When shopping for a new toilet, most people default to the standard 15-inch bowl height. But chair height models at 17-19 inches are also available. What’s the difference, and which toilet height is right for your needs?
This chair height vs standard height toilet comparison will break down the pros and cons of each height, including:
- Comfort and ease of use
- Installation and spatial considerations
- Aesthetic and style impacts
- Cost differences
- ADA compliance
Understanding toilet heights will help ensure you select the optimal model for comfort, functionality and visual appeal in your bathroom.
Key Differences Between Heights
Here is a quick overview of how chair height and standard height toilets differ:
|Chair Height Toilet
|Standard Height Toilet
|Round or elongated bowl
|Universal design for all ages/abilities
|Typical for average height adults
|More comfortable and accessible
|Smaller footprint fits tight spaces
|Larger spatial needs
|Lower seat less comfortable for some
Chair height toilets prioritize accessible seating height, while standard models take up less floor space.
Chair Height Toilet
Comfort and Ease of Use
The right toilet height minimizes strain and discomfort when sitting down or standing up. This is where chair height bowls excel.
The higher seat of chair height toilets puts users into a more natural, relaxed sitting posture:
- Reduces hunching or kneeling
- Allows straight posture with feet flat on floor
- Thighs relax at slight downward angle
- Mimics posture when seated in chair
This alignment minimizes strain on back, hips, knees, and neck compared to standard height toilets.
Getting On and Off
The increased height makes transitioning on and off the toilet easier:
- Don’t have to stoop down as far to sit
- Can stand up straighter without as much exertion
- Reduces pressure on knees and joints
- Helps those with mobility limitations or disabilities
Overall, chair height models provide superior ergonomics for users of all ages and abilities.
The main downside of taller toilets is their larger spatial footprint, which can cause installation issues in cramped bathrooms.
Chair height bowls require more vertical clearance:
- Overall unit height around 30-32 inches
- Rough-in wall outlet must be 9-12 inches above floor
- Must account for bowl overhang – needs 30-31 inch depth
Meanwhile standard height units need just 27-30 inches of height and 28 inches depth.
Due to the larger footprint, chair height toilets may be difficult to fit:
- In small water closet stalls and half baths
- Under windowsills without relocating plumbing
- Where rough-in outlets are too low
Assess your bathroom layout carefully before selecting chair height. Ensure adequate space exists.
Toilet heights also influence the overall visual look and styling of bathrooms.
Standard height toilets come in round or elongated bowls. But chair height models are exclusively elongated for accessibility:
- The elongated silhouette suits modern and transitional bathrooms
- Round bowls offer a more compact traditional look
So chair heights impose a certain modern elongated aesthetic.
Chair height proportions may clash in some bathrooms visually:
- Appear too bulky and towering in petite vintage spaces
- Can look awkwardly tall compared to vanities and bathtubs
- Overflow into knee space under vessels sinks
Ideally the toilet should fit the scale of other elements like cabinets and tubs.
On average, expect to pay $25-50 more for a chair height toilet versus standard height.
|Average Cost Range
|Standard Height Toilet
|Chair Height Toilet
The price premium comes from:
- Larger vitreous china material volume
- Powerful flush mechanisms to move waste from taller bowl
- Elongated bowl is more expensive than round
But the comfort and accessibility gains make this added cost worthwhile for many homeowners.
For commercial bathrooms and public accommodations, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) mandates minimum accessibility standards.
Chair height toilets are ADA compliant thanks to:
- 17-19 inch bowl height
- Elongated bowl shape
- 16-18 inch seat height
This meets ADA codes for accessible seating position. Standard toilets do not comply.
If designing an ADA bathroom, stick with chair height models only. Otherwise choose based on user needs and space.
Summary: Chair Height vs Standard Toilet Pros and Cons
|More comfortable and natural sitting position
|Spatial footprint may not fit smaller baths
|Easier to sit down and stand up from
|Limited to elongated bowl style
|Accessible for all ages and mobility levels
|Tall proportions may look awkward
|Compact footprint fits tight spaces
|Lower seat is uncomfortable for some
|Round or elongated bowl styles available
|Harder to sit down and stand up from
|Often cheaper in cost
|Not ADA compliant
For most homes, a chair height toilet is the best choice for universal comfort and accessibility. Although spatial planning is needed, the advantages make it worthwhile in any private residence bathroom.
However, stick with standard height models for:
- Basic half baths or closets with strict space limitations
- Vintage inspired powder rooms with lower seats
- Guest baths not used frequently
Prioritize chair height for master and main baths to provide ergonomic seating for all users. Choose standard height only where space truly doesn’t allow larger units.
Selecting the right toilet height improves comfort, visual appeal, and functionality. Evaluate your needs honestly before deciding on standard vs. chair height. Get the seat height perfect, and enjoy your new toilet for decades to come.