In the United States, a toilet must reach a certain height to be considered ADA-compliant. That measurement does include the seat, as measured from a finished floor surface. The current requirement is a minimum of 17 inches. Most ADA-compliant toilets are therefore 16 1/8 inches from the floor to the bowl rim to accommodate the current regulations.
If you’re shopping for an ADA-compliant toilet today, here is how you can make sure that you’re purchasing the right model for your specific needs.
1. Measure the height personally.
Don’t rely on the printed measurements you see on the box. If you’ve found a toilet you like, take a tape measure out and actually measure the floor-to-rim height. That way you can verify the exact measurements of the product and know how much space you’ll need for it in the bathroom.
2. Know your toe clearance.
Toilets that are ADA-compliant are built with an undercut bowl to provide users with more toe clearance. A minimum of 9 inches is required between the toilet and the floor. That is why many public bathrooms tend to use wall-mounted toilets, as it increases toe clearance by keeping the plumbing for the toilet in the wall.
3. Make sure the toilet is ADA-compliant.
Manufacturers have used marketing terms like “comfort height” to promote their toilets and make it seem like they are taller, but this isn’t always true. Many “comfort height” toilets fall under 17 inches in height, even with the toilet seat attached.
4. Find the flush controls.
For a toilet to be ADA-compliant, there are standards that the flushing controls must meet as well. A flush mechanism cannot be higher than 44 inches from the mounting surface. It must be able to activate with less than 5 pounds of force. It cannot cause users to strain or twist their wrist to engage the mechanism. Button-flush toilets tend to be the worst offenders in this category.
After you choose your preferred toilet, take care with the installation process. Know where you’ll need to the flushing mechanism to be located for your space. Consider any obstacles that could prevent easy access. In doing so, you will be able to take the height of a handicap toilet and use it to your advantage.