Walk in Bath - Buyer's Guide



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Things you might need to consider when buying a walk in bath


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Products > Walk in baths > Buyers Guide

A guide to buying a walk in bath

Things you really should know about Walk in Baths


Don't spend a penny on a Walk-in bath until you are sure you have the facts

Buying a walk in bath should be a fairly simple operation, or so you'd think. But buying a walk-in bath can prove to be a bit of a minefield if you're not familiar with the product, how they're made or the antics some salespeople get up to when trying to sell them!

We hope this useful guide to buying a walk-in bath will put an end to some of the shameful behaviour to which certain individuals will stoop and help you to make an informed decision when the time comes to choose.

Armed with the right knowledge, buying a walk in bath is simple. Here are a few helpful tips to consider -


Do you remember those annoying people who used to call at your home trying to sell double glazing? Did you ever wonder what happened to them? Many now sit in homes throughout the country for hours on end applying gentle pressure on people to sign up for a bathroom make-over to include a walk in bath. Our advice is simple - DON'T INVITE THEM IN. The fact you are reading this guide proves you have a mind of your own and do not need to be 'sold' on the idea.

DO NOT spend a fortune on a walk in bath

Don't let anybody kid you into spending a small fortune. YOU DON'T NEED TO. At the end of the day a walk-in bath is still only a bath. It might be a little more expensive to make but it surely isn't more expensive to install. Beware of anybody who tells you otherwise. Installing a walk-in bath is within the remit of a competent DIY'er so your average plumber should have no difficulties whatsoever. You do not need specialist skills (with the possible exception where the bath has a lift and requires an electrical supply) and because access to the plumbing is so accessible it could be argued that these baths are actually easier to install than a standard bath. In short, all the clever stuff should have gone into the construction, leaving a simple process of installation. If not, leave well alone.

Don't believe some of the nonsense

Some companies who try to sell you walk-in baths (you know, the types that visit your home and brow beat you into a purchase) get rather cross when you discover the same bath can be bought from us at a much lower price. So beware of a less than warm reaction if you choose to mention such a fact.

We are aware of several excuses these rascals have put forward to justify their outrageous prices including -

  • "Baths on the internet are reconditioned or second hand"

  • "Baths on the internet are seconds"

  • "Baths on the internet are of an inferior quality"

The best one is...

  • "you get no guarantee on the internet!".

This is all absolute rubbish! These are just desperate lies used by equally desperate sales people who wish to scare you into buying from them - there and then! Their motivation is simply greed.



Don't be afraid to say NO!


For your peace of mind and to put the record straight

  • All the products purchased in the UK carry a guarantee. This is the law. The internet is just a convenient way for you to access the High Street. Whether you purchase on the internet, at your door or in a showroom your purchase is protected by The Sale of Goods Act and you most certainly do get a guarantee. Furthermore, many components carry a lifetime warranty!

  • All products found on this website are brand new straight from the factory, selected for their superior quality, unused, of first quality (not seconds) and carry exactly the same guarantee you will get anywhere else. The ONLY thing different will be the price.

So why are we cheaper?

The answer is simple - you are buying from the same source as the trade does. We are delighted to help you save a considerable sum of money on your purchase (plus relief from VAT if you are eligible). Purchase your bath at a realistic price (discounted) and arrange your own fitter. You've no need to engage with a salesman who wants to sell you the whole package and a bathroom makeover. Organising things yourself will save you a small fortune and it's not difficult or complicated to do.

If you have any questions you would like to ask please don't hesitate to call us for a no-obligation chat.

More things you should know...

Not all walk in baths are the same.

Just because it looks like a walk in bath does not mean it will function well as one.

We are very choosy about which products we'll deal with. Each and every walk in bath you will find here is the product of meticulous design, careful construction and has been subjected to rigorous testing. What's more, we even vet the manufacturer to ensure they can deliver the quality we demand and provide willing and helpful after sales backup. Anybody falling short of our exacting standards is dropped.

Because of our specialist involvement with these products over many years we have forged exceptional relationships with manufacturers and as a consequence are delighted to be able to offer you premium quality products at prices that can only be described as outstanding.

