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Need a Walk in Tub?

Walk in bathtubs are becoming common and for those who still have the ability to walk into a bathtub, they are the "cat's meow".  Nothing feels better than having a relaxing bath; it is more than getting clean.  It relaxes the mind, soothes the muscles and offers relief.  For those whose mobility is poor, bathing makes the body feel lighter and allows it to move more freely.
With so many walk in bathtub models on the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to choose the best product for your needs.  Here are some things to consider before you buy:
Price:  Walk in bathtub models range in price from $3000 to $15000. Depending on options, you should be able to purchase a good walk in bathtub for around $5,000-$7,000.
Sales Methods:  Walk in bathtubs are being sold online, through dealer networks where you can see the bathtub and try it out, as well as door to door salesmen.  Be wary of companies with high pressured salesmen, companies who will not disclose their prices when asked, and companies who cannot offer service on the product.
Certifications:  Walk in bathtubs should be certified to safety standards in the country of manufacture.  In Canada and the USA, CSA/UL certification is equivalent to American Standards Association.
Installation:  Most walk in bathtubs are no different to install than a regular bathtub... and can be done by a plumber.   Some companies prefer their own installers.
Construction: Common materials used are gel coat fiberglass and acrylic.  There is no need for metal re-enforcement on a walk in bathtub.  Fiberglass is a very strong material and most acrylic bathtubs are reinforced with fiberglass.
Size:  Sizes range from space-saving models which hold approximately the same amount of water as a regular bathtub to large models, which hold considerably more water. Keeping in mind that you must sit in the bathtub while it fills and drains and that some water heaters are not large enough for large volumes of water, having a smaller model may be advantageous.  In addition, keeping in mind that most bathrooms are relatively small; smaller models often are a better fit.
Inward or Outward Swing Door: The door swing is relative to the size of the bathtub. Inward door swings require a larger area within the bathtub, and often make it necessary for the user to maneuver around the door to enter or exit the bathtub. Inward swing doors use water pressure to keep the door sealed, but do not allow emergency access. An outward swing door permits a smaller bathtub, lower water usage and no maneuvering about the door to exit or enter and contrary to what some people will tell you - they do not leak!
External Drain:  Some walk in bathtubs have a small external drain below the door on the bathtub.  This drain is not there because the bathtub leaks! The "external drain" functions as a "drip tray"; that is, when the door is opened the drip tray catches the water droplets that fall from the open door and seal, thereby preventing water from being on the bathroom floor causing someone to slip and fall.
Step In Height: One very important aspect of the walk in bathtub is the step-in height.  Some models require lifting one's foot more than 7 inches to enter the bathtub, which rather defeats the purpose of having a walk in bathtub.  One company has a step in height that is 2" off the bathroom floor. 
Door Closure:  When it comes to opening and closing the door on the walk in bathtub, there are a variety of closure styles, varying from small lever and button actions to long-handled closures which allow for more leverage when opening and closing the door.
Options:  Many walk in bathtubs are available with hydro massage system.