Types of Shower Chairs / Benches (Bathroom Safety for Elderly)

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Most shower chairs and benches are designed to have four legs and rubber feet. However, you might be thrilled to know that there are different types of shower chairs today. Keep on reading to see what sets each type apart.

Types of Shower Chairs

Transfer Bench

As the name suggests, the transfer bench shower chair is designed with the main purpose of assisting people with limited mobility. Two of the rubberized feet are inside the tub, and two are outside, letting the person slide across the bench from the shower and to the wheelchair, and vice versa.

Carex Tub Transfer Bench - Shower Chair Transfer Bench with Height Adjustable Legs - Convertible to Right or Left Hand Entry
Carex Tub Transfer Bench – Shower Chair with Height Adjustable Legs (Image: Amazon)

Folding Stool Style Chair

This shower chair is probably the most cost-effective and simple in design. It has rubber hand grips and non-skid feet, letting you move to and from the shower. It has a seat without a back, which offers some level of support when taking a bath.

Folding Bath Shower Seat Bathroom Chair Disability Aid Stool Suction Style Feet Stable Framewor, Adjustable Lightweight Shower Bench with Aluminum Legs
Folding Bath Shower Chair / Disability Aid (Image: Amazon)

Standard Shower Chair

This is the standard shower chair design, featuring hand grips, a wide seat, back support, and rubberized feet.

Medline Shower Chair Bath Seat with Padded Armrests and Back, Great for Bathtubs, Supports up to 350 lbs
Medline Shower Chair Bath Seat with Padded Armrests and Back, Great for Bathtubs, Supports up to 350 lbs (Image: Amazon)

Fold-Down Shower Chair

If you want a permanently installed shower chair, this is your option. The chair’s back is directly mounted to your shower’s wall to provide more stability. It has two rubberized front feet. This is often used with a support rod, which is installed at the adjacent wall and can be used as a handgrip to provide stability and support when moving in the shower.

Best Choice Products Wall Mounted Folding Wood Shower Seat Bench for Adults, Elderly, Bathtub, Bath w/ Steel Frame, 300lb. Capacity
Best Choice Products Wall Mounted Folding Wood Shower Seat Bench for Adults, Elderly, Steel Frame, 300 lb. Capacity (Image: Amazon)

Rolling Shower Chair

This shower chair is distinguishable through its rubberized wheels. The wheels can be locked in place using a mechanical system. Some manufacturers also offer models that come with a flip-up cushioned seat, which can work as both a shower chair and commode chair.

HomCom Personal Mobility Durable Waterproof Shower Accessible Transport Commode Medical Rolling Chair
HomCom Personal Mobility Durable Waterproof Shower Accessible Transport Commode Medical Rolling Chair (Image: Amazon)

Baby Shower Chairs

There are quite a number of baby shower chair types, but the main purpose remains similar. These are designed to give comfort and stability for the child, making it easier for you to bathe children without suffering from unnecessary back pain and straining.

Summer Infant My Bath Seat, Baby Bathtub Seat for Sit-Up Bathing with Backrest Support and Suction Cups for Stability
Summer Infant My Bath Seat, Baby Bathtub Seat for Sit-Up Bathing with Backrest Support and Suction Cups for Stability (Image: Amazon)

Things to Consider When Choosing a Shower Chair

Weight Capacity

The first thing you need to check for is the chair’s weight capacity. This is important to make sure it can specifically accommodate the needs of the person who’s going to use it. You need to check for it because there are different sizes available.

Capacities range from 250 to 400 pounds. Some medical-grade chairs can offer beyond that limit. People with less body mass can make use of a standard shower chair for support. Heavier individuals will do well by using bariatric models instead. Click here to see our top picks for shower chairs with 500-pound weight capacity.

2019 Version! Upgraded Shower Chair, Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Chair 500 lbs Cap. Transfer Bench w/EVA Paded Seat and Assist Grab Bar (White/Blue)
Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Chair 500 lbs Capacity (Image: Amazon)

Material

Shower chairs vary in construction, too. Some are made only of plastic, while others incorporate aluminum and other metals in the design. Choosing the frame material is important, but highly up to you. Plastic is much more affordable, while aluminum has a higher price point. The choice of material not only affects durability and stability, but can also influence the overall aesthetic of the chair. Both materials can support weight, since these go through quality assurance before going to market.

Select Line Shower Chair Clearance Height: 20", Mesh Backrest Color: Suncast Blue
Select Line Shower Chair, Mesh Backrest (Image: Amazon)

Some will prefer chairs that allow more give in the seat and backrest. If you are one of these people, you can do well with shower chairs that have mesh backs. But if you want a firmer and sturdier back surface, go for a solid material that’s snugger and less flexible.

Shower Safety Seat, Cutout for Easy Cleaning, Non-Slip Bath Support Recovery Chair with Backrest
Shower Safety Seat with Backrest (Image: Amazon)

Size

Majority of shower chairs are designed with the consideration of fitting into your shower space. Still, there are varieties in size. If you have a particularly small bathing space, look for compact shower chairs. Regular bathrooms can use standard or bariatric models.

If you aren’t 100% certain, we definitely recommend for you to measure your shower area to avoid buying the wrong type of shower chair. This way, you know it’ll fit perfectly in your bathroom the day it gets delivered to your door.

Mobility

Because there are differences in shower chairs’ size and design, you can expect differences in their portability, too. A lot of chairs come with locking casters, making sure that transfers to and from the shower or bath are safe. Some have wheels, but others do not. These rely on safe-grip rubberized feet to avoid slips and slides.

The weight of the chair can also be a factor worth looking into. For those living alone and unsure if they can carry the chair in and out of the bath, it is best to go with chairs with wheels, or go for really lightweight models.

MJM International 118-3TW-SSDE Standard Shower Chair with Soft Seat, Royal Blue/Forest Green/Mauve
MJM International 118-3TW-SSDE Standard Shower Chair (Image: Amazon)

Design

A lot of individuals expect sturdy back support and being able to lean back while sitting in the chair. This is also important for those who receive bath care from caregivers. Leaning back allows them to be bathed more easily. A lot of chairs are designed with this consideration in mind and offer recumbent features, such as rising leg rests and reclining backrests.

If you do not require recumbent backrests, go for chairs with fixed backs.

Function

Shower chairs might combine the functionality of both shower support and that of a commode. This is made possible by designing the shower chair’s seat into an opening, which can be placed over a standard toilet, letting the user go to the bathroom comfortably. This benefits both the user and the caregivers as it eliminates the need for another patient transfer, especially for cases of limited mobility.

Elite Shower Chair Commode with Footrest and Right Drop Arm ELT817 P FRRDA (Blue)
Elite Shower Chair Commode with Footrest and Right Drop Arm ELT817 P FRRDA (Blue) (Image: Amazon)

This is an optional feature. If you only need support and stability in the bathroom, go for models that do not double as commodes.

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