What Is A Comfort Height Toilet? (Everything You Need To Know)

Adjustable height toilet seat which can be fitted over your existing toilet bowl, often used by the elderly or disabled to aid in getting up and down or transferring from a wheelchair.
Toilet Rough In Dimensions
Toilet Rough In Dimensions

You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the accessibility of toilets until you need to.

People who have limited mobility, have disabilities, or are elderly can have trouble using regular toilets, which is where comfort height toilets come in. If you’re not familiar with this variety of toilet models, this may sound confusing, but a comfort height toilet is actually very easy to explain.

Comfort height toilets are toilets that are slightly taller than average toilets, about 17–19 inches off the ground. They make it easier to get up and sit down from the toilet seat, which is beneficial for people with mobility issues.

Before installing a comfort height toilet, you should learn more about these models because comfort height toilets are not beneficial for everyone.

Here is what you need to know.

What Is A Comfort Height Toilet?

A comfort height toilet is a toilet that is slightly higher than a standard height toilet. While standard toilets are usually about 15 inches, or 38 cm, off the ground, comfort height toilets are slightly taller at 17 to 19 inches, or 43–48 cm. (Link)

This height is actually mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, for accessible toilets. (Link)

When shopping for comfort height toilets, you may come across the same concept with a different name, depending on the manufacturer. Some companies call these models chair height toilets because their height approaches that of a dining room chair (standard toilets are slightly lower). Other brands call them universal height toilets or right height toilets.

Japanese toilets are usually around this height even if the manufacturer doesn’t specify that it’s a comfort height model because this height is more common in Japan.

Higher toilets are beneficial for many people, including:

  • Tall people
  • Elderly People
  • People with disabilities

The taller height makes it easier to sit down and get back up instead of crouching down to find a lower seat.

For people with limited mobility and weaker muscles, something as simple as getting onto a toilet seat is difficult, so even a few inches can make a world of difference.

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Comfort height toilets are the same height as standard wheelchairs, making movement from a wheelchair to the toilet much easier.

Sitting on a comfort height toilet is also much easier on joints and the lower back, particularly for people who have injuries or chronic joint pain.

Even for someone who doesn’t have mobility issues but is just tall, comfort height toilets can be a lifesaver when it comes to sitting down.

Is There A Toilet Higher Than Comfort Height?

Comfort height toilets are not the highest you can go. Some standard toilets are as high as 20 or 21 inches off of the ground. (Link)

However, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding these extra-tall toilets in your local hardware store. For most of these, you have to seek out specialized manufacturers or even get a custom-built toilet.

If you want your toilet to be even higher, then you should look into wall-mounted toilets.

Wall-mounted toilets are installed directly on the wall instead of on the floor. This means that you can adjust the height during installation to make them as high as 28 inches.

However, wall-mounted toilets and other extra-high toilets are only worth it if someone in your household is extremely tall, for example, taller than seven feet.

Everyone else might have trouble using such a tall toilet, particularly people with limited mobility and shorter people.

In addition, wall-mounted toilets are far more expensive to install than regular toilets because you need to install the tank separately.

Are Comfort Height Toilets Good For Everyone?

Comfort height toilets have a nice name, but in reality, these toilets are not comfortable for everyone. (Link)

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t buy comfort height toilets, depending on who is in your household.

Children

Once children are potty-trained, that doesn’t mean their problems with using toilets are over.

Even regular toilets can be challenging for small children, who may even need a step-stool to sit down comfortably.

Higher comfort height toilets are even more difficult for small children to get onto. Risks of injury when getting onto the toilet for children are surprisingly high, and the taller your toilet, the more likely that your child might slip or trip. (Link)

Stick to a regular-height toilet for small children, especially if you’re looking into a comfort height toilet just for comfort, not accessibility.

Shorter People

In addition to children, full-grown adults who are on the shorter side might struggle with comfort height toilets.

The height of comfort height toilets, 17–19 inches off the ground, is too high for some people to comfortably rest their feet on the ground.