You are welcome to call us for a chat about any aspect of walk-in bathing - whether it be on a technical level, for advice or simply to explore feasibility. (Click here for our contact information)

A walk in bath is the ideal solution

Where limited mobility causes difficulty when bathing a walk in bath is an excellent solution. But, throughout the years manufacturers have experimented with different styles and designs of bath - some of them with catastrophic results! What you find with the products we sell are the refined results of many years of development.

Materials play an important part

Whether the bath will function as required depends on construction. For example, if the bath flexes when it's filled with water or when the occupant moves it is likely that the seal around the door will leak. This is a particular problem. It is therefore important that the construction of the bath provides rigidity or you might find water running where you least of all want it!

Do not however confuse flex with give. A bath that flexes actually distorts, effectively changing shape.  A material particularly well suited to the manufacture of a bath is GRP (also known as glass reinforced polymer, or fibre glass).

To illustrate this one only need examine most modern boats - all of which have hulls made from GRP. The process for manufacturing in GRP involves building layer upon layer of glass strand matting which is bonded by a polymer resin. The finished product is extremely strong, maintains a shiny lustre, is resilient to impact damage and can be repaired should the unthinkable occur.

The process for manufacture in GRP is lengthy and labour intensive which is why a GRP bath is slightly dearer than the cheaper contemporaries made from acrylic plastic.

The process of manufacturing in acrylic is quite different to GRP. With this type, a large sheet of plastic is heated and sucked into a mould. When released, the plastic sheet maintains the shape of the mould. Quick and simple, but not as strong or durable. Acrylic baths need to have a strong substructure (like a metal frame) to minimise their flimsiness. Sometimes, acrylic baths undergo a secondary treatment where GRP is applied to the back of the moulded shape to enhance stiffness.

Acrylic does not maintain its lustre particularly well in comparison to the 'Gel Coat' finish of its GRP counterpart. Furthermore, should you damage the surface of an acrylic bath there is no real way to repair it invisibly - like you can with GRP.

In short, acrylic baths are cheaper to manufacture and less rigid. Special attention must be paid to construction in order to ensure door seals don't leak.

A major issue - which way the door should open on a walk in bath?

Inward or outward? You might be surprised to discover how heavy water is. A cubic metre of water weighs 1 metric tonne! That is 1000 kg. Just imagine how catastrophic the problem is when an outward opening door mechanism fails!!! The bath literally empties there in front of your eyes.... all over the place. For this reason and after much development this is why the inward opening door is by far the preferred method nowadays. The weight of water in the bath when full presses against an inwardly opening door and actually improves the action of the door seal. The bath still has to be manufactured to resist flexing for this to work OK, but you can probably see the advantage.

Having said this, an inward opening door may prove awkward to negotiate if the bather is of a larger build. If this is the case then an outward opener may be the only solution. Just make sure your choice of bath has a well designed door locking mechanism.

Ease of use makes a walk in bath more pleasurable - aiding safety

It also reduces the need for assistance thereby enhancing privacy and independence for those who would normally require higher levels of aid because of reduced mobility.

The advantage of an upright model walk in bath

There are many upright models from which to choose, but taking The KANSAS for an example you can appreciate how the shorter upright design takes up less space than a conventional bath giving you back useable floor space. The higher 'tub' style offers convenient support when entering and exiting. Furthermore, the higher seating position makes sitting down and standing up less of an effort. In all, this shape of bath makes for safe and comfortable bathing, lending itself perfectly for purpose.

Don't buy a walk in bath just because it looks similar to what you already have. There are several sound reasons for this advice. The whole point of your immanent investment will be to make bath time more pleasurable, or indeed possible. Of course it should look nice but it is not a fashion accessory. Consider the practicalities carefully before deciding on a shape.

The advantages of a 'tub style' bath have been mentioned. So let's have a look at the standard low level shape of walk in bath.

Traditional shapes of walk in bath

While a low level 'standard shape' bath might fit into the traditional aesthetics of your bathroom, ask yourself will it offer you the help you desire for bathing?

Consider, you might get a traditional low level bath with a side door - this may solve your problem of stepping over the rim of a standard bath. BUT, now you are in, you have to (1) sit down and then (2) stand back up to get out. Are you happy in the knowledge this will be achievable? Might you benefit for having a powered lifting seat?

Wacky walk in bath designs

Early walk in bath designers looked for a way to incorporate a seat within the structure of a traditionally shaped bath. An attempt was made at raising the floor of the bath at the sitting end to provide a raised perch upon which the bather could sit, hence reducing the distance the occupant would have to descend or rise when sitting or standing.

