If you are a novice in the world of raised toilet seats, you will find the number of different types, and names, pretty darn confusing. With that in mind, I have set out to clarify things, as much as I can.
What is a raised toilet seat called ?
Raised toilet seats are also called –
- elevated toilet seats
- tall seats
- bubble seats
- clip on toilet seats
- raised toilet seats with legs
- toilet safety frame with raised toilet seat
Raised and elevated toilet seats are the same thing – they are seats which are placed on the toilet to raise the height of the seat.
Raised or elevated toilet seat with legs – these are models of seats which are a little wider and have legs on the corners – they still rest on, and attach to, the toilet bowl.
Risers – are round, or oval, rings of plastic which correspond to the shape of either standard or elongated toilet bowls.
Risers are installed under an existing toilet seat and lift it higher.
Safety frames with raised or elevated seats – are seats which are integrated into a frame which holds them above the toilet
Bedside commodes – are also often used as raised toilet seats, especially the 3-in-1 bedside commode, which is designed to work as a raised toilet seat, toilet safety frame and a bedside commode.
Raised and elevated toilet seats, safety frames with seats, and bedside commodes, all have a range of models which are designed to take people of different weights, and seats for larger individuals are prefaced with the term “bariatric”.
There are bariatric safety frames with elevated, or raised, seats and bariatric 3-in-1 commodes.
All of these terms are frequently mixed up and people selling the items get the names wrong (I am particularly referring to sellers on Amazon, as they fill their product names with terms to sell them more easily), all adding to the confusion of the names.
Now that I have dealt with the names which are used for the broader categories, I can discuss the different names given to the seats within those categories.
Contents Overview and Quicklinks
Raised and elevated toilet seats
The following are names given to different types of raised toilet seat which are either attached to the bowl, or to the existing seat.
Big John toilet seats
Big John Toilet seats are oversized toilet seats which are installed on a toilet in the same way as an everyday toilet seat. They are though a lot wider, and have a 2.5″ lift.
The seats bolt to the toilet after you have removed your existing toilet seat.
On the underside, the seats have a special no-slip area around the rim which stops the seat from sliding all over the place.
Here are examples of Big John seats –
- 1200 lb – Big John 2.5 ” original toilet seat w/lid, (universal), Prod. No. 1-W
- 1200 lb – Big John 2.5 ” original toilet seat w/lid, (universal), Prod. No. 2-CR
- 1200 lb – Big John 2.5 ” original toilet seat w/lid, open front, (universal), Prod. No. 3-W
- 1200 lb – Big John 2.5 ” original toilet seat w/out lid, open front (universal), Prod. No. 4-W
- 800 lb – Big John 1.5 ” standard toilet seat w/lid, open front (universal), Prod. No. 6-W
- 1200 lb – Big John 2.5 ” classic toilet seat w/out lid, open front (universal), Prod. No. 7-W
Tall seats or Spacer seats
These are toilet seats which have small legs or spacers on the underside of the seat.
The installation is just a case of removing the existing seat and replacing it with the “Tall” or Spacer” seat.
The seats come in 2 or 3 inch models, with or without lids, with or without an opening at the front, and models are made for both standard and elongated toilets.
These seats do not have armrests, or handles, of any type.
An example of these seats is –
- Centoco 3L440STS-001 raised toilet seat with lid
Spacer raised toilet seat with lid
Spacer raised toilet seat without lid
Spacer raised toilet seat installed on a toilet
Clip On raised toilet seats
Clip-On seats are a type of portable raised toilet seat which is a quick on – off solution for traveling.
The seats are made in heights of 2 – 4 inches.
The seat has an opening at the front, which when squeezed allows the raised seat to be clipped on to the seat of the existing toilet.
There are no fixings, or front locking devices, such as you find on some of the more permanent models.
The seats do not come with armrests or handles.
Some examples of these are –
- Ability Supertstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
- Performance Health Novelle 4″ Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
Clip-on raised toilet seat - topside
Clip-on raised toilet seat - underside
Certain raised toilet seats, which look like big white donuts, have become known as “Bubble Seats” – this is not an official name for them.
The “Bubble Seats” are attached, once the existing seat is in the upright position, by placing them on the rim of the toilet bowl and giving a good hard push downwards.
Some models have grip pads, but other than that there are no fastenings, bolts, or clamps.
The seats are generally either for standard or elongated models, and very few have a lid.
A few models of this type of seat have a lip at the beck which slots under the inside rim of the toilet seat to stop them from tipping forwards.
Bubble Seats range from 4 to 6 inches in height.
