Shower chairs keep seniors safe in the shower by providing a safe place to sit while bathing. This is especially important if you have limited mobility.
Instead of standing up for an entire shower, you can sit and enjoy your bathing time. You also won’t need to grip onto a handrail or hold onto the shower wall either.
So, I put together this list of the best shower chairs for seniors to use in the tub or shower. I’ve also included a list of recommended features to help you shop as well.
Review your decision with your doctor or other health care professional. They may have additional suggestions based on their personal knowledge of your unique health situation.
Shower Chair Reviews
Here are my recommended bath chairs for elderly people.
These reviews are based on my own experience and knowledge as someone who works in the durable medical equipment industry.
Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair
I like this Drive Medical shower chair so much I that included it on my Top 10 Bathroom Aids list. It has every feature that I recommend.
The biggest reason I love it so much is that it offers both support and comfort. This is a hard balance to find with some medical equipment.
I also love that it has both back and arm rests for maximum support. The legs are adjust up and down too to get the seat to be in just the right position.
The seat is contoured and more comfortable than a straight seat too. It drains well and is also very easy to clean and maintain.
AquaTeak 18″ Asia Teak Shower Bench
If you don’t need a lot of support and want a more stylish shower chair, this teak wood model might just fit the bill!
This one is quality built and looks great too It has a very small 12″ x 18″ footprint that will fit easily in most tubs and showers too.
However, I do have a few potential concerns.
First, the height is not adjustable. The seat is 18″ off of the floor which works well for most people. But if you are 5 foot tall or less, you may have trouble getting on and off of it.
Also, teak wood does require occasional oiling to remain water repellant.
Finally, it is a bit heavier than most of my other recommendations, so that might be another potential drawback for you.
Carex Universal Bath Seat and Shower Chair
Do you need a smaller or more portable option? This compact and inexpensive shower chair is one of my favorites
To bath with a shower chair, you need a good hand held shower head. And, this chair has a built-in place to put the shower head! This is important for both safety and convenience. You won’t need to bend over to get the shower head after soaping up.
There are other things to love about it too.
It’s very lightweight but also accommodates people up to 400 pounds. The seat easily and quickly adjusts from 16 inches to 21 inches high. These features combine to make this shower chair fit a wide range of seniors.
The only real negative for this pick for me is that there is no back support. But, there is a raised lip on the back edge of the seat. So, you will know if you are near the edge.
Drive Medical Bath Stool With Swivel Seat
If you have a small tub or shower, this shower stool is a good one.
First, it’s only 15″ wide by 15″ tall. But, it still fits a wide range of people because the seat height adjusts from 16″ to 23″ high. It even has a high weight capacity of 450 pounds which blows most other choices here out of the water.
Another nice feature is the padded swivel seat. The padding isn’t thick and plush, but is better than a hard plastic seat.
However, the rotation feature is nice because it helps you with getting on and off of it. You simply sit down at the side of the tub and then turn their feet into the tub while seated. This reduces tripping over the tub edge. So, for safety, this is definitely an important and useful feature.
A few words of caution with this one.
It does not offer any support for the back, trunk, or arms. And, the seating area is small because the overall size is small. So, you should consider this one only if you have good balance and can maintain an upright seated position.
But, because the seat is small, the chair is lightweight and easy to move.
If not, you are at risk of falling off of the seat.
The Original Kai 15.5″ Corner Teak Shower Bench
Here is another stylish teak wood design that. Don’t forget though, that teak wood does require occasional maintenance to keep looking good and repelling water. Can I say it again? It’s a great looking shower chair!
This one works well in shower stalls and small tubs because of its small size. Because it is wooden, though, it will be heavier than the plastic items. It also has a smaller weight capacity (250 lb) than others.
This corner shower chair does not offer any support for the trunk or upper body though. So, it should only be used if you have good balance and upper body control.
It is recommended only for seniors who tire and need to sit while showering.
Drive Medical Bariatric Heavy Duty Bath Bench
This shower chair from Drive Medical is the best choice for heavier or larger people.
It has a very high weight capacity of 500 pounds! But, the chair itself only weighs 7.5 lb because of its lightweight aluminum and plastic construction.
The cross brace underneath it is riveted and reinforced. The seat is 20 inches wide which is 2 to 5 inches wider than the others.
DMI Shower Transport Chair
Shower chairs with wheels, like this one, have several advantages.
They are mainly used by people who are wheelchair bound. That way, you can be moved from outside to inside the shower by pushing the chair.
Of course, you would need a roll in type of shower to use this type of shower chair. So if you have a shower with a lipped edge or a bathtub, this won’t work for you.
This model also doubles as a commode chair too. It can be wheeled over the toilet to make the seat taller or used outside the shower as well. The commode seat is padded for comfort.
