Power Toilet Lifts vs. Traditional Raised Toilet Seats: Which is Right for You?12/19/2023
An average person uses the toilet between 4-10 times per day1. This action is so commonplace that most people don’t think twice about it - you go into the bathroom, do what you need to do, and go on with your day. For those who have trouble getting on and off the toilet, however, bathroom visits require more thought and effort.
Getting up and down from the toilet requires greater strength than many realize. Several muscles are engaged when sitting and standing, but the quadriceps (located in the upper leg) are one of the primary drivers of this motion. This means that any kind of lower body weakness, due to injury, illness, or aging, can compromise the stability of this motion and make it difficult to sit down or stand up from the toilet.
As mobility decreases, fall risk increases – especially when there is no intervening assistance. Falls in the bathroom are a common cause of injury. The CDC published a report showing that over 200,000 people are injured within the bathroom in a given year, and that many of those injuries occurred “on or near the toilet.” 2
Many individuals who recognize they need assistance using the toilet will rely on a caregiver to help, but a caregiver alone is often not sufficient. Lifting people is hard work, and even trained healthcare staff can sustain injuries while attempting to move individuals. Bathrooms are also a particularly difficult area in which to try and maneuver someone, as they are frequently small, tight spaces with slick floors.
There are a number of toileting aids available that can make toilet use easier – with or without caregiver assistance. The type of aid that an individual chooses will be influenced by many factors, from pricing to level of mobility, but there are some key considerations that should be considered for safety and overall satisfaction. Here we will look at 2 different types of toileting aids and offer important points to consider when choosing which one to use.
Toilet Riser Seat
Also commonly referred to as an “elevated toilet seat”, a toilet riser seat is a popular toilet aid, due to its relative inexpensiveness and wide availability. This type of aid may be a good option for people who need minimal assistance getting on and off the toilet, but for anyone who needs moderate to advanced assistance, or requires any additional kind of modifications such as a bidet attachment, these simple risers are not the best choice.
Toilet riser seats are pretty basic. To install, the user simply removes the existing standard toilet seat and installs the raised seat in its place. The additional height provided by the elevated seat makes it easier to get on and off the toilet by minimizing the travel distance and therefore effort needed to perform the sit-to-stand motion.
Many people use these types of seats without any problem, but there have been reports of people being injured while using toilet risers3. Here are a few important considerations to maximize safety:
Get the right weight rating.
Many currently available toilet risers only have a weight rating of around 300-350 pounds, but there are a few that go up to about 600 pounds. Double check the weight rating before purchasing, as exceeding the weight limit could cause the plastic to crack or shift while in use.
Get the right height.
One height does not fit all – shorter individuals will need a shorter riser, while taller individuals will need a taller riser. Many toilet risers are sold in a few standard heights to cater to average height individuals, but typically will not be able to comfortably accommodate the shortest and tallest individuals.
Understand how it attaches.
Toilet risers attach directly to the existing toilet, but they do not all attach in the same way. Look for a riser that has good user ratings and attaches as securely as possible to the exact toilet it is intended for. The lift should not shift under the user’s weight and should not be used if it cannot be securely attached.
Consider long-term needs.
Toilet risers may be an acceptable short-term solution for those needing minimal assistance, but many people progress into needing moderate and eventually advanced assistance. Unfortunately, many may also not realize they need greater assistance until it’s too late and they’ve become stranded on the toilet – or even worse, taken a tumble.
Power Toilet Lift
A power toilet lift, as the name implies, physically lowers and lifts the user onto and up from the toilet. This type of aid is a better option for people who need moderate to advanced assistance or require most customization than an out-of-the-box toilet riser can offer. These types of lifts are more expensive that toilet risers, but in many cases offer a much safer, more user-friendly, and independent bathroom experience.
LiftSeat, a leading USA-based manufacturer of power toilet lifts, makes the most versatile lift currently available. The LiftSeat Independence models can be customized to accommodate shorter and taller individuals, weighing up to 450 pounds. All LiftSeat models can also be equipped with a bidet and be installed in the bathroom (directly over the existing toilet, no tools or modifications necessary) or be easily modified for bedside use.
Unlike a simple toilet riser that remains at a single height and angle, LiftSeat powered toilet lifts support the user throughout the entire site-to-stand motion. This means that many LiftSeat users require little to no caregiver assistance to safely use the bathroom, especially when equipped with a bidet. LiftSeat units can also be adjusted to have a slight tilt for users who prefer rising at an angle.
Compared to standard toilet risers, LiftSeat powered toilet lifts offer the following benefits:
- Greater support that minimizes fall risk.
- Minimal-to-no caregiver support needed.
- Very study – will not shift under weight.
- Customizable – can be modified to suit a wide range of needs.
- Offers a long-term solution to accommodate changing mobility.
While powered toilet lifts aren’t for everyone, the old adage, “You get what you pay for” definitely rings true here. For anyone who needs more than the occasional hand up from the toilet, a LiftSeat powered toilet lift offers a safe, long-term solution to maximize independence and comfort in the bathroom.
- Cottonelle® Canada. (n.d.). How much toilet paper should you use? Cottonelle. Retrieved January 16, 2023, from https://www.cottonelle.com/en-ca/tips-advice/toilet-paper-101/how-much-toilet-paper-do-we-use
- Department of Health and Human Services, Stevens, J. A., Haas, E. N., & Haileyesus, T., Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years --- United States, 2008 (2011). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6022a1.htm
- Associated Newspapers. (2008, October 23). Toilet trouble: Six people injured and one dead after falling off faulty raised toilet seats. Daily Mail Online. Retrieved July 25, 2022, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080018/Toilet-trouble-Six-people-injured-dead-falling-faulty-raised-toilet-seats.html
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.