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Ultimate Guide to Tall Toilets for the Elderly (Plus 6 Cheaper and Easier Alternatives)

Summary (TL;DR):

Tall toilets have seats that are 16" to 20" from the floor to help elderly people get off the toilet easier. Before buying a new toilet, know how much space you have, how tall you need it to be, what style of bowl you prefer, the flushing system needed, and what your price range is. Some easier and cheaper options to replacing a toilet are using elevated toilet seats, installing a riser under your existing toilet, using a toilet safety frame, putting a commode chair over the toilet, or even using a powered toilet lift.

Here are my Top Picks:

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If you choose not to use them, I hope the information helps!

Needing help in the bathroom is a major source of stress and embarrassment no matter your age.

But, for many seniors and our elderly loved ones, it is necessary.

Often though, they just need help getting up from a seated position. And, this includes the toilet.

In this guide, I am going to show you the best tall toilets for the elderly. I am also going to give you some other ways you can raise your toilet without replacing it.

Video Guide: Tall Toilets for Seniors

Video created using InVideo video creator.

Tall Toilets = Comfort Height Toilets = Chair Height Toilets

Did you know that another name for tall toilets is comfort height toilets? Some even call them chair height toilets too. But, these terms all describe the same thing.

If you think about it, the reason for this is probably obvious. These toilets are usually a couple of inches taller than your standard potty. So, it is easier for you to get on and off of them.

Regardless of your age, it requires less effort to stand when you are starting from a higher point. This helps improve your safety in the bathroom overall.

man in wheelchair using a tall toilet for the elderly because it is easier to transfer to

Why Are Taller Toilets Needed?

Tall toilets are highly recommended for the elderly, the handicapped, and tall people in general.

What is the height of a tall toilet? Tall toilets generally have seats that are between 16 and 19 inches from the floor. Compare that to the standard toilet seat which is only 15 inches tall.

Some tall toilet models are also ADA compliant and meet the ADA guidelines for toilet height. Currently, the ADA recommends that the rims of toilets are 17 to 19 inches off of the ground.

Here are some of the reasons why tall toilets are needed:

Ideal for Tall People

If you are a tall person, you probably find the standard toilet’s height uncomfortable due to its low profile. With a tall toilet, you will find it much easier to stand up or sit down. This reduces the chance of joint and back aches.

Elderly users have distinctive needs and this also applies when it comes to buying toilets too.

Tall toilets are ideal for elderly users since their comfortable height makes it easier to get on and off the seat. This is especially important if you are suffering from arthritis or other conditions that make you weak or affect your joints.

Suitable for the Disabled

For disabled users, the ADA recommends toilet height ranges from 17 and 19 inches. This measurement is similar to a standard chair height.

So, if a member of your household uses a wheelchair, they can transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet easier since the heights are about the same.

toilet with a tall seat and handrails in the background

Important Features of Tall Toilets (Buying Guide)

There is more to buying a tall toilet than you may realize. You are probably changing out your toilet for safety reasons so make sure you know what to look for when shopping for comfort height toilets.

Consider these features of toilets:

Take Into Account Your Personal Space Requirements

This is one of the most important considerations. The last thing you want is to buy a toilet that doesn’t fit.

Look at the actual space the toilet takes up in your bathroom. But, also look at the surrounding space.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How much room is between the the toilet and the wall?
  • How much space do you have to maneuver around the toilet?
  • Do you have space needed to install rails or other devices too if needed?

Make sure you have plenty of space to move around and turn around before shopping for your new toilet.

Recommendation: Measure the width and length of your current toilet. If your space is tight, buy a toilet that is the same size or smaller (in width and length) than your current one.

How Tall Do You Need the Toilet to Be?

The height of the seat is another of the most important consideration when buying a tall toilet.

You want the toilet to be tall enough to get up and down from easily. But, it is also important that your feet touch the ground when seated. Especially if you have balance problems. The last thing you want is a fall from the toilet.

