round vs elongated toilet seats - display of toilet seats on wall

Round vs Elongated Toilet Seats? (The Differences are Surprising!)

Did you ever think someday you’d be ruminating about round vs elongated toilet seats?

You’re in plenty of good company. But apparently, a lot of people do based on the number of monthly Google searches.

Let’s settle this dilemma once and for all with a quick comparison.

Why are Toilet Seats Important?

The toilet is the most personal item in your home. I mean, it’s the rare person who’s allowed in the bathroom with you when you’re using it.

Bathrooms are also one of the most desired and expensive remodels. And toilets collect lots of waste, making them a potential health hazard.

So, it figures that choosing the shape of a toilet bowl and seat is way more important than you’d first suspect.

It’s important aesthetically to the design of your bathroom. It’s important that you feel comfortable on it. And you must remain healthy.

2 Basic Shapes of Toilet Seats

The two most common shapes of toilet seats are:

  • Round
  • Elongated
round vs elongated toilet seats
Elongated toilet seat (left) vs round toilet seat (right)

The two shapes function (mechanically) the same. Toilet seats lift and get put back down the same. And they get removed and installed the same way.

But each has its pros and cons. But first, do you know which one you have?

How to Tell if Your Toilet Seat is Round or Elongated

I actually have a bit of trouble determining if a toilet seat is round or elongated. They look the same on a toilet bowl. Only when I see them displayed at a store can I see the difference clearly.

You can determine the shape by measuring the distance from the back of the toilet bowl to its front edge. Here’s how you do it.

Diagram to measure round vs elongated toilet seats
  • Lift up your toilet seat
  • Get out your tape measure
  • Please the starting point (0 inches) in the middle of the two bolts that hold the seat
  • Now pull the measuring tape to the edge of the front of your toilet bowl

If the length is between 18-19.5 inches, you have an elongated toilet bowl seat.

If the length is between 17-17.75 inches, you have a round toilet bowl seat.

Toilet seats are sold by shape (not by length). If you need to replace or install a new seat, knowing which shape you have will be enough. No need to bring exact measurements with you.

You should, however, get exact measurements if you have a custom or non-standard toilet.

Round vs elongated toilet seats - gold toilet
If you have a customized gold toilet seat, you’re royalty. I’m guessing you don’t need this information.

The Differences: Round vs Elongated Toilet Seats

There are clear differences despite their similar appearances. Let’s take a look at each shape’s strengths and weaknesses.

Round Toilet Seats


  • About 20 percent less expensive
  • Design aesthetic is traditional and therefore has a more versatile look
  • A better fit in smaller spaces
  • Easier for children to use


  • Generally less comfortable for most people
  • More difficult to use for larger people and those with mobility issues

Elongated Toilet Seats


  • More comfortable to sit on for most people
  • Easier to get on and off for most adults, especially those with mobility issues
  • Easier for men to use standing without making a mess
  • A contemporary look that’s currently more popular


  • Generally more expensive
  • Do not fit smaller spaces well
  • Toddlers can more easily make a mess

Final Thoughts

In the end (wink wink nudge nudge), the shape of your toilet seat and the toilet bowl is up to you. The only true difference that matters is your comfort and the size space it’s going into.

If you want the utmost comfort, go with an elongated toilet bowl and seat. However, if you have a small space, a round toilet seat/bowl is a wiser choice. All other pros and cons are fairly minimal in their impact on you.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need help with your toilets. We will repair, replace, or install them at your convenience.

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbingdrain, or water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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