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The Best Shower Chairs for Elderly People

best shower chairs for elderly people

A critical part of keeping seniors safe is preventing falls in the bathroom. According to the CDC, the risk of slips and falls increases dramatically after age 65. It is important for the elderly and their caretakers to know about the various bathroom aids that are available to help reduce this risk. Using a seat in the shower helps to prevent falls. But, there are lot of options to consider when shopping for a shower chair. Here are the best shower chairs for elderly people to consider along with my recommended options.

Comparison Table: Best Shower Chair Reviews

Photo
The Original Asia 18" Teak Shower Bench
TOP PICK!
Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms
Carex Universal Bath Bench
Drive Medical Bath Stool With Padded Rotating Seat, White with Blue Seat
The Original Kai 15.5" Corner Teak Shower Bench with Shelf
Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench
Product
The Original Asia 18" Teak Shower Bench
Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms
Carex Universal Bath Bench
Drive Medical Bath Stool With Padded Rotating Seat, White with Blue Seat
The Original Kai 15.5" Corner Teak Shower Bench with Shelf
Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench
Mini-Review
Best Teak Wood Shower Chair
Overall Best Shower Chair for Elderly
Best Budget Shower Chair
Best Shower Chair for Small Tubs and Showers
Best Corner Shower Chair for Shower Stalls
Best Bariatric Shower Chair
Material
Teak
Plastic
Plastic
Plastic
Teak Wood
Plastic / Aluminum
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
250 lb
350 lb
400 lb
450 lb
250 lb
500 lb
Weight
20 lb
8 lb
8.5 lb
5 lb
13.5 lb
7.5 lb
Size
18" x 12"
21.75" x 16.5"
21" x 18"
15" x 15"
15.5" x 15.5"
20" x 18"
Seat Height
18"
16" - 20.5"
16" - 21"
16" - 23"
18"
14" - 19"
Photo
The Original Asia 18" Teak Shower Bench
Product
The Original Asia 18" Teak Shower Bench
Mini-Review
Best Teak Wood Shower Chair
Material
Teak
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
250 lb
Weight
20 lb
Size
18" x 12"
Seat Height
18"
TOP PICK!
Photo
Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms
Product
Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms
Mini-Review
Overall Best Shower Chair for Elderly
Material
Plastic
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
350 lb
Weight
8 lb
Size
21.75" x 16.5"
Seat Height
16" - 20.5"
Photo
Carex Universal Bath Bench
Product
Carex Universal Bath Bench
Mini-Review
Best Budget Shower Chair
Material
Plastic
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
400 lb
Weight
8.5 lb
Size
21" x 18"
Seat Height
16" - 21"
Photo
Drive Medical Bath Stool With Padded Rotating Seat, White with Blue Seat
Product
Drive Medical Bath Stool With Padded Rotating Seat, White with Blue Seat
Mini-Review
Best Shower Chair for Small Tubs and Showers
Material
Plastic
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
450 lb
Weight
5 lb
Size
15" x 15"
Seat Height
16" - 23"
Photo
The Original Kai 15.5" Corner Teak Shower Bench with Shelf
Product
The Original Kai 15.5" Corner Teak Shower Bench with Shelf
Mini-Review
Best Corner Shower Chair for Shower Stalls
Material
Teak Wood
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
250 lb
Weight
13.5 lb
Size
15.5" x 15.5"
Seat Height
18"
Photo
Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench
Product
Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench
Mini-Review
Best Bariatric Shower Chair
Material
Plastic / Aluminum
Back?
Arms?
Padded Seat?
Wheels?
Toilet Opening?
Adj Height Legs?
Weight Limit
500 lb
Weight
7.5 lb
Size
20" x 18"
Seat Height
14" - 19"

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

searching for the best shower chair for the elderly

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Shower Chair by Larry Vincent at Flickr

The Best Shower Chair Features to Look For

When shopping for a shower chair, it is important to know all your options. Some features are key to having a safe shower chair while others are more about design and user choice. 

Shower Chair Materials

Shower chairs are made from all kinds of materials: wood, plastic, steel, and aluminum.

