Which bathroom grab bar is best?
Though it may seem innocuous enough, the bathroom is actually the most dangerous room in your home. Every year, over 200,000 people take an unexpected trip to the emergency room due to an injury suffered in the bathroom, and over 10% of those require hospitalization. Oftentimes, those accidents could have easily been avoided with the installation of a bathroom grab bar.
Whether you need a grab bar near your toilet, in the shower or at the threshold to the tub, consider the length, capacity and installation process when choosing one. Some, such as the Moen Home 32-Inch Stainless Bathroom Grab Bar, have a very high weight capacity but require an involved installation process some people may not feel comfortable undertaking on their own. Others adhere to the wall via suction cups but tend to have a lower weight capacity and can’t be installed on all surfaces.
What to know before you buy a bathroom grab bar
Before installing any grab bar in your bathroom, think critically about where you need the most support and what area on the wall feels the most natural to place your hand. The last thing you want is a grab bar that you have to reach awkwardly for, which can increase your chances of injury rather than reducing them.
If installing a grab bar in a public bathroom, there are specific ADA requirements that you must adhere to which include specifications for both mounting locations and the size of the bar itself. You can find out more about these by going to the ADA.gov website.
You have two options for installing a bathroom grab bar: permanent or temporary. To install a permanent bathroom grab bar, you need to locate studs behind your wall, drill into them and place an anchor that you screw the grab bar’s bolts into. Most permanent bathroom grab bars include all the required mounting hardware. If yours doesn’t, make sure to purchase anchors that can support at least 500 pounds.
Temporary bathroom grab bars aren’t capable of supporting as much weight, but they’re easy for the average person to install. These utilize a pair of strong suction cups that hold securely to the wall. However, these suction cup-mounted grab bars are only suitable for smooth, nonporous surfaces.
What to look for in a quality bathroom grab bar
Shower grab bars are commonly available in lengths from 12-48 inches. To meet ADA requirements in public facilities, a shower bar must be at least 36 inches long. For home use, you can choose any length you feel will fit in your desired location and which offers enough space to comfortably place your hands.
Most people find that longer bars are best for horizontal and diagonal installation inside of the shower area, and shorter bars are best for vertical installation near the toilet and entryway to the tub.
The majority of bathroom grab bars are 1.25-1.5 inches in diameter. Those with average-sized hands or who have arthritis usually find the larger diameter to be a comfortable size and easier to grip. However, if you have small hands, it may be worthwhile to choose a thinner bar.
A textured grip area can help you get a more secure hold on the bar. On metal models, this is often a knurling or peening, while plastic models may feature a textured pad of some kind.
It’s important to pay close attention to the stated weight limit of any bathroom grab bar you’re thinking about buying. Most permanently installed models can support at least 300 pounds, with some designed to handle up to 500 pounds. Suction cup grab bars often have a considerably lower maximum weight limit, with some only designed to support up to 200 pounds.
How much you can expect to spend on a bathroom grab bar
Grab bars are generally an inexpensive addition to a bathroom. On the low end, you can spend as little as $10 for a plastic or short metal model. On the upper end of the price spectrum, you can spend upwards of $50 for larger models or those with stylish designs.
Bathroom grab bar FAQ
How many grab bars should I install?
A. If you’re installing a grab bar in your home bathroom, you can install as many or as few grab bars as you like. Most commonly, people need support when stepping into or out of the shower, which means you’ll likely want to place a vertical bar in this area. If you also need one while bathing, consider installing a horizontal or diagonal bar somewhere in the shower.
Can I just use my towel rack as a grab bar?
A. No. You should never try to use a towel rack as a grab bar. They aren’t designed to support the weight of a person and may very likely break away from the wall, potentially resulting in injury.
What’s the best bathroom grab bar to buy?
Top bathroom grab bar
What you need to know: Available in a wide variety of sizes, there’s a Moen grab bar to suit every bathroom and user.
What you’ll love: It’s made from rust-resistant stainless steel so it won’t corrode from constant exposure to moisture, and it offers an impressive 500-pound weight capacity that makes it suitable for large users.
What you should consider: Installation requires drilling and locating studs.
Top bathroom grab bar for the money
What you need to know: Those looking for something simple to install yet which still feels very secure will be well-served by this rustproof plastic option.
What you’ll love: It has a textured grip area to reduce the chances of your hand slipping off, and it can easily be removed from the wall anytime you want to move it to a different spot.
What you should consider: It only works on smooth, nonporous surfaces.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This grab bar exceeds ADA standards for use in public places thanks to a high-quality construction, sturdy mounting hardware and a 500-pound weight capacity.
What you’ll love: It’s available in both shiny and satin stainless steel, as well as a white option and one with a knurled texture for better grip.
What you should consider: The flange cover can be difficult to remove for installation.
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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