- The NRS Comfort Raised Toilet Seat
- Medline 4 3/4 inch Elevated Heavy Duty Raised Toilet Seat
- Carex 4 inch Quick Lock Raised Toilet Seat (example with lip at the back)
- Carex 5.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat
- AquaSense Portable 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat – standard toilets
- HealthSmart Portable 4 3/4 inch Raised Toilet Seat -(Universal – fits all toilets apparently)
- Herdegen Contact Plus 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat-(Universal – fits all toilets apparently)
- Yunga Tart 4 3/4 inch Raised Toilet Seat w/out arms (Universal – fits all toilets apparently)
Bubble seat raised toilet seat
Bubble seat raised toilet seat - underside
There is actually only one company which that makes these seats – Herdegen.
The clipper seat installs quickly on the toilet seat once the existing seat is in the upright position, and all models give a lift of 4.3 inches in height.
The raised seat is placed on the rim of the toilet bowl, the inside edge drops a few inches inside the bowl, and 4 clips on the outside are pushed up against the bowl to gain grip.
There are 3 models without armrests, 2 models with armrests, and two models with both legs and armrests.
The models without legs –
- Herdegen Clipper I 4.3″ raised toilet seat
- Herdegen Clipper II 4.3″ raised toilet seat
- Herdegen Clipper III 4.3″ raised toilet seat w/ lid
- Herdegen Clipper IV 4.3″ raised toilet seat, detachable arms for transfer
- Herdegen Clipper V 4.3″ raised toilet seat w/ lid, detachable arms for transfer
Clipper raised toilet seat
Clipper raised toilet seat with armrests
Clipper raised toilet seat - underside
Clipper seat on a toilet
Seats with side fixings and a front “bracket” –
A lot of the middle range seats fix to the toilet using plastic side fixings, and usually a bracket at the front – a sort of plastic clamping system.
These seats are available in heights ranging from 2 to 6 inches, with and without lids, and are either for standard, or elongated toilet bowls.
The weight capacities depend upon the model you choose.
The names of the different seats often have included in them phrases which indicate that they have some type of fixing – “Safe Lock” and “Clamp-On”, “Easy Fit”
Examples of raised seats using this system are –
- Aquasense 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with lid
- Aidapt Viscount 6″ raised toilet seat w/out lid
- Carex 4.25″ Safe-Lock raised toilet seat
- Homecraft Ashby 2″ Easy fit raised toilet seat
- Homecraft Ashby 4″ Easy fit raised toilet seat
- Homecraft Ashby 6″ Easy fit raised toilet seat
- Vaunn Medical Clamp-on 4inch Raised Toilet Seat
- Carex Universal 4 1/2 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Safe Lock
- PCP 4″ Raised Toilet Seat
- Drive Medical 6 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Lock
Side locking raised toilet seat with lid
Side locking raised toilet seat without lid
Side locking toilet seat installed on a toilet
Front Locking raised toilet seats –
These are the most solidly fixed of the seats which attach to the bowl, and come in heights mostly of 4 – 5 inches.
They are called “front locking” due to a type of clamp that they have at the front of the seat – the front clamp is usually accompanied by a lip, at the back of the seat.
The lip slots under the rim of the bowl at the back to stop a seat from tipping forwards when a user is getting up.
These seats can come with or without armrests or handles, but the majority come with.
The names of the seats sometimes contain the name of the patented clamping system they use – “E-Z Lock” is an example.
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 without handles
Front locking raised toilet seat
Front locking raised toilet seat clamping mechanism underside
Front locking raised toilet seat on a toilet
Risers are the only system for a raised toilet seat which goes under the seat, and are available in heights of 2 – 4 “.
To install the riser –
- the toilet seat is removed
- the riser placed on the rim of the toilet
- the seat is bolted back on with the riser in place underneath it
Risers can be bought with, and without arms, and like a seat they can have a hinge so they lift up for cleaning, or not.
The following are examples of risers –
- Carex 3.5″ toilet seat elevator, (riser – elongated)
- Carex 3.5″ toilet seat elevator, (riser – standard)
- Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser (standard)
- Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser (elongated)
- Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser with arms (standard)
- Nova 3.5″ raised toilet seat riser with arms (elongated)
- Nova 3.5″ hinged toilet seat riser (standard)
- Nova 3.5″ hinged toilet seat riser (elongated)
Alignment of a riser toilet seat, lid and toilet
Riser with armrests
Riser installed on a toilet under the seat and lid
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 legs
These are raised seats with front locking mechanisms, which also have two legs on each side. They are typically a few inches wider between the armrests than the “front-locking” raised toilet seats.
