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The Ultimate Guide to Grab Rails

The Ultimate Guide to Grab Rails

3rd May 2024

If you’re researching the ins and outs of which grab rail will best suit your building project or refurbishment, then you already know what a grab rail is. In essence, grab rails are crucial mobility aids for the elderly, disabled and those who need extra support.

What you might not realise yet is how many variables there are to consider when selecting the right grab rail to serve your end user. We'll take you through the key factors to consider in our ultimate guide to grab rails.

At BOYCO, we’ve been pioneering innovative new product development in the healthcare sector for over 60 years. That’s why we’re here as an expert voice, to help you navigate what to consider when purchasing grab rails.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

The Key Styles of Grab Rails and Their Benefits

There are a wide variety of types of rails to consider. We’ll hone in on the key styles of grab rails that you’ll commonly encounter and what they offer.

Straight Grab Rails

Straight grab rails are the most common type of grab rail for bathrooms and beyond. You’ll see them in accessible WCs all over the UK. This style is simply one straight bar of variable lengths that can be positioned horizontally or vertically.

A vertical positioning can give an expanded range of heights for the user to reach for - especially when taking wheelchair users into account. A horizontal position, on the other hand, offers a stable railing to move along. For instance, for grab rails for bathrooms such as in a walk-in shower.

Hinged Grab Rails

Hinged grab rails aren’t just fixed into one position. They give you the ability to fold the grab bar in and out on a hinged axis. This space-saving design allows users to access the grab bar when needed but also push it away, for example for wheelchair or pram access.

Hinged grab rails are ideal for use next to toilets in particular because they can provide stability during transfers at a range of angles. They also have a counter balanced arm that’s unique to BOYCO. This can easily be operated with the touch of a finger for maximum ease of use.

L-Shaped Grab Rails

You might find this style of grab called an L-shaped grab rail, an angled grab rail or a corner grab rail. This style of grab rail is designed for the bar to seamlessly flow across a 90-degree angle, such as a shower cubicle wall. Sometimes these rails can even be fixed across two corners, such as our 3 sided shower grab rails.

BOYCO offers all of these key types of rails in a range of lengths, colours and styles to choose from.

Other Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Grab Rail

The style of grab rail you purchase will usually be decided by its specific purpose. Once you’ve identified the best style for your needs, there are other criteria you should take into consideration before you buy. Let’s get an insight into some key considerations when buying a grab rail.

Grab Rail Length

Consider grab rail sizing before you purchase. On the smaller side, you’ll find short grab rails for bathrooms that are typically positioned next to sink basins or toilets that act as a single touchpoint for stability.

On the larger end of the size spectrum, longer bathroom grab rails are positioned where a user might need to manoeuvre themselves along the length of the railing without interruption e.g. to get in and out of a shower.

It’s because those are the primary use cases that you’ll find most grab rails at standard sizes of between 300mm and 1000mm in the UK.

At BOYCO, our sizes range from 400mm like our smallest fixed grab rail and 900mm, our longest straight grab rail for showers. However, keep an eye on our product range as we are always innovating.

If these lengths don’t suit your needs, get in touch with us to discuss ordering bespoke sizing for larger commercial orders.

Grab Rail Diameter

The diameter of the tubing will also play a part in finding the right grab rail. There are no specific rules on diameter, but you’ll typically find grab rails to be between 32mm to 38mm in diameter to ensure a comfortable and secure grip for users.

BOYCO uses 32mm diameter steel tubing for the ultimate stable grip with no coldness to the touch due to being coated in our unique hot dip nylon. This meets DDA compliance standards.

Load Capacity

Grab rails are designed to be held by people to provide balance and support. This naturally puts weight onto the grab rail. The strength of the material that the grab rail is made from coupled with proper installation will both factor into maximum load capacity. BOYCO’s grab rails use mild steel for the tubing of our grab rails for its known strength.

Make sure you check with the manufacturer how much weight the grab bar can take to ensure it can stand up to your requirements.

Compliance to Part M & DDA

The key legislation that grab rails must adhere to in the UK are Approved Document M (Part M) of the Building Regulations and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). These lay out features, dimensions and other aspects that grab bars must comply with.

Our grab rails go above and beyond for compliance. All BOYCO grab rails conform fully with Part M and DDA. However, we don’t just exceed industry standards, we pioneer them with in-house research and development.

Trust in BOYCO Grab Rails

We provide grab rails for bathrooms that you can depend on.

Of course, grab rails can be used in a variety of contexts as a mobility aid for elderly and disabled people. However, it’s the bathroom that presents unique challenges, compounded by surfaces that may become slippery when wet and the need for grab rail users to access the space easily multiple times a day.

Put simply - there’s no other room that needs more attention to accessibility. That’s why we produce superior quality grab rails for the bathroom.

Learn more about the  best equipment to keep elderly and disabled people independent to consider installing in your build.

Our Pledge to Unbeatable Quality

For over 60 years we’ve been using our combined expertise and in-house design capabilities to craft products that solve problems through innovation. Our grab rails are no exception.

We know our products serve an important purpose so they have to be made to last. That’s why our grab rails all come with a 3-year warranty. We’re confident you’ll never need to use it. But if you do, we’ll be happy to honour it.

Pioneers of Antimicrobial Hot Dip Nylon That Coats Every BOYCO Grab Rail

In the healthcare sector, we know that the ability to maintain clean and sanitary environments is paramount. Never is this more crucial than in bathrooms.

All of BOYCO’s grab rails for bathrooms are made using steel tubing which is coated with hot dip nylon. This makes for a surface that’s resistant to up to 99% of known bacteria, making it the perfect choice for surfaces that are known touch points.

Olakunle Fagbenro, Design Manager in BOYCO’s product development team give an insight into how BOYCO pioneered hot dip nylon and sheds some light on why it’s the ideal choice to coat grab rails:

‘We meticulously designed hot-dip nylon to add extra layers of safety, security and comfort to our grab rails.

As well as being 500 x more abrasion resistant when compared to oven-baked paint finishes, we used pioneering technology to ensure that our coating offers anti-bacterial properties which we know are critical for hospitals, care homes and public washrooms where our grab rails are most commonly found.’

Get in Touch

We’re always here to answer any questions or queries about our different types of rails or any other products in the BOYCO product range. Simply contact us directly to get in touch with our team or take a look at our common FAQs.

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