WALK-IN TUB REVIEW
Updated for August, 2020
Ella Walk-In Tubs Review
All over the internet, online reviewers praise a wide variety of Ella tub models for their reliability and quality. What’s more, the company’s pick-and-choose approach, which allows consumers to select individual features rather than choose among a narrow range of packages.
Top Walk-In Tubs by Ella Bubbles
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Economy Walk-In Tub
Starting at $2,400
Ella’s Economy model doesn’t come with some of the convenience options available in other Ella tubs, such as a fast-fill faucet or dual-drain system (or the distinctive steel-and-tempered-glass doors that give most other models their distinctive look). What’s more, the Economy model is made out of gelcoat fiberglass over a steel frame, so it doesn’t have the scratch-resistant durability of an acrylic body. For a high quality tub from a major manufacturer, however, it’s hard to beat the Economy’s low price point, and it comes with the same warranties as Ella’s other models, making it a great value for someone who just wants some of Ella’s impressive features without the higher prices.
Inward-Swinging Door Tub
Starting at $3,000
We’ve chosen one of Ella’s inward-swinging door models—the Ultimate—as our best overall walk-in tub for 2019, but all of Ella’s inward-swinging door models have a beautiful design, including Ella’s distinctive steel-and-glass door, decorative access plates, a glossy and durable acrylic body, a dual-drain system for a fast exit from the tub, and chrome fixtures. As if this weren’t enough, these tubs also come in a wide array of sizes. As with most Ella models, consumers can get the inward-swinging-door tub with the full range of therapeutic features, including micro bubbles, air massage, and hydrotherapy. What’s more, Ella offers one of its few packages in the Ultimate model, which includes all three types of therapy for a price much lower than any of its competitors for a similar array of features. Finally, Ella adds a nice touch to the Ultimate with its tub-side swivel tray, which gives the user a convenient place to put a drink, bath accessory, or reading material. While the inward swing models tend to be more expensive than the Economy line, they do offer some impressive features for relatively low price points, and, in the Ultimate model, offers one of the best values in full-featured walk-in tubs on the market.
White Label models
Small, Short, Narrow, Deep, Long, Bariatric
Outward-Swinging Door Tub
Starting from $3,500
As the name implies, Ella’s outward-swing-door model features the distinctive Ella door—except that this door swings outward, rather than inward, making the tub a little more accessible for those with mobility issues. What’s more, this line of tubs includes one of Ella’s unique offerings: a tub that allows you to enter from the front (facing the seat) rather than the side, allowing the buyer to place their walk-in in a narrower space than usual while still assuring easy access (note that the front entry model doesn’t have the steel-and-glass door, however). Every size and configuration of this model has the same standard features as the inward-opening-door model, and offers the same range of optional features as well. For those who need a little more accessibility, the outward-swinging door model may be worth a look.
White Label model
“My hubby and I bought this Walk-In Tub a few years back and it was one of the best purchases we’ve ever made! With Back aches, Knee problems and Arthritis as we age the Air/Hydro jets and heat really help ease the pain.”
Starting for $3,100
Ella’s two-seat tubs, offers some of the appeal of hot tubs and other communal bathing arrangements by allowing two people to bathe simultaneously. These tubs, which come in a wide range of sizes, are unique on the market, they all include Ella’s distinctive glass door, and they also offer the foot massage option that isn’t always available in other models. Beyond that, they offer the same range of convenience and therapeutic features as Ella’s other models, and their unique place in a market that’s otherwise pretty similar across brands makes this tub priceless for those who want to be able to bathe with a partner.
Starting for $3,700
We’ve chosen Ella’s wheelchair accessible model—the Transfer—as the Best Wheelchair Accessible walk-in tub for 2019. That’s because like all of its other major models, Ella’s wheelchair accessible line gives consumers a wide range of options in a quality-constructed acrylic-and-steel-frame tub. But unlike the other models (and as the name implies) the Transfer tubs feature an L-shaped, outward-swinging door that allows those in a wheelchair to move directly from the chair seat to the tub seat. Not every manufacturer offers a wheelchair accessible tub, and Ella’s version is quite economical, requiring only a moderate investment beyond the price of their inward-swinging-door line. This makes it a good value for anyone in a wheelchair or who might have more severe mobility problems.
