It has been almost two years since my mom had hip replacement surgery, and I received my initiation into the world of big white blobby things called raised toilet seats. I had never seen one before I ordered a kit of gadgets that our hospital had recommended. Mom actually wasn’t very impressed with the one in the kit – a rather basic model that had nothing to attach it to the toilet, other than a good hard push, and it was quickly replaced by something a rather more solid.
Many raised toilet seats look like white donuts which sit atop the toilet bowl or the seat, with or without metal armrests. Other types are suspended in frames and just look like a slightly high toilet seat.
Raised toilet seats come in a range of shapes and sizes, and although quite a few do look remarkably similar, they do have different locking systems, or no locking system at all.
So let’s see what the different types look like, how they each attach to our existing toilet, and which are the best suited to be used by our elderly loved ones.
CONTENT - Overview & Quick Links
- Clip-On raised toilet seats
- Raised toilet seats with spacers
- Big John raised toilet seats
- Bubble seats
- Clipper seats
- Raised or elevated seats with brackets and side fixings
- Front locking raised toilet seats
- Raised toilet seats with legs
- Toilet safety frames with elevated seats
- Bedside commodes as raised toilet seats
What are the different types of raised toilet seats ? And what do they look like ?
I am going to divide raised toilet seats into a number of categories to start –
- risers which are not seats at all, and which are placed under your toilet seat
- raised seats which attach somehow to the toilet
- and seats which are integrated into a frame which is placed over the toilet, but do not touch it at all
If you want to learn more about raised toilet seats I have an article “Types of raised toilet seats: what you should know before you buy” in which I outline all the different types of seats in detail, and which are best suited for the elderly in different cases.
Hinged riser without armrests
Hinged riser without armrests indicating the alignment of the riser between the toilet and your existing toilet seat and lid
Riser with Arm rests without a hinge
Riser with armrests installed on a toilet
Risers look like big oval or round rings of plastic, which are flat on each side, and come in heights of 2 to 4 inches, and raise your toilet seat by that amount.
The shape of the ring of the riser – oval or round – depends on whether it is for a standard or an elongated toilet bowl.
Risers are not actually a raised seat, they sit on the toilet bowl rim under the existing toilet seat you have on your toilet.
Risers can be bought with a hinge so that when you lift the seat, you may also lift the riser and are able to clean underneath.
To install it –
- you remove your existing seat
- place the riser with its bolt holes over your toilet bolt holes
- on top of the riser you place your toilet seat, taking care to line up its bolt holes with those of the riser and the toilet
- now pass the bolts which came with the riser down through the seat, the riser and the toilet
- fix the nuts to the bolts – don’t over tighten as you break the toilet
You can buy risers with or without handles/armrests, which make them a very solid and good choice for a secure raised toilet seat system.
Some examples of these risers are –
Carex 3.5″ toilet seat elevator, (riser – elongated), Prod. No. – FGB30600 0000
Carex 3.5″ toilet seat elevator, (riser – standard), Prod. No. – FGB30700 0000
Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser (standard), Prod. No. 8342 – R
Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser (elongated), Prod. No. 8341 – R
Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser with arms (standard), Prod. No. 8344 – R
Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser with arms (elongated), Prod. No. 8343 – R
Nova 3.5″ hinged toilet seat riser (standard), Prod. No. 8345 – R
Nova 3.5″ hinged toilet seat riser (elongated), Prod. No. 8346 – R
Clip-On raised toilet seats
Clip on raised toilet seat - top side
Clip On raised toilet seat - view form underneath
Clip-on seats look like the top half of a white bagel, in a “c” shape, and come in heights of 2-4 inches.
This type of seat clips on top your existing toilet seat is usually thought of as a temporary solution – often they are referred to as portable seats.
These seats don’t have any clamps or locking devices and don’t come with armrests.
