New Mobility review of the ShowerGlyde

5 min read
by Israel Gamburd |

New Mobility & Bob Vogal ShowerGlyde Review

New Mobility ShowerGlyde Review Link:

Until recently, shower chairs seemed to come in two categories: the ones under the complex rehab umbrella that retail in the $2,000-$3,000 range; and the others available at online and big-box stores, which in my experience lack durability and don’t feel very stable. These latter shower chairs are the ones that hotels tend to offer when all the accessible rooms are booked.

But earlier this year, SolutionBased, formerly known as ShowerBuddy, released a new line of sliding transfer shower seats that promised a quality chair at a more affordable price. The product line is called ShowerGlyde, and recently I had the opportunity to try one out and see which of the two categories it falls in, or whether it transcends them both.

As the name suggests, ShowerGlyde transfer chairs enable you to glide over the lip of a bathtub or shower on two “glide rails.” ShowerGlyde chairs are offered in three models:

SG1: Designed for bathrooms with plenty of space, the seat glides a full seat width beyond the outside lip of the bathtub.

SG2: Designed to fit bathrooms with a toilet next to the tub or shower, it enables a single transfer for toileting and then an easy glide into the tub or shower.

SG3: Designed for tightly spaced bathrooms, the chair extends about 8 inches beyond the lip of the tub and can swivel 90 degrees. Caveat: I found that transferring was easier without the 90-degree swivel. SolutionBased plans to offer a 45-degree swivel, which would make transfers even easier. It should be available by Jan. 1, 2024.

All three models have backrests, seat belts, grab bars, standard commode openings for easy washing, smaller opening inserts and solid seat inserts. They are all height-adjustable and able to clear a tub lip of up to 19.5 inches, have a weight capacity of 330 pounds and come with a lifetime warranty on the frame. Frames are made from heavy-duty machine-welded aluminum with plastic and stainless-steel components that won’t rust. Optional padded seat-rests and flip-up adjustable armrests should be available by January. The retail price for each model is $529.66.

The Test

For a thorough test of the SG3, I enlisted the help of Matt Fritsch, who is in his 20th year as a T6 paraplegic. At 6 feet, 2 inches tall and 185 pounds, Fritsch uses a low-cost shower bench. Over the years he has had two of them fail from everyday use. Fritsch’s tub is 15 inches high — right in the middle of average tub heights, which range between 14 inches and 16 inches.

The total weight of the SG3 is only 24.7 pounds, and I was able to unbox and assemble it myself. After viewing the online tutorial and printed directions, assembly was easy and took less than 15 minutes. A cool assembly feature is that every bolt uses the same-sized Allen key, which is included and snaps into the underside of the seat.

ShowerGlyde Review

The ShowerGlyde frame has a solid look and feel. I did notice that without any weight on it there is about ¼ inch of play in the seat, though it’s not noticeable when transferring and/or sitting in the seat.

Adjusting the ShowerGlyde legs to fit the varying angles of Fritsch’s tub was also easy, thanks to one of SolutionBased’s many astute attention to detail: ½-inch increment adjustments. The industry standard for leg/height adjustments on a shower bench is 1-inch increments, but having twice as many options ensured a perfect, secure fit.

The ShowerGlyde seat locks into place at each end of the tracks, which creates a firm, sturdy platform for transferring. The seat is released for sliding into tub or shower by pushing one of the orange buttons on each side. The front of both Fritsch’s wheelchair and my own was 19 inches, which made for smooth, level transfers from our cushions.

I wheeled up and gave the ShowerGlyde a try. I found the transfer easy. The seat and frame felt solid. Once on the seat I picked up one leg, then the other — with the seat still in the locked position — and moved them into the tub. Although I didn’t use the seat belt, I can see it will be helpful for those who need extra support or are still learning SCI skills. Once my legs were in the tub, I placed one hand on the grab bar, pushed the release button and easily glided into “shower position” as the seat clicked into place.

Having used solid shower benches before, I find that ShowerGlyde’s roller tracks make moving from the outside of the tub or shower safer and easier. I didn’t have to push up to lift my butt to avoid skin shear as I crossed the bench. Shearing forces can lead to deep-tissue pressure sores. Plus, lifting my butt to move would put additional strain on my aging shoulders.

When Fritsch tried the ShowerGlyde, he said it felt stable. He also liked the solid feel of the back and the ease of gliding from the edge of the tub into shower position. “I can see that without a solid shower bench it’s going to be easier to clean the tub,” he said. He also observed that he could cut two slits in his shower curtain to go in between the seat rails, which should prevent the wet floors he gets when water flows over his shower bench. Fritsch noted that the ShowerGlyde’s feet are made of tough plastic. “This is a big deal for me because my last bath bench had rubber feet over thin tubular aluminum, and over time the aluminum wore through the rubber and punched a hole in the bottom of the tub,” he says.

When I tried the ShowerGlyde at home, I added the optional leg extensions to accommodate my very tall 21-inch bathtub, but the seat was too high for me to perform transfers without straining my shoulders. This is because the top of the ShowerGlyde SG3 seat is 6 inches higher than the top of the tub rail, hence a transfer to a 27-inch height.

When deciding if the ShowerGlyde is right for you, it is important to measure your tub-rail height and add 6 inches — or 4.4 inches for the SG1 or SG2 — and decide if that transfer-height works for you. For instance, a wheelchair’s seat-to-floor height is often 18 inches to 19 inches, so with a tub height of 14 inches to 16 inches, the transfer to the ShowerGlyde should be as easy as chair to commode, or chair to bed and back. If your bathtub is higher than 16 inches or chair height is lower than 18 inches, I suggest trying a transfer to a demo prior to purchase. The same goes for ordering the SG2: If the lip of your toilet is higher than 16 inches and/or your chair is lower than 18 inches, I suggest trying to transfer on a demo to see if it is right for you.

The Verdict

I think the ShowerGlyde is a good value for the money. It is easy to set up, extremely adjustable, looks good, and feels durable and sturdy. If my bathtub was average height, or if I had a shower with a lip that prevented a roll-in chair, I would get one.

Based on what I’ve seen, the ShowerGlyde will benefit anybody searching for a superior shower/bathtub transfer bench at a good price. Seeing the way it’s built, with details like extra adjustability, clean welds, and strong plastic feet, it looks like it will hold up over the long haul. The lifetime guarantee on the frame is also a plus. You can read more ShowerGlyde reviews on our product pages. ShowerGlyde reviews ShowerGlyde reviews ShowerGlyde reviews ShowerGlyde reviews ShowerGlyde reviews