  • Plastic shower chairs are the most common option you will find. The best plastic shower chairs are lightweight, inexpensive and very durable. They also are waterproof and will not rust or degrade. Cleaning a plastic shower chair is as simple as rinsing off after using it.
  • Wooden shower chairs are becoming more popular lately. There is a new trend in bathroom safety products towards more stylish options. Many people do not want bathroom equipment to look like medical equipment. Many stylish wooden shower chairs are made of teak, which is naturally water and rot-resistant. Teak has even been used in boat building since ancient times! You will pay a little more for wooden shower chairs though.
  • Aluminum shower chairs have decreased in popularity over the years as cheaper materials have evolved. Some of the best shower chairs for elderly use aluminum frames with plastic seats which increases their durability and they stay light in weight. Aluminum is water resistant and will not rust but may take a little more effort to clean. Soap scum may stick to it and require occasional cleaning with a spray cleaner and a rag.
  • Steel shower chairs were the first shower chairs developed and are non-existent today. They were extremely durable but rusted and had to be cleaned frequently.

Shower Chairs with Backs

You will find many options of both styles: shower chairs with backs and shower chairs without backs. But, which style is the best shower chair for the elderly? It depends on the abilities of the senior using it.

The purpose of a back on a shower chair is to support the bather from behind and keep them from falling backwards. So, if the elderly person as any kind of balance issues or gets tired quickly and needs to rest frequently, the best shower chair for them will be one with a back.

However, if they just mainly have leg weakness and cannot stand for long periods of time, a shower chair without a back could be the best choice. When buying bath safety equipment though, it is also important to think of the future. If the elderly person's abilities will decrease over time, it may be best to go ahead and get one with a back up front. Some models have backs that can be put on later when needed.

Shower Chairs with Arms

Shower chairs come with and without arms on them. Arms help in a few different ways. First, arms give the elderly person somewhere to hold on to when getting up and down. They can help stabilize them and prevent a fall. They also give them somewhere to rest their arms if they need a break. Most arms on shower chairs are padded.

A shower chair with arms though can cause problems for elderly people who have to get on the chair from the side. In this case, the arm would be in the way and could keep them from sitting down safely.

Shower Chairs with Padded Seats

You can probably guess the benefit of a padded seat! These are primarily for comfort of course. Think about the materials a shower chair is made of: plastic, wood, aluminum, etc. Do any of these sound particularly comfortable? Nope!

If you choose a shower chair with a padded seat, the best ones are the ones that allow water to drain out easily. If water build up in or under the padding, mold or mildew could develop and need to be cleaned a lot.​

Here is a great hack if your seat is not padded: place a few washcloths, a hand towel, or even a folded bath towel on the seat. This will add some cushioning without being concerned about it getting wet.!

Shower Chairs with Wheels

Shower chairs with wheels are just that. They are usually an aluminum framed shower chair with a larger seat and casters on the bottoms of the legs. With this type of shower chair, the elderly person can be wheeled in and out of the shower kind of like a wheelchair. Of course, you would need a roll-in type of shower with no tub or edge on it.

Shower chairs with wheels are used a lot by the severely disabled. Because the seats are larger, they offer more support for people who are unable to sit up straight by themselves. I have seen these also used with the elderly after ​strokes or with neurological diseases like Parkinson's or ALS.

Shower Chairs with Toilet Commode Openings

​This type of shower chair is also large in size and is used with a roll-in shower. These are also used more with people with severe disabilities who also need toileting help. Most look like a shower chair on wheels with a toilet seat on top with the hole in the middle.

These come with a toilet bucket mounted underneath. The advantage here is the user can take care of their toileting needs. Then, the bucket is removed and disposed of and the person can be cleaned while right in the shower. Shower chairs with wheels and commode openings are best for people who are greatly disabled.

Other Important Shower Chair Features:

  • Drain holes - It is important that the shower chair has a way for all the water to drain off. Standing water causes mold and mildew. The best shower chairs for elderly people have drain holes in the seats and other areas to make sure water drains off. This reduces the amount of cleaning needed.
  • Adjustable height legs - The safest shower chair for elderly people is one that is easy to get in and out of. This reduces the chance of a fall. Shower chairs with adjustable height legs help by making the seat taller or shorter based on the leg length of the user. This makes it easier for them to stand while sitting in it and also makes sitting in it easier too.
  • Weight limit - make sure you know an accurate weight of the elderly person who will use the shower chair. Many of these shower chairs are made of plastic so it is extremely important that weight limits be followed. Exceeding the weight capacity could result in a fall or accident.
  • Weight of the shower chair - it is important to know how much the shower chair itself weighs. This is especially true if the shower chair will be moved in and out of the tub because it is used by other people in the home. The best shower chairs for elderly people are lightweight to reduce back and arm strain if it must be moved frequently or carried. A lightweight shower chair is also a great thing if the chair will be taken on trip or for traveling.
  • Size of the shower chair - measure the width of the tub AT THE BOTTOM  not across the top. Many tubs narrow towards the bottom to encourage water flow. Shower chairs tend to get wider at the bottom for stability. So making sure the width of the shower chair is less than the width of the bottom of the tub will ensure it fits when you get it.

