Choosing the different types of equipment for my elderly mom, to help facilitate the different tasks she performs every day has, at times, been rather confusing, and choosing a raised toilet seat was no different.
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
Take a look at the illustration below – the green arrow represents the height that we are trying to determine.
This gives you the height you need, but you still need to measure the toilet bowl shape.
CONTENTS - Overview & Quick Links
- Raised toilet seats – models for temporary use
- Raised toilet seats which lock onto the toilet bowl – medium term solutions
- Raised toilet seats and toilet seat risers – long term solutions
How to measure a toilet seat ?
Do you have a standard, or elongated, shaped toilet bowl ?
In the US, toilet bowls come in two basic shapes –
- standard (round)
The standard toilet bowls are smaller by a few inches than the elongated bowls, and are also referred to as round.
If you want a raised toilet seat which attaches to your toilet, you will in some cases need to know whether your toilet is standard or elongated, so that you don’t buy the wrong model.
To determine if you have a standard or elongated toilet bowl, you measure from the front edge of the rim of your toilet bowl to the center point between the two seat bolt holes.
Generally, in the US, the round or standard toilet bowl is 16 1/2 “, and the elongated is 18 1/2 “.
What are raised toilet seats ?
The simplest way to raise the height of your toilet is to use some form of raised toilet seat.
Raised toilet seats come in a variety of types, and are designed to be, in general –
- for short term use – no fixings to attach to toilet, and the least secure
- for medium term use – side or front locking models
- for long term use – seats which bolt to the toilet, seats with legs, elevated seats with frames, bedside commodes which can be placed over a toilet and used as a raised toilet seat
For individuals who are frail, or more elderly, I would really only use one of the seats designed for long term use.
Are there different sizes of raised toilet seats ?
Raised toilet seats which attach to the toilet bowl come in a range of sizes, 1 – 6″ tall.
Raised, or elevated, toilet seats with safety frames or 3-in-1 commodes, depending on the model, can have seat heights from 18 up to 27 1/2 inches from the floor.
Standard toilets are 14 1/2 to 15 inches tall from the floor to the rim of the bowl, but you can get toilets with toilet bowl rims from 17 to 21 inches from the floor.
As I noted above, there are also two different shapes and sizes of toilet bowl, the standard and the elongated.
Not all models are universal, so be sure to check whether the seat you are buying is a universal fit, or if it is specifically for either standard shaped, or elongated shaped toilet bowls.
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”.
Raised toilet seats with handles
Many of the more secure designs of raised toilet seats have models with or without handles, or armrests.
The most secure seats –
- toilet seat risers – have designs with built-in armrests
- elevated toilet seats with safety frames, or raised toilet seats with safety frames – have armrests which are incorporated into a frame
- bedside commodes – have large armrests as part of their frame
I have given lots of examples below of the different types of raised toilet seats and risers which have handles, or armrests.
For individuals with mobility problems, or poor vision, armrests are a very crucial part of a raised toilet seat, as it give the person a secure point to locate, and then hold onto as they both sit down, and stand up.
Types of raised and elevated toilet seats
In this section, I am only giving a brief description of the main types of toilet seats and whether they are universally fitting, or fit to either standard or elongated toilets.
To find out more about the different types of raised toilet seats, their solidity, their methods of installation and suitability for elderly, or disabled users, you will want to read my post “Types Of Raised Toilet Seats: All You Should Know Before You Buy”.
Raised toilet seats – models for temporary use
Bubble seat raised toilet seat
Bubble seat raised toilet seat - underside
These are combination seat/risers and are placed on top of the toilet, and are pushed down so that their non-slip pads can grip the bowl – you will not be using your toilet seat with these.
They do not have any form of clamping, although some models have a lip at the back which slips under the rim of the bowl, such as the “Carex Quick-Lock”, and which gives them a bit more stability.
