Bathing can be one of life’s biggest challenges for the elderly, and as mobility decreases the difficulty and danger of getting into and out of the bath increases.
Bath lifts and hoists are complex assistive devices that can make bathing easier, safer, and more convenient even for people who have little to no independent mobility.
Simple bath seats are a useful and affordable option for many people with limited strength or flexibility, but they simply aren’t practical for those whose mobility is seriously impaired.
Users who have severe mobility issues may require the additional support, security, and assistance that a bath lift or hoist provides.
Bath lifts and bath hoists do the same job,……. but there are some major differences to consider:
- How they work: bath lifts raise and lower the user from beneath while bath hoists raise and lower the user from above.
- Portability/installation: bath lifts may be either fixed or moveable and most require no installation, while bath hoists are generally affixed to the floor next to the bath and must be professionally installed.
- Space requirements: many bath lift models are relatively compact and can be used in almost any bathroom, but bath hoists all require a certain amount of space in which to operate and may not be suitable for all bathrooms.
- Suitability for independent use: many people find that a bath lift allows them to bathe independently, but people with diminished mobility might find it difficult or impossible to use a bath hoist without help.
- Cost: bath lifts are generally less expensive than bath hoists.
Whether you’re considering a bath lift or a bath hoist, it’s crucial to plan the purchase carefully. Measure the bathroom and the interior of the bathtub to make sure there’s enough space to accommodate the device.
If you’re considering a bath hoist, be sure there’s room for both the user and a caregiver to function comfortably in the bathroom with the device in place. It’s also important to have grab bars securely installed at appropriate locations to provide security and stability.
View our recommended products in the 4 main categories of bath lifts:
Bath Lift Basics
Removable bath lifts are the next step up from a simple bath chair. Though lifts of this type are more expensive than bath chairs they’re significantly less costly than bath hoists, and users who have some mobility may find that a removable lift provides all the assistance needed to get into and out of the bath comfortably and safely.
Because removable lifts can be taken out of the bath when necessary they’re an excellent choice for users who share a bath with others.
Motorized removable bath lifts
Motorized removable bath lifts are sturdy seats of heavy duty plastic or resin, mounted on a platform that is affixed to the bottom of the bathtub with suction cups. The seat is raised or lowered with a battery powered handset that controls hinged supports.
To get into the bath the user raises the seat to the level of the rim and sits down. Pressing a button on the handset lowers the seat into the water, and when the user is done bathing another button press raises the seat back to the level of the rim.
NRS Healthcare Orca Bath Lift (Eligible for VAT relief in the UK)
1 used from £ 149.61
- Comfortable and safe bath lift gives plenty of leg room and good immersion in the bath
- High backrest provides good postural support whether upright or reclined
- Two part construction - foldaway design
- Large suction cups ensure bath lift remains secure even on dimpled bath surfaces
- Side flaps for easy transfers
Popular and well-reviewed motorized bath lifts include the NRS Healthcare Orca Bath Lift, which features a high back for maximum stability and is designed to allow the user to enjoy full immersion in the water.
This model is compact and easy to fold for portability, and the back can be adjusted to allow the user to relax and recline in the bath. With a maximum capacity of 20 stone and a price tag of less than £200, this model is an excellent value.
NEW Bellavita Lightweight Compact & Portable Bath Lift Bathing Aid Assistant
- backrest reclines to a market leading 50 degreees easy to install and operate
- reaches a record seat height of 48cm
- ergonomically designed for greater comfort and safety for the user
- easy to install and operate
- quick charge lithium battery technology
Another popular bath lift in the £200, 20-stone range is the Bellavita Lightweight Compact & Portable Bath Lift Bathing Aid Assistant. Weighing in at just 9.3 kgs, this model is very light and easy to handle, and it has as very low seat height of just 6 cm to allow for luxurious full immersion.
It’s held in place with four quick-release suction cups and is easy to dismantle for storage or transportation. This model also features a floating waterproof handset control.
Patterson Medical Bathlift Bathmaster Deltis with Cover, Blue (Eligible for VAT relief in the UK)
£256.15 in stock
- Maximum User Weight: 140kg, 22stone
- Simple to take in and out of the bath, it separates into two parts for easier lifting and carrying
- High quality materials and construction offer the utmost in safety and comfort with no servicing required
- The all plastic construction is modern, easy to clean and free from corrosion
- Latest battery technology ensures high performance
An excellent choice for larger or heavier users is the Bathlift Bathmaster Deltis Heavy Duty UK, which is built to accommodate up to 26.75 stone.
Made from high performance plastic, this lift is surprisingly lightweight at just 13 kg and it separates into two pieces for easy storage or transport. The Bathmaster Deltis Heavy Duty costs just under £450.back to menu ↑
Inflatable Bath Lifts
Inflatable Bath Lifts are inflatable seats that are operated with a handset-controlled electric pump. The user places the lift in the bath and inflates it so that the seat is level with the rim of the bath.
The user then sits on the seat and presses a button on the controller to deflate the unit, which lowers the user into the water. When the user is done bathing another touch of a button reinflates the seat, raising it to the level of the bathtub rim for an easy exit.
