When Are Suction Grab Rails the Right Choice?

We could distinguish two main types of grab bars based on how they fit on the wall: fixed with screws or attached by suction pads.


Want to know how to design a washroom to accomodate grab rails like these? Read our detailed blog post on the industry's recommendations when it comes to designing a washroom.


Pros and cons of suction cup grab bars

Using air pressure to fit grab handles allows an easier and quicker installation, probably not requiring to hire a professional. Nowadays, quite many suction grab rails include indicators to inform if the attachment is safe enough. Furthermore, a lot of models in the market (the majority made of plastic) have a ribbed surface, often with rubber rings, so handgrip it is supposed to be stronger, although it may be uncomfortable for people with too much sensitivity in their hands.

However, suction grab bars have their limitations. They can only be displayed in flat and non-porous surfaces. A wall with small tiles or just painted would not be suitable, for example. One can not really lean on most of them and very often they will loosen over time, which means refitting them again. Therefore, users frequently do not trust suction grab rails.

When to use grab rails with suction cups?

Accessible toilets, showers and bathrooms at least in public and commercial buildings must be fixed to the wall according to regulations and guides like Document M. Suction cup grab bars seem to make sense as temporary items in particular cases in private and domestic facilities. 

  • Two crutches standingIf somebody is going to be transitorily disabled, due to a mild fracture or after minor surgery, these assistante points around the house can boost confidence and ease the recovery. One must always be aware, though, that suction grab handles can not support the weight of a person.

  • The repositioning feature looks convenient to make somes tests when one is not sure about the right place to fix small grab rails. Higher in the wall, slightly inclined, closer to the toilet… Feel free to experiment with the suction cups for a few days and, once the best place for the grab rail is decided, install the equivalent grab rail but with fixings that imply safer grip and made of resistant materials, such as stainless steel or antibacterial polymers.

  • Since suction cup grab rails are portable, they can travel with the user when visiting others or when it is a rental accommodation for a short-stay. If one is staying for long, we suggest asking the owner to drill and install the grab rails with screws to the wall; later tenants will benefit from these extra supports.

Therapists might find other proper contexts and give personal advice on the use of grab rails. We encourage you to contact an expert on the field, i.e. an occupational therapist.

To choose an appropriate grab rail, we must not only consider the price, but also durability, safety and, of course, peace of mindAt IFS, we intend to provide extensive information about all our sanitary accessories. If you have any doubt on hand dryers, grab rails or easy to operate products like sensor taps, do not hesitate to contact the team by this online form or on the phone. Our goal is that our customers make the best choice for their situation.

IFS Bathroom Grab Rails

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Author: Paula Martinez

Read more about Paula here

3 Comments

Ned TannebaumPosted on October 29th, 2020 at 15:10

Hello. I was going to buy suction grab bars for our shower, so my wife could feel comfortable but everything Inread about them says you cannot out your full body weight on them. What? Then what are they for?? I am afraid to have someone drill into our large Travertine tiles for fear of cracking. Please help me. Thank you. Ned Tannebaum

Lorna MurphyPosted on October 31st, 2020 at 20:43

I was thinking the same thing. I want to put one in my fibreglass shower so my partner who is awaiting hip surgery can feel safe. I don’t want to drill in because it could crack and only need it temporarily.

MarkPosted on November 22nd, 2020 at 18:55

I bought a few suction grab bars from HD several months ago. The 12" ones $10 landed on my tile grout lines and so I was concerned about losing suction, but the 16.5" bars $16 landed right on the center of my tiles. Both had indicators to show if they were firmly attached. Even newly attached the indicator had a small sliver of red warning indicator showing. Even so, they have held wonderfully. I'm afraid to put all my body weight on them because I don't want to rip the tile off of the wall. I have not had to reattach them yet as they still hold hard. I tug as much as I dare and they are secure. Buy them. If they don't stick right off, return them.

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