To figure out the toilet seat height for your needs, measure the lower part of your leg. Sit on a firm chair with your feet touching the floor. Have someone measure from the back of your knee to the bottom of your feet. This measurement is the approximate seat height you need.

Recommendation: Buy the tallest toilet that also fits you the best based on the measurements you took above.

Do You Need a Toilet That is ADA Compliant?

If you are buying the tall toilet for a disabled member of your household or a public place, it is important to ensure that it is ADA compliant.

ADA compliant means that the toilet meets the guidelines of the Americans with Disability Act.They recommend a seat height of 17 to 19 inches.

Recommendation: Everything else being equal, buy an ADA compliant toilet.

elevated toilet seat with handles

What Type of Bowl Do You Need?

There are 2 main categories of toilet bowl type – elongated and round.

Elongated bowls are longer in the front and more of an oval shape. This type is more comfortable because of that extra space.

Round bowls are almost perfectly circular. They are smaller and take up less space. So, they are best if you have a small area to work with.

It is important to note that the seat shape must match the bowl shape. Don’t forget this if you are looking to just replace the seat.

Recommendation: Choose a bowl shape based on your space requirements and your personal size.

Whoosh…. Think About the Flushing System and Water Consumption

The flushing system is an important consideration because some are more effective than others.

The flush shouldn’t use too much water when flushing but be powerful enough to clear the bowl.

Standard tank and lever systems are easier to use for the elderly because they are familiar with them. The levers don’t require a lot of force to push either. But, they use more water.

Power flushing systems use a lot less water because they force the water through the system faster at a higher pressure. But, these can be harder to activate. I have one at my home and it takes a good bit of force to push the button down all the way.

Most manufacturers tell you how much water per flush their product uses so you can know up front what to expect.

Recommendation: Go with the standard lever style flushing system for more elderly users. Familiarity and ease of use are more important than a little higher water bill.

Price and Warranty

Tall toilets generally do cost more than standard height toilets. But you can get a good one for around $300.00.

Look at the warranty period too. Especially for toilets with a power flushing unit. Of course, you want the longest warranty period you can get.

Recommendation: Buy a toilet that you can afford but that also meets your needs. If a cheaper option doesn’t meet your height needs, you are wasting money in the long run.

tall toilet in a disability friendly bathroom

Best Tall Toilets for Elderly People

Taking all of that into account, here are the best tall toilets for elderly people. Hopefully this will save you some time in your search.

(Just so you know, I do get paid a small commission if you buy from these links. It doesn’t cost you any more and helps me pay for the site. Many thanks in advance.)

Features

  • Bowl height from floor to top of rim: 20". Total height to the top of toilet seat: 21"
  • Adds bathroom safety. Helps sit down and stand up more easily. Helps prevent falls. Eliminates inconvenience of low toilets and elevated riser seats.
  • Approved by Board of Registration of Plumbers GF. Accepted by California Energy Commission (CEC)
  • May qualify for Tax Deduction as medical expense (see Pub. 502); seek Water-Saver rebate offered by some States
  • Water economy dual flush valve: 1.28 gal/full, 0.9 gal/light. Free expedited shipping ($120 value). Advanced packaging safe delivery

If you are looking to buy the best tall toilet, this model by Convenient Height is an excellent option.

The total height of the toilet from the bottom to the top of the seat is 21 inches (20 inches to the rim). This means that elderly, disabled, and tall family members or guests can comfortably use it.

The dual flush valve is great for saving water when using this toilet. The bowl uses 1.28 gal for a full flush and 0.9 gal for a light one. Its handle and valve are made of durable plastic material that won’t suffer corrosion over time if cleaned properly.

You can count on this tall toilet being efficient and durable for a long time. So, you won’t have to get another one anytime soon.

