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Walk-in tubs vs walk-in showers

Walk-in tub vs Walk-in shower: Choosing the Best Option

  1. Walk-In Tubs: An In-Depth Look
  2. All You Need to Know About Walk-in Showers
  3. Walk-in Tub Shower Combo
  4. Cost Comparison


Confused between a walk-in tub and a walk-in shower? Explore the pros and cons of each option and make an informed decision for safer bathing.

image showing low step walk in shower

As you embark on the journey of enhancing the safety, comfort, and style of your bathroom, you may find yourself facing this crucial question: Is a walk-in tub or a walk-in shower better for your needs?

Navigating the sea of bathroom fixtures can be overwhelming, with an abundance of designs, features, and technical specifications to consider.

Whether you're drawn towards the luxury and therapeutic comfort of a walk-in tub or the streamlined efficiency and modern appeal of a walk-in shower, it's essential to make an informed decision that marries aesthetics with functionality.

Now, let's embark on this journey to find the perfect bathing solution for you!

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Walk-in Tubs: An In-Depth Look

In the vast realm of bathroom fixtures, walk-in tubs have carved out a special niche for themselves. These tubs are not just bathing units. They are tools of independence, safety, and luxury, tailored to meet the needs of individuals who value ease of access and comfort.

image showing a bathroom with a safe step walk-in tub

Advantages of Walk-in Tubs

A walk-in tub is much more than just an ordinary bathtub. At first glance, it looks similar to a conventional tub, but upon closer inspection, you'll notice a door integrated into the side of the tub.

This door offers a critical advantage – it allows the user to step directly into the tub, eliminating the need to climb over a high ledge. Bathtub doors provide easy wheelchair access. 

This feature reduces the risk of slips and falls, making bathing a safer experience, particularly for the elderly and those with mobility challenges.

One of the leading models in the world of walk-in bathtubs is the Safe Step walk-in tub. This tub exemplifies safety and luxury seamlessly combined into one unit.

The Safe Step tub boasts an industry-leading low step-in, making it even easier for individuals with mobility concerns to access the tub. This user-friendly design extends to the interior of the tub. It features a built-in seat and easy-to-reach controls, enabling the user to bathe comfortably and with minimal strain.

Safety is a prominent aspect of the Safe Step walk-in tub design philosophy. Each tub comes with strategically placed safety bars and a non-slip floor, significantly reducing the chances of accidental slips and providing users with extra stability.

However, a Safe Step tub is not just about safety and accessibility; it also focuses on delivering a luxurious bathing experience.

Air jets provide a soothing massage, beneficial for relieving muscle tension and promoting relaxation. Additionally, chromotherapy lighting transforms the bath into a calming oasis, contributing to an overall sense of well-being.

Potential Disadvantages of Walk-in Tubs

Although walk-in tubs bring a wealth of benefits, it's also crucial to consider some potential drawbacks. One such factor pertains to the time it takes to fill and drain the tub. Because the user must be inside the tub to fill and drain it, this waiting period could be seen as a disadvantage, especially for those who prefer quick showers.

Furthermore, walk-in bathtubs typically require more water to fill than standard tubs. This could lead to higher water usage. It's essential to consider the efficiency of your water heater and whether it can adequately support the demands of a walk-in tub.

While the safety features of walk-in tubs make them a great fit for those with mobility concerns, their relatively high sides might pose a challenge for caregivers assisting with bath time.

Walk-in tubs, and notably the Safe Step walk-in tub, offer an innovative solution for those seeking a safer, more comfortable, and luxurious bathing experience.

They represent a thoughtful combination of practicality and indulgence, aimed at making the simple act of bathing a highlight of your day. While they come with certain considerations, the benefits they offer make them a worthy contender in the quest for the perfect bathing solution.

Walk-in Showers: What You Need to Know

Stepping away from the world of bathtubs, we now venture into the realm of walk-in showers. These fixtures offer a unique take on bathroom safety and functionality, merging sleek design with easy accessibility.

But what exactly are walk-in showers, and what benefits do they bring?

image displaying a bathroom with a walk-in shower

Walk-in Showers Advantages

Walk-in showers, as the name implies, are shower enclosures that you can simply walk into, without the need to step over a high tub ledge.

They often feature a minimal or non-existent curb and are usually larger than traditional shower stalls, granting users more room to maneuver. Some even offer enough space for a wheelchair access or a shower seat.

