Believe it or not, there are lots of options available for toilet seats!”
Toilet seats are available in a multitude of shapes, heights, widths, materials, and colors. Nowadays, toilet seats can also be found with specialized features such as heating, padding, night lights, bidet functionality, and more!
The ideal toilet seat type for you will depend on a number of things which include: your physical skills, height, weight, shape of the toilet bowl, budget, and aesthetic preferences.
We have provided a summary of toilet seat types and toilet seat accessories below, as well as some helpful things to take into consideration when choosing a new toilet seat to aid you in selecting a model that is best suited for your needs.
Toilet Seat Types & Styles
Open Front Toilet Seats
An open front toilet seat is preferred by many people because it has a number of benefits, which include: enhanced space for men who prefer to sit while urinating, a wider opening making it easier for men or women to reach down to wipe, and the cut out portion can make it easier for persons who need to manage a catheter or colostomy bag while seated on the toilet. A drawback is that there are more edges and places for skin to get caught or pinched.
Soft Padded Toilet Seats
A padded toilet seat can be a helpful addition for individuals who have sensitive skin or are prone to pressure sores. Most off-the-shelf padded toilet seats have a molded wood core with a vinyl covered cushion on top, providing a soft sitting surface. The soft toilet seats come with one unfortunate drawback though, which is that they usually do not last as long as a toilet seat made from a solid material, because the vinyl cover has a tendency to dry out and split over time. If you have a propensity for developing pressure sores and need even thicker toilet seat padding than the soft toilet seats provide, see the section on “toilet seat accessories” below.
Wide Toilet Seats
Wide toilet seats are beneficial for wheelchair users who rely on a lateral sliding transfer to move between their wheelchair and the toilet seat, providing increased sitting surface to land on. They also provide increased comfort for persons with wide bottoms or thighs and are usually designed to accomodate bariatric needs as well. Some models have a weight capacity of 2000 pounds.
Tall Toilet Seats
If you find yourself struggling to get up from the toilet, one option to achieve a taller toilet seat height is to swap out your existing toilet seat for a taller model. There are some two inch and three inch tall toilet seats available that have been specially designed with spacers attached to the underside to elevate the toilet seat higher above the bowl. Tall Toilet Seats usually look more elegant than the typical handicap toilet seat risers that get installed on top of the toilet bowl. They only add a few inches of height though, so if you need the toilet seat to be much higher, an elevated toilet seat or toilet seat riser is probably your best bet. These are discussed below.
Elevated Toilet Seats
An elevated toilet seat can be a helpful addition if you are tall, recovering from a hip surgery, or have arthritis in knees or hips, making it difficult to stand up. Elevated toilet seat models are available in different heights, typically ranging between 3 to 6 inches tall. Models will vary in the manner in which they attach to the toilet bowl. Some models just have a few inch lip at the bottom that nestles down inside the toilet bowl to prevent if from sliding around, some have a clamping mechanism to attach it to the toilet bowl walls, and some get attached to the bolts at the back of the seat. The latter type are typically the most secure.
Elevated toilet seats are available with or without handles. Models with handles can help provide you with extra leverage, making it easier for you to get up from the toilet. Make sure to confirm the space present between the handles is adequate for your needs and that the model selected is the correct shape for your toilet bowl (round or elongated).
Bidet Toilet Seats
Bidet toilet seats provide a steady stream of water to cleanse the genitals and anus after toileting, making it possible to perform toilet hygiene without the need for toilet paper. Toilet seats designed with bidet functionality are helpful if you are unable to reach down to clean yourself sufficiently due to limited arm reach. They are also helpful for persons with incontinence, making it easier to stay fresh and clean. Person with hemorrhoids and constipation, likewise report that bidet toilet seats provide benefits for them. To learn more about these types of toilet seats, visit Homeability’s guide on Bidet Toilet Seats.
Toilet Seats for Petite Adults or Children
A special toilet seat with two toilet seat sizes neatly joined together into one unit, can further be added to the toilet bowl to enhance comfort and safety for young children and petite adults. This type of toilet seat reduces the chance of slipping through the hole in the toilet seat, making it a good consideration for anyone with a little tush!