​I will bet you had no idea there were was so much to consider when looking for the best shower chair for the elderly person in your life! Hopefully this was helpful and you made a few mental notes.

An example of what is NOT the best shower chair for elderly people:

not the best shower chair choice

CC BY-NC 2.0 First Post-Op Shower Chair by Melissa Trachtenberg at Flickr

Best Shower Chair Reviews​

The following shower chairs are my recommendations for the best shower chairs for elderly people. These best shower chair reviews are based on my own experience and knowledge as someone who works in the durable medical equipment industry.

Best Teak Wood Shower Chair for the Elderly

For the elderly person who does not need a lot of support and want to take high style into account, this teak wood shower bench may just fit the bill! This is quality built and quality designed and looks great. It's small 12" x 18" footprint will fit easily in most tubs and showers.

A few potential concerns: the seat is 18" off of the floor which works well ​for most people. However, those elderly who are shorter, say under 5 feet tall, may have trouble getting on and off this one. It is not height adjustable either. Also, teak wood does require occasional oiling to maintain it's water repelling ability. Finally, it is a bit heavier than most of my other recommendations.

The Original Asia 18" Teak Shower Bench
  • Sustainably Harvested 100% Solid Teak Wood Shower Bench
  • All Stainless Steel Non-Corroding Hardware & Rubber Gripping Feet for Added Stability
  • Superior Design -- AquaTeak Has Been Featured in Architectural Digest Magazine.
  • Naturally Water Resistant & Durable (Indoor or Outdoor Use)
  • Five Year Warranty & 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee!

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Budget Shower Chair for the Elderly

For one of the more inexpensive shower chairs, this is one of my favorites. If you have read how important I think using the right handheld shower head is, then you may be able to guess why. This chair has a built-in place to put the shower head! This is for both convenience and safety. It is more safe, because the elderly person won't have to bend over or try to balance on one hand to get the shower head after soaping up!

There are other things to love about this shower chair too. It is very lightweight but also accommodates up to 400 lb.​ The seat adjusts from 16" to 21" high. These features combine to make this the best shower chair for elderly people in a wide range of sizes and heights.

The only real negative for this one to me are that there is no back. Although, there is a raised lip on the back edge of the seat so the senior will know when they are at the edge.​

Carex Universal Bath Bench
  • Innovated design provides comfortable seating
  • Weight capacity is 400 pounds
  • Easily assembles with no tools
  • Fits into virtually every tub or shower
  • Smooth edge notch for convenient placement for hand-held shower

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Shower Chair for Small Tubs and Showers

If you are looking for the best shower chair for a small tub or shower, this is a good one. It is only 15" wide by 15" tall. But, it will also hold a wide range of people because the seat height adjusts from 16" to 23" high. It even has a high weight capacity of 450 lbs.

The seat is padded and it rotates. I want to be real with you though about this padding. It isn't thick and luxurious but is better than a hard plastic seats. The rotation feature is nice though and is very helpful with getting on and off of it. The user can sit down from the side of the tub and then rotate their feet into the tub while seated. This could reduce tripping over the tub edge for safety.

A few words of caution with this one. It does not offer any support for the back, trunk, or arms. Also, the seat is kind of small at only 14" x 14". It should only be used by elderly people who have good control of their upper bodies and good balance. If not, they will be at ​risk of falling off of the seat. I would only recommend this one for seniors who get tired standing in the shower mainly.

Drive Medical Bath Stool With Padded Rotating Seat, White with Blue Seat
  • Padded seat rotates 360-degrees and locks every 90-degrees to reduce twisting and reaching while in...
  • Easy tool-free assembly with a removable seat top for easy cleaning
  • Seat height can be adjusted from 16" to 23" in 1" increments
  • Comes with removable tray for storing personal items
  • Seat Diameter: 14"; Seat Height: 16"-23"; Outside Legs: 15"(D) x 15"(W); Weight Capacity: 450 lbs

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Corner Shower Chair for Shower Stalls

This is another stylist teak wood design that just looks great. Don't forget though, that teak wood does require occasional maintenance to keep look good and repelling water. Can I say it again? It's a great looking shower chair!

