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Safe Step vs. Kohler

Safe Step offers a few straightforward tubs, while Kohler offers more customization options and an industry-leading three-inch step-in height.

Taylor Shuman Taylor Shuman Senior Tech Expert & Editor
Linda Schlenker Linda Schlenker Occupational Therapist

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Key Takeaways: Safe Step vs. Kohler

  • Safe Step is best for those looking for a fairly straightforward walk-in tub purchase without lots of customization options. It’s a good choice for those looking to save money, since Safe Step offers multiple discounts.
  • Kohler is best for those who want a little more input on the design of their bath. Customers can choose from multiple customization options, including walls and fixtures, and the bath is an inch lower than Safe Step’s for easier entry and exit.

Buying a walk-in tub is a major investment, so it’s important to find the best option for both your needs and your budget. Both Safe Step and Kohler have excellent reputations for the quality of their walk-in tub. We’ll break down the must-know details about each brand from features to the installation process so you can choose the best walk-in tub for your home.

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Safe Step and Kohler

Our favorite is Safe Step
  Safe Step Logo Kohler Walk-In Tubs Logo
Starting price Requires a quote Requires a quote
Installation 1-2 days 1 day, though some take longer
Financing offered Yes Yes
Warranty Lifetime Limited lifetime
In-home quote required Yes Yes
Website

Types of Walk-In Tubs

Safe Step

Safe Step hybrid tub

Safe Step hybrid tub

Safe Step offers two walk-in tub models. The traditional walk-in tub features a four-inch step-in height and a handheld shower wand. It also comes standard with many features, so you don’t have to add on features and increase the tub’s price.

If you’re looking for a little more versatility, the Hybrid Tub might be a better choice. This tub combines the features of a shower and a tub. It has a handheld shower head and a mounted shower head. You can sit underneath the showerhead for a shower experience, or fill the tub when you want to relax and soak.

Safe Step has a 15-year history of creating walk-in tubs and showers to help those with mobility issues enjoy safe and accessible bathing. Safe Step’s walk-in tubs have been rigorously tested and hold the Ease of Use Certification from the Arthritis Foundation. That certification recognizes products that make life easier for those living with arthritis or other physical limitations.

Safe Step offers a lowest price guarantee on the cost of the installation. The guarantee attests that you’ll receive the lowest price available for the work that’s specified during your in-home consultation. If you find a lower price available, Safe Step will refund you the difference plus $100 within 30 days of your written agreement.

Visit our Safe Step review to learn more about these walk-in tubs.

Kohler

Kohler's walk-in tub

Kohler’s walk-in tub

Kohler offers both a walk-in bath and a walk-in bath and shower combo. The bath includes a multifunction handshower with three spray settings.

The bath and shower combination features a gooseneck shower arm, so you can choose to stand or sit while showering. You also have the option to choose from Kohler’s bath wall colors, textures, and patterns, so you can customize and enhance your bathroom’s look. Safe Step doesn’t advertise different shower wall options, so this is unique.

While many reviewers praise the walk-in bath, Kohler’s bath doesn’t have the Arthritis Foundation Ease of Use Certification that Safe Step’s bath holds.

Tub Features

Safe Step

Safe Step’s walk-in tub has a four-inch step-in height, which is one inch higher than Kohler’s tub height. It’s equipped with 10 hydro massage jets and a handheld shower wand. The drain is designed to be easy to use, and a rapid fill faucet is helpful. This bath also features a no-strength locking handle to make it easy to lock and unlock the door. Other convenience features include a built-in tower wand and a floating remote control. Safe Step lacks extra luxury features, like a heated seat, but Kohler’s tub includes this soothing feature.

Did You Know?

Did You Know? Step-in tubs are just one way to increase your home’s safety. Learn about additional products that can help seniors stay safe at home.

Safety is essential when using a built-in tub, and Safe Step’s tub is equipped with many safety features. Two built-in grab bars offer extra security to help prevent slips and falls. They’re paired with an anti-slip floor and seat to help keep you safe. The tub also features anti-scald technology to prevent the water from reaching dangerous temperatures while still letting you enjoy warm, soothing water. We love this feature because warm water does more than just relax you. Studies have found that immersion in warm water, a form of hydrotherapy, helped improve cardiovascular function for improved circulation.

Kohler

Kohler’s walk-in tub has a three-inch step-in height, which is one inch lower than Safe Step’s four-inch step-in height. Like Safe Step, Kohler’s bath features 10 whirlpool jets designed to create therapeutic pressure. You can position the jets to target sore muscles, and they’re powered by a quiet motor and pump.

Like Safe Step, Kohler’s tub features fast drain technology and fast fill times. Kohler’s bath stands out because of its heated backrest, which provides extra relaxation and soothing heat before, during, and after a bath. The extra-wide seat is deeper than most other walk-in tubs, which also enhances your comfort. A simple control panel is positioned so that it’s easy to reach, and it makes using the bath easy.

Kohler’s tub is also equipped with numerous safety features. An extra-wide door provides accessibility and helps to prevent falls as you’re entering or exiting the tub. Paired with the low three-inch step-in height, this tub is probably easier to navigate than the Safe Step bath. Like the Safe Step bath, Kohler’s tub features easy-grip handrails and grab bars for extra support and stability.

From the Pros:

From the Pros: More than 1 out of 4 seniors fall annually. Walk-in tubs are just one way to reduce the risk of falling. Learn more about fall risks for seniors and how to prevent falls

Kohler also offers many customizable options. Choose from a white or biscuit tub color, a brushed nickel or polished chrome faucet finish, and eight luxury bath wall finishes. You can also enhance your bath with a shower package, including your choice of showerhead and shower arm styles. Safe Step doesn’t offer such customization options.