Heated Toilet Seats
If you dread landing on an ice cold toilet seat first thing in the morning, a heated toilet seat can help to make the morning routine more pleasant. It can be also be a helpful addition for persons with arthritic, achy joints that may be prone to being aggravated by cold temperatures. A heated toilet seat can be purchased by itself or can be found as a feature included with some bidet toilet seats.
Toilet Seats With With Night Lights!
Toilet seats with night light technology can be useful if you have visual deficits, making it easier to safely locate your toilet in the dark. Most models are motion activated, making them a good consideration for persons with memory deficits as well, who may forget to turn a light on as they make their way to the bathroom.
Toilet Seat Accessories
In some cases adding a toilet seat accessory to your existing toilet seat, may be enough to fix your problem without needing to replace the entire toilet seat.
- Toilet Seat Pads
Attaching a gel or air-filled pad to a standard toilet seat is an alternative to installing a padded toilet seat. Most air and gel-filled pads will provide better protection if you are prone to pressure sores or experience pain with increased sitting. A drawback is that they may move around a bit and will potentially need to be readjusted frequently.
- Toilet Seat Cushions
Applying a foam-filled cushion to the top of your toilet seat is another option for adding padding to a toilet seat. Models are available in different heights. Taller models can dual as an elevated toilet seat too. Most models connect to the toilet seat via velcro straps. Foam filled toilet seat cushions can have some drawbacks, which include: the cushions tend to break down and bottom out with time and they can wiggle a bit as you are transitioning on and off.
- Toilet Seat Covers
An alternative to installing a heated toilet seat is to cover the toilet seat using a Toilet Seat Cover. While Toilet Seat Covers can certainly help to prevent you from landing on a cold toilet seat first thing in the morning, we are admittedly quite leery of this option from the standpoint of hygiene. The reality is that splashing of bodily fluids can and does occur when people use the toilet. A Toilet Seat Cover might be worth a consideration if you live alone or you have your own private toilet in the home AND you plan to wash the seat cover regularly. Most covers are machine washable.
- Toilet Seats Night Lights
If you do not need a new toilet seat, but like the idea of having a night light to illuminate your path to the toilet at night, there are motion activated night lights available. They can be fixed to your existing toilet bowl or seat, allowing you to add this feature without needing to replace the entire toilet seat.
- Toilet Splash Guards
Splash guards (aka urine deflectors) help to contain the urine inside the toilet. They can be useful for young boys. They can also be helpful for adult males who sit on the toilet to urinate. In particular, adult males that may have some physical or cognitive difficulties that result in decreased toileting skills. Most models can easily be removed allowing a user to transition on and off the toilet and then can be reapplied once a user sits down. Some models come as a splash guard only that clips to the toilet bowl, while others come attached to a toilet seat reducer. A toilet seat reducer can be beneficial for young children, to prevent them from falling through the hole in the seat.
Things to Consider
When selecting a new toilet seat or toilet seat accessory, it is helpful to keep the following things in mind.
- No Return Policy: Due to FDA regulations toilet equipment purchased in the USA normally cannot be returned unless it is still sealed in the original packaging. Therefore, it is important to confirm the height, weight capacity, and features are appropriate for your needs prior to purchasing!
- Toilet Bowl Shape: Confirm the toilet seat or toilet seat equipment selected is compatible with your toilet’s bowl shape.
The Homeability Advice™
If you intend to install a new toilet along with a new toilet seat, we recommend to begin by visiting the Homeability guides: Best Toilet Bowl Shape and Accessible Toilet Types to learn about the features that make some types of toilets and toilet bowl shapes more easily accessible than others.
Many toilet seats will become loose and shift around with increased use. This can be problematic if you are someone who experiences difficulty with balance; you struggle to sit down on or stand up from the toilet; or you need to perform transfers by sliding sideways from a wheelchair seat to the toilet seat. Adding a simple product, such as a toilet seat stabilizer, can help to hold the toilet seat more securely in place.
More Topics You May Be Interested In
- “I can’t wipe myself!”: 6 Solutions to Make Toilet Hygiene Easier
- “I Can’t Get Up From the Toilet!” 10 Remedies
- Bidets: An Overview of the Basics
- Best Type of Toilet for a Wheelchair User
- Falls – Equipment to Help You Get Up Again