Key Takeaways of Walk-In Tubs with Showers
- Walk-in tub and shower combinations offer a safe way to bathe for people with mobility problems and/or at risk of falling, while also offering a standing shower option.
- The price of walk-in bath-shower combos ranges from $3,000–$10,000 before installation, which is at least $1,000 higher than walk-in tubs alone.
- Medicare and private insurance don’t cover the cost of walk-in tubs, but you can find discounts, apply to national and/or local programs, and opt to finance to help pay for them.
If you have difficulty balancing, limited motion, or a history of falls, a walk-in tub is a home modification that can help you age in place safely and independently. Many walk-in tubs are designed for seated bathing with hand-held showers, but there are some brands that offer overhead showers for those who want the option of standing.
Walk-in tub and shower combinations offer the low-threshold entry of a walk-in tub with the convenience of an overhead shower. This gives you the option to sit or stand while also accommodating other household members who prefer a standing shower. Many walk-in tub and shower combos also comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Our Reviews Team identified the best walk-in tubs, but which brands in the industry offer the best walk-in bathtub and shower combos? Keep reading for our expert-chosen picks.
Best walk-in tub-shower combinations at a glance
- Editor’s Pick: Kohler
- Most Affordable: Ella’s Bubbles
- Most Features: Safe Step
- Best Large Options: Boca
Best walk-in tub-shower combinations in 2023
Editor's Pick: Kohler
- Cost: $2,500–$15,000 (before installation)
- Free quote: Yes, in-home consultation
- Tub type: Jetted (water and air available)
- Tub: 52–60 inches long x 28–32 inches wide x 39 inches high
- Seat: 17″ H x 21.5″ W
- Threshold/Step-in height: 3″
- Door style: Inward swinging
- Water capacity: 40–50 gallons (gal)
- ADA-compliant: Yes
- Standout features: Hand-held and overhead showers, grab bar, adjustable water and air jets, microbubble system, heated backrest, quick fill and drain systems, bath screen enclosure, and an option to add bath walls
- Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty
Kohler offers its shower package as an optional add-on to a Kohler walk-in tub, which converts your existing bathing space into a safe and accessible walk-in tub and shower. The shower package adds a wall-mounted showerhead and bath screen—a clear partial enclosure—to its original walk-in tub design to create a bath any family member can use. Kohler walk-in tubs are specifically and fashionably tailored to your bathroom and personal needs, combining in-home consultations, sleek ADA-compliant designs, a lifetime limited warranty, and one of the lowest threshold heights on this list (3 inches). For those reasons, Kohler is our clear choice for “Editor’s Pick.”
Kohler Shower package
To complete the shower package, Kohler mounts an overhead shower to the wall as a standing shower option for you or other household members. You can choose between standard or extended gooseneck shower arms and three different shapes of showerheads. Kohler also includes a bath screen, which partially blocks the shower space to protect the bathroom floor from getting wet. For an added cost, you can opt for Kohler LuxStone bath walls, which protect your original bathroom walls with an easy-to-clean surface that matches the rest of your bathroom.
The Kohler shower package is a major differentiating factor from other brands because it offers the full shower experience rolled into one personalized quote. It’s one of the few brands that offers a wall-mounted shower design similar to most traditional tub and shower combinations, while also offering optional enclosures to protect the surrounding bathroom space. Many other walk-in tub and shower combos don’t include enclosures, which means you have to purchase and install them separately.
Standard and optional features
The Kohler shower package is an add-on to its basic walk-in tub design, which includes water jets, air jets, and heated surfaces placed to specifically target commonly tense body regions, like your back and legs. The basic design also includes handrails (grab bars) for your safety as you sit or stand from the tub’s seat, and a hand-held showerhead, so you can shower while seated. You get to choose between brushed nickel or polished chrome fixtures, so your new tub matches your other bathroom fixtures. And if you want to soak in your tub, you can enjoy fast filling and draining features, which cut down your wait time by several minutes.
To receive a quote, you have to call a certified Kohler dealer and set up an appointment for an in-home consultation. Using a 35-point inspection process, the consultant will check multiple aspects of your existing bathroom space to calculate your tub and installation price. If you’re happy with the price and installation plan, you can choose to move forward with your purchase and discuss payment options, including financing.
The full cost can range between $2,500–$8,000 or more, depending on your combined tub and installation costs. The downside is your total price can skyrocket to more than $15,000 if any major modifications need to be made to your existing space, which will be determined during your in-home consultation.
The steep costs almost knocked Kohler from our “Editor’s Pick” position, but the Reviews Team decided it was deserving of the title due its unique combination of a long warranty, comprehensive package, and personalized touch—all important aspects of keeping you safe and mobile in your home for as long as possible.
Kohler offers a lifetime limited warranty, which covers the entire bath for as long as you own your home, and if the bath was installed by a certified Kohler professional. The warranty covers all manufacturing defects, including the door seal, bath walls, fixtures, and jets.
