ADA and Non-ADA Toilet Heights

ADA toiletLiving with physical disabilities leaves one with multiple challenges in doing daily tasks, such as operating water faucets, turning the lights on or off - many tasks that are taken for granted. In order to provide a better quality of life for those with disabilities, Congress passed The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 with installation specifications for items such as appliances, room accessibility, and toilet height.

Height for ADA Toilet

In order to comply with the ADA requirements, the seat of the toilet must be 17 to 19 inches from the finished floor. These requirements apply to models sold by manufacturers intended for use by adults. Finding a “one-size-fits-all” solution is quite difficult, so many companies use 18 inches as a middle ground height to accommodate those with disabilities. Manufacturers also offer seat adapter accessories to increase the height of seats as this option is useful for those who use wheelchairs to make the transition to toilet seat.

Standard Toilet Height

Non-ADA toilets have no formal or legal requirement for the height. Industry standard, however, for many models sold for installation in residences range from 16.5 to 18.5 inches in height with a seat width of 14 inches. A unit with a 16.5 inch height is the common practice in manufacturing and sales. Toilets that are 18.5 inches in height are referred to as elongated toilets.


The seat size for ADA-compliant and non-ADA models is similar. Companies design and manufacture unit heights and seats that will accommodate a vast variety of users from those with disabilities to those with no disabilities. They also provide consumers a wide variety of features, colors and styles. Both ADA models and non-ADA models are also manufactured according to standard plumbing requirements in order to make installation as streamlined as possible.


ADA guidelines were developed and set into law to ensure that toilets are accessible, accommodating people with physical disabilities. All units installed in public facilities and government-financed housing must comply with ADA standards. As a result, almost all manufacturers designed specific models and label them as ADA compliant. Toilet areas must also have grab bars on the walls or mounted to the unit. Currently, there are no laws that require ADA-compliant toilets in private homes. Toilet heights, sizes and fixtures for installation in private homes can be installed according to the wishes of the homeowner. However, consumers who are disabled or have family residing in their home with disabilities can find ADA-compliant models at many home improvement and supply stores.

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