The Best Shower Chair Options for Older Adults

In this article...
  • Explore the features of the best shower chair options for seniors. Learn who can benefit from one and if Medicare and private insurance is likely to cover it.

The National Institutes of Health cautions that bathrooms are one of the places in your home where falls are most likely to occur. Shower chairs can greatly reduce the risk of injury by providing older adults with a sturdy place to sit while they bathe. To get the most benefits possible from a shower chair, you need to choose one that's right for your needs.

Who Might Benefit From a Shower Chair?

Shower chairs are useful for people who are at risk of falling. Those who have any of the following health concerns might benefit from one.

  • Balance problems
  • Back or leg pain
  • Lack of lower body strength
  • Confusion or dementia

Does Medicare or Insurance Cover Shower Chairs?

Medicare classifies shower chairs as durable medical equipment (DME). Medicare Part B may cover some of the cost of one if a Medicare-approved physician prescribes it as medically necessary and the model meets certain criteria. Medicaid generally doesn't cover shower chairs, but some private health insurance plans do.

Important Considerations When Choosing a Shower Chair

When shopping for a shower chair, consider:

  • Choose a shower chair that has enough room for you to sit comfortably but is small enough to fit into your shower stall or tub.
  • Weight capacity. The model you choose must be strong enough to support your body weight.
  • If you share your shower or tub with people who won't be using the chair, look for options you can transport and store easily.
  • Some models let you raise and lower the seat and make other adjustments to customize the chair for your needs.
  • Arms or armless. Experts generally recommend chairs with arms because they give you a place to grip when transferring in and out of the shower.
  • Back or backless. Some people may benefit from the increased support of a backrest. Chairs without backrests are often lighter and easier to maneuver.
  • Shower chairs should be crafted out of materials that are durable and resistant to the effects of water.
  • Slip-resistant feet help shower chairs stay securely positioned to increase safety. Some chairs have wheels on their bases for added mobility.
  • Padded shower chairs reduce pressure, help protect the skin from injury and may help you bathe more comfortably.

10 Best Shower Chairs for Seniors

No single shower chair is ideal for everyone. Each one has its own benefits and potential drawbacks that you need to weigh before you buy. The following options have unique features that make them among the best shower chairs currently available for older adults.

Medline Shower Chair Bath Seat

The Medline Shower Chair Bath Seat makes adjusting the seat height to your exact needs as simple as pushing a button on the sturdy, rust-resistant aluminum base. This design simplifies operation for people who have difficulty twisting objects due to joint stiffness. A rectangular backrest offers extra support and has a notched cutout that serves as a handle to increase maneuverability. While the chair weighs in at only 7.13 pounds, it can support up to 350 pounds. Its angled armrests keep you stable as you move on and off the chair and are equipped with padded sleeves for cushioning and a secure grip. A simple design makes it possible to assemble the chair without any tools.

Key Features

  • Push-button adjustable legs
  • Ample nonslip padding on the arms
  • Angled arm design
  • Carrying handle in backrest
  • Tool-free assembly

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Small backrest
  • Bulky dimensions

Carex Easy Swivel Shower Stool

With the Carex Easy Swivel Shower Stool, you won't have to worry about reaching for your soap or shampoo while you bathe. The shower chair features a drainage-equipped tray that keeps your essential toiletries readily accessible. For comfort, the round seat has a thick layer of water-resistant cushioning. A swiveling mount allows the seat to rotate 360 degrees to simplify transferring and let you adjust the water temperature without having to stand up. To ensure safety, the seat locks when your full weight is applied to the chair. You can raise and lower the seat height through five settings using push-button controls on the aluminum base, and no tools are necessary for assembly. The backless, armless design gives the stool a small footprint and keeps the weight to just 4.4 pounds.

Key Features

  • Padded rotating seat with locking mechanism
  • Five height settings with push-button legs
  • Lower storage tray
  • Tool-free assembly
  • Compact and lightweight

Biggest Drawbacks

  • No arms or backrest
  • Seat may be too narrow for some users

Drive Medical Handicap Bathroom Bench With Arms 

The Drive Medical Handicap Bathroom Bench With Arms is an economical shower chair. Heavy-duty plastic construction eliminates metal that can rust over time, and the hardware-free chair assembles easily with screw-in and snap-on parts. To raise the seat height, you simply turn the leg tips clockwise or counterclockwise. This mechanism benefits those who have difficulty pushing small buttons. Instead of the rubber tips found on many other chairs, this model features suction cup feet that grip the tub or shower to dramatically reduce slippage. Both the armrests and the wide back can function as carrying handles. Small padded grips let you maintain a strong hold on the arms during transferring.

Key Features

  • Lowest priced option with armrests and backrest
  • Rustproof construction with no hardware
  • Turn-to-adjust mechanism on the legs
  • Suction cup feet
  • Tool-free assembly

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Small armrests
  • Minimal padding 

Nova Medical Heavy-Duty Shower Chair

Able to support a person who weighs up to 500 pounds, the Nova Medical Heavy-Duty Shower Chair is the strongest option with arms on this list, yet the rustproof aluminum frame and blown-molded plastic seat allow the chair to weigh only 7 pounds. The seat has an ergonomic curved shape designed to better fit the contours of your body and let you move around more easily to wash all areas. Notch handles in the seat can be used for support while transferring and work with a cutout in the backrest to facilitate maneuvering. During the tool-free assembly process, you can determine the ideal leg position to place the seat at the right height for your needs. The backrest detaches to conserve storage space when the chair is not in use.

