The 8 Best Bedside Commodes of 2021

Make life a little easier with these top picks

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Whether it's due to injury, illness, or age, being bedridden or having limited mobility makes it hard to get to the bathroom easily. For those situations, a bedside commode can be a serious game-changer. And if you're buying a bedside commode, you'll want to make sure it's sturdy, easy to clean, and comfortable.

“A bedside commode is helpful to anyone who can't get to a toilet or bathroom safely,” explains Portia Wofford, LPN, former nurse manager in a skilled nursing facility. “In the elderly it's often used for those with reduced mobility or who risk falling if they attempt to walk or transfer to a regular toilet.” 

You also may need to use a bedside commode if you use a wheelchair that doesn’t fit in your bathroom, if you are bedridden or have severe pain, and if you or your loved one would prefer not to use a bedpan (it’s important to consider preservation of dignity, says Wofford, in anyone who wants to maintain their independence but struggles with mobility or cognition).

Because it’s so important to find a bedside commode that’s compatible with your unique circumstances, we’ve rounded up the best ones to meet a variety of needs, whether it’s foldable portability, security and stability, or microbial protection.

Here are the best bedside commodes on the market today.

Our Top Picks
This 3-in-1 commode is reliable, easy-to-clean, and has a sturdy steel construction.
A short-term, easy-on-the-wallet option with adjustable height and foldability.
A simple, tool-free assembly and compact folded dimensions with multiple uses.
Easily disguises as a normal chair while keeping all the same functionality of other commodes.
An extra-wide, ergonomic seat accommodates larger users and reduces back strain.
Includes all the standard features of other commodes, plus antimicrobial protection, a clip-on seat, and toilet paper holder.
Makes it easy to slide from a bed or couch to the commode, with a bench seat and heavy-duty frame.
A tool-free assembly with support for up to 650 pounds makes this model easy to build and use.

Best Overall: Drive Medical Steel Bedside Commode Chair

Drive Medical Steel Bedside Commode Chair
  • Multiple use commode

  • Durable steel construction

  • Folds for storage or transportation

  • Needs assembly

  • May be too narrow for some users

If you need a bedside commode, you want one that’s reliable, accommodating, and easy-to-use, and this model by Drive Medical checks all those boxes.

There are so many things to like about this bedside commode it would be hard to name them all, but we can definitely give you some highlights. First up, it’s a three-in-one model, which means it can be used as a standalone commode, a raised toilet (if you’re having trouble sitting all the way down) or a simple over-the-toilet frame for extra stability. Because the commode pail is removable, you can use, empty, and clean it easily—but you can also fold up the entire unit for storage and travel, if needed.

We also appreciate that the commode can be adjusted to your preferred height and can accommodate a person up to 350 pounds. Between its sturdy steel construction, its versatile design, and its easy-to-clean bucket, this commode can do pretty much whatever you need it to with ease.

Type: 3-in-1 (bedside commode, raised toilet seat, and toilet safety frame) | Weight Limitations: 350 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Removable bucket with carry handle and pail cover

Best Budget: Medline 3-in-1 Steel Folding Bedside Commode

Medline 3-in-1 Steel Folding Bedside Commode
  • Adjustable height

  • Easy assembly

  • Folds for easy storage

  • Runs small/narrow

  • Some users find it too wobbly

If you like our “Best Overall” pick but want to spend the least amount of money possible—without sacrificing too much—the three-in-one steel folding commode by Medline is the next best pick. 

It has mostly the same features as Drive Medical’s three-in-one commode: adjustable height, foldability, variability in use, and a weight limit of 350 pounds. But it also boasts an easy assembly and an easy-on-the-wallet price point, which makes it a great choice for someone who only needs a bedside commode for a short period of time rather than permanently (like someone recovering from an illness or injury).

Type: 3-in-1 (bedside commode, raised toilet seat, and toilet safety frame) | Weight Limitations: 350 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Removable bucket with carry handle and pail cover

Best Folding: NOVA Medical Products Folding Commode

NOVA Medical Products Folding Commode
  • Fast assembly with no tools required

  • Folds to only four inches deep for storage

  • Some users find the seat uncomfortable

  • Design makes over the toilet use difficult

Many of the commodes on this list are capable of folding up for storage or travel, but we chose NOVA Medical’s version as our pick for “Best Folding” because it goes the extra mile. Its tool-free assembly means you won’t be fumbling with too many parts and pieces when it’s time to store your commode, and its folded dimensions (four inches deep by 22 inches wide) make it simple to stash away under the bed, in a closet, or even in the backseat of a car.

In other features, the NOVA Medical commode can be used as a standalone toilet or a raised toilet seat, is adjustable for your height, is easy to empty and clean, and can accommodate up to 300 pounds. It’s one of the most convenient options for travel or occasional use.

