How To Raise The Height Of A Toilet Seat ? 10 Great Choices !
After my mom had a full hip replacement 18 months ago, like many other people recovering from surgery, or suffering from mobility issues, she had to find a way of raising her toilet seat to be able to sit comfortably, and without hurting herself. Luckily, there are many ways of doing this.
10 ways to raise the height of a toilet seat –
- use a temporary raised toilet seat
- use a front, or side, locking raised toilet seat
- use a “Clipper” raised seat
- use a slot on raised toilet seat with legs (some lock on as well)
- use a “Tall Seat” with spacers
- use a riser
- use an elevated toilet seat in a frame
- use a 3 in 1 commode over the toilet
- use a mechanical toilet lift
- add a plinth /pedestal under the toilet
CONTENTS - Overview & Quick Links
- Raised toilet seats with legs
- Toilet seat risers
- Tall seats and spacers
- Elevated toilet seat with safety frame
- Toilet lifts
- Portable bedside commode
Elevated or raised toilet seats for temporary use
The first type of temporary raised seats – bubble seats – come in 4 inch to 6 inch elevations.
These simply slot onto the toilet bowl without any bolts or clamping – hence why they are considered a quick and temporary fix.
The seats have an internal rim which goes down a certain way into the bowl to reduce any wobbling, combined with grip pads, which as you push down on them will squeeze and grip onto the rim of the toilet bowl.
Some examples of this type of seat are –
AquaSense Portable Raised Toilet Seat
Yunga Tart Raised Toilet Seat
Herdegen Contact Plus Raised toilet seat
Bubble seat raised toilet seat
Bubble seat raised toilet seat - underside
Clip-On raised toilet seats
Clip-On seats are another type of temporary seat, and these simply clip onto your existing toilet seat.
Some examples of this are –
Ability Superstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
Novelle Portable Clip-On Raised Toilet Seat
Clip-on raised toilet seat - topside
Neither of the two types of seat has any form of armrest, and should really only be used by an elderly, or disabled person, if there are grab bars by the toilet for them to hold onto.
My elderly mom does not like these at all as they can move quite a lot, and if you lean on the front edge to help yourself stand up, they can tip forwards !!
Side locking raised toilet seats
Side locking raised toilet seat with lid
Side locking seat slot onto the toilet bowl and are fixed in place with locks ,or clamps, onto the bowl rim and provide stability in that way.
The side locking seats range in height from 2 to 6 inches, depending on the brand and the model.
This is another type of seat which does not come with any form of armrest, and so without grab bars is not really suited to the very elderly or disabled, and certainly not without grab bars or a safety frame to help with balance.
Some examples of this type of seat are –
Carex 4 1/2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Safe Lock
Aquasense 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with lid
Vaunn Medical Clamp-on 4inch Raised Toilet Seat
Side locking toilet seat installed on a toilet
Clipper raised toilet seat
There is actually only one brand that makes these seats, but they are markedly different from the other types.
The clipper seat –
- installs very quickly once the toilet seat is in the upright position
- the raised toilet seat sits on top of the toilet bowl rim
- has an inside edge which drops several inches into the bowl
- has four plastic clips which grip the outside of the toilet bowl when pushed in, exerting equal pressure from four points around outside the toilet bowl
- on the models I, II, III they do not have armrests
- the models IV and V come with armrest
- VI and VII come with armrests and legs
Clipper raised toilet seat - underside
Clipper seat on a toilet
Elevated or raised toilet seats for medium term use
Front locking raised toilet seats
Front locking raised toilet seat
Front locking raise toilet seats slot onto the rim of the bowl and have a clamping or locking system which is actioned by a front knob on the seat.
The seats come, in general, in heights of 4 – 5 inches
The front locking seats can be bought with arm rests, and are somewhat more sturdy than the side locking seats, so may be more suited to slightly longer term use.
Some examples of this type –
Carex E-Z Lock 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
Medokare 4.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
Vive 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Padded Handles
Don’t forget that all of these are designed to fit different shapes of toilet, so you will need to see what type you have – generally it will be “elongated” or “standard”.