Two examples are –
Ability Superstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat, Prod. No. Unavailable
Performance Health Novelle 3 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat, Prod. No F25145
Raised toilet seats with “spacers”
Spacer raised toilet seat without a lid - showing bolts
Spacer raised toilet seat with lid - showing bolts
Seats with spacers, or “tall seats”, look like an ordinary toilet seat which is slightly lifted in the air above the bowl rim by a series of small legs – the seats have spacers, or legs, on the underside and come in two heights – 2 or 3 inches.
These seats can come with lids.
The spacer seats with do not come with armrests.
This type of seat replaces the existing regular toilet seat, and use the standard bolt holes on your toilet.
To install them –
- remove the bolts and your existing seat from your toilet
- place the seat with spacers on your toilet rim, lining up the holes with the bolt holes on your toilet
- fix your new raised seat to the toilet with bolts supplied with it
- remember not to over-tighten the bolts as you can crack the toilet
Spacer seat installed on the toilet
The spacer seats with do not come with armrests.
Examples of these “spacer” seats are –
Centoco 2 inch raised toilet seat with lid, Prod. No. HL440STS-001
Centoco 3 inch raised toilet seat with lid, Prod. No. 3L440STS-001
Big John raised toilet seats
I have not added illustrations, as Big John seats are just a slightly thicker toilet seat than a standard seat.
Big John raised toilet seats are big toilet seats which replace your existing seat, coming in raised heights of 1 and 2.5 inches.
The seats just look wider and thicker than a normal toilet seat.
Big John is a brand which has developed a range of toilet seats for larger people.
These are seats which you install by removing your toilet seat, and then bolting the Big John seat back in its place.
The seats are literally up to 2.5 inches thick, and work like an ordinary toilet seat
The seats are also wider than a normal seat, as well as being raised, but fit to any toilet shape.
The Big John range of toilet seats –
Big John 2.5″ original toilet seat w/lid, (universal), Prod. No. 1-W
Big John 2.5″ original toilet seat w/lid, (universal), Prod. No. 2-CR
Big John 2.5″ original toilet seat w/lid, open front, (universal), Prod. No. 3-W
Big John 2.5″ original toilet seat w/out lid, open front (universal), Prod. No. 4-W
Big John 1.5″ standard toilet seat w/ lid, (universal), Prod. No. 6-W
Big John 2.5″ classic toilet seat w/out lid, open front (universal), Prod. No. 7-W
Bubble seat - view from above
Bubble seat - view from underneath
Bubble seat installed on a toilet
Bubble seats look like big blobby white donuts and come in heights of 3 – 6 inches.
The seats are attached to the toilet bowl by simply pushing down hard, so they slip over the rim of the toilet bowl and grip it.
Your existing toilet seat is either removed, or put in its upright position.
The seats have no clamping or locking devices attaching them to the toilet, just a few of what manufacturers call grip pads, and some models may have a lip or flange at the back which slots under the rim of the bowl to give a bit of extra stability.
There are no bubble seats with armrests at all.
Examples of the “bubble” seats are –
AquaSense Portable 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat, Prod. No. 770 610
Carex 5″ E-Z Lock raised toilet seat, w/out arms, Prod. No – FGB312C0 0000
HealthSmart Portable 4 3/4 inch Raised Toilet Seat, Prod. No. 522-1508-1900HS
Herdegen Contact Plus 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat, Prod. No. Unavailable
The NRS Comfort Raised Toilet Seat, Prod. No. F21565
Yunga Tart 4.75″ raised toilet seat w/out arms (Universal) – No Prod No. listed
Clipper raised toilet seat without armrests - top view
Clipper raised toilet seat with armrests - top view
Clipper raised toilet seat clip mechanisms - view from underneath
Clipper raised toilet seat installed on a toilet
There is actually only one brand that makes these seats, but they are markedly different from all the other types of raised toilet seats, which fix to the toilet bowl.
