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Bath boards

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is the UK’s leading expert in user-centred research involving disabled and older consumers. We have over 50 years’ experience of independent, specialist research.

Bath board over bath

Using a bath board

Things to check before you buy:

  • you can lift each leg over the bath rim of the bath,  without losing balance, while sitting on the bath board
  • you can wash from the board, although you'll be above the water. You'll want a warm bathroom
  • if you plan to shower from the board, check that you can reach the controls
  • be aware that you can't use a board with a shower screen

Safety

  • Get the right size, so there's no danger of it tipping like a seesaw.
  • Make sure it's fixed firmly to bath.
  • If you have an unusually shaped bath, check that the board will fit safely.
  • Check that it will take your weight.

Fitting a bath board

Most boards can be fitted on to most baths - but check these first:

  • The bath needs to be scrubbed clean so there's no grease or soap residue, which could make the fastenings less secure.
  • The rim of the bath needs to be at least 2.5cm (1") wide on each side, so that the board has enough support. Some boards need wider rims.
  • The board shouldn't be too long. It mustn't stick over the side of the bath by more than 10 - 12cm (4-5"), as there's a chance that it could tip like a seesaw if you sit on the end.
  • It may be difficult to fit a board in an unusually shaped bath. Some boards can be used only in baths with straight sides.
  • The board is fitted at the end of the bath opposite the taps, so the taps don't get in the way.

When you have the right board:

  • Bath boards are fixed to the bath by adjustable brackets or legs.  Slide them until they are wedged against the side of the bath, and then tighten to hold the board firmly in place. TIP: adjust the fixing furthest away from you first.
  • If the bath is very high, getting a small step can make getting on to the board easier. Make sure the step is firmly fixed and is not slippery.
  • Always check the board is secure before using it.

The height of the boards that we tested varied a little. Some people in the test preferred higher boards, because it meant less bending, although this increased the distance to the bottom of the bath.

Bath transfer benches

Bath transfer benches are similar to a bath boards but are longer and extend outside the bath forming a bench.

  • You can sit on a bath bench outside the bath as well as inside.
  • The bench end outside the bath has height-adjustable legs which rest on the floor.
  • When getting out, you slide across the board, lift your legs over the side of the bath, and sit and dry yourself.
  • Some have padding, built-in grab rails or an armrest and a soap dish.
  • Safety - check that your feet will reach the floor, if you would be unstable otherwise.

Bath boards checklist

Use this checklist to help you decide when choosing a bath board:

Is it comfortable?

  • Look for padded surfaces or moulded shapes that look as if they might suit you.
  • Handgrips help, padded seats and cork boards are warmer.
  • Wooden seats may be too hard, metal can be cold.
  • Wider boards are usually more comfortable but leave less room.

Will water drain away?

  • Drainage holes stop the board getting slippery. Avoid large holes or slats, they're often uncomfortable to sit on, or could trap parts of your body.
  • Avoid boards that are hollow. They could fill with water.

Will it fit?

  • Is the bath rim wide enough to support the board?
  • Does the board come in a length that will fit your bath?
  • Is the board wide enough for you to sit on comfortably?

Is your bath board easy to fix to the bath?

  • Can you - or whoever will do it - fix it on your bath and take it off again?
  • Avoid hard-to-turn or fiddly fixings.

Read our user tests of bath boards

This information from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers is unbiased and we hope it will help you choose the right option to meet your needs. We don't sell products. Please search online by product name to find suppliers.

Last updated: August 2018


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