Front locking raised toilet seat clamping mechanism underside
Front locking raised toilet seat on a toilet
Is your toilet elongated or standard ?
If you want to know more about how to measure for a raised toilet seat, and how to find out if your toilet is a standard model, or an elongated on, you can find all you need to know in my article, How to measure for a raised toilet seat ?
What weight capacity does a raised toilet seat have ?
All the different systems for raising up your toilet seat are going to have different weight limits, and you are going to need to check those out.
For people looking for the raised toilet seats which take a certain weight capacity, I have a list of over 180 raised toilet seats, elevated frames with toilet seats, and bedside commodes which can be used as raised toilet seats with their weight capacities, manufacturer, and their model number.
I know how confusing it can be, so I double-checked all the names and numbers on the manufacturers websites to eliminate doubles etc. The list is in my article “Raised toilet seat weight capacity: over 180 examples”.
Elevated or raised toilet seats for long term use
Raised toilet seats with legs
Raised toilet seat with legs
This is a raised toilet seat which is wider than the toilet bowl, and has 4 legs.
The seat is resting on both the toilet bowl and on the legs.
The design stops any wobbliness, gives a wider distance between the armrests for a larger person, and makes the seat more sturdy in general.
The main points –
- the legs have to be adjusted to the height of the toilet bowl
- the seat itself adds about 4 1/2 inches in height to the toilet on most models
- depending on the brand the raised seats may attach differently to the bowl, but with four legs there is no real risk of it coming off
- these raised seats can take greater weight than those without legs and are more stable
Definitely more solid than the seats without legs, and armrests are a lot easier for an elderly person to use, and as I have seen with my own mom, when a seat has legs it gives the person more confidence when using it, as there is no problem with the seat moving around.
Some examples of raised toilet seats with legs –
Maddak Extra wide Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat w/ aluminum legs, Prod. No. T725881000
Maddak Extra wide Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat with steel legs, Prod. No. T725882000
Mobb 4.5 inchRaised Toilet Seat With Legs Prod. No. MHRTSL
Herdegen Clipper VII 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/lid and adjustable frame and armrests, Prod. No. 500431
Toilet seat risers
Risers are a ring of plastic of a specific height, and shape, which are bolted onto your toilet bowl underneath the seat.
Risers are available with, or without, arms, and are 3 – 4 inches high in general.
You will have to check if your toilet is elongated, or standard, as the models are one, or the other shape.
To install –
- the seat and lid are removed from your toilet
- the riser is then placed on the rim of the toilet bowl
- there will be bolt holes in the riser which are to be aligned with the holes in your toilet where your seat bolts on
- you then place your toilet seat and lid on top of the riser, and pass the extra long bolts which come with the riser, through the holes and fasten everything on the underside, where the seat was fastened before removal
Some risers are hinged, just in front of the bolt holes, so they can be lifted for cleaning in the same way as the seat and lid.
Some examples of these risers are
- Nova 3 1/2 inch toilet seat riser
- Maddak 4 inch hinged seat riser
Risers are very solid, and models with armrests are very well suited to long term use by elderly, or disabled adults.
If you get a model without armrests, you can always put a safety frame in place as well.
Riser with armrests
Riser installed on a toilet under the seat and lid
Tall Seats with spacers
Spacer raised toilet seat with lid
Tall seats are seats with small plastic legs or “spacers” – the seats come in 2 inch, or 3 inch high models.
To install –
- remove the existing toilet seat and lid
- attach the new seat with the bolts in your toilets bolt holes
The seats can be bought with, or without, lids, and with, or without, an open front to the seat.
The models are for either standard, or elongated toilets.
These seats do not come with any form of armrest, so they are not very easy to use if you need some kind of support when sitting down, and getting up.
Grab bars around the toilet, a safety frame, and, or, a walker, would be advisable additions if your loved one is at all fragile and lacking in strength/coordination.
Examples of these seats are –
- Bemis Independence open raised toilet seat
- Centoco 3L440STS-001 raised toilet seat with lid
Spacer raised toilet seat installed on a toilet
Elevated toilet seat with safety frame
Safety frames with elevated seat are placed over the toilet, so you can just lift the seat and the lid, and the place the frame over the toilet.
