Questions to Ask When Considering a Power Toilet Lift05/14/2022
Powered toilet lifts are very helpful for individuals who have trouble getting on and off the toilet. An ideal lift can make using the bathroom safer and easier, but how do you know which lift is right for you? Here is a helpful list of questions to ask when shopping for a powered toilet lift to make sure you are getting the most benefit - and the most bang for your buck.
1. Is the toilet lift manufactured in the USA?
Does it really matter where the lift is made? Yes! Lifts that are manufactured in the US have a few advantages. First, it is easier to get in touch with customer service and troubleshoot any problems that may arise. Additionally, products made in the US are typically manufactured with higher-quality parts. So, if long-lasting quality and ease-of-access to customer service are important to you, consider going with a US-made lift.
LiftSeat, EZ Access, and Stand Aid are manufactured in the USA. Mountway is manufactured in the UK and Dignity Lifts are manufactured in China.
2. Is the lift a registered medical device with the FDA?
Safety is one of the most important features to consider in a toilet lift. Make sure you find out whether the lift is listed a registered medical device by the FDA. If it is, you can be sure that it was manufactured under the strictest safety standards.
LiftSeat and Mountway are registered as a medical device with the FDA. The other lifts are not listed under device listings.
3. Is the lift free of pinch-points?
The last thing you want is to catch a finger or piece of clothing in the mechanics of a toilet lift. Some lifts have “pinch points” where joints of the lifting mechanism come together and can cause injury. Look for a lift that is pinch-point free – especially if the user has severely limited mobility or cognitive impairments.
LiftSeat, Mountway, and Dignity DL-1 do not have any pinch points. EZ Access tilt and Stand Aid do have pinch points.
4. Does the lift raise you up to an ideal height?
A lift should raise the user to a height where they can easily transition to a standing position. If the lift does not come up high enough or raises too high, its puts additional strain on both the user and caregiver. 11 inches of lift (at the position where your hip is aligned when seated on the lift, not from the rear of the lift) is an ideal amount of lift that allows the user to comfortably return to standing.
LiftSeat, Dignity DL-1, Mountway all lift roughly 11 inches at the buttock’s position. The Stand aid lifts straight vertically only and is 13 inches of lift.
5. Does the lift tilt? If so, is the tilt ideal?
Some lifts follow a straight up and down path, while others follow an arcing path that guides the user forward while lifting them up. Both types are commonly used, but most lifts only offer one or the other. Look for a lift with the option to switch between them since you may not know which style you prefer until you try it.
For models that offer an arcing tilt, any angle above 20 degrees creates undo stress on the quadriceps when lifting the person from the seated position. Greater angles can cause a person to slide which could cause skin irritation as well.
The LiftSeat has approximately 15 degrees of tilt and is the only lift that has the unique ability to be set to raise with an arcing tilt or straight vertically. The Mountway and Dignity lift both have angles of 33 degrees.
6. Will the lift support the user’s weight?
Most lifts support about 300 lbs. For individuals over 300 pounds, make sure to confirm the weight limit.
The LiftSeat Independence IV has the highest weight capacity of any at-home toilet lift with a capacity of 450 lbs.
7. Is the toilet large enough?
Elongated toilet seats are preferred by many. The larger hole prevents leakage and helps keep the seat cleaner. Toilet seats that are removable also make cleaning easier, so if low maintenance and ease of cleaning are important features, look for a lift that has an actual toilet seat vs. a single solid unit.
Mountway and Dignity have an integrated toilet hole (no actual toilet seat) this is smaller (approximately 10 inches front to back and 9 inches across). LiftSeat, Stand Aid, and EZ Access all have standard elongated toilet seats, with 12 inches front to back and 8 inches across. LiftSeat also has a soft seat option.
8. Is the lift easy to install?
Some lifts must be mounted directly to the toilet. Mounting to the toilet can create issues with the stability of the toilet and cause leaking around the wax ring. There are other lifts that are free-standing and install over the existing toilet – without any need for tools.
For both direct-mounted and free-standing lifts, it is also important measure the bathroom space to ensure the unit with fit. Double check the width of any lifts you are considering against the bathroom measurements before purchasing.
Only LiftSeat and Mountway do not have to be mounted to the toilet. LiftSeat also has one of the most compact profiles and can fit into even the smallest bathrooms.
9. Can the lift be adjusted to accommodate different heights?
The lift height is a very important consideration. Ideal seating height is dependent on an individual’s height, so shorter people will need lifts that begin at a lower position and taller people will need to make their lifts being at a higher position. Consider the default seating height and check for the ability to modify height using accessories to make sure the lift can be used safely and comfortably.
The LiftSeat Independence 1 has one of the lowest available seating heights at 17 inches. The height of LiftSeat units can also be adjusted up to 8” and modified even further with adjustable feet as needed. On Mountway and Dignity lifts, the lowest seating position is 18.5 inches and height adjustability is minimal (up to 4 inches). EZ Access and Stand aid are not adjustable at all.
10. Can you make a side transfer onto the lift?
Not everyone will need to make side transfers onto the toilet, but it is a nice option to have available, especially if mobility is expected to decrease over time.
