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The Best Commodes

Posted by Zoe Stitt on June 27, 2022

On a dark blue background stands a 2-level gold base, on which stands a gold cup with 2 ornate handles. Surrounding the cup are some gold laurel leaves. On the cup are the words – Best Choice Commodes

In a world where our choice of products continues to grow at a rapid pace, wading through a vast selection of different styles and purposes of products can leave you feeling lost and frustrated.

The world of mobility aids is no different.

With thousands of different aids on the market, how do you know which ones are the best, and which ones will suit your needs most accurately?

At Ability Superstore, we’re using our wealth of expertise to take the stress out of shopping with our – Best – articles.

Today, we're going to take a look at commodes.

On an illustrated background of a bathroom with a bath, cabinet, mirror and shower curtain stands a picture of an Swift Commode Chair

What Is A Commode?

Commodes, also known as bedside commodes, or commode chairs, are daily living aids that act as a second, or alternative toilet, for those living with limited mobility, or continence issues.

These toileting aids generally consist of a receptacle which fits into a recess, or hole, on a chair structure covered by a toilet seat. The receptacle collects solid and liquid waste, toilet paper and/or toilet wipes, and can be removed and emptied after use, then replaced ready to use again.

The bedside commode originated in the Middle Ages, emerging originally as what was known as a ‘close stool’.

These early types of portable toilet were crafted from wood and resembled a hollow cube with arms and a back, below which a chamber pot sat which could be accessed via an opening at the rear of the cube. As the years progressed, the design evolved, eventually being adapted by medical professionals into the commode chairs we see today.

Commode chairs come with different features, one being that some are set on wheels so that the aid can be moved easily around the home, whilst others are discreetly disguised as a piece of furniture.

Photo of commode next to bed

Who Benefits From A Commode?

Commodes are particularly beneficial for any one who lives with limited mobility, whether temporarily, or permanently. This is because they eliminate the need to have to move around the home to use the toilet.

In homes where toilets are upstairs, or away from living areas, those with limited movement may find using the bathroom difficult and stressful.

Those living with continence issues may also find commodes to be a helpful addition to the home, as they allow you to reduce the time between needing to use the toilet and being able to use the toilet. This reduces the chance of not being able to make it to the bathroom on time.

Not only do commodes offer a level of independence, privacy and dignity to the people who use them, they reduce the risk of trips, falls and injuries whilst at home.

Photo of elderly lady on commode with younger woman holding her hand

What Are The Different Types Of Commodes?

Whilst commodes all have the same basic function, they come in many different shapes and sizes and are designed to work differently depending on the need. The main types are:

Portable Commodes

Portable commodes have four wheels attached to a chair which allows the commode to be wheeled around the home to use wherever it is needed. As with all commodes, these feature a removable pan however, a good feature of portable commodes is that in some models, the pan can be removed and the chair can be wheeled to sit over the top of an existing toilet.

Static Commodes

Static commode chairs, whilst carrying out the same function as other commode chairs, have some features which the other types do not. They are designed to stay in one place, rather than being moved around the home.

Generally, static commodes are more discreet than their mobile counterparts. This is because they are designed to look like furniture. Some designs feature a removable seat which sits over the top of the pan. The commode chairs can be 'hidden' in plain sight, in any room in the home.

Another feature of static commodes is that most models are stackable. This can be particularly useful in environments where multiple commodes are needed, such as care home and other medical settings.   

Bariatric Commodes

Like most bariatric aids, these commodes are designed to accommodate those with a larger frame, or body weight. They are usually constructed using stronger and more sturdy materials to allow a person to use the commode with confidence.

Bariatric commodes will have a larger seated area and back, to ensure they are comfortable and not too restrictive when in use.

Shower Commodes

Shower commodes, as the name suggests, are specifically designed for use in a shower.

As a rule, they are fabricated from lightweight, rust proof aluminium to help protect them from prolonged water exposure.

This type of commode has a dual purpose – it can be used as a commode and also as a shower seat, allowing you to move easily from toileting to showering. Woman in orange jumper thinking

What Should I Consider Before Choosing a Commode?

There are plenty of things that need to be taken into consideration before buying a commode to ensure that you get the most out of your daily living aid.

It’s important to think about how the commode will fit into your home to make sure it can be adjusted to your exact needs.

Adjustability

Some commodes come in adjustable height options with adjustable handles, arms and removable seat covers.

Additionally, some commodes can be folded away to be stored if space is limited. In this case, it’s worth checking how much the commode weighs to ensure you can safely lift and move it.

Weight Limits

It's always worth double checking the maximum weight limits of the commode you are thinking about buying to make sure it is suitable. If the maximum weight capacity isn’t enough to suit your needs, there are bariatric commode chairs that will be a better option.

Static vs Portable

The choice between static commodes versus portable commodes is a choice dependant not only on need, but also preference. Whilst wheeled commodes are more appropriate for those with limited mobility, as they can be moved into any room, static commodes tend to be a little more discreet in their design.

Seat

The seat design of the commode you choose is important to the comfort and ability of the person using it. Some commode chairs are designed with an opening at the front. This allows more room to wipe if your mobility and dexterity are limited.

Additionally, some people may benefit from a more raised toilet seat to minimise the distance between a standing position and being seated.

Commode Additions

It's also important to be aware of the fact that there are 'add-on's available on the market which can enhance your experience using a commode. A splash guard can help keep any waste within the collection receptacle, whilst commode liners can make emptying the bedpan, or commode after use, more hygienic.