The seat itself is attached to the safety frame which takes all the weight of the body, and not the toilet itself. They are very stable from this respect.
All the frames with seats have adjustable leg height, meaning, that the height of the seat is adjusted respectively when you adjust the frame leg height.
If you have ever used, or played with crutches, the legs adjust in the same way, using push buttons which are spring-loaded, clicking in and out of small holes at different heights.
The frames also have large armrests, which make getting on and off the seat much easier, and you can sometimes adjust the height of those too.
The frames are very solid, but as with all the seats of any frame type, make sure that you have the frame with the right weight capacity for the user.
As I said earlier, you can check the weight capacities in my article, “Raised toilet seat weight capacity: over 180 examples”.
Some frames also have adjustable width, but check all of this before you make your purchase, and if you look at the article above, the names of the frames state if they are extra wide or not, along with their weight capacity.
To install –
- lift the toilet seat and lid into the vertical position on your toilet
- measure the height the seat needs to be for you or your loved one
- adjust the legs of the frame accordingly to that height
- if you wish to, you can remove the backrest on the frame
- if the frame has a width adjustment, set it to your preference
- place the frame over the toilet bowl
Toilet safety frame with elevated seat placed over a toilet
Toilet lifts can have pneumatic, hydraulic or electric mechanisms.
These are seats which are placed over the toilet bowl to lift the user up from the sitting position to standing, or to lower them down from standing to sitting.
Depending on the device, the amount of assistance given will vary accordingly.
The installation of each is very different, as they vary greatly in design.
The Easy Access Tilt Toilet Incline Lift is actually attached to the bowl of the toilet, and does not stand independently. It can be battery run or corded.
The Uplift Commode is a safety frame with a seat and a toilet lift. The frame is simply placed above the bowl of the toilet, like any other frame.
The seat and lift are incorporated into that frame.
It works with a pneumatic system, and is designed to take 80 % of the body weight, so that the user maintains a little of their own strength without straining themselves.
The Liftseat Powered Toilet Lift is an electric lift that can be used over most toilets, and can lower the person on the seat.
It has an independent frame which is placed over the existing toilet.
The Drive Solo Lift with Arms is another electrical system which fits round and over the toilet, but it is far more expensive and is equipped with armrests which tilt up and down.
Portable bedside commode
3 in 1 bedside commode placed over a toilet
Portable bedside commodes can be used just like safety frames.
You must of course remove the potty and the backrest, and leave the seat and lid in place.
The commodes have four adjustable legs, so the height can be easily set to fit over the toilet bowl, once the seat and lid of your toilet are raised up.
Again, make sure if you use one that the weight capacity is correct for you, or your loved one.
If your commode comes with a splash shield, you can place this under the toilet seat of the commode, and it will avoid any splashing, as it fits down into the toilet bowl – but to be honest we have never needed to use ours.
My mom has used a bedside commode over our toilet for the last year and a half and loves it !
If you want to know more about using a bedside commode as a raised toilet seat, you can find out all about it in my article “Can A Bedside Commode Be Used Over A Toilet?”.
Some examples of this type of commode are –
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode
Medline MD589664 3-in-1 steel bedside commode
Drive Medical heavy duty bariatric commode
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode
UltraCommode bedside commode
Toilet base riser, or plinth
Raising the actual toilet higher off the floor
You can buy and install a plinth, or riser, which fits under your existing toilet, raising the seat level up by the equivalent height of the riser you buy.
The advantage of these risers is that they look like the toilet, they don’t replace your seat, and the whole toilet structure remains just as sturdy, but is simply taller.
To install –
- the toilet has to be uninstalled
- the new riser is placed on the floor
- the toilet exit pipe is re-attached with new section the height of the riser
- the riser is bolted into the old bolt holes
- the toilet is then sat atop the new block, and it is bolted in place
Examples of these –
Medway Easy Toilet Riser
Thetford toilet riser
Easy Toilet Riser
If you raise a toilet higher using a plinth, don’t forget that for elderly loved ones you will probably still need some kind of grab bars on the walls or a safety frame around the toilet, so that there is something to hold onto to maintain their balance.