Some examples of raised toilet seats with legs –
- Maddak Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seat With Legs
- Mobb Raised Toilet Seat With Legs
- Herdegen Clipper VI 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ out lid, armrests and adjustable legs
- Herdegen Clipper VII raised toilet seat with lid, armrests and adjustable legs
Raised toilet seat with legs
Safety frames with elevated seats
A safety frame with a raised toilet seat is a metal frame with a toilet seat in it.
The frame is placed over the toilet and the seat sits above the toilet bowl within the frame.
To use the frame, you simply place the frame over the toilet once you have the existing toilet seat in the upright position.
Make sure of course that the legs are adjusted to a height so that it is tall enough to be placed over the toilet.
There are models for larger individuals which are “extra wide“, “bariatric“, “tall“ and “heavy duty“.
Some examples of frames are –
- PCP raised toilet seat and safety frame 2-in-1
- Aidapt President Bariatric raised toilet seat and frame
- Aidapt Bariatric Solo Skandia raised toilet seat and frame
- Lattice commode toilet seat and frame
- Ashby Lux toilet seat and frame, adjustable height
- NRS Healthcare Mowbray lite toilet frame and seat
- NRS Healthcare Mowbray lite toilet frame and seat
- NRS Healthcare Mowbray toilet seat and frame, adjustable width
- NRS Healthcare Mowbray toilet seat and frame floor fixed, Extra wide
- NRS Healthcare Mowbray toilet seat and frame, Extra wide
Toilet safety frame with elevated seat
Toilet safety frame with elevated seat placed over a toilet
Bedside commodes used as raised toilet seats
As I noted earlier, there are models for larger individuals called “tall”, “bariatric” or “heavy duty“, and also “extra wide” and this is true for bedside commodes as well.
If you want to know more about the weight capacities of different raised toilet seats, commodes, and frames, you can refer to my article where I list over 180 different models with their weight capacities, amongst other things, “Raised Toilet Seat Weight Capacity: Over 180 Examples”.
3-in-1, or All-in-1, or portable bedside commodes can be used –
- as a bedside commode
- over the toilet as a raised toilet seat
- as a toilet safety frame
To use them as a raised toilet seat the legs just need to adjusted to the correct height, and the commode without its pale can be placed over the toilet once its seat is in the upright position.
Examples of commodes which you can use over a toilet –
- Nova drop arm 3-in-1 commode
- Probasics drop arm 3-in-1 commode
- Medline 3-in-1 steel bedside commode
- Probasics 3-in-1 folding commode
- Tuffcare extra wide drop arm commode chair
- Lumex 6438A imperial collection 3-in-1 steel drop arm
- Nova heavy duty commode w/ extra wide seat
- Probasics bariatric commode extra wide seat
- Performance Health heavy-duty commode w/ elongated seat
3 in 1 bedside commode
Features to consider on a raised toilet seats
When looking at the raised toilet seats, some features to consider are –
- height – what height seat are you going to need
- depending on how long will you need the seat, you will want to pick a locking system which will last the period it is needed – push-on, clip-on, bolt-on, side fixings, front-locking, front-locking with legs, or freestanding
- armrests – for the elderly, those with visual impairments, and frail individuals, large and sturdy armrests can be both vital, and help to build confidence
- weight capacity – you will have to check that the seat you choose has the right weight capacity
- seat width – models with legs, or frames, will take a little more room, and some up to 32 inches between the armrests
- do you want a seat lid ? Some, but not all, models come lids
- are you buying a universal fit, an elongated, or a round raised toilet seat which attaches to the toilet – (safety frames with raised toilet seats, and 3-in-1 bedside commodes, will typically fit over most toilets) you just have to check how high the seat can go, and add about 1 1/2 inches, and see if it clears you toilet bowl rim height
- materials – the freestanding models are way more solid, and are built on either aluminum or steel frames
If you are looking for a bedside commode to use as a raised toilet seat for a larger person, you can check out each of these articles –
To find out more about what toilet design you have, you can check my article illustrating how to do this –
To see what height toilet seat you need, you can check my post here –
Raised toilet seats for the elderly
With my mom we have found that an elderly adult really needs a seat with quite large armrests, or handles, and a seat which does not wobble on the toilet.
I think we tried at least three types of raised toilet seat that you attached to the toilet itself, and none were satisfactory.
Ultimately we chose a 3-in-1 bedside commode and placed that over the toilet as a raised toilet seat, and it has remained there, for my mom, for three years.
The fact that the seat has four legs eliminates any wobbles, it is able to take far more weight than a toilet with side or front fixings, and it can’t tip forwards as it is not attached to the bowl, but rather stands over it.
If you want to know more about different options of raised toilet seats for the elderly, I have an article “Best Raised Toilet Seats For Elderly Seniors: A Detailed Guide With Prices”, in which you can see which types of seats and specific models I think you should use in various situations.
