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Tall Toilets for Elderly Seniors (For A Safe & Comfortable Bathroom)

Tall Toilets for Elderly Seniors (For A Safe & Comfortable Bathroom)

Tall toilets have seats that are 16" to 20" from the floor to help elderly people get off the toilet easier. Learn about the best options as well as some less costly and labor-intensive methods to raise your toilet seat height.
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®
By:
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®
Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

With over 20 years of experience and certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®, Scott Grant provides reliable recommendations to help seniors maintain independence through informed product and service choices for safe, comfortable living.

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Tall Toilets For Elderly
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Income Disclosure.

What You Need To Know

Elderly Toilet Height Recommendations:

  • Standard toilet height is 15 inches, while the recommended height for elderly and disabled people is 17 to 19 inches.
  • Before purchasing a taller toilet , measure the height from the floor to the top of the toilet seat to ensure the appropriate height for the user.
  • Installing an incorrect height toilet can lead to discomfort, increased fall risk, and difficulty using the toilet.

Options for Raising Toilet Height:

  • Raised toilet seats can be added to the existing toilet to increase height. These are available in various heights and can be attached with screws or clamps.
  • A toilet base riser can be installed between the toilet base and the floor to raise the entire toilet. This option requires professional installation and may require adjustments to plumbing.
  • Taller toilets can be purchased to replace the existing toilet, requiring professional installation.

Additional Features to Consider:

It is crucial to consider the user’s specific needs and abilities before purchasing a taller toilet. We provided this article to share out experience with you so that you can make an educated decision – Keep reading!

Video Guide

Ultimate Guide To Tall Toilets for the Elderly

My Recommended Tall Toilets for the Elderly

Here are the taller (and extra tall) toilets I recommend based on my 20+ years of experience working with seniors in the durable medical equipment industry.

2-Piece 1.28/.09 GPF Dual Flush Elongated 20 in. Extra Tall Toilet in White, Seat Included

Convenient Height Extra Tall Toilet (20 inches)

from 1.28
20 inches high
Elongated Bowl
Dual Flush System
120 pounds

This extra tall toilet by Convenient Height Company is an excellent option because it offers many of the same features as the bigger brands but at a lower price. Plus, it is one of the tallest toilets on the market!

The total height of the convenient height toilet from the bottom to the top of the seat is 21 inches (20 inches to the rim). This means the elderly, disabled, and even 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 gals for a light one.

Its handle and valve are durable plastic materials that won’t suffer corrosion over time if appropriately cleaned. Plus, it is easy to activate for aging hands, even those with arthritis.

It is durable, long-lasting, and will stand the test of time.

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.

TOTO CST744SL#01 Drake 2-Piece Ada Toilet with Elongated Bowl, Cotton White

TOTO Drake 2-Piece ADA Toilet with Elongated Toilet Bowl (16.5 inches)

$410.24
as of 02/23/2024 4:49 am
16.5 inches high
Elongated Bowl
Commercial Grade Flushing
110 pounds

The Toto Drake Toilet (TOTO CST744SSL#01) is another excellent option for your bathroom regarding 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 an elongated toilet seat and is a popular option for elderly users.

The bowl’s height is 16.5 inches, so taller seniors may need to add an elevated toilet seat (or choose another option). While it meets the ADA guidelines, taller options are available for those who need them.

The toilet uses eight psi water pressure and a unique commercial-grade flushing system to deliver a powerful flush.

It comes with a SoftClose seat, meaning you never have to worry about it slamming and disturbing people in the middle of the night.

I also like that the handle is located on the side of the tank, so there won’t be any interference with the toilet seat lid or other toilet safety devices.

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 a 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

WOODBRIDGE T-0019 Cotton Toilet, White with Chrome Button

WoodBridge Dual Flush One Piece Extra Height Toilet (17 inches)

$308.00
as of 02/23/2024 4:49 am
17 inches
Elongated Bowl
Push Button Flush System
120 pounds

The Woodbridge brand is popular for those who need a tall toilet but prefer a more modern-looking design.

The T-0019 extra-height toilet features a seamless modern design with elegance and ease of upkeep in mind. There are fewer nooks and crannies and smoother angles, making cleaning easier.

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

A push button activates the flush system on the top of the tank. This is an excellent location because it won’t get blocked by other equipment. But it takes a good firm push to flush.

The seat is at a comfortable height level (17″), making 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

2988.101.020 American Standard Cadet 3 Flowise Skirted Seat Round Front Toilet with Seat Chair Height

American Standard Cadet 3 Right Height Round Front (16.5 inches)

from $285.00
16.5 inches high
Round or Elongated Bowls
Right or Left Hand Flush Levers
75 pounds

The American Standard (2988.101.020) Cadet 3 is a 2-piece system with an impressive bowl and cistern design. The smooth outer finish is easy to clean and won’t gather dust and debris like other toilets. It is even mold and mildew resistant.

It uses an advanced flushing system to handle over 1000 g of solid waste in just one 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 nearly 20 percent less than a typical model.

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.

I love the flushing lever on this toilet because it is wider than most. This makes it easier for people with hand weakness or arthritis to use it.

