Tips for Choosing a Shower Seat
If you’ve already read Why Consider a Shower Seat? you know shower chairs offer the benefits of relaxation and support, whether you are disabled or not. So when you’re ready to buy a shower chair, how do you decide which one to get?
Certainly cost is a critical. But this hub talks about some other key considerations that can make a big difference when you start to use your shower seat. The first consideration is the shower chair dimensions. That is, what size is the chair. The next factor is materials or what all the parts are made of. Finally, there’s construction, which is how the shower bench is put together. These are important factors that influence what the shower seat will cost.
You might think that all shower chairs are about the same size. Wrong. There are differences in the length and width of the seat and well as how far off the floor the seat is.
Length and width
The length and width measurements usually apply to the shower seat itself. These two numbers are important because we all have different shaped bodies – especially when it comes to our bottoms that will be doing the sitting on the chair.
Here’s a tip that’s going to sound weird, but will help you decide which size chair to buy. Take a flexible tape measure (those metal ones are fine) and, while you are sitting on your favorite chair, measure how much room your bottom actually takes up on the chair. (You can do this when no one is around and you can keep the number a secret!)
Then, when you see the shower seat width measurement, you’ll know how comfortably you will fit on the chair.
Very important: Once you know the shower chair overall length and width dimensions, be sure to measure the amount of space you have in your shower or tub. Some shower chairs may be too large to fit flat in your bathtub.
While you have that flexible tape measure and are sitting in the chair, measure the distance from the floor to where your bottom is on the chair. Typical measurements are from 14 to 20 inches.
Some shower benches will allow their legs to be moved in once inch increments to accommodate different heights. Make sure these seat height measurements include the right height for your body. If a shower chair is too low for you, it’s going to be harder to get up out of the seat.
You want to know what the seat and legs of the shower chair are made of. The shower chair will be used in a wet environment so you want materials that are water, rust, and mildew resistant.
Most seats will be made of plastic or PVC, which are fine for resisting mildew. Some chairs also offer padding. The padding is usually foam. “Dry cell foam” is a type of foam that helps the seat absorb less water.
Seat legs are usually made of aluminum, because it’s more resistant to rust. However, sometimes the water can get inside the holes used for adjusting the seat height. If it sits around too long, you may see some rust forming around the hole areas.
If a seat is made well, it will be sturdier and more stable.
The most important thing to look for here is how the seat and legs are held together. Screws and bolts are more prone to rust. Rivets are usually a better option. If the seat is all plastic, is it molded? Molded means it is all one piece of plastic that’s been shaped into a shower chair. Other type plastic chairs glue the PVC pieces together. If not done well, the pieces can become loose.
Some chairs also use cross-braces to strengthen the support the chair provides. These are especially important if you want a bariatric shower chair that must hold more than 250 pounds.
How is the seat itself constructed? A seat with holes in it is preferred because these will let the water drain through, which can help prevent mildew from forming.
Some seats have additional options such as handles and a place to hold a flexible shower head. These options can make the seat more useful for you.
Finally, what is the shape of the seat – curved or straight? Your body may feel more comfortable on one type rather than the other.
When you’re comparing shower seats, look at more than the cost. Its dimensions, materials, and construction all help determine how safe you are going to be when sitting on the chair in your shower.
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