You can reach Kohler customer service via:
- Phone: 1-800-986-5977 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday
- Website: Contact form
Kohler also has a chat feature similar to other websites, but you’ll need to use your phone to text a representative instead of using a website based pop-up chat. It’s convenient, but it means sharing your phone number with the company and agreeing to marketing messages.
Payment methods vary between Kohler dealers, but most accept major credit cards and checks.
You can also opt for financing through GreenSky, the third-party financing partner for Kohler. If you’d like to finance, you can discuss your options with a Kohler professional and apply online during your appointment. If you qualify, you’ll set up an online portal where you can make payments and view your loan balance. Be aware that GreenSky interest rates can be as high as 24%, depending on your credit score.
Although the Kohler shower package is one of the most expensive companies on this list, the combination of customization options, one of the lowest threshold heights on this list (3 inches), and the ability to add a shower column to an existing walk-in tub makes Kohler a valuable and comprehensive investment for anyone looking for longevity in their home.
Read more about Kohler walk-in tubs in our full review.
Most Affordable: Ella’s Bubbles
- Cost: $4,348–$10,840 with shower column (before installation)
- Free quote: Yes, but installation quote is through a third party
- Tub type: Soaker or jetted
- Tub: 52–80″ L x 26–36″ W x 21–40″ H
- Seat: 15–17″ H x 19–29″ W
- Threshold/Step-in height: 4″–7″
- Door style: Inward or outward swinging
- Water capacity: 61–145 gal unoccupied
- ADA-compliant: Yes
- Standout features: Hand-held showerhead, grab bars, slip-resistant floors, quick fill and drain systems, and swivel table; optional features include a thermostatic control valve (anti-scald protection), adjustable water and air jets, microbubble system, heated seat and backrest, shower column, folding shower screen, LED lights, and aromatherapy capsule
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
Ella’s Bubbles gets our pick for “Most Affordable” walk-in tub-shower combos because it out-prices other walk-in tub brands that offer overhead showers, and it does so with a variety of choices. Although not every tub Ella’s Bubbles offers is the most budget-friendly, the company does offer basic soaker options (without jets) starting at $3,888, with a shower column add-on priced at $460 for a total of $4,348. Although there are lower-cost walk-in tubs on the market, most don’t offer either hand-held or overhead showers. The Ella’s Bubbles tub-mounted shower column isn’t as fancy as a wall-mounted shower, but it still delivers an overhead shower option by connecting to the existing faucet on the tub’s deck.
The Reviews Team found wheelchair-accessible options from Ella’s Bubbles (with an extra-wide L-shaped door designed for easy entry and exit, and an optional 4.5″ threshold) to be also competitively priced, starting at $4,673 for the tub alone or $5,133 with the shower column add-on. It’s worth browsing the Ella’s Bubbles warehouse clearance section as well, where you’ll find discounted products like extra large walk-in tubs below $8,000, which out-prices other large tubs in this review.
Ella’s Bubbles rain showerhead and glass shower enclosure
Ella’s Bubbles has the option to convert your walk-in tub into a tub-shower combination by offering a stainless-steel oversized rain shower column add-on for $460. The shower column can adjust to 7 feet high, and its showerhead can pivot to direct water toward the seat or over the standing area. To keep the rest of your bathroom dry, you can add a folding shower screen enclosure for $450, or install a more budget-friendly rod and curtain from your local home improvement store for less.
If you’re installing the walk-in tub in a new area of your bathroom, or if the waterproof walls surrounding your current tub don’t fit with the new tub, you’ll need to purchase and install waterproof bath walls separately to protect your original walls. Ella’s Bubbles doesn’t offer an option for either the purchase or installation of bath walls, unfortunately.
Standard and optional features
Ella walk-in tubs come with standard features, like grab bars and quick fill and drain systems. You can customize your basic soaker tub or therapeutic tub with a jetting package (water, air jets, or both), heated seat and backrest, and folding shower screen. Bidet jets are included with the air + hydro jetting package for all but the petite Ella tub.
Threshold height (the bottom part of the doorway you have to step over to enter the tub) can also be customized. Most Ella tubs have a threshold height of 6 inches. To further reduce tripping hazard, you can opt for the threshold lowering option, which will reduce the threshold height to 4 inches.
You can also add optional accessories, like a mounted head support for $190, which allows you to relax your head while seated in the bath. If you prefer to sit on a seat pillow for comfort, you can purchase the standard seat option for $190, or if you choose to include the air + hydro jetting package with your tub purchase, you might also want to purchase the U-shaped pillow for $230 to take advantage of the air-jet bidet fitted into the seat.
Pricing and installation
Ella’s Bubbles doesn’t show its pricing online, but you can request a price quote through the Contact Us page on the website. You have the option of hiring your own installer, or you can arrange for installation through the company. Ella’s Bubbles recently began offering installation services through Angi, a third-party contractor network with installers around the United States.
