Walk-in tubs are designed to make bathing safer and more enjoyable for seniors, people with mobility issues and anyone else who is looking for a relaxing, spa-style experience. These innovative bathtubs are equipped with a number of features that can reduce the risk of a slip-and-fall injury, such as anti-slip flooring, integrated chair-height seats and grab bars.
Unlike standard bathtubs, walk-in tubs are filled once the bather is inside the tub. A door with a heavy-duty seal, which swings into the tub or out into the room, must be secured before the tub can be filled with water. Many walk-in tubs come with dual drains that quickly clear all the water from the unit, and some tubs have integrated heaters to maintain comfortable water temperature while bathing.
With prices for walk-in tubs ranging from under $5,000 up to $20,000, choosing one that fits your particular needs and budget can be a real challenge. Many companies use confusing marketing language that can make sorting out the pros and cons of each unit difficult, and it’s often hard to find details such as tub measurements, capacities and optional features.
To help you find the walk-in tub that’s right for you, we’ve researched all the major manufacturers, reviewed their products and compiled the information in a series of head-to-head comparison articles. Today we’re comparing Ella’s Bubbles and Freedom Bathtubs by Accessibility Professionals — two of the most trusted names in walk-in tubs. Below, you’ll find an in-depth overview table that covers each company, followed by a company profile and our expert recommendations.
|Ella’s Bubbles||Freedom Bathtubs|
|Least Expensive Model||Approximately $2,300||$2,878|
|Most Expensive Model (without added options)||Approximately $8,237||$3,398|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty on door, frame and shell||Limited lifetime warranty on door seals; 10 years on structure; 5 years on pumps|
|Features & Specs|
|Available Door Styles||Inward and outward swing||Inward and outward swing|
|Tub Types||Built-in and freestanding||Built-in or freestanding|
|Minimum Water Capacity (unoccupied) in US Gallons||70||60|
|Smallest Tub Outside Dimensions||25″ x 45″||29.5″ x 51″|
|Largest Tub Outside Dimensions||30″ x 60″||29.5″ x 51″|
|Safety Features||Grab bars, anti-slip flooring||Anti-slip flooring, grab bar|
|Wheelchair Accessible Tubs?||Yes, including a lift-equipped unit||Yes|
|Optional Add-Ons/Accessories||Heated seat and backrest Microbubble therapy kit Thermostatic control valve Tempered glass bath screen Upgraded fixtures||Heated shell (on soaker tub model) Heated air jet system Heated whirlpool jet system Combination air and whirlpool jet system|
Founded in 2005, Ella’s Bubbles is a Chicago-based company that designs, builds and distributes a wide range of walk-in bathtubs for residential applications. Its lineup includes wheelchair-accessible tubs with an extra-wide door for easy transfers, a compact 32-inch by 40-inch tub for small spaces and three types of two-person walk-in that accommodate two adult bathers.
Another unique product from Ella’s Bubbles is its specialized hoist transfer bathtub that comes complete with a comfortable, power-assisted lift chair. This design lets bathers transfer directly onto their bath chair while outside the tub, providing extra safety for those with limited mobility.
Freedom Bathtubs by Accessibility Professionals is a Canadian company located in Barrie, Ontario. The company specializes in accessible bathroom products such as walk-in tubs, easy access tubs, bath seats and grab bars. It offers four walk-in tubs for residential use and sized to fit into any typical home bathroom. All tubs are based on the same mold and come complete with comfort-height seats, 2-inch drains, textured anti-slip floors and double-speed entry pipes.
Accessibility Professionals Inc. has held Better Business Bureau accreditation since 2011, and it maintains an A+ BBB rating. All of its walk-in tubs are made-to-order in Cleveland, Ohio, and shipped directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. Customers can customize their walk-in tub with features such as shell heaters, heated whirlpool jets and a combination air and whirlpool water massage system.
While Ella’s Bubbles and Freedom Bathtubs are well-established companies known for their high-quality, user-friendly products, Ella’s Bubbles offers the widest range of walk-in tubs backed by an industry-leading warranty. By comparison, Freedom Bathtubs only offers four walk-in tub models, but their prices are among the lowest on the market, with all of its base units priced below $3,500. We also appreciate that Freedom Bathtubs prices are listed on the company website, while Ella’s Bubbles doesn’t list its pricing.
Both Ella’s Bubbles and Freedom Bathtubs have traditional walk-in tubs and budget-friendly step-in tubs designed to fit into most residential bathrooms, and each company manufactures its walk-in tubs in the United States. Unlike Freedom Bathtubs, which builds each walk-in tub to order, Ella’s Bubbles tubs are available immediately through its network of nationwide distributors, which may be important for consumers who don’t want to wait for their walk-in tub.
Ultimately, the choice between Ella’s Bubbles and Freedom Bathtubs comes down to price, availability and options. Overall, Ella’s Bubbles tubs can cost more than comparable models from Freedom Bathtubs, although Ella’s Bubbles appears to have a better warranty and a much larger product range. Freedom Bathtubs may be a good option for those who are budget-conscious, don’t need a lot of added features and can wait for their tub to be built, while Ella’s Bubbles have installation-ready tubs available nationwide.