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Best Shower Grab Bars for Seniors and Elderly Needing Reliable Support

Best Shower Grab Bars for Seniors and Elderly Needing Reliable Support

The best shower grab bars have ergonomic, textured handles that provide a secure, slip-resistant grip, high weight capacities over 300 pounds, and sturdy installation into wall studs with manufacturer hardware. Here are my favorites:
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®
By:
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

With over 20 years of experience and certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®, Scott Grant provides reliable recommendations to help seniors maintain independence through informed product and service choices for safe, comfortable living.

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Best Shower Grab Bars For Seniors
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Income Disclosure.

If you’re looking for the best shower grab bars for elderly users, this guide will highlight the top-rated options to improve bathroom safety. I’ve evaluated numerous products and selected bars that offer maximum stability, comfort, and weight capacity.

The key is choosing grab bars with non-slip, ergonomic handles that provide a secure grip, even with wet, soapy hands. You also need high weight limits and solid installation into wall studs for reliability.

Below I review my picks for the sturdiest grab bars with the best gripping surfaces. I’ll share details on materials, sizes, finishes, and extra features so you can find the perfect model for your shower setup.

My goal is to help you choose high-quality grab bars that supply stability and make showering safer and more accessible. Keep reading for my top recommendations!

Reviews of the Best Shower Grab Bars for Senior and Elderly Users

Here are the shower grab bars that I recommend. These reviews are based on my experience as a manufacturer’s rep for multiple home medical equipment manufacturers and working for a durable medical equipment company.

I have also factored in my personal experience choosing and installing grab bars for my own elderly relatives and loved ones.

Metal Grab Bar

Vive Grab Bar

from $16.99

Pros:

Supports up to 500 pounds
Lots of color choices
Includes installation hardware
Textured grips are available
Finished professional look

Cons:

Only available in smaller lengths (12, 16, 24 inches)

If you just want the base option without many extras, then I highly recommend the Vive shower grab bars. They have what you need in a safety grab bar plus some simple options – at a great price.

These corrosion and rust-resistant grab bars support up to 500 pounds when installed according to the manufacturer’s directions. And the necessary installation hardware comes with them (ceramic tile installations will require additional hardware).

I also love that, even though they are simple in design, they come in five different color choices – all approved for shower use. So you can maintain the looks of your bathroom while still improving your safety.

Finally, Vive offers a few nice extras like hidden mounting hardware plus smoothed corner edges for a finished look. Some colors also have the textured grips that I recommend.


Moen R8742D3GBN Home Care Bathroom Safety 42-Inch Designer Grab Bar with Curl Grip, 42 Inch, Brushed Nickel

Moen Designer Bathroom Grab Bar

from $72.98

Pros:

High fashion, non-medical design
Longer lengths available for shower use
Lots of finish choices
Ergonomic, non-slip grip
500-pound weight capacity

Cons:

More expensive than the typical grab bar

Not everyone wants their shower grab bars to look like pieces of medical equipment. And Moen accomplishes that with these designer grab safety bars.

They are attractive, rounded, sleek, and available to match many popular bathroom finishes that people use today.

There are other designer bathroom bars. But, I specifically recommend the Moen product because they have a more ergonomic appearance with rounded corners.

This design style is vital because elderly people do still fall. Because they have no sharp edges, they are less likely to cause injury to any body parts that may hit them during a fall.

They also have grippy areas on the underside that reduce the chance of wet hands slipping off them. This “Curl Grip” option is beneficial when used in a shower.

Plus, they come in the necessary sizes for shower use: 12 to 42 inches long. Finish choices include brushed nickel, chrome, and rubbed bronze finishes.


2 Pack Grab Bars for Bathroom, 16 Inch Anti Slip Bathroom Handicap Grab Bars for Showers, Safety Bath & Shower Grab Bar for Seniors, Shower Handles for Elderly, Tesuchan

Tesuchan Grab Bar With Grip

$19.99
as of 02/23/2024 3:21 am

Pros:

Non-slip silicone grips
Includes installation hardware 
Most common sizes
Priced as two packs
500 lb weight capacity

Cons:

No other color choices

I also recommend these grab bars from Tesuchan because I really like the soft silicone grips.

