AVERAGE COST OF
A WALK-IN TUB
Buying a walk-in tub is a major purchase, both in terms of the disruption to your home and the financial outlay you will need to make. As with all major purchases, the more information you have, the better. This guide will discuss the costs involved and will highlight specific areas where you can save money – and ways to avoid costs spiraling out of control. That way you can focus on making the right decision for you and your health.
THE OVERALL COST
Overall, for a walk-in tub, you can expect to pay somewhere between $3,000 and $10,000, with some luxury models rising to around $15,000. This pricing only includes the model itself, and not the cost of installation.
Most companies give a customized quote for installation, dependent on the size of your tub, the location it’s being installed, and other variables (such as the water hookup, where you are in the country). However, for installation, you will generally pay between $700 and $3,000, with an average cost of $1,500.
The cheapest option, therefore, is likely to be around $1,000 for a simple ‘soaker’ walk-in tub, with an additional $700 for installation, meaning the lowest total price will come in around $1,700.
The highest price you will pay (aside from any truly unique customizations) will be around $18,000 ($15,000 for the tub, and $3,000 for the installation).
Although it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of moving parts involved in buying a walk-in tub (choose a model and pay for installation), there are multiple different options for how you can customize your tub. Since buying a walk-in tub is a major purchase – and is often dependent upon medical recommendations and the potential progression of mobility issues – it is important that you find the right option for you.
There is a wealth of companies that offer walk-in tub options, given a multitude of choices. Being a savvy shopper involves paying for what you want and not paying for what you don’t. Breaking down the costs helps you to make that decision.
The different types of tub vary greatly in price, depending on what specific options you choose. However, in general, the figures below give an indication of what you can expect to pay.
|Types of Walk-in |
|Price Range||Primary |
|Soaking tubs||$1,500 – $5,000||Safety and |
|$5,000 – $7,000||Soothes|
|Walk-in tubs |
with ‘air baths’
|$5,000 – $9,000||Improved |
|Combination air |
and water jet
|$7,000 – $10,000||Versatile |
|Bariatric walk-in tubs |
|$5,000 – $10,000||Handicap |
|Walk-in tubs plus |
|$2,500 – $6,000||More bathing |
|Walk-in soaking |
|$1,500 - $5,000||Safety and |
When buying a walk-in tub, you need to decide exactly what you need. You can do this in consultation with your doctor, who will be able to advise you on your capabilities and whether your mobility issues will progress.
Along with the actual cost of installing the tub, there are a number of other ‘hidden’ costs that are worth considering, particularly if you are on a tight budget. For example, the running costs of some walk-in tubs are higher than a traditional bathtub, owing to the additional water used.
Despite this, there are also ways that you can mitigate the cost of a walk-in tub, perhaps making budgeting slightly easier. In both cases, you will need to plan in advance to ensure you’re on top of the financial side of the purchase. It can literally save or cost you thousands of dollars.
In some, very limited cases, your purchase of a walk-in tub will be covered under Medicare. Medicare covers some medical ‘lifestyle’ costs under the DME (Durable Medical Equipment) heading, although the actual application of this is fairly limited.
For example, if you have a progressive mobility issue, such as arthritis, Medicare won’t cover the purchase of a walk-in tub. If you have a sudden loss of mobility, such as with a sudden spinal cord injury, Medicare will cover it.
Because of the difficulties of working with Medicare on this issue, and the often complex rules concerning what is covered and what isn’t, it is best to speak to an insurance broker, or your Medicare representative in order to determine if you can get reimbursed for a walk-in tub. However, in general, don’t proceed on the assumption that you’ll get it covered. It’s far more likely you won’t be eligible than you will.
While Medicare may not be the government agency to save you money on a walk-in tub, the IRS just might be. If you have to purchase a walk-in tub due to ‘medical safety reasons’ (i.e. you have been recommended to buy one by a doctor for something other than therapeutic reasons), you can claim the cost as a tax-deductible expense. This means you can use it to offset your tax liability for the year.
This usually only applies if you are using it for yourself or for your household (if filing jointly), so you can’t buy a walk-in tub for a relative and claim it under your own taxes. Before you do deduct the cost speak to a CPA, otherwise you could end up in hot water of the wrong kind.
Like most other large purchases (cars, appliances, homes), walk-in tub companies are often prepared to finance the initial cost of the tub, allowing you to pay in installments. This spreads the cost across multiple payments, often reducing the financial burden of that one big lump sum.
In some cases, the walk-in tub company will offer interest-free financing, meaning that the cost of payment is split across multiple installments without any added fees. However, in other circumstances, there will be a fee for doing so, meaning you will be paying interest for the privilege of not paying upfront.
Whatever payment plan your walk-in tub company offers, you need to sit down and work out the total cost of the payments.
Compare payment plans across multiple companies, as it’s likely one will end up cheaper.
Don’t be afraid to ask if Company A can match Company B’s offer. They will often work with you to guarantee a sale. Assuming your credit is good, you can often negotiate the cost of the payments.
One common payment plan trick to beware of is for a company to lower your monthly installments, but increase the length of time you’ll be paying back. The calculator is your friend. Remember that the key number is the total amount you’ll repay – this is the final cost.
The average walk-in tub has a capacity of between 50 and 80 gallons, meaning they are often larger than standard tubs. A bariatric tub can hold more than 100 gallons. This has knock-on effects for the running costs since you are required to heat more water to fill the tub to a good depth with a comfortable temperature.
You’ll need to factor this into any purchase decisions, otherwise your utility bills could be unexpectedly high.
Using average figures for the cost of water and electricity, filling a 50-gallon tub will cost around $1.20, or around $450 a year. Using this as our base figure, we can calculate the running cost of different sizes of tub.
Type of Bathtub
Size of Bathtub (gallons)
Annual Running Cost
Traditional (non walk-in)
This shows that there are major running cost implications of different tub sizes. You should factor these in when you choose which tub is right for you. All of these figures are ballpark, but it demonstrates that the cost of running a large tub is significantly more than a traditional bathtub.
New Water Heater
If your new walk-in tub holds more water than your previous tub, you may need to buy a totally new water heater. In this case, you have a couple of options. One is to install a traditional tank water heater – albeit one with a higher capacity. This will likely cost you between $600 and $800 for a 50-gallon model, with around another $200 – $300 for installation.
A second option is to install a tankless water heater. These types of water heater contain elements that heat up only the required amount of water on-demand. The running costs for this type of water heater are much lower than a traditional tankless heater and the installation can be far easier (depending on whether you have a gas or electric model.
The average cost for a tankless water heater is between $500 – $1,000, although after this initial outlay the running costs are far lower and you have all the hot water you will ever need. For more information, see our guide on tankless water heaters.
Ultimately, which walk-in tub you buy is a very personal decision and will be dependent on your medical needs, your budget, and the nature of your home.