The 10 Best Toilet Safety Rails
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in April of 2016. For those who have difficulty getting up from and down to a seated position, either due to age, an injury, or a long-term chronic condition, simply paying a visit to the bathroom can be very problematic and potentially dangerous. These toilet safety rails can add a reassuring measure of comfort and support, with armrests that allow users to raise and lower themselves much easier. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 27, 2020:
Toilet safety rails generally come in two varieties, those that bolt on (whether to the wall or toilet itself) and freestanding models. Since they each offer their own benefits and potential downfalls, we thought it best to include both options so you can choose the one that best fits your personal needs.
Freestanding models, like the Royal Medical Solutions Folding, Drive Medical RTL12079, Carex Health Brands FGB36900, and PCP 7007 can be very convenient. They don't have to be bolted to anything, so moving them out of the way for cleaning or when a fully able-bodied person wants to use the toilet is quick and easy. They can also double as stability aids when standing at the sink. Some, like the Royal Medical Solutions Folding and Carex Health Brands FGB36900 collapse in seconds, allowing them to be kept out of the way when not in use without requiring a lot of storage space. The Drive Medical RTL12079 even boasts a magazine rack to keep your favorite reading materials close at hand when doing your business.
Bolt-on models have the potential to offer more stability, especially for someone who can't control their motor functions very well. While this shouldn't happen with a good-quality freestanding model, it is possible that one could tip if a user leans too hard against one side or the other. Bolt-on rails, like the Moen Home Care DN7015, WochiTV Handicap Grab Bar, Medline Guardian G30300H, Drive Medical RTL12087, and DMI Safety Frame eliminate that risk. However, they tend to have less versatility when it comes to which toilets they fit. For example, the DMI Safety Frame only works with toilets that have a flat water tank and the Drive Medical RTL12087 doesn't fit elongated seats very well. If you want a bolt-on model and are worried about it not fitting your toilet, we recommend the Medline Guardian G30300H or WochiTV Handicap Grab Bar. The former has two full-length legs in the front, so it doesn't need to connect to the front of the toilet seat, and the latter mounts directly to the wall.
Benefits Of A Toilet Safety Rail
A safety rail can give you a stable frame with which to anchor yourself while lowering your body.
If you struggle with balance issues, then you know how nerve-wracking even something as simple as a trip to the bathroom can be. You're right to worry, though, as bathrooms are dangerous places, and if you don't take steps to make yours more accessible, you could be setting yourself up for a nasty fall.
A toilet safety rail is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to decrease the likelihood of a fall. For many people with mobility concerns, the transition to and from sitting on the toilet is fraught with danger. It can involve lowering yourself to a level you're not comfortable with while simultaneously throwing your balance off, and if you're in a hurry due to incontinence issues, you're even less likely to be careful during the transition.
A safety rail can give you a stable frame with which to anchor yourself while lowering your body. Since most rail models attach to the toilet itself, there's less risk of it collapsing or breaking under your weight the way a towel rod might if you were to reach out for one of those in desperation. The rail can also keep you safely in place while using the toilet, acting as a guard rail in case your equilibrium is shaky while you're sitting, as well.
If you have difficulty getting up after using the toilet, you can also grab the rail to help pull yourself into a standing position. This is especially good for anyone who resists asking others for help, as you can handle the situation on your own without increasing the risk of falling over.
Not all models require installation, but the ones that do are easy to put in, often requiring little more than removing and replacing the screws on the toilet seat. There are some models that attach to the wall next to the toilet, but again, installation should be as easy as putting in a few screws.
Regardless of how much setup is required, though, adding a safety rail is a valuable precaution that could literally save your life someday.
Tips For Picking The Right Model
As mentioned above, there are various makes and models to choose from, and finding the one that best suits your specific situation is critical.
Your specific personal needs will be the biggest determining factor in deciding which model is right for you.
Your specific personal needs will be the biggest determining factor in deciding which model is right for you. If you have significant balance issues, then you'll want something that's firmly attached to a stable platform, such as a rail that screws on to the seat or the wall. If you just need a little help every now and then, or if your balance issues are due to a temporary condition, you can go with a free-standing model and skip the installation process. Just keep in mind, however, that for many people balance issues get worse with age, so it may be more cost-effective to get a bolted-down model right away.
The height from which you'll lower yourself also matters. If you'll be transitioning from a full standing position, you may want something fixed and immobile that can support your weight as you lower yourself. If, however, you'll be moving laterally from a wheelchair, then a hinged option that can swing out of your way may be more convenient.
An elevated toilet seat may also be helpful, as it can lessen the distance between the sitting and standing positions, which will come in handy for anyone who suffers discomfort when lowering or raising themselves.
Additionally, the size of your bathroom will play a role in determining the best design for you. If you have cramped facilities, then something fixed to the seat will take up less space than any sort of hinged or pivoting model. There may not be enough room to use a free-standing version, either, especially if you have to take a walker or wheelchair into the bathroom with you.
Other Ways You Can Make Your Bathroom More Accessible
Installing toilet rails is just one way to prevent bathroom falls. If you're worried about your safety while in the washroom, there are several other precautions you can take to decrease the likelihood of a mishap.
Install a few night lights in the bathroom, and be sure to replace any dead light bulbs immediately.
Installing a rail or grab bar in the shower is absolutely critical. If you already have balance issues, then adding soap and water to the mix is a recipe for disaster. Having something sturdy you can hold on to while washing up — or that you can reach out and grab if you start to fall — can be the difference between remaining self-sufficient and ending up in the hospital for an extended stay.
Laying down a non-slip mat in the tub is a must as well. However, having a bathmat or non-slip decals outside of the tub is equally critical, as drying off can be just as dangerous as showering for those with balance problems. Be careful when choosing rugs, however, as some can bunch up and cause stumbles, so pick something that's textured and provides an easy surface for your feet to find purchase.
Proper lighting is also important, as one of the easiest ways to trip and fall is by stumbling over something you didn't see. Install a few night lights in the bathroom, and be sure to replace any dead light bulbs immediately.
If you have tile floors, you'll want to wear thin-soled shoes. Many people default to running shoes, expecting that these will be ideal for balance and comfort, but thicker soles are more likely to stick while walking, which could throw you off-balance.
While it may be impossible to completely eradicate any risk of falling, taking steps to make your bathroom as safe and accessible as possible can pay huge dividends down the road. After all, one of the few things that can make a bathroom fall worse is knowing that you could have easily prevented it.