How To Choose The Best Shower Standing Handles (Buyer’s Guide & Recommendations)

How To Choose The Best Shower Standing Handles (Buyer’s Guide & Recommendations)

When we’re in the tub, we’re reclined and are in no immediate danger, whereas in the shower, we’re stood on a slick surface made even more slippery by the water, soap, cleansers, shampoo, and conditioner running off our bodies and onto the shower basin.

The solution? A well-designed shower standing handle, of course! But there are so many types to choose from, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

So, to ensure you get the handle that’s going to keep you safe in the shower, I’ve composed this ultimate shower standing handle buyer’s guide.

Shower Valve & Handle Height Construction Codes

Before we dig into the handles themselves, I think it’s important to cover a few basics of the standing handle installation process.

Now, if you’re not planning on DIY-ing your installation, you can go ahead and skip ahead, but if you are taking matters into your own hands, here’s some key information for you.

Shower Valve Height

Let’s begin with your shower valve, which, for the uninitiated, is the component that lets you turn your shower on and off and gives you comprehensive control over water temperature.

This essential part of your shower system needs to be roughly 48” from the basin of your shower, but if you’re installing a shower system in your bathtub, it needs to be beside the faucets, so will have to be fitted much lower, 28” from the base of the tub being the standard.

Shower Standing Handle Height

Standing handles are typically installed a little lower than valves in order to facilitate a stable and comfortable grip.

Anywhere between 33 and 36” is considered the norm for standing handle height, but bear in mind that this isn’t a hard, fast rule.

The most crucial aspect of this installation is that it suits the person or people who’ll be using the shower.

If they’re taller than the average person, it makes sense to install the standing handle higher than the standard range, and if they’re a shorter than the average person, the inverse is true.

You also have the option of installing a shower standing handle diagonally so it covers a range of heights rather than a single level, but be wary a diagonal bar means there’s a greater chance the user’s hand could slip down it.

Shower Handles: What Are Your Options?

Although shower handles come in all shapes and sizes (see also "Standard Shower Curtain Size"), thankfully, you can narrow your options down by 50% simply by deciding between fixed and detachable handles .

What Are Fixed Shower Handles?

Fixed shower handles are exactly what they sound like. They’re a permanent fixture in your shower that stays in one location indefinitely.

So, now you know what one is, let’s discuss the pros and cons of such an addition to your shower.

Fixed Shower Handles: Pros

  • Incredibly sturdy — Fixed shower handles fit securely to the wall behind them, meaning they’re highly stable, which is perfect for individuals that need to put a lot of weight on them during a shower.

For those lacking mobility or strength, a fixed handle is a must, as it guarantees that it will be able to support them if they lose balance and have to use it to support their entire body weight.

  • Always ready for action — Fixed shower handles need no setting up; when you’re ready, they’re ready, leading to more efficient showers, which is always nice, especially if you’re sharing a bathroom with others.
  • Diverse shapes and sizes available — You’ll always be able to find a fixed shower handle design that suits your needs.

Fixed Shower Handles: Cons

  • Not always visually appealing — Once a fixed shower handle is there… it’s there for good, and if it doesn’t exactly complement the aesthetic of the room, it can be a real eyesore.
  • Only safe for one height — If multiple people will be using a fixed handle, they’ll need to be roughly the same height, as it cannot be shifted upward or downward after installation.

You could of course install multiple handles at different heights, but this can be expensive and unsightly.

What Are Detachable Shower Handles?

Again, detachable shower handles do exactly what they say on the tin They provide temporary support at a chosen wall height in a shower.

Once you’re all scrubbed up, it can simply be removed, dried off, and stored away ready for when it’s needed next.

Detachable Shower Handles: Pros

  • Can be kept out of sight — Unlike fixed shower handles, detachable handles can be removed from the wall and hidden in storage, meaning you don’t have to worry about it clashing with the established room aesthetic.
  • Useful to multiple people — Being that detachable handles can be positioned at any level, people of all heights can use them in the shower to stay safe while they get clean.
  • No tricky DIY Installation — You don’t need to be DIY savvy in the slightest to use detachable handles, which is a pretty big bonus. 

Detachable Shower Handles: Cons

  • Not as sturdy — Detachable handles utilize suction cups to grip the wall, which is fine for low pressure support, but any significant amount of pressure may compromise the seal and detach the handle.
  • Not as efficient — It doesn’t take long to fit a detachable shower handle, but you can’t just hop in the shower the way you would if you had a fixed handle setup.
  • Limited designs — You don’t get anywhere near as much freedom in terms of design when it comes to detachable shower handles.

How Big Should A Shower Handle Be?

Shower handles often run the gamut between 9 and 24” in length, so what should you go for?

Well, it’s actually a pretty easy decision to make… The greater the length, the more support a handle will provide.

Longer handles don’t just provide support while you’re in the shower, but they can be a great help when getting in and out of the shower too, especially if they stretch all the way to the exit doors of said shower.

What’s more, they provide much more of a safety net if the worst happens and you slip in the shower, as you’ve got more of a chance of grabbing part of the bar as you lose balance.

With a smaller handle, you may reach out in search of support as you slip only to find an empty wall.

For maximum support, I’d recommend maxing out with a 24” inch handle, but if you’re not in need of such a comprehensive safety feature, 12” might be more suitable.

Shower Handle Weight Bearing Capacity

As shower handle designs are so varied, so too are their weight bearing capacities, but generally speaking, you can expect a fixed shower grab bar to support at least 250 lbs, which is more than enough for most people.

