Can You Use a Grab Bar As a Towel Bar? (Yes, But Should You?)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Updated:

Yes, most grab bars are definitely sturdy enough to be used as a towel bar. But, should you use them as towel bars? No, you shouldn't if the grab bars are needed for safety.

Grab Bar As a Towel Bar
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Space is often at a premium in a bathroom, making installing additional features aggravating or stressful. So that brings up a common question: can you use a grab bar as a towel bar?

The answer is yes, in most cases! 

But, the more important question is: Should you use a grab bar as a towel bar? The answer to that question is, “It depends!” If a senior or elderly person needs grab bars are needed for safety, you should never put towels on them.

But if they aren’t required for safety, then it may be ok to use them as towel racks. 

Grab Bars Can Support More Weight Than Towel Bars

The great thing about grab bars is that they’re built to support a lot of weight – up to 250 pounds, in many cases, and that’s before finding heavy-duty grab bars that are designed for much more. That means they’re more than up for holding a few damp towels.

That being said, grab bars are more expensive than most towel bars. So, it’s unlikely you will want to go through and replace your towel bars just for this extra weight capacity.

grab bar as a towel bar install
You have to make sure that the grab bar is properly and securely installed.

Install Grab Bars and Towel Bars Securely

First, be sure that the grab bar is installed correctly and securely. Remember that a grab bar, first and foremost, is there for safety and for being able to keep you upright and save you from a nasty fall if you slip. Don’t compromise on safety for placement or design.

Safety is of the utmost importance.

This is essential for both safety and stability – you don’t want your towel bar to come crashing down, after all. At that point, the towels would be the least of your worries.

Consider the Grab Bar’s Material and Finish

Second, take a look at the grab bar’s finish. Some finishes, like brushed stainless steel, look beautiful but are more susceptible to corrosion from moisture, humidity, and other similar influences than others.

Look for grab bars that are specially treated to resist rust, corrosion, and damage.

There are many of these available nowadays, and you might be surprised how many grab bars are made from a variety of aesthetically suitable looking premium materials to create that improved look in the bathroom while still offering full support.

Decorative Grab Bars

Search for decorative grab bars. These go under various names. You will find many grab bars with different colors, different finishes, and even more aesthetically pleasing designs while still having the full support to hold up against weight and pressure.

Some grab bars look like fancy towel racks or decorative accouterments for your bathroom. These combination products can be a great way to get the full cosmetic benefit and use of a towel bar while providing the security and extra safety that an actual towel bar will not.

But, again, never place a towel on any grab bar needed for support.

grab bar as a towel bar should you
If for safety purposes, do not put anything else on your grab bars.

So, Should You?

If you moved into a house that already had grab bars installed and would like to use them as towel bars, go for it!

However, if you have grab bars because they are needed to provide additional safety and support for you or a loved one, never place towels – or anything else – on your grab bars.

If someone uses the grab bar for help with a towel on it, it is likely the towel will slip, which could lead to a fall or injury. It is just not worth the risk.

RELATED: How To Remove Grab Bars From Your Bathroom Surfaces

Summary

So, a grab bar can be used as a towel bar. But the reverse is not true, and a towel bar should not be used as a grab bar. A grab bar offers complete safety and support with versatility, while a towel bar isn’t designed to give the protection and support that a grab bar provides.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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