To get an official quote on your walk-in tub with installation, you’ll need to select the tub model you want, opt-in for installation services through Angi, and request a quote. Ella’s Bubbles will reach out to you with product pricing, and an installer will contact you to set up a time to quote the project. Although this is not as convenient as purchasing an all-in-one product and installation package, Ella’s Bubbles explains that this will save you money on installation, since contractors will be competing for your business.
Ella’s Bubbles offers a competitive limited lifetime warranty. As long as you’re the original owner of the tub and its installation location, the warranty covers all parts from the manufacturer, including faucets, drains, tub shell, and door seal. The only feature explicitly not covered under the lifetime warranty is the thermostat control valve, which only has a one-year warranty. The shower column has a five-year warranty that covers the replacement of faulty parts.
You can reach Ella’s Bubbles via:
- Phone: 1-800-480-6850 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, or 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT, on Saturday
- Website: Contact form
- Email address: email@example.com
If you need to contact technical support for your Ella walk-in tub, Ella’s Bubbles uses a separate online form.
You can also use the live online chat feature through the website, which you’ll find on the lower right corner of the site’s web pages, though you’ll need to share your name, email address, and phone number to use it. Our Reviews Team found the chat tool useful for basic information, but if you need details about products and accessories, you’ll need to speak with a sales representative over the phone or set up an in-home appointment.
Ella’s Bubbles accepts all major credit cards and PayPal credit. The company also accepts Bitcoin or Ethereum cryptocurrency (as of March 2023).
You can also opt for financing through third-party financing partners Klarna or Synchrony. If you’d like to finance, you can discuss your options with an Ella’s Bubbles representative during your purchase process. If you apply and qualify, you’ll need to set up a profile with the financing company to make your payments. Keep in mind that installation costs are dependent on the contractor, so you’ll discuss payment options with them separately.
If your top priority is budget, Ella’s Bubbles is the best option. You can also consider alternative solutions like conversion kits that turn an existing tub into a walk-in tub and wall brackets to hold hand-held showerheads to save more money.
Most Features: Safe Step
- Cost: In-home estimate required
- Free quote: Yes, in-home consultation
- Tub type: Jetted (water and air available)
- Tub: 48–52″ L x 28–31″ W x 30″ H
- Seat: 17″ W
- Threshold/Step-in height: 4″
- Door style: Inward swinging
- Water capacity: 75–98 gal unoccupied
- ADA-compliant: Depends on tub size
- Standout features: Hand-held shower, grab bars, slip-resistant floors, quick fill and drain system, anti-scald technology, electronic keypad, towel bar, floating remote control, water and air jets, bidet; optional features include the ozone water cleaning system, LED lights, aromatherapy capsule, microbubble system, and a shower column
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
Safe Step gets our “Most Features” pick because it offers the largest selection of safety and therapeutic features with your bath, including anti-scald technology, which limits bath water temperature so you’re not burned as your tub fills with hot water. Anti-scald valves are typically set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. To help protect you from infection, jetted tubs have an optional safe water ozone cleaning system to purify the water as it travels through the jets, killing harmful bacteria and mold that can grow in the plumbing.
When the Safe Step representative evaluates your bathroom during the in-home visit and asks for your desired features, specify you’d like the standing shower feature added to your purchase. This ensures your installation will include a shower column with a rain showerhead, which attaches to the deck of your tub near the faucet and is held in place with wall supports.
Standard and optional features
If you’re looking for convenient features, Safe Step may be your best option. Standard features include a “no-strength” locking handle and two grab bars in every tub to ensure you stay safe when entering and exiting the tub. You can take advantage of the hand-held shower wand and adjustable therapeutic jets, which are controlled with a tub-mounted control pad or a floating, waterproof remote control.
Optional features include a personal hygiene bidet, the MicroSoothe® Air Therapy System, LED lights to give you the relaxing effects of chromotherapy, and aromatherapy to help you feel calm as you bathe. Chromotherapy (color therapy) uses wavelengths in different colored lights to aid in healing, regulate mood, and promote relaxation, according to research.1
Aromatherapy uses smell, often from essential oils, as a therapeutic tool. Aromatherapy is often used as an alternative medicine to stabilize mood and treat stress, anxiety, and insomnia, according to research.2 The same research warns, though, that essential oils have the potential to be toxic if not handled properly. The National Capital Poison Center recommends people dilute essential oils properly before adding them to bath water to avoid skin irritation, which is why Safe Step includes an optional canister with the aromatherapy feature to help dilute the oils into the tub water safely.3
Pricing and installation
Although our Reviews Team found the Safe Step service representatives to be helpful and pleasant, they were adamant that we book an in-home consultation before revealing any pricing. Their reasoning was most tubs are customized to the user, so prices fluctuate too much even for an estimated range. One of the representatives we spoke with insisted they needed to gather contact information, like a phone number and email address, but not all of the customer service interactions we had with Safe Step felt pushy.