Pros

  • Conserves water with the dual flush system
  • Extra tall height is convenient for all kinds of users
  • Handle and valve made to last
  • Easy to install with a little plumbing experience
  • A slow-close seat is included

Cons

  • The seat is not as stable and firm as some users might prefer. Might need to add a better after market seat.

Features

  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • G-Max flushing system, low consumption (1.6GPF/6.0LPF), Elongated front bowl and tank set, less seat
  • Universal Height, Two-piece design with high-profile tank
  • 12" Rough-in, less supply, Water Use: 1.6 GPF/6.0LPF, Material: Vitreous china
  • Chrome trip lever, ADA compliant, in. Water Pressure: 8 psi (static)

The Toto Drake Toilet (TOTO CST744SSL#01) is another great option for your bathroom when it comes to tall toilets. It has a sleek design that makes it an asset to any bathroom. It also helps you save water since it uses just 1.6 gallons per flush.

The Toto Drake Toilet is ADA compliant with a comfortable height and elongated shape and is a popular option for elderly users. The height of the bowl is 16.5 inches so taller seniors may need to add an elevated toilet seat (or choose another option). While it does meet the ADA guideline, there are taller options available.

The toilet uses 8 psi water pressure and a special flushing system to deliver a powerful flush. It comes with a SoftClose seat, which means that you never have to worry about it slamming and disturbing people in the middle of the night.

Pros

  • It saves water with each flush (uses just 1.6 gallons)
  • The SoftClose seat means that there’s no seat slamming
  • The advanced flushing system delivers a strong and reliable flush.
  • The seat has an elongated shape and comfortable height
  • Easy to install and clean

Cons

  • The design of the seat makes it a bit tricky to attach it
  • Because of the tank lid design, you cannot put anything on it

Features

  • WOODBRIDGE is a registered trademark - Please make sure the box has the "WOODBRIDGE" logo on it. If not, you may receive a counterfeit product. Please refuse the delivery and contact Amazon immediately.
  • Luxurious modern Design with Rectangle Button - Clean, sleek look and compliment with different styles
  • Easy-to-Clean Design - The skirted trapway creates a sleek look and makes cleaning easier
  • Siphon flushing Design - Fully glazed flush, bringing super quiet & powerful flushing - NO clogs, NO leaks
  • All-in-One Package Design: Includes toilet, pre-installed toilet seat, wax ring, floor bolts, and installation instructions

The Woodbridge brand is a popular choice when it comes to buying the best tall toilet for your needs. The T-0001 features a seamless modern design not only for elegance but also with ease of upkeep in mind. There are fewer nooks and crannies and smoother angles which makes it easier to clean.

The flush system offers 2 options: a partial flush that delivers 1.0 gallons per flush and a full flush that uses 1.6 gallons. The siphon flushing system delivers a powerful yet silent flush. This reduces the chance of a clogged pipe.

The seat is at the comfort height level (17″) which makes it a good option for elderly users.

Pros

  • Design is sleek and modern with a skirted design for easy cleaning
  • Fits all kinds of bathrooms
  • Easy to install without special tools
  • Silent flush system
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Flush buttons located on top of the tank so users have to first lower the lid to reach the buttons and flush the toilet

Features

  • Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
  • Combination bowl and tank with seat. PowerWash rim scrubs bowl with each flush
  • Oversized 3 inches flush valve. Chrome-plated trip lever
  • Siphon action jetted bowl with smooth-sided, concealed trapway
  • EverClean surface inhibits the growth of stain and odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew on the surface

The American Standard (2988.101.020) Cadet 3 is a 2-piece system with an impressive bowl and cistern design. It uses an advanced flushing system that can handle over 1000g of solid waste in just 1 flush. It has a large siphon trap way to reduce clogging and there are no choking points.

The Cadet 3’s powerful flush only uses 1.28 gallons per flush, which is close to 20 percent less than a typical model. The surface of the Cadet 3 is also easy to clean and resistant to mold and mildew.

