What Is A Rolling Commode ?

by | Beginners Info, Personal Hygiene

If, as I do, you have an elderly parent or loved one that you care for, a rolling, or transport, bedside commode can be an invaluable piece of equipment. For those who have great difficulty walking, it allows you to transport them around the home with ease, and for those who can walk, it can still be handy when they are feeling fatigued and need a little help going from room to room.

A rolling commode, otherwise known as a transport commode, is any type of bedside commode which has wheels. Very often rolling commodes are combined with shower chairs. 

What is a rolling, or transport, commode ?

Rolling commodes are more commonly referred to as “transport bedside commodes”, and are any type of bedside commode with wheels.

This type of commode allows the bedside commode to also function as a transport chair around the home.

There are two main types of rolling commodes –

  • rolling, or transport bedside commodes
  • shower/transport bedside commodes

Before I outline the two types of transport commode and their main variations, it is important to note that there are a lot of minor variations which occur across all the different brands, and which occur with both types. 

Drop arms

Drop arms are armrests on the commode which can be flipped up, down, turned to the side or removed, to allow access for a side transfer onto the commode, as opposed to a front transfer where a user sits back onto the seat.

Drop arms are used primarily by wheel chair users, or individuals transferring from a bed to a commode and back.

Drop arms can also be very useful if you are helping an elderly parent or loved one who requires help with wiping, as you can get to the side and move the armrest out of the way, or take it off altogether while you give assistance.

Drop arm models are available for almost all types of rolling commode.

Materials

The frames of the commodes are generally made from steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, or medical grade PVC.

The transport models which are for the shower will be made from waterproof materials – PVC, stainless steel or aluminum, to minimize the chance of any corrosion.

The commodes for heavier individuals, if not made from steel will have double tubing, or if they are made from PVC they will typically have steel reinforced jointing, and extra wheels to help spread the load.

Weight capacities

Bedside commodes in general can take a whole range of body weights, and the rolling commodes are no exception.

If you want a commode for a larger person you want to look either for a “heavy duty” or a “bariatric” commode. These start in the 375 lb weight capacity range and go as high as 750 lb for these four examples –

750 lb ConvaQuip bariatric rehab shower rolling commode chair w/ 26″ wide seat, Prod. No. 1326P-24

750 lb ConvaQuip bariatric rehab shower rolling commode chair w/ 28″ wide seat, Prod. No. 1328P-24

750 lb – Gendron bariatric mobile shower chair w/ 26″ wide seat, Prod. No. GDN-5226

750 lb – Gendron bariatric mobile shower chair w/ 28″ wide seat, Prod. No. GDN-5228

I have an article which lists the weight capacities of all the different models of the different bedside commodes that I could find (I have not included models that are on Amazon one week and gone the next), and which is constantly being updated. The bedside commodes are grouped by weight capacities and by type of bedside commode. You can find that article here.

Dimensions

As well as different weight capacities, bedside commodes also come in differing dimensions for different body types.

You can find –

  • narrow
  • standard
  • wide
  • extra wide
  • tall
  • extra tall

 

Adjustable height legs

If you are looking to use a rolling commode of any type over the toilet as a raised toilet seat, you will need to check the height of both the toilet bowl rim from the floor and the legs on the commode.

Some models are built so that the legs are tall enough to go over most toilet rims, but not all are.

Other models of rolling commode have height adjustable legs, and you will typically get a range of 3 – 5 inches of extra height that you can adjust on the legs using the push buttons to shorten or extend them.

The PVC models do not tend to have height adjustable legs, and also have horizontal bars which may mean that you cannot position the rolling commode over the toilet, so you need to check all of this when you are buying.

A very good site to check the specifications of different models, and whether they will fit over a toilet is – www.home-med-equip.com/.

This site also has the most comprehensive list of transport commodes sold by reputable companies that I have found to date.

Seats

Seats can vary greatly across all the types of bedside commodes, but most of all across rolling commodes, as they are often used for simply sitting in.

Seats may be

  • padded
  • hard plastic (very rare for a rolling commode)
  • with front inserts *
  • with back inserts *
  • seats without inserts *
  • elongated seats for easy access for cleaning

* Inserts are simple sections of seat which are placed over the opening for the commode which are removed when using the commode, rather than having to lift off the entire seat. These are not generally found on static commodes are people do not spend so much time on them, and they also do not have the function of a transport chair.

Wheel types

There are a number of different wheel types for rolling commodes and I will discuss this with each type.

The wheels range from 3 inch casters, all the way up to wheelchair wheels on self propelled rolling commodes.