The following examples’ advertising says that they fit “most” toilet seats, so are universal –
- Carex Toilet Seat Riser 5 inch – anti-slip grip pads for the toilet bowl edge
- HealthSmart Portable Raised Toilet Seat Riser – has 4 non-slip pads which adhere to the inside of the toilet bowl
- Medline Elevated Heavy Duty Raised Toilet Seat – slots on and into the bowl
- Pivit Portable Raised Bathroom Toilet Seat 4 1/2 inch – non-slip pads
- Yunga Tart Raised Toilet Seat 4 3/4 inch – 4 non-slip pads
- Carex Quick-Lock 4 ” Seat Riser – this has a big lip at the back which secures under the rim of the toilet bowl
This is the only example I have found, to date, which does not fit most toilets. It is for standard toilets only –
- AquaSense Portable Raised Toilet Seat 4 inch – has a flange/ lip around the inside edge which secures it to the underside of the toilet rim
Raised toilet seats for medium term use
Side locking raised toilet seatside locking
Side locking toilet seat installed on a toilet
There is usually a bracket or small lip at the front as well.
The examples below are universal, fitting most of both elongated and standard toilet seats
Aquasense 4 inchRaised Toilet Seat with lid
Homecraft Ashby Easy Fit 2 inch Raised Toilet Seat
Homecraft Ashby Easy Fit 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat
Homecraft Ashby Easy Fit 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat
PCP 3 – 6 inch Adjustable Height Raised Toilet Seat with Security Clamps
The examples below fit only elongated toilet seats
Contoured Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seats with Lok-In-El Bracket for Elongated Toilets – 2 inch
Contoured Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seats with Lok-In-El Bracket for Elongated Toilets – 4 inch
Contoured Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seats with Lok-In-El Bracket for Elongated Toilets – 6 inch
The examples below fit only standard toilet seats
Contoured Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seats with Lok-In-El Bracket for Standard Toilets – 2 inch
Contoured Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seats with Lok-In-El Bracket for Standard Toilets – 4 inch
Contoured Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seats with Lok-In-El Bracket for Standard Toilets – 6 inch
Vaunn Medical Clamp-on 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat
Drive Medical 2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Drive Medical 2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock and Lid
Drive Medical 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Drive Medical 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock and Lid
Drive Medical 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Drive Medical 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock and Lid
Homecraft 2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Homecraft 2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lid and Lock
Homecraft 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Homecraft 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat and Lid with Lock
Homecraft 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Homecraft 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat and Lid with Lock
PCP 2 inch Raised Standard Toilet Seat with Lid and Safety Clamps
PCP Universal Fit 3 inch Elevated Toilet Seat
PCP 4 inch Raised Standards Toilet Seat with Lid
PCP 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat
Wxnnx Clamp-On 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lid
Front locking raised toilet seats
Front locking raised toilet seat without armrests or handles
Front locking raised toilet seat with armrests on a toilet
Certain raised seats have a front locking system, which is basically a clamp which you tighten by turning a knob, which is located on the front of the seat.
The back of the seat has a lip which slots in under the rim of the inside of the toilet bowl, to give extra stability – stopping it from popping out if you lean on the front of it.
These seats are often referred to as “elevated, or raised, front locking toilet seats”.
These are the more expensive types of raised toilets which attach to the toilet bowl, and come with armrests, some of which are removable, and some of which have adjustable heights.
The seats below are advertised as fitting “most” elongated and standard toilet types –
Bios 4.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
Carex E-Z Lock 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
Essential Medical Supply 5 inch Elevated Toilet Seat with Padded Removable Arms and E-Z lock
HealthLine 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Padded removable Armrests
Nova 5 inch Elevated Toilet Seat with Padded Armrests
OasisSpace 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Padded Handles
Pivit 5 inch Raised Toilet seat with Padded Handles
Tulimed Deluxe Portable Elevated Riser with Padded Handles, 5 inches
Vaunn Medical 4 inch Elevated Toilet Seat E-Z Lock system
Vive 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Padded Handles
Drive Medical Premium 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock and Padded Armrests
Example of one fitting standard toilet seat –
Medokare 4.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
Raised toilet seats for long term use
Toilet seat risers
Riser installed on a toilet under the seat and lid
You remove your toilet seat and place the riser on the rim of your toilet, with the holes in the riser aligned with your toilet seat bolt holes.
You then place your original toilet seat and lid back on top of the riser, lining up all the holes, and bolt the seat and the riser back onto the toilet.
The riser that you’re using should be measured to fit the toilet that you own.
