Where to Install Grab Bars in Your Shower, Tub, and Bathroom

person holding a grab bar in the shower

There are many reasons why you may want to install grab bars in your shower or tub and around your toilet. Seniors aren’t the only people who use grab bars in the bathroom; grab bars can help prevent slips and falls in children and people with disabilities, as well. When moving around in the shower or getting out of the bathtub, the wet, slippery surfaces make seniors and children alike apt to serious falls and injuries. So, where should you install grab bars in your bathroom? Let’s take a look. 

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to have at least one or two grab bars installed by your toilet, between two and three in the shower or tub, and single ones placed anywhere else in the bathroom where someone may require assistance in balancing themselves or standing up. However, you’ll also want to make sure you place them strategically so they are practical, easy to reach, and accessible. 

Where to Install Grab Bars in Your Shower

Grab bars need to be installed in the most convenient and safest area in your shower and they must connect to wall studs. For optimal safety, we recommend a minimum of 3 grab bars in the average shower. 

The first should be a smaller-sized bar that is positioned vertically and located on the wall at the entrance of the shower. This allows people to safely enter and exit the shower while the surfaces are wet. The second bar should be a long one that is positioned horizontally and installed on the sidewall. This is the bar people will use while moving around inside of the shower and keeping their balance. The third shower bar can be placed by or near the faucet handles and can be positioned vertically or horizontally. The purpose of the third bar is to help provide safety and stability while turning the shower on and off or turning the faucets to change the temperature. If you have a particularly large shower, you may consider adding an additional grab bar to be placed on another wall.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), grab bars installed in the shower should be placed between 33 and 36 inches from the floor of the bathroom or tub. However, this is a standard measurement, so it can be helpful to take into consideration the height and individual needs of the person who will be using the grab bars. You may even ask this person to simulate taking a shower so you can see the best places to install your shower grab bars.

Where to Install Grab Bars in Your Bathtub

The recommendations on where to install grab bars in your bathtub are similar to those of your shower. When placing grab bars in a bathtub or tub-shower combination, you’ll want to use the following placements:

  • A short, vertical bar placed near the faucet handles
  • Another short, vertical bar installed on the wall that is opposite the faucet
  • A long, horizontal grab bar placed on the sidewall

The main difference between installing grab bars in a shower and a bathtub is that if it is a tub only, the standard height for placement is approximately 30 inches above the bottom of the tub. Still, it’s important to consider the physical capabilities and height of the individual for who you are installing the grab bars. 

Where to Place Grab Bars Around Your Toilet

When trying to determine where to install grab bars around your toilet, know that it depends highly on what feels most comfortable to the person using them. Some people prefer a vertical bar by the toilet while others prefer the bar to be horizontal or at an angle. 

If you’re installing grab bars around a home toilet, always have the individual sit on the toilet and simulate using the grab bar to see where the best placement will be. In general, when placing a grab bar on the wall by a toilet, you’ll want it to be placed at a height of 33 to 36 inches from the floor. 

Another thing to keep in mind when placing grab bars around your toilet is the location of doors. If your bathroom door or cabinet doors open to where they cover the grab bar, it could make the grab bar inaccessible to the user. If possible, make sure bathroom doors swing outward to ensure easy access and that cabinets are installed a safe distance away from the grab bar.

Other Tips to Keep in Mind When Installing Grab Bars in Your Bathroom

The ADA outlines the recommendations and guidelines for installing grab bars in public restrooms. One thing they suggest is to eliminate potential hazards from the area. For example, walls and surfaces that are near the grab bar should not contain any sharp or abrasive objects. You’ll want to make sure the areas around the grab bar are clear so the user doesn’t hurt themselves when trying to use the bar. 

The same idea goes with floor space. While you should already have a non-slip bath mat to help prevent falls, clearing the floor space under and around grab bars can help make bathrooms more accessible for people using wheelchairs or other operable equipment. 

In the end, the exact location in which you install your shower, tub, or bathroom grab bars is up to you or the individual who will be using them the most. Make sure to fasten them tight, install them correctly, and always keep in mind the goal: making your bathroom a safer place.

Shop Grab Bars for Your Bathroom Today

The vast majority of falls happen inside the home, and studies show that installing safety modifications like grab bars can help reduce the likelihood of falling. It isn’t possible to prevent every single accident. However, there are several things you can do to prevent slips, falls, and injuries in the bathroom. Installing grab bars in your shower, bathtub, and by your toilet can make your bathroom a safer place. For all of your tub and shower safety needs, shop our online store today.


  1. https://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-11185
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700929/