The act of toileting isn’t usually a subject that seniors and the elderly get excited to discuss. But, for many elderly people, getting up and down from the toilet is challenging. As worst, they are risking a fall.
But, toilet grab bars can be a tremendous help for them. Properly installed, these bars provide support while standing and sitting. They assist with needed leverage to help them stand back up too.
So, we created this guide to the best toilet grab bars along with our expert advice on where you should place them, how long they should be, and more.
Here are my top picks if you are in a hurry or just want to see the best grab bars to be used with toilets. Keep reading to learn more about shopping for toilet grab bars and my full list.
Decision-Making Factors: Choosing a Toilet Grab Bar
Here are some important factors to consider when you are shopping for toilet grab bars.
Types of Toilet Grab Bars
There are two main types of grab bars in general: permanently installed and suction cup models.
However, you should only use a grab bar that is installed onto the actual walls. Even better if they screw directly into the studs behind the wall.
You should never use a suction cup grab bar near the toilet. Suction grab bars aren’t designed to stick to most wall surfaces. They also are unable to bear the total weight of an adult.
If installing the grab bar isn’t practical for your situation, I have some alternatives you can read about near the end of this article.
A toilet grab bar assists seniors with getting up and down from the toilet by providing a firm and stable handhold. You will usually need multiple grab bars around a toilet.
The standard setup around the toilet is a mid-length one installed horizontally along the wall across the back of the toilet, with a longer one installed on the wall closest to the toilet.
So, you will need 2 or 3 grab bars for maximum safety. Seniors with significant difficulty may need one on each side.
If there isn’t a wall beside the toilet, I recommend you install a flip-up grab bar or other devices like toilet safety rails and raised toilet seats with arms instead.
Grab Bar Length
Grab bars behind the toilet should be at least 30 inches long so that it is wider than the toilet. Install a longer one – at least 42 inches – beside the toilet because this will better support a person while moving.
I recommend you measure the area you need to install the bar and then choose the most appropriate size. Also, take into account stud locations as well.
A properly installed toilet grab bar isn’t portable, unfortunately. If you need a mobile solution, there are toilet safety rails and frames that disassemble and reassemble quickly and easily.
Raised toilet seats with arms are another option. See my list of alternatives below for more information on these options.
Best Materials and Grip
Grab bars come in various materials, from stainless steel to plastic to chrome. Some options are now available in more decorative options like brass, brushed nickel, and painted surfaces.
All these options are strong, durable, and aren’t subject to damage or stains from water. The vital thing to look for is a textured grip to keep hands from slipping off and leading to a fall.
A grab bar is often responsible for supporting a lot of weight, especially when someone is pulling themselves up from the toilet.
But the hardware and the actual grab bar installation determine the weight a grab bar will hold. It is very unlikely that the metal grab bar itself will break or snap in two. It’s much more likely that the hardware gets pulled out of the wall.
Most will support 350 pounds, and some have a weight capacity of 500 pounds or more. Always install them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines to fully benefit from the stated weight capacities.
What to Avoid
When shopping for a grab bar for use around a toilet, do not use:
- Suction cup models – they aren’t made for drywall
- Products without an established track record of quality and safety
- Designs with projections or pointed corners that could cause a head injury in the event of a fall
- Towel bars or other decorative accessories unless the packaging specifically states they are also support bars
Reviews of the Best Grab Bars for Toilets
Here is my top list of recommended grab bars for toilets – based on my professional training and my personal experiences. Another consideration is how well these products meet the needs of seniors and the elderly.
Moen Designer Bathroom Grab Bar
This Moen Designer Bathroom Grab Bar line doesn’t look like a piece of medical equipment. They are rounded, sleek, and available in the most popular bathroom finishes.
While there are other designer bathroom bars, I like the Moen product best because the corners are rounded and have a more ergonomic appearance.
This rounded design is essential because there are no sharp edges to add injury if an elderly person should still fall.
Another reason I recommend them is because they have “Curl Grip” areas underneath to help users get a firm grip.
Finally, they come in the longer sizes needed for installation at the toilet: from 12 to 42 inches long. And they are also available in brushed nickel, chrome, and rubbed bronze finishes.
- Designer, non-medical look
- Multiple finishes and longer sizes
- Ergonomic grip
- Weight capacity of 500 lbs (when installed according to directions)
- More expensive than a standard grab bar
Seachrome Angled Bathroom Grab Bar
An angled safety grab bar is very helpful for getting up from the toilet. Because of the multiple levels, you can use the lower side to start your rise from the toilet and then move to the higher part to brace yourself while standing.