At a GlanceA checklist of standard walk-in tub features.
|Economy Tub||Inward-Opening Door Tub||Outward-Opening Door Tub||Two-Seat Tub||Wheelchair Accessible|
|Price*||$2600|| $3000 - $5800,
depending on size and options
| $3500 - $5800,
depending on size and options
| $3100 - $5800,
depending on size and options
| $3700 - $6000,
depending on size and options
|Low entry threshold||standard||standard||standard||standard||standard|
|Push button controls||optional||optional||optional||optional||optional|
|Built-in safety bar||standard||standard||standard||standard||standard|
|Textured bath surfaces||standard||standard||standard||standard||standard|
The Many, Many Models of Ella Walk-In Tubs
If there’s one drawback to Ella walk-in tubs, it’s that there’s a bewildering assortment of models and packages for sale. On the one hand, that kind of variety is great—it lets consumers choose the tubs and features they truly value. On the other hand, though, with thirty named models on the market, and with each model offering at least two (and sometimes three or four) therapeutic packages, shopping for an Ella walk-in tub over the internet can be a frustrating experience. Each new search seems to yield a new spate of possibilities, and not all online retailers stick with Ella’s categories when they list the tubs they have for sale.
To make the process easier, we’ve stuck with the names Ella uses for its models and features in this article. But we’ve included links to some selected models for sale at online retailers to make searching easier, and to help you better navigate the listings you’ll encounter as you shop.
We’ll go over Ella’s most popular models below. But since Ella offers the same features for almost every model they sell—allowing the consumer to choose the tub that best suits their needs—we’ll start with a quick look at these optional features.
Faucet and Showerhead
Depending on the retailer, Ella offers a full five-piece faucet set with every model of tub, including two taps, a spout, a handheld showerhead, and a thermal control valve that provides anti-scald protection. It should be noted, though, that some retailers, such as Home Depot, require the faucets to be bought separately, and that for most models, a fast-fill faucet (which puts out 18 gallons per minute rather than 14) costs about $500 extra.
Thermostatic Control Valve
As mentioned above, Ella provides a thermal control valve that prevents potential scalding by limiting the temperature of the water coming into the tub. This is standard on most models, though not on the Economy tub—and may not come standard from some retailers.
Kickplate and Adjustable Feet
Ella’s walk-in tub models also come with a bottom kickplate that can be removed so that the adjustable feet can be lowered significantly. This is a good feature, but it should be noted that with the kickplate in place, the threshold on the tub is higher than it is among some of Ella’s competitors.
Infusion MicroBubble Therapeutic Massage
Ella’s Bubbles gets its name from this system that infuses the water with millions of microscopic bubbles, creating a unique sensation of buoyancy and a soothing and gentle massage effect, and providing a cleansing effect for the pores and skin—all for about $800 added to the price.
In this feature, air jets provide a gentle massage: depending on the model and the tub size, the air jets providing this soothing therapy can number in the dozens. Ella offers this—a common feature among walk-in tubs—for about $900-$1100 extra.
Water (Hydro) Massage
The most powerful massage feature in any tub is hydrotherapy, which pumps water into the bath to work the legs, back, shoulders, and other areas likely to experience tension or chronic pain. Ella offers this, too, with the number of jets varying according to the tub model and size. Consumers who choose this option also get chromatherapy (where multicolored lights provide a soothing display in the water) and aromatherapy (where an infuser introduces essential oils into the water as well). In addition, people who choose this feature also enjoy Ella’s ozone sterilization system, which helps remove microbes from the water for the cleanest possible bath. Hydrotherapy costs about $1500-$1900 dollars extra, depending on the model.
