inswing vs. outswing walk-in tub

 So, you’ve finally decided to purchase a walk-in bathtub because you realized it’s a good investment in the long run, and you want your home to be age-in-place ready. 

Before heading on to which hydrotherapy feature you want for your walk-in tub, decide first which walk-in tub door type is appropriate for your needs.  It’s more than just preference; it’s a crucial decision to make for the safety, comfort, and convenience of you or your loved ones.

There are basically two types of walk-in tub doors: the inswing walk-in tub and the outswing walk-in tub. How do you know which type is for you? Follow this brief yet comprehensive comparison. 

Inswing Walk-in Tub vs. Outswing Walk-in Tub

What is an inswing walk-in tub?

venzi right drain white soaking walk in bathtub

Image: Venzi Right Drain White Soaking Walk-In Bathtub

The inswing walk-in tub is basically a walk-in tub with inward swinging doors. Many choose inswing walk-in tubs for their safety, comfort and convenience. In fact, inswing walk-in tubs are sold more compared to outswing tubs for many practical reasons. 

Why choose inswing walk-in tub? 

  1. You have a small or limited bathroom space.

    An inswing walk-in tub is more suitable for petite bathrooms simply because it takes up less room. Bathroom configuration plays a vital role when choosing which style of a walk-in tub to buy. Assess if there is enough space for the door to swing outward. 

    If the walk-in tub will be placed in a space near a toilet or vanity, then an inswing walk-in tub is a more space-efficient option. You don’t want other items in the room to be in the way of your door.  

  2. You want to place the tub into a pre-existing bathtub or shower.

    Walk-in tubs can be installed in many areas of your home. Many times in the bathroom, but some also convert their closets or bedroom spaces to house the walk-in tub.  

    Mostly in these cases, the space was not originally planned to accommodate a bathtub– more so a tub with an outward swinging door. If an outward swinging bathtub door will only restrict your mobility within your bathroom, then it’s only practical to buy an inward swinging walk-in tub. The inswing walk-in tub can be built-in or freestanding, so you can install it in a pre-existing bathtub or shower area, and even in an open space. 

  3. You want a more secured bathtub door. 

    Walk-in tubs are known for their safe and extra-low threshold. Regardless of the type, both inswings and outswings offer an upright bathing experience– just like sitting in a chair. Both variations are nearly identical except for the door features. 

    A bather, even with limited mobility, can conveniently close the door of an inswing walk-in tub while sitting inside. The inswing’s tub layout also creates a more secured door. When the tub is filled with water, water presses against the door frame creating an extra tight seal. The door’s lock will also not open until all the water is drained, preventing any accidental opening.

  4. You have mobility issues but not to the point of needing assistance. 

    If you’re aging in place with some mobility issues but not to the point of needing a caregiver or wheelchair, then an inswing tub will suffice. Outward opening doors are excellent options if you need a wide opening entrance or an easy transfer tub. But if you just need a safe step bathtub, an inswing walk-in tub already does the job.

    We often hear from clients: laying down in the tub is the easy part, getting out is the hard one. With an inswing walk-in tub, you don’t need a great amount of strength and balance to pull yourself up and step over the usual full-height bathtub. You simply open the bathtub door, step in and sit on the chair-height, contoured seat. You also get the convenience of easily closing the door from inside and the extra security of the water-tight seal door.

What is an outswing walk-in tub?

outswing walk-in tub

Image: Venzi Left Drain White Soaking Wheelchair Accessible Walk-In Bathtub 

Contrary to inswing walk-in tubs, outswing walk-in tubs have doors that swing away from the tub and not into it. Because of its design, the outswing walk-in tub needs more room for the door to swing open.  The outswing walk-in tub is the perfect bathroom solution for anyone looking for a safety tub with handicapped accessibility and functionality. 

Why choose an outswing walk-in tub? 

  1. You want a WCA or wheelchair-accessible bathtub. 

    Outswing walk-in tubs are the most beneficial for wheelchair users. That’s why they’re also known as WCA or wheelchair-accessible bathtubs. The tub’s outward swinging doors and barrier-free side make it easier for the bather to transfer from a wheelchair, walker, scooter or cane into the seat of the walk-in tub.

    Wheelchair users need a wider door entrance and a barrier-free side in order to smoothly transfer into the tub from the wheelchair. This goes the same for individuals who are handicapped or with limited mobility and may need assistance from a caregiver. In these situations, backing into the tub instead of simply stepping into it is the best way to go, proving outswing’s design more useful.

  2. You need a tub with a wider door opening for a more convenient entry and exit.

    The door swinging into the tub somehow blocks the opening and restricts the movement of the bather. Larger users may find it difficult to enter the tub if the path of entry is narrower. For this instance, a walk-in tub with an outward swinging door is the better choice. 

    Outswing walk-in tubs definitely have a clear and wider door opening than the inswings. This is the same reason why bariatric walk-in tubs only have outward swinging doors. A door that swings outwards will also help the bather maneuver around the tub more fluidly. 

  3. You want to comfortably and safely navigate the tub inside.

    Navigating within the tub is more comfortable and safer with an outward opening door. With doors opening into the room and not into the tub, you have more space inside as you navigate the tub and settle yourself in the seat. The entrance is completely empty with no obstacles, so tripping can be prevented. 

    Unlike the inswing walk-in tub which uses a self-sealing door, the outswing walk-in tub uses a hinged door that has a state-of-the-art locking mechanism so the door is still secured even when filled with water. The only difference is that you can open an outswing walk-in tub’s door even if water is not yet completely drained. Extra caution has to be observed to avoid water flowing onto the floor.                                                    

Bring Comfort, Safety and Independence to Your Bathroom

Besides the door, a walk-in tub is equipped with other excellent features such as Rapid Fill and Draining system, Pneumatic Controls and even Hydrotherapy upgrades like air or whirlpool massage systems, chromatherapy, aromatherapy and more. 

There are also Walk-in Tub Shower Combos which can be a huge asset to a household as it allows those with mobility issues to soak and shower in the same spot. 

BathtubsPlus has both swing-in and swing-out bathtub options. We are happy to talk you through questions to make sure you get the right tub for your situation!

Bariatric walk in tubJacuzzi walk-in bathtubLuxury walk-in tub shower comboModern walk-in bathtubSafe step walk-in tub