Dangling your feet every time you use the toilet is not just embarrassing if you’re an adult, it could also be bad for you as it affects your circulation. You don’t want to get up from the toilet only to discover your foot has fallen asleep! (Link)

People With Digestive Issues

The higher height of a comfort height toilet makes it easier to get up and sit down because you are closer to an upright position. However, the closer you are to an upright position, the harder it may be to have normal bowel movements.

Health experts say that squatting is the easiest, most natural position for your bowel movements, hence the popularity of squat toilets and squatting stools. (Link)

Comfort height toilets take you further away from this position, meaning you could have trouble with your movements.

If you already have problems with chronic constipation, then a comfort height toilet is not the best idea.

Even if you don’t already suffer from digestive issues, think twice before getting this type of toilet unless you really need it because you don’t want to cause problems for yourself down the road.

When To Get A Comfort Height Toilet?

Comfort height toilets are extremely beneficial for some people, particularly those with limited mobility, but they are not for everyone.

If you have people with shorter legs in your household, whether children or adults, or want to buy a toilet that is good for your digestive health, think twice before buying a taller toilet.

If you have to get a comfort height toilet to accommodate someone in your household, one way to make it accessible for everyone is to have a step stool available.

Step stools can help people with shorter legs comfortably sit on the toilet. The step stool will also raise your feet to a comfortable squatting position, making it easier to perform bowel movements. (Link)

What Can You Install Instead Of A Comfort Height Toilet?

As mentioned above, comfort height toilets are not beneficial for everyone.

It is also expensive to buy and install a new toilet, so you probably don’t want to go to the added expense unless you absolutely have to.

So what are you supposed to do if you have mixed accessibility needs in your house or can’t afford to install a comfort height toilet but have someone who will benefit from the added height?

Here are a few alternatives:

Raised Toilet Seats

Raised toilet seats are toilet seats that are 2–6 inches thick instead of the standard very thin seats. (Link)

The seat attaches to your regular toilet bowl. Some raised toilet seats come with additional accessibility features, such as handles on the side that make it easier to get on and off the toilet seat if you have limited mobility. (Link)

Raised toilet seats offer many of the benefits of a comfort height toilet. They raise users up, so they don’t have to squat low to use the toilet and, therefore, limit the risk of injury.

Raised toilet seats have a few advantages over comfort height toilets. For example, they are far more affordable, with some models costing as little as $20.

They are easily replaceable. If you need a higher toilet seat temporarily, for example, when recovering from hip surgery or an injury, you can install a raised toilet seat. It’s easy to switch back to a regular toilet seat after you recover.

However, raised toilet seats are less stable than comfort height toilets. If the clamps come loose, they could move around, potentially causing injury if someone has limited mobility.

They also look clunky. If you know that a higher toilet seat is something you need on a long-term basis, then investing in a comfort height toilet is the way to go.

Toilet Seat Riser

If you like your existing toilet seat or are just looking for an alternative to raised toilet seats, you can get a toilet seat riser.

Toilet seat risers are elevated devices, usually about 2–4 inches tall, that fit under your existing toilet seat. You can attach them directly to your toilet bowl, usually with bolts.

Toilet seat risers are a good alternative if you want to keep your existing toilet seat and don’t want to go through the hassle of installing an entirely new toilet.

You can buy toilet seat risers with handles for safer and easier transfer to the toilet seat (Just make sure that the handles are wide enough to accommodate your hips.).

However, you have to be careful to solidly attach toilet seat risers to your toilet bowl and seat to prevent any loose movements that could destabilize someone. (Link)

Toilet Frame

A toilet frame is a metal frame that goes around the toilet. It has handles on either side, a raised commode, and liners that fit the toilet bowl and ensure everything that needs to go down the drain goes down the drain.

Toilet frames are great for a variety of accessibility needs because you can adjust them in many different ways. (Link)

If someone in your household has skin that is very sensitive to pressure, you can get a cushioned commode.

The handles on the frame fold down for wheelchair users, and you can even adjust the height of the legs depending on your needs.

Toilet frames also fold away easily when you are not using them. If you don’t want to have a toilet frame out when you have people over, you can fold it away.

Some toilet frames are portable, which is a bonus when traveling and you need to make hotel bathrooms accessible.

However, toilet frames are much bulkier than raised toilet seats or toilet lifts. They are also more expensive.