How to choose a raised toilet seat ?
Start by deciding what are your most important criteria. To work this out, you can just ask yourself similar questions to those below –
- the specific height you need – or do you want a height adjustable seat?
- what’s the height of your toilet ?
- the shape of your toilet – elongated or round ?
- the weight capacity you need ?
- are there any particular features you need ?
- how big is the space it is going in ?
- is the user healthy ?
- is the user young and strong, or old and frail ?
- does the user have any specific medical conditions – visual impairments, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, muscular conditions ?
- is the seat being used for post-surgical recovery ?
Now that you know what type of seat you want, you are ready to pick –
- the brand
- the model with features you need
- where to buy it
- and maybe to check with your medical insurance
If you are looking for a much longer article with more guidance on the questions to ask, and other points on how to choose, I have a very in-depth article which outlines all the questions you should be asking yourself, along with a PDF that you can download and print out for free – “How To Choose A Raised Toilet Seat ?”
Products to improve bathroom safety
Now that you are looking at making the bathroom a safer place for the elderly, and restrooms, you may want to take a look at some other items which can reduce the risk of falls and serious injury.
You really want to keep the bathroom very well lit, and you want to make sure that the lights go on as soon as the user goes in.
One of the best ways of doing this is with remote sensor lighting.
The user is detected en route to the bathroom, and the light switches on as they go in.
Most of these lights which are going to be LED’s, which are great for the job as they are very bright and cheap to run.
As we get older, our eyesight dims, and we obviously see less of what is around us, making it far easier to suffer a fall, so good lighting in the bathroom is a must.
As I mentioned previously, grab bars are a superb way of helping a person with mobility issues to steady themselves and avoid a fall.
You don’t just have to put them by the toilet though, you can put them on the wall in the shower, the bath and by the sink.
Anywhere that there is water and a greater chance of slipping, it’s a good idea to have something extra to hold onto – even in the doorways of rooms you can just sneak a grab bar where it doesn’t get in the way of the door.
If you watch an elderly person who is unsteady, walking from room to room, even if they are using a cane, they will almost invariably hold onto the door frame with their free hand. This is where you can put a grab bar as well.
Bathtub Grab bars
As well as grab bars which attach to the wall, you have very specifically designed grab bars which attach to bathtubs, and allow you to hold on as you step in, reducing the risk of a fall.
The grab bars typically clamp on to the side of your bathtub, and there is no need for any DIY, or transformation of the bathtub, so it is a very simple process to install one.
There are a number of different types of bathtub lifts which you can sit on and then lower yourself more into the water – most do not go all the way down to the bottom of the tub, but you can get into the water and be somewhat covered.
The shower is of course another area of great risk in the bathroom, and one way of minimizing the risk of falling is to use a shower chair, and usually one or two grab bars to assist in sitting and standing.
There are all manner of shower seats and benches, some of which are freestanding, some with armrests, and my favorite, those which are wall mounted.
A wall mounted shower seat cannot go anywhere – my elderly mom has had problems with seats which had too small a base, and so were quite wobbly.
Wall mounted shower seats do of course require proper installation, but some models have one more advantage, and that is they have no legs – no legs means nothing to trip on, and when not in use the seat folds up against the wall in a less obtrusive way than a seat with legs.
Non-slip tapes, coatings and pads
Are you worried about a slippery floor, or grab bars ?
Well, you can use special non-grip pads which you stick down, or tapes.
In addition to the floor, the non-slip tapes can be used on grab bars, which may be a little too slippery.
For the bathtub you can also paint on a special non-slip coating to make the surface grip a little more.
Non-slip shower and bath mats
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but it can be very beneficial to have non-slip mats both in the bath and shower, and outside.
The mats are not expensive and again add to reducing the risk of an unsteady individual taking a fall.
For inside the tub and shower you can get anti-microbial mats which will stay cleaner and freer of mold etc.
Handheld Shower head
It is much easier to take a shower without having to twist around to get in the stream of water, and if you are sitting on a shower seat it is going to be very difficult to take a shower without the handheld shower head.
The hand held unit will result in less reaching, as it can be kept by the user’s side, and will also be a more comfortable experience if the user suffers from any stiffness, which is one of the main issues that the elderly, and anyone with mobility issues face.
All of this will again greatly reduce the risk of falls.
Very often over-looked, the simple shower caddy can be of great help in reducing the number of accidents in the shower.
It allows you to keep everything together, in one place, and at a height which is the most convenient for the user, and stops the need to be over-reaching to find items you need.
If you are using a shower seat, you can just place everything in a shower caddy at a convenient height next to the shower seat, or on the shower floor next to the seat.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.