Kohler is known for bringing a strong sense of design as well as innovative technology to everything related to baths and bathing. This is still the case when it comes to bathroom accessibility. Its soaker and hydrotherapy models both deserve attention for their attractive design and high quality, and we’ll walk you through them in this article.
Kohler’s Belay hydrotherapy tub offers all the attractive design features of its walk-in tub model, including the wide door, the low entry threshold, the deep, wide contoured seat, the handheld showerhead with variable settings, and fast fill faucets coupled with a fast drain system. What sets it apart from its sister model is its water and bubble jets—10 jets arranged to massage and stimulate the back, the calves, and the front of the leg, driven by an adjustable speed system that forces air or water through adjustable nozzles. In addition, the Belay includes Kohler’s Bask system—a proprietary feature that heats the tub surface where it meets the back, neck, and shoulders—for a complete spa experience. With the same attractive gelcoated fiberglass and chrome aesthetic as the basic walk-in model, the Belay is definitely a tub worth looking into—and even at the standard list price, it’s competitive with other luxury or therapeutic walk-in tubs on the market.
“I was most satisfied with how comfortable it is once you’re in it with the jets on. It also puts out heat and relaxes you.”
George, Manchester, MD (via kohlerwalkinbath.com)
If you’re in the market for a more conventional walk-in tub, Kohler’s basic model stands out for its thoughtful design. Manufactured from high-quality, durable gelcoated fiberglass, the Kohler Belay Soaker Tub features an extra-wide door and ultra-low step-in threshold for easy access, an extra-wide seat that Kohler claims makes their tub 30% deeper than other baths on the market, and other key details like easy-grip handrails and textured bath surfaces. The tub also features a fast drain feature which can empty the tub in under two minutes, a faucet system that Kohler claims fills the tub with water faster than any comparable tub, and a handheld shower wand with three spray settings. All these features come in an attractive, streamlined tub that’s available in two colors and with polished chrome or brushed nickel fittings. Kohler’s entry-level tub is a little pricier than some of the basic models on the market, but those looking for more features or a stronger design sense may find the extra cost worth it.
“The walk-in tub is AWESOME and so easy to get in and out of. The quality is great!”
Fuss, Combined Locks, WI (via kohlerwalkinbath.com)
Not everyone with mobility issues who’s hoping to age in place needs or wants a walk-in tub. Many prefer the convenience of a shower, and many people also have to be conscious of the needs and desires of those they’re living with, who may not want or need a specialized bath. For those in this position, a walk-in shower can be the ideal solution, and Kohler’s offering in this category stands out. First, it features a high-quality acrylic basin, providing durable, scratch-and-stain-resistant reliability. It also features textured surfaces, a grab bar, an easy-to-reach bath product shelf, and an ultra-low 3-inch threshold that makes the shower much more accessible for those with mobility issues or at risk of falling. When combined with the optional secure shower seat, this ease of entry also makes transferring from a wheelchair much more convenient, especially since the optional seat can be adjusted—moved to the perfect place for someone who must sit while showering to get the full benefit of the shower. The shower itself comes in a variety of attractive configurations, with ordinary shower heads available as well as adjustable-height showers for a perfectly aimed stream of water. Finally, for the design-conscious, Kohler includes LuxStone walls in their shower packages, allowing the consumer to select from more than 10 possible combinations of bath surfaces and walls to get the design that suits their bathroom best. A more economical and flexible option, the LuxStone walk-in shower is also attractive and feature-rich, and could be the most economical and aesthetic choice for those in the market.
At A Glance
A checklist of standard walk-in tub features.
|Our Rating||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||4.2||Belay Soaker Tub||4.0||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||44|
|Price*||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Contact dealer for price||Belay Soaker Tub||Contact dealer for price||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||Contact dealer for price|
|Low Entry Threshhold||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Belay Soaker Tub||standard||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||standard|
|Push Button Controls||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||standard||Belay Soaker Tub||standard||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower|
|Built-In Safety Bars||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||standard||Belay Soaker Tub||standard||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||standard|
|Textured Bath Surfaces||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||standard||Belay Soaker Tub||standard||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||standard|
|Wheelchair Accessible||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||❌||Belay Soaker Tub||❌||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||✅|
|Spa||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||standard||Belay Soaker Tub||❌||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||❌|
|Whirlpool/Hydrotherapy||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||standard||Belay Soaker Tub||❌||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||❌|
|Chromatherapy||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||❌||Belay Soaker Tub||❌||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||❌|
|Aromatherapy||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||❌||Belay Soaker Tub||❌||Lux Stone Walk-In Shower||❌|
*Price can vary by supplier, and special deals are often available. Contact a supplier or installer for a personalized quote.