Type: Standalone commode and over-the-toilet use | Weight Limitations: 300 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Removable bucket with lid and splash guard

Best Discreet: Medline Elements Bedside Commode

Medline Elements Bedside Commode
  • Seat and bucket can be concealed for discretion

  • Can be used as a shower chair

  • Made with microban antimicrobial protection

  • May be too high for shorter users

  • May be more difficult to clean in-between spaces

Need a bedside commode that doesn’t announce itself as a bedside commode to everyone who enters your home? Look no further than this version by Medline Elements, which can easily pass as a regular chair thanks to the seat design. It contains a regular, removable commode bucket, but it’s situated within a plastic frame that looks like the seat of a normal chair; it also has a flat lid that fully covers the seated surface, so when everything is closed up, you can’t even tell there’s a bucket inside.

The chair is also made of bronze-colored steel and beige plastic, neither of which give off clear “commode” vibes. In fact, the chair’s design also allows it to be a supportive shower chair, so it’s pretty easy for this one to pass as any old seat in your house. It can accommodate up to 400 pounds, is height-adjustable, and is also infused with microban antimicrobial technology, keeping the growth of odors and bacteria at bay better than other models.

Type: Standalone commode or over-the-toilet use | Weight Limitations: 400 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Removable bucket with carry handle and pail cover

Most Comfortable: MedPro Defense Comfort Plus Commode Chair

MedPro Comfort Plus Commode Chair
  • Wider-than-average ergonomic seat

  • Adjustable height

  • Built-in splash guard

  • Some users find it not sturdy enough for them

  • Does not have a splash guard for male users

It’s important to have reasonable expectations of what using a bedside commode will be like (hint: it’s not likely to be as comfortable as using a regular toilet). However, you shouldn’t have to suffer or expect to be uncomfortable; after all, depending on your reason for needing a bedside commode, you might be using it fairly regularly.

If comfort is one of your main goals in choosing a bedside commode, you might appreciate some of the design features of the MedPro Comfort Plus Commode Chair. Its extra-wide, ergonomic seat makes using the commode more comfortable than usual, accommodating larger users and reducing back strain. Its seven height adjustments allow the seat to rise from 16 inches high to 22 inches high, its padded armrest help you sit and stand on the commode more gently, and its pail can be removed for emptying and cleaning from the top or back of the unit. 

Considering that it’s also a three-in-one unit, we think it’s safe to say this one can make bedside toilet use as comfortable as possible.

Type: 3-in-1 (bedside commode, raised toilet seat, and toilet safety frame) | Weight Limitations: 350 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Bucket with carry handle and pail cover can be removed from top or back of commode

Most Additional Features: Medline Steel 3-in-1 Bedside Commode

Medline Steel 3-in-1 Bedside Commode
  • Clip-on seat for easy removal and cleaning

  • Tool-free assembly

  • Made with microban antimicrobial protection

  • Bucket hole is small

Want a few extra features without breaking the bank? The Medline 3-in-1 steel commode manages to work in some helpful added details while maintaining a competitive price tag, making it a great choice for users who want as much convenience as possible.

Let’s run through some of the standard specs: this commode is a variable use model, so you can adapt it to your needs; it has a weight limit of 350 pounds; it’s made with durable steel and has push-button height adjustability, and features a tool-free assembly. As for bonus features? Think antimicrobial protection, a clip-on seat for easy removal and cleaning, a splash guard, and a toilet paper holder.

Type: 3-in-1 (bedside commode, raised toilet seat, and toilet safety frame) | Weight Limitations: 350 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Removable bucket with carry handle and pail cover

Best Drop-Arm: NOVA Medical Products Heavy Duty Bedside Commode Chair with Drop-Arm

NOVA Medical Heavy Duty Bedside Commode Chair with Drop-Arm
  • Extra wide 23.25-inch seat

  • Includes drop-arm for easy access

  • Can accommodate bariatric use

  • No splash guard

  • Oversize shipping means a return is expensive

If you need to use a bedside commode, chances are you’re having some trouble with your mobility. But if getting on and off a regular toilet is hard for you, getting on and off a beside commode isn’t necessarily any easier—unless your commode has a drop-arm feature, allowing you to slide from your bed or couch right onto the commode.

“It is useful to get a commode with drop arms and adjustable heights [because] these features are especially helpful if a patient has difficulty with ambulation and gait instability,” says Mariana Hurtado, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Houston Methodist Hospital.

The NOVA Medical Heavy Duty Commode with Drop-Arm allows you to easily lower both arms of the commode with a lever to create an open space, making transfer from a surface onto the commode super simple. The bench-style seat itself is extra wide at nearly 26 inches, so it’s easy to slide into position.

We also like the fact that in addition to all the usual commode features (like adjustable height and removable bucket), this heavy duty NOVA Medical model has a weight limitation of 500 pounds versus the typical 350 pounds, so you won’t have to worry about using it with a larger patient or needing to put two peoples’ weight on the unit to assist someone with the transfer.