Risers come in standard or elongated sizes.
Raised toilet seats with spacers
Spacer raised toilet seat without lid
These combination raised toilet seats and risers require the removal of your existing seat and lid completely.
There is no universal “one size fits all”, they come in the elongated and standard sizes, and you will have to pick the correct one for your toilet.
They consist of –
- a new toilet seat which comes with small plastic legs or spacers on the underside – these toilet seats come in 2 inch or 3 inch models
- they are bolted down using the original seat bolt holes
- it is because the spacers sit atop the rim of your toilet bowl quite precisely that they come as either standard, or elongated models
An example of these seats is –
- Centoco 3L440STS-001 raised toilet seat with lid
Elevated toilet seats with frames – can be used with all toilets
Toilet safety frame with elevated seat placed over a toilet
Safety frames with elevated seats require no bowl measuring at all, as the seat is attached to the frame which stands over the toilet.
These frames are particularly solid, and are a very good option for more elderly or fragile people.
Because the frame is height adjustable, you don’t have to worry about buying the right height seat. The frames adjust to a range of different heights, which are equal to those offered by other raised toilet seats.
Certain frames have raised seats which will go as high as 26 inches from the floor.
Some examples of frames are –
Maddak Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat with legs
PCP raised toilet seat and safety frame 2-in-1
MOBB elevated toilet seat and frame
Aidapt President raised toilet seat and frame
Lattice commode toilet seat and frame
Portable bedside commodes – can be used with all toilets
3 in 1 bedside commode placed over a toilet
Portable bedside commodes are also known as 3-in-1 commodes, and as All-in-one commodes.
And just like safety frames with raised seats, portable bedside commodes can be used over all toilets, and are height adjustable.
If you want to know more about using a bedside commode over a toilet, you can take a look at my article which covers all the aspects including the specific types of commodes which can be placed over a toilet, those which cannot, and how to set them up for toilet use and more – “Can A bedside Commode Be Used Over A Toilet”.
Some examples of portable bedside commodes which can be used over a toilet are –
Drive Medical heavy-duty bariatric commode
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode
UltraCommode bedside commode
This is the system we have been using for my mom since a hip replacement in the summer of 2018.
As my mom improved, we lowered the height of the seat by adjusting the height of the frame legs.
She is so happy with this arrangement, that she still uses it today.
My mom feels that with the armrests on the portable commode, just like on the safety frames, it is easy to reach back and grab them, and that this increases her stability and helps her keep balance.
There is absolutely no wobbling to the seat as it is part of the frame.
I also have an article outlining how to sit on a raised toilet seat after you have had hip surgery – “How To Sit On A Toilet After Hip Surgery: A Detailed Illustrated Guide” – in which I show with illustrations
- how you sit on a raised toilet seat with armrests
- how you sit on a raised toilet seat
- what is the correct posture for sitting after a hip replacement
- how to know if you need a raised toilet seat
- how long you should be using a raised toilet seat
- helpful items to have at your home for after hip replacement surgery
- how to choose a raised toilet seat for after hip surgery
You can read the article here.
Raised toilet seat features to look at
Features that you want to look at when considering raised toilet seats are –
- height – what height seat do you actually need
- how long will you need the seat – the degree of permanence will dictate how solid a seat you need
- armrests – typically advised for the elderly or frail users
- weight capacity – for safety you will need to check that the seat can support the user’s weight, and the larger the user the more solid of a model you will need
- seat width – models with legs, or on a frame, will take a little more room, as much as 32 inches between the armrests
- with or without lid
- if the seat attaches to the toilet, is it a universal fit, or is it just for an elongated or round toilet design
- materials – the freestanding models are way more solid, and are built on either aluminum or steel frames
To check weight capacities, you can check my list-post here –
To learn about bedside commodes to use as a raised toilet seat for a larger person, you can look at these articles –
How to choose a raised toilet seat
Picking the right a raised toilet seat for you, or a loved one, is important, as you want to make sure it’s going to be safe.
Here are a few pointers about the type of questions you want to be asking to help inform your choice.
About the equipment itself –
- are there any particular features required ?
- the size – how high a seat do you need ?
