salon backwash unit

Having an updated and comfortable salon backwash unit not only gives your clients a better experience, but it can be the reason clients become repeat customers or not.

When you look at articles about how to choose a hair stylist, they say it’s good to make a call based on the state of the salon furniture. If it’s cracked, outdated, and uncomfortable, they might not come back and they definitely won’t recommend you to others.

For tips on how to choose the best salon backwash unit for your salon and needs, see the end of the article, but for now, let’s get right to it.

  1. 1.
    Bella III Electric Shampoo Station With Full Body Massage

    Pros:

    • Full body massage
    • Electric reclining footrest
    • Massage and reclining controlled by remote
    • Color choices for chair and sink bowl
    • Tilting ceramic bowl
    • Built-in vacuum breaker

    Cons:

    • Must be plugged in
    • Too pricey for some
    • No bottom plumbing outlet

    The Bella III is for salons or spas that want to thoroughly pamper their clients with a relaxing massage while they have their treatment or wash. There are four Shiatsu massage rollers inside the backrest and vibration massage in the seat for the legs. The massage function, as well as the full-leg reclining footrest, is controlled with a wired hand remote that fits snugly in a built-in pocket by the armrest.

    With the press of a button, your clients can put their legs up and with the push of another, be enjoying full-body massage. Let’s be real: if you order this, some of your clients are going to be so relaxed they fall asleep. But there’s no way they’re not also going to tell all their friends about the salon with the massaging chair.

    The large ceramic basin has a padded neck rest, built-in vacuum breaker, and a wide range of tilt to work with different heights. You can order it in white or black, but if you don’t specify in your order notes, it defaults to black.

    As far as looks, the fully electric shampoo station looks more like a comfy armchair with a sink on the top than a backwash unit. It comes in black and grey.

    Dream in Reality is known for their unique designs. I’ve also featured them in my Best Barber Chair article.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 46.9 inches
    • Length when reclined: Not specified
    • Height: 39.4 inches
    • Width: 26.4 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back or side

    Find more Bella III Shampoo Station With Full Body Massage information and reviews here.

  2. 2.
    MTTLS Shampoo Bed

    Pros:

    • Relaxing spa position
    • Footstool has step up for access
    • Separate footstool saves space
    • Real wood armrests
    • Extra-large ceramic basin
    • Includes neck rest
    • Eye-catching design

    Cons:

    • Seat and sink not adjustable
    • Harder for some to sit up from
    • Requires assembly
    • Pricier than others

    For a set up that will really turn heads and get people talking, check out this Shampoo Bed by MTTLS. Your clients will relax in perfect comfort in the ergonomic reclining lounger with separate footstool. 

    The detached footstool is great for adjusting to different heights as saving space as it can be pushed in to fit under and against the chair when not in use or even shifted off to the side to save more space. I love that it has a metal step with patterning for grip to make it easier for short folks, like myself, to comfortably get up on the seat. 

    The stylish curved wood arms are unique and the shape and width of them makes it easy to grab them for support when getting in and out. If you like a large basin, the sink on this one is right up your ally. Its ceramic basin is two feet across at the back and 13 inches deep. There’s an include neck and headrest for comfort. 

    As much as a fully reclined shampoo bed is the apex of comfort, do keep in mind that some folks with mobility issues will have a harder time getting into and out of this position.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 65.7 inches
    • Length with footstool: 84.6 inches
    • Height: 48.8 inches
    • Width: 27.5 inches (at the armrests)
    • Plumbing position: Unspecified

    Find more MTTLS Shampoo Bed information and reviews here.

  3. 3.
    Icarus Harlow Shampoo Station

    Pros:

    • Relaxing reclined postion
    • Comes already assembled
    • Extra large ceramic basin
    • Trusted company
    • Moving footrest
    • Super comfortable
    • Comes with towels

    Cons:

    • Reclined chair is fixed
    • Does not include vaccuum breaker
    • No head rest but not as needed with the design

    Icarus is a brand known for its innovative and convertible salon equipment. I’ve featured their collapsable nail table in my article on the best manicure tables.  The Harlow is a modern, almost space-age style black shampoo station with a focus on comfort.

