Taking baths are one of the best small pleasures in life which everyone should be able to experience. If you haven't been able to take baths due to physical limitations, bath lifts may be the answer for you! This article explores one of the most popular models selling today — the Drive Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter.
In this Drive Medical Bellavita Bath Lift review, you'll learn what you need to know about this best-selling bath lift, pointing out both its strengths and flaws. So, let's get started!
WHO'S IT FOR?
The Drive Bellavita is tailor-made for people in the following groups...
- Anyone who has trouble getting up or sitting down in a bath
- Anyone who wants to re-experience the joy of bathing without needing help and feeling safe about it
- Anyone who doesn't want to spend at least 10K on a walk-in bath (which isn't so great anyway considering you'd freeze while waiting for the water to drain!)
Overall Length (with backrest in a reclined position): 32.6"
Overall Width (seat with side flaps extended): 27.5"
Seat Width: 13.7"
Seat Depth: 16.5"
Seat Length: 22.4"
Sitting Height: 2.3" (from bottom of bathtub) to 18.8"
Backrest Height: 25.1"
Backrest Width: 14.1"
Backrest Recline: 50 degrees
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
Total Weight (excluding hand control): 20.5 lbs.
Shipping Weight: 25.3 lbs.
Warranty: 3 years (excluding wearable parts)
Made in Germany
The Drive Bellavita bath lift is made up of three main components: backrest/seat (two separate lightweight parts), seat cover, and handheld control...
The backrest is a complete piece that attaches to an optional headset (bought separately).
The seat comes with two side flaps that extend far enough into the tub so there's no risk of slipping off when going up or down. Note that the flaps aren't as sturdy as the seat itself so it's not a good idea to put all your weight on them. If you need extra support getting in and out of the tub, the Medline Bathtub Bar is worth checking out.
Both the backrest and seat are easy to clean by rinsing the parts with a hand shower after use.
The seat cover comes in gray or white-colored washable vinyl without cushioning.
The handheld control comes with four simple color-coded buttons: on/off and up/down. But there are not labeled and so people with short-term memory issues may have problems.
You can stow away the control on a hook attached behind the back seat but it's difficult to reach once you've reclined, so it's fine to just let it float beside you (yes, not only is the handheld control waterproof, it also floats!)
Depending on the weight of the person, you'll be able to use the bath lifter 4-5 times before it needs recharging.
And don't worry about getting stuck halfway down — there's a built-in safety mechanism that prevents the unit from lowering unless it also has enough power to come back up again. Also, a light on the handheld control blinks whenever the battery needs recharging.
It takes around 2-3 hours to recharge the battery, which you do by plugging the device into an outlet upon which a green light turns on.
The battery needs to be replaced every three years or so and at around $200, that's not cheap. Still, it's a drop in the bucket compared to getting a walk-in tub installed.
DRIVE MEDICAL BELLAVITA BATH LIFT VIDEO
PRODUCT ASSEMBLY AND FUNCTIONALITY
At first glance, the Drive Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter looks easy to assemble — three main components and no tools required to put them together.
But then you look at the instruction manual and notice information missing and illustrations that don't correspond to the product.
For example, the bath lifter comes with four suction cups which stick to the bottom of a tub to keep the seat locked in place. That's all well and good but the instructions don't show HOW to attach them to the seat!
Only through trial and error do you stumble upon the solution: raising the unit slightly and then attaching the suction cups.
And how do you raise or lower the unit? By attaching the backrest to the seat first (otherwise it won't work).
The instruction manual also neglects to tell you that the backrest won't snap to the seat until the battery is connected (for precautionary measures the backseat can't detach while it's in use). It's a bit tricky getting the two components to snap together but should become easier with experience.
So, to recap, here's what to do, step-by-step...
- Connect the battery
- Snap/attach backrest to seat
- Raise the unit slightly
- Attach suction cups
- Lower the unit
Presto! You're good to go!
Just these tips alone will spare you 20 minutes of having to figure them out for yourself! 🙂
Now, a word about the suction cups...while they stick well on plastic, porcelain, and jacuzzi tubs, they've been to known to stick less well on textured and fiberglass tubs. But it's not a deal breaker as there are workarounds. For instance, one customer got the suction cups to stick by applying toothpaste to them!
The backrest and seat raise/lower at a comfortable, slow pace without noise. The unit does, however, wobble a bit going up/down but not enough to be alarming.
The backrest reclines to 50 degrees at its lowest position but only does so when the seat is all the way down.
If you're taller than 5'2", you'll need to bend your knees a bit to fit your legs. But that's true of most baths.
And since the sitting height is 2.3" from the bottom of the tub, part of your torso will also be exposed. A workaround solution is to slide off the seat (easier to do without using the seat cover) and scrunch up a bit to get your entire torso below water. Then when you're ready to come back up, push against the tub with your legs to get back on the seat again.
PROS AND CONS
- Well constructed
- Easy to use
- Comfortable and secure
- Lightweight (lightest on the market at 20 lbs.)
- Easy to stow away (components take up little space)
Room for Improvement
- Unclear instructions
- Expensive battery replacement
- Trouble getting suction cups to stick in textured and fiberglass tubs
- Not designed for tubs under 6 feet long (still works, just not as well)
WHAT DO OTHER PEOPLE SAY?
Despite panning the instruction manual, owners of the Drive Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter clearly like everything about it. They find the bath lifter comfortable, reliable and love how it restores their sense of dignity and independence.
The bath lifter has also helped people in emergency situations by acting as a chair lift! While not built for this purpose, people find it nice knowing it helps in that way too.
The only major drawback to the Drive Bellavita Auto Bath Lifter are the poor instructions but that can be dealt with by following my assembly tips. As bath lifts go, you can't go wrong with this model. I hope you enjoyed this Bellavita review!