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Our Guide: Hinged Grab Rails vs. Fixed Grab Rails

Our Guide: Hinged Grab Rails vs. Fixed Grab Rails

3rd May 2024

If you’re fitting out an accessible bathroom, it’s important to know which to pick: a hinged grab rail or a fixed grab rail.

Both offer specific but different benefits, so it pays to know the advantages and use cases for each type of grab rail. As a specialist, commercial manufacturer of bathroom grab rails for over 60 years, BOYCO is here to help.

We’ll take you through the ins and outs of hinged grab rails and fixed grab rails, so that you can make the best decision for your build, and ultimately, your end user.

What Are Hinged Grab Rails & Fixed Grab Rails? The Differences Explained

These two easily recognisable styles of grab rail are most often found in accessible bathrooms. You’ve probably encountered both before, but it’s worth diving into the differences so that you can decide which is best for your construction project.

Fixed Grab Rails: As the name suggests, fixed grab rails are affixed to a wall - usually by being screwed into a stud. They consist of a straight bar which can be attached vertically or horizontally. In some cases, a corner grab rail consists of a bar covering two angles.

Hinged Grab Rails: Hinged grab rails are bathroom safety handles that can swing out from the wall to provide sturdy support when needed and fold flat against the wall when not in use.

While both are used in accessible bathrooms, they tend to be useful for different use cases. This is how you can tailor the right kind of bathroom grab rail to your build if you have details about the end users of the bathroom you’re building.

Most often, when deciding between the two it will be to determine the best grab rail to make toilets accessible for elderly or disabled people who need extra support with their balance or mobility.

Advantages of Fixed Grab Rails

  • - As a fixed grab rail is attached in a fixed position to a wall, it doesn’t need to be folded out for use. This means that it’s a better option for elderly people, disabled people and those who have a harder time with their dexterity.

  • - While hinged grab rails tend to be fixed to the floor or below waist height to help with transfer to the toilet, fixed grab rails can be placed higher up. A hinged grab rail couldn’t be placed higher up as it would be a health and safety hazard. However, as fixed grab rails are by nature static, they can be placed anywhere on a wall.

  • - This makes fixed grab rails more versatile - meaning that they can be used in a wider range of settings. Not only can they be used for toilets but also as bathroom safety handles for showers, baths and sinks.

  • - Choose from a wide range of grab rail sizes for fixed grab rails. BOYCO stock lengths from 400mm grab rails all the way to 900mm.

The Best Use Cases for Fixed Grab Rails

Fixed grab rails can be used more generally as bathroom grab rails for elderly people, disabled people and those who require support when navigating around the bathroom. Whereas hinged grab rails tend only to be used to help with toilet transfers specifically.

Fixed grab rails can sit higher on the wall than hinged grab rails, making them uniquely useful for tasks like helping people retain their balance when washing their hands or opening bathroom doors.

Advantages of Hinged Grab Rails

Hinged grab rails are the ideal bathroom grab rails for people with impaired strength or balance who need extra support with their mobility when accessing the toilet.

  • - When folded out, hinged grab rails make a stable point for people to grab onto - making transitions into wheelchairs or into a standing position easier. Often they lock into place when fully folded out, to ensure complete stability.

  • - Hinged grab rails swing in and out, meaning that people who rely on mobility aids to get around can make room for their equipment and reduce accidental collisions when not in use.

  • - Hinged grab rails are space-saving due to the ability to fold them out of the way when not in use. This also makes sanitising the bathroom easier, for instance, mopping bathroom floors.

  • - In addition, they project further outwards than fixed grab rails. This means they can provide support for people who need help balancing when using the toilet, rather than just during transfers.

The Best Use Cases for Hinged Grab Rails

Because hinged grab rails are so highly adaptable, they make excellent mobility aids for disabled and elderly people who need the use of mobility equipment to get around more easily.

Hinged grab rails being so uniquely space-saving means that they are the ideal choice where room is tight.

Elderly people, disabled people and those with reduced physical strength can operate BOYCO’s hinged grab rails using a single finger.

At BOYCO, we’re driven by finding innovative solutions to the physical challenges that elderly people, disabled people and those who need more help getting around face in their daily lives. Damien Boyt, Managing Director of BOYCO, explains how BOYCO’s unique counter balanced hinged grab rail arm was developed in response to a clear need.

" We developed the counterbalanced arm after identifying that those using this type of grab rail needed the folding arm to stay balanced at any given height, without dropping. Our research and development team worked closely with our manufacturing department to create spring technology that ensures that the user can easily adjust the height of the arm with the touch of a finger, without it falling down. This helps those who need to reposition themselves whilst operating the grab rail, so they can do so with ease whilst having a reliable support there for them".

  • - Damien Boyt, Managing Director of BOYCO

For more information on grab rails and how they work, check out our ultimate guide to grab rails to help guide your purchase.

What All of BOYCO’s Bathroom Grab Rails Have in Common

Whether you opt for a fixed or hinged grab rail, you can rest assured that all of BOYCO’s bathroom safety handles are fully DDA compliant. Our unique hot dip nylon coats each and every BOYCO grab rail and has unique advantages as a material. These are just some of them…

Made with silver ion technology - This means that when bacteria touch our unique hot dip nylon coating, the silver ions prevent them from growing, replicating or producing energy. In other words - they cannot survive.

Not cold to the touch - As part of DDA compliance, our grab rails are never cold to the touch, meaning they can always be used comfortably.

Non-toxic & non-leaching - Not only is the coating formulated using a non-toxic, renewable source, the antimicrobial properties of the hot dip nylon also stay permanently within the coating because it’s non-leaching.

Get in Touch

Contact us with any questions about our bathroom safety handles and our friendly team will answer them, or read our FAQs for answers to commonly asked questions. 

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