Another reason to choose this one is that it is widely available at most home supply retailers.

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

KOHLER K-3817-U-0 Memoirs Stately Comfort Height Toilets, White

KOHLER Memoirs Stately Comfort Height Elongated Toilet (16.5 inches)

from $475.87
16.5 inches
Elongated Bowl
High-Efficiency Flushing
105 pounds

The Kohler Memoirs comfort height toilet comes with chair-height seating that makes sitting on it and getting off as easy 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 that allows 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. However, it is small and could be hidden because it is on the front of the tank.

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 size you need with this toilet by choosing the seat thickness you want.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Seat sold separately

A Quick Tutorial About Toilet Heights

Toilet heights can vary greatly. If you have ever shopped for a new toilet for your home, you’ve seen the long aisles full of various options at your local home supply store.

When you see a toilet height mentioned, it is essential to understand that it is the height from the floor to the top of the bowl. It is not the height of the top of the toilet seat itself. It is also not the height to the top of the tank.

graphic illustrating the heights of the different styles of toilets
Comparison of Standard vs Comfort vs Extra Tall Toilets

Common toilet heights:

  • Standard Height Toilets are usually 15 to 16 inches tall. Although, some manufacturers are squeaking by at 14.5 inches and then rounding up.
  • Chair Height Toilets are generally 17 inches tall because this is the average height of a chair. A chair-height toilet is also often referred to as an ADA Compliant toilet.
  • Comfort Height Toilets is a marketing name created by Kohler Co. for their taller toilets. Like often happens in the retail market, this term became the generic word for tall toilets. This term is used for toilets that range from 17 inches to 19 inches.

Best Toilet Seat Height
For the Elderly

  1. The best toilet seat height for the elderly is 17-19 inches off the floor. 
  2. The easiest way to raise your current toilet seat height is to install a raised toilet seat that adds between 2 and 5 inches to the existing seat. 
  3. A more labor-intensive option is installing a flange extender to raise the entire toilet a few inches off the floor. 
  4. If you can’t adjust the height of your current toilet, purchase a taller “comfort height” toilet that is pre-made to the recommended size for older adults. 
  5. Remember that the height stated on a toilet’s specifications is the height of the toilet bowl rim and does not include a seat which will add another inch to the total height.

If you’d really like to get into the details of toilet heights, see this article from Sunrise Specialty.

How Does Toilet Height Affect Seniors and the Elderly Specifically?

Generally, older adults who struggle while standing up from the toilet will benefit from a higher toilet because it takes less effort and leg strength to push themselves up.

But there are a few other considerations that you should take into account when choosing the best toilet height for seniors and the elderly.

What is the User’s Height?

It is essential to how tall a user is; more specifically, though, their leg length matters. If you consider a human seated, the length from the bottom of the foot to the back of the thigh determines the proper chair and toilet height.

Can A Toilet Be Too Tall?

Absolutely, a toilet can be too tall.

Families tell me, “I want the highest toilet I can get!” But this isn’t a good solution either.

Why?

Because sitting on a toilet that is too tall with your feet dangling can lead to leg and back pain and even cut off the circulation to your legs and feet. Standing with numb lower extremities is a terrible idea for an elderly person and could cause a fall.

So, taller adults require taller toilets, while shorter adults can get by with shorter ones.

How Can You Get The Right Sized Toilet?

If you really want to geek out over getting your toilet at the optimal height, sit your loved one on a chair with a firm surface. Ensure their knee is close to a 90-degree angle and their feet are flat on the floor. Then, measure from the floor to the back of the thigh.

That measurement is the minimum height you should choose. Often, the optimal size is to add 2 inches to that measurement because this makes it easier to stand while also allowing you to keep your feet on the floor.

graphic explaining how to measure for the proper height of toilet
How to Measure for the Right Height of Toilet

Buying Guide: Key Decision-Making Factors

There is so much more to buying a toilet than you may realize. Here are the crucial features of toilets specifically as they apply to older adults and bathroom safety.

Take Into Account Your Space Requirements

Because you don’t want to buy a toilet that doesn’t fit, look at the space your toilet takes up. Also, look at the surrounding area. Take measurements of your current toilet (length, width, and height) and take those to the store with you.

Elongated bowl toilets are usually narrower than round bowl toilets.

How High Do You Need the Toilet to Be?

You should know this from the lower leg measurement you took in the previous section. Choose a toilet that is that height plus about 2 inches. Don’t forget to take the seat size into account and any accessories like bidets or raised toilet seats.

What Type of Bowl Do You Need?

There are two main categories of toilet bowl types – elongated and round.

Elongated bowls are longer in the front and have 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.

Of course, the seat shape must match the bowl shape. Don’t forget this if you are looking to replace the seat.

Whoosh… Think About the Flushing System and Water Consumption

The flushing system is essential 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.

Don’t forget the flush handle also. Standard tank and lever systems are easier 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 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 upfront what to expect.

Toilet Style

Toilets come in one-piece and two-piece designs. While many people think this is a matter of design, there are some practical reasons to choose one over the other.

One-piece toilets are easier to clean and maintain because they don’t have seams where dirt and grime can hide.