These rubbery grips minimize the chances of soapy hands sliding off them, which is very important for any grab bars used in the shower. I think of them as adding bicycle grips to your grab bars. 

They come with all the hardware you need to install them and have a 500-pound weight capacity. These grab bars even include longer screws than other options, making for a more robust installation.

Made of quality stainless steel, these grab bars last for years – even in wet areas like showers.

The brushed chrome finish does have a bit of a “medical appearance,” so I wish there were other finish options. But, most people won’t be bothered by their appearance anyway.

You will also like that these are among the most affordable options on my list. They are available in two packs of 12, 16, 24, or 32-inch lengths.


Moen LR2354DBN 9-Inch Curved Bathroom Grab Bar with Integrated Corner Shelf, Brushed Nickel

Moen Grab Bar With Integrated Corner Shelf

from $48.46

Pros:

Fashionable and stylish grab bar
Double uses for safety and storage
Durable and stable when installed correctly

Cons:

Not for use with anyone needing significant support in the shower
You should use it only in conjunction with other grab bars

As I said, Moen is leading the industry regarding great-looking bathroom safety bars. They are even making multiple-use options like this one.

Besides the excellent looks of this model, I also recommend it because it supports up to 500 pounds (when installed into studs) Plus, it adds a functional shelf for keeping body wash and shampoo bottles within easy reach. 

This bar is only 9 inches in length and installs in the corner. I recommend keeping it close and putting it in the front corner of the shower. 

I don’t recommend this option for people who need significant support in the shower. And, it’s vital that you use it in combination with other recommended grab bar placements for a complete bath safety solution.

Moen does have an entire line to match these for a finished and professional look.


Seachrome Bathroom Grab Bar, 38 inch Stainless Steel, Left Handed Zuma Bar, 1 1/4 inch Diameter, Handicap Grab Bar, Safety Rail, Satin Stainless

Seachrome Angled Bathroom Grab Bar

from $97.71

Pros:

Solid one-piece construction
Two finish choices with hidden hardware
Durable stainless steel with welded end caps
Offers multiple levels of support

Cons:

Weight capacity is only 250 pounds

Many older adults also use shower chairs with grab bars. An angled grab bar is beneficial for getting up from a shower seat because they have different levels.

You can use the lower one to pull up from the seat and the higher one to stabilize yourself while standing. 

For people who need a shower grab bar to use with a shower chair or bath bench, I really like this one from Seachrome.

I recommend it because it has a one-piece construction with a designer look and smooth edges. The installation hardware is covered, too, so you won’t have to look at any unsightly mounting hardware.

Made of strong stainless steel, it is available in two finishes: a shiny polished option or the duller satin finish. The weight capacity is just 250 pounds. I wish it were more, but that weight limit will support most older adults. 

Knowing whether you need a right or left-hand configuration when ordering is essential because the sides aren’t interchangeable.


Best Portable Shower Grab Bars

A few options are available for people needing a mobile option, including bathtub handles and suction grab bars.

Grab bars are usually permanent (or semi-permanent), so they aren’t generally portable. There are some other options in the alternatives section below too. 

Medline Bathtub Safety Grab Bar, Shower Rail, Microban Protection, Light Blue, 1 Count

Medline Bathtub Mount Grab Handle

from $38.99

Pros:

Toolless installation
Waterproof and clean appearance
Longlasting and strong
250-pound weight capacity

Cons:

Used for stability while getting over the tub wall only
Requires a bathtub with a wall for installation

If you travel frequently and need a portable shower grab bar, I recommend this Medline Bathtub Safety Grab Bar Handle.

The Medline Tub Safety Handle has an easy-to-use, toolless clamp that attaches to the tub wall. These clamps have a soft lining that won’t mark or damage your tub wall.

Once clamped, you hold onto the top bar to steady yourself while stepping over the tub wall. 

It is made of solid steel and coated with waterproof and anti-rust enamel. The white finish will match any bathroom decor.

It is easy to transport because no tools are needed to take it off or attach it. But, you must secure it tightly, so it is stable and doesn’t move when you use it.

Note that it connects to the outer bathtub wall and is positioned outside the shower curtain. So you can’t reach it while the curtain is closed. 


