Yes, suction grab bars are safe, however, they do have their limits and installation obstacles.
Suction cup grab bars are very popular shower grab bars because of its easy installation that does not require tools, fasteners, or drilling.
Suction grab bars are generally designed to assist with stability and balance rather than to support the whole weight of an adult in case of a fall.
The major issues surrounding suction cup grab bars is the fact that the suction discs can not be mounted on the following surfaces:
The suction discs must be mounted on a flat, non-porous and smooth surface that has no texture. These surface requirements make suction cup grab bars unfeasible for many shower wall environments.
Suction grab bars found online may list weight capacities as high as 250 to 300 pounds. However, there are many suction grab bars that do not support up to 250 pounds. It really depends on the manufacturer and type of suction grab bar you are looking for.
Suction cup grab bars work on any non-textured surface, however, they are not recommended for use on drywall. Rather, they are recommended on non-porous / non-textured shower and bath wall surfaces.
No, suction grab bars generally are not ADA compliant. The limiting factor is usually not meeting ADA weight capacity requirements. Many suction grab bars do not support up to 250 lbs of weight.
Suction cup grab bars are most commonly used on non-porous and smooth surface walls in showers and baths.
At GrabBars.com, we do not recommend suction cup model grab bars. We have heard of stories where suction cup grab bars do not remain attached when a user grabs one to break a fall. Suction cup grab bars look nice and are easy to install, but when the floor is rushing to meet you, they may not be of much help. Suction cup grab bars generally have a much lower weight capacity than stud-mounted grab bars. Additionally, many shower wall surfaces are not ideal for suction cup securing. When possible, we recommend that our customers purchase stainless steel grab bars for stud-mounting. If you do purchase a suction grab bar, please use it for stability rather than to support full body weight.