Choosing the right shower bench to fit your needs and style can be a daunting task. With so many options on the market, how do you even begin to settle on the perfect shower bench for your bathroom? This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the key factors to consider when selecting a shower bench. Follow our tips and you’ll be equipped to confidently settle on the ideal shower bench for your space.

Assessing Your Needs

Before diving into the different shower bench options, first assess why you need one and how you plan to use it. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Will it be used for comfort or accessibility? If you want a bench for resting while shaving legs or enjoying a luxurious spa-like experience, that calls for a different bench than one needed for mobility limitations.
  • What size shower do you have? Measure your shower size to ensure you get a bench that fits without cramping your space. Standard shower stalls fit a 20″ x 15″ bench.
  • How much weight capacity is needed? If it’s just for sitting, 250 pounds should suffice. But if it’s for disability/mobility, look for a higher weight rating of 400-500 pounds for safety.
  • How will it be installed? Free-standing benches are easier to DIY. Wall-mounted need more skills and drilling into tile. Corner benches maximize space efficiency.
  • Do you need storage? Some benches offer storage compartments to stow shower necessities. Assess if this would be useful or just take up space.
  • Who will use it? If for multiple people, consider adjustable height and comfortable shape. Medical conditions may also dictate your ideal seat design.

Thinking through these questions will guide you towards the shower bench features and design that best suit your unique needs and bathroom setup.

Types of Shower Benches

Once you’ve determined your needs, now you can start researching the types of shower benches available. Here are the main options:

Standard Shower Stools

The most basic shower stool design is lightweight, portable, and has four legs with a plastic or wooden seat. These affordable stools are easy to move in and out of a shower as needed. They come in different heights for sitting or perching. Lightweight aluminum is prone to corrosion and mildew in wet settings. Opt for coated aluminum, stainless steel, or antimicrobial coated wood if you want maximum durability.

Pros: Inexpensive, portable, easy to disinfect, wide height options

Cons: Less stylish, not as comfortable, legs may spread dirt

Built-In Teak Benches

For a touch of luxury, a built-in teak bench offers spa vibes with its natural wood styling. Teak has natural water-resistant properties. These benches screw into the shower wall for a clean, seamless look. Add a comfy cushion and backrest for optimal comfort.

Pros: Stylish, comfortable, customized sizing, naturally water-resistant wood

Cons: More expensive, professional installation needed, fixed placement, mold if poorly sealed

Corner Shower Benches

To save space in a tight shower, corner benches efficiently fit into the corner. This style can be wall-mounted, L-shaped, or triangular. The contour follows the corner shape to maximize function and minimize footprint. Great for smaller showers!

Pros: Space-saving, versatile styles, streamlined look

Cons: Limited placement options, smaller than standard benches

Folding Shower Seats

For maximum versatility, look for a high-quality shower bench that folds up when not in use. Folding teak benches stow neatly against the wall, then lower for sitting when needed. Helpful for those with mobility issues or who just want the option of extra seating on occasion.

Pros: Space-saving when folded, versatile portable use, comfortable wood

Cons: Prone to mildew if not dried properly, heavier than stools, added hinges

Spa Benches

Spa benches have an elegant style reminiscent of luxury hotel showers. They are made of solid teak with adjustable backrests, comfy cushions, and flip-up armbands. Great for creating a soothing spa environment or for those needing back support and arm stability.

Pros: Luxurious style, supportive and comfortable, long-lasting teak

Cons: Expensive, fixed placement, professional installation required

Take note of which bench features appeal to your needs and shower design. Now let’s look at important material considerations.

Key Materials for Shower Benches

The material your shower bench is constructed from is vital for both safety, comfort and durability. Here are the most common options:

Teak Wood

Teak is the gold standard for shower benches. Its natural oils repel water, preventing warping, rotting and mildew growth. Look for solid teak rather than composite teak wood pulp which is lower quality. Teak requires yearly sealing to maintain its water-resistance and attractive finish. Optimal for wet settings.

