What Is A Raised Toilet Seat ?
Just over 18 months ago when my mom had full hip replacement surgery, I purchased a kit of equipment which was to help my mom in her rehabilitation. As part of this kit we received what looked like large white plastic bubble, and which turned out to be one type of raised toilet seat.
What is a raised toilet seat ? A raised toilet seat is a piece of equipment designed to help people with mobility issues to sit down on, or get up from, the toilet by raising the height of the toilet seat.
Raised toilet seats are primarily used by the elderly, people with disabilities, people who suffer from chronic mobility conditions such as arthritis, and individuals who are recovering from surgery – most commonly hip and knee replacements.
There are wide variety of designs for raised toilet seats and different systems for attaching to the toilet or placing them above it on frames.
What are the different types of raised toilet seats available ?
Toilet seats can be raised in various ways
- You can place something under your toilet seat to raise it up
- You can attach something to the top side of your toilet seat
- You can remove your toilet seat and attach a new seat which has the height built into it
- You can get a frame which has a seat built into it which you simply place over your toilet
- You can get a frame which has a seat and an inbuilt lift
Placing something under the toilet seat to raise it up
What you place under your toilet seat to raise it up is called a “Riser”
- a riser is a oval or circular shaped ring of plastic which is available in a range of heights from 2 t0 4 inches
- place the riser on the rim of the bowl under your existing toilet seat – you remove your seat, place the riser on the rim of the the bowl and then put your seat back on top, and bolt it all together
- don’t over tighten the bolts when fixing everything back together, as you can break the toilet as it is ceramic
- some risers come with an inbuilt hinge, so you can lift them just like a seat to clean underneath
- risers can also come with armrest which make sitting down much easier, and less risky
A few of examples of risers are
- Nova 3 1/2 inch Toilet Seat Riser
- Maddak 4 inch Hinged Seat Riser
- Drive Medical premium 3 1/2 inch Seat Riser with Removable Arms
Seats which attach to the top of your toilet seat
These are seats which simply clip to your toilet seat
- the clip on seats are horse shoe, or c, shaped
- to install them, you clip them onto your existing toilet frame on the top side
- you must be very careful with checking the weight limit on these seats to avoid accidents
- there is no other form of fixing, such as bolts or clamps, holding them in place
- these seats don’t come with any form of armrest
Some examples of this are –
- Ability Supertstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
- Performance Health 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
Raised seats which replace the seat on your toilet – there are a number of distinctly different designs in this category, and also of methods of attaching the seats to your toilet.
- these are toilet seats which have small legs, or spacers, on the under side of the seat
- they come in 2 inch, or 3 inch high versions
- you must remove your toilet seat altogether to bolt on the new “tall” seat
- you can get the seats with, or without, lids
- the seats can be open or closed at the front
- they have no armrests and the height is not adjustable.
An example of one these seats is –
- Centoco 3L440STS-001 Raised Toilet Seat with Lid
Elevated or raised seats
These seats are like a riser and seat combined.
The seats can come in a variety of heights – 2 inch, 3 inch, 3 1/2 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch and 6 inch – depending on the design type and brands.
The systems for attaching these elevated, or raised seats, to the toilets vary somewhat, and are what distinguishes them from one another the most – if only for reasons of security and support.
Bubble seats –
- slot onto the rim of the toilet bowl
- you have to push it down hard
- made of compressed foam which grips the frame
- some have “sticky grip pads”
- there are no clamps, bolts or locks
- the seats have a lip around the inside edge which goes a few inches into the bowl, and some have a lip which slots under the inside of the toilet rim at the back of the seat
- they are made for both standard and elongated toilet seats
- they do not have armrests
- you must check the weight capacity of the model
Some examples of this type of seat –
- The NRS Comfort Raised Toilet Seat
- AquaSense Portable 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat – standard toilets
- HealthSmart Portable 4 3/4 inch Raised Toilet Seat – universal
Seats which have side clamps –
This type of seat has two fixings, one on each side of the seat towards the rear, to fix it to the toilet bowl – a type of bolt clamp which is tightened, by turning, to grip the bowl – and a small lip at the front called a “front bracket” by some brands.
