Toilet Height – Let’s Clear Up the Confusion

Toilet Bowl Height

Which Toilet Height Has The Most Value?

Unless you have a height constraint, like having the toilet under the window sill, the overall toilet height is usually not a concern for most people. But the other toilet height is where the money is for the toilet vendors – the toilet bowl height.

Where there is great commercial value, businesses will pit against each other for a piece of the pie. The marketing cost and effort to differentiate from each other is pretty intense. As evidenced by the names given, such as Comfort Height, Chair Height, Right Height, Universal Height, and Convenient Height. They all refer to the bowl height and never about the measurement from the floor right up to the top of the tank cover.

So, 99% of the time, Toilet Height means Toilet Bowl Height. However, there are tankless toilets where the bowl height is almost the same as the overall toilet height, such as this American Standard Studio S. You just have to be cautious when communicating with vendors and contractors to avoid issues that may cost you time and money.

And if the overall height is more important to you, you might want to look for low profile toilets instead.

The image shows the various depiction of Toilet Height for Comfort Height Toilet, Comfort Height Low Profile Toilet, Standard Height Toilet, and Standard Height Low Profile Toilet.

What Do You Know About Toilet Bowl Height?

In recent times, toilet height has become a criterion for many toilet buyers looking for the best throne they can deservedly afford. The trend has all to thank the aggressive marketing campaigns, all competing for an opportunity to change minds about toileting comfort. To an extent, a high bowl is almost synonymous with comfort.

And that got some folks worried if the standard height toilet will go the way of the dinosaurs. Don’t worry, the standard toilet is not going anywhere if you are concerned. But the range and styles might not be as comprehensive as the comfort height models.

But more importantly, are you buying into the BS claim that a higher toilet bowl offers better comfort than the standard height toilets? If you are under 6 feet tall and your agility is not failing, you probably don’t need a comfort-height toilet. The seniors or taller people will love the extra height, as it offers them the ease to sit down and get up.

Bowl Height is Everything. It’ll be disastrous for any toilet manufacturer or vendor to not include a chair height toilet in every toilet series they offer. It used to be the elongated bowl that tops the list of preferred toilet features. Now, it has to be a tall elongated bowl. The craze has even led to less descriptive terms, such that an 18-inch toilet is understood as an 18-inch bowl height toilet.

Wanna guess the bowl height of a 24-inch toilet?

What about 19-inch, 20-inch, or even 27-inch toilets? If you are not confused by these numbers, there’s no way you are not a toilet expert. Good luck if you are only starting to look for a suitable crapper for your bathroom.

The fact is, a 24-inch toilet refers to a toilet having a length or depth of 24 inches and not about the bowl height. So, where do you draw the line that differentiates bowl height from length or even the overall height?

ADA Height Range Sets the Standard

Some may suggest using the ADA stipulated seat height (refer to 604.4 Seats.), which is at least 17-inch, up to a maximum of 19-inch measured from the floor to the seat top. That makes sense since no toilet depth is 19-inch or less. Even the wall-hung models with the hidden tank have a projection of no-less than 20 inches.

ADA Height Range

So if you go by the ADA standard, anything that is 19-inch or less refers to the seat height, which typically is about an inch higher than the bowl. This means an 18-inch toilet will have an 18-inch bowl with a 1-inch thick toilet seat (not including the lid).

However, this seemingly logical way to draw a line between toilet height and toilet length has been broken by a toilet that exceeds the upper limit of the ADA height range.

Beyond ADA Height Range

Since 2016, a new taller-than-ADA seat height toilet was born. The Convenient Height Toilet is 20-inch tall, or its seat height is 21 inches high.

The tallest bowl height currently goes to the Bradenton of Signature Hardware which stands at 20-1/2 inches. So anything beyond that, you may safely disregard the dimension as the toilet height.

But, again, it depends on the toilet type. A smart bidet toilet may have an overall toilet height of slightly over 21 inches and up to about 23 inches. But miscommunication here is rare because the huge price difference will trigger the alarm for you to take a closer look.

Imagine you are only interested in toilets like the tall Convenient Height or Bradenton toilet, which cost around $350 to $540. But the salesperson on the phone was thinking of a TOTO or KOHLER intelligent toilet when you say you want a 21-inch toilet. Be it a KOHLER or TOTO, their smart crapper easily costs around $4000.

Even the more economical Bio Bidet’s Prodigy cost around $2,000.

Beyond ADA Height Range

Another toilet that goes beyond the ADA height range is the KOHLER Highline Tall. The bowl height is 19 inches tall, so if you add a seat of any height or thickness, it is beyond the ADA maximum seat height of 19 inches. You can safely assume it is a 20-inch seat height toilet.

The Divide is Clear For the Regular Tank and Bowl Toilets

Due to the physical limitation of the floor-mounted, porcelain tank and bowl siphonic toilets, it is impossible to achieve a total length of 20 inches or shorter. Of course, unless it is specifically built for kids or as a decorative item, it doesn’t apply to the functional mass-produced toilets that we are all familiar with. And it doesn’t matter whether it is a one or two-piece toilet.

So can we safely assume anything above 20-1/2″ cannot be referring to a toilet’s bowl height?

Yes, if it is not a tankless, wall hung or intelligent toilet, you can presume a 20-inch toilet has a toilet height of 20 inches measured from the floor to the bowl rim. As for the 20-1/2″ toilet, maybe you might want to simply call it the Bradenton or 21-inch toilet.

When the 20-1/2″ record is broken, let’s come back to this discussion. God knows how high of a toilet bowl they will produce next.


  1. The opening line is “Toilet Height – Let’s Clear Up the Confusion” so when are we going to clear that up instead of going on endlessly and confusing and not clarifying.
    What is considered standard height, chair height and comfort height. If we are talking about total height of a special (non standard style toilet) it should be noted as such.

    • LOL…I’m sorry it confuses you.

      The article is intended as a rant about the overly simplistic way in which the length, bowl height, and overall height of toilets are determined or described.

      People could make things easier and less confusing by being more specific when looking to buy the desired toilet. Just state bowl height or seat height, or explain a little like ‘I need to install a toilet under the window sill/shelving, etc, preferably with an overall height of no more than XX-inch.’ That’ll definitely save a ton of back-and-forth and confusion.

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