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.
11 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
- buy a tall toilet
CONTENTS - Overview & Quick Links
- Bubble seats
- Clip-On raised toilet seats
- Side locking raised toilet seats
- Clipper raised toilet seats
- Raised toilet seats with legs
- Toilet seat risers
- Tall seats and spacers
- Elevated toilet seat with safety frame
- Mechanical toilet lifts
- Portable bedside commode
How high should a raised toilet seat be ?
In the US, the height of toilet seats is typically between 15 and 19 inches from the floor.
Before you raise the height of your toilet seat, you are going to need to know how much extra height you are going to need, so that you can stand up, and sit down, with less difficulty and more stability.
To measure for a raised toilet seat –
- measure from the floor to the back of the user’s knee
- measure the height of your toilet bowl rim from the floor
- subtract the second from the first, and that is the amount you need to raise the toilet seat
The illustration below show how to do this – the green arrow represents the height that we are trying to determine.
This is going to give you the height you require.
Is your toilet elongated or standard ?
Next, you will need to make sure that you have a raised toilet seat which fits the form of your toilet, that is of course, unless, you are using a seat with a freestanding frame which is simply placed over the toilet, and does not need to lock on to the toilet bowl.
Because there are two types of toilet bowl shape, raised toilet seat models, which attach to the toilet bowl, can be –
- universal (fits all toilets)
- for elongated toilets only
- for standard/round toilets only
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”.
Different types of raised toilet seats
Raised toilet seats for temporary use
For short-term solutions, you only have very basic raised toilet seats.
The first type of temporary raised seats – bubble seats – come in 4 inch to 6 inch elevations.
To install –
- slot the seat onto the toilet bowl
- push the seat down firmly, so it grips the rim of the toilet bowl
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.
To install –
- push the two ends of the seat together
- lower the squeezed seat into the opening of the existing seat
- let go, and the seat attaches itself to the 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 previous 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
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.
To install –
- lift the toilet seat, and lid, into the upright position, or remove them before you install the new raised toilet seat
- slots the seat onto the toilet bowl rim
- the side fixings or clamps, are screwed inwards to tighten and fix to the toilet bowl
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
Some models have armrests, and some have both armrests and legs, making them even more solid.
To install –
- the toilet seat and lid are put in the upright position or removed
- the seat placed on top of the toilet bowl rim with the inside edge which dropping several inches into the bowl
- Clipper seats have four plastic clips which grip the outside of the toilet bowl
- push in the plastic clips, so that they exert equal pressure from four points around outside the toilet bowl
Clipper raised toilet seat - underside
Clipper seat on a toilet
Raised toilet seats for medium term use
Front locking raised toilet seats
Front locking raised toilet seat without handles
Front locking raised toilet 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.
These seats are typically universal, but some may be for elongate or standard shaped toilets only, so do check before you buy.
To install –
- front locking raise toilet seats slot onto the rim of the bowl
- in the rear of the seat, there is typically a plastic protrusion, or flange, which slots in under the inside lip of the rim – this stops the seat from tipping forwards if the user leans down on the front edge alone
- the front lock is then tightened to secure the seat to the rim of the toilet bowl
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
Front locking raised toilet seat clamping mechanism underside
Front locking raised toilet seat on a toilet
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.
How to install –
- 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
Mechanical or electric toilet lifts
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.
To install –
- remove the pale from the bedside commode
- put the toilet seat and lid in the upright position
- adjust the height of the four legs of the bedside commode, so the height is enough to hold the seat above the rim of the toilet bowl
- place the toilet over the toilet
- if your commode comes with a splash shield, place it under the toilet seat of the commode – it fits down into the toilet bowl
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
How to raise a toilet seat permanently ?
To make a permanent change to your toilet, other than buying and installing a taller mode, you need to install what is called a “toilet riser” (not to be confused with “toilet seat riser”) or “toilet plinth”.
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 a 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.
Buy a new taller toilet
While the standard toilet seat is around 15 inches from the floor, a “tall” or “comfort height” toilet typically has the toilet bowl rim at 17 to 19 inches.
But, there is one company, Convenient Height Co., which makes a toilet bowl with a rim 20 inches from the floor, a full 5 inches taller than a standard height toilet.
If you add the seat, you have a height of around 21 1/2 inches on a Convenient Height toilet.
“Comfort height” toilets are made by Kohler, American Standard, Highline, Horow and Toto.
While you are looking for raised toilet seats, there is lots more that you can do to make your bathroom a safer place for seniors, or anyone else with mobility issues.
To find out all the different things you can do, to have an instant impact on bathroom safety, take a look here, “54 Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors – A Helpful Guide”.
Who can benefit from a raised toilet seat ?
The standard height of a toilet seat in the US is around 15 inches, from the floor to the rim of the toilet bowl seat, which for individuals with mobility problems is typically too low to make sitting down and standing up easy, safe or comfortable.
Elderly adults typically benefit the most from the use of a raised toilet seat, due to weakening muscles as they age.