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
The examples of these seats are –
Herdegen Clipper I 4.3 inch raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 500400
Herdegen Clipper II 4.3 inch raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 500410
Herdegen Clipper III 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No. 500411
Herdegen Clipper IV 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ swing-up armrests, Prod. No. 500420
Herdegen Clipper V 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ swing-up armrests and a lid, Prod. No. 500421
Herdegen Clipper VI 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ adjustable frame and armrests, Prod. No. 500430
Herdegen Clipper VII 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/lid and adjustable frame and armrests, Prod. No. 500431
Raised or elevated seats with brackets and side fixings
Side locking raised toilet seat with lid
Side locking raised toilet seat without lid
Side locking raised toilet seat with a lid installed on a toilet
Seats of this type again look like big donuts and come in heights of 2, 3, 4, 41/2, 5 and 6 inches.
Once you have placed the seat on the rim of the toilet bowl, you tighten plastic bolt type clamps which squeeze the toilet bowl from two points on the sides, and also a plastic bracket at the front of the seat.
To install these seats, you put your existing toilet seat and lid in the upright position and then place the raised seat on the rim of the toilet bowl and tighten the fixings.
These raised toilet seats do not have armrests or legs.
Some examples of raised seats using this system are –
AquaSense 2″ raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No – 770 -625
AquaSense 4″ raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No – 770 -626
Gordon Eliss Serenity 6″raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No. 64626/AL
Gordon Ellis Serenity 4″ raised toilet seat w/out lid, Prod. No. 64604
Gordon Ellis Serenity 2″ raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No. 64622/AL
Homecraft Savanah 2″ raised toilet seat w/out lid, (standard), Prod. No. 081305507
Homecraft Savanah 4″ raised toilet seat w/out lid, (standard), Prod. No. 081305523
Homecraft Savanah 6″ raised toilet seat w/ lid, (standard), Prod. No. 081305556
Homecraft Taunton 2″ raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 091079359
Homecraft Taunton 4″ raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 091079367
Homecraft Taunton 6″ raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 091079383
Front locking raised toilet seats
Front locking raised toilet seat without handles
Front locking raised toilet seat
Front locking raised toilet seat - view from underneath showing the front locking clamp
Front locking raised toilet seat installed on a toilet
Front locking raised toilet seats are large white seats which look like slightly angular donuts, with a knob on the front and usually with armrests.
The seats come in heights of 4, 4.5 and 5 inches and are made by a whole range of manufacturers who have their own patented front locking systems.
They also usually have a flange, or lip, on the back edge of the inside rim of the toilet seat which hooks in under the toilet rim for extra stability.
Most of these raised toilet seats do come with either armrests or handles, a lot of which are either removable or adjustable.
Some examples of front locking raised toilet seats –
Carex 4.5″ Classics raised toilet seat w/ armrests Prod. No – FGB31977 0000
Carex 5″ E-Z Lock raised toilet seat w/ arms, Prod. No – FGB311C0 0000
Drive Medical 3.5″ Premium raised toilet seat w/ removable arms, (riser) Prod. No – 12402
Graham Field 4.5″ Lumex raised toilet seat w/ arms, (riser) Prod. No – 6487RA
Homcom 5″ raised toilet seat w/ removable arms, Prod. No. UK811-030-NEW0331
Maddak 5″ Lock-On elevated toilet seat w/ arms, Prod. No. T725753111
Medokare 4.5″ raised toilet seat w/ handles, Prod. No – 001
Nova 5″ raised toilet seat w/ detachable arms, Prod. No. 8351 – R
Vive 5″ raised toilet seat w/ padded handles (front locking), Prod. No – LVA1011
If you want to know about the different weight capacities of all the different raised toilet seats, you can find them in the lists in my article “Raised toilet seat weight capacity: over 180 examples”.
You will also find the correct name for each model, the brand and the product number.
All of which you can just paste into the search bar of your browser, and it will find the right seat for you.
Raised toilet seats with legs
Raised toilet seat with legs
The seats are 4.3 or 4.5 inches high and look like slightly angular donuts (some models with a front locking clamp) – looking very similar to the front locking seats, but with legs.
The design with legs takes extra weight, stops the seat from having any movement, and gives a wider distance between the armrests for a larger person.