What Are Our Top 5 Commodes?

A graphic created to show off the words – Top 5

At 5 – Swift Commode Chair

two photos of the swift commode chair, one in a bathroom and one in a toilet

Starting off with number 5 on our list is the Swift Commode Chair. This height adjustable bathroom aid boasts a whole host of features including a padded backing for comfort, good grip ferrules on the legs and an easy, wipe clean fabric.

This particular chair is one of only a few on the market that has multiple uses – it can be used as a commode chair, shower chair and a toilet raiser. It can also be set with a slight anterior tilt to help with standing up after use.

The sleek and modern design allows this commode to fit seamlessly into most households, 'disguising' itself as regular household furniture.

Pros:

  • 3 in 1 multi-use – shower chair, commode and toilet raiser
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Adjustable height and seat position

Cons:

  • Design may not be to everyone’s taste
  • Static, so cannot be easily moved
  • 50 cm (20 inch) seat width that may be too narrow for some

At 4 – Folding Commode Chair

Various pictures of the folding commode chair in blue

In 4th place is the Folding Commode Chair. This folding chair is a great solution to travelling with limited mobility, or continence issues.

The clever folding and lightweight design allows the commode chair to be transported easily and stored away after use. This can be particularly useful if you have friends, or family, staying with you that require a commode for the duration of their trip.

Despite being lightweight, the Folding Commode Chair is still sturdy and can support a weight up to 127kg (20 stone). Although aesthetically the design is quite basic, the backrest has been designed to comfortably support you whilst in use.

Pros:

  • Lightweight allowing for easy transportation
  • Sturdy and comfortable
  • Folding design allows for storage when not in use

Cons:

  • Aesthetically simple
  • No lid on commode
  • Suitable for small/medium body frames only

At 3 – Deluxe Commode Chair  

Royale commode chair in different coverings

Coming right in the middle of the list is the Deluxe Commode Chair. This chair is the ultimate luxury when it comes to commode chairs. The stylish design and choice of fabrics means that this mobility aid cleverly 'disguises' itself as a piece of furniture, able to fit seamlessly into any home.

The concealed pan under the seat has a lid and a handle, so it can be easily removed and replaced by yourself, or a helper.

The chair features a solid back and arms to support you when getting on and off.

This robust chair can support a weight up to 190kg (30 stone), making it suitable for a large range of users.

Pros:

  • Stylish and subtle
  • Easy change pan
  • Sturdy and supportive

Cons:

  • Static and weighs 9.5kg (1.5 stone)
  • Not adjustable
  • Higher end of the price range

At 2 – Derby Basketweave Commode Chair

Derby basketweave commode chair in different rooms

Second place was a difficult decision, but after much consideration, the Derby Basketweave Commode Chair comes in as our second favourite commode chair.

This beautifully crafted mobility aid features a stunning basketweave in a natural colour with a stylish full back design and braided seams. The great thing about the Derby is that it doesn't look any different to other pieces of furniture, which means it can fit discreetly into living rooms with ease.

Along with all the positive design points, it’s important to note that comfort and functionality haven’t been compromised at all with this commode chair.

The padded seat allows this commode to be used as a comfy armchair when not in use as a commode, whilst the easy remove lid and pan are simple to clean and replace.

This commode chair, with its robust solid wooden legs, can accommodate a weight up to 158.5kg (25 stone).

Pros:

  • Stylish and well designed
  • Discreet and subtle
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Non-adjustable
  • Static, so not easily moved
  • Only available in one design option 

At 1 – Height Adjustable Stacking Commode

Winning commode the stackable in bathroom and other photos

The winner of the title 'the best commode', coming in at number 1, and by far our most popular commode chair is the – Height Adjustable Stacking Commode.

This mobility aid combines features from all the previous 4 chairs resulting in a fantastic, all-round commode with a very generous price point. Although this chair is static, it’s very lightweight at only 5kgs (0.5 stone), allowing it to be moved around with ease.

The chair features sturdy arms for support when getting on and off the commode, whilst the four-pin clip adjustable legs allow the stacking chair to be adapted to suit your needs.

A removable padded seat and fixed back ensure maximum comfort and the vinyl fabric coverings are easy to clean with a quick wipe with a soapy cloth.

Despite its high functionality, the Height Adjustable Stacking Commode has managed to retain an appealing aesthetic. The brown look leather and effortless design allows the chair to blend in with most home decor.

One feature this chair does include, which is absent in the others, is that it is stackable. This means that multiple chairs can be stacked on top of each other – particularly useful for medical settings, or residential homes, where requirement for bathroom aids is high and space is at a premium.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • Comfortable and supportive
  • Stylish and simple 

Cons:

  • Not as luxurious as some others
  • Not suitable for travelling
  • Only available in one colour
man holding bubble saying final thoughts

Final Thoughts

Commodes can be fantastic and life-changing aids to many people, but it's important to be aware of your needs and how a commode chair can help you.

This list is our top 5 commodes, based on feedback from customers, personal experience and years of knowledge in this industry. It was written with the hope of taking some of the stress out of the daunting task of choosing a commode.

We hope we’ve managed to achieve that, but if you still have questions, or want to talk to someone, why not get in touch with our friendly customer service team on 0161 850 00884? Or fill in the Contact Us form on our website and we’ll get in touch with you. You can access this form by clicking here!

If you're local, you can visit our store where we hold hundreds of products in stock.

Have a look at our website to view our full range of commodes and other mobility aids, or to check out articles on other items.

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