Going to the bathroom is one of the everyday tasks that can become tricky when you get older, or if you have certain disabilities or are recovering from surgery. It might be challenging to get on and off the toilet if you have decreased balance, strength or coordination, says Valerie Ulene, MD, medical director and co-founder of Boom Home Medical.
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"In situations like these, a raised toilet seat is often helpful," Dr. Ulene says.
How do they work? It's fairly straightforward: They're placed on top of your toilet bowl to increase the height, making it easier — and safer — to use. With this extra elevation, you won't have to lower your body as much to sit on the toilet, nor will you have as great a distance to cover when it's time to stand up.
The Best Raised Toilet Seats
- Best Overall: Carex Toilet Seat Riser, Elongated Raised Toilet Seat ($34.98, Amazon)
- Best Raised Toilet Seat With Handles: Vive Toilet Seat Riser With Handles ($74.99, Amazon)
- Best High Rise Toilet Seat: RMS Raised Toilet Seat ($99.97, Amazon)
- Best Hinged Raised Toilet Seat: NOVA Medical Products Hinged Toilet Seat Riser ($69.53, Amazon)
- Best With a High Weight Capacity: Bemis Independence Clean Shield Elevated/Raised Toilet Seat ($127.24, Amazon)
- Best Portable Raised Toilet Seat: AquaSense 770-610 Portable Raised Toilet Seat ($25.69; Amazon)
How We Chose
Shopping for a raised toilet seat can feel daunting because there are so many options to choose from, Dr. Ulene says. You want to ensure your purchase will meet your needs and your height and weight. You should also consider if you prefer handles. Another important consideration: If you'll be using the product for short-term recovery or for the long term.
When making our selections, we considered the following criteria:
- Weight capacity
Best Overall: Carex Toilet Seat Riser, Elongated Raised Toilet Seat
Dr. Ulene's top selection for a universal toilet seat riser is this affordable option from Carex, with a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds.
Though, yes, you should be mindful of your specific goals with a toilet seat riser, generally speaking, Dr. Ulene says it's less complicated to shop for one than it may seem. "For starters, although some seats are marketed for individuals with specific needs, most seats work well for a broad range of people, including patients recovering from surgery, people with disabilities or seniors," she says.
This versatile toilet seat riser is easy to install and works on most standard toilets (including round and elongated seats).
Best With Handles: Vive Toilet Seat Riser With Handles
Limited mobility can make it hard to lower yourself onto the toilet since it requires you to balance in a squat-like position. It can also be tricky if you're recovering from surgery and can't place your full body weight on your legs.
Sturdy, safe handles can provide extra support. Dr. Ulene selected this toilet seat riser with handles since it fits most round and elongated bowls. As a bonus, the handles can also be removed if you have company over or you no longer need them after recovery, but still want the added height from the riser.
This toilet seat riser is easy to install and clean.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $74.99
Best High Rise: RMS Raised Toilet Seat
If you're tall, a raised toilet-seat that adds a couple of inches might not be sufficient. That's where a high-rise option — like this one — can help, adding five inches.
This toilet seat riser includes plush padded arms. Many reviewers appreciated the ease of installation, as well as the sturdiness. Since it's so elevated, you won't have to bend too much to sit, which can be particularly helpful for people recovering from knee or hip surgery.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $99
Best Hinged: NOVA Medical Products Hinged Toilet Seat Riser
If you anticipate only needing a riser in the short term, this temporary option is convenient. Instead of replacing your toilet seat and lid, this riser fits under the seat.
It fits the majority of elongated seats. When installed, it adds up to 3.75 inches — that's ideal ideal if you're on the shorter side, but note that your feet may dangle if you're 5'5" or taller. Installation is simple, and all the material you'll need, aside from a screwdriver, come in the package. It's also easy to remove.
While this isn't the best choice for an older adult who will need a raised toilet seat on an ongoing basis, this might be the best pick for a person recovering from surgery over a few months.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $69.53
Best With a High Weight Capacity: Bemis Independence Clean Shield Elevated/Raised Toilet Seat
The weight capacity is one of the most critical shopping notes to be mindful of when looking for a raised toilet seat. The vast majority of those available maxes out at around 300 pounds. If your weight is higher, you run the risk of cracking the seat or having it collapse under you when you use it.
This raised toilet seat allows up to 1,000 pounds. It raises up three inches and provides a larger seat for improved comfort. It's made for elongated toilet seats, and it easily lifts up to clean.
Buy it: Amazon; Price: $127.24
Best Portable Raised Toilet Seat: AquaSense 770-610 Portable Raised Toilet Seat
When you require a raised toilet seat at home, you also require one on the go. Since many are bolted to your bowl or have handles that lock to the side, they aren't exactly easy to pack.
If you're traveling, you can bring along this portable option. While it might not offer the same sturdiness, it does offer the height you require. Made of lightweight plastic with a textured surface, it fits most commode bowls without blocking the drain.
What to Look For
The toilet seat's height is one of the most important considerations. "A seat that's too low will be hard to get in and out of, while a seat that's too high will make it difficult to sit on securely," Dr. Ulene says. Most raised toilet seats are available in three standard heights: two, four or six inches, she says.
To help decide what's best for you, Dr. Ulene recommends following these steps:
- First, measure the distance from the floor to just above the back of the knee of the person who will be using the toilet riser.
- Next, measure the height of the bathroom toilet from the floor to the top of the seat.
- Finally, subtract the height of the toilet from the length of the person's lower leg. This will give you the approximate height of the raised toilet seat that's needed.
Handles or No Handles
When you struggle to squat to use the bathroom, having handles to lower yourself slowly is extremely helpful.
"Handles allow people to use their upper body strength to help lower and raise themselves on and off the toilet. They also support individuals who may become unsteady when getting on or off the toilet," Dr. Ulene says.
But, they do change the overall appearance of your bathroom, and can sometimes be difficult to install. If you only anticipate needing handles for a short period of time, look for options with removable handles.
Seat Shape and Design
Although many raised seats are constructed with simple, flat surfaces — similar to a regular toilet — some have contoured designs, Dr. Ulene says. "Contoured seats accommodate the body's natural shape, and some people find them more comfortable to sit on," she says.
You should also check to see if you have a round or an elongated toilet seat and base your purchase on if the riser can fit atop your commode bowl.
Keep in mind that if you have a bidet attachment, you might need to remove it in favor of the riser.
Padding can be especially helpful for individuals with skin sensitivity or breakdown on their buttocks, Dr. Ulene says. "And, of course, for anyone who simply doesn't like how a cold, hard toilet seat feels," she says.
Plus, a padded seat can be helpful if you're prone to your legs falling asleep on the toilet.
Does Insurance Cover This Purchase?
Generally speaking, your riser probably won’t be covered by insurance. Raised toilet seats are not covered, per policy guidelines from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That said, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health spending account (HSA) you may be able to use those accounts to purchase a toilet seat riser.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.