    The unit is set in a fixed recline so it’s less of a chair and more of a lounger for washing your hair. There’s an adjustable footrest that you can pull out for your clients to rest their feet on the base or put their feet up on the elevated rest. The adjustable length is nice for accommodating folks of various heights.

    The cushioning is plush and there’s a good chance your clients could fall asleep in this. The downside to the comfortable reclined position is that your clients have to navigate getting back up. If you serve a lot of elderly or disabled clients this could be an issue.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 58 inches
    • Length when reclined: 83.5 inches
    • Height: 33 inches
    • Width: 24.5 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back, side, or bottom

    Find more Icarus Harlow Shampoo Station information and reviews here.

  4. 4.
    Pibbs 5274 Loop Backwash Station

    Pros:

    • Made in America
    • Compact size
    • Minimalist design
    • Tilting ceramic bowl
    • Sink available in white or black

    Cons:

    • No reclining
    • Too small for some
    • Doesn’t include neck rest

    If you’re looking for something more minimal, modern, and stylish try to Pibbs 5472 Loop. Its compact size makes a great for tight spaces that larger shampooing units wouldn’t fit into.

    I love the sharp angles of the base mirrored by the chair support. It has a very modern look to it that stands out from more standard boring models. The starkness even makes it seem like having a reclining footrest would be clunky, making the lack of reclining look like a positive while for many it would normally be edging toward a negative. 

    The ceramic bowl tilts to better align with the client’s neck and is available in both white and black. 

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 46 inches
    • Length when reclined: N/A
    • Height: 37 inches
    • Width: 26.25 inches
    • Plumbing position: Bottom

    Find more Pibbs 5274 Loop Backwash Station information and reviews here.

  5. 5.
    Optimus Electric Reclining Shampoo Backwash

    Pros:

    • Fully electric reclining with foot pedal
    • Safer and easier for clients with mobility issues
    • Durable upholstery
    • Trusted brand
    • Includes neck rest
    • One year warranty

    Cons:

    • No armrests
    • Not everyone likes the separate look
    • Not for bottom plumbing

    If you have a lot of aging clients, an electric chair is the way to go. These stations allow for safe and gentle transitions from sitting to a comfortable reclined position without requiring any strain on the client. The reclining is controlled by a foot pedal and can go as far as a nearly horizontal position.

    The chair not only reclines but lifts the client bringing them into a more comfortable position to set their head in the sink and for your stylists to access with less bending down. This one is unique in that the chair and pedestal basin are two separate pieces. The sink is quality ceramic with an included neck rest.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: Not specified
    • Length when reclined: 76.7 inches
    • Height: 36.8 inches
    • Width: 26.3 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back or side

    Find more Optimus Electric Reclining Shampoo Backwash information and reviews here.

  6. 6.
    BarberPub Backwash

    Pros:

    • Reclinging footrest
    • Sleek chrome arms
    • Choice of color
    • Ceramic bowl tilts
    • More compact than others

    Cons:

    • Assembly required
    • Can look a little plasticy
    • Too small for some
    • Not as luxe as others

    If you need something a little more compact for a smaller space, check out the BarberPub station. It’s a fair bit smaller than many of the other chairs on the list, even when reclined so it’s a good choice for smaller salons.

    The ceramic sink has six inches of tilt adjustment and includes the neck rest. I like the wide chrome arms which match the reclining arm on the right side of the chair. The footrest is a little small, which is an advantage in tight spaces, and raises all the way up to nearly a 90 degree angle. The cushioning is soft foam and the upholstery is waterproof and stain-resistant.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 46.1 inches
    • Length when reclined: 55.5 inches
    • Height: Unspecified
    • Width: 23.6 inches
    • Plumbing position: Unspecified

    Find more BarberPub Backwash information and reviews here.

