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Wall mounted rails

This section includes grab rails that are attached to the wall. They are available in a range of sizes, and the weight they can take depends on the strength of the wall.  Some rails may be brightly coloured, which may help people with memory loss to identify them. 

Standard rails are suitable for bathroom installation. They may be plastic, plastic coated with a metal core for reinforcement, stainless steel or chrome.

Contoured or ribbed rails are usually plastic or plastic coated with a metal core. Ribbed rails may also be referred to as fluted. They are useful for installation in bathrooms and shower areas. The additional grip is helpful for when hands are wet. 

Offset rails are flat-ended steel grab rails set at an offset angle so the user can step up to and pass through a doorway without releasing their grip on the rail. Alternatively the rail is occasionally fitted the other way around with the handhold away from the doorway when a traditional straight grab rail would be too close to a door handle or lock.  

Angled rails are either right-angled or angled to another degree, often 135 degrees. They are plastic or plastic-coated with a metal core. Some are modular and as such, can be assembled in a suitable configuration for the individual.

Suction rails have levers that depress to create a vacuum and then raise to break the vacuum seal. Some are adjustable in length which can be useful for travel purposes, or in situations when a rail cannot be fixed permanently.

Akw 1200 Stainless Steel Grab Rails
Stainless steel grab rail with polished finish. Three fixing points with flange cover.
Akw 1400 Series Large Plastic Fluted Grab Rails & Kits
Plastic grab rails. Comprises: fluted shape; flange; PVC wall fixings; two sizes; white or blue.
Akw 1600 Series Natural Grip Plastic Grab Rails
Straight grab rail with circular end fixings suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
Akw 1900 Heavy Duty Fluted Grab Rails And Kits
Fluted plastic covered grab rails with internal aluminium core; 38mm wall clearance; five-point fixing points for heavy duty use. Options: range of le...
Akw Flat End Stainless Steel Grab Rail
Grab rails. Comprises: metal powder coated; flanged ends; stainless steel; screw fixing points. Series 1000 made of mild steel with epoxy resin coatin...
Angled Fluted Grab Rails
Fluted grab rails. Comprises: angled; PVC tubing; multiple concealed wall fixings; for use in or around shower area. Options: choice of colours; va...
Anti Ligature Grab Rail In Stainless Steel
Anti-ligature grab rail in stainless steel. Designed for areas where vulnerable people may be inclined to self-harm. Comprises: polyester coated fini...
Ashby Angled Red Grab Rail
Angled grab rail designed for extra support. Comprises: plastic; non-slip surface, ribbed handle. Options: range of colours.
Ashby Grab Bars
Plastic grab rail with textured surface.
Ashby Grab Rail
White plastic angled grab rail with textured surface. Other colours available from some suppliers.
Ashby Red Grab Rail
Red plastic grab rail designed for ease of recognition and visibility. Comprises: ribbed and textured. Options: straight or curved. Accessories: red r...
Avalon Support Rail
Straight grab rails. Comprises: aluminium; white nylon coating; four lengths; range of colours.
Avalon Support Toilet Roll Holder
Grab rail with toilet roll holder. Comprises: Grab rail with horizontal extension for toilet roll to hang on; Made from polyester coated aluminium. Op...
Chrome Grab Bar
Chrome grab bar. Comprises: textured surface; steel tubing; chrome plating.
Chromimum Plated Steel Grab Rails
Range of straight and angled grab rails. Comprises: steel or brass; wall-mounted at both ends; range of lengths; plastic coated. Options: knurled or c...
Coloured Grab Rails
Coloured plastic grab rails. Comprises: ribbed PVC; tubular; moulded end fittings; covering plates; range of colours and lengths.
Contemporary Curved Stainless Steel Grab Rails
Stainless steel curved grab rail. Options: range of sizes.
Corner Support Rail With Concealed Fixing In Stainless Steel
Corner support rail with concealed fixings in stainless steel. Comprises: welded flanges; fixing holes to fit size 8 screws. Options: ribbed grip; pol...
Buying equipment

There are several factors to consider when purchasing equipment.