On the other hand, two-piece toilets are easier to replace if you crack your tank. With most of them, you can replace just the tank portion without replacing the entire toilet.

How Much Work Is Needed to Install It?

Unless you plan a new bathroom space, you should consider removing the old toilet and installing the new one.

This isn’t a project for the faint of heart. Let’s face it – it’s dirty work and labor-intensive.

If you will be installing it yourself, read the installation manual and ensure you have everything you need, including new seals, etc.

You could hire a plumber to replace it if it’s more than you want to tackle. I have some other options below that don’t require as much work.

Price and Warranty

Tall toilets generally do cost more than standard-height toilets. But you can get a good one for around $300 to $500.

Look at the warranty period, especially for toilets with a power flushing unit. Of course, you want the most extended warranty period you can get.

Cheaper Alternatives to Raising the Height of 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!

Here are some practical bathroom accessories you can use to raise your toilet height:

graphic showing alternative devices to use instead of installing a taller toilet
Alternatives to Installing a Taller Toilet

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

One way to achieve a higher toilet seat height is to replace your current seat with a thicker one.

These specially designed tall toilet seats come with spacers attached to the underside. Installing a thicker toilet seat is a simple and seamless way 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.

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

Another option is to install a toilet riser under the existing toilet. These elevated platforms raise your toilet from the bottom – think of it as a large spacer.

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

One of the most popular options is the Toilevator which is available at multiple retailers.

Toilevator Toilet Riser, 11-1/2"W x 23"L x 3-1/2"H, 500-lb Capacity

Toilevator Toilete Elevator

from $94.95

This video shows you how to install a toilet riser, so you’ll know if this is a project you want to tackle or not.

toilevator install vid 0001

3. Install A Raised Toilet Seat (Adds 2″ – 6″)

Installing an elevated toilet seat involves removing your existing toilet seat and replacing it with a raised seat. Some raised seats bolt through the existing holes, while others snap or clamp onto the current seat. These products can add 2 to 6 inches in height.

They also come with or without handles. Models with handles provide additional leverage, making it easier to stand up from the toilet.

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

How to Install a Raised Toilet Seat with Assembly | Carex Raised Toilet Seat

CAUTION: My professional opinion is to avoid the blow-molded models that simply sit on the toilet rim. While those are convenient when other people use the toilet, they are less stable than models that bolt onto 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 raise the toilet seat height. Instead, they provide raised arms to give you more leverage for pushing yourself up to stand.

Toilet safety frames have a reputation for being unsafe also. But this is because most people don’t install them correctly. They must be bolted to the toilet (in the seat attachment holes) for safe and secure use.

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

How To Assemble The Toilet Safety Rail - Vive Health

A few models are designed to be used as stand-alone frames and have more supportive bases. If you choose one of these, read the instructions thoroughly and make sure you install and use them correctly.

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

Bedside commodes are designed for people with mobility problems who cannot get to the bathroom safely.

But there is another use for these, though. If you remove the commode bucket and place it over your toilet, it becomes a raised toilet seat.

Most 3-in-1 commodes have adjustable height legs and a seat. The adjustable legs raise the seat to a height between 18 and 23 inches.

The best bedside commodes also come with a hard plastic liner. Place the liner between the commode and the toilet to ensure all contents are deposited directly into the toilet.

This reduces splashing because it fills the gap between the potty chair and the toilet seat. It will save you some clean-up as well.

Some models even come with drop-away armrests 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:

The Easiest Way to Install a Bedside Commode Frame Over the Toilet for Extra Support

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. This option will cost you more, but it saves you the mess and effort of replacing the existing toilet.

Mechanical toilet seat lifts use pneumatic lifting systems or springs that provide additional “push” when getting up. Others rely on electricity or batteries and can fully assist you from seated to standing.

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

Some models come equipped with wheels, which is helpful if you have 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.

The Carex Commode Seat Riser is a popular product in this category and is available at multiple retailers.

Carex Uplift Commode Assist Lifting Seat

Carex Uplift Toilet Seat Lift

from $165.29

Here is an installation guide for this type of product:

Toilet Seat Lifter | Power Tilt Toilet Lift Installation Video

FAQ

How tall is the standard toilet?

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

Does the ADA recommend a toilet height?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends that toilets be 17 to 19 inches tall, measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat, for disabled people. This toilet height is also called comfort height and chair height toilets.

How tall are comfort height toilets?

Comfort height toilets are typically 17 to 19 inches in height, which is the same as ADA-compliant toilets.

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

The critical difference between a round bowl and an elongated bowl is the shape. The round bowl resembles a circle and tends to extend less into the bathroom, while the elongated model protrudes outward 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 tall.

Summary and Final Recommendations

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

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

Installing tall toilets for elderly people can make a huge difference in your ability to properly and safely care for yourself.

The extra height requires 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? Please tell me what you think in the comments below!

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

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Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

Scott Grant, CSA®, SHSS®

With over 20 years of experience and certifications as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®, Scott Grant provides reliable recommendations to help seniors maintain independence through informed product and service choices for safe, comfortable living.

Learn More Email

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