LiftSeat and Mountway can accommodate side transfers with a retractable handlebar. Dignity and EZ Access handlebars are stationary so you cannot to a side transfer.
11. Can the remote or button operation be used on either arm rest?
For individuals who have diminished use of a particular hand or arm, the freedom to operate the lift with either hand (or in some cases a foot) is crucial. Be sure to confirm where the controls for the lift are located and whether their location is fixed or movable.
LiftSeat hand controls can be used by either the left or right arm. LiftSeat also has a large button control for people with limited dexterity in their fingers, as well as a foot control option. Mountway and EZ Access Tilt can also be configured for use by left or right hand. Dignity’s controls are permanently affixed on the right and can be hard to manipulate due to their small size.
12. Are AC and/or DC power options available?
Some lifts only operate on battery power. This can occasionally cause trouble when the batteries malfunction or someone forgets to charge them. Many people enjoy being able to plug their lift directly into a wall outlet and not having to worry about charging a battery. Power outages are not uncommon, however, so having back up battery power is a must. Look for lifts that offer both AC (wall plug) and DC (battery) power for maximum insurance that the lift will always be ready to use.
LiftSeat runs on AC power and has 2 battery options available, one for back up power and another for full battery power all the time. Mountway and Dignity are DC power all the time, although Dignity can be plugged into a power outlet at the same time. Although, the Dignity unit also uses a Lithium-ion battery, which can be dangerous when not handled properly.
13. Are the handlebars adjustable (or can they be removed)?
One-size handlebars do not fit all. Petit individuals typically prefer more a narrow setting, while larger individuals may need a wider position. Some people may also want to remove the handlebars completely to accommodate grab bars instead.
LiftSeat handlebars can adjust with two mounting positions narrow & wide, or they can be removed totally if grab bars are preferred. Dignity, EZ Access, and Mountway do not have removable nor adjustable handlebars.
14. Is the lift portable?
Portability is a great feature for individuals who may need to use their lift bedside. Look for features like locking wheels and bedside commode options.
LiftSeat has locking wheel options to accommodate traveling and an inexpensive commode bucket option for bedside use conversion. Stand Aid also has a travel version of their product. No other lifts can be used away from the toilet.
15. Are the electronics waterproof?
Since powered toilet lifts are used in the bathroom, where they have the potential to get wet, it is important to look for lifts that have waterproof electrical components. Some lifts are more water resistant than others. Look for lifts that have a higher IP rating (IPX6 or above) – a IP rating with a higher number corresponds to a higher degree of water resistance.
LiftSeat and EZ Access controls are IPX6 rated which means they can withstand high pressure sprays from water. Dignity and Mountway are IPX4 rated which is splash resistant. Stand Aid is not rated.
16. Can you add a bidet to the lift?
For individuals that need assistance cleaning after using the toilet, a bidet maximizes independence. Check to see if the power toilet lift you are considering will work with a bidet – even if you don’t need it immediately, it may be something you want to add later.
17. Can the lift be modified after purchase?
Knowing exactly what you need from a toilet lift (and how your needs are going to evolve over time) before you purchase is challenging. Often, people will use a toilet lift for a week or two, and then realize that a few small modifications need to be made. Some lifts are more customizable than others, so ask about what accessories/modifications can be added to the lift after it’s been purchased to avoid frustration.
LiftSeat is the most customizable power toilet lift currently on the market. All LiftSeat accessories can be added at any time, so you can continue customizing your unit as your needs change.
18. Can the lift be returned?
Power toilet lifts are not inexpensive, so if you aren’t sure whether it’s the right choice, check the return policy before buying. Many lift manufacturers charge a restocking fee, or do not offer returns at all. Visit the manufacturer website to get the full details of their return policy to avoid a pricey mistake.
LiftSeat offers free returns. All other lift manufacturers have a restocking fee or do not allow returns.
19. Is there a good warranty?
Typically, the better the lift, the better the warranty. Lifts made with inexpensive parts that are more likely to break will often have shorter warranties. 2 years is a standard warranty for a powered toilet lift, so don’t settle for anything less than that.
LiftSeat, Mountway, and EZ Access have 2-year warranties. Dignity and Stand Aid have 1-year warranties.
20. Are there any customer reviews?
One of the easiest ways to get helpful information about a toilet lift (or any product for that matter) is to check the customer reviews. If you can’t find any reviews, be wary. You should also look for mixed reviews – if a product/company only has positive reviews, it’s likely they aren’t real.
LiftSeat has over 250+ reviews (4.8/5.0 rating). EZ Access has around 65 reviews. Mountway has roughly 10 reviews, while Dignity only has about 4 reviews.
21. Can you easily get in touch with customer service and support?
Good customer service is crucial. So is responsiveness. For a product like a power toilet lift that will be used every day to perform a crucial function, it is important to have easy access to a knowledgeable customer support team that can quickly assist with troubleshooting or questions. The last thing you want is to have an issue and not be able to get in touch with anyone to resolve it.
LiftSeat customer representatives are very knowledgeable and can answer any questions an individual may have prior to purchasing. We can walk you through our “Fit Guide” to help select the proper equipment for your needs and make long term recommendations if a person’s condition changes. Many other lift manufacturers have been reported to be unresponsive, especially after purchase, and difficult to get ahold of.
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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.