6 Tips to Choose the Best Bath Lift
Most bath lifts on the market today are rechargeable lithium-ion battery-powered. The battery lowers and raises the bather by pressing and holding a button. Lifts with a longer battery life do not have to be recharged as often. It is important to consider the battery life of the lift as well as a feature that prevents lowering when the lift does not have sufficient power so that the user does not get stuck in the tub. There is no need to connect or disconnect hoses (like for water-powered lifts), so the lift may be easier to use while on vacation. On average, the bath lift has about 7-12 lifts per charge, but this would depend on the model of the bath lift, the weight of the user and the age of the battery. Batteries are usually stored in a water-resistant remote-control floating hand pendant which is connected to the motor.
Alternatively, there are hand crank bath lifts available, which don’t use batteries, so they never need to be charged. Originally, bath lifts were all water-powered, but there are not many available on the market today.
2. Fit of the tub
It is important to measure the bathtub before searching for a bath lift to make sure it will fit and operate properly. The seat of the bath lift should be in line with the side of the tub. The flaps of the seat, when extended, should be able to rest about 2-3″ on the sides of the tub for support. If the seat is not properly aligned with the side of the tub (by height or width), the flaps could break off and the user could fall into the gap between the side of the tub and the lift.
You should also measure the base dimensions of the bath lift and make sure that they will fit with the bottom of the bathtub and you must measure the height of the bathtub. A deep soaker tub requires a lift that has a higher maximum height so that the user can sit above the threshold of the top of the tub. The highest lift on the market right now goes up to about 19″.
A shallow tub requires a lower minimum height so that the user can be fully submerged safely. For a deeper soak, choose a lift that has the least amount of space between the bottom of the bathtub and the seat. Most lifts get down to about 3″ from the bottom of the tub; the lowest lift on the market right now goes down to about 2.3″.
If the bath lift doesn’t level properly to the side of the bathtub, transfers can be dangerous. Selecting the right bath lift is important for safety. To prevent accidents, you may consider having a bath lift expert measure the bathtub properly through Silver Cross to ensure that the right lift is purchased. Contact us now to learn about this service.
3. Surface of the bathtub bottom
The suction cups that hold the lift in place may not work properly on tubs with a textured bottom or other non-slip treads or treatments applied to the bottom. As well, the tub must be flat at the bottom for the suction cups to work properly.
4. Surface of the bath lift
A textured surface bath lift will help prevent slipping or sliding off. A smooth surface will make it easier for transfers from a wheelchair. Smooth surfaces are also easier to clean.
5. Consider the user
It is important to consider the weight of the user before purchasing a bath lift. Bath lifts on the market today can typically accommodate a weight capacity up to 300 lb. There is no bath lift for bariatric use; instead, you may want to consider a walk-in bathtub, shower chair, or roll-in shower.
Taller users require more leg room in a bathtub, which can be an issue with reclining bath lifts since they take up more space in a tub. A rigid backrest or manual bath lift with a removable backrest may be a better option for taller users.
For users that are prone to infections, a bath lift that is easier to clean (i.e., has a smooth surface and fewer moving parts) may be the best solution. Most models come with optional covers that can be washed regularly.
6. Recline or no recline
Bath lifts may feature no recline, auto recline or self-controlled backrests. No-recline backrests are in the upright position only; some users may find it easier to wash or shave their legs in this position. The backrest for auto recline moves automatically to a set position when lowered into the bathtub. A bath may feel more relaxing in a reclined position. A self-controlled backrest allows the user to choose how much recline they want when using the bath lift. The backrest may even be removed on some bath lifts for a deeper degree of recline or to be able to feel water jets in the tub.