Safe Step offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of its walk-in tubs. The warranty covers all manufacturer defects, including the door seal, water pumps, faucets, replacement parts, and labor. Caulking from installation is covered for two years. Safe Step encourages you to check with your sales representative for detailed warranty information on each feature you choose to purchase, including the shower column, which may have a separate warranty.
To book an in-home consultation and receive a quote on products and installation, you’ll need to speak with a Safe Step customer service representative and request an appointment. You can click the “free quote” button on the website and submit your contact information to get a call from a representative, or you can reach Safe Step customer support via:
- Phone: 1-888-727-9239 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, or 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Saturday and Sunday
- Website: Contact form
- Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
The website also has a chat feature, which you can use to get answers to simple questions about products. It states that you’re talking to a live person, but many of the answers appear to be automated. When our Reviews Team asked specific questions about warranty coverage or the tub’s components, the chat’s rapid response directed us to call the customer support line.
Before you pay, ask about discounts. A Safe Step customer support agent told our Reviews Team that the brand offers discounts for military veterans and older adults, including a “Helping Hands” discount that helps lower the cost when insurance cannot. Exact discount varies according to the brand’s pricing information.
Safe Step accepts all major credit cards. You can also opt for one of the many financing options the company offers. A sales representative we spoke with also said Safe Step tries to find something within your budget, so they will work with you to figure out the right pricing or payment schedule for your needs.
If you’re looking for luxurious features, Safe Step is one of the best options on the market.
Best Large Tub Options: Boca Walk-In Tubs
- Cost: $8,000–$14,000 (before installation)
- Free quote: Yes, by phone or online form
- Tub type: Soaker or jetted (water and air available)
- Dimensions (on wide and deep tub options):
- Tub: 51–62″ L x 30–32″ W x 36–40″ H
- Seat: 18″ H x 25–27″ W
- Threshold/step-in height: 2″
- Door style: Inward swinging
- Water capacity (in wide and deep tub options): About 80 gal unoccupied
- ADA-compliant: Yes
- Standout features: Hand-held shower, grab bar, slip-resistant floors, seat and head pillows, and quick fill and drain system; optional features include heated backrest, Warm & Safe scald protection, bidet, water and air jets, microbubble system, LED lights, Vibe music system, ozonator sanitation system, aromatherapy capsule, bath walls, and a shower column
- Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
Boca Walk-In Tubs has the most large walk-in tub options available: deep, wide, wide-and-deep, and two-seater options. While these tubs are not the largest in the industry, they are the largest tubs with the most therapeutic features that can accommodate most body types and needs, making this brand our Reviews Team’s choice for “Best Large Tub Options.”
Each walk-in tub has a shower column add-on, not to mention its many other add-on features that closely contend with the features offered by Safe Step, our pick for “Most Features.” Boca offers an industry-leading low threshold at just 2 inches, which is an important standout feature for those looking to minimize tripping hazards in the bathroom.
Adjustable-height showerhead and shower enclosure
Boca earned its spot on this review by offering a shower column with its large tubs. The chrome shower column is an add-on option, featuring a rain showerhead, an adjustable height, and a sliding handle on the column to hold the hand-held shower that’s included with the standard walk-in tub. The shower column is fixed to the tub’s deck near the faucet and held in place with wall supports for a secure fit. Boca also offers bath walls to protect your existing bathroom walls if you’re creating a new space for your tub. Unfortunately, the company does not offer any type of enclosures, so you’ll need to purchase and install a rod and curtain from your local home improvement store.
Standard and optional features
If you’re looking for a spacious tub that helps you ease daily aches and pains, Boca offers a few therapeutic add-ons, including chromotherapy and aromatherapy. Its Vibe music system isn’t specifically designated as a therapeutic option, but the American Music Therapy Association states that music and sound promote physical and mental wellness through pain and stress management.4
Pricing and installation
You don’t need an in-home consultation to receive your free quote. To get an estimate, you can call a Boca sales representative, who will ask questions regarding your home and needs. You may need to provide measurements and pictures of your bathroom to give the representative an idea of your space. If you need someone to look at your bathroom space in person, Boca has a network of experts nationwide who can arrange to visit your home and assess the space to give you the most accurate quote. Once you order your tub, it will take about six weeks for it to be delivered to your home. You can select an installer from the network Boca contracts with, choose your own installer, or self-install.
Boca offers a fairly flexible limited lifetime warranty. You get lifetime coverage on all parts for the full life of the tub (including the shower column), even if you or an outside contractor installs it. It’s common that brands void warranties if you hire external contractors or do it yourself, but Boca doesn’t. In fact, if you choose to save money by self-installing, Boca offers online tutorials and instructions to help you succeed.