Raised toilet seats for the elderly
Having had experience with raised toilet seats, I would suggest a safety frame, or portable commode for those who are elderly and fragile, as it is too easy to lose one’s balance, strain, or injure yourself when sitting down or standing up.
Having four legs, the frames are much more stable.
My mom did try a raised seat on our toilet, but she didn’t have confidence in it, and immediately changed to using a portable bedside commode over the toilet instead.
Safety frames and portable bedside commodes have the added benefit of adjustable heights, just like crutches, so you can change the height a number of times.
Frames and portable commodes, by virtue of their 4 legs, can usually take far greater weight as well.
Using a plinth is also a very solid way of doing it, but a lot more costly, and you will still need to have something for your elderly loved one to hold onto when they are sitting down and getting up.
One last tip, using a walker to grab a hold of when sitting down, or getting up from the toilet is a good idea if a person’s balance isn’t good.
How to choose a raised toilet seat for an elderly person ?
To choose the appropriate raised toilet seat for an elderly person, you need to be asking yourself, and the person in involved a number of questions –
- how much room is there for maneuvering ?
- is the person using a walker to back up and sit down on the seat ?
- what is the reason for using a raised toilet seat ?
- is the user very elderly ?
- what is the person’s mental condition – are they confident or nervous about using a raised toilet seat ?
- how confident is the user about moving backwards ?
- does the person need to have extra safety equipment to make them feel confident about using a raised toilet seat ?
- is the seat for long term or short term use ?
- if it is for the long term, do you want to have to buy another raised seat later as the person gets weaker, or do you want to get a more solid seat with safety rails from the start ?
- what physical shape is the person in ?
- are there mobility issues ?
- what is the person’s balance like ?
- how good is their eyesight ?
- how strong, or frail, is the person ?
- how strong is the person’s grip ?
- how good is their coordination ?
- are they okay cleaning themselves afterwards ?
- will the user have the strength to sit back without giving the seat a jolt ?
- will the person be needing armrests to push themselves back up with ?
- is the user overweight – will you need a bariatric seat ?
- does the user need an extra wide seat ?
Medical reasons for needing a raised toilet seat
- if there are medical issues, what are the specific problems ?
- do you need to check with the person’s doctor or nurse ?
- if they have eye conditions, do they need extra grab bars or bigger armrests ?
- is the seat just for after an operation ?
- is it for a long term medical condition, and what does that condition require ?
Asking questions such as these should help you to decide what type of seat is appropriate for your personal scenario.
Other things to consider when choosing a raised toilet seat
As you choose the type of seat that you want, you will also want to consider –
- if you are buying a frame or a commode – what is the height of your toilet and how high do you want the seat to be, for tall individuals there are commodes which when placed over a toilet are a lot higher than a raised toilet seat can be
- weight capacities – what weight capacity do you need ?
- do you want a seat with or without armrests ?
- if it is a seat, is it elongated ? Standard ? Or is it universal, and what is your toilet ?
- what materials do you require ? – if you are buying a frame, should it be steel or aluminum ?
- is the seat for a larger person ? – weight is not the only issue, but also width for larger thighs, and some raised toilet seats with legs are wider, as are some extra wide bedside commodes – if you want to know more about bedside commodes for larger individuals which can be used over a toilet, then you can take a look at my article “Do Bedside Commodes Come In Different Sizes ?” or my article “How Wide Is A Bariatric Commode ?”
- do you need padding ? Some raised toilet seats are padded, as are some bedside commode seats
- do you want a multipurpose raised toilet seat – you can buy raised toilet seats, combined with bedside commode and shower chair
These are all points you will be needing to consider.
How to sit on a raised toilet seat ?
Transferring to a raised toilet seat for a disabled, or elderly person can be very demanding and difficult.
So, if you are interested in the correct way of sitting on a raised toilet using a walker for assistance, you can find my article with that information here.
I hope this helps.
Good luck !
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I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.
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