Stainless Steel

For a sleek modern look that won’t corrode, stainless steel benches are great choices. Brushed or chrome finishes resist rust and are easy to disinfect. Stainless steel can feel cold or get slippery when wet. Select non-skid feet and coatings. Can scratch over time.

Plastic Composite

Plastic composite benches are affordable, antimicrobial, and designed for wet areas. However, they scratch, chip and fade easily over time. Best for infrequent use. Look for non-skid feet for stability and safety.


Sustainably sourced bamboo is naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. When sealed properly, bamboo is water-resistant while providing a pleasant natural texture. Like teak, regular sealing is needed to prevent mildew or cracking.

Recycled Plastic Lumber

For an eco-friendly option, recycled plastic lumber repurposes plastic waste into durable, weather-resistant benches. Easy to clean and resistant to rot, splintering, termites and chemical degradation. Can withstand harsh outdoor elements as well as indoor showers.

Consider how often the bench will be used and exposed to moisture. Teak and bamboo provide the best water-resistance and longevity. Stainless steel adds sleekness. Recycled plastic is budget-friendly. With proper sealing, a quality hardwood bench can last decades.

Ideal Shower Bench Size

Shower benches typically range from 12-24 inches deep and 14-20 inches wide. Measure your shower size and layout to determine the ideal dimensions for your space.

Here are factors to consider for sizing:

  • User Height: Standard bench height is 16-18″. Taller users may prefer 20-24″. Senior or disabled users often need a height of 16″ or under.
  • Shower Layout: Corner benches maximize small stalls. Allow 20-30″ clearance for the shower door swing.
  • User Mobility: Those with limited mobility need grab bars and benches 20-24″ deep for comfort and safety when sitting and standing.
  • Personal Comfort: Test benches in store for ideal fit. Seat depth around 20″ allows comfortable leg room.

Too small of a bench leaves you perched uncomfortably. Overlarge feels bulky and cramped. Measure twice to get the perfect sized bench suited to your shower space and body.

For families or guest bathrooms, consider adjustable height benches to accommodate all users. Or install two benches at different heights for flexibility.

Design Factors for Optimal Function

Beyond size and materials, there are other design factors that contribute to an ergonomic, comfortable and accessible shower bench.

Seat Shape

The seat contour impacts comfort. Flat benches feel stable but can dig into the back of legs. A gently curved edge is more ergonomic. Medical benches designed for disabilities have highly contoured seats to provide secure support.


Backrests offer lumbar support and a place to rest arms when sitting or transitioning. They can be standalone panels or integrated into corner benches. Look for backrests at least 15 inches high and 12 inches wide for optimal support.


Benches with short armrests or side grab bars boost safety and stability when sitting, standing, or sliding onto the bench. Helpful for elderly users or those with mobility limitations.


Small drainage holes allow water to flow through rather than pooling on the seat. This prevents slippery puddles and helps reduce mold/mildew growth under the bench. Central cut-outs also enhance drainage.

Coatings & Finishes

Antimicrobial coatings add an invisible layer of germ protection. Epoxy resin seals out moisture. Non-slip finishes provide added traction and safety. Polyurethane, wax or lacquer give water protection plus added beauty.

Adjustable Legs

For uneven surfaces, look for benches with adjustable legs to stabilize and level the seat. Helpful for wheeled benches that shift in position.

Lift-Up Designs

Wall-mounted benches that lift vertically fold away when not in use. Great space-savers, though heavier to lift than removable stools.


Some bench seats flip open to reveal handy storage for shower items. Helpful to keep necessities within arm’s reach if mobility is limited.

Factor in functionality concerns like back support, grab bars, and adjustable heights based on physical abilities and safety needs. Aesthetics are important, but optimal ergonomics and accessibility take priority.

Free-Standing vs Built-In

A key decision is whether you want a portable freestanding bench or a permanent built-in bench secured to the shower walls.


Freestanding benches offer maximum versatility to rearrange or remove as needed. They come as stools, wheeled benches, or standalone teak chairs. Some folding designs flip up when not in use. Easy to DIY install – just place in shower. Great option if you want mobility or may change homes soon.


