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How do I Choose the Best Bathtub Grab Bar?

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  • Written By: Solomon Branch
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2016
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If you are elderly, handicapped, or infirm, you may need something to hold onto to assist yourself out of the bathtub, which is known as a bathtub grab bar. Finding the right one for you depends on several factors, including the quality of the bar. Other factors can include what type of bar you need and where it will be placed. Many countries have specific requirements for a grab bar and what functions it serves.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 stated that grab bars had to meet certain specifications to be able to be mounted in a bathroom or bathtub. Many manufacturers will note on their products that it meets the ADA standards. In the US, this is one key factor in choosing the right bathtub grab bar. Other countries often have the same or similar standards, and it will usually say on the packaging if the grab bar meets the requirements.

There are a wide variety of materials and types of bathtub grab bars, and are largely dependent on what they will be used for. Those who are elderly may have different needs than those who are infirm or in a wheelchair. This can dictate the type of bar used and where it is placed. There are some basic types of grab bars that can be used for each situation.

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Hand railings are the most basic type of bathtub grab bar, and are usually very simple in design. They can attach to a wall and come in a variety of sizes. Usually, they run parallel to a wall or the tile. This type of grab bar can be used if you just need slight assistance to get out or in the tub. Many elderly people choose this option, as well as those who have a temporary issue, such as a broken leg.

For those in a wheelchair, a flip-out bar at the level of the chest when sitting is often a common option. These bathtub grab bars can be pushed against the wall when not in use, and can lock when in the flipped-out position. They will typically hold more weight as well.

In addition to the shape of the bathtub grab bar, which factors into where it can be placed, another important specification is how much weight it can hold. Bars that hold more weight will usually be made of sturdier material and will cost more. For those who need more assistance from the grab bar, it is better to use a sturdier bar.

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