Best Suction Shower Grab Bar for Seniors

Suction shower grab bars are removed and attached easily, so they are an option for people needing portable shower grab bars. But, as I explained earlier, they have their limitations.

They are made to steady people with weakness or poor balance. A suction shower grab bar cannot support a person’s weight or help you to stand from a seated position. 

So, if you have to choose this option, getting one with safety mechanisms is essential to ensure you get a secure attachment.

Suction Grab Bar Vive

Vive Health Suction Grab Bars for Showers

from $19.99

Pros:

Small and portable
Colored indicators tell you if they are installed correctly
Flippable latches improve suction
Rubber handles improve grip
Lightweight 

Cons:

Not for supporting the entire weight
Less than 12 inches long which isn’t long enough for everyone

If you have to use a suction cup grab bar in the shower, I recommend the Vive Suction Cup Grab bars. They have two essential features – latches and colored indicators – that make them safer to use than others.

First, you must understand that shower grab bars only work with smooth finishes and not textured surfaces. Even then, this temporary connection must be as secure as possible.

Vive added latches that pull the suction cups, which creates more suction force for a better attachment than simply pressing a cup against the wall. 

I also like that the colored indicators change to green when correctly secured. Of course, you should test the suction grab bars every time you use them.

But, this is an excellent initial check that they are installed correctly. Vive even says these grab bars can support 300 pounds when installed correctly. I don’t recommend you push that limit, though.

Other extras I like are the rubberized grips and the waterproof and durable plastic construction. Being plastic, they are lightweight and easy to throw in your bag and take on the road.


Changing Lifestyles Safe-er-Grip 16" Bath & Shower Handle

Safe-er-Grip Suction Grab Bars

from $11.51

If the Vive product above isn’t long enough, the Safe-er-Grip suction grab bars are 16 inches long.

They have similar latches to the ones I recommend to ensure you get a secure installation every time. However, there are no color-coded indicators like Vives. 

I could not find a published weight capacity for this either. But, the manufacturer does state they will not support a person’s body weight. They also instruct you to detach and reattach the m every time you use them.

They also have a textured grip which reduces the chance of slipping. They come in multiple pack-size options if you need more than one. 

If you need a longer length, they are a good option. But, otherwise, the Vive model above is safer to use. 


Best Heavy Duty Shower Grab Bars

Franklin Brass 5616 1-1/2-Inch x 16-Inch Concealed Mount Safety Bath and Shower Grab Bar, Stainless

Franklin Brass Concealed Mount Grab Bars

from $14.00

These are my favorite heavy-duty shower grab bars for heavier older adults. I recommend the Frankin Brass product because it supports 500 pounds of pull force and exceeds ADA guidelines.

You also get a choice of multiple finishes and a range of lengths to meet your shower setup’s needs! Choose from 12, 16, 18, 24, 36, 42, and even 48 inch lengths.

Plus, they have hidden mounting hardware for a finished, professional look once installed!

Decision-Making Factors: How to Choose the Best Grab Bars for Showers

Many people I consult with believe that all shower grab bars are the same. They are metal curved bars that attach to a wall, after all. But, there are some crucial differences that you should know.

Materials

Most grab bars are often stainless steel because they are used in wet locations. Often, they will have paint or enamel coatings to help protect them and to give them a finished look.

There are a few other choices, like bronze or brass, on the more decorative grab bars. All these materials are strong and work well. I recommend you choose the one that has the look you want; just make sure it is safe to use in wet areas.

Location, Shower Size, and Shower Grab Bar Placement

The size of your shower and where you will mount your shower grab bars will help you narrow down your choices. Not every brand is available in every size. The recommended shower grab bar placement is:

  • A vertical one at the shower entry (usually 24 inches long)
  • A horizontal bar over the faucet handle (at least 24 inches long, but longer is better depending on shower width)
  • A second horizontal bar on the side shower wall (at least 30 inches long, but the entire length of the shower is best)
  • An optional horizontal one on the rear shower wall if the senior enters the shower from the rear (at least 24 inches long but longer if space permits)

All of these are mounted 33 to 36 inches from the floor.

Go measure your shower and list the sizes you will need. Shower bars are available in lengths of 12 to 60 inches in 6-inch increments. But, not every brand has every size.

