Wood vs Plastic Toilet Seats: Which one is Better?

Similar to every purchase that you make as a consumer, it’s always best to weigh the pros and cons before deciding what type of toilet seat to buy. 

In the matchup of wood vs plastic toilet seats, which one reigns as the champion? 

Though some of us definitely spend more time on a toilet seat than others, the answer isn’t so simple. Ultimately, it depends on the aspects of a toilet seat that are most important to you.

What to Consider When Choosing a Toilet Seat

When you think about a toilet seat, for the most part you’re thinking about comfort. But, you may be surprised at the other important aspects of a toilet seat that are worth consideration. 

Factors such as hygiene, durability, versatility, and style may also come into play.

Comfort

Often, you’ll find that the biggest priority when it comes to the toilet seat is comfort. Whether your toilet seat is made of wood or plastic, it should be fairly comfortable to sit on. 

The one thing that gives wood a bit of a one-up on plastic toilet seats is its ability to stay warm throughout the year — we all dread the feeling of a freezing plastic toilet seat in the middle of the night. 

And, of course, there are those heated toilet seats that seem to make life extra enjoyable. However, these are typically more expensive and may not be worth it to the average consumer. 

Inexpensive plastic seats can feel a bit flimsy when you sit on them and offer little comfort due to their lack of sturdiness. If you’re looking for a solid seat, you’ll find this in a wood seat, and some plastic ones. 

The difference really has to do with the quality of the toilet seat more than the material, as a higher-quality toilet seat is simply going to feel sturdier and more comfortable overall.

Durability

Another advantage of wood toilet seats is their durability. The reason why wood is used in most home and building applications is simply that it’s strong and lasts a long time. 

The wood used for toilet seats is typically tempered and covered with a finish that protects the grain. Overall, you’ll find that these toilet seats tend to be a bit heavier and thicker than your everyday plastic toilet seat, meaning they are less likely to crack or break. 

If durability is important to you, a wood toilet seat is worth considering.

Cost

Here is where things can get a bit interesting. Your typical toilet seat will range anywhere from $20 to $25, and over $100 for luxurious seats (you heard that right — over $100!). 

Overall, plastic toilet seats tend to be less expensive than wood toilet seats, which also speaks to their durability. 

The factors that most impact the price of the seat include the brand, building material, and the overall size and style. So, if you want yourself a fancy toilet, be ready to cough up a few bucks.

Hygiene

Now, let’s discuss hygiene — after all, we are talking about toilets here. 

Health experts recommend cleaning your toilet at least once a week to help minimize bacteria and mold spores. 

Wood toilet seats have a reputation for not being as hygienic as plastic toilet seats — this is false. Overall, wood does have a porous surface. However, these toilet seats are covered with a wood finish to protect the grain, making their surface non-porous by the time they reach your bathroom. 

This means they don’t harbor any more bacteria or germs than plastic toilet seats. You can just as effectively clean the surface of the wood seats as you can a plastic one.

Style

Another important factor in choosing the perfect toilet seat centers around your own personal style. Granted, most people aren’t looking to make their toilet seat the center focus of their bathroom — though some might be. 

A toilet that doesn’t match the decor in your bathroom can stick out like a sore thumb. So, while you may not necessarily want your toilet to be “beautiful”, chances are that you do want it to be stylish enough to generally complement and fit in with the rest of the bathroom. 

Overall, you’ll find more style options with plastic toilet seats than with wood. Today, you can find plastic toilet seats in an array of different colors and styles, while wood toilet seats tend to be rather limited by wood type and texture. 

Want a baby pink toilet seat for your bathroom? No problem. The color options for plastic toilet seats are virtually endless!.

Versatility

Versatility may not be one of the factors that you first consider when thinking of a toilet seat, but it can play a part in your decision. 

For example, many toilet seats today include extra features such as straps, raised buttons, splash guards, extra padding, and backrests to give them a bit of an edge over other options. 

Check online — take a look at the most expensive toilet seats out there to see what all your options are. You may actually be surprised at the number of features that many newer model toilet seats come with.

FAQ

Both plastic and wooden toilet seats come with their own advantages and disadvantages. And though wooden seats may not be as popular as they were in the past, new models are equipped with many of the features you’d expect in a decent and modern toilet seat.

Are Wooden Toilet Seats Unsanitary?

High-quality wooden toilet seats are, for the most part, as sanitary as plastic toilet seats. The protective finish (which is usually polyurethane) on these toilet seats makes them non-porous. 

As long as it is intact and not peeling, they are sanitary. However, without this protective coating, the grain would absorb germs and liquids fairly easily. 

That being said, after the wooden toilet seat’s four to five year lifespan, its protective finish can start to peel, exposing the wood grain. This is usually the time that you’d need to get a replacement toilet seat.

Why Do Wooden Toilet Seats Crack?

Wooden toilet seats can crack and warp when exposed to long periods of excessive humidity, high heat, or a combination of both. This is due to the wood expanding and shrinking with the temperature and humidity changes. 

If you notice that the toilet seat suddenly feels uneven or uncomfortable, this may be the issue. 

Though wood toilet seats have high compressive strength and exceptional durability, they do have their breaking point. Though this is less likely to happen with modern wooden seats, it’s still important to minimize the amount of humidity in your bathroom. 

To be on the safe side, it’s best to try to keep the humidity in your bathroom at around 50% to 55% (note: dehumidifiers, open windows, and exhaust fans can help with this). 

Do Plastic Toilet Seats Stain?

Yes, they can. Most plastic toilet seats will come in a white, beige, eggshell, or off-white hue, and these colors are more likely to show stains simply because they’re lighter. You can always opt for a darker-colored toilet seat if you suspect that this will be a concern. 

Cleaning your toilet seat more regularly can prevent it from harboring tough stains from every day to day usage as well. This can be a big factor if you have small children in your home. You can also note that these stains are typically superficial. 

To remove the stains, you can simply take a Clorox disinfecting wipe and go over the seat a few times. That, or take a cleaning sponge and bathroom cleaner, and wipe it down every other day. 

However, you may want to stay away from abrasive cleaners and cleaning cloths, as they may permanently scratch the toilet seat.

Conclusion

When it’s all said and done, choosing between a plastic toilet seat and a wooden one simply comes down to personal preference. 

Both of these toilet seats have their drawbacks and benefits, and neither one is necessarily good or bad. Now that you know their differences, which type of replacement seat will you choose?

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