The height to the top of the bowl is 16.5 inches. If you use the included seat, the total sitting height will be about 17.5 inches.

Pros

  • Uses just 1.28 gallons of water per flush
  • It comes with everything you need to install it
  • Silent closing seat feature
  • Powerful flush system
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • If the bowl breaks, you might have to replace the entire toilet

Features

  • Comfort Height feature offers chair-height seating that makes sitting down and standing up easier for most adults
  • Concealed trap way facilitates easy cleaning and enhances design; Flush valve's 3:2 ratio harnesses the natural force of gravity and optimizes flush performance.
  • Standard left-hand Polished Chrome trip lever included, seat and supply line not included
  • Aqua Piston canister allows water to flow into the bowl from all sides (360 degrees), increasing the power and effectiveness of the flush
  • Durable canister design has 90% less exposed seal material than a 3 in. flapper, for leak-free performance

The Kohler Memoirs comfortable height toilet comes with chair-height seating that makes sitting on it and getting off as east as standing from a chair. It is a 2-piece toilet that combines water-saving flush performance with an excellent style.

The Kohler Memoirs has a concealed trap way that allows for easy cleaning while enhancing the overall performance. The company designed the nooks and crannies for stress-free cleaning. Its exterior performance is improved with a chrome trip lever.

The toilet height is 16.5 inches to the top of the bowl. Note that this toilet does not come with a seat! So, you can decide what height you need with this toilet by choosing the seat thickness you want. Some options are below.

Pros

  • Comfortable height seat
  • Powerful flush that eliminates clogs
  • Efficient with water use

Cons

  • Seat sold separately
commode chair over an elderly person's toilet

Cheaper Alternatives to Replacing Your Toilet

You might not be ready, willing, or able to replace your entire toilet right now. Sometimes a home remodel is just not possible.

Or, you might not have the money for this kind of expense. And that’s ok!

Fortunately, there are other ways to make toilets taller and easier to use.

Following are some of the most practical bathroom accessories that I recommend to my patients when it comes to raising your toilet:

1. Replace Your Current Seat With a Taller One (Adds 1″ – 2″)

One way to achieve a higher toilet seat height is to remove the current one and replace it with a taller toilet seat.

These specially designed tall toilet seats come with spacers attached to the underside. Installing a taller toilet seat is a simple and seamless ways to raise the height of an existing toilet seat.

There are some limitations, though. This method works best when you only need to add an inch or two to your toilet height.

Here are some examples:

2. Install a Toilet Riser Under the Existing Toilet (Adds 2″ – 4″)

Installing a toilet riser under the existing toilet is yet another option if you don’t want to replace the toilet.

These elevated platforms install underneath your existing toilet. A little plumbing knowledge is required for installation. But, overall, it’s not that difficult.

Toilet risers come in different heights that range between 2 and 4 inches.

If you are curious how these install, here is a video that walks you through the steps.

Here are some examples:

3. Install Elevated/Raised Toilet Seats (Adds 4″ – 6″)

Installing an elevated toilet seat involves removing your existing toilet seat and replacing it with a toilet riser that also acts as a toilet seat. Elevated toilet seat models come in different heights with the average being somewhere between 4 and 6 inches.

Elevated toilet seats come with or without handles. Models with handles provide additional leverage which makes it easier to get up from the toilet.

Elevated toilet seats also have different mechanisms for attaching to the toilet bowl. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them precisely for safety. For the safest install, I suggest you only use models that bolt to the toilet through the existing seat holes.

This video shows you how to install a raised toilet seat:

CAUTION: My professional opinion is to avoid the blow molded models that sit on the toilet rim, clamp on, or “snap” on. While those are convenient when other people use the toilet, they are less stable than models that bolt on to the existing seat holes on the toilet.

4. Install a Toilet Safety Frame

Installing a toilet safety frame over the toilet is yet another option.

