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Bath seats

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We have over 50 years’ experience of independent, specialist research.

Fitting and using a bath seat

  • Most bath seats can be fitted to most baths.
  • Bath seats can be used with or without a bath board.
  • If you plan to get into the bath, remember that the seat takes up room, so you'll bathe with legs bent.

Points to consider:

  • A high seat may be easier to get onto in a deep bath.
  • A higher seat will mean that you're sitting in less water.
  • Seats with backs may make sitting easier.
  • Many people prefer padded or shaped seats.
  • Built-in handrails or armrests give you something to hold on to.
  • Some acrylic (a type of plastic) baths may not be strong enough for some bath seats.
  • It may be difficult to fit a seat in an unusually shaped bath.

Seats can be fixed to the bath in these different ways:

The bath seat stands inside the bath, using suckers to hold it in place. Put the seat where you want it, then push it down. Do this when the bath is dry, or else they won't stick. They may not work in narrow baths with very sloped surfaces. Some suckers need to be tugged to remove them.

Paddles look like wide legs. They wedge against the side of the bath. Adjust them so that they fit the shape of the bath and then tighten the fixing. Some plastic baths may be too weak to take the pressure - check with the bath's manufacturer. If you're in any doubt, avoid this type of seat.

Hanging seats
These hook over the side of the bath. The rim needs to be wide enough to support them - normally it needs to be at least 3.5cm (1 1/2") wide on each side.

Safety check:

  • Is the bath seat secure?
  • Will it take your weight?
  • If your bath is plastic, is it strong enough?

Using a bath board with a bath seat

  • If you're using a bath board and bath seat together, fit the board first.
  • The bath seat needs to be near enough to the bath board to make getting on and off it easy.

Bath seats checklist

Use this checklist to help you decide when getting a bath seat. 

Is it comfortable?

  • Would a seat with a backrest be more comfortable?
  • Cutaways are more comfortable for men.

Will water drain away?

  • Drainage holes are an advantage, but avoid large holes or slats - these could be uncomfortable to sit on, or could trap parts of your body.
  • Avoid seats that are hollow. They could fill with water.

Will it fit?

  • If you want a hanging seat, is the bath rim wide enough to support it?
  • Is the seat the right size for you?
  • Can its width be adjusted?
  • If your bath is plastic, be careful of seats that wedge into baths, because your bath may not be strong enough to take them.

Is it easy to fix in the bath?

  • Can you - or whoever will do it - fix the seat in your bath and take it out again?
  • Will it suit your bath?

Also see: Our product test results of bath seats.

This information from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products. Please search online by product name to find suppliers.

Last updated: August 2018

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