HOWEVER, the raised bottom, the bump, the perch (whatever you wish to call it) was quickly considered a bit of a nonsense as its immovable presence permanently raised the bather out of the very water in which they wished to bathe. Put another way, you could not properly submerge in such a bath - or fully recline to the bottom. Although this bath attempted to address a valid issue the design proved unpopular and impractical, especially if other more ambulant members of the family planned to share it. Eventually nick-named 'the glorified foot bath' the design was branded pointless and annoying and eventually disappeared from production with reputable manufacturers.

That is until recently. One manufacturer has decided to re-invent the wheel and has reintroduced the design. Unfortunately, more unwary purchasers will need to go through the discovery process before they realise the product's shortcomings. If you are considering such a product think carefully! Think very carefully!!

Evolution saw this 'glorified footbath' morph into the tub style bath. By shortening its length and increasing its depth a fairly useless design underwent a metamorphosis into something entirely practical. The tub style bath provides a moulded seat, but at a useful and sensible level, and the increased overall height facilitates deeper fill and decent immersion.

What about a bath lift?

Alternative thinking has come up with various mechanical devices to lift the user in and out of a standard looking bath - generically known as bath lifts. Bath lifts can however be bulky, unsightly and/or impractical. So consider carefully before deciding.

The thinking behind bath lift design varies. Some are unnecessarily bulky and obtrusive with external pillars and posts. Some utilise a belt system, but beware as some are better than others. Some lifts are integral to the bath and disappear as neatly as possible when not in use. Let us look at each:

Bath lifts utilising a belt

In principle a belt is not a bad idea. A belt has a thin cross-section so when deployed allows the bather to lower right to the bottom of the bath. However, the method by which the belt is raised and lowered makes a huge difference to how practical they are. There is essentially three ways a belt can be utilised:

  1. A single motorised roller (sometimes fitted to the wall adjacent to the bath) feeds the belt in and out to raise or lower. This type has a couple of serious drawbacks. As the belt pays out while lowering, the seated person gets tipped to one side as the belt does not lower evenly from both sides. As the belt lifts it tips the user the other way. The rider therefore must reposition themselves several times during each operation. Another consideration is one of hygiene. A wet belt rolled back into its housing is likely to become grimy and grubby and will eventually start smelling of mildew as it sits unventilated and unable to dry properly. By its nature, the belt moves quite slowly, so you are likely to become reluctant to deploy it purely for the purpose of drying/airing. Extreme caution should be exercised when fixing such a device to a wall. When in use the lift will undergo serious stress (which will vary accordingly with the weight of the user). Severe injury could result if the lifting mechanism becomes detached from its fixing point during use. Unless the drive system has battery back-up a user could find themselves trapped in the bath in the event of a power outage.

  2. Then there is the 'twin motor' type. These commonly form an integral part of the bath with a motor mounted on either side of the bather. This type addresses the issue of tipping the rider over as the design deploys the belt evenly. However, by fixing one issue another has been created as the motor/winding housings can be bulky, unsightly and obtrusive. The issue of an unventilated housing storing a wet belt and the associated hygiene issues remain.

  3. Concealed lifting mechanism. Another method of utilising a belt can be seen on baths like the MONTANA walk in bath. This model cleverly conceals the lift mechanism within the side walls of the bath on either side of the bather. When configured to use a belt (rather than a moulded seat - which is an alternative option on this model) which is suspended between the lifting posts on either side raises or lowers the bather accordingly. At no time is the belt rolled up and will dry easily when not in use. What's more, the lifting posts offer supporting sides for the user unlike the 'roller type lift' that offer no side support whatsoever.

Walk in Bath with a lifting belt seat vs a lifting moulded seat

The answer to the question "Which one should I choose?" can often depend on aesthetic preference and logic.

  1. A moulded seat will probably offer the user the feeling of stability and security as it will feel solid and secure to sit on.

  2. A well designed moulded seat might be considered 'attractive' in its own peculiar way.

  3. A moulded seat is by nature 'rigid'. This of course means there is a physical limit to the size of the user (by which of course we mean the posterior size). The thin cross-section and flexibility of a belt might prove somewhat more flexible for the larger derrière.