For a seamless look, built-in benches are affixed permanently to the shower walls. Custom sizing provides a perfect fit.integrated grab bars add safety. Professional installation required. Best for long-term homes where you want a spa-like upscale fixture.

factor in your mobility needs, length of stay in your home, and DIY skills vs. budget for professional installation. Built-ins maximize space but limit future flexibility. Freestanding stools give the option to move or take it with you during a move.

Safety Tips and Recommendations

Since shower benches are utilized amidst wet, slippery conditions, safety should be a top concern. Follow these tips:

  • Install non-slip strips on bench top and rubberized feet below. Reapply when they wear down.
  • Avoid mushroom style plastic stools which easily slide and topple. Select wide-legged benches or built-in styles instead for stability.
  • Only buy benches rated for a minimum 300 pound weight capacity, even if you don’t need it. Higher ratings indicate durable construction.
  • Look for backless benches at least 15 inches deep x 20 inches wide to allow both secure seating and leg room.
  • For seniors and disabled users, ensure the bench has grab bars or arms to assist in safely sitting and standing.
  • Maintain safety by checking regularly for mildew growth and immediately cleaning/sealing any damaged areas.
  • Only use water-resistant finishes like teak oil or water-repellent sealers to protect wood and prevent rotting or splintering.
  • Purchase adjustable leg benches and re-level as needed if settling or movement occurs over time.

A shower bench improves bathing comfort and accessibility. By selecting the optimal size, style, and material for your needs, this humble fixture can provide years of safe daily use. We hope these tips help you confidently settle on choosing the perfect shower bench for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Settling on a Shower Bench

How much weight can a shower bench hold?

Most quality shower benches support 250-300 pounds. Medical benches designed for disabilities often hold 400-500 pounds. Confirm weight rating before purchase to ensure safety.

What is the standard shower bench height?

The typical range is 16-20 inches. Standard is 16-18 inches. Taller users often prefer 20 inches. Those with mobility issues benefit from a shorter 10-15 inch height.

What size shower bench do I need?

Measure your shower and user height to determine ideal size. Standard is 20 x 15 inches. Smaller users do OK with 12-14 inch depth. Limited mobility requires 20-24 inch depth and grab bars for safety.

How do you install a shower bench?

Freestanding benches simply place in shower. For built-in, affix permanently to studs in wall using quality waterproof screws. Follow all manufacturer instructions. Use silicone caulk to prevent leaks.

What is the best material for shower benches?

Teak wood provides the best water-resistance and longevity. Stainless steel adds modern appeal. Bamboo and recycled plastic lumber are eco-friendly options. Avoid low-end plastic or composite woods prone to mildew.

Should you seal a teak shower bench?

Yes, teak benches require a waterproof sealer applied yearly to maintain their quality. Teak is naturally oil-rich but sealing ensures no cracks for mildew or rot. Use teak oil or marine epoxy sealers and reapply as needed.

What is the most comfortable shower bench material?

Teak wood offers a warm, naturally comfortable feel. Cushioned seats or contoured medical-grade benches maximize comfort but may need outdoor cushions. Avoid cold metal seats. Add non-slip pads to hard surfaces.

How do you clean a shower bench?

Use bathroom disinfectant cleaners or bleach solutions. Rinse well with water after cleaning. Avoid abrasive scouring pads. For teak, use teak cleaners or disinfectants safe for wood to prevent deterioration.

How can you make a shower bench more comfortable?

Add a cushion for padding (high-quality outdoor cushions for moisture). Position backrests for lumbar support. Install grab bars for stability and ease sitting/standing. Use a contoured seat shape. Make sure feet are firmly planted.

In Conclusion

Installing a shower bench can provide a handy seating option or improve accessibility and safety. Take stock of your specific needs. Measure your space carefully. Select quality materials resistant to mildew and slips. Factor in any physical limitations or disabilities that dictate ideal bench height and features. Invest in professional installation if needed to ensure sturdy construction. With research and proper planning, you can settle on the perfect shower bench to enhance your bathing experience.