This type of lift is both very light weight and compact when deflated, making it easy to move, transport, or store. Many users say they particularly appreciate inflatable lifts that deflate to total flatness, making it easy to be fully immersed in the bath water.
Homecraft Bathlift Bathing Cushion
£424.99 in stock
- Enables a completely natural bath and independent bathing
- Designed for stability and comfort
- Operates at the touch of a button
- Lightweight and portable - ideal for taking on holiday
- Can be set up or removed in seconds and is easy to store away
A very popular and well reviewed inflatable bath lift is the Homecraft Bath Lift Bathing Cushion by Patterson Medical, which costs just under £400. This model features an inflatable backrest for comfort, a quiet, powerful compressor, and a pushbutton handset.
The Homecraft Bath Lift Bathing Cushion is made of durable heavy-gauge material and is designed for fast, tool-free setup or removal in minutes. The lift is rated for users weighing up to 150 kg.
Mangar Bathing Cushion with Airflo
- Designed to offer increased stability and comfort
- Lightweight & carry handle make it ideal for taking away on visits or on holiday
- Wide seat for comfort & stability; minimal seams to protect fragile skin
- Portable, battery powered airflo compressor
Another highly recommended inflatable bath lift is the Mangar Bathing Cushion, which costs just under £500. This model has a maximum capacity of 23 stone and the seat measures 58 cm wide by 44 cm deep, but the unit is very lightweight at just 2 kg. A special safety feature prevents users from being stranded in the bath by only allowing the seat to be deflated if there is sufficient charge in the battery-operated pump to reinflate it again. The cushion can be deflated to within 2 cm of the bottom of the bath for total relaxing immersion, but users can also choose to let some air remaining in the cushion to provide a comfortable and supportive back rest.
back to menu ↑
Fixed Bath Lifts
Fixed Bath Lifts are less common than movable models, and as the name implies, they are permanently affixed to the structure of the bathroom and cannot be easily moved. Sometimes referred to as belt or band lifts, fixed bath lifts use a large fabric band on a roller to raise and lower the user.
One end of the band is attached to the motorized roller unit, which is affixed to the wall next to the bath. The other end of the band slots into a separate unit that is attached to the floor on the other side of the bath, so that the band lies across the width of the tub.
To enter the bath, the user sits on the band and presses a button on a hand control pad, which eases the tension on the band and lowers the user into the water. A second button press tightens the band, raising the user out of the water to exit the bath.
The ultimate mobility Bath Lift
- Brand new good quality belt bath lift
- Safe and easy to use bathing aid for that extra help getting in and out of the bath
- Buy at a fraction of the cost direct from the manufacturer rrp over £1800
- A modern, superior belt bath lift at a sensible price
One of the most popular and well-reviewed band bath lifts is the Mobility Bath Lift, which costs about £560 and comes with a 24-volt rechargeable battery pack, battery charger, and remote control. This model also features a water temperature indicator and battery recharging indicator.
Relaxa Belt Bath Lift by Relaxa
- Relaxa Belt Bath Lift
While professional installation is indicated for people with little home repair experience, users have noted that the unit can be safely and quickly installed by someone with average DIY skills and expertise. Another popular option is the Relaxa Blet Bath lift which again has a thermometer to test water temperature and a strong 24-volt battery.
back to menu ↑
Bath Hoists For Maximum Assistance
Bath hoists, which raise the user from above rather than lifting them from beneath, may be the answer for users whose mobility is seriously impaired. They’re considerably more expensive than lifts, generally costing between £1200 and £4000, but they’re particularly useful for those who can’t raise their legs to swivel into the bath.
Bath hoists are permanently affixed units that require professional installation. Most hoists designed for home use are floor-mounted and consist of a swivel seat or sling attached to a pole that slots vertically into a heavy-duty base plate affixed to the floor next to the bath. The user is positioned in the seat, which is then raised and swiveled so that it’s over the bath. The user is then lowered into the bath, and the process is reversed when the bath is over.
Bath hoists are available in both manual and powered versions. Manual hoists require a second person to wind a handle to raise and lower the seat, while powered hoists and controlled with a remote handset and are raised and lowered either by rechargeable batteries or electricity. These devices definitely take more room than lifts and may not be suitable for every bathroom, so measure carefully before buying.
Bathlift Oxford Mermaid Electric Powered Hoist Column
- It is a fixed bath side hoist
- Enables patients to safely transfer in and out of the bath
- Available as either an electric or mechanical version
- It can be mounted onto either a wooden or concrete floor with the fixings provided
- A retro fit electric kit is also available to convert the manual hoist to an electronically powered hoist
The Oxford Mermaid Hoist Column is a well-respected and widely used home bath hoist, available in both electric powered and mechanical models and priced from £1200 to £1600. This hoist is mounted beside the bath and can be attached to either wood or concrete floors.
Like all hoist devices, this model requires professional installation and sufficient space for operation must be allowed, so measure your bath carefully. The height to base of seat is 140 to 740 mm, and an extension kit is available to raise the column by an additional 75 mm. Maximum seat travel is 485 mm, and seat size 450 mm by 410 mm. The recommended clearance from mast 1000 mm.