Let’s be honest — the shape of a toilet seat isn’t something you’re typically focusing on when remodeling your bathroom or even moving into a new home.
However, you may be surprised to know that the shape of a toilet seat can spell big differences when it comes to comfort.
I’ve had my share of new toilet seat purchases, and one thing I will say is that there are a few things to consider before choosing one or the other.
One of which is this: How do I know if I have round or elongated toilet seats?
And here’s the answer: It depends on the shape of the toilet bowl.
Before purchasing a replacement or new toilet seat, it’s important to know what the shape of your toilet is.
How to Tell if a Toilet Seat Is Round or Elongated
If you’re unsure about whether a toilet seat is round or elongated, there are a couple of ways that you can check.
The packaging on the toilet seat will typically state this. If it doesn’t, it will have the measurements of the toilet seat’s length — where the biggest difference between the two seats comes into play.
Your typical round toilet seat measures about 16 1/2 inches in length, while an elongated one measures around 18 and 1/2 inches.
You can also measure the length of the seat by grabbing a measuring tape and checking the length from the front edge to the hinges located at the back.
Oftentimes, you’ll be able to tell if a toilet seat is elongated or round by simply looking at it.
Elongated toilet bowls and seats have an oval shape, making them just a tad longer, while a round toilet seat extends less and is closer to the shape of a true circle.
Can You Install a Round Toilet Seat on an Elongated Toilet?
Technically, you could do this. However, it’s never recommended.
One, because the toilet seat will look a bit off, as it is pretty noticeable right off the bat.
But second — and more importantly — because a round toilet seat won’t completely cover the top of an elongated bowl.
I remember buying my first rental unit and not paying attention to the toilet seat that I purchased when making a run to Home Depot. Well, it turns out the toilet bowl was elongated, and the seat that I purchased was round.
About a week into my first tenant’s stay, I received a text message asking if they could change the toilet seat because her husband kept complaining about how much it hurt to sit on the toilet seat for more than 30 seconds.
Let’s just say it was a lesson learned.
Can You Install an Elongated Toilet Seat on a Round Toilet?
The same thing holds true for installing an elongated toilet seat on a round bowl — while it will technically fit on top of the round toilet, the comfort will be considerably compromised.
The front rim of the toilet seat will hang over the front of the bowl by a few inches, which will be aesthetically unappealing. And on top of that, there will also likely be a small gap between the edge of the toilet seat and the tip of the toilet bowl rim.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing an Elongated or Round toilet?
While it may seem like the toilet bowl shape is the only factor to consider before purchasing a new toilet seat, there are some other things to think about as well.
It’s worth noting that most municipalities and small towns in the US will have building codes that specify the length that a toilet must clear in the front, which is usually 21 inches.
This means that for smaller bathrooms, round toilets are typically the go-to option — for which a rounded seat will be a better pick.
On average, you’ll find that round toilet bowls are typically less expensive than their elongated counterparts. However, the price difference is usually anywhere from just 10 to 15%.
For example, you may find a classic round toilet seat for about $25 and an elongated one from the same brand for about $30 to $45.
Elongated toilets can offer a more modern look to your bathroom, whereas round toilets tend to look a bit toward the old and traditional.
While buying a brand new toilet just for the sake of appearance may not be worth the hassle, the shape you decide on is worth considering if you’re doing a remodel or need to replace your current model.
As mentioned earlier, your ideal toilet seat really depends on whether your toilet is round or elongated, as purchasing the wrong one can lead to discomfort or a seat that appears a bit off.
Are you trying to choose between wood or plastic material? We’ve got you covered with our article on wood vs plastic toilet seats.