Although they can be installed anywhere in the home, grab bars are most often used in bathrooms. Generally, people use grab bars to help them stand up or sit down on the commode and to aid in maintaining their balance while they getting into or out of the tub or shower.
The drawback is that the bars sometimes need to be closer to the person, especially when they are using a bathtub.
In these cases, we recommend bathtub grab bars that attach directly to the side of the tub.
The best bathtub grab bars will have:
- an attachment clamp that can be adjusted to fit the tub wall
- rubber padding on the clamp so that it won’t slip while supporting the user
- non-slip grip on the handle
- can support the weight of the person who will be using it
*NOTE – it is very important that a wall or bathtub grab bar NOT be the suction-cup type of grab bar because it is easy for that type to slip or come off the tub.
Recommended Bathtub Grab Bar Safety Rails
One safety bar that we recommend is the Medical Adjustable Bathtub Safety Rail Shower Grab Bar Handle from Vaunn Medical.
What we like about it is that the clamp can adjust to fit a tub anywhere from 3″ to 7″ wide, which is a big range. In addition, the rubber coating on the clamps is designed so that it won’t leave marks on the tub after removal.
This safety bar will not fit fiberglass tubs, though (see section below for one that does).
One online reviewer wrote, “I have had one knee replacement and waiting for another. I cannot bend either knee high enough to get into a bathtub safely. I have a garden tub which is a little wider than regular tubs. This fit perfectly. Both sides are padded and fit snugly against the tub walls without any movement at all. Now it is very easy and very safe to get in and out of this tub to take a shower or bath. I am not afraid of falling while getting in or out any more. I would highly recommend this product. To install you just have to loosen a BIG knob with your hand and then tighten it once it is in place.”
Since it doesn’t require tools to install, that means this grab bar is portable. This is a nice feature for someone who may travel to visit and adult child or for those who may spend time in one adult child’s home and then move to another child’s home, etc. They could store it at the adult child’s home where it would be out of the way most of the time, but available for use when they are there.
This bathtub grab bar will support a person who weighs up to 300 pounds.
Drive Medical has a Clamp On Safety Rail that fits most bathtubs (except for fiberglass tubs – see the next section for our recommendation).
Just like the one from Vaunn Medical, this grab bar adjusts for tubs ranging from 3″ to 7″ wide, is portable, and will support up to 300 pounds.
What we like best about this one is:
- it has a rubber coating on the handle, making it easier to grip with wet hands.
- it is height adjustable, so it will easily work for bot a shorter or taller person.
Bathtub Safety Rail For Fiberglass Tub
Because fiberglass tubs are somewhat flexible, the clamp-type grab bars may not be a good choice for them because you may have to tighten them so much it could crack the fiberglass.
Instead, a Stander Security Pole is a good option. This pole would install outside the tub, NOT inside.
This pole will support up to 300 pounds.
The curved sections of the bar can rotate to make it easier for the user to reach. These curved lock into place to prevent slipping and gives the user a hand-over-hand way to climb up to standing.
The drawback to these is that they are more “permanent” because you have to clamp it to the bathroom floor and ceiling. Even though it isn’t actually affixed permanently, it would be much more cumbersome to move from one bathroom to another.
However – as a note of extra caution – we would recommend that you DO secure this tension pole to the ceiling to add that extra layer of security.
If you end up having to grab onto this pole while you slip, you want to make sure that the pole will not lose it’s tension and come tumbling down with you.