Depending on your accessibility needs and budget, installing a comfort height toilet may be worth the trouble instead.

Mechanical Toilet Seat Lift

If your main trouble with using the toilet is sitting down and standing up, but the height when you sit to use it is just fine, then a mechanical toilet seat lift can solve your problems. (Link)

Mechanical toilet seat lifts are contraptions that go over your regular toilet seat and are usually supported by a frame on the side. Using pneumatic mechanisms, batteries, or electricity, the seat slowly rises up, helping you reach a standing position.

Mechanical toilet seat lifts also come with additional features that could meet your accessibility needs.

Check how high the toilet seat lifts, you’re looking for rises—some go as high as 26 inches. You may also want to have a seat lift with wheels that functions similarly to a toilet frame.

Why Should You Get A Comfort Height Toilet?

You have a few alternatives if you don’t have room in your budget for a brand-new toilet, but sometimes getting a comfort height toilet just makes more sense.

If you know you will need a higher toilet in the long-term, as opposed to a short-term period as when recovering from an injury or surgery, then it makes sense to invest in a comfort height toilet. That way, you don’t have to deal with the eyesore of bulky toilet seats or constantly adjusting toilet seat risers.

If a comfort height toilet is enough to meet your accessibility needs, then it isn’t worth going to the trouble of installing and learning how to use a toilet frame or toilet seat lift. However, these alternatives make more sense if your accessibility needs are more complex.

Finally, if the reason you are looking into a comfort height toilet is that you are too tall to sit on regular toilets comfortably, then replacing your toilet completely is the best solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions other people interested in comfort height toilets also asked:

Q: What Is The Difference Between Chair Height And Comfort Height Toilets?

A: There is no difference between chair height and comfort height toilets.

Chair height toilets are also slightly taller than regular toilets, standing at 17–19 inches off the ground. They are called chair height toilets because they are about the same height as dining room chairs.

Different manufacturers just use different terminology for the same thing. Another common name for this toilet seat height is the universal height toilet.

Q: Which Is Better, A Round Or Elongated Toilet?

A: Toilet height is not the only factor to consider when you’re thinking of accessibility; the shape of the bowl also plays a factor.

The ADA recommends elongated toilets for better accessibility. Longer, wider bowls are usually easier for people with mobility issues to get up from. Elongated bowls are also more hygienic because there is less splashing, particularly when men or young children use them.

Newer accessible toilets come with elongated bowls, while older toilets still have round bowls.

Q: How Do I Know Which Toilet To Pick?

A: There is no easy answer for which toilet to buy. Consider your household’s accessibility needs, your budget, and any needs you anticipate for the future.

For example, if you live with someone who is aging and need to replace your toilet, it’s worth it to invest in a comfort height toilet. On the other hand, if you have young children who still have a lot of growing to do, a standard height toilet is more than enough.

The Final Word On Comfort Height Toilets

Comfort height toilets, also known as chair or universal height toilets, are toilets that are a few inches taller than standard height toilets.

They are usually 17–19 inches off the ground. Already popular in countries such as Japan, comfort height toilets are catching on because they make it easier to get on and off the toilet.

Comfort height toilets are much more comfortable for some people. For example, taller people find it easier to sit on these toilets instead of lower standard toilets.

People with limited mobility, such as the elderly and people with disabilities, find it easier to get onto comfort height toilets (There’s a reason this height of 17–19 inches is mandated by the ADA.).

Before you rush to buy a comfort height toilet, you should know that this type of toilet is not for everyone.

For shorter people, including children, the taller seat is uncomfortable to reach and sit on. It also disrupts the body’s natural movements, particularly affecting people with constipation.

You can always look into alternatives such as toilet frames and raised seats.

For long-term ease getting on and off the toilet, however, there is nothing better than a comfort height toilet.

Sources: 

www.greatseniorliving.com / www.legalbeagle.com / www.toiletseek.com / www.southwestplumbing.biz / www.cpsc.gov / www.saveourwaterrebates.com / www.npr.org / www.huffpost.com / www.healthline.com / www.forbes.com / www.rehabmart.com / www.liftseat.com /