The best bedpan

Catherine Bushen

For people with limited mobility, bathroom visits can be extremely painful or even impossible. In these situations, bedpans offer patients a sanitary place to relieve themselves while remaining in their beds.

When purchasing a bedpan, you need to ensure you choose a style that will meet the needs of whoever will use it. The YUMSUM Firm Thick Bedpan is an excellent medium-sized choice for most patients. It’s comfortable, easy to clean and can withstand up to 220 pounds.

What to know before you buy a bedpan

What is a bedpan?

A bedpan is a receptacle that collects the urine and feces of bed-bound patients. It allows bedridden individuals access to a toilet while seated. People use bedpans when using a regular toilet is either impossible or advised against for medical reasons.

Types of bedpan

Bedpans are available in a number of different styles. Each has distinct features to accommodate various physical capabilities and medical conditions.

Regular bedpan: Standard bedpans more closely resemble the shape of a toilet bowl than other variations. Users sit in an upright position, much like they would on a regular toilet. This posture is likely to feel more natural and comfortable than lying down. Standard bedpans have high walls to collect urine and help to prevent spills. To use a regular pan, the patient needs to be repositioned and must have the ability to lift their hips.

Fracture bedpan: These are narrower at one end than the other, similar to the shape of a dustpan. Those who cannot sit upright or lift their hips will need to use a fracture pan. The patient uses this receptacle while in a recumbent position. Caregivers, or perhaps the patient themselves, slip the shallow part of the pan under the buttocks to catch both liquids and solids. Due to their minimalist design, these pans have a lower capacity and are more prone to spills than regular pans.

Bariatric bedpan: These are very similar to regular pans but they’re designed for larger individuals. Typically a bariatric pan is bigger, has a wider rim and can support more weight than a standard bedpan.

Disposable bedpan: Made from molded pulp, these pans should be thrown away after one use. They are ideal for situations when sanitizing a bedpan is impractical, such as while traveling.

How to empty a bedpan

Bedpans should be emptied into regular toilets. If the patient has used wipes that cannot be flushed, be sure to remove them before pouring the contents into the toilet bowl. A bedpan liner can be carefully tidied and thrown in the outside trash. Always wash the bedpan immediately after emptying it.

Bedpan features


The majority of bedpans are either plastic or stainless steel. Both materials are durable and easy to clean. Stainless-steel bedpans generally cost more, but they usually support more weight, too. They are a popular choice for those undergoing bariatric surgery. Plastic is usually the cheaper option. Many find them more comfortable to sit on as they don’t feel cold to the touch.


Fracture pans often have handles. The handle makes it easier for caregivers to maneuver the pot into position. It also helps them get a firm grip when removing the receptacle. It’s best to get a fracture pan that has a handle, as the low walls leave little else to grab onto.


Some regular bedpans have a lid incorporated into their design. These are handy if it’s not possible to empty the pan immediately after use.

Bedpan accessories

Bedpan liners

Although most bedpans have non-stick surfaces, they are still somewhat messy to clean. Bedpan liners help to make the whole process tidier. Caregivers simply place the absorbent pad or bag inside the receptacle before the patient uses it. After use, carers can fold up the liner and throw it straight in the trash.


Absorbent underpads protect the bedding from becoming soiled. Caregivers place the mat on the bed, under the patient’s buttocks. The underpad catches any splashes or spills, so the bed sheet remains clean. Carers then simply replace the dirty underpad with a clean one.

Bedpan cost 

A good-quality plastic bedpan will cost around $10-$20. Stainless-steel varieties are usually $30-$40, though ones with lids might cost a little bit more.

Bedpan FAQ

Can men urinate in a bedpan?

A. Yes. Bedpans are designed to collect both urine and fecal matter. However, if the patient only needs to pass water, most men prefer to use a urinal bottle.

Do women use bedpans to urinate?

A. Yes. Most women prefer to urinate in a bedpan rather than a urinal bottle, as it feels more natural to them. That said, there are unisex urinal bottles available. These usually have a funnel to adapt to the female anatomy.

Can you leave a bedpan under a patient who is incontinent?

A. No, you shouldn’t leave a bedpan underneath a person for extended periods of time. Doing this could cause sores or pressure ulcers.

Which bedpan should I get?

Best of the best bedpan

YUMSUM Firm Thick Bedpan: available at Amazon

Our take: A durable medium-sized bedpan suitable for patients who can sit upright.

What we like: It’s comfortable to sit on, as it has smooth rounded edges.

What we dislike: Not suitable for those over 220 pounds.

Best bang for your buck bedpan

MedPro Fracture Bedpan: available at Amazon

Our take: This tapered bedpan is ideal for patients who can’t be repositioned or have limited mobility in their hips.

What we like: This slim model incorporates a handle, which makes it easy for caregivers to position and remove. 

What we dislike: Some find it too shallow.

Honorable mention bedpan

Vakly Heavy Duty Bariatric Bedpan: available at Amazon

Our take: This sturdy bedpan is well suited to heavier patients.

What we like: Its wide rim provides a comfortable seating space and its non-stick surface is easy to clean.

What we dislike: Too bulky to position under those who are severely immobilized.

Catherine Bushen is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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