If you or someone you know is elderly or physically disabled, taking care of nature’s most basic needs can be a challenge. A 2011 report indicated that 235,000 people get injured in the bathroom every year. These injuries increase sharply for people above the age of 85, and a significant percentage are related to using the toilet.
But injury is only one concern. Age and increasingly limited mobility can be distressing, especially when it means losing independence and privacy. Toilet lifts are a simple way to help keep you safe while protecting these qualities. In this article, we’ll compare the different types of toilet lifts and the pros and cons to help you make the best decision for your needs.
What is a Toilet Lift?
A toilet lift is an apparatus that helps people get on and off the toilet. It is designed for those who have limited mobility due to injury, illness, aging, or disability. By providing support while users get on and off the toilet, a toilet lift helps preserve independence, privacy, and dignity during bathroom use.
Toilet lifts come with a variety of functions and designs, but all of them serve the same basic purpose: to provide extra support in the bathroom.
So, who might need to use a toilet lift?
- Seniors and other users who have reduced leg strength; these people might use a walker or a wheelchair to get around.
- People recovering from abdominal surgery or other procedures that make it difficult to stand and sit independently
- People with limited balance who are at risk of falls, especially in the bathroom
- Seniors who may find it painful to sit on a traditional low toilet
- People with other forms of limited mobility, especially those who live alone
How Does a Toilet Lift Work?
At their most basic, toilet lifts work simply by providing a raised seat, usually with arms. Some are simple stands that fit over the toilet to provide support while the user gets on and off the seat.
Others are more complex, with electronic components that raise and lower the user with the push of a button. They may even have special attachments such as pressure sensors and bidets.
Types of Toilet Lifts
So now that we know what toilet lifts are and what they do, let’s talk about the different types of toilet lifts. These range from fairly basic to fairly complex, so it is worth detailing the differences between each.
Basic Toilet Lift
The most basic toilet lifts are essentially an extra seat that fits over your regular toilet. This usually locks into place or simply grips onto the toilet seat. A basic toilet lift is just a raised seat that provides a higher surface for users, which means they don’t need to lower themselves so far to use the bathroom. A basic toilet lift can be a good choice for those who have home help or who only have minor problems with balance and mobility.
Pros of basic toilet lift: easy to install, saves space, effective and safe, subtle
Toilet Lift with Bar
A toilet lift with a bar is a great choice for people who live alone or who have issues with balance. This model includes a raised seat as well as a handlebar or several handlebars either in front of or alongside the toilet. This adds an extra security feature and reduces the risk of falling while getting on or off the toilet.
Pros of toilet lift with bar: reduces risk of falls and injuries, saves space, helps user have more independence in the restroom
Powered Toilet Lift
A powered toilet lift is a machine that helps lower the user from a standing position to a sitting position and raises them up when they are finished using the toilet. It operates with the push of a button. A powered toilet lift can be an excellent way to help people who have very little mobility and balance, especially those who don’t have help at home.
You will need to get a powered toilet lift professionally installed to make sure it works. Depending on the model, it may also need to be adjusted to your height so that it supports you from standing to sitting and back again.
Pros of powered toilet lift: provides significant extra support and safety, especially for those who have limited mobility and balance
Hydraulic Toilet Lift
Hydraulic toilet lifts are a type of powered toilet lift. The key difference in some cases is that the user doesn’t need to lower themselves into a sitting position at all. Instead, the seat lifts to align with the user while they are standing and then adjusts to help them first lean back, then sit.
They don’t need to try to sit independently, which means that a hydraulic toilet lift may be the best choice for people who need maximum support in the bathroom. It is usually operated with a hand remote or button on the lift.
Pros of hydraulic toilet lift: don’t require users to lower themselves into a sitting position; provides maximum support for those with little to no mobility and balance
Portable Toilet Lift
A portable toilet lift, as the name implies, is a toilet lift that can be packed and moved from place to place. This is a convenient option for those who need help in the bathroom while traveling. A portable toilet lift may attach to the toilet or simply slide over the top of it. It can be used in any bathroom including public restrooms if necessary.
Pros of portable toilet lift: Can be used anywhere, can be packed and brought out of the house, doesn’t require installation
Toilet Lift with Bidet
Some toilet lift models come with a bidet attachment, either a handheld one or one that is built into the lift itself. This is usually operated with a remote or a button on the apparatus.
A toilet lift with a bidet can be an excellent option for users who don’t have the bodily independence to clean themselves after using the toilet. If you don’t have help at home, a toilet lift with a bidet can help preserve hygiene and independence in the bathroom. Any model of toilet lift may have a bidet attachment, though the complexity may vary depending on the components of the lift itself.
Pros of toilet lift with bidet: helps users maintain bathroom hygiene with more independence
Toilet Lift Brands and Popular Models
There are many options for toilet lifts. But if you’re not quite sure where to start, here are our recommendations for the top toilet lift brands and popular models.
The Solo Toilet Lift features a battery-powered motor to help users safely get into a seated position. It is designed to follow the body’s natural movements during standing or sitting, providing support while letting the user remain independent. The model also has armrests to help increase balance and support during use.
The EZ-Access Toilet Lift is a battery-powered lift that helps provide a safe bathroom experience by lowering the user into a seated position. The most unique feature of this model is that the toilet seat can tilt forward, making it easier to get on and off the seat. This also positions arms better so the user can hold a grab bar for better balance. The EZ-Access toilet lift is a mid-range price and can be installed in just 15 minutes.
The Tush Push Toilet Lift is a universally compatible model that is guaranteed to fit on almost any toilet. It features a touch button control handset to help you operate it easily from any position. While it is an electronic model, the Tush Push is easy to install and is even portable!
The Dignity Toilet Lift is an extra-sturdy model with a weight capacity of 300 lbs. It comes with two grab bars for extra stability and a smooth motor that helps gently ease the user into a sitting position. It is also extra wide and tall to fit larger toilet models and provide extra stability.
Toilet Lift Prices
Unsurprisingly, toilet lift prices can vary widely based on the model you buy and the extra features it includes.
At the lowest end, the most basic toilet lifts may be between $30 and $50. These simple models are essentially raised toilet seats that slide or attach onto the existing toilet and don’t usually have many extra attachments or features (though you can find ones with grab bars in this price range).
Powered toilet lifts that require professional installation will of course cost much more. These start between $500 and $700 but may be up to $1700 depending on the electric components, installation requirements, and extra features.
So while toilet lifts can quickly get expensive, especially if you need a more complex model, there are also budget options that can make your bathroom a safer and more comfortable space.
Where to Buy Toilet Lifts
If you want to find exactly what you’re looking for, you may want to buy your toilet lift online. You can browse the options on sites like Amazon or directly on the manufacturer’s site. This also makes it possible for you to get the product delivered right to your door.
If you prefer to compare products in person, you can also find toilet lifts at home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. Bear in mind, however, that your options might be more limited in a store.
Toilet Lift FAQs
Common Problems to Consider Before Buying
When you consider what kind of toilet lift you want to buy, there is more to look at than simply design and price. Consider other attachments and features, especially additional comfort and safety features.
Additionally, make sure you review aspects such as:
- Weight limit
- Hand grips
- Floor grips
- Size (make sure to measure your bathroom space!)
- Adaptability (not every toilet lift can fit with every toilet model)
- Safety features (including mechanical components — choose quality models to avoid mechanical failure)
Choosing the right toilet lift can help you or a loved one retain independence, comfort, and safety in the bathroom. This can make a significant difference for seniors or people with special needs, especially in their sense of dignity and self-reliance.