Kohler’s accessible bath selections are fairly straightforward, but here’s another look at the features they offer.
|Lever Faucet Controls||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||✅||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||✅|
|Multi-Functional Shower Head||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||✅||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||✅|
|3″ Threshold||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||✅||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||❌|
|Extra Wide And Deep Seat||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||✅||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower|
|Bask Heated Surfaces||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||❌||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||❌|
|Adjustable Strength Bubble Massage||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||❌||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower|
|Water Jets||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||❌||Belay Soaker Model||✅||LuxStone Walk-In Shower|
|Construction||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Gelcoated fiberglass||Belay Soaker Model||Gelcoated fiberglass||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||Acrylic basin|
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Word on the Street
Regardless of the model, online reviews of Kohler’s walk-in bath and shower lines are scarce, but judging by the reviews on the company’s website, purchasers found Kohler’s products highly satisfactory, with many appreciating the tubs’ functionality and their positive impact on their quality of life. Reviewers also cite the company’s sales and installation process as being especially effortless, and praise the staff for being courteous and easy to work with.
Customers also mentioned that the tubs’ design and construction made the bathing experience safer or more pleasant for anyone with limited mobility or who is getting older. Many people also mentioned specifically that Kohler tubs and showers allowed them to stay in their homes for longer than they would otherwise.
“It looks wonderful and never gets cold. The handheld shower part has changed so much for me because I was able to take care of myself! Even my friends were so impressed with how it looked when they came over to look at it.”
Helms, Appleton, WI (via kohlerwalkinbath.com)
Price and Warranty
Most suppliers and manufacturers of walk-in tubs want you to contact them for a personalized price quote, and with good reason: they’re going to want to know some details about your needs, your expectations, and any issues they might face in the installation before they give you a final estimate. So if you’re in the market for a walk-in tub, you should take the time to contact suppliers and compare estimates, approaches, and, hopefully, a few references as well before you sign a contract.
What’s more, Kohler gets high marks for its warranties, offering a Lifetime Limited Warranty on all the important parts of the tub, including—crucially—the door seal. Door seal warranties are actually standing in the walk-in tub market, but Kohler stands out even further for offering the same warranty for the tub, the tub hardware, and the complex hydrotherapy systems offered in its higher-end models. In this way, Kohler adds even more value to their tubs, making them worth a look despite their higher price points.
|Price*||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Contact dealer for price||Belay Soaker Tub||Contact dealer for price||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||Contact dealer for price|
|Door Seal(S)||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Lifetime Limited||Belay Soaker Tub||Lifetime Limited||LuxStone Walk-In Shower|
|Tub And Hydrotherapy Systems||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Lifetime Limited||Belay Soaker Tub||Lifetime Limited||LuxStone Walk-In Shower|
|Hardware||Belay Hydrotherapy Tub||Lifetime Limited||Belay Soaker Tub||Lifetime Limited||LuxStone Walk-In Shower||Lifetime Limited|
“I was most satisfied with the guarantee. Being a single, elderly woman it is nice to know that if something is wrong with this tub, it will be fixed.”
Deborah, Valparaiso, IN (via kohlerwalkinbath.com)
Overall, Kohler’s tubs and showers stand out for their quality and for the number of features that they offer. But they stand out especially for their accessibility, with a walk-in tub that offers a larger door and seat than most competitors and an impressive walk-in shower offering. Moreover, Kohler’s attention to design and variety of color and finish options allow even those with mobility issues to find a bathing solution that will dovetail with their bathroom decor. While pricing might be a barrier to some consumers, Kohler’s products nevertheless stand out for functionality, accessibility, and design.