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To select the best bath bench, consumers need to evaluate the space available, as well as the weight limit and comfort of the bench. Support is also critical. Buyers also should check the ability to clean the bench and whether it offers extras such as storage compartments.
Finding the best bath bench means looking at the dimensions of the bath bench first. These benches come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, and not all benches will be suited to the space of an individual's specific tub, shower or bathroom. If space is an issue, the ideal bath bench is one that folds for storage, but if a person goes this route, he must put special attention on the hinge or slide mechanisms to ensure they do not compromise the weight support the user needs. Some benches are designed similar to wheelchairs and are best for easy non-lipped shower stall entry, but these benches are bulkier even if they fold down.
The weight limit is the next most important consideration in choosing a bath bench. Most benches are designed to accommodate up to at least 200 pounds (roughly 90.7 kg). For people who are heavier than this or who are extremely overweight, it is better to go with a heavy duty or bariatric bath bench.
Once a buyer knows the bench will fit the space available and accommodate the user's weight, he can evaluate the benches for handles and support. Handles are less important if the bath or shower already has safety handles installed on the wall, but they do provide something for the user to lean on if necessary. The best stability is present in benches with both a back rest and handles, but some people find that the back rest is more of an obstruction to turning and reaching.
Related to the idea of weight and support is the construction of the bath bench plank, or area where the user sits. Some benches are primarily just hard plastic. Others are designed with additional cushioning material for increased comfort. This is the best option if a person is underweight, because the cushioning alleviates some of the pain that can arise from having a hard surface pressing so close to bone.
Next, examine the ability to clean the bench, as well as its mold resistance. All bath benches are designed to be water resistant, but water resistant is not the same as waterproof. Mold and bacteria, which love humid environments such as the tub or shower, can thrive on organic materials such as dead skin cells and wood. The bench should be able to stand up to standard scrubbing. A smooth, nonporous surface is best, as it prevents microscopic organisms from hiding in crevices and allows for a quick wipe-down.
Two extras a person might consider when looking for the best bath bench is suction cups on the bottom of the legs and a toiletries compartment. Bath benches normally have rubber tips on the legs and are supposed to be slip resistant, but suction cups provide a little more stability. An extra toiletries compartment is convenient because those who use bath benches, due to being seated, often are not able to reach a great distance to get hygiene products. A small holder for a hand-held shower head also is a plus, as it lets a person reach for and apply hygiene products hands free. When a person cleanses unaided, the holder eliminates the need to hold the shower head between the knees or bend down to pick the shower head up off the bottom of the shower or tub.
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