If you are suffering with one of the following health conditions, can also benefit from a raised toilet seat –
- spinal conditions
- hip replacement surgery
- knee replacement surgery
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.
I have a full article, “Best Raised Toilet Seats For Elderly Seniors: A Detailed Guide With Prices”, with different types of raised toilet seats that I prefer for an elderly adult, seats which I feel are safe for my 92 yr old mom. I have chosen specific seats for different scenarios, such as for larger individuals, as a lot of models will not be strong enough for someone over 350 lb.
How to choose a raised toilet seat
To decide which raised toilet seat best suits you, or a loved one, you want to consider –
The equipment itself –
- do you need any particular raised toilet seat features ?
- the size – the height of seat you need ?
- what weight capacity do you need ?
- will you be using a walker ?
- how long do you need a seat for ?
The space –
- what space do you have ?
The intended user –
- is the user in good health ?
- is the user very elderly or frail
- medical conditions
The bathroom space
- is the space going to dictate your choice ?
- do you already have a grab bar by the toilet ?
- do you want extra grab bars, and a walker ?
- is there enough room to use a walker ?
Is the user in shape, or not ?
- is the user strong ?
- how old is the user ?
- do you have to consider balance or mobility issues ?
- are there any weight issues ?
- is the user very tall ?
- is the user anxious about using a raised toilet seat ?
Specific medical issues ?
- will specific medical issues be affecting your choice ?
- do you need to talk to the user’s medical practitioner ?
- is the user visually impaired in any way ?
- is the seat for a post-surgical recovery ?
- are there any issues related to medications ?
These are just a few of the questions which will hopefully find others which are more related to your particular situation.
To find out more, you can go to my post, “How To Choose A Raised Toilet Seat ?”.
There is more information on the features on the different types of seats, and a Raised Toilet Seat Checklist full of questions that you can download.
How to sit on a toilet after hip surgery ?
Transferring to a raised toilet seat for a disabled, or elderly person can be very demanding and difficult, but if you have just had a hip replacement as well, you will need to take extra care, and also know how to use a walker to assist you.
If you are interested in the correct way of sitting on a raised toilet seat using a walker for assistance after surgery, you can find my article with that information in my article “How To Sit On A Toilet After Hip Surgery: A Detailed Illustrated Guide”.
You will see how to sit on seats with and without armrests, how to find the correct height of seat, Medicare coverage and more.
Frequently asked questions
Do raised toilet seats fit any toilet ?
A freestanding elevated toilet seat should be able to be place over most toilets, as they typically have a maximum seat height of at least 21 inches from the floor.
Raised toilet seats which attach to the toilet, depending on the particular model, can be for –
- elongated toilets only
- round toilets only
- universal, fitting both types of toilet type
Are raised toilet seats safe ?
There are a number of different types of raised toilet seat.
Some models which either clip on to the toilet seat or are pushed down over the toilet rim are really only intended as a temporary, and or travelling solution – the seats have no fixings or clamps to secure them to the toilet.
Risers with armrests are far more secure, and bolt to your toilet under your existing toilet seat, and are very solid.
The most sturdy and secure are the models which have armrests and four legs.
In my opinion, for an elderly adult, the best and safest options, are 3-in-1 bedside commodes which can be place over the toilet, or a safety frame with raised toilet seat.
My 93-year-old mom uses a 3-in1 commode, and has done so for a number of years, and finds it to be really solid.
Can a raised toilet seat be too high ?
If a toilet seat is too high and the user’s feet are hanging in the air, and not flat to the floor, the blood circulation in the legs can be affected, causing the user’s feet to go to sleep, and lead to falls when standing.
Secondly, for those with issues with constipation, a lower seat is more conducive to passing a bowel movement.
Does Medicare cover raised toilet seats ?
Medicare does not give coverage to raised toilet seats, as they are considered not to be primarily medical in nature.
Certain models of bedside commode are covered by Medicare Part B, for use in the home, with stipulations, and can be used as a raise toilet seat.
Why do people use a raised toilet seat ?
The main reason for using a raised toilet is to reduce the distance a user has to bend down to sit on
the toilet, to reduce any pain and to increase the user’s stability and safety.
Hopefully, using a raised toilet seat will also help build a user’s confidence and increase their independence if it allows them to use the toilet without assistance safely.
Who benefits from a raised toilet seat ?
Anyone who has difficulty sitting down, or standing up from the toilet, can benefit from a raised toilet seat.
This will include those with arthritis, Parkinson’s, balance issues, reduced mobility, a lack of muscles, visual impairments, and anyone in rehab from a knee or hip surgery.
What is the highest raised toilet seat ?
The highest raised toilet seat is the OasisSpace Stand Alone Safety Frame and Raised Toilet Seat, which has a maximum seat height of 27.5 inches.
The tallest raised toilet seat which attaches to the toilet seat is a 6 inch high seat, of which there are many models, but even on the tallest standing toilet they are not as high as the OasisSpace Stand Alone Safety Frame and Raised Toilet Seat.
I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com
I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.