Safe Step vs. Kohler Pricing

Most walk-in tub manufacturers require you to get a quote before they’ll provide any pricing. Both Safe Step and Kohler offer a free in-home quote process. They’ll send a representative to evaluate and measure your bathroom. During the quote process, they’ll identify the bathtub size that’s best for the space. They will also review the existing space and plumbing for the installation process.

To get a quote from Safe Step, you can complete the free quote request form online or call the company. Kohler also offers a similar online quote request form, or you can call them for a quote.

Safe Step doesn’t provide much online information about bathtub prices, but Kohler provides some estimates and potential price ranges. According to Kohler, walk-in tub prices can range from $2,000 to $20,000 and up before accounting for any accessories or installation costs. Kohler estimates accessory costs for walls, extra grab bars, and more range from $1,000 to more than $5,000. Installation costs, which can incorporate plumbing and electrical work, can range from $2,500 to more than $8,000. In total, you can expect to pay $5,500 to more than $33,000 for your walk-in tub.

While walk-in tub costs can be significant, both brands offer financing. They also both offer multiple ways to save money.

Safe Step offers a Helping Hands Rebate for people with arthritis, nerve problems, diabetes, sciatica, or other health issues. The rebate of $750 per person can add up to as much as a $1,500 rebate per household. That rebate is particularly valuable for those with arthritis, since soaking in warm water can help to loosen stiff joints and sore muscles.

There are several other ways to save with Safe Step:

  • Discounts, credits, and coupons from partners like AARP
  • Special pricing for seniors and military veterans
  • Some buyers may qualify for Department of Agriculture offers, rebates, and discounts
  • Veterans may qualify for grants through the Department of Veterans Affairs

Kohler’s website states that they provide monthly offers to make walk-in baths more affordable, so be sure to ask about current deals when ordering your bath.

Installation

Most walk-in tub manufacturers, including Safe Step and Kohler, don’t include installation costs in their walk-in tub prices. That’s because the installation work can vary depending on your current setup and the size of the tub that you purchase. You’ll receive information on your installation costs during your in-home quote process.

Safe Step provides minimal information about their installation process. According to Safe Step, certified installers will quickly install your walk-in tub. Safe Step reports that 95 percent of projects are completed in less than a day.

From the Pros:

From the Pros: Installing a walk-in tub is a helpful bathroom modification for seniors. Learn how to modify other areas of your home for senior use and safety.

Kohler designs walk-in tubs to fit in a space that’s sized for a traditional bathtub. That strategic design helps avoid any extensive renovations, which would add time and cost to the installation process.

On the day of your installation, a team of Kohler-certified installers will arrive at your home. They will complete installation work including any plumbing and electrical work needed. The team will bring protective equipment, like tarps, gloves, and booties, to help keep your home clean. Once your new tub is installed, the team will remove and dispose of your old tub. Most Kohler installations can be completed in just a day.

Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Safe Step

Many customers have written highly positive reviews of Safe Step. Reviewers frequently described the tub as being easy to get into and out of, and several praised the jets as being very comfortable and soothing. Most reviews of the installation process were highly positive.

For example, Mildred from Gilcrest, Colorado, writes, “The sales rep at Safe Step was nice and pleasant. My husband was very satisfied with his work. He talked to him in a language that he could understand. The installers were nice, too. I was shocked at how well they cleaned up after themselves. We had plaster downstairs and they cleaned up everything.”

While most reviews are positive, a few customers posted negative reviews, but each negative review described a different issue. One reviewer stated that after the installers left her house, she found an area where the caulk hadn’t fully adhered. Another reviewer had to cancel her installation and was having trouble getting a refund.

Kohler

Kohler’s walk-in tub has overwhelmingly positive reviews. Several reviewers noted that they had priced out tubs by several manufacturers, and Kohler had the best pricing. Reviewers often described the installation as being a fast process and noted that their homes were left clean. Many reviewers say that the tub is very comfortable and is easy to get into and out of. Several appreciate the fact that it drains quickly, and many reviewers note that the water is an ideal temperature.

Cinda of Battle Creek, Michigan, is highly satisfied with her Kohler tub. “I like how I got a stone type wall and how it’s not plastic,” she writes. “I also love the sturdiness of the seat. I can’t beat the strength that I feel when I’m in there. There’s nothing that moves that’s not supposed to move. I feel much safer having a shower with grab bars that I can walk into without stepping over a tub.”

The negative reviews generally describe specific issues. One reviewer was frustrated by the “flimsy” feel of the tub. Another customer was waiting on a bill adjustment to be made. One customer found that the door on her first tub wouldn’t close correctly after installation.

Our Final Thoughts on Safe Step vs. Kohler

Both Safe Step and Kohler manufacture quality, safe, and comfortable step-in tubs. Both companies maintain excellent reputations and have great reviews.

However, there are some key differences to consider. Safe Step offers more discounts than Kohler, including rebates for people with health conditions like arthritis. Safe Step may be an attractive option for anyone looking to save money on a fairly standard walk-in tub without extensive customization options.

Kohler offers more customization choices, including walls, plus luxuries like a heated seat. It also has a slightly lower entry than a Safe Step bath, so it’s a bit more accessible. Kohler can be a great choice if you want more control over the tub’s design, including options to choose your own accessories, walls, and more.

Written By:
Taylor Shuman
Senior Tech Expert & Editor
As SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman
Reviewed By:
Linda Schlenker
Occupational Therapist
Linda earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University and has assisted 10,000+ seniors throughout her 25-year career. She specializes in home health care and fall prevention for seniors and has nearly three decades of experience recommending medical… Learn More About Linda Schlenker