Bath Transfer Benches: Guide to Transfer Benches for Home Bathrooms
Bath Transfer Benches: Guide to Transfer Benches for Home Bathrooms
Bath transfer benches are bathroom mobility aids that provide assistance to anyone who needs help in transferring in or out of a tub or shower area. Check out this brief selection guide.

Bath transfer benches are bathroom mobility aids that provide assistance to anyone who needs help in transferring in or out of a tub or shower area.

A transfer bench is invaluable in assisting the disabled, injured or 
ill, to more easily maneuver in their own home disabled 
bathrooms, without any assistance or with less assistance than 
would otherwise be possible. These benches are invaluable for 
wheelchair accessible bathrooms, as well as other  accessible 
bathroom designs.

Basic Design

Legs - Generally, all transfer benches have four legs, a wide 
seat and a backrest, although there are many variations of this 
design. Some offer legs with plungers that can attach to a shower 
or tub when placed in them, while others only have non-slip, non-marring rubber tips for better traction on bathroom surfaces. 

Adjustable - The height of bath transfer benches are typically adjustable, and you can find transfer benches in many different sizes. 

Seats and back - Most one piece transfer seats are molded with drain holes in the seat and back area so that water from the tub or shower will not pool up and make it slippery for the user. 

Safety rails - Handrails are usually standard for basic designs and offer support for showering or bathing, and for transfer in and out of the bath area.

Right or left transfer - Many designs offer right or left transfer options by allowing you to reverse the backrest without the use of tools. Just snap in and out for ease of use. 

Frame - Basic bath benches also offer anti-rust, aluminum frames that are durable and safe for many years.

Optional Features - There also many different options that can be either added to a basic transfer bench or that are designed with these additional options. Features such as armrests that swing away, padded seats and backs, backrests with support, commode seats, and electric lift features can be found in many models. Some models also offer hand held shower holders and built in soap dishes.

  • non-sliding - Most basic designs are made with extended seats that allow the person to slide onto to seat and position himself or herself correctly for a bath. These are stationary designs are most commonly used.

  • sliding - This type of bath transfer bench is construced with a tubular frame design on the seat area which allows the seat to slide across the tracks, without the user having to move at all. It easily positions the user for eacy transfer to and from their mobility aid while in the bathroom area.

  • swivel chairs - Some benches also offer a swivel chair for exceptionally easy transfers. You can find these more often with the sliding tranfer bench models.

Just as there are a wide range of disabilities among the physically challenged, there are also a huge variety of transfer benches from which to choose that can fit your particular disability needs. 

If you aren't sure about which type of bath bench you need, here are some of the best types that are very practical for the physically challenged.

Shower transfer benches 

A shower transfer bench is designed specifically for use in a wet room for the disabled or other type of handicap shower area. While almost all types of basic transfer benches can be used in many handicap showers, those designed specifically for the shower area generally offer:

  • rubber tipped, non-slip, non-marring feet (suction plunger feet are generally used for tubs, although some people prefer them for shower use as well)
  • adjustable legs to easily accommodate wheelchair transfers 
  • molded plastic seats and backs with drain holes
  • padded seats and backs for comfort are available for added comfort
  • anodized aluminum frame that is long-lasting and anti-rust  
  • reversible backrest to accommodate right and left transfers
  • weight capacity of 300 - 400 lbs (bariatric transfer benches offer more weight capacity)
  • transfer bench with commode opening for hygienic purposes
  • transfer bench with commode and commode bucket for toilet use

Tub transfer Benches

Again, while many transfer bath benches can be used for both shower and bathtub requirements, some are more useful in each particular setting. Here's what a good bathtub transfer bench will generally offer:

  • locking, suction plunger feet that are attached to either all four feet; or two feet that are to be attached inside the tub area and the other two rubber crutch tips outside for traction
  • molded transport seat with drain holes or padded seat for additional comfort
  • durable aluminum frames
  • hand hole in seat back for easy carrying
  • height adjustable legs, seat and back
  • arm rail for support
  • reversible backrest for right and left transfers
  • compact size, standard size and bariatric designs for different environments and users
  • weight capacity from 300 - 700 lbs including, bariatric versions
  • lightweight frames, yet sturdy
  • seat with commode opening
  • seat with commode and commode bucket
  • sliding transfer mechanism is more often found in the tub benches

Electric Bath lift benches

An electric bath lift bench is another design that is made specifically for bathtubs. This type offers an electric lift for lowering a user into the water and then hoisting them back up again, while still in the tub. For those who are not very mobile, this is an ideal solution for both users and caregivers. They are also a great alternative to expensive bathtub lifts that require professional installation.

They are:

  • easily installed without tools
  • battery operated and silent
  • suction cups attach to tub area and then easily release for removal
  • portable, lightweight aluminum frame
  • tall backrest for added security
  • non-slip textured seat
  • wired remote control
  • adjustable seat height
  • medium weight capacity, generally up to 260 lbs.

Buying Tips

You can easily find a good transfer bench for under $100 or one 
with many options for well over $200. They are not extremely 
expensive and are well worth their moderate investment for most 
disabled users. Of course, electric bath lifts are more expensive,
but they are still an inexpensive alternative to many of the 
more costly lift systems.

Since there are so many different types and styles of bath 
transfer benches, be sure to know what your need are before 
making a selection. The best way to choose the right one for 
yourself or someone else in your home, is to match the particular disability needs with a product most closely designed for that need. 

However, it's a good idea to talk with your physical therapist, medical doctor or home medical equipment company for additional expert advice if you have more questions.

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