If you require even more stability from your handle, you’ll find a number on the market capable of supporting up to 500 lbs.

Any more than that, and it’s definitely worth reaching out to a manufacturer directly for some advice and possibly even to commission a custom design.

For detachable grab bars, you’re looking at something more to the tune of 180 lbs.

Many manufacturers claim that their detachable handles can hold up to 200 lbs, but it’s important to remember that this is in ideal conditions.

The efficacy of detachable grab bars will vary depending on the type of surface, the cleanliness of the surface, the angle at which pressure is applied, and how long they’ve been stuck in place.

Shower Handle Angle

If you’re looking to keep things simple, a standard straight grab bar is the way to go, but if you want more versatile support, you should consider a more complex design. 

Something like this elbow-shaped fixture will be a fantastic multi-purpose support, or if you’d rather not have a sloped design, a right-angle bar gives you the stability of a standard bar with the addition of a vertical section for assistance getting in and out of the shower.

Alternatively, you could shoot for something off the beaten path, such as this fantastic flip up bar from the folks over at Moen.

Three Shower Handle Recommendations

Before we go our separate ways, allow me to show you three of the most impressive shower handles you can purchase right now (in addition to the ones recommended above).


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Although I mentioned that 24” is the ideal handle length for a decent amount of support, you can use multiple shorter bars to provide just as much, if not more support should you need it, which is why I’m drawing your attention to this Opave 2-pack.

Each bar is 16” in length, meaning you get 32” of coverage overall, and you can position them on different walls to suit your shower style and your showering style. 

They also have fantastic anti-slip sections made of rubber that increase traction and make gripping the bar easier on sensitive hand joints, which is a real winner for those who suffer with arthritis.

Installation is fairly simple, but as you have to fit two rather than one bar, it might be a bit testing for some.

However, your efforts will be worth it, as these bars can support a maximum 500 lbs, meaning they’re some of the most stable on the market.


  • 2-pack — More flexible installation options mean you can fit them to suit your preferences
  • Rubber grips — Anti-slip sections reduce the chances of a fall, while also protecting sensitive hand joints
  • 500 lbs capacity — These handles are robust enough to support near enough anybody's weight


  • Installation — Two grab bars means double the installation effort

Also available from Sears


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Much like my last suggestion, these iMomwee handles arrive in a pair, and both can support up to 500 lbs, meaning it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever let you down in your time of need.

Each bar is 24”, which is perfect for comprehensive support, and being that you’ll have both set up, you’ll be able to move freely about your shower with ease, never sacrificing your safety.

Again, installation can be a bit of a pain, as you’ve got twice the job to do, but once you’ve finished fitting the first one, the second one is a total breeze as you know exactly what you’re doing.

Although they’re probably not what you had in mind for your shower when you first had it fitted, the concealed square mounts hide all the ugly stuff, so all you see is sleek, shiny steel.


  • 42” in total — 42” of support spread around your shower ensures you’ll be safe at all times
  • Concealed mounts — All the unsightly connective components are hidden from view, limiting the negative impact on shower style
  • 500 lbs capacity — Suitable for most body types, no matter how much weight you put on them


  • No anti-slip sections — Stainless steel is strong, but it can also be quite slippery, so perhaps a dead straight installation is your best bet

Also available from Olivetips


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If you’re not in need of quite as much support, you’ll be fine picking up this 2-pack of detachable handles from AmeriLuck.

As is the case with all detachable grab bars, no tools are required to use them, and as long as they’re not placed over grout seams, the suction cups are incredibly reliable.

At 16.5” per bar, they’re decidedly longer than most other detachable handles on the market, which, as we’ve discussed, makes for a safer shower overall.

But far and away the best feature is the color-coded indicators that inform you when the suction cups need to be reattached, ensuring you never use them when it’s not safe to.


  • Safety indicators — Knowing when the seal of the suction cups has been broken makes for a much safer product
  • 16.5” — Longer and more supportive than most detachable bars
  • Soft grip section — Increases traction and reduces strain on joints, meaning a fall is less likely


  • Stability — Can’t support anywhere near as much weight as the fixed bars reviewed above

Also available from Bonanza

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Should Handles Be Placed In The Shower?

We’ve discussed that shower handles will normally be between 33 and 36” high in a shower and that you should adjust the mount height to suit the height of the user, but we haven’t covered where you should put them.

The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t really matter where they go. Place your shower handles wherever you need them.

In fact, you don't even have to use them in the shower. You can mount them next to a sofa, next to your bath, or at the top of a staircase… anywhere some extra help is needed.

Do You Have To Remove Wall Tiles To Install A Fixed Shower Handle?

You’ll be happy to know that you won’t have to remove any pre-existing tiles from your shower wall to fit a fixed shower standing handle, but you will have to take more care during the installation.

Drilling too aggressively or with the wrong equipment can and will crack your tiles, so pick up a glass and tile drill bit before you begin your project.

Once you have the corrupt equipment, take it nice and slow, and you should be okay.

That said, depending on the handle design and the nature of your shower walls, you may also need to pick up a tile hole saw

But if you’d rather not invest in tools you may never need again, perhaps it’s best that you call in a professional to take care of the installation for you.

Final Thoughts

I’m not being overly dramatic when I say that shower handles can be the difference between life and death, as can picking out the right one, which is why it’s a good job you decided to do your research before going ahead with a purchase or installation.

Now you know all the variables at play, you can make an informed decision about what sort of shower handle is best for you.

John Whitford
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