  7. 7.
    Comtemporary Reclining Backwash

    Pros:

    • Bowl angle is adjustable
    • Seat reclines
    • Unique, Euro look
    • Mahogany accent armrests
    • Porcelain bowl
    • Can be plumbed from below, side, or behind

    Cons:

    • Could be too big for some set ups
    • Lesser known company
    • No color choices

    If you’re looking for a chic European vibe, check out this contemporary Brayson unit. It’s blocky lines, stark coloring, and mahogany armrests stand out from traditional plain chairs. 

    The chair reclines with a lever on the left side and the angle of the porcelain bowl is adjustable for client comfort. The leg rest has just enough lift to reduce back tension but not enough to equate lying down. This can be a good thing if your concern is that clients may have a harder time sitting back up. 

    It can be plumbed from the back, side, and bottom of the unit giving you a wide range of options. I like that there is very little assembly needed.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 51 inches
    • Length when reclined: 71.05 inches
    • Height: 38 inches
    • Width: 26.25 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back, side, or bottom

    Find more Comtemporary Reclining Backwash information and reviews here.

  8. 8.
    The Shelby Backwash Chair

    Pros:

    • Built-in vacuum breaker
    • On the affordable side
    • Classic look
    • Five color choices
    • Tilting ceramic bowl
    • Good for smaller spaces

    Cons:

    • Doesn’t recline
    • Not an exciting look
    • Requires assembly

    For those looking for a classic, no-frills backwash station, the Shelby by BR Beauty is exactly that. The padded armchair design is a step up from the cheaper, bare chair setups so you get the comfort of a higher quality chair but without going out on an interior design limb. The Shelby is traditional and unobtrusive. 

    The chair is fixed but slightly reclined and the ceramic basin tilts for client comfort. It’s a good size for smaller salons as it doesn’t take up much space. There’s a built-in vacuum breaker and the chair comes with a one-year warranty. 

    I love that it’s available in five different colors to match the decor of your space. It comes in Classic Black, Espresso, White, Grey, and Black With Crocodile Patterning.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 54 inches
    • Length when reclined: N/A
    • Height: Unspecified
    • Width: 25 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back or side

    Find more The Shelby Backwash Chair information and reviews here.

  9. 9.
    Giantex Backwash Station

    Pros:

    • Very affordable
    • Includes vacuum breaker and neck rest
    • Shorter for smaller salons
    • Chair has slight recline

    Cons:

    • Not going to hold up as well as others
    • May look or feel a little cheap
    • Too small for some
    • No footrest

    If your budget is tight, go with the Giantex. It’s about as inexpensive as you’re going to find for a chair that won’t leak or fall apart the second you use it. It can’t really compete against the others on the list, but it is the best shampoo station in its price range.

    It’s a bit shorter than others which is good for smaller salons and doesn’t have a reclining footrest. The seat itself does slightly recline when you lean back into it so the client can line up their head with the ceramic sink. The chair itself only weighs about 65 pounds so there’s a chance it could feel a little flimsy so you’d definitely want to bolt this one to the floor.

    For a cheaper chair, it has some nice extras like included neck rest and vacuum breaker. It will get the job done but if you can afford to spend a little more now, it will save you money in the long run to get a higher quality chair.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 54.7 inches
    • Length when reclined: N/A
    • Height: 32.5 inches
    • Width: 23.9 inches
    • Plumbing position: Bottom

    Find more Giantex Backwash Station information and reviews here.

  10. 10.
    Beckman Adjustable Backwash by DIR

    Pros:

    • Many color options
    • Bowl tilts and seat slides for client comfort
    • Works for back or side water connection.
    • Modern chrome arms
    • Includes silicone neckrest
    • Dense memory foam cushion

    Cons:

    • Base looks a little plasticy
    • Middle of the road as far as budget
    • Hair trap not included

    This unit is Dream In Reality’s best-selling backwash. It slides in right in the middle of the budget range and has an ultra-modern design without breaking the bank. You get some nice adjustability with the Beckman as the seat can slide back and forth and the sink bowl can tilt to accommodate different body shapes and sizes.

