Consumer research for older and disabled people

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Bath seats

Fitting and using a bath seat

  • Most bath seats can be fitted to most baths.
  • Bath seats can be used with or without a bath board.
  • If you plan to get into the bath, remember that the seat takes up room, so you'll bathe with legs bent.

Consider:

  • A high seat may be easier to get on to in a deep bath.
  • A higher seat will mean that you're sitting in less water.
  • Seats with backs may make sitting easier.
  • Many people prefer padded or shaped seats.
  • Built-in handrails or armrests give you something to hold on to.
  • Some acrylic (a type of plastic) baths may not be strong enough for some bath seats.
  • It may be difficult to fit a seat in an unusually shaped bath.

Seats can be fixed to the bath in these different ways:

  • Suckers
    The bath seat stands in the bath with suckers to hold the seat in place. Put the seat where you want it, then push it down. Do this when the bath is dry, or else they won't stick. They may not work in narrow baths with very sloped surfaces. Some suckers need to be tugged to remove.
  • Paddles
    Paddles look like wide legs. They wedge against the side of the bath. Adjust them so that they fit the shape of the bath and then tighten the fixing. Some plastic baths may be too weak to take the pressure - check with the bath's manufacturer. If you're in any doubt, avoid this type of seat.
  • Hanging seats
    These hook over the side of the bath. The rim needs to be wide enough to support them - normally it needs to be a minimum of about 3.5cm (1 1/2") wide on each side.

Safety - check the bath seat is secure, will take your weight, and if the (plastic) bath is strong enough.

Using a bath board with a bath seat

  • The bath seat needs to be near enough to the bath board to make getting on and off it easy.
  • If you're using a bath board and bath seat together, fit the board first.
  • Place the seat in front of the board so that the back of the seat is in line with the front of the board, so you can move from one to the other without too much of a stretch.

Bath seats checklist

Use this checklist to help you decide when getting a bath seat. 

Is it comfortable?

  • would a seat with a backrest be more comfortable?
  • cutaways are more comfortable for men

Will water drain away?

  • drainage holes are an advantage, but avoid large holes or slats - these could be uncomfortable to sit on, or could trap parts of your body
  • avoid seats that are hollow and could fill with water

Will it fit?

  • if you want a hanging seat, is the bath rim wide enough to support it?
  • is the seat the right size for you?
  • can its width be adjusted?
  • be careful of seats that wedge into plastic baths, because the bath may not be strong enough

Is it easy to fix in the bath?

  • can you - or whoever will do it - fix the seat in your bath and take it out again?
  • will it suit your bath?
Rica is a UK consumer research charity. Our tests are carried out by the RicaWatch panel of disabled and older people.  Read our user tests of bath seats here.

Last updated: August 2016


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