Heavy people often need to buy larger, heavy-duty versions of common household items such as heavy-duty bathroom scales (many max out at 350-400 lbs) and larger furniture such as wider, more robust recliners. So it shouldn’t seem strange also to be looking for a good toilet seat for a heavy person that can withstand the extra weight.
My brother recently came to stay with me for the holidays. I hadn’t seen him in several months so it was great to spend time together. He has always been on the heavy side but in recent years -due to complicated medical issues- he’s gained more weight than I had realized. Honestly, I’m not sure exactly how much he weighs but I know he did max out my standard bathroom scale so he’s at least 400+ pounds.
He openly calls himself obese, although I know many people prefer to be called heavy. Either way, the reason I bring him up on this article is that he ended up breaking the standard toilet seat in my guest bathroom. So, together we started looking for the best toilet seat for a heavy person and decided on the Big John Original Toilet Seat although we did consider other seats which I’ve also reviewed below.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a summary of the top options:
Back to XL toilet seats…I had never really stopped to think about this before so I was kind of surprised when he told me the toilet seat was cracked. I felt bad for him because he was noticeably embarrassed for having broken the seat and wanted to replace it for me. I didn’t care so much about the money or minor hassle of replacing it but was more interested in finding out why it had broken what the best toilet seat would be to replace it with. I wanted to get a toilet seat specifically made for heavy people since I knew he would be coming back again to visit and stay with me.
I didn’t think toilet seats really broke – or at least it’s not something I thought about…(they seemed pretty indestructible to me). Basically the plastic hinges at the back of the seat that are fastened with nylon bolts had completely broken off on one side- apparently when he shifted his heavyweight while getting up from the toilet.
So we set out together to find a good option- he helped me pick it out – I figured he would be the one sitting on it so it would be good to get his opinion. Basically, what we narrowed down that was worth considering:
Cost: Compared to a standard toilet seat, you can expect to pay two times or more for an oversized toilet seat. Keep in mind, that these are designed specifically to be heavy-duty. If you use (and break) multiple cheaper toilet seats, over time the more expensive seats can save you money in the long-run.
Construction: just looking at my broken toilet seat, I could see that the cheap plastic parts were where it failed. Look for stainless steel hinges and extra heavy-duty bolts.
Stability: one of the problems with standard toilet seats for a plus-sized person is that the seat shifts under their extra weight. Some of the heavy-duty options also include some kind of stabilizing bumpers on the underside of the seat to keep if from slipping and sliding from side to side.
Max Weight: a lot of standard toilet seats don’t have a max weight rating- it’s just not something they advertise but I’ve read that anywhere over 250 lbs people start to notice that standard seats start to fail. We wanted to be sure this weight wouldn’t be a problem so looked at heavy-duty seats that are rated for 800 lbs, some even 1,200 lbs – so I was sure my brother wouldn’t break the next one.
Best Toilet Seats For Heavy People
Big John 1-W Oversized Toilet Seat
The 1-W model also called the Big John Original Toilet Seat, gives the user a comfortable 19″ wide sitting surface, which is a full 5 inches more than most standard toilet seats. The seat also adds an extra 2.5 inches of height to the seat which makes it comfortable to get on and off the seat, especially if you have mobility issues ore knee pain when getting on and off the toilet.
The 1-w model, like other Big John Toilet Seats, is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which means it has passed standards for people with mobility issues or disabilities. The seat is made in the USA.
The underside of the seat has two synthetic rubber bumpers that help grip the toilet bowl and give extra stability. The rubber bumpers minimize side-side movement especially when the person shifts their weight from side-side or sits up/down into the seat. This model is rated for up to 1,200 pounds and is made of heavy-duty construction, most notably the extra strong (ABS) injection molded plastic and solid stainless steel hinges.
This model is designed to fit both round and elongated toilet models. The seat is closed at the front but a large hole is comfortably wide for reaching a hand in. If you prefer the open-ended style on the front of the seat, Big John does make a similarly strong seat with the open hole which is the 3-W model which we review below.
- Rated to 1,200 pounds
- Stability bumpers to prevent lateral movement
- Stainless steel hinges
- Adds 2.5-inch elevation to the seat
- Easy installation to replace an existing toilet
Big John 3-W Oversized Open Front Toilet Seat Review
The Big John 3-W toilet seat is another option from the same manufacturer. At first glance, the 1-W (review above) and the 3-W have similar dimensions with a width of 19″ and similar build quality- same durable plastic and stainless steel hinges. Like the previous model, this one elevates the seat two and a half inches, is ADA compliant, built in the USA and has the same 1,200-pound maximum weight capacity rating.
So you are probably asking…what’s the difference between the Big John 1-W and Big John 3-W?
The only real difference is that the Big John 3-W is designed with an open front on the seat– the main benefit is that it gives you an opening to reach in with from the front- (maximizing your ability to wipe easily), this style of seats are common in public restrooms, hospitals, and nursing homes. So all the other characteristics of the two seats are the same- so it really comes down to personal preference if you like the opening at the front of the seat or not.