Transport or rolling bedside commodes

The transport or rolling commode can also be used as –

  • a transport chair
  • a bedside commode
  • or placed over the toilet as a raised toilet seat

There is one caveat here, and that is that if you wish to use the transport commode as a raised toilet seat, you must buy a model with adjustable height legs, or a fixed height model that is taller than the rim of your toilet bowl. You must also make sure that the model you buy has no horizontal bars between the legs which will stop you positioning it over the toilet.

    What are the two types of rolling commode chair

    The “rolling” or transport commode has two basic types –

     

    • the “attendant” rolling or transport commode chair
    • the “self-propelled” rolling or transport commode chair

     

    The Attendant transport commode chair – these models require a caregiver to push them around the home.

    The wheels on the attendant models are typically 3 – 8 inches in diameter and can be rubber casters or a hard plastic.

    Certain attendant transport chair models have a larger rear wheel – typically 8 – 12 inches, an example of this is the  Nova Lightweight Transport chair, Model No. 377B-R.

     

    The second type of rolling or transport commode, the Self-propelled transport commode chair, is like a self-propelled wheelchair with a pair of wheelchair wheels at the back. 

    The self-propelled models cost much more than the attendant models.

    The two types of rolling commode come with all kinds of different variations as I previously noted, and these are often offered in a type of additional menu selection system which helps you customize the model you desire.

    Examples of Attendant transport commode chairs with four small equally sized wheels –

     

    • 250 lb –  Nova drop arm transport commode, Prod. No. 8805
    • 250 lb – Nova lightweight transport chair, Model No. 377B-R.
    • 300 lb –  Drive Medical drop arm commode with wheels with padded armrests, Prod. No. 11101W-2
    • 300lb – Lumex Versamode drop arm transport chair commode w/5 ” wheels, Prod. No. 6810A
    • 300lb – TFI Healthcare commode w/ elongated seat, Prod. No. 3217
    • 350 lb – AMG Medical MedPro Euro commode with drop down arms, Pro. No. AMG 770365
    • 350 lb – AMG Medical MedPro Euro commode with flip up arms, Pro. No. AMG 7703755
    • 350 lb – Drive Medical upholstered commode with wheels, Prod. No. 11120SV-1

    Examples of Attendant transport commode chairs with slightly larger rear wheels of 8 – 12 inches –

     

    • 220 lb – Belltower portable wheelchair transport commode

    Examples of Self-propelled transport commode with large wheelchair wheels –

     

    • 198 lb – HBing transport commode wheelchair, Prod. No. —
    • 220 lb – Yezijaju transport commode wheelchair, Prod. No. —
    • 220 lb – LHSS transport commode wheelchair, Prod. No. —
    • 220 lb – Belltower folding transport commode wheelchair, Prod. No. —

    Shower rolling commodes chairs

    Shower rolling commode chairs can be wheeled directly into the shower and are specifically designed for this extra function.

    If you have a shower with a lip or step they may not go in, so check that you can get one in before you buy it.

    A shower rolling commode chair can be used as –

    • a shower chair
    • a transport chair
    • a commode
    • some can also be used over the toilet as a raised seat

    The same caveat applies as regards the raised toilet seat as applied with the simple rolling commode chairs, so do check the height of your toilet etc before you buy if you want it as a raised toilet seat as well.

    As with all other transport commodes, always remember to lock the wheels when using it in a static position.

    The two types of shower transport commode chair

    As with the ordinary rolling commode chair, the shower rolling or transport commode chair comes in two basic types –

    • Attendant shower rolling commode chairs with smaller wheels
    • Self-propelled shower rolling commode chairs with larger wheelchair wheels

    The “attendant” shower rolling commode chair, just like the basic attendant rolling commode chair, can either have 4 equally sized small wheels between 3 – 8 inches in diameter, or have two slightly larger wheels at the back, which are typically 8 – 12 inches, and two smaller wheels at the front.

    The self-propelled shower rolling commode chair has two wheelchair wheels at the back and two smaller wheels at the front, as with the self-propelled rolling commode chair.

    The shower rolling commode chair models are of course fully waterproof, and all the different variations are available that I listed earlier, across the different brands – different seat types, drop arms, footrests, adjustable legs, bariatric models, and padding on the seats, backrests and armrests.

