studies demonstrated the positive effects of aromatherapy on quality of sleep and reduction of pain and stress.

Not only that but aromatherapy adds to the ambiance. Load up the essential oils, light a few candles, and you're transported to a world class spa.

Sure the health benefits of aromatherapy are a plus, but are you going to use it? How about a few years from now? 

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Chromotherapy

The use of colors to increase relaxation and promote healing.

 Homeopathic healers swear by the healing properties of chromotherapy, while the majority of people consider it a pseudoscience.

 Yes, bathing in red or green water sounds enticing, but the hefty price tag just isn't worth it.

The fact is, different colored lights aren't going to make your back feel better

Pros

Cons​​​

Verdict

Water temp control
water temp control walk in tub feature

Regulates the temperature of water before it reaches the tub.

This ensures the water reaches you at the perfect temperature and helps prevent scalding.

If you're not sure this is a feature you want, picture yourself naked, waiting for the tub to fill up. 


Pros​​​​

Cons

Verdict

Hydrotherapy

Targeted air and water jets deliver a spa-like massage in the comfort of your tub.

Hydrotherapy is the real deal. Multiple studies show significant decreases in blood pressure and blood glucose levels in regular users.

Not only that but hydrotherapy is an effective way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. 


Pros

Cons

Verdict

Safety

Did you know that the majority of falls happen in the bathroom? These safety features help prevent accidents from happening.

Anti-slip Tub Floor
anti slip mat safety feature

Textured floors increase grip and help prevent slips and falls.

Most if not all walk in tubs have anti-slip tub flooring. You also have the option of buying your own tub floor mat on amazon. 

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Wide no step door
no step walk in tub

An extra wide door with no threshold or step-up. Perfect for those who use a wheel chair or have trouble walking.

Consider buying a low-step or a no step walk in tub. Sure, you have no problems getting into the tub today, but what about 5 years from now? 10 years?

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Quick release drain
whirpool jets

Although far from perfect, quick release drains help alleviate the discomfort of waiting for the tub to drain.

A quick release drain cuts drainage time from 5 minutes to 40 seconds.

Be warned, having a quick release drain does NOT guarantee faster drain times. It all depends on your homes drainage system along with the quality of installation.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Built-in grab  bars 
Walk in tub built in grab bars

Provide increased stability when entering and leaving the tub.

You want to make sure your tub has grab bars.

Make sure to find out the maximum weight a grab bar can hold.


Pros

Cons

Verdict

Safe water cleaning system
safe water cleaning system

Water is purified from bacteria as it comes out of the jets. Strongly recommended for hydrotherapy tubs to prevent the build up of mold.

Keep in mind that regular cleaning is still needed.

A clean tub is less likely to require expensive repairs in the future.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Anti-scald technology

Maintains a constant temperature and prevents sudden rises and drops of water temperature.

You don't have to worry sudden stings and burns from the water.

Anti-scald technology is included in most high end walk in tubs.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Low Step
low step walk in tub

Low step tubs have a lower threshold than average walk in tubs (~3 inches).

Perfect for anyone who has trouble walking or any mobility issues.

They're also a must for anyone looking to age in place. The low threshold wont prevent you from bathing years from now.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Front Access Panels
front access panels

Makes accessing the motors and pipes easier.

If you want this feature make sure to ask your the installation team knows before hand.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Comfort

You work hard for your money and what better way to spend that money than on your comfort.

Heated Seats
heated seats

Provide soothing comfort directly from the seat, delivering comfort and relaxation.

Unlike cars, where heated seats are sometimes a burden, walk in tub heated seats are a gift from the heavens.

If you didn't already know this, sitting in a tub waiting for it to fill and drain can be a BITCH!

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Coushioned Seats
cushioned seat

Provides extra comfort so your butt won't hurt anymore.

The bad news is name brand cushioned seats (ex ella) are much more expensive. 

The good news is amazon has a lot of affordable options.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

No-strength locking handle
no strength lock

Makes locking and unlocking your tub a breeze.

No-strength locking handles also decreases chances of getting trapped in the tub.

Remember opening jars with ease? I don't either.

We're not as strong as we were a few years ago, so why risk getting trapped in your tub because you can't open the door?

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Lifetime warranty 
lifetime warranty

Most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty with a money back guarantee. 

Leaks happen and having a lifetime warranty guarantees your tub getting fixed.

Make sure that the warranty provided covers any damages, leaks and most importantly the door seal.

Pros

Cons

Verdict

Last Minute Tips


* Be honest with yourself. A walk in tub is an investment in your health and comfort. Don't feel pressured into buying anything you wont use now or in the future.

* If you're buying from a local store make sure to find out what their return  policies are

*Figure out the dimensions of your bathroom. 

*Research average walk in tub installation prices for you area. 

*Visit a showroom before making your purchase. See how it feels to enter and leave the tub. How does the seat feel? Do your legs have enough space? Are the jets located where you want them? 

*Find out the capacity of your hot water tank. Walk in tubs hold an average 40-50 gallons of water.

* A lot of walk in tubs have multiple features included. Choose the tub with the most features you need.

walk in tub features cover

Lean back to start feeling better.


One important fact most walk in tub buyers overlook is how their needs are going to change in the future. Getting older brings with it wisdom and a decrease in ability.

You want your walk in tub to make your life easier, not harder.

Lets us know in the comments below if you have any questions or thoughts or if theres anything we missed. 


Do you think walk in manufacturers should focus on building new features or making old ones better?

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