For example, a typical shower stall will need a 24-inch (for vertical entry) and two or three 30-inch-long grab bars, while a standard tub shower combo may need a 24-inch at the entrance, two 24 or 30-inch ones for the front and back walls, and a 36 or 48-inch for the side wall.

Mounting Method and Installation 

Permanent Grab Bars

First, it is always best to install a grab bar directly into the wall studs if possible. Another option is to secure one side with a stud and the other with the proper anchors.

If stud attachment isn’t possible, use the anchors that came with your grab bars or get the ones the manufacturer recommends. Fortunately, most grab bars come with the required hardware!

If you have any concerns about installing them yourself, call a professional. Many plumbers, handypersons, and bathroom contractors will install shower grab bars for you.

Suction Cup Grab Bars

Suction cup grab bars have become more prevalent in recent years because they are easy to attach and mobile for people who need a portable grab bar. But, there are some cautions you need to know.

Suction grab bars will not bear a person’s total weight, so you shouldn’t use them in any pulling situation or place where an elderly person might need them for full support.

The more proper use for them is to steady yourself while moving in the shower or while getting in or out of it.

Also, most manufacturers tell you to check the suction or reattach them every time you use them. Is that practical for elderly users? I don’t think so. 

I generally don’t recommend people use suction cup grab bars in a shower because of this. I know there are situations where they are necessary, like in a rental property or if you have walls with poor structural support.

If you have no choice, choose one with built-in safety measures like colored suction indicators and latches that maximize their “stickiness.”

Portability

The reality is that a properly installed grab bar will not be portable. There are some portable grab bar options for showers, like the suction cup grab bars I discussed above.

You must be careful and ensure they are securely attached and that you use them for their intended purpose and know their limitations.

Some alternatives to shower grab bars are also more portable, like tub-mounted safety bars or using a transfer bench or shower bar instead. Learn more about these alternatives below.

Weight Capacity

Ensure that you know both the weight of the person who will be using the grab bars and the weight capacity of the bar itself. Most have at least a 300-pound weight capacity, and many go up to 500 pounds. 

It is also essential for you to understand that the quality of the installation determines the weight capacity. It is doubtful that a metal bar will split in two.

However, it is much more likely to rip out of the wall if not installed adequately. This possibility is why I always recommend attaching them directly to the studs.

Textured Grips

A textured or anti-slip grip is an important safety option for shower grab bars. But, not every product has them. These grab bars have had texture added to the metal, which makes it less likely for soapy hands to slide off.

Some manufacturers even add silicone or rubber grips to the middle of the bars for easier gripping. I recommend these additions when possible.

Decorative Bathroom Grab Bars

Bathroom safety product design has improved recently, and many companies like Moen and Delta are putting effort into making functional grab bars that are also fashion pieces.

They offer many grab bars in multiple finish choices to match existing bathroom hardware.

Another option is more decorative designs with smoother, ergonomic handles and stylistic flanges to cover up the installation hardware. I’ve included a few decorative options for you in my recommendations below.

What to Avoid

When shopping for shower grab bars for elderly users especially, avoid the following:

  • Suction cup grab bars unless you have no other choice
  • Installing grab bars yourself unless you have some general home improvement experience
  • Using towel bars as grab bars
  • Grab bars that don’t come with the recommended hardware.

Alternatives/Other Options

An installed bathroom grab bar is the most secure way to improve your showering safety. But, there are a few alternatives too. Some options work well to assist seniors and the elderly while taking showers, but others are risky.

Here is a quick review of these options, along with the pros and cons. 

Bathtub Grab Bar Handles

Bathtub handles clamp to the top of the tub wall. The handle’s primary function is to provide a place to steady yourself while getting in and out of the tub.

While they work well for this use, they don’t offer much help while you are showering because they are outside the curtain. If you need help standing while showering, use standard grab bars in the shower or combine a bathtub handle with a shower chair or bench.

My favorite bathtub handlebar is the Medline one I reviewed above.

Stander Poles

Stander poles mount to the floor and ceiling and often have handles near the middle. Some physically attach while others stay in place by tension like a shower rod or cafe curtain rod but turned sideways.