One of the primary advantages of walk-in showers lies in their design. They offer a modern, open aesthetic that can make your bathroom feel more spacious and luxurious. Their minimalistic style is versatile and can complement a range of bathroom decors, from contemporary to traditional.

Walk-in showers prioritize ease of use and safety. The no or low-step entry drastically reduces the risk of falls. The availability of safety features such as grab bars and non-slip flooring further contribute to their secure nature.

Some of the models feature adjustable shower heads, rain showers, or hand-held sprayers, allowing for greater control and customization of the shower experience.

In terms of efficiency, walk-in showers often edge out tubs. They typically use less water and heat up faster than tubs, making them an eco-friendly and time-saving choice. The lack of a door or curtain allows for better ventilation, reducing the likelihood of mold and mildew growth.

Walk-in Showers Disadvantages

Despite the many benefits of walk-in showers, there are also a few potential drawbacks to consider.

For instance, while the open design can be aesthetically pleasing, it may also lead to a cooler showering environment due to more heat escaping. Some people might also miss the option of having a relaxing soak, a luxury that showers don't provide.

Additionally, while the low or no curb design enhances safety, it can sometimes lead to water splashing outside the shower area. It's important to incorporate effective water containment strategies, such as well-positioned showerheads and properly designed drainage.

Walk-in showers, particularly those with ample space and luxury features, can come with a higher price tag. The cost can increase further with the addition of extras like rainfall showerheads or high-end materials.

In summary, walk-in showers offer a stylish and practical solution for safe and efficient bathing. Their modern design, safety features, and water efficiency make them an attractive option for many homeowners.

As with any significant home improvement decision, it's important to weigh the benefits against the potential drawbacks to determine if a walk-in shower is the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences.

Walk-in tub shower combo: The Best of Both Worlds

Navigating the decision between a walk-in tub and a walk-in shower can be challenging. But what if you could have the benefits of both in one fixture?

Welcome to the world of walk-in tub shower combos. These innovative units represent a fusion of comfort, safety, and versatility, aiming to deliver the ultimate bathing experience.

image showing a bathroom with a bath tub and shower combo

A walk-in tub shower combo, as the name suggests, integrates the features of a walk-in bathtub and a shower into one cohesive unit.

It maintains the low-entry, secure door of a walk-in tub, allowing for easy access without the need to step over a high ledge. Simultaneously, it incorporates a showerhead, giving users the flexibility to switch between a quick shower and a long soak depending on their preference.

Choosing a walk-in tub shower combo brings several benefits. Firstly, it provides versatility. Whether you enjoy the therapeutic relaxation of a tub or the efficient refreshment of a shower, a combo unit ensures that you don't have to compromise. This flexibility can be particularly advantageous for households with diverse bathing preferences.

Another compelling reason to opt for a walk-in tub shower combo is space efficiency.

While a combo unit typically requires more room than a standalone shower, it does save you from having to install separate tub and shower fixtures. This can free up valuable bathroom space, especially beneficial for smaller homes or apartments.

Walk-in tub shower combos also offer a comprehensive suite of safety features. Non-slip flooring, strategically placed grab bars, and easy-to-reach controls for wheelchair access come standard in most units.

However, it's essential to keep in mind that walk-in tub shower combos also inherit some of the challenges associated with standalone tubs and showers.

These can include the time taken to fill and drain the tub, the potential for a cooler shower environment due to the open design, and considerations around water usage and heating capacity.

image showing bathroom with both shower and tub

In conclusion, a walk-in tub shower combo represents a multifunctional solution that brings together the best aspects of walk-in tubs and showers.

Its dual functionality offers the perfect blend of luxury, practicality, and safety, making it a worthy consideration for those seeking a versatile and space-efficient bathing solution.

However, as with any home improvement decision, understanding your personal needs, preferences, and the specificities of your bathroom layout is crucial to making the right choice.

Cost Comparison: Walk-in tubs vs. Walk-in showers

When it comes to home improvements, budget invariably plays a pivotal role in the decision-making process.

image showing a pig money box in a bathroom

In the context of choosing between a walk-in tub and a walk-in shower, it’s important to weigh the costs of each option against their respective benefits.

How much does a walk-in shower cost?

On the lower end of the spectrum, the cost of installing a walk-in shower can start around $2,500 for a basic setup with standard materials.

However, if you choose a larger shower area or high-end materials, or decide to include luxury features like multiple showerheads or body jets, this cost can quickly escalate to $10,000 or more.