    I love the design on this one with the sleek chrome arms and curved base. The adjustable chair is dense memory phone covered in stain-resistant vinyl and is available in white, black, brown, and grey.

    The bowl is full ceramic and is available in either black or white. It comes with the silicone neck rest, sprayer, faucet, and strainer, but you will need to pick up the hair trap separately. 

    The unit comes with a one-year warranty and can be plumbed from either the side or back depending on what your space needs. 

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 52 inches
    • Length when reclined: N/A
    • Height: 38 inches
    • Width: 24 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back or bottom but hoses are flexible so can be moved to the side

    Find more Beckman Adjustable Backwash by DIR information and reviews here.

  11. 11.
    Aron Shampoo Unit by Berkeley

    Pros:

    • Tilting bowl
    • Includes vacuum breaker
    • Flexible plumbing
    • Unique design
    • Compact size

    Cons:

    • Not everyone digs the style of this one
    • No footrest
    • Confined sides not ideal for larger clients

    If you’re looking to stand out, this Aron backwash by Berkeley is unlike most other’s you’ll find. It’s got a chunky, angular look to it that is almost 80’s inspired in style. 

    The non-reclining chair is set at a fixed, slightly slope so folks can comfortably lean back. No footrest means this one is easier to fit in smaller spaces. The large, very round ceramic sink tilts for comfort and has a built-in vacuum breaker.

    Dimensions:

    • Length: 47 inches
    • Length when reclined: N/A
    • Height: 40 inches
    • Width: 26 inches
    • Plumbing position: Back or bottom

    Find more Aron Shampoo Unit by Berkeley information and reviews here.

Which shampoo station is right for your space?

Portable or stationary?

Whether you get a portable shampoo bowl or full backwash station generally depends on space and budget. Portable bowls are cheaper and take up less space. But, if you have the ability to get a stationary unit, is it worth it? 

Cue the loud, resounding, “Yes!” from the crowd. 

Stationary units are by and large more comfortable, stable, and make your client feel more secure. For the stylist, they’re easier to operate and eliminate the risk of bumping or knocking it over.

Space.

Other than budget, this is the biggest determining factor when deciding on a shampoo station. I find it helps to use painter’s or masking tape to block out the dimensions of shampoo stations to see exactly how much of a footprint they’ll take up. 

Plumbing.

These units need to be professionally installed into your plumbing so be sure to double-check that their positioning aligns with your plumbing. Most units these days tend to have flexible orientation so that they can be plumbed from below, the side, or behind, but not all. 

To recline or not to recline?

Reclining is definitely not a required feature, but it’s really nice. It’s especially good for older and disabled clients who may find the normal seated backwashes painful for their backs. Lifting the legs helps round out the spine and create a more comfortable position. 

Not to mention, it gives a more spa-like relaxing experience for everyone. (Though your very relaxed clients may fall asleep.)

The only reason to skip reclining is the space factor. When you’re measuring your dimensions and making your choice, be sure to mark out the length of the chair when reclined. That way you’re not in for a surprise when you get the station and suddenly the footrest takes up most of your walking space.

Budget.

This is a big factor in your decision making, but remember that you’re investing in your business and spoiled customers equal word-of-mouth recommendations. 

Ergonomics.

Take note of the height of these stations to make sure they work well with the height of your stylists. For other work safety tips, check OSHA’s hair salon page.

How do you want your client to feel?

The style of a chair is important too. Are you looking for an upscale modern vibe? An opulent spa experience? 

No matter what style you pick, they’re probably going to feel great. The shampooing is some client’s favorite part of going to the salon.

Your hair always comes out looking amazing after it’s been washed at the salon. I know scientists have said that the shampoo used at salons contains the same ingredients as commercial shampoos, so it must be some kind of stylist magic. 

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