What To Know About Chair Height Toilets Vs Standard Sizes

chair height style toilet vs standard

Toilets are essential fixtures to any home, allowing family members and individuals to “eliminate” products of digestion and metabolism safely and effectively. Although toilets come in different styles and designs, one attribute remains the most crucial – toilet seat height, leading homeowners to ask what to know about chair height toilets vs standard sizes.

Too tall, and some family members might find fecal elimination uncomfortable. Too low, and the user might feel cramped when using the toilet inside a bathroom.

Taking sides in the ongoing chair height toilet vs. standard toilet debate is easier if prospective buyers know their differences. This article explores the variances between a chair-height toilet and a standard unit to help homeowners and other individuals make the right decision. [toc]

What is a Chair Height Toilet?

chair height toiletA chair height toilet is a type of toilet that is taller than a standard residential toilet. A chair, or comfort height toilet looks like any other commode with a bowl and elements for flushing human waste, except it is slightly taller, often mimicking the height of a standard chair (hence, the name “chair-height).

The ADA requires a chair-height toilet to feature a toilet seat 17 to 19 inches or 43 to 48 centimeters from the toilet floor. 

Here are some key details about chair height toilets:

Height – Chair height toilets have a seat height between 17-19 inches, compared to the standard 15-inch height according to Delta Faucets. This makes them more accessible for those who have difficulty sitting down or standing up from a standard toilet.

Design – They feature an elongated bowl design and often have comfort height seating as well according to Kohler. This extra height makes it easier to sit down comfortably and stand up without strain.

ADA Compliance – Many chair height toilets meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for accessibility. ADA compliant models must have a seat height between 17-19 inches.

Usability – The added height of these toilets makes them easier to use for those with limited mobility, knee or hip problems, or for the elderly. The higher seat reduces strain.

Installation – Chair height toilets generally require no special additional installation considerations beyond a standard toilet. They utilize a standard 12-inch rough-in.

Individuals with physical limitations or disabilities require a toilet with the correct height, preferably one that complies with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Although the 1990 ADA has a broad scope to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities in public spaces, the civil rights law has significant implications for homeowners, especially families with members with physical limitations.


 Better ergonomics: A chair-height toilet’s height approximates typical home or office chairs that rise 16 to 21 inches or 40.6 to 53.3 centimeters from the floor surface.  Hawthorn Plumbing states that a chair height enhances general comfort as the user can plant the feet firmly on the floor while ensuring the legs are perpendicular to the ground and the thighs are parallel to the floor. 

 Reduces stress on joints: Because the toilet seat is 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 centimeters) off the restroom’s floor surface, individuals will not strain to sit on and stand up from the toilet seat. It is friendlier to the knee joints, making a chair-height toilet ideal for individuals with arthritis and other joint problems. Persons recovering from an injury or illness will not bend or squat excessively to “relieve” themselves.

 More effortless toilet access: The chair-height toilet’s height is also friendlier to individuals with diminished strength. For example, older folks who might find sitting on and getting up from the toilet strenuous will have better access.

What is a Standard Height Toilet?

standard height toiletA toilet with a standard height is common in many residential homes. The toilet seat rises 14.5 to 16 inches or 36.8 to 40.6 centimeters and is measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat. It is sufficient height for most individuals, even petite ones and children.

While a chair-height toilet is ideal for persons with disabilities or in a significantly weakened state, some individuals might find sitting from such fixtures cumbersome if not challenging. For instance, children would need a step stool to get up and sit on the toilet seat.

WDS recommends a variety of heights to accommodate children which might be 300 mm for preschool up to 330 mm for primary school age with a little higher for secondary juniors. – Inclusive Urban Design: Public Toilets, Clara Greed


 More versatile: Although a standard-height toilet has a toilet seat 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 centimeters) lower than a chair-height version, families can add an extension or expander to the toilet seat to accommodate long-legged individuals or those with mobility problems and physical disabilities. 

Families could always remove these “extensions” when another person (i.e., someone without disabilities) uses the toilet. Hence, a standard-height toilet is more versatile in accommodating various toileting requirements. 

After all, one cannot “remove” chair-height toilet seats to accommodate a child or an individual shorter than 5 feet 4 inches (1.63 meters).

 Ideal for families with children: While a chair-height toilet is perfect for households with members with physical limitations or mobility issues, a standard-height is more suitable for families with children. 

It is also the best toilet seat height for individuals not taller than 64 inches or 1.63 meters. They will not require a step stool to get on and off the toilet seat, ensuring safety with each toilet use.

 Easy access to toilet essentials: Engineers and architects design residential bathrooms with different amenities or features. For example, they install toilet paper holders and other essentials on the wall next to the commode. 

These components’ placement in the toilet considers the toilet height. And since most homes have a standard-height toilet, access to these bathroom or toilet essentials is better.

Toilet Bowl Height Chair vs Standard

chair height toilet vs standardThe toilet bowl is different from the water reservoir. If one looks at a conventional residential or commercial toilet, this fixture has two principal components. It has a rectangular tank for holding the water required to flush waste and a bowl for accommodating the user and conveying elimination products into the septic tank.

Both components are essential and do not offer significant differences between a standard-height toilet and a chair-height toilet. The only variance between these two toilet fixtures is their height (and depth), mainly the toilet seat’s position relative to the restroom or bathroom flooring surface. 

Hence, it is not unusual that a chair-height toilet bowl will look identical to a standard-height commode. Of course, toilet manufacturers offer toilet bowls in various shapes, styles, and designs. 

Some have elongated toilet bowl rims (the toilet bowl’s upper surface is in contact with the toilet seat). These can measure at least 18-5/8 inches (about 47 centimeters) from the rear to the front. Meanwhile, a round-front toilet bowl has a shorter front-to-rear cross-section of 16-3/4 inches (about 42.5 centimeters). However, a chair-height toilet’s added height will also mean more water is required to flush the toilet contents.

Difference in Toilet Heights

bathroom with towel holder toilet and mirror

As mentioned, a chair-height toilet approximates traditional chairs (at the dining table or an office desk), making it 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 centimeters) “taller” than a standard-height commode. 

Chair-height toilets can span the vertical space between the floor and the top of the toilet seat in 17 to 19 inches (43 to 48 centimeters), while standard-height commodes can clear the same section in 14.5 to 16 inches (37 to 41 centimeters).

What Toilet Height is Best

bathroom with wood shelves mirror and basket

Choosing between a chair-height toilet and a standard commode depends on whether the household has a member with physical limitations or a “shorter-than-average” physique.  

Children and individuals not taller than 64 inches or 163 centimeters will have a more comfortable and convenient toilet experience with a standard-height toilet. 

On the other hand, elderly individuals, people with physical disabilities, family members with mobility issues, and persons recuperating from an illness or injury can benefit more from a chair-height toilet. This commode is also perfect for households with “taller-than-average” members (those exceeding 6 feet or 183 centimeters).

It is worth pointing out that chair-height toilets are the standard in many public or common restrooms (i.e., hospitals). This observation is not unexpected, given the legal implications of noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Meanwhile, standard-height toilets are the go-to commode for residential homes.

Families who want a more water-efficient toilet should consider a standard-height commode. The standard-height toilet’s lower profile than a chair-height toilet offers less water consumption with each flush. It is the perfect solution for households that want to reduce water utility expenditures.

On a side note, a standard-height toilet is better if one’s restroom is somewhat cramped because this commode takes less space than a chair-height toilet. See more related content in our article about toilet dimensions on this page.

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