  4. Because a moulded seat has a thicker cross-section, its lowest position when lowered will inevitably stand off the bottom of the bath slightly. Although only slight, this is worth noting. A belt, having a much thinner cross-section is negligible when fully lowered therefore the user effectively sits on the bottom of the bath.

  5. It is arguably easier (if indeed you are physically able) to recline fully when a belt lift is used unless of course you elect for the Easy Riser Bath - a new model with a built in powered lifting seat that incorporates an assistive back rest to gently lower the bather into the reclined position and then assist with getting back to the sitting position.


Tub Style walk in bath

The simplicity of the tub style walk in bath addresses all these issues - deeper immersion in the bath water (the taller design permits deeper fill), no mechanical devices needed to lift or lower user (seat is at an easier height). You cannot of course recline quite so well or indeed lay down in a tub style walk in bath.

Spa systems on a walk in bath

These represent the height of luxury and provide the ultimate bathing experience. Jets of water and/or air bubbles massage your skin while you relax in a soothing bath of warm water. The effect is believed to enhance circulation and most certainly adds to the whole pleasurable experience. What could be nicer than a gentle massage while you relax?

Check which type of system best suits you. There are essentially two types of 'hydromassage' system available.

Type one: Sometimes referred to as 'whirlpool' system, a pump delivers a combination of pressurised water and air through jets positioned around the bath. The resulting massage can be quite 'vigorous.

Type two: The 'air spa'. As the name suggests, utilises numerous strategically placed nozzles that blow jets of air bubbles through the water, providing a wonderful tingling 'champagne like' massage which is gentle.

Other considerations:

A whirlpool system re-circulates the existing bath water through the jets. When you turn the pump off there will of course be residual bath water in the hidden pipework. A quality system should empty this when the bath is emptied to avoid 'dirty' water being left in the pipework. You will however need to conduct routine maintenance by cleaning this pipework periodically to remove any build up of grime and ensure cleanliness.

An air spa system blows air through its pipework. Bath water that may have entered during the process of fill is blown out when the system is energised. The pipework does not therefore carry or re-circulate bath water and does not therefore have the same cleaning requirement.

Chromotherapy Lighting

Chromotherapy is a form of treatment that has been successfully used over the years to deal with various diseases as an alternative medicine. Practitioners of Chromotherapy believe the various wavelengths associated with different colours of light in the spectrum balance energies that are lacking from a person's body on physical, emotional, spiritual and mental levels.

Other wisdom relates to the condition SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) to changes in the amount and type of light a suffer is exposed to. An increase in certain types of light can increase the body's production of Serotonin and Melatonin and used to combat depression, improve mood and appetite and improve sleep.

You might however simply find your bath time experience more fun as you choose to tint the water with your favourite colours.

Installing a walk-in bath

Installing a walk in bath presents no special requirements. As mentioned, it is still only a bath!

With additional space available for access to plumbing on models such as The CALIFORNIA, installation often proves easier than fitting a conventional bath.

Spa systems and powered lifting seats will require an electrical supply. They are however for different reasons.

In all cases, only an RCCD protected power supply should be used. This involves the addition of a simple device with a very sensitive 'trip' should a short circuit occur. This is in accordance with IEE Regulations (providing the user with total security and protection from the electrical supply).

A spa pump (pre-installed beneath the bath) is generally supplied with RCCD protected mains voltage but activated by an 'air switch'. This is a button which is in fact a small pump that pushes a pulse of air down a tube to the actual electrical switch. Push for on, push again for off. By this means the user is never in proximity to the electrical supply.

A powered lifting seat actually works from a low voltage battery supply which is by nature absolutely safe. A bath fitted with a powered lifting seat has a pre-installed charging system that keeps the battery fully charged. Such a system ensures a bather is able to escape the bath by operating the lift in the event of a power cut

VAT Relief on walk in baths

Relief from VAT is often available when purchasing a product of this nature. If you believe you qualify or would like further information about VAT Relief please don't hesitate to contact us for further assistance.

More information on relief from VAT can be found here...


Are you eligible for VAT RELIEF? Click here for more information


Whether you need the easy access or simply want to enhance the bathing experience, a walk in bath will add a new dimension to bath time.


 Click Here to visit the Walk-in Bath section of www.mobilitydepot.co.uk 

Mobility Depot - Disabled showers and mobility products