Proper Toilet Seat Height

When choosing a toilet, one of the most important dimensions is the height of the seat. Seats are not standardized but a few general rules help manufacturers build the perfect toilet seat. Your idea of an ideal and proper seat height might vary from someone else's, depending on your own height and dimensions.

Average Seat Heights

Toilet seat height is one dimension to note when buying a toilet.

Even though there are no standards in the toilet industry for seat height, there are some averages. Most toilet seats average between 17 and 18 1/2 inches high. This is the measurement from the floor or the bottom edge of the toilet base, to the top edge of the seat and lid, if applicable. The height applies to all sides of the seat all the way around the toilet, as toilet seats do not angle or tilt in any direction. Seats may be lower or higher depending on the brand and model toilet you purchase.

Proper Seat Heights for Comfort

A toilet seat really provides only one function, which is to support the weight of an individual on the toilet. Therefore, the seat needs to be high enough to position a person properly on the toilet with her legs bent at a 90-degree angle and feet resting comfortably on the floor. Everyone has different leg lengths, so one seat is not perfect for everybody. Some adults may find the seats too low, while others find them just right. However, this height does fit most adults comfortably.

Bowl Rim and Seat Heights

Not all seat height measurements are the same. For instance, some seat heights account for the height of the lid and seat, others account for simply the height of the bowl rim. The common seat and lid add 2 inches to the overall height of the toilet seat, so bowl rim heights are actually shorter. The common bowl rim is only 16 1/2 inches high. If your toilet includes a seat and lid, the seat height measurement accounts for this part. If not, the manufacturer lists the bowl rim height.

Reading Toilet Dimensions

Toilet dimensions typically include the overall width and length of the toilet, and its overall height. These specifications are generally used for installation purposes, so consumers can size up the toilet right away and know if it will fit. When you are shopping for a comfortable toilet seat, you have to inspect the manufacturer's specification sheets to find the illustrated measurements including the seat or bowl rim height, to learn how high the seat is. You might compare that height to the height of a typical chair seat, which is between 18 and 20 inches. Or, simply sit on the toilet and try it out, if possible.

About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.