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How to Choose a Bath Lift

5 Tips on Choosing a Bath Lift

1. Power—Battery powered is the most common bath lift in the market today. It lowers and raises the bather by pressing and holding a button. Hand crank bath lifts are also available,  which don’t have batteries, so they never need to be charged. All bath lifts were originally water powered but there are not many of those available on the market today.

2. Fit—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 in the gap between the side of the tub and lift. It may be a good idea to have a bath lift expert measure the bathtub to ensure that the right lift is purchased to prevent accidents. Many companies provide these services for free—find one now.

3. Bottom of the bathtub—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.

4. Consider the bather.

  • How heavy is the person using the lift? Most bath lifts can lift around 300 lb. but some specialty bath lifts can lift up to 550 lb.
  • Is slipping off the chair while bathing more of a concern or is transferring on to the lift? A textured surface bath lift will help prevent slipping or sliding off. A smooth surface will make it easier for transfers from wheelchair. Smooth surfaces are also easier to clean.

5. Recline or no recline—Bath lifts have either no recline, auto recline or self-controlled backrests. No recline backrests are in the upright position only; some may find it easier to wash or shave their legs in this position. The backrest for auto recline goes 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.