    Examples of Attendant shower transport commode chairs with 4 equally sized wheels, 3 – 8 inches-

     

    • 250 lb –  Nova rolling commode shower chair, Prod. No. 8800
    • 250 lb –  Nova padded commode shower chair w/ wheels, Prod. No. 8801
    • 250 lb – Tuffcare padded transport commode shower chair w/ wheels, Prod. No. S800
    • 250 lb – Everest & Jennings rehab padded commode shower chair 5″ casters, Prod. No. —
    • 260 lb – Tuffcare padded transport commode shower chair w/ 6″ casters, Prod. No. S900
    • 275 lb – Drive Medical aluminum rehab commode shower chair w/ 5″ casters, Prod. No. NRS185007
    • 286 lb – Healthline, Ezee Life commode shower chair w/ 5″ casters, Prod. No. 150
    • 300 lb –  Drive Medical padded commode shower chair w/ wheels, Prod. No.11114-1
    • 330 lb – Invacare Aquatec Ocean Ergo shower/ bedside commode w/ casters, Prod. No. INV-OCEANERGO
    • 385 lb –  Mor Medical euro deluxe commode shower chair w/ 4″ casters, Prod. No. MD-118-4TL

    Examples of Attendant shower transport commode chairs with larger rear wheels, 8 – 12 inches

     

    • 230 lb – OUUCL-OT Lightweight transport shower commode chair -, Prod. No.–
    • 250 lb – Xiao Zhu De Dian STB Multi function transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 265 lb – JFGUOYA transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 330 lb – Nurth 4 in 1 transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 330 lb – Platinum Health Baltic professional transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–
    • 550 lb- JFGUOYA transport shower commode chair, Prod. No.–

    Examples of Self-propelled shower transport commode chairs with wheelchair wheels-

     

    • 250 lb – Everest & Jennings shower transport commode chair w/ wheelchair wheels, Prod. No. 12022010
    • 260 lb – Tuffcare padded commode shower chair wheelchair, Prod. No. S970
    • 275 lb – Drive Medical aluminum rehab commode shower chair w/ 24″ wheels, Prod. No. NRS185006
    • 300 lb – Invacare Mariner rehab shower/ bedside commode wheelchair(18.5″ x 18.5″), Prod. No. 6895
    • 300 lb – Showerbuddy Roll-inBuddy Solo, shower commode wheelchair, prod. no. SB6w
    • 300 lb – Nuprodx Multichair Ultra narrow shower commode wheelchair (drop arms optional), Prod. No. 4020RX
    • 330 lb – Invacare Aquatec Ocean Ergo self propelled shower/ bedside commode w/ wheelchair wheels, Prod. No. INV-OCEANERGOSP
    • 330 lb – Invacare Aquatec Ocean SP shower/ transport bedside commode w/ wheelcahir wheels, Prod. No. INV-OCEANSP
    • 385 lb – Healthline EZee Life heavy duty shower commode wheelchair, Prod. No. 185-24

    Where can I buy a rolling commode ?

    You can find rolling commodes in most major retailers –

    • Target
    • Walgreens
    • Walmart

    You can find them online at the retailers listed above and at –

    • amazon.com – although the selection is not great and the companies seem to change from one day to the next for the shower rolling commode chairs
    • www.home-med-equip.com/ – this website is very good
    • 1800wheelchair.com
    • medical departmentstore.com

    What are the types of static bedside commodes without wheels ?

    Static bedside commodes break down into a few basic types –

     

    • the very basic folding static bedside commode, which functions only as a bedside commode
    • the stacking bedside commodes, some of which also function as a raised toilet seat
    • static shower bedside commode which can be a bedside commode or a shower or bath chair
    • static drop arm commodes
    • static transfer bench commode which is a bath or shower transfer bench and a commode combined
    • 3 in 1 commodes 

    The basic static or portable bedside commodes come with all the same variations as the rolling commodes.

    There are far more models though of static portable commodes than there are of rolling commodes.

    The ranges of bariatric, drop arm and 3 in 1 bedside commodes are far larger than those of the rolling commodes.

    A 3 in 1 commode is the most popular type of static bedside commodes and has multiple functions –

     

    • as a bedside commode
    • as a raised toilet seat
    • as a toilet safety rail

     

    Static bedside commodes have models which can also take far greater weight than the rolling commodes. Certain commodes will take individuals who weigh up to 1500 lb, which is the double of any rolling commode.

    If you want to find out more about how much the different types of bedside commode cost you can refer to my article “How much does a bedside commode cost ?” with over 150 listed examples with their price, weight capacity and model number. You can find and read the article here.

    Summary

    A rolling commode is a bedside commode on wheels.

    There are two types of rolling commode – 

     

    • rolling, or transport, commode chairs 
    • shower rolling, or transport, commode chairs

    Each of the types of rolling commode chair has two types –

     

    • attendant – you need a caregiver to push
    • self-propelled – the user can use the chair like a wheelchair and is autonomous

     

    The rolling commode is very handy if you are looking after an elderly loved one who is frail and often tired, and not just for users who cannot walk.

    The shower self-propelled versions are the most expensive and can run into thousands of dollars.

    I hope this was of use.

    I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

    I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

    Gareth Williams

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    What is a rolling commode ? A rolling commode, otherwise known as a transport commode, is any type of bedside commode which has wheels. Very often rolling commodes are combined with shower chairs.
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