For people needing a grab bar for this situation, I recommend this one from Seachrome. I recommend it over others because of the one-piece construction and smooth, designer look. The installation hardware is covered for a better, more finished look.
Made of stainless steel, it comes in two finishes: a duller satin or the more glossy polished version, which looks good with chrome bathroom fixtures.
It only supports up to 250 pounds, though. While that will be sufficient for many older adults, I wish it was higher so that more people could benefit from it.
When ordering, you need to know if it will be mounted on the right or left side of the toilet (as you are sitting on it). Make sure you order the right one if you choose this one.
- One-piece stainless steel construction
- Covered flanges
- Durable with welded end caps support assistance
- Weight capacity is only 250 pounds
Franklin Brass Concealed Mount Grab Bars
For people who need a heavier-duty bathroom support option, I think these from Frankin Brass are the best bathroom grab bars for use around the toilet. I love that they exceed ADA bathroom grab bar requirements and provide up to 500 pounds of pull force.
They also offer multiple finish choices and longer lengths to meet the needs of a toilet grab bar. Choose from 12, 16, 18, 24, 36, 42, and even 48 inch lengths!
Finally, the mounts are concealed, which gives them a more professional and finished installation.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly or basic steel grab bar, these bathroom safety bars from Amazon Basics are a great choice!
They are made of durable stainless steel in a slightly satin finish and meet ADA specifications. The weight capacity is 500 pounds!
Finally, they come in all the sizes necessary for use around the toilet up to 42 inches long. You also have two choices of diameter: 1-¼ and 1-½ inches. The necessary screws for installation into wall studs come in the package too.
- Simple, basic grab bar that gets the job done
- Longer lengths available
- Screws are included for installation into studs
- Affordable and easy to install
- No texture or grip areas
Moen Home Care Flip-Up Bathroom ADA Grab Bar
Flip-up grab bars are a good substitute for a standard grab bar when the toilet isn’t near a side wall. Because they flip up out of the way, others in the home can move them when they use the bathroom.
There are many flip-up and flip-down choices out there, but I like this model from Moen the best. It provides a 30-inch toilet ADA grab bar that meets ADA specifications with the benefits above. Plus, the weight capacity is 300 pounds.
There are two finish choices: white (glacier) and brushed metal (peened). Personally, I think the white one looks best because of its clean appearance.
It comes with the hardware and mounting plate needed for installation. Depending on how your toilet sits, you can install one on each side of the toilet. Remember that it’s essential to install toilet grab bars within 12 inches of the center of your toilet.
You will also appreciate the convenience of the built-in toilet paper holder. This holder keeps your paper within reach, so there isn’t any leaning or stretching to find it.
- Great idea for toilets not next to a wall
- Multiple finish choices
- Convenient toilet paper holder
- Plate and hardware included
- Weight capacity of 300 pounds
- More expensive than a standard grab bar handle
I like to recommend products that serve multiple purposes, and this toilet paper holder and support bar from Delta is worth a look.
I recommend it because it provides a stable place to grab while getting up and down from the toilet. But, it looks like a simple, classic toilet paper holder. You will also appreciate that it is easy to install, has all the necessary hardware, and supports up to 300 pounds.
I do have a few cautions for you about this one, however. Ensure that you or your loved one never grabs the toilet paper roll holder itself. You should use only the top support bar.
And, because it is shorter than the recommended length, it will not be long enough to hold onto while walking. The best use for this product is just to help someone who needs a little help with balance while standing.
However, Delta has a full line of longer decorative grab bars to match this for a complete solution.
- Provides a more decorative toilet grab bar
- Multiple functions
- Strong and durable
- Too short for full support when moving
You can find a few more options in my guide to the best grab bars for seniors and the elderly.
While a grab bar is the most secure and robust way to support yourself at the toilet, there are alternatives. Some options provide the necessary support to assist older adults while toileting, but others are riskier.
Here is a quick summary of these alternatives and some pros and cons of each.
Stander poles are floor-to-ceiling bars that attach to both the floor and the ceiling. Many of them have handles that work as grab bars. Some models physically attach, but others work by tension. Think of them as a tension curtain rod turned vertically.
Standing poles have limitations, but one of their more beneficial uses is assistance when toileting. They can be installed next to the toilet and used to hold onto while sitting and standing.
If it sounds like a stander pole meets your needs, I recommend this one:
Stander Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar
Toilet Safety Rails and Frames
Toilet safety rails and frames are an excellent alternative to toilet grab bars because they are usually installed right onto the toilet.
Many are height adjustable, so you can position them exactly where you need them. Plus, most are simple to detach from the toilet restoring it to normal.
