Arrives almost completely assembled. Splash guard protects clothing. Sturdy frame supports over 400 pounds. Can be configured as a bedside commode or elevated toilet.
Plastic seat can warp under pressure. Critical joints are bolted, not welded. Bucket can slip out.
Easy to assemble, with no tools required. Can be converted to bath chair or elevated toilet seat. 300-pound weight capacity. Easy to clean and store between uses.
Plastic seat is thin with sharp edges on bottom. Stability bars are uncomfortable. Not ideal for larger users.
Padded seat and arm rests are very comfortable. Drop-arm design good for transfers. Numerous adjustments create custom fit. Can be used over taller or elongated toilets.
Some sharp edges may be exposed. Not designed well for male users. Bucket is small and difficult to position properly.
Convertible 3-in-1 design. Bucket includes convenient handle. Lightweight and easy to transport. 300-pound capacity. No assembly tools required. Easy to adjust.
Upper weight limit may be overstated. Bucket is shallow and can cause splash back.
Microban treatment improves sanitation. Attractive non-institutional design. Heavy-duty frame with a 400-pound weight capacity. Elongated seat design more comfortable for male users.
Collection bucket is shallow and messy to use. Chair height may be too tall for smaller users.
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A bedside commode can be a valuable tool for those with mobility challenges to help reduce fall risks and allow them to remain independent in their homes.
Bedside commodes are chair-shaped frames outfitted with a toilet seat and removable bucket underneath to catch waste. The bucket must be manually dumped to remove its contents. Bedside commodes are usually kept near the bed to help those who have trouble getting up to use the bathroom at night. They help prevent the user from injuring themselves while hurrying to reach the bathroom or from stumbling in the dark on the way to the toilet.
These adaptive tools are recommended for many individuals who are recovering from surgery, being treated for urinary tract infections, suffering from balance issues, or having challenges with walking. They support a stable, seated position, so they’re easier for those with mobility issues to use than a bedpan. Most can be managed independently or with a relatively small amount of assistance.
Read on to learn about the features and types available and be sure to check out our recommendations for the best bedside commodes on the market.
There are several design variations when it comes to bedside commodes based on weight, height, and gender, among other factors.
Most standard bedside commodes have an upper weight limit of around 300 pounds. Manufacturers make bariatric commodes with higher weight limits. Many bariatric chairs are shaped more like benches than chairs to accommodate larger bodies. Some chairs hold between 400 and 600 pounds; others support up to 1,000 pounds. Check your specific chair’s specifications before ordering.
Bedside commodes vary slightly in height, but even an inch or two can make a big difference for a customer with balance problems. Shorter users may tip a taller chair struggling to reach the top. Likewise, taller users can lose their balance if they must lower themselves too much to reach a chair that’s too short. Bedside commodes with adjustable legs can take the guesswork out of choosing the right size. Some adjust in half-inch increments; others adjust in inch increments.
Some bedside commodes are outfitted with standard toilet seats; others come with elongated seats. Commodes with elongated seats are a better choice for male customers; females may use either standard or elongated seats.
Bucket capacities for bedside commodes generally range from seven quarts up to 12 quarts. If you are buying the equipment as a precaution or usually eliminate only once during the night, a smaller bucket may work. If you eliminate several times a night, however, a 12-quart bucket is a better choice.
Check out the bucket’s depth when choosing a commode. A bucket that’s too shallow makes splashing a real possibility. Besides being unsanitary, splashing can also make your chair more difficult to clean.
Some bedside commodes can be taken apart to meet different needs. They can serve as a full toilet at night; during the day, the bucket can be removed to make a toilet safety frame or raised toilet seat. Some models are also collapsible for portability.
Chairs with drop arms are helpful to customers who need to move to the commode from a wheelchair or walker. The movable arms drop down to allow you to move laterally onto the toilet seat rather than standing and lowering onto the seat. Chairs should have two drop arms to allow you to transfer in either direction.
Bedside commodes with padded seats and armrests can add comfort for customers with arthritis or other medical conditions that cause body pain. Keep in mind, however, that a padded seat tends to have more flexibility, often resulting in temporary folds that can be more challenging to clean.
Many bedside commodes have legs fitted with rubberized tips. This helps both to protect the floor surface and to prevent the chair from sliding when you sit. Other chairs have wheels at the end of each leg to make them easier to move between rooms. If you choose a chair with wheeled legs, be sure that each wheel has a way to lock.
Some commodes seats are made from antimicrobial materials that protect against bacteria, mold, and more. Since these seats frequently come into contact with bodily fluids, this is a good protective measure, especially if cleaning is challenging.
Inexpensive: You can find well-rated bedside commodes, in both standard and bariatric weight ranges, beginning around $80. At this price point, bedside commodes will have narrower frames and non-padded seats. Some may have padded hand grips and/or be made of stainless steel or PVC. They usually will not have drop arms for transfers from a bed or a wheelchair.
Mid-range: Bedside commodes in the $100 to $120 price range come in both standard and bariatric price weight ranges and should feature drop arms for easy transfers. They may be padded or non-padded and should have reinforced joints to provide extra support. Collection buckets should be large and deep.
Expensive: On the highest end, bedside commodes can cost anywhere from $120 to $150. Equipment that costs this much should be able to accommodate significant weight. They should have sturdy, powder-coated steel construction with thick, supportive backrests. These commode chairs should have drop arms to simplify transfers, and they may have special antimicrobial treatments to improve sanitation.
The DMI Portable Bedside Commode is extremely sturdy and has many thoughtful features to help prevent slips. This bedside commode features four rubber-tipped legs and grippy handlebars for secure lowering and raising. Drop arms make it easy to transfer individuals up to 250 pounds.
For customers who need a little more support, we like the look of this Drive Medical Deluxe Bariatric Drop-Arm Commode. With a weight limit of 1,000 pounds, this chair offers a bit of back support that many other wide bariatric models lack. It also comes with comfortable padded drop arms.
Q. How often should I clean the commode bucket?
A. The commode bucket should be cleaned after each use if possible, or at least every morning if the user lives alone. To clean, put on disposable gloves, empty the bucket into the toilet, and squeeze in a germ-killing cleaning fluid. Scrub the bucket with a toilet brush, then rinse it in the bathtub. Be sure to dispose of your gloves afterward. Some choose to use commode liners to reduce the need for constant cleaning.
Q. How often should I clean the entire bedside commode?
A. Commode chairs themselves should be cleaned at least once a week, or whenever the chair appears or smells soiled. The easiest way to clean a chair is to place it in the shower. Spray disinfectant over the whole chair, turn the shower on to spray hot water, and let it run for up to five minutes. Spray the chair again with disinfectant or a mixture of vinegar and water, and wipe it with a sponge or cleaning brush. Use the shower spray to rinse off the disinfectant. Dry the entire structure with paper towels, or dry the metal components with paper towels and let the rest air dry.
Q. How do I help a loved one use a bedside commode?
A. If your loved one needs help transferring from a bed or wheelchair to a bedside commode, make sure you have all your supplies in the room before starting. Be sure her legs aren’t crossed while preparing to stand, and help her lean forward to slowly adjust her balance before standing. Once the person is standing, assist her in turning and lowering onto the commode. After she’s done eliminating, help her wipe if she cannot do it herself. Be sure to wear gloves. Make sure she is holding the supports, and help her stand off the chair and turn slowly. Assist your loved one in sitting back on her bed, and help her swing her legs back into place on the bed. Then proceed in emptying the bucket into the toilet.