To install –
- the seat the legs have to be adjusted to the right height
- the seat is then placed on the rim of the toilet bowl
- the inside rim slots down into the opening of the toilet bowl
- and if the model has a front locking clamp, it is adjusted until it is tight
Maddak Extra wide Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat w/ aluminum legs, Prod. No. T725881000
Maddak Extra wide Tall-Ette 4.5 inch elevated toilet seat with steel legs, Prod. No. T725882000
Mobb 4.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat With Legs Prod. No. MHRTSL
Toilet safety frames with elevated seats
Toilet safety with an elevated toilet seat
Safety frames with elevated seats look like metal frames with a big white donut suspended in the middle – albeit the donut is a bit more square than round.
These are positioned over the toilet and can have seats as high as 26 inches from the floor.
To install one –
- lift the seat of your existing toilet
- adjust the height of the legs of the safety frame so that the seat clears the rim of your toilet bowl
- position the frame over your toilet
Toilet safety with an elevated toilet seat in position over a toilet
Examples of toilet safety frames with elevated seats –
Aidapt Cosby bariatric toilet seat and frame, Prod. No. VR224
Aidapt Solo Skandia raised toilet seat and frame w/ clip on seat, Prod. No. VR157FC
Homecraft uni-frame folding toilet frame w/ seat, Prod. No. 49338
NRS Healthcare Mowbray lite toilet frame and seat, Prod. No. NRS M66625
PCP raised toilet seat and safety frame 2-in-1, Prod. No. PCP 70077
Bedside commodes as raised toilet seats
3 in 1 bedside commode
Bedside commodes, some of which can also be used as a raised toilet seat, look like a metal chair frame with a plastic toilet seat with a bucket, or pale, suspended under it.
Static bedside commodes which can be used as a raised toilet seat are going to be one of the following types –
- stacking bedside commode with adjustable height legs
- 3-in-1 or All-in-One
- drop arm commodes – but these also are on some 3-in-1 commodes as well
The mobile types of bedside commode you can use as a raised toilet seat are –
- transport commode chairs
- shower transport chairs
With the mobile models you need to be very particular in checking the height of the seat on the model you are purchasing, and to make sure that if it doesn’t have adjustable legs, that the legs are high enough to go over your toilet rim.
Also make sure that it has no horizontal bars between the back legs which will stop you pushing the commode backwards over the toilet.
To position a bedside commode over a toilet, you –
- simply remove the bucket, or pale
- adjust the legs to the height that you want
- either remove your toilet seat and lid, or put them in the upright position
- place the commode over the toilet bowl
- lift the toilet seat and place the splash guard into its holder beneath the seat
3 in 1 bedside commode placed over a toilet
Examples of bedside commodes which can be used over the toilet, and their respective maximum heights –
Aidapt Essex height adjustable commode, Prod. No. VR161 -max seat height 22.22 inches
Drive Medical deluxe steel drop arm commode, Prod. No. 11125KD-1 – max seat height 24 inches
Guardian drop arm bedside commode, Prod. No. 98202 – max seat height 23.5 inches
Healthline bariatric drop arm bedside commode, Prod. No. HL7206-2 – max seat height 23 inches
Homecraft heavy-duty drop arm commode, Prod. No. 081611110 – max seat height 20.75 inches
Lifestyle Mobility Aids folding 3-in-1 commode with elongated opening, Prod. No. B3500F – max seat height 22.5 inches
Lumex drop arm 3-in-1 commode, Prod. No. 6433A – max seat height 22.75 inches
MedPro Homecare commode chair, Prod. No. 770-315 – max seat height 21.5 inches
Performance Health Briggs heavy-duty commode, Prod. No. 081437862 – max seat height 23 inches
Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair, Prod. No. M470 – max seat height 24 inches
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”.
Where can you buy raised toilet seats ?
You can find raised toilet seats at most large retailers and medical supply companies.
I tend to stick to seats made by the better known brands, as some brands on amazon that I have never seen before are not there for long.