On top of the initial installation costs, you should also consider the maintenance and utility costs. Showers typically use less water than tubs, so a walk-in shower could potentially result in lower water bills over time.

Furthermore, walk-in showers generally require less time and effort to clean compared to tubs, leading to lower maintenance costs.

Walk-in tub cost

Walk-in tubs, on the other hand, can be a more significant investment upfront.

A standard walk-in tub unit typically starts around $2,000 to $5,000.

However, when you factor in installation costs, which often include plumbing modifications and sometimes even door or wall alterations to fit the tub, the total cost can range between $5,000 and $7,000.

Premium models, especially those offering therapeutic features like hydrotherapy jets or chromotherapy lighting, can elevate the cost to $10,000 to $20,000 or more.

The water usage of a walk-in tub can be higher, leading to slightly higher utility costs. It can offer additional therapeutic benefits that some homeowners find invaluable.

The safety features of walk-in tubs could potentially lead to savings in terms of avoided medical expenses due to bathroom-related injuries.

While walk-in showers can be less expensive initially and may save on water costs, walk-in tubs offer enhanced safety and therapeutic features that may justify their higher cost for some individuals. Ultimately, the decision will come down to your budget constraints, personal preferences, and specific needs.

Read our article for more information on how to improve bathroom safety in the US without breaking the bank.

Walk-in tub vs Walk-in shower: Comparing and Contrasting

Choosing between a walk-in tub and a walk-in shower is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it greatly impacts your comfort, safety, and the overall usability of your bathroom. Various factors come into play in this decision-making process, and it's essential to weigh these elements carefully.

Mobility and Safety

Safety is a significant factor when choosing a bathing solution. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 235,000 adults visit the emergency room each year due to injuries sustained in the bathroom.

A low-entry walk-in tub can provide a safer bathing environment for those with mobility concerns. However, walk-in showers with their minimal or zero curb design are also a safe option, providing easy access and a spacious area to move.

Personal Preference and Comfort

Personal preference plays a critical role in this decision. According to a survey conducted by Houzz, 54% of homeowners prefer showers over tubs. However, if you value the therapeutic benefits of soaking in a tub, a walk-in tub or a combo unit might be the better choice.

For instance, studies have shown that warm-water immersion, as experienced in a tub, can lower blood pressure and induce relaxation.

Space Considerations

The size of your bathroom can greatly influence your choice. Walk-in showers often require less space than tubs and can make a small bathroom appear larger due to their open design.

On the other hand, walk-in tubs or combo units, while requiring more space, offer the versatility of both showering and bathing in one area.

Installation and Costs

Walk-in showers often come with lower initial costs and quicker installation times than walk-in tubs.

The overall cost can vary depending on the specific models and additional features chosen. When budgeting for this home improvement, consider both the upfront costs and the long-term benefits of your investment.

Health Benefits

Both walk-in showers and tubs can offer health benefits. Showers can be invigorating, improving circulation and offering relief for muscle tension.

Tubs, particularly those with hydrotherapy features, can provide therapeutic benefits such as easing arthritis symptoms and promoting better sleep.

image showing a pile of small boxes with healthcare symbols on it

Both options offer safety features and health benefits, but each provides a distinct bathing experience.

Whether you value the efficiency and modern appeal of a shower, or the relaxing and therapeutic potential of a tub, making an informed decision is key to ensuring your new bathroom fixture enhances your life.


Whether you lean towards a walk-in tub, a walk-in shower, or a walk-in tub shower combo ultimately depends on your personal needs, preferences, and circumstances.

The luxury of a safe step walk-in tub, the convenience of a walk-in shower, and the versatility of a walk-in tub shower combo offer plenty of options to consider.

For personalized advice, don't hesitate to submit the form above for a free, no-obligation quote from local contractors who are ready to bring your vision to life.

And remember to subscribe to our newsletter for more insights into home improvements.

Here's to a joyful journey toward your dream bathroom and a safer bathing experience!

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Relates Resources

One Day Bathroom Remodeling

Bathtub Guide For Your Bathroom Aesthetic

Modern Bathroom Ideas for Senior: Safety Tips

Sustainable Home Improvements for Seniors

Last update: 13 Jul 2024

Written by Anna

MyGreenHome editors Team is a professional team of copywriters and writes with dozens of years of experience covering consumers, financial and business products and services

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