It works well in shower stalls and small tubs because of its small footprint. Because it is wooden though, it will be heavier than the plastic items and have a smaller weight capacity (250 lb).

This corner shower chair does not offer any support for the trunk or upper body though. So, it should only be used for elderly people with good balance and upper body control. It is recommended only for seniors who tire and need to sit while showering.​

The Original Kai 15.5" Corner Teak Shower Bench with Shelf
  • MEGA Holiday Sale!! - Sustainably Harvested 100% Solid Teak Wood Shower Bench
  • All Stainless Steel Non-Corroding Hardware & Adjustable Rubber Gripping Feet for Added Stability
  • Superior Design -- AquaTeak Has Been Featured in Architectural Digest Magazine.
  • Naturally Water Resistant & Durable (Indoor or Outdoor Use)
  • Five Year Warranty & 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee!

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Shower Chair for Larger Elderly People

This shower chair from Drive Medical is the best choice for larger elderly people. It has a very high weight capacity of 500 lb but only weighs 7.5 lb due to a lightweight aluminum and plastic construction. The cross brace underneath is riveted and reinforced. The seat is 20" wide which is 2" to 5" wider than other shower chairs to fit larger people as well.

Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench
  • Frame has width/depth cross braces attached with aircraft-type rivets
  • Durable, blow-molded plastic bench with drainage holes to reduce slipping
  • Aluminum frame is lightweight, durable, and corrosion proof
  • Euro-style clip for leg height adjustment; adjusts in 1" increments
  • Overall Dimensions: 20"(L) x 17.5"(W) x 30"(H); Seat Dimensions: 12"(D) x 20"(W) x 14"-19"(H);...

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

TOP PICK: The Best Shower Chair for Elderly and Seniors

I like this shower chair from Drive Medical so much I included it on my Top 10 Bathroom Aids list. It has everything I recommend when looking for the best shower chair for the elderly. It has a back and arms for maximum support. The legs are adjustable in height to allow the seat to be in just the right position. The seat is contoured and more comfortable than a straight seat. It drains well and is easy to clean and maintain. It is lightweight and is put together and taken apart easily for transportation.

Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms
  • Easily adjust height in 1/2" increments without the use of tools; Visible height indicator makes...
  • Enhanced comfort seat fits all shapes and sizes
  • Tool-Free removal of back, legs, and arms for easy storage and portability
  • Lightweight design has large stable legs with soft non-slip feet
  • Seat Dimensions: 16.5"(D) x 21.75"(W); Outside Legs: 15.5"(D) x 17"(W); Weight Capacity: 350 lbs

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Shower Chair with Wheels

Shower chairs with wheels have several advantages. One of the most important is that the elderly person can be moved from outside of the shower to in the shower by pushing the chair. Of course, you would need a roll in type of shower to use this type of shower chair.

It also doubles as a commode chair too. It can be wheeled over the toilet or used outside the shower. The commode seat is padded for comfort.

This shower chair offers a lot support too by having  back and arms. Elderly people who have had a stroke or severe neurological disorders would benefit greatly from this style of shower chair.

Duro-Med Shower Chair With Wheels, Commode Chair and Padded Toilet Seat, Shower Transport Chair,...
  • EASILY MOVE YOUR LOVED ONES OR PATIENTS IN AND OUT OF THE SHOWER or commode with your high quality...
  • WORKS GREAT AS A PADDED COMMODE CHAIR as it fits over a standard toilet, which enables you to easily...
  • EASILY MOVE ACROSS FLOORS AND THICK CARPETS with large, durable wheels, along with rear locking...
  • WATERPROOF PVC BACK REST WITH COMFORTABLE PADDED VINYL SEAT that makes it comfortable to sit for...
  • WARRANTY AND GUARANTEE: Amazon Exclusive Limited warranty may apply. Please see product for...

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 20:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusions and Recommendations

Not everyone can afford to remodel or to install a walk in tub in their bathroom. This makes shower chairs are a very important bathroom safety product. They can enable an elderly person to still bathe themselves while preventing falls. I hope I have given you all the information you need to choose the best shower chair for the elderly loved one in your life or for yourself.

If you have any questions for me or other suggestions to offer, please leave them below in the comments!​

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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