- are available in heights from 2 to 6 inches depending on the brand and model
- can be purchased with or without lids
- are not adjustable in height
- have no armrests
- some are for all toilets
- some are for elongated toilets
- some are for standard toilets
- have weight capacities which you will need to check
Examples of this system are –
- Aquasense 4 inch Raised Toilet Seat with lid
- 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
Front Locking raised toilet seats –
These raised seats, as their name suggests, have a clamp located at the front of the seat with a knob for tightening.
There is also a small lip at the back of the seat, which sticks out and slots under the rim of the bowl of your toilet, for extra stability.
- heights of the seats will vary depending on the brand from 4 – 5 inches
- most models have armrests, some are adjustable and others are also removable
- the seats are compatible with most toilet shapes as they clamp to the front edge only
- different seats have different weight capacities
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
Frames with elevated seats which are placed over the toilet
Safety frames with elevated toilet seats
Safety frames with elevated seats are completely different from anything else we have looked at so far, as they are not attached to the toilet. The seat is part of the frame and is suspended over the toilet bowl.
- it is a metal frame – aluminum or steel – with a toilet seat fixed to it
- the frame and raised seat is placed over your toilet
- the frames have adjustable height
- the weight capacity is higher than on plastic clamp-on seats
- it is supported by legs on all sides
- bariatric models exist for heavier people
- they have armrests and there are plenty of places a person can grab onto if they start to lose their balance, or to slip off
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
Now to my mom’s favorite, the portable bedside commode.
These are also known as a 3-in-1, or All-in-1 commodes, and are used in exactly the same way as the safety frame with an elevated toilet seat.
You just have to remove the potty from the commode before you place it over the toilet bowl.
Just like with the safety frame –
- it’s a metal chair frame with toilet seat
- you can adjust the height of the legs
- it has armrests
- you can purchase bariatric frames for heavier individuals
- there also exists models for taller people – tall commodes
- it is not attached to the toilet in any way
- there is no need to worry about getting the right size – standard or elongated as the seat is in the frame over the toilet
- commodes also have splash guards which you can put in the frame and which will fit down into the bowl of the toilet
Some examples of this type of commode are –
Drive Medical heavy duty bariatric commode
Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode
UltraCommode bedside commode
TFI Extra Tall bedside commode
Just as an aside the portable bedside commodes are very practical as they can be
- used by the bed with their potty
- in the bathroom over the toilet as a raised toilet seat
- as a safety frame around the toilet without the seat
- as a shower chair
We have also used it as a chair to give my mom sponge baths. It has got a lot more potential uses than just as a raised toilet seat.
Toilet Lifts – Mechanized safety frames with elevated seats
There are also mechanized safety frames with raised toilet seats which take all, or some, some of the user’s weight to assist them in sitting down, or getting up.
Some examples of toilet lifts –
The Uplift Commode
Easy Access Tilt Toilet lift ( this model is slightly different as it is secured to the toilet without legs)
The Liftseat Powered Toilet Lift
The Drive Solo Lift with Arms
If you have an elderly or disabled who is very frail, or lacking in strength, the lifts will take a certain amount of the body weight, lessening the effort required.
The first two examples above are the more affordable models of lift, but you have to check to see how much assistance each model actually gives.
How do I choose a raised toilet seat ?
Before choosing a raised toilet seat, you need to think about who the seat is for, why is the person using a raised seat, and in what conditions the seat is being used.
It’s not enough to just get the right size seat for the toilet, and height for the user, you need to ask yourself questions like –
- what is the age of the person using the seat
- how strong are they
- how good is their balance
- do they suffer from dizziness
- how good is their vision
- will the person need handles and armrests
- would they be better with a frame
- or are they young enough to just use a simple seat without handles
- how steady are they when seated
- will they need handles to help them get back up
- are they going to be okay backing up and sitting down on something without handles to guide them
- will they have a walker that they are backing up to the toilet with
- is there already a grab bar on their bathroom wall next to the toilet
- how confident is the person about using a raised toilet seat
- would the person feel better with a safety frame with a raised seat
These are all questions that you should be thinking about and asking, to help you make an informed choice.
If you are choosing a raised toilet seat for your parent, I would involve them in the discussion, rather than just going and choosing one for them.
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