Making complaints and reporting unsafe products

In most instances a complaint should initially be made to the supplier who provided you with the item. CAB has a range of guidelines on their website on making a complaint about poor service or faulty goods. These include complaining by phone, complaining in writing and template letters. CAB advice about making a complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the supplier's response then you may choose to complain to:

  • an ombudsman scheme
  • a regulator
  • an independent mediator
  • a trade association (if the supplier is a member of one)


Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the GOV UK website www.mhra.gov.uk or their Adverse incident centre hotline 020 3080 7080. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bath lifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.

Buying from a private person

Buying from a private person gives you fewer rights. You will only be able to claim against the seller if the product doesn't match its description or if the seller did not own it. Consequently, some firms occasionally pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal responsibilities towards customers. If you suspect this has happened to you find out about your rights and what action to take on the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call 0345 404 0506 to speak to the Citizen Advice consumer helpline.


The length of the manufacturer's guarantee does not limit any claim you may make to the seller as if a product develops a fault outside the guarantee period you can still claim against the seller if you can show that the fault was unreasonable at that period in the products life.


You may be asked whether you would like to purchase an extended warranty. Remember that your statutory rights exist, under the Sale of Goods Act, whether or not you choose to buy their warranty and whether or not the goods came with any guarantee. Manufacturers' guarantees are separate from the automatic rights you have against the seller, and may be more limited. For more information read the Citizens Advice Bureau guide to guarantees and warranties.

Maintenance and insurance

For large complex items, such as a stairlift, check what kind of maintenance contract the supplier offers.

Membership of trade associations

Some suppliers are members of a trade association. Many of these trade associations have a code of practice that governs their members' customer service, and thus may help to project you from unscrupulous selling practices. For example, some trade associations prohibit their members from contacting people uninvited to try and sell their products. They may also prohibit their members from using high pressure selling tactics such as offering a discount if you order that day, or phoning their manager while demonstrating the equipment to you to agree a 'special discount/deal'. Thus if you have a choice of suppliers for the product you wish to purchase we recommend you consider the suppliers who are members of trade association.

We record suppliers' membership of several trade associations (see a list of these trade associations) and our ratings give greater weighting to trade associations with codes of practice which are approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (e.g. the British Healthcare Trade Association) or governed by an audit scheme which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

We also record whether suppliers meet the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards define a Quality System which certifies that formalised business processes are being applied, and thus may be another indicator to look for if you have a choice of suppliers.


You may be able to purchase equipment designed for use by disabled people without paying the VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying the item/s for your own personal or domestic use. For VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill.


So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg).

Examples of products which are likely to qualify for VAT relief (if intended for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled person) include:


  • wheelchairs
  • stairlifts
  • computer software or hardware designed specifically for disabled individuals
  • kettle tippers, tap turners, button hooks and similar gadgets or devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled individuals
  • artificial limbs
  • vehicles that have been adapted for use by a wheelchair or stretcher user


Price is important but, if we list more than one supplier, it is important to look for more than just the cheapest price. Check when the prices were last updated (this should be stated under each price). Consider whether:

  • Postage/delivery is included (if shopping by mail order or online)
  • Is the supplier a member of a trade association? (see below)
  • Is one supplier listing the price with VAT and another without VAT?
  • Check the suppliers' returns policies and any guarantees / warranties (see below).
  • For complex equipment that requires maintenance and/or servicing check what's included in the price and what the ongoing costs will be.

Get advice and an assessment

Experienced therapists or trusted assessors know a lot about products and will help you make sure the product is right for you now and will continue to be suitable in the future. 


You may be able to get an assessment and advice from social services. GOV.UK website
Alternatively you may choose to pay for a private occupational therapist. If you wish to request a private appointment with an occupational therapist then you can obtain details of local private occupational therapists from the 'College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Independent Practice' (COTSS-IP) website. www.cotss-ip.org.uk or phone their enquiry Line: 0845 129 7699.
You can check whether a therapist is state registered with the Health Care professions Council (HCPC) at www.hcpc-uk.org/audiences/

Try before you buy

You can find out about products and try them out, with independent advice at an Independent Living Centre (ILC). There are about 30 ILCs in the UK. Most do not sell products but they will be able to tell you where to buy them. We recommend you make an appointment before you visit

You could view equipment at an exhibition. They are a good opportunity to see what's available and meet the competing suppliers. The main exhibition of equipment is NAIDEX, held annually at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and Glasgow. www.naidex.co.uk

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