The big brand names are –
- Ability Superstore
- AMG Medical
- Big John
- Gordon Ellis
- Maddak (or Ableware Maddak)
- NRS Health
- Performance Health
- Vaun Medical
Here’s a list of retailers for online –
If you want to learn more about choosing and buying a raised toilet seat buying raised toilet seats, and that includes where to buy refurbished items, you can read all about that in my post “Where To Buy A Raised Toilet Seat ?”.
How much does a raised toilet seat cost ?
A raised toilet seat costs between from $15.00 to $259.00 in the US, and between £14.00 to £479.00 in the UK.
This is not including heavy duty bedside commodes, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
If you want to see a huge list of the different types of raised toilet seats and their prices, you can find that here in my post – “How Much Does A Raised Toilet Seat Cost ?”.
What raised toilet seat is best for an elderly parent ?
As I explained in the beginning of this article, I first discovered raised toilet seats when my mom had a full hip replacement, and we were sent a rather dodgy raised toilet seat which I would not have wanted any elderly person trying to use.
Many of the models of raised toilet seat say in their manuals for installation that a person is not to lean on the front of the seat as they stand up, or it may tip forwards !!
Well, I don’t really see how an elderly person with poor balance and mobility can really be expected to use something of this kind with any degree of safety if it will tip.
If you want to read something more in depth on the best raised toilet seats for the elderly, with specific seats for a range of different circumstances and situations, I have written the following article – “Best Raised Toilet Seats For Elderly Seniors: A Detailed Guide With Prices”.
So, as you decide what kind of seat you wish to purchase for your elderly loved ones, I wanted to outline some questions you may want to ask yourselves to help with the decision-making process.
- the environment the seat is being placed in – how much space ? Clutter ? Access ?
- the state of health of your elderly loved one ?
- the medical reasons for needing the raised toilet seat ?
In my opinion, the best raised toilet seat for an elderly person is, in order of preference –
- a 3-in-1 bedside commode
- a riser with large armrests
- a raised toilet seat with legs – like the Maddak Tallette
To help you with all those questions and more, I have a free PDF checklist that you can download below, and go through it to make sure that you are asking the right questions for your loved one.
There are lots of things to consider, where the toilet is – Is it a large space ? Is it too cluttered ? Is it well lit ?
There are questions about the user’s state of health, and the rate at which they are becoming more frail, or maybe it is just for after a hip replacement or some other type of surgery ?
You need to really look at why you are getting the raised toilet seat, and then take it from there.
If the person for whom the seat is destined has mobility issues of any great consequence, is frail, or has any visual problems, I would always get a seat with armrests which would be one of the types I suggested above, and use a walker to transfer to the seat.
Lastly, I would learn how to sit on a raised toilet seat using a walker to help transfer weight correctly, especially if it is after a hip, or knee, replacement surgery.
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
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 to measure for a raised toilet seat ?
To find the correct height of raised toilet seat that you need –
- measure the height of the toilet bowl rim from the floor
- measure the from the floor to the back of your knee where it bends
- subtract the first measurement from the second, and the difference is the height of raised toilet seat that you need
The position you are looking to achieve is one where, when seated, your hip is not lower than your knee.
How do you raise an existing toilet ?
Your first option is to use a “toilet plinth”, or “toilet riser”, to raise your toilet up from the floor.
The most popular models are –
Medway Easy Toilet Riser
Thetford toilet riser
Easy Toilet Riser
The risers come in a range of sizes, 2 to 4 inches, and are inserted under your toilet.
The second option is to raise your toilet seat you can use a raised toilet seat, which either attaches to your toilet bowl, or is a frame with a seat in it which is placed over your toilet.
What sizes do raised toilet seats come in ?
Raised toilet seats which attach to the toilet come in a range of heights from 1 inch up to 6 inches.
With regard to the size of the toilet bowel shape, you can get raised toilet seats which fit only elongated toilets, only round/standard toilets, and seats which are universal.
You can also buy raised toilet seats in safety frames with standard models, or 3-in-1 commodes, which range in seat height from 17 to 21 inches – which have adjustable legs and are placed over your toilet.
The tallest model is the OasisSpace Safety frame with elevated toilet seats, which have a top seat level of 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.
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.