Key Features

  • 500-lb. weight capacity
  • Curved seat
  • Cutout handles in back and on seat
  • Removable backrest
  • Tool-free assembly

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Expensive price
  • Legs height must be set during assembly

Healthline Shower Chair With Sling Seat

The Healthline Shower Chair With Sling Seat rolls on four locking zinc-plated caster wheels, letting you safely enter a walk-in shower or tub. Instead of a plastic seat and backrest, the chair features two water-resistant mesh slings. The slings provide ergonomic comfort and dry quickly after use to fight mold and mildew growth. Crafted out of PVC pipe, the chair has a sturdy frame. The fixed armrests can support your full weight as you transfer in and out of the chair. To meet the needs of those who struggle to remain upright while sitting, an optional safety belt is available.

Key Features

  • Locking caster wheels
  • Comfortable mesh backrest and seat
  • Sturdy arms for transferring
  • Optional safety belt

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Expensive price
  • Assembly requires tools

Dr. Kay's Adjustable Shower Bench

For homes where space is at a minimum, the Dr. Kay's Adjustable Shower Bench is a smart solution. The armless, backless design and curved aluminum legs give the shower chair a compact footprint, but its wide rubber tips still ensure stability during transferring. Compared to other models, this shower chair has one of the highest available seat heights that you can raise and lower via a convenient push-button mechanism. The arched seat is ergonomically designed for comfort. Like the Nova shower chair, this model features cutouts on the seat that function both as carrying handles and supportive grips during transferring.

Key Features

  • Most economically priced backless, armless option
  • Higher maximum seat height than many other models
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Curved seat
  • Wide rubber tips for stability

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Smallest weight capacity at 250 lbs.
  • Notched handles may be difficult for some people to grip

Platinum Health ComfortAble Deluxe Shower Chair

The Platinum Health ComfortAble Deluxe Shower Chair is an institutional-grade shower chair available for home use. One of the most comfortable options available, the chair features an extra wide seat and has water-resistant foam padding on the backrest, armrests and seat. A contoured design lets you lift your body off of the height-adjustable seat as needed while you wash. With its bright blue color, the shower chair is highly visible to benefit people with low vision and those who suffer from confusion. To assist with transferring, the arms are slightly angled.

Key Features

  • High-visibility blue color
  • Extra wide seat
  • Foam padding on backrest, seat and arms
  • Angled armrests
  • Backed by a limited lifetime warranty

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Expensive price
  • Requires regular cleaning and disinfecting to keep the foam sanitary 

PCP Shower Safety Seat

The PCP Shower Safety Seat has an innovative design that lets you wash up with greater ease. Its seat is split into two pieces separated by a 4-inch gap that gives you access to clean your private area without having to raise your body. Both the seat and backrest are padded for comfort, and a notched handle on the back makes it easy to lift and carry the chair. To adjust the seat, you simply push a button on the rustproof anodized aluminum legs. The chair has a compact footprint and is free of arms, making it convenient to store between uses. Specially designed nonslip rubber tips cut down on noise and protect flooring, tubs and showers from scratches.

Key Features 

  • Split seat lets you wash more easily
  • Foam padding on seat and backrest
  • Compact dimensions
  • Push-button adjustable legs
  • Non-marking, quiet nonslip rubber feet

Biggest Drawbacks

  • No arms
  • Smaller seat than some models

Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench

The Carousel Sliding Transfer Bench makes it simpler and safer to get in and out of a combination tub-shower. One end of the base rests outside of the tub while the other end goes inside. The seat swivels and slides from side to side for easy entry and exit, making the chair a good choice for individuals who are at a very high risk for falls. For complete comfort, the backrest, armrests and seat feature thick foam padding in a bright blue color that increases visibility. To provide greater access to the base, the armrests pivot out of the way. Push-button legs give you the ability to fine-tune the seat height after the tool-free assembly process is complete.

Key Features

  • Sliding, swiveling seat
  • Pivoting armrests
  • Cushioned seat, back and armrests
  • Push-button adjustable leg height
  • High-visibility blue color

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Most expensive option
  • Bulky and weighs 20 lbs. 

OasisSpace Heavy-Duty Shower Chair

The OasisSpace Heavy-Duty Shower Chair features a heavy-duty aluminum frame strong enough to support 500 pounds of weight and an armless, backless design that conserves space. To help facilitate transferring, the shower chair comes with a grab bar that anchors to tile, glass, acrylic and fiberglass tubs and showers using strong suction cups. The seat has an ergonomic curved shape and a thin layer of foam padding, so you can bathe in comfort. Large notches on the sides of the seat provide a gripping area and act as carrying handles. Seat height adjustments are simple to make, thanks to a push-button mechanism. 

Key Features

  • 500-lb. weight capacity
  • Comes with grab bar
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Padded curved seat
  • Push-button adjustability

Biggest Drawbacks

  • Armless
  • Grab bar only has a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs.
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