Low-Level vs Level Access Trays – What You Need to Know
For many people, making their bathroom more accessible is a necessity. If this is the case for you or someone close to you, it’s important to be aware of the different options available when it comes to showers. Access trays traditionally require a step up into the shower, something which can be a challenge or even impossible for some. Low-level and level access trays have been designed specifically to make showering easy, reducing or removing this step entirely.
What’s the Difference?
Low-level access trays still have a small step, usually up to 40mm high (just over an inch and a half) while level access trays are designed to be completely level with the floor. Each has its advantages, but which is right for you largely depends on your personal requirements, including space available, budget and the shower users’ levels of mobility.
Why Choose a Low-Level Access Tray?
This type of access tray is ideal for the individual who can manage a very small step up into the shower. Low-level trays address the physical restrictions of users, enabling a far more comfortable and enjoyable bathing experience. They are also relatively simple to install as part of adapting a bathroom for enhanced accessibility.
What About Level Access Trays?
For individuals who are unable to negotiate any type of step, level access trays are without doubt the best solution. Set into the floor, they offer a seamless transition between floor and shower, and are perfectly suited to wet rooms where the shower area is not fully enclosed.
What’s the Best Shower Access Tray for Wheelchair Users?
For wheelchair users who are adapting an existing bathroom to their personal needs, a level access tray is ideal. As it is entirely level with the floor, it’s straightforward to manoeuvre into. Indeed, models are available with a built-in rotating circle, allowing the user to turn around freely and avoiding the need to reverse either in or out. The enabling qualities of features like this shouldn’t be underestimated.
While the level access tray is the obvious choice for wheelchair users, it’s also possible for low-level access trays to be suitable, as ramps are available to allow easier entry. However, this approach may pose disadvantages. For individuals with less upper body strength or perhaps without personal care, manoeuvring a wheelchair up a ramp may not be practical. Secondly, if the bathroom space is smaller, there may not be sufficient room to install a ramp.
Walk in Showers Ease of Installation & Enhanced Safety
Generally speaking, a low-level shower access tray can be simpler to install than a level access tray. This is mainly because a low-level tray can be installed on most floor types, whereas level trays need to be set into the floor and therefore may not be suitable for your space. However, whichever you find is the best for your personal circumstances, both level and low-level access trays feature non-slip surfaces and effective seals to prevent leaks.
So, if you’re adapting your bathroom to accommodate users with restricted mobility, replacing the shower tray with a more accessible version can dramatically improve their enjoyment and level of independence.