Some select models offer a foot massage option, which allows the user to partially fill the tub and enjoy hydrotherapy for their lower legs and feet. This is more of a package feature, and so doesn’t really have a separate charge attached.
All Ella tubs except the Economy model can come with heated seat and back surfaces, for about $700-$900 extra.
Finally, for about $200 extra, users who have opted for the hydrotherapy, air massage (or both) in their tub can choose to have it include an LED control system rather than the standard push-button controls. This feature is not available from all retailers, however.
While Ella offers nearly a dozen different configurations of optional features, the tubs themselves really come as blank slates: all of them can come equipped with most of the options listed above—or with no optional features at all. Here’s a quick look at Ella’s model categories.
The White Label Gel Coat Series
As you shop for a tub, you may come across Ella’s White Label series, a line of gelcoated fiberglass tubs (as opposed to Ella’s standard acrylic) designed for certain specialized needs. We’ve listed them along with the acrylic models they most resemble, but these tubs are a less-expensive option for people who have to put a tub into a particularly small footprint, or who need a larger than usual model in terms of either height or width. And while the White Label line doesn’t include Ella’s Infusion MicroBubble system among their range of options (or Ella’s distinctive glass-and-steel door), these tubs do offer many of the same packages as Ella’s acrylic tubs at a slightly lower price. If space or size considerations have made finding a walk-in tub more challenging for you, Ella’s White Label line is worth a look.
|Features||Economy Tub||Inward Swing Door Tub||Outward Swing Door Tub||Two Seated Tub||Wheelchair Accessible||White Label|
|Acrylic over steel body with leveling feet||standard||standard||standard||standard|
|Fast fill faucet||optional||optional||optional||optional||optional|
|Dual drain system||standard||standard||standard||standard||white|
|Handheld shower wand||standard||standard||standard||standard||standard|
|Tub-side swivel tray|
|Hydrotherapy (with ozone sterilization, water heater, Chromatherapy, and Aromatherapy)||optional||optional||optional||optional||optional||optional|
|Sizes available (wxl)||26” x 51”||Petite - 28" x 52" Elite - 30" x 52" Deluxe - 30" x 55" Ultimate - 30" x 60" Royal - 32" x 52"||Lounger - 27″ x 60″ Malibu - 30″ x 52″ Monaco - 32″ x 52″ Mobile - 26″ x 45″ Front Entry - 32″ x 40″||Companion - 30″ x 60″ Tub4Two - 32″ x 60″ Big4Two - 36″ x 80″||Transfer - 30″ x 52″ Transfer26 - 26″ x 52″ Transfer32 - 32″ x 52″ Transfer60 - 30″ x 60″ TransferXXL - 36″ x 55″||Small - 26” x 45” Short - 28” x 48” Narrow - 26” x 53” Low Threshold - 30” x 52” Deep - 30” x 55” Bariatric35 - 35” x 55” Bariatric 33 - 33” x 55” Long - 32” x 60”|
Does Medicare Or Health Insurance Cover Walk-in Tubs?
Medicare and health insurance usually only covers items that deemed “medically required” so it is best to think of a walk-in tub as an out of pocket expense. There are some rare occasions where medicare and health insurances will provide financial assistance. Check with your insurance agent to see what your specific policy covers. Most walk-in tub providers also have a specialist you can contact for more information.
Do Walk-In Tubs Come In Different Sizes?
Ellas’ walk-in tubs come in various sizes and models and are sure to have one that will meet all of your needs and fit in your space. The standard single person models range from 26 to 36 inches wide and 40 to 60 inches long. They also carry a two person walk in tub that has 4 different models that range from 30 to 36 inches wide and 60 to 80 inches long.
What Features Are Offered For My Walk-in Tub?