This shower chair offers a lot of support too by having back and armrests. If you have had a stroke or a severe neurological disorder, you would benefit greatly from this style of shower chair.
Buying Guide: What Shower Chair Features Do You Need?
When shopping for a bath seat or shower chair, it is important for you to know all your options. Here’s a quick summary of your options as well as my recommendations.
Shower chairs are made from all kinds of materials: wood, plastic, steel, and aluminum.
- Plastic is the most common option you will find. They are lightweight, inexpensive and very durable. Plus, they also are waterproof and will not rust or degrade. Cleaning a plastic shower chair is as simple as rinsing off after using it.
- Wood is becoming more popular lately. Many stylish wooden shower chairs are made of teak, which is naturally water and rot-resistant. You will pay a little more for wooden shower chairs though.
- Aluminum has decreased in popularity over the years as cheaper materials have evolved. 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 was the first material used in shower chairs but it is virtually non-existent today.
Adjustable Height Legs
To use a shower chair safely, you need to be able to get on and off of it easily. Adjustable height legs help by making the seat taller or shorter based on your leg length. This makes it easier for you to keep your feet on the floor while using it. Plus, it makes standing up after using it safer too.
The legs usually have rubber tips on them too so that they don’t damage your tub surface.
Shower Chairs with Backs
The purpose of the back on a shower chair is to support your back better to reduce the chance of you falling off backwards. So, if you have any kind of balance issues or get tired quickly, you should get a chair with a back.
Shower Chairs with Arms
Arms on a shower chair help in a few different ways. First, they give you something to hold on to when getting up and down. Second, they give you somewhere to rest your arms while using the chair.
Also, the arms reduce the chance of you falling off to the side.
Arms though can cause problems if you need to get on the chair from the side. In this case, the arm would be in your way.
What About a Padded Seat?
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 allow water to drain out easily.
It is important that the shower chair has a way for all the water to drain off. Standing water causes mold and mildew. So, I recommend seats with drain holes or a sloped surface to make sure water drains away. This reduces the amount of cleaning needed too.
Know the Chair’s Weight Limit
Many of these shower chairs are made of plastic so it is extremely important that you pay attention to the weight limit. Exceeding the weight capacity could result in a fall or accident.
Lightweight Shower Chairs
It is important to know how much the shower chair itself weighs. This is especially true if the seat will be moved in and out of the tub because others share the bathroom.
Choose a bathing seat that is lightweight makes it easy to move. and carry. A lightweight shower chair is also a great thing if you need to take it on a trip or for traveling.
Shower Chairs With Wheels
Shower chairs with wheels are just that. Think of them as a waterproof wheelchair maybe.
They are usually an aluminum framed shower chair with a larger seat and casters on the bottoms of the legs.
With this type, you can be wheeled in and out of the shower 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 often used by the severely disabled for showering.
Because the seats are larger, they offer more support for people who are unable to sit up straight by themselves. We sell these at our store for the elderly after strokes or who have neurological diseases like Parkinson’s or ALS.
Shower Chairs With Commode Openings
This type of shower chair is also larger in size and usually 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.
Another use for the commode opening is that it gives easy access to the groin for complete cleaning.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Do I Use A Shower Chair Safely?
There is a little bit more to using a shower chair than you think. Especially if safety is your concern.
Here is a video from a qualified therapist that walks you through the use of a shower chair step by step.
Here are the key steps:
- Adjust the legs so that the seat is level
- Place the seat in the tub or shower
- Step over the tub edge holding onto a grab bar.
- Back up towards the shower seat until you feel it on the back of your legs
- Sit slowly onto the shower seat.
NOTE: if you cannot safely step over the edge of the tub, you may want to consider a product like a tub transfer bench instead. A transfer bench allows you to get in and out of the tub without having to step over the edge.
How Do I Make Sure the Shower Chair Will Fit My Tub?
Measure the width of the tub AT THE BOTTOM, not across the top.
Many tubs narrow towards the bottom to encourage water flow. 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.
How Can I Make a Shower Chair More Comfortable?
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!
What’s the Difference Between a Shower Chair and a Transfer Bench?
The basic difference is that a shower chair sits fully in the tub while a transfer bench straddles the tub wall. It sits both inside and outside the tub.
With a shower chair, you need to step over the tub wall before sitting. But, with a tub transfer bench, you can sit down outside the tub then slide over into the tub area.
To learn more about transfer benches, see my guide to the best shower and tub transfer benches.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Not everyone can afford to remodel or to install a walk in tub in their bathroom.
I hope I have given you all the information you need to choose the best shower chair for an 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! Have you ever used any of the products above? Please share this article with your friends and family on your social channels with your comments! I’m sure they (and I) would love to hear your perspective.