You can reach Boca Walk-In Tubs customer support via:
- Phone: 1-844-346-0020 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday
- Website: Contact form
- Email address: email@example.com
Our Reviews Team found it difficult to reach the customer service phone representatives during operational hours and had to leave voice messages for a call back. After two days of phone tag, we were able to talk to a pleasant support representative, who was transparent about the full purchasing process and all of the costs. They also emailed supplemental information to us, including warranty information and product brochures to better understand Boca tubs.
Since Boca doesn’t require in-home consultations, you’ll purchase your tub with a sales representative over the phone. The company accepts all major credit cards.
If you’re interested in financing, Boca has a few options. It offers standard five, eight, 10, or 12-year terms, but you’ll need to discuss specific rates with your sales representative. You can also opt for a 12-month term, with no interest and no required payment for a full year. If you haven’t paid off the tub in a year, then interest will be added to your balance.
Boca Walk-In Tubs is a good option if you’re looking for large tubs with plenty of customizations and a low-threshold passage. You can order your walk-in tub and shower without an in-home consultation, which is great if you know what you need. If you need more guidance, consider a brand that offers this service or look for an occupational or physical therapist who can guide you.
Comparison of best walk-in tub-shower combos
|Kohler||Ella's Bubbles||Safe Step||Boca|
|Cost (before installation)||$2,500–$15,000||$4,348–$10,840 (with shower column)||In-home estimate required||$8,000–$14,000|
|Tub type||Jetted||Soaker or jetted||Jetted||Soaker or jetted|
|Threshold height (inches)||3||4–7||4||2|
|Safety features||Grab bar||Grab bar, slip-resistant floors, optional scald protection||Grab bar, slip-resistant floors, ozone cleaning system, scald protection||Grab bar, slip-resistant floors, ozone cleaning system, scald protection|
|Warranty||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime||Limited Lifetime|
Table 1 Comparison of best walk-in tub-shower combos, as of March 2023
What is a walk-in tub-shower combination?
A walk-in tub-shower combination merges the safety of a walk-in tub with the convenience of an overhead shower. They range in price from $3,000–$10,000.
Walk-in tubs are a type of bathroom modification that creates a safe passage into and out of the tub. A hinge door opens a pathway into the tub, reducing the tub’s threshold to 2–7 inches. A walk-in tub is a good option if you’re concerned about safety in the bathroom, especially if you have mobility limitations and/or trouble balancing when stepping over a tub’s typical 14- to 16-inch threshold.
If you’re switching to a walk-in tub, consider that some walk-in tubs do not offer an overhead shower. Most walk-in tubs have a hand-held showerhead installed next to the faucet, but some don’t have a showerhead option at all. If you want an overhead shower, you may need to shop specifically for a walk-in tub-shower combination, where the showerhead is installed on a column or wall. If you don’t have the space or budget for an overhead shower, you may be able to find a creative cost-effective solution, like installing a wall bracket so you can place the hand-held showerhead on the wall when you want to stand up in the shower.
Pros and cons of walk-in tub-shower combinations
What to consider when shopping for a walk-in tub and shower
When shopping for a walk-in tub and shower combination, consider a few options and features that can impact your post-purchase experience with your tub.
Tub size and shape
Size matters. Make sure you pick the right sized tub to accommodate you and fit your home. When our Reviews Team evaluated brands for best walk-in tub-shower combination, we chose brands with a range of tub, door, and seat sizes to fit most people’s needs. Tubs that are less than 60 inches long and 30 inches wide are not ADA compliant and may not be the most accessible option. Excessively large tubs may take up most of the floor space, cluttering your bathroom and decreasing accessible areas.
The best way to pick the right size and shape is by arranging for an in-home assessment from the walk-in tub brand of your choice. Our Reviews Team values the free in-home assessments offered by many brands because a walk-in tub professional can evaluate your home and needs, take accurate measurements, and recommend the best solution, so you’re only paying for what you need. If you opt for a brand that does not offer free in-home assessments, look for online guidance, like the Ella’s Bubbles measurement guide. You can also search for physical or occupational therapists who are qualified to evaluate you and your home through organizations like the Home Modification Occupational Therapy Alliance. You may be able to ask your doctor to write a prescription for a home evaluation, so your insurance is more likely to cover the cost. Home safety evaluations or assessments by occupational or physical therapists are very helpful in identifying a range of changes or modifications that can be made to your home to help you safely age in place.
A home evaluation is also useful in choosing which safety features are most important to you. ADA-compliant walk-in tubs have non-slip floors, seats, grab bars, and hand-held showerheads as basic accessibility requirements. But there may be more safety features to consider.
If you have low sensation in your feet and legs due to poor nerve conduction from conditions like diabetes, you may need anti-scald features that block temperatures from exceeding certain thresholds, like the 100 degree Fahrenheit limit (with an override option) Boca offers for its tubs. This ensures water temperatures don’t accidentally exceed scalding levels (around 120 degrees Fahrenheit) while you’re seated in a filling tub.