Ella Walk-In Tubs offer quality features for all of their tubs such as aromatherapy, chromatherapy, healthy radiant heat, infusion microbubble therapy, ozone sterilization, independent foot massage, therapeutic air massage and therapeutic hydro massage. Most tubs also come with a tray that does a 360 degree swivel. With the healthy radiant heat keeps you and the water warm while you’re bathing to help you enjoy the full relaxation of an Ella Walk-In Tub.
What Kind Of Warranty Is Offered With My Walk-in Tub?
Ellas’ warranty has three different parts. Your tub and door are covered with a limited lifetime warranty where all the supporting equipment is covered for five years with a limited warranty. All warranties are available for viewing before purchasing on their website on the product pages.
How Do I Clean My Walk-in Tub?
Word on the Street
As our rating indicates, Ella walk-in tubs have a solid track record of satisfying consumers looking for more accessible bathing. Consumers overall seemed very happy with their tubs’ construction, quality, and features, with many specifically mentioning the ways that their tub helped them address problems like injuries or arthritis. Remarkably, too, Ella tubs seemed to have fairly trouble-free installation: while most of the reviews we surveyed dealt with installations done by retailers (as opposed to manufacturers, or manufacturer-preferred installers), there were very few complaints about the process, and quite a few consumers offered specific praise for the contractors and the ease with which their tubs became a fixture in their bathrooms.
“The Companion Massage Whirlpool Walk In Tub is a pretty unique product in that it is a two seater. My wife and I chose this tub over others as we needed something that was ADA accessible for my father-in-law, who lives with us, but also wanted something that we could use. Our plumber and contractor didn’t have much trouble with installation and so far it works great.”
Price and Warranty
Many walk-in tub manufacturers prefer to give interested buyers individualized estimates of how much it will cost to buy and install one of their units. But since Ella tubs are widely available from online retailers, it’s easier to get a handle on the price of a particular Ella model. All the same, different retailers can sometimes offer different prices on the same model, and the cost of installation (and shipping, if you’re buying online) is always a wildcard. Even if you’re still in the window-shopping phase, however, you’re probably hoping to get some idea of the cost of the unit you’re most interested in.
As detailed above, Ella tubs come at numerous price points depending on the options you choose to include with them, with select models offering basic features (the Economy) or a full-featured package (the Ultimate). Note, too, that some retailers sometimes offer special discounts on Ella tubs, and it’s always possible you’ll find a great deal if you look online.
One area in which Ella doesn’t fully satisfy, however, is its warranty: many of Ella’s major competitors offer a full lifetime warranty on everything related to the tub, and many of those that don’t offer much longer warranty periods on the parts (in addition to offering to pay for the labor involved in replacing parts that prove defective). So the 1-year warranty on Ella’s anti-scald device seems short, given the importance of that device in consumer safety, and the 5-year parts warranty isn’t especially impressive. Still, with its generally low prices and its emphasis on consumer choice, Ella’s tubs make for a good value in a crowded market.
|Product||Economy Tub||Inward-Opening Door Tub||Outward-Opening Door Tub||Two-Seat Tub||Wheelchair Accessible|
|Lifetime Warranty - tub shell, frame, door, and door seal|
|5 Year Warranty - Parts|
|1 Year Warranty - Thermostatic control valve (anti-scald device)|
“I cannot speak highly enough of this tub! We removed an old corner jacuzzi from a concrete floor, and thanks to a highly skilled contractor, electrician and plumber, we were able to replace it with this Ella’s Elite. We also installed a new 50 gallon hot water heater. We are in a rural area with a deep water well. The tub fills in 6 or 7 minutes (with the stock hardware) and drains in an amazing 60 seconds!”
Except for its stripped-down fiberglass Economy model, Ella offers high-quality acrylic tubs with an almost bewildering array of options that allow the consumer to get the exact model of tub they prefer. What’s more, Ella tubs come in some unique configurations, with its two-seat tubs especially standing out in a crowded field. While Ella’s warranties may leave something to be desired, the company clearly aims to meet every consumer’s need, and does so at highly competitive price points.