Big John 6-W Oversized Toilet Seat with Cover
This last review is for the Big John 6-W Oversized Toilet Seat. This is a less expensive option from the same company. While it’s still a quality product, it’s in another weight class and a notch or two down in the “heavy-duty” spectrum. To start, the seat adds one inch less height than the other two seats we reviewed above (1.5 inches vs. 2.5 inches), it’s rated for 800 pounds vs 1,200 pounds.
Let’s face it- 800 is still a lot of weight- so it’s definitely sturdy, however, the construction is not as beefy as the previously mentioned models- most important to mention are the hinges. While the other Big John models feature stainless steel hinges (which really sets this brand apart from others on the market), the more affordable 6-W is made with hard durable ABS plastic hinges. So while it’s definitely more durable than your average standard toilet seat on the market it’s not in the same category as the other models made by the brand. Best pick for a budget option.
- Rated to 800 pounds
- Stability bumpers to prevent lateral movement
- Durable plastic hinges
- Adds 1.5-inch elevation to the seat
- Easy installation to replace an existing toilet seat
All the above reviews are for toilet seats specifically made with high weight capacity ratings of 800 to 1,200 pounds. If you are looking for a heavy-duty toilet seat to add stability for an elderly or disabled person but don’t necessarily need these special bariatric toilet seats with such high weight ratings… you may find a better fit looking at these heavy-duty cushioned toilet seats which are a good pick for seniors or other users that have mobility issues with the added comfort of a padded seat.Or these elevated toilet seats for people that need side handles and a higher seat to make it easier to get on and off the toilet as they add up to 4″ of height to the seat. These raised seats basically turn a standard toilet with a bowl height of 15″ into a “comfort height” toilet (17″-19″) without having to replace your existing toilet.
American Standard (5905.100.020) Extra Heavy-Duty Elongated Commercial Toilet Seat
This last option is really made for commercial use in mind. Many readers will recognize the American Standard logo as its commercial toilets are found airports, restaurants and other public toilets around the country. While it could be used on a standard elongated home toilet, in general, it’s designed for a commercial American Standard toilet like the one pictured below. That same seat can be bought separately here on Amazon.
The differentiating feature on this it that it does not have a lid which may be a major drawback for home use. On the plus side is the unique concave design of the seat, especially at the back. The extra-wide and angled seat cradles the user at the back and provides more support for at the hips and stability when getting in and out of the seat.
It’s technically rated for 250 pounds, so does not have the capacity that the other toilet seats above do but we thought we should include another option for readers, especially if you are looking for a good seat to use in a business toilet for an office or public toilet for customers. It’s also quite a bit more affordable than the other models which may be a major factor for buyers -especially if the weight rating is sufficient.
Big John Toilet Seats
Big John Products, is a US company that specializes in over-sized toilet seats, commode chairs, and handheld bidet sprayers. The company is based in Canoga Park, California and their toilet seats are made in the USA.
If you are wondering why we only reviewed “Big John” its because after looking all over we really couldn’t find another company that was dedicated to toilet seats for heavy people. While some other companies market “heavy-duty” toilet seats, they really did not compare to these – especially the construction and heavy-duty hinges.
There are many heavy-duty commercial toilet seats (like the one pictured above by American Standard), you have most likely seen these or other similar models, in public restrooms (airports, malls, etc) but unfortunately, they do not fit standard residential toilets.
The other option apart from these toilet seats would be to buy a heavy-duty bariatric commode instead– these are designed for heavy people or disabled people that need a toilet option at their bedside. This one by Drive Medical is a good option.
Commodes are a good choice if you want a portable option that can be used over your existing toilet but also moved to your bedside (to avoid making a difficult trip to the bathroom during the night).
All of the ones we’ve reviewed (in the link above) come with the option to place them directly over the existing toilet seat (they all have removable waste buckets). They are strong, built with a very high weight capacity (400 – 650 lbs) and are wide enough for obese people to sit on comfortably.
As you can see in the following short video, these toilet seats are relatively easy to install so you should be able to do it on your own or have a handyman do it although you really shouldn’t need a qualified plumber as you are just replacing the existing toilet seat with the new one, not making any changes to the plumbing.
If you are looking for a good quality toilet seat for a heavy person, we’ve offered three of the top options on the market. If you are looking for the most heavy-duty option of the ones reviewed check out the Big John Original.
If you prefer the open front on the ring of the toilet seat (to reach in and wipe from the front), take a look at the Big John 3-W.
Finally, if you want a seat that is larger, wider and more durable than a standard toilet seat but do not want to spend the extra money on stainless steel hinges, you could save some money with the budget option: Big John 6-W Toilet Seat.
If you are shopping for accessories specially made for heavy people, be sure to check out our top picks for heavy-duty shower stools, chairs, and benches.
People looking to raise their toilet seat higher (4 inches or more) may want to look at our choices for the top elevated toilet seats. These risers go under your existing toilet seat and add up to 4.5″, many also come with handles which are especially useful for people with limited mobility that need support when getting on or off the pot such as post-op patients that have had a hip replaced.
As mentioned above, the seat is designed for commercial toilets so it’s a good option for small businesses, restaurants, etc that want a load-bearing seat for public use – although home users could install it if they don’t mind not having a lid.
Commercial toilet seat: Daniel Oines