There are freestanding models with four legs if you need a portable toilet grab bar option. Ensure that they are stable before using them, though.
We have a complete guide to the best toilet safety rails and frames if you want to learn more about this option.
Raised Toilet Seats with Arms
A raised toilet seat attaches to the toilet using the two exiting seat mounting holes or by clamping onto the existing toilet seat.
Some models come with arms too for assistance with sitting on or standing from the toilet. Many of these options are portable if you need a mobile option.
You can learn more about this option in our guide to the best raised toilet seats for seniors and the elderly.
Bedside Commodes (3-in-1 Commodes)
One final grab bar alternative is a bedside commode. You might think these are supposed to be used in the bedroom, right?
But if you remove the bucket underneath the seat, you can place the bedside commode over your existing toilet. Then, adjust the leg height, and it serves as a combination raised toilet seat and toilet safety frame.
You can use the arms on the bedside commode instead of a grab bar for steadying yourself.
See my recommended bedside commodes for the elderly to read up on this option.
How to Install Grab Bars: Quick Tips
To get the safety and security you expect; you must install grab bars correctly Here are a few helpful tips to do that:
- Follow the manufacturer’s installation directions.
- Use the hardware that comes with your grab bar. If you feel you need something else, call the manufacturer’s customer service department or consult with a professional.
- Ensure that at least one end of the grab bar attaches directly to wall studs. Use appropriate hardware and anchors as specified in the instructions.
- Install horizontal grab bars 30 to 36 inches as measured from the floor. The bar on the wall beside the toilet should be 42 inches.
- Measure the area where the bar will be installed and choose the longest length that will fit in the area. Don’t forget to take stud locations into account as well.
How I Chose My List of Top Grab Bars
For the last 20 years, I have worked for several medical equipment manufacturers and at a durable medical equipment company recommending toilet grab bars for patients.
I have also chosen and installed grab bars for elderly loved ones in my own family. So, I realized they all started to look alike, so how did I choose?
I looked at over 200 grab bar models to create these product reviews. Many weren’t long enough to use with a toilet.
I then narrowed my list based on my professional expertise and personal experience with the company’s reputation, quality, professionalism, and product offering.
From there, I chose the easiest ones for you to install, have a long track record of quality and safety, and offer you the peace of mind you want.
FAQ and Additional Resources
Who installs bathroom grab bars?
If you are concerned about correctly installing your toilet grab bars, call a trusted plumber, bathroom contractor, licensed handyperson, or general contractor who can install them.
Many larger cities have specialized companies that sell and install bathroom safety equipment like this.
Does Medicare cover grab bars?
Unfortunately no, grab bars are not covered by Medicare because they do not meet the strict definition of durable medical equipment.
However, many Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) will pay for them, as will some state Medicaid plans and many private commercial insurers.
Call the customer service number on the back of your card to check if your plan pays for a grab bar.
Are there ways to get free grab bars for the elderly?
If your insurer does not pay for grab bars and you cannot afford any of my recommendations above, there are some ways to get assistance. Patriot Mobility offers some of the following ideas:
- Contact the Veterans Administration if you are eligible.
- The Departments of HUD and Agriculture both offer grants or low-interest home improvement loans for bathroom modifications.
- Some long-term insurance plans cover them.
- Rebuilding Together might include them as part of a bathroom modification.
- If you have a specific condition like Parkinson’s or MS, check with the local chapters of those organizations for assistance.
- Look for used equipment online or at flea markets.
Toilet grab bars are vital to an elderly person’s bathroom safety plan. They help seniors sit on and stand up from the toilet and provide a handhold to steady themselves while standing.
It is best to install grab bars directly to studs for the best security and stability. If this isn’t possible, you should only use anchors and fasteners recommended by the manufacturer.
Better yet, contact a professional or contractor for installation. Inappropriately installed grab bars are unsafe. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended installation instructions.
The best option for using grab bars around the toilet is to place one horizontally behind the toilet and two horizontal ones on each side of the toilet that are about 42 inches.
If this isn’t possible based on the location of your toilet, this guide provides alternatives, including flip-up grab bars and other types of toilet safety equipment.
Always choose a grab bar with a weight capacity higher than the weight of the person using it. Non-slip and textured handles are another important feature.
If you also need information about choosing a shower grab bar, I have a separate guide (Best Shower Grab Bars) because they have slightly different requirements and installation guidelines.
I hope this information and product reviews have helped you feel confident enough to choose the best grab bars for your toilet needs and situation. Of course, if you have any other questions, please let us know in the comments below.