If you’re worried about tripping while entering or exiting your tub, you may want to opt for a low-threshold tub, like the Boca two-inch barrier. You may also want to consider adding more grab bars where you need them. To help prevent slips while navigating your tub, especially if you’re using the overhead shower while standing, you can add additional non-slip surfaces.
“Non-slip floor mats will help when placed on the bottom of the tub and just outside the tub, since these tend to be very slippery and can place someone at risk of falling,” said Brittany Ferri, an occupational therapist based in Rochester, New York.
When choosing a showerhead, there are several options to consider depending on your circumstances.
A hand-held showerhead allows you to easily move the direction of water flow when using the shower or cleaning the shower and tub area. The showerhead rests on a wall bracket that is attached to the shower wall.
A rain showerhead is a type of overhead fixture that is significantly larger than a traditional fixed or hand-held showerhead. It can be mounted on a sidewall, using a straight- or gooseneck-arm or can be mounted directly overhead. The water falls straight down from the showerhead (rather than at an angle), making it feel like you’re standing under heavy rainfall. This can have benefits of full body relaxation and is often more visually appealing than other fixed styles.
Gooseneck showerarms are known for their unique curvature that allows water from the showerhead to flow down, rather than at an angle. The gooseneck showerarm is still mounted to a shower wall, but it’s curved, which allows the head to point down toward the user. This type of arm is traditionally used in combination with a rain showerhead.
A shower column is a long metal fixture that is installed on the wall of your shower. It allows you to customize your shower experience often including features like multiple varieties of showerheads and an assortment of jets.
If you want to use your overhead shower, you’ll need an enclosure to shield the rest of the bathroom from splashing water. Most walk-in tubs are primarily used for bathing, so brands don’t typically offer bath walls or enclosures. When shopping for the best walk-in tub and shower combination, consider purchasing from a brand that offers waterproof wall protection and at least partial enclosures to protect your bathroom and keep surfaces dry. Kohler is one of the few brands that offers both of these options with its tub installations. Otherwise, expect to purchase and install your own solutions, like wall tiles, fiberglass bath walls, and/or shower curtains.
Therapeutic and luxury features
If you’re looking to soothe aches and relax during your bath, you can choose to add therapeutic options to your tub. “Walk-in tubs offer a lot of bells and whistles that many standard tub-shower combinations simply cannot,” said Ferri. “Water jets, aromatherapy, light therapy, whirlpool features, and more, all do wonders for people with circulation or joint issues related to arthritis or other chronic conditions.”
Caregivers also benefit from these additional features because they can help lighten the physical effort needed to bathe a loved one. For example, a neck rest is a useful add-on because it offers added support (and safety) for someone who struggles to keep their head upright, said Ferri.
More luxurious features, like the pivoting table that comes standard with an Ella’s Bubbles tub, heated backrests, bidets, and aromatherapy and chromotherapy (color therapy) are nice if you like to relax in the bath. But these options are not always necessary and can increase the price of your tub by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Ferri also warned that therapeutic and luxury features are rarely deemed medically necessary, so if you want insurance to cover part of the tub’s cost, therapeutic add-ons may give insurance a reason to deny your claim—and it’s already difficult to get insurance to cover basic walk-in tubs.
Ease of use and cleaning
It’s easy to overlook some of the potentially inconvenient features of walk-in tubs and showers. For example, walk-in tubs need the door to be securely locked in order to fill and drain. This means you won’t be able to exit or enter the tub while the door is sealed, and you must be seated while waiting for the tub to fill and drain. Rapid draining and filling are important features for a positive bathing experience, so all of our picks have these features. For example, waiting for a walk-in tub to drain without a fast-drain feature can take upwards of 15 minutes. Ella’s Bubbles claims that a standard sized walk-in tub with fast-drain technology empties in about 80 seconds. That’s a big difference when you are waiting to be able to exit the tub.
Also consider the material of your tub. For example, acrylic material tends to last longer than gel coat, which chips away over time. You should never use abrasive steel wool or harsh chemicals on your tub’s shell, as it may wear the protective coating. All materials should clean easily with a water and vinegar mixture or gentle dish soap; just make sure to rinse the surface areas well to reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
Tubs with air jets may also have ozone sanitary systems that blow out hidden bacteria and mold from the jets, ensuring your water will be clean the next time you bathe.
How much do walk-in tub-shower combinations cost?
Walk-in tub-shower combinations start between $3,000–$4,000, which is $1,000–$2,000 higher than a standard walk-in tub. This is because the additional shower features require more labor, plumbing, and tiling to complete installation. Larger or more luxurious options can cost $10,000 or more. Although walk-in tubs are a steep investment, they can help to reduce the risk of falls while entering the bath. You shouldn’t have to risk your bathroom safety because of cost—there are many ways to save on walk-in tubs.
