Suction cup grab bars have received a bad rep over the years and deemed to be unsafe by many people. But the best suction cup grab bars now have many safety features and if used correctly can be a valuable addition to any bathroom. We’re not talking about scaling walls with them, like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, just using them for that extra stability we sometimes need.
Let’s discover how these simple aids can help improve your safety in the bathroom. When you suffer a fall, one of the last things you want is to be found naked in the shower unable to get up—not very dignified, is it? We’re here to look at five of the best suction grab bars to turn your bathroom into a safe haven for anybody.
Who Should Use a Suction Grab Bar?
Figures from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported that nearly a quarter of a million nonfatal injuries a year in the U.S. were bathroom related. Bet you never realized your bathroom was that dangerous! Over two-thirds of the accidental injuries were in the bathtub or shower—not surprising when you consider how wet and slippery they get.
The best suction grab bars aren’t just for the elderly either. Anybody who struggles with mobility or balance issues may find a grab bar makes showering or bathing so much easier. In fact, injuries around the tub or the shower are proportionately most common between the ages of 15 to 24.
If you’re traveling, a suction grab bar is something you can slip in your case for that extra safety away from home. Guidelines under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 are very strict concerning the placement and quality of grab bars used in public buildings. As a result many hotels don’t install grab bars, while grab bars for home use or mobile use aren’t regulated by the ADA.
Are Suction Grab Bars Safe?
Suction grab bars are a popular item these days and if used correctly can be a great addition to your bathroom safety equipment. But remember, they’re not 100 percent fail proof. Many can easily lose their suction, especially if you don’t check them before use.
Suction grab bars are recommended for balance assist, but shouldn’t be used to support your full bodyweight. A fixed and more permanent shower or bath grab bar will offer more safety for people who need a stronger pulling action getting in and out of the tub or shower. If you need more than a little tug, get regular bars fitted instead or as well as suction grab bars.
Safety Tips to Consider When Using a Suction Grab Bar
As with all grab bars for the bathroom, suction-type handles and bars are only as safe as their mounting. Suction cup grab bars demand the proper surface to be fixed securely. Most manufacturers state the product will work best on a flat, non-porous surface with some bars claiming to work on tiles, glass and fiberglass or plastic.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when installing. A dry surface is required and cleaning with alcohol to remove any debris or residue is recommended. An uneven surface or textured surface will result in a cup which isn’t securely fixed. Avoid covering two tiles or the grout line—there must be no way for air to get under the cup/pad.
The position on the wall or shower door will also affect the safety of the bar. Try to choose a bar which doesn’t stick out too much and place in a position you won’t catch yourself on it. The following YouTube video gives more general guidelines for placing grab bars in the shower.
What Are the Best Suction Grab Bars?
With so many suction grab bars on the market, it’s difficult to know which is best for your needs. In general shorter grab bars tend to be more sturdy, but some people may require that extra length for more stability. Features like a safety indicator that show when a bar is secure can be useful too. But always check the bar manually before using it, for that extra peace of mind.
We’ve taken with a pinch of salt the many user complaints of bars not sticking unless they’ve applied to specific surfaces. Many of the suction cups when used correctly for stability are very strong, with some even known to rip the tiles off the wall. Unfortunately most complaints arise when people don’t follow the guidelines and use the suction bars for too much weight support or don’t apply them regularly.
For a less permanent solution, or something for traveling with, the best suction grab bars can be great for keeping safe in the shower or tub. Be careful not to choose a suction grab bar with too large suction pads that will limit the size of tile it can be used on. These are the top five, in our opinion, best suction grab bars available today.
The best suction grab bars can be an inexpensive but an essential aid in the bathroom for many people with stability issues. The elderly or people with kids will find them useful for both the tub and the shower. And best of all, they’re easily installed or removed if you need help in the shower when traveling.
For a hotel, or on trips to friends’ homes, they won’t damage the wall or leave any marks in most cases. In your own bathroom, it’s advisable to install more permanent screw in bars which will better support your bodyweight when needed. Many people even use a combination of fixed grab bars with additional adjustable suction grab bars for added stability.
Although many would argue that suction grab bars aren’t safe, the suction grab bar from Vive Health has added features for extra safety. An indicator lights shows whether the bar is securely attached and the maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds exceeds the 250 pounds required by the American Disability Act. In our opinion, the Vive Health Suction Shower Handle and Bathroom Balance Bar is top of the best suction grab bars you can buy today.
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