These devices don’t actually raise the toilet seat height. Instead, they provide raised arms give you more leverage for pushing yourself up to stand.

Toilet safety frames have a reputation for being unsafe also. This is true especially if they are not installed correctly.

Often, people just set them on the toilet. But, they must be bolted to the toilet (in the seat attachment holes) for safe use.

This video walks you through the installation of a toilet safety frame.

There are a few models that are designed to be used as stand alone frames. If you choose one of these, read the instructions thoroughly and research their safety history by reading reviews of actual users.

Here are few recommended models:

5. Use a Bedside (3 in 1) Commode Over Your Existing Toilet (Adds 3″ to 7″)

Bedside commodes were designed for use by people who couldn’t make it to the bathroom.

There is another use for these though. You can remove the commode bucket from them and place them over top of your toilet.

The vast majority of 3 in 1 commodes come equipped with adjustable height legs and a seat. The adjustable legs raise the seat to a height of between 18 and 23 inches.

Most models also come with a hard plastic liner. Place the liner between the commode and toilet to make sure all contents are deposited directly into the toilet. This reduces splashing because it fills the gap between the potty chair and the toilet seat.

Some models come even come with drop away arm rests that allow wheelchair users to slide directly from the seat of the wheelchair to the commode seat. Folding models are also available for portability. Some models also have a padded seat for people with pressure-sensitive skin.

This video shows you how this works:

Here are some examples:

6. Use a Mechanical or Powered Toilet Lift

A mechanical toilet seat lift is yet another option to enhance the height of your toilet seat. These options aren’t really cheaper. But, they save you the mess and effort of replacing the existing toilet.

Mechanical toilet seat lifts help you get on and get off the toilet. Some have pneumatic lifting systems or springs that provide additional support when getting up. Others rely on electricity or batteries and can fully assist you from a seated to a standing position.

Mechanical or powered toilet lifts typically vary in their maximum heights. Some of the electric models are able to raise the toilet seat as high as 26 inches!

RELATED POST: Best Bathtub Lifts for Seniors

Some models come equipped with wheels, which is quite helpful if you are having trouble walking to the bathroom. The wheels allow the caregiver to push you into the bathroom before positioning the chair on top of the toilet.

Here is an installation guide for this type of product:

FAQ about Taller Toilets

How tall is the standard toilet?

The height of a standard toilet is about 15 inches from floor to seat

How tall are comfort height toilets?

The height of comfort height toilets typically ranges between 17 and 19 inches.

Does the ADA recommend a toilet height?

The height of comfort height toilets typically ranges between 17 and 19 inches.

What is the difference between a round bowl and an elongated bowl?

The key difference between a round bowl and elongated bowl is the shape. The round bowl resembles a circle and tends to extend less into the bathroom while the elongated model tends to protrude outward into the room from the front, because of its oval shape. The elongated bowl is approximately 18.5 inches long on average while the round toilet is about 16.5 inches long on average. The round bowl is the conventional, traditional type, while the former has a more modern appeal.

What is the highest toilet you can get?

The highest toilet you can get is between 20 and 21 inches in height.

What does “chair height” toilet mean?

The industry standard for toilet heights is from 14 to 15 inches from the floor. In contrast, chair height toilets range from 17 to 19 inches from the floor to the rim. Tall toilets are called chair-height toilets because they are about the same height as a chair (19 to 20 inches).

toilet with a tall seat

Summary and Final Recommendations

The aging process is inevitable while disability is nobody’s choice. So, you don’t have to put an end to your independence because of either.

By knowing their options, seniors aging in place can be confident and comfortable right in their own homes.

Installing tall toilets for elderly people can make a huge difference in your ability to properly and safely take care of yourself. The extra inches of height require less effort, energy, and concern whenever you visit the bathroom and you can keep some of your independence intact.

Which option is better? Replacing the toilet or adding an assistive device to your current one? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Also, if you found this article helpful, please share on your favorite social media.

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About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

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