Stander poles have some limitations when compared to a bathroom grab bar. They are installed outside the shower, so they are only helpful for getting in and out of the shower.

You cannot reach them while in the shower. If you or your elderly loved one needs standing assistance in the shower, permanently installed grab bars are the best option. Combining a standing pole with a shower chair may also work.

If it sounds like a vertical pole meets your needs, I recommend the Stander Security Pole with Curve Grab Bar. 

Stander Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar, Elderly Tension Mounted Floor to Ceiling Transfer Pole, Bathroom Safety Assist and Stability Rail, Iceberg White

Stander Security Pole with Curve Grab Bar

from $169.00

Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

If standing in the shower is particularly risky or impossible, consider using a shower chair or bath bench in addition to your grab bars.

That way, you can sit while showering and then use an angled grab bar to stand or other grab bars to steady yourself while standing or entering/exiting the tub. As mentioned above, you can also combine shower chairs with bathtub handles or stander poles. 

You can see my list of the best shower chairs for seniors and the elderly here to explore this option. A similar alternative is a tub transfer bench that lets you sit outside the tub and then scoot yourself over into the shower/tub. Learn more about tub transfer benches here.

Shower Chair or Transfer Bench? How To Choose The Right Bath Safety Equipment

Step Stool with Handle

Another alternative is a bathroom step stool. Note that you should only consider this option with older adults who have good balance but are maybe too weak to lift their legs over the tub edge.

A better alternative to these is the bathtub handles I discussed above because they are more secure.

A stool isn’t a great alternative for most people, but if you think a step stool is best for your needs, always choose one with a handle. My favorite bathroom stool for seniors is the Adjustastep Deluxe Bathroom Step Stool. 

AdjustaStep(tm) Deluxe Step Stool/Footstool with Handle/Handrail, Height Adjustable. 2 Products in 1. Modern White/Blue Design. Padded Non-Slip Handle. 300 lb. Capacity

Adjustastep Deluxe Bathroom Step Stool

from $67.00

FAQ/Resources:

Who can I call to install grab bars?

If you are concerned about installing your grab bars correctly, most plumbers, bathroom contractors, licensed handypersons, or general contractors will usually install them.

Larger cities often have companies specializing in selling and installing shower grab bars.

Does Medicare cover shower grab bars?

Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for grab bars in the shower because they do not meet their rigid requirement of durable medical equipment. However, some Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) will cover them.

Many state Medicaid plans and many commercial health insurance plans pay for them too. Call the customer service phone number on your card or check your policy documents to check.

Are there ways to get free shower grab bars for the elderly?

If your insurance plan will not pay and you cannot afford the recommended shower grab bars I listed above, there may be some ways to get assistance. Patriot Mobility offers the following tips:

  1. Check with the Veterans Administration if you are a veteran.
  2. Both the Department of Agriculture and HUD offers home improvement grants and loans for home modifications that might include grab bars. 
  3. Some long-term care insurance programs pay for them as aging-in-place equipment.
  4. Rebuilding Together may be able to include grab bars for showers as part of a bathroom modification.
  5. Check with your local chapters of these support organizations if your disability is tied to a specific condition like Parkinson’s or MS.
  6. Look for used equipment at yard sales and flea markets.

Summary

Shower grab bars are a standard bathroom safety measure for seniors and the elderly. They provide support while getting in and out of the tub and shower.

Grab bars also stabilize seniors while standing to take a shower. They can even help with getting up from and down to seated surfaces.

Always install them into studs with proper hardware for the highest level of security and stability.

If this isn’t possible, only use anchors or fasteners recommended by the manufacturer or call a pro to install them. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation instructions.

Proper shower safety requires installing multiple grab bars in various locations. Measure your shower and get the longest bars possible to fit where you need them.

Also, ensure the grab bar’s weight capacity exceeds the weight of the person using it. Non-slip handles are another safety feature to consider consideration.

I wrote this guide to help you choose the best shower grab bars for seniors and the elderly who need to improve their safety in the bathroom. As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments below!

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Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

With over 20 years of experience and certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®, Scott Grant provides reliable recommendations to help seniors maintain independence through informed product and service choices for safe, comfortable living.

Learn More Email

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