After a while, your toilet might clock out, insisting on a replacement due to various issues, from damage to the toilet bowl to age-related problems. Since the toilet is a crucial part of a well-rounded bathroom, you’ll need a replacement sooner rather than later.
But when it comes time to choose a new toilet for your home, you have all sorts of options, including various brands, colors, features, and heights.
Standard toilets stand 14-16 inches tall from floor to seat, while chair height toilets, or “comfort height,” are 17-19 inches. The taller design of chair height toilets mimics a regular chair, aiding adults, especially the elderly, in sitting and standing with ease.
You have two main toilet heights to consider: standard and chair height. Both options offer unique advantages, but which one is better suited to your needs? Let’s take a look at the key differences between the two to help you decide.
A standard toilet is usually between 14 and 16 inches tall from the seat to the ground. This makes them slightly lower than an average chair, which generally is a bit taller to keep your knees and hips at about the same level.
With these toilets, most people’s knees will be slightly higher than their hips, which is a more natural position that helps keep things moving smoothly. If you’ve ever tried using a toilet stool to raise your legs into a more comfortable position while using the toilet, you’re likely familiar with this.
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On top of that, these toilets can relieve pressure on the hip and knee joints, as your feet remain firmly planted on the ground instead of dangling.
Pros and Cons
Standard toilets offer a few advantages over the competition, including the following:
- Ideal for shorter people
- Ideal for children
- More natural position
- Lower profile design
- Can fit in smaller spaces
In contrast, there are a couple of drawbacks to keep in mind, including:
- Can be hard to stand up from
- Might be pricier than other options
Who are Standard Height Toilets Best for?
Standard-height toilets are an ideal option for anyone who prefers a lower seat. They’re perfect for kids and shorter adults alike, as they can preserve the more natural defecating position and are often more comfortable since they won’t dig into the backs of your legs.
On top of that, they’re a good option for those with joint issues, as the lower height keeps your feet firmly planted on the floor and alleviates pressure in the hips and knees.
Chair Height Toilets
A chair-height toilet, also known as a comfort-height toilet, features a taller profile than a standard toilet, with the seat perched between 17 and 19 inches above the floor.
The taller height can be an issue for shorter individuals, as their legs may dangle as they sit on the seat. However, the lankier profile is a strong contender for taller individuals who don’t want to squat as low to reach the toilet seat.
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Pros and Cons
Like standard toilets, chair-height toilets offer a few specific advantages, including:
- Can be more affordable
- Ideal for those with mobility issues, including the elderly and disabled
- Identical height to ADA-compliant toilets
- Ideal for taller individuals
Conversely, there are a couple of downsides to consider:
- Might be uncomfortable for shorter individuals
- May increase the likelihood of constipation
Who are Chair Height Toilets Best for?
Chair-height toilets are an excellent option for taller individuals and those with limited mobility. The taller profile is perfect for those who don’t want to complete a deep squat every time they use the toilet.
This makes it ideal for those with limited mobility, as there’s less distance to travel when sitting and rising.
So, What’s the Difference?
The primary difference between standard toilets and chair-height toilets is precisely what you probably guessed: height. While standard toilets feature a seat situated between 14 and 16 inches from the floor, most chair-height toilets tower between 17 and 19 inches above the ground.
The difference in height leads to various other distinct separations between the two, including their benefits and drawbacks. For example, the larger profile of the chair-height toilet often contributes to a higher overall cost compared to a standard-height toilet.
The chart below outlines a few of the key differences between these two toilet heights.
|14 to 16 inches
|17 to 19 inches
|Individuals 5’4” and shorter
|Individuals 5’5” and taller
|Ease of cleaning
Standard vs. Chair Height Toilets: Is One Better?
When considering the best toilet height for your home, there are a couple of things to consider, but the most crucial factor to consider is the height of the people in your home.
The taller the individuals are, the taller your toilet should be. After all, squatting down to sit on a short toilet might be uncomfortable for lankier individuals.
Conversely, the shorter you are, the shorter your toilet should be. However, regardless of your height, it doesn’t hurt to consider the positioning of your legs while seated on the toilet. Ideally, your knees should be slightly higher than your hips, as this is the optimal position for bowel movements for most folks.
There’s actually research that supports this. One study examined the correlation between toilet height and the time it took participants to move their bowels. The study examined three positions: using a 16-inch toilet, a 12-inch toilet, and a plastic container on the ground.
This study found that participants were more likely to defecate quickly and with less effort in a squatted position. The higher the toilet, the longer it took.
So, if constipation is a no-go and effortless bowel movements are a priority, you may want to consider a toilet that encourages a more squatted position.
Of course, things get a bit more complicated if the heights in your household vary drastically from one person to the next. For example, maybe one person is 6’2” while another is 5’0”.
A suitable height for one person might be downright uncomfortable for the next. While you could go with a toilet stool to keep things moving smoothly, you might want to err on the side of the shorter individual.
This way, both individuals can reach a squatted position without the help of a stool. While the taller person might have a long-distance relationship with the toilet, this is usually a suitable compromise.
Of course, you should choose the option that best fits your overall household needs.