How to save money on walk-in tub-shower combinations
Most private and government insurance carriers do not cover the cost of a walk-in tub, but there are exceptions. Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part B may offer coverage if deemed medically necessary by a health care professional. If you have Medicaid, you can apply for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to see if you’re eligible for partial coverage. You can also look into funding opportunities through your local Medicaid office.
Just like typical retailers, many companies offer special deals around the holidays, like Presidents’ Day and Black Friday. And don’t forget to look for product clearances. Brands like Ella’s Bubbles have warehouse clearance sales, where older models are sold at significantly lower prices, some at nearly $2,000 off.
Most walk-in tub companies also have financing options that you can apply for at checkout. Every brand partners with different financing companies that may offer various rates, so it’s worth looking at different brands to find what works for you.
Grants or other benefits
- Rural Repair and Rehabilitation grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture help low-income people who don’t qualify for other financing to modernize and upgrade their homes, including the addition of walk-in tubs.
- Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, and other local programs are available in many parts of the country to help low-income older adults and people with disabilities purchase and install walk-in tubs. Contact your local area agency on aging or Center for Independent Living to learn what’s available in your community.
If you’re looking for additional assistance, check out NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp and read our How Much Do Walk-In Tubs Cost? article to learn more about the associated costs with a walk-in tub.
Affordable alternatives to walk-in tub-shower combinations
If you want to soak and shower without the hefty price tag, there are other options. Here are a few cost-effective alternatives to walk-in tub-shower combinations.
If you already have a tub-shower combination at home, you can convert it to a walk-in style by purchasing a conversion kit for significantly less than purchasing a brand new walk-in tub.
AmeriGlide offers a conversion kit for $592, which involves removing part of the tub wall to create a passageway with a lower threshold. The kit doesn’t come with a door. If you want to close off the tub space for soaking, you have to add the door to your cart at checkout. AmeriGlide offers 9-inch or 12-inch magnetized steel doors that seal off the tub space for $230 and $254, respectively.
You can convert your tub on your own, but our Reviews Team recommends hiring a professional to install it safely.
If you’re purchasing a new walk-in tub and would like to include an overhead showerhead, you don’t necessarily need to purchase a shower column or install a showerhead to your wall. Instead, you can purchase a wall bracket as a place to mount your hand-held showerhead. You can find wall brackets for $11.98–$45.98 at most home improvement stores. Some models screw securely into the wall, while others use suction or adhesive backing. Wall brackets can be safely self-installed, often without professional help.
First, you’ll need to purchase a walk-in tub with a hand-held showerhead. You can find affordable walk-in tubs at home improvement stores such as Home Depot, which sells Universal Tubs, a low-cost brand that offers models starting at $1,869.
When choosing your walk-in tub, make sure the hand-held showerhead has a hose that’s long enough to accommodate your height when it’s on the bracket. A typical hose is about 60 inches long, but if you’re tall, you can purchase longer hoses between $10–$30 on Amazon or at a home improvement store. If you plan to buy a longer hose, tell your installer, so they can help you exchange the existing hose for your preferred one.
Lastly, install your bracket at a comfortable height. One way to determine where to install your bracket is by standing in the tub and testing out different heights until you find a placement that’s comfortable. You can even hold the showerhead in place to determine where the spray will go when it’s at different positions.
This option is the most affordable way to convert your walk-in tub into a walk-in tub-shower combination. If you purchase a Home Depot $1,869 walk-in tub model and install an $11 wall bracket, you’re spending less than $2,000 on the entire set-up. That’s almost $2,000 less than the starting price of our “Most Affordable” pick before installation costs.
How to purchase walk-in tub-shower combinations
The purchase process for a walk-in tub-shower combination differs between brands. Some brands offer transparent pricing with online checkout, while others require in-home consultations before you can buy.
Kohler and Safe Step both require in-home consultations to buy. Both brands have similar processes, where the customer must call customer service to talk with a sales representative and book an in-home consultation with a professional. After they visit your home, they’ll provide a quote and a financing opportunity, if applicable. You’ll pay through the representative, wait a few weeks for the tub to arrive, and have a brand-certified installer do the rest. The installation process typically takes one to two days, but largely depends on the project’s scale, associated plumbing and electrical work, and other bathroom modifications needed to accommodate the walk-in tub.
Beware of sales traps—you should never feel obligated to buy when an expert visits your home for a free assessment. Shop around and get multiple quotes, and ask for up-front, transparent pricing.
Ella’s Bubbles and Boca Walk-In Tubs both allow you to order without an in-home consultation. You still need to call a sales representative to receive a quote, but you can order the tub on the phone without seeing someone in person. You’re free to hire your own installer, or request an installer through the company when you make your purchase.
Outside of this review, there are other brands with different purchasing processes. For example, AmeriGlide prices are fully transparent, and the company allows you to purchase your walk-in tub and accessories fully online without speaking to a representative at all. You are completely independent in your purchase, which you may prefer if you know exactly what you want. This may not be the best option if you need guidance measuring your bathroom and choosing the features that are best for you.
