How Far Should a Grab Bar Be From the Toilet?

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

For safe use when toileting, the ADA says grab bars should be located 12 inches from the center of the toilet and at least 24 inches from the opposite side, putting them within easy reach.

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Far a Grab Bar Be From the Toilet

Grab bars must be at least 36 inches (915 mm) long and should be located on the back wall behind the toilet.

It must reach from the center of the toilet to one side at least 12 inches (305 mm) and at least 24 inches (610 mm) from the opposite side.

These locations make them easily accessible when needed. Here are other factors to have in mind.

If you are looking for new grab bars for your toilet, click the link to read our buying guide.

3 Factors to Consider When Installing the Grab Bar

Before determining how far a grab bar should be from the toilet, we need to understand where you will install the grab bar relative to the toilet.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also provides specific guidelines and standards on grab bar installation. Here are a few things to consider.

1. Location and Placement

Grab bars should be installed on the wall closest to the toilet. This proximity allows for easy usage whenever someone is either sitting, standing, or transferring from a wheelchair.

In addition, the guidelines stipulate installing a grab bar behind the toilet. Why, you may ask? This bar helps the caregiver maintain stability and balance while assisting the user.

2. Strength of Grab Bars

A standard grab bar should be of a solid frame that does not have rotating fittings. They should also be installed where there is reinforcement in walls.

Further, grab bars should be able to support up to 250 pounds of force exerted onto them, a figure that should be more than adequate.

3. Grab Bar Diameter and Spacing

Grab bars with a 1¼” diameter are comfortable to use as they are not too thick. There should be a 1½” spacing between the grab bar and the wall.

The grab bar should also be at least 12 inches away from harmful objects. This distance provides a safety barrier in the event of slippage or a fall.

how far grab bar from toilet types
You need to consider the bar type before its installation.

Types of Grab Bars In The Toilet

When installing grab bars, you need to consider the bar type. This decision is primarily influenced by the bar’s location, surrounding areas, and, more importantly, the user of the bar.

Another important consideration is how long the toilet grab bar should be.

Here are some examples of grab bars to ponder through.

Entrance Grab Bars

Why do you need an entrance bar? Well, most falls and incidences occur when entering the bathroom, and thus a properly positioned entry grab bar may help reduce the chances of injury.

Typically, they are installed between 30 to 36 inches from the bathroom floor.

Vertical Grab Bars

These bars can be installed vertically or at an angle, providing more flexibility, especially when standing. They are versatile and can be used by all people.

The top of horizontal grab bars should be 33″-36″ off the floor in toilets and showers. In ADA Transfer showers, the lower part of the vertical bar should be 3″-6″ above the horizontal bar on the wall.

Back Wall Grab Bars

As mentioned above, grab bars at the back wall of the toilet help caregivers maintain their posture and stability while assisting. They are typically installed 33 to 36 inches above the bathroom floor.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

When it comes to the safety of seniors in the bathroom, any additional safety features are always welcome. In particular, grab bars help improve stability and posture to avoid falls and subsequent injuries.


Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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