It's not just the expense and inconvenience of having a walk-in bath fitted in your bathroom but they come with plenty of flaws. With a door in the side, you can't get it into it full and out of it empty. Instead, you face having to sit while the bath fills up and wait until it drains away. So what are the options for continuing to use your bath if you don't want to move to showers or wet rooms as a solution? This is an area where function wins over aspiration as none of the options are going to fill you with excitement.

A first step (and the least expensive option) might be a bath board and seat. These are only recommended as a temporary option as the board tension suckers become loosened with repeated use and need to be replaced. You must have excellent upper body strength as you need to pull yourself up from the seat back to the board. This option is suitable for someone who is temporarily unable to lift themselves from the bottom of the bath but who wants more than a strip wash. It's not suitable for someone who's had a hip replacement or heart operation. 

Which bath lift is right for you?

Bath lifts can be a great alternative to walk-in bathtubs or showers for someone who likes to soak and relax. The options include:
  1. Bath lift cushions that inflate and deflate to help you get in and out (lightest and most compact to store)
  2. Bath seats or bath chairs that move up and down but remain as a chair in the bath to give you support (cheapest and quick to charge)
  3. Band bath lifts (always in the right place, least intrusive in the bath)

1. Inflatable bath lifts

Do you miss having a bath because you're worried about getting out of it? Best for: If you want a bit of reassurance that you'll be able to get back out of the bath. People with good upper body strength and balance who don't want something installed (so no inconvenience for other people). This is the easiest type of bath lift to remove from the bath.


  • Fitted and removed in seconds with existing bath. No bathroom renovation needed.
  • Inflates in seconds.
  • Very lightweight (it weighs just 2kg (4.5lbs). Folds flat for easy storage
  • Battery operated - no power cables
  • Comfortable cushion- you can leave some air in to gently support your back, or let it all out
  • Lifts up to 24 stone (150kg)
  • Safety feature means it won't lower you unless there's enough battery to get you out again
  • Not suitable for people who don't have good upper body strength and balance as the seat unit of the inflatable lift doesn't feel as stable as a rigid plastic bath lift seat.
  • Doesn't support you in the bath (other than a bit of comfort if you leave some air in the cushion).
  • Must charge the battery (ideally overnight). A full charge will give approx. 4 baths.
  • Need to dry properly and deflate before putting it away
  • Inflatable bath lift prices can be prohibitively high for some people

How does it work?

The inflatable bath seat has suction pads on the bottom. Place the deflated seat on the bottom of the bath with the back pillow section in the right place. Clip the air tube (hose) to the compressor. Use the waterproof hand control to inflate the cushion. It takes a few seconds to inflate the cushion. Move across to sit on the cushion and using the hand control deflate the cushion to lower yourself into the bath. You can fully deflate the cushion or leave some air in to gently support your back. When you're ready to get out of the bath use the hand control again to inflate the cushion and raise you to the top and then turn to get out of the bath.

2. Bath seat lifts or bath lift chairs

Seat height of up to 48cm Folds with a scissor action mechanism Lowers to 6m from bottom of the bath and reclines to 50 degrees. Hand control with simple buttons floats in water. Best for: Support getting in to and out of the bath and giving you support when reclining in the bath. The lift can be taken out of the bath and requires no installation so it can be used in a bathroom shared with people who don't want a bath lift. Pros
  • Fitted and removed in seconds with existing bath. No bathroom renovation needed.
  • Folds flat for easy storage. Comes apart into two pieces- heaviest part weighs 6.8kg (15lbs)
  • Seat height is 48cm which makes transfers easier and it lowers to 6cm from the bottom of the bath
  • Battery operated - no power cables. Quick charge battery- full charge takes one hour. A full charge gives approx. 14 baths.
  • Back reclines to an angle of 50 degrees
  • Lifts up to 22 stone (140kg)
  • Safety feature means it won‚Äôt lower you unless there's enough battery to get you out again
  • Not suitable for people who don't have some upper body strength and balance
  • Slightly heavier than inflatable bath lift with the heaviest part weighing 6.8kg and the total weight

How it works

The bath seat lift has a compact frame which fits in most baths. Place the seat in the bath and use the hand control to move the seat up to its highest position (which is 48cm). Lower the seat to the bottom (which is 6cm from the base so there shouldn't be too large a gap between the seat and the bath) and recline the back (it reclines up to 50 degrees). Don't worry if you drop the control as it will float in the bath. To get out of the bath use the control to bring the bath chair upright and then to move it upwards to the higher position. The side flaps sit on the side of the bath tub to help you to transfer into a standing position or onto a wheelchair with the side arm removed.

3. Band bath lifts


  • Always ready to use but doesn‚Äôt take up any room in the bath if other people are using the bath
  • Built in thermometer
  • Holds up to 20 stone
  • Battery powered
  • Must be installed by an experienced professional
  • No back support so must have good balance and upper body control.
  • Expensive

How they work

These work by using a fabric band on a roll which comes out of a wall-mounted unit and the other end fastens into a fixed floor-mounted bracket. The band then acts as a sling across the bath which. When you get into the bath the band needs to be taut and then when you press the button on the control it slackens slowly to lower you right to the bottom of your bath. To get you back up the bath band is shortened and it raises you up.

Additional helper

For some people, depending on the height of the bath and the length of their legs, a bath step allows them to sit and turn into the bath lift more easily. 


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