- weight capacity of the seat required – especially with a larger person
- will a walker also be used ?
- will you be needing armrests
- what time frame are you looking at ? i.e. is it long term, or short term ?
The bathroom space –
- is the space you have going to dictate the choice ?
- do you have room for extra wide models ?
- are there already a grab bar ?
- will the user need extra grab bars, and a walker ?
What kind of shape is the user in ?
- is the user strong or frail ?
- how old is the user ?
- does the user have good balance and mobility ?
- are there any obesity, or weight issues ?
- is the user very tall ?
- is the user happy to be using a raised toilet seat, or are they anxious ?
Specific medical issues ?
- will specific medical issues affecting your choice ?
- do you need to talk to the user medical practitioner ?
- are there problems with visual impairment ?
- is the user recovering from surgery ?
I have an article about this, “How To Choose A Raised Toilet Seat ?”.
It contains lots more information about the features that you want to consider on the different seats, as well as a free Raised Toilet Seat Checklist full of questions that you can download to get more ideas.
Best raised toilet seats for the elderly
For very elderly parents, or loved ones, who have problems with eyesight, balance, mobility, arthritis or pain, I would suggest the following are all necessary –
- have handles of some kind to reach back for
- a safety frame, or portable commode, which could take the impact if they sit back a little too hard
- have some kind of structure to hold onto if they lost their balance
- something they cannot easily slip off
- something which gives them confidence when using it, as this avoids confusion and accidents
My preferred option for an elderly parent is a safety frame with a raised seat, or a portable bedside commode, as they can’t come off the toilet, or wobble around, as they are independent of it.
Portable bedside commodes also have multiple use scenarios, which means that they are a good investment – we have used ours for washing, sitting, a commode by the bed, and of course as a raised toilet seat.
If you are wondering which are the best raised toilet seats that you can find for an elderly loved one, I have a detailed article – “Best Raised Toilet Seats For Elderly Seniors: A Detailed Guide With Prices”- in which I outline the different options, and what are, in my opinion and experience, the best choices of raised toilet seat for an elderly adult, depending on their age, state of health, weight and strength.
If your elderly loved one is fragile, or has issues with mobility or balance, you will want to know how to sit down, and to stand up, with a raised toilet seat, or bedside commode, with the aid of a walker, which can greatly facilitate the task.
I have a full description of how to transfer using a walker in this article here, as well as guidance about assisting an elderly person with cleaning themselves after using the toilet – “How To Use A Bedside Commode: An Illustrated Guide”.
Frequently asked questions
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.
What’s the tallest toilet height ?
The tallest toilet height is a wall mounted toilet from Kohler.
The Kohler Veil Wall-hung Toilet K-6303 has a maximum bowl height of 28 1/2 inches from the floor.
The tallest standing toilet is the Signature Hardware Bradenton Elongated Toilet, which has a bowl rim height of 21 inches without a seat from the floor.
How high are raised toilet seats ?
Raised toilet seats which attach to the toilet come in a range of heights from 1 to 6 inches.
Freestanding raised toilet seats, known as safety frames with raised toilet seats, or 3-in-1 commodes (these can also be used), typically have an adjustable seat height of 17 to 21 inches, with taller models available, up to 27 1/2 inches.
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.
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.
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 do I do if my toilet is too low ?
To raise a toilet seat, you can –
- raise the toilet itself with a “toilet base riser”, or “toilet plinth”, don’t confuse this with a toilet seat riser
- use a form of raised toilet seat which attaches to the bowl
- use a freestanding raised toilet seat
- buy a tall toilet
How much does a raised toilet seat cost ?
Raised toilet seats cost between $15.00 and $259.00.
This does not include heavy-duty 3-in-1 commodes, as specialist models for individuals weighing a 1000 lb cost a lot more.
To sum up, the size of the toilet seat is important if you buy a raised seat or riser, which is not universal.
Don’t think, though, that the size of the raised toilet seat, or riser, is the only important factor when choosing a raised toilet seat; you also need to look at –
- the health of the person who will be using the seat
- and the conditions in which it is being used
You want to make sure that your elderly parent, or loved one, is filled with confidence by the equipment, and by the situation in which they are using it.
I hope this helps.
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.