In our Kohler walk-in tub evaluation, we look at the brand’s storied past and how it’s still a family-led business. Then we evaluate the Kohler walk-in tub, the available features, and the pricing comparison.
There's just one model, so you don’t have much choice in style or size, but this acrylic walk-in bathtub comes with lots of premium options and the low-step in threshold is the lowest of any model we’ve evaluated. Finally, with a lifetime warranty, you can expect it to provide you with a lot of spa-like baths for years.
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Kohler is a big brand that’s been around since 1873. As such, they are leaders in the industry and are at the forefront of innovation and style. But you’re probably most familiar with their commercials for faucets and other kitchen and bathroom products, as Kohler’s portfolio of active products is in the tens of thousands, making walk-in tubs just a small fraction of their focus.
As a big brand, there are a lot of great reviews, mediocre reviews, and poor reviews of Kohler products. This is to be expected with any brand that makes thousands of sinks, toilets, faucets, lighting, bathtubs, showers, and more. However, what’s unexpected for such a big and storied brand is that it’s still run in the family. The president and CEO is David Kohler. In fact, the company has been led by four generations of Kohlers, going all the way back to the beginning. And there is something to be said about how the brand displays it’s products. Though there aren’t many options of Kohler walk-in tubs (more on that in the next section), the devotion to information for the product has the feeling and care of a family-owned business.
We love that Kohler offers virtual appointments. Few walk-in tub manufacturers have addressed the coronavirus pandemic in such a way by changing the in-person consultation policies. By taking such steps, it’s clear that Kohler understands the risk posed to a large portion of the people who need walk-in baths.
The best walk-in tub for low step-in threshold
With such a storied history and the resources of a giant brand, you’d think there would be lots of walk-in tub styles and options to choose from. There really isn’t. Kohler makes one walk-in bath model, though it can be customized a little to fit your specific space. That said, Kohler devotes an entire website separate from its main website for its walk-in bath.
The Kohler walk-in bathtub includes 10 hydrotherapy jets and 17 BubbleMassage jets. While there are certainly walk-in tubs available with more hydrotherapy and air jets, Kohler promises the best results due to expert engineering.
It may be a minor feature, but the best feature of the Kohler walk-in tub is the 3-inch step-in threshold. Walk-in tubs are made to limit the risk of tripping over the edge of a bathtub, but every walk-in tub also has a threshold you have to step over. Most walk-in tubs have 6- to 7-inch step-ins. While this may not pose much of a risk to most seniors, people with severe mobility issues may still struggle to get over it. So, at 3-inches, the height is more accessible to the largest population of people with limited mobility.
To make it as safe as possible, textured surfaces were added to keep you from slipping. Grab bars are easy to reach. And controls are easy to use. In addition, grooves on the side of the seat let water drain so you’re not sitting in water even as the rest of the tub has drained. It also features heated surfaces in the seat to keep you comfortable throughout the bath and as it drains.
Kohler offers installation from an authorized dealer for 50-percent off and promises to have the new tub installed and ready to use in one day. They also provide no-contact installations, further limiting the risk of potential exposure to coronavirus.
The warranty is also excellent with a limited lifetime policy on all parts. By comparison, most manufacturers only provide lifetime warranties on the door seal. Motors, pumps and electrical parts typically only get a 5-year warranty while the tub gets a 10- to 15-year warranty. With a lifetime warranty on all parts, it’s one of the best. That said, you void the warranty if it's not installed by an authorized dealer. The warranty also only applies to the first owner and the first location. In other words, the warranty is voided if you sell your house or move it to a new house.
Kohler doesn’t list the price of its walk-in bath. Rather, it requires you to get a free quote from an expert technician. While we’d prefer manufacturers to be a bit transparent on pricing so users know from the start what they can expect to pay, it’s also somewhat understandable. Every house has different plumbing requirements and electrical work that needs to be done. Installing a walk-in tub is not simple. So getting a quote from an expert is the only way to get a reasonably accurate cost (even though it’s still a way to up-sell).
HomeAdvisor.com suggests that Kohler’s Walk-in baths range between $4,000 and $9,000, putting it within the market average for a walk-in bath with whirlpool and air jets, regardless of how your setup at home requires. Of course, it’s unclear how these prices are affected by optional features or includes the installation.
Kohler provides financing, unlike most manufacturers. They’ve partnered with GreenSky financing to make it more affordable for most people. This financing option includes 18 months without a payment.
Kohler may not have the number of models you’d expect from one of the most storied bathtub and plumbing manufacturers in the U.S., but the single walk-in tub it offers is a well-designed tub with all the premium options, like hydrotherapy jets, air jets, heated surfaces, quick draining and fast filling faucets, and a very low step-in. In fact, the 3-inch step in makes the Kohler walk-in tub safer than many other tubs for seniors with severe mobility issues.
The lifetime warranty backs up the Kohler brand with the impressive coverage to all parts and components. And with a price point that’s competitive and available financing, you can easily get a Kohler walk-in tub even if you don’t have all the money right now.