Many articles and questions posted on the internet claim that most toilets can support up to 500 pounds. They also offer a disclaimer of sorts: it is not recommended to put more than 200 pounds over the weight limit. If you are worried you’ve been overdoing the snacks a bit during lockdown, then we are here to put your mind at ease. You’re unlikely to squash the toilet!
A little bit of checking showed that this is, indeed, an urban legend and not a fact at all. The Department of Public Works (DPW) for Los Angeles County says: “The maximum capacity stated on any tank or bowl is for weights equal to or less than the toilet’s limits – usually about 700 lbs.” Furthermore, they point out that some tanks break if you load them with more than 300-350 pounds as well as sending APWA Standard #301 free upon request which states: “Toilet tanks and bowls shall be designed to accommodate a working load of 2000 lbs with a safety factor of four.”
Essentially, all this comes down to is that you can safely sit on your toilet seat as long as the total weight does not exceed about 700 pounds. This includes the person sitting there plus any other items in/on the bowl! However, while it may hold up to 500 pounds, no one recommends putting more than 200 pounds over that mark because even if it doesn’t break or crack it may then be unsanitary because the sewer line will not work properly under too much weight pressure.
As for specific toilets, there are different opinions on this since some claim their product holds far more than others. One person claimed their heavy duty toilet would hold 1000 pounds while another who followed up with their own review said that when they sat on the toilet, it broke.
Others have also responded in various online forums. One person wrote: “My co-worker weighs about 500lbs and he said he tried to sit on one and it didn’t even crack (but I don’t know if this was a normal or heavy duty).” While another offered: “I’m not sure but we had a family of three that used our only guest bathroom and all 3 sat down at 3 different times and it held them.” Yet someone else pointed out: “The weight capacity isn’t an indication of strength…it’s more about how much pressure can be put against the walls before they buckle.”As for the manufacturer’s max weight claims, there are various numbers out there.
One website says 500 pounds while another says 600 pounds so if you weigh in at 550 pounds and your toilet weighs about 25-30 pounds, you should be okay. Unfortunately, most people don’t know the weights of their own toilets nor do they have scales to measure it with. However, even though online research reveals that most toilets state a maximum safe capacity of between 400-650 pounds when following standard guidelines (but not all), it is best to err on the side of caution by using good judgment overusing it when either someone who is very overweight or obese sits on it or keeping your child away from this fixture because children can cause more damage than adults when jumping on something.