Who should use a walk-in tub and shower combo?
Falls in the bathroom are quite common at any age, according to research, and many would benefit from making safety modifications, starting as young as 41 years old, to prevent injury.5 Walk-in tub and shower combinations are an especially great option for those with difficulty balancing or moving confidently around the bathroom, for those with arthritis, and for people with certain types of physical disabilities. This bathroom modification is a safe solution to help fall-proof your home, so you can age in place independently and safely for longer.
Beyond safety, walk-in tubs have many therapeutic features, like water jets and heated seats, that can help people living with painful conditions like arthritis manage their symptoms. “These features can improve symptoms such as pain, poor motion, and impaired circulation,” said Ferri.
Heat therapy alone is responsible for many of the positive effects on the body. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing states that heat not only improves pain in joints with arthritis, but also helps the joints to move better for improved overall mobility and function.6
Before turning to heat therapy for relief, it’s important to consider conditions that may not benefit from heat therapy, and may even be worsened by it. Hot water and rigorous jets may not be the best option if your body is experiencing inflammation or if you have sensitive skin that is easily bruised or injured. For example, research on pain management has found that joints with red-hot inflammation should not be treated with heat as it could inflict more pain.7 Talk to your health care provider before using heat therapy to confirm whether it’s right for you.
Walk-in tub and shower combinations are best for those who want the therapeutic benefits and safety of a walk-in tub, but with the overhead shower option for themselves or other family members who use the same bathroom.
How we chose the best walk-in tub and shower combos
Based on independent research and consulting with geriatric care experts, our Reviews Team has determined the following factors to be important for our readers when shopping for a walk-in tub:
- Ease of use
- Safety features
- Extra features
- Door swing design
- Customer service
We had all of our selections medically reviewed by an expert in the field to ensure each brand and model is appropriate for our readers’ needs.
Why you can trust our expert review
Our Reviews Team thoroughly researched brands in the walk-in tub industry to understand which offers the best products and services to meet our readers’ needs. To make our selections, we
- Engaged in independent ongoing research
- Mystery shopped 12 brands and spoke to three dealers
- Consulted with occupational and physical therapists
- Read verified customer reviews from trusted third parties, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot
Walk-in tub-shower combos are not the most common type of walk-in tubs, but all of the brands listed here that sell overhead shower combinations offer quality products.
Kohler, our “Editor’s Pick,” offers a long warranty and a comprehensive, personalized shower package. Unfortunately, the price can be high, but it could be a worthwhile investment. Safe Step offers similar personalization with many customization options, but cost estimates are difficult to get without an in-home consultation.
Boca Walk-In Tubs rivals Safe Step in features, but its biggest standout is its large tub options. If you want a spacious tub with plenty of therapeutic options, Boca is your best bet.
Finally, Ella’s Bubbles is our most affordable and versatile option, closely competing with Kohler at the top of our review. But if you’re looking to save, you may want to consider alternative options, like a walk-in tub conversion kit from AmeriGlide for less than $1,000. You can also purchase a more affordable tub, like a basic soaker with a hand-held shower from Universal Tub, and mount the showerhead on a wall bracket for less than $2,000.
If you’re unsure about what you need, opt for a brand that can provide an in-home consultation option (and up-front transparent pricing), or ask your doctor to refer you to someone (like a physical or occupational therapist) who can evaluate your home and your needs.
To keep your walk-in tub and shower budget friendly, check with your insurance company, look for deals and holiday sales, and apply for financing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions about this review? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Azeemi ST, Raza SM. A Critical Analysis of Chromotherapy and Its Scientific Evolution. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. September 2005. Found on the internet at https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2005/254639/
- Farrar AJ, Farrar FC. Clinical Aromatherapy. Nursing Clinics of North America. December 2020. Found on the internet at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0029646520300475
- Poison.org. Essential Oils: Poisonous When Misused. Found on the internet at https://www.poison.org/articles/essential-oils
- American Music Therapy Association. What is Music Therapy? Found on the internet at https://www.musictherapy.org/about/musictherapy/
- Schellenberg, Morgan, et al. Falls in the Bathroom: A Mechanism of Injury for All Ages. Journal of Surgical Research. February 2019. Found on the internet at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022480418306656
- Yıldırım, Nurcan, et al. The Effect of Heat Application On Pain,
Stiffness, Physical Function and Quality of Life in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis. Journal of Clinical Nursing. March 2010. Found on the internet at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.03070.x
- Nadler, Scott F., et al. The Physiologic Basis and Clinical Applications of Cryotherapy and Thermotherapy for the Pain Practitioner. Pain Physician. November 2004. Found on the internet at https://www.painphysicianjournal.com/current/pdf?article=MTU3&journal=20