Type: Standalone commode | Weight Limitations: 500 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Slide-out bucket with carry handle

Best Bariatric: Drive Medical Heavy Duty Bariatric Folding Commode

Drive Medical Heavy Duty Bariatric Folding Commode
  • 12-quart pail capacity

  • Push-button adjustable height

  • Easy open and fold

  • Plastic seat and lid are less durable than frame

  • Small seat with small opening

At first glance, this commode doesn’t look like anything special, but for bariatric patients it could be a perfect fit. With a weight limit of 650 pounds, the vast majority of bariatric users can feel safe and secure using this seat—and you won’t have to skip any of the convenience features of other models, either.

In addition to its durable steel frame, this standalone unit can be assembled without tools in just three steps. It has an adjustable height, allowing you to sit low to the ground for maximum stability if you choose, as well as an extra large pail (with a carrying handle, lid, and splash shield). Finally, the backrest of this commode is removable, so if it’s uncomfortable for you to use or you want to be able to fit this commode around your existing toilet, it’s overall size and shape can be slightly altered to meet your needs.

Type: Standalone commode | Weight Limitations: 650 lbs | Cleaning/Emptying Method: Removable bucket with carry handle, splash guard and pail cover

Final Verdict

For an all-around reliable seat for average users, the Drive Medical Steel Bedside Commode Chair (view at Amazon) has enough features to make it convenient without overbearing. If you’re looking for a bedside commode that doesn’t look like a bedside commode, the Medline Elements Bedside Commode (view at Amazon) is discreet enough to pass as a shower seat or regular chair. And bariatric users can rest assured that the Drive Medical Heavy Duty Bariatric Folding Commode (view at Amazon) will safely and securely accommodate their needs with its extra wide seat and durable steel construction.

What to Look for in Bedside Commodes

Steel Construction

For the most part, bedside commodes include plastic seats and buckets for comfort and easy sanitizing. But your frame should be made of steel for maximum support—even if you’re not a bariatric user, a bedside commode needs to accommodate a lot of use. You will be leaning on it to sit and stand, removing the bucket for cleaning, and possibly moving it from the bedroom to the bathroom. Steel is the material most likely to hold up to high frequency use.

Removable Bucket

For maximum ease when it’s time to clean your unit, Wofford strongly suggests choosing a commode with a fully removable bucket.

Adjustable Height

Part of the reason you may need a bedside commode is because using a regular toilet is difficult or uncomfortable for you. To avoid having a bedside commode create the same problem, opt for one that has an adjustable height; that way, it won’t be either too tall or too short (i.e. too difficult for you to get on and off or use effectively).

Stability Features

You may be using a bedside commode if you are weak, struggle with balance, or are recovering from an injury, so the last thing you want to do is injure yourself while using your unit.

“At a minimum, make sure the commode is sturdy and has rubber tips on the feet to keep it from sliding and help to prevent it from tipping over,” advises Wofford.

Dr. Hurtado also suggests using a commode that includes hand rails, as this can provide an extra bit of security when sitting down on the unit and getting up again.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does medicaid cover bedside commodes?

    Yes. “Medicaid usually covers bedside commodes along with Medicare,” says Dr. Hurtado. 

    Obviously, we always recommend checking with your insurance provider and confirming coverage rather than assuming your provider will pay; there may be certain models you need to choose from, or other restrictions and limitations on coverage.

  • How do you clean a bedside commode?

    Although it isn’t pleasant to think about, keeping your bedside commode clean is a necessity for preventing the spread of germs and infection. Thankfully, though, you don’t need any special know-how or medical-grade supplies to maintain your unit.

    “Follow the manufacturer's instructions, but you should be able to clean it like any regular toilet,” says Wofford. “Be sure to rinse and clean it after each use.” 

    Most removable plastic buckets can be washed in the sink or bathtub with mild soap or detergent and warm water. If you can allow time for air drying, turn the unit upside down so the water can drip out; if you need to replace the bucket right away, it can be wiped down with a paper towel or clean cloth.

  • How do you keep a bedside commode from smelling?

    There are two main ways to prevent odors with your bedside commode. The first is to always empty and clean it after each use; the longer waste sits inside the bucket, the higher chance it will stain and permeate the plastic, making it harder to keep it odor-free even after washing.

    The second tip is to make sure you regularly clean every part of the unit, not just the removable bucket, and frequently go through a sanitization process including disinfecting products (i.e. soap and water is fine for cleaning after each use, but sanitization several times per week will go a long way toward keeping odors at bay). 

    “Sanitize and disinfect it regularly,” says Wofford, “and don't forget to clean the handles, the seat, the lid, the legs, and the armrest [where germs and odors can also linger].”

What the Experts Say

“It is useful to get a commode with drop arms and adjustable heights [because] these features are especially helpful if a patient has difficulty with ambulation and gait instability,”—Mariana Hurtado, M.D., an internal medicine physician at Houston Methodist Hospital

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