The diameter of a grab bar is important when choosing which size you want to install in your toilet compartment or residential bathroom; however, some purchasers do not know which size is best. Let’s begin by detailing the diameters available for grab bars. Stainless Steel Grab Bars are available in 1”, 1-1/4”, and 1-1/2” diameters whereas Nylon Grab Bars are available in 1-5/16” for HEWI and 1-7/16” for PBA. For the sake of argument, and for simplicity of explaining the different diameters, the HEWI Nylon Grab Bars will fall into the 1-1/4” diameter faction and the PBA Nylon Grab Bars will fall into the 1-1/2” diameter faction. Now, to tell you that grab bar diameter choice falls to personal preference is a little too simplistic. Especially when considering an ADA Compliant Toilet Compartment that will be used by many different people of varied tastes in grab bar diameters. First, you must be aware that ADA guidelines require a minimum 1-1/4” grab bar diameter for use in commercial ADA compliant spaces. That means the special 1” diameter grab bars, which are only available in stainless steel mind you, can only be used for non-regulated residential uses. I say non-regulated because while elderly or disabled individuals may live in a nursing home, the resident bathrooms must still comply with ADA guidelines. Your personal bathroom in your home or condo can utilize a smaller 1” diameter grab bar if desired.
Team 1-1/4” diameter and Team 1-1/2” diameter each have their benefits. The 1-1/4” diameter is a great option for users with smaller hands, particularly in ADA Compliant Toilet Compartments in elementary schools or where children are the primary users. 1-1/2” diameter grab bars are not only more comfortable for those with larger hands, but also for those who cannot tightly grasp the grab bar because of arthritis or other hand related maladies. A 1-1/2” grab bar provides more surface area for the hand to grab reducing strain on joints. The ¼” difference between the two grab bar diameters may seem irrelevant, but holding each of the grab bars makes very clear how different they are. By default, most commercial purchasers select the 1-1/2” diameter grab bar which is perfectly fine. It is ADA compliant and will appeal to many users; but, taking into consideration the majority of users of the grab bars you will be installing and their taste preference does not hurt either.