Toilets are amongst the most used things in the home and experience the most wear and tear, especially when there are many people using the same toilet. It is not surprising that the toilet seat is impacted the most because of this regular use and may need to be replaced once every few years.
If you’re planning to replace your toilet seat and are wondering if toilet seats are a universal size and if you can simply go to the store and pick one from the various options available, the simple answer is “no.” Toilet seats are not available in a universal size and one size does not fit all.
This is because toilets come in a wide range of styles, shapes, sizes and designs and you need to find the toilet seat that will fit your specific toilet perfectly. Here is our in-depth guide that discusses how to find the perfect toilet seat for your toilet.
Toilet Seat Types
In general, there are two types of toilet seats in the US, round and elongated. However, these days, you can find toilets in various shapes including square, D-shaped, angular, etc. But before we discuss the specifics of toilet seats, you must understand a few things about general toilet standards.
- Almost all toilets, irrespective of their shape have standard seat post holes, which is essentially the distance between the two bolts that fix the toilet seat to the toilet bowl and this is usually around 5.5 inches.
- Irrespective of the shape of the toilet bowl, the bowl width is mostly the same across most models. In case there is a variation, then it may be by ½ inch or less.
Round Toilet Seat
Round seats are round-shaped and shorter compared to elongated toilet seats. Toilets with round seats are commonly found in homes. They are ideal for smaller bathrooms as they occupy lesser space compared to elongated toilets because the round toilet seats are 2-3 inches smaller than elongated seats.
Also, round toilet seats are cheaper compared to elongated ones. Usually, the length of round toilet seats is around 16.5 inches and has a width of around 14 inches.
Elongated Toilet Seat
Oval in shape, elongated toilet seats are slightly longer when compared to round toilet seats. The extended size of the elongated toilet seats is preferred mostly by men. And, because they are more popular, toilets with elongated seats can most commonly be found in public areas like hotels, airports, gas stations, malls, etc.
While toilets with elongated seats are more commonly seen in public places, often, people install them in their homes too. Typically, elongated toilet seats are around 18.5 inches in length and 14 inches in width.
When purchasing a seat for your toilet, not only is it important to check the shape of your toilet, but it is also recommended that you measure your toilet bowl to determine the type of toilet seat you need.
Measuring Your Toilet Seat
Before you shop for your toilet seat, it is a good idea to measure the length, width and seat post holes of your toilet bowl. By determining these measurements, you can ensure that the toilet seat you purchase is of the right size.
Toilet Seat Length
The length of the toilet seat is an important measurement to get right. Measure the distance from the seat post holes right to the end of the bowl for the length. Ensure that you take the length of the toilet bowl right to the outer edge, otherwise, the measurement will be much shorter than required.
The length of the bowl will tell you whether your toilet bowl is round or elongated. As discussed earlier, round bowls are usually around 16.5 inches and elongated bowls are around 18.5 inches in length.
Toilet Seat Width
Usually, all toilet bowls have a standard width. However, it is a good idea to measure the width to reconfirm it. Measure across the broadest part of the toilet bowl for the toilet seat width.
Ensure that you measure from the outside edges at both sides. Usually, the width of the toilet bowl from edge to edge is around 14 inches and if it is any different, it means that your toilet seat is a non-standard one.
Seat Post Holes
Finally, measure the seat post holes to determine that your toilet seat is of a standard size. Then, measure the distance from the middle point of one hole to the center of the other.
If the toilet seat is still fixed on the toilet bowl, simply measure the distance with your measuring tape as best as possible. The seat post holes are usually 5.5 inches apart and this means that any standard toilet seat will fit the toilet bowl, irrespective of its shape.
Why Are the Measurements of My Toilet Seat Different?
If you have measured your toilet using the steps we have discussed above and found that the measurements are quite different from what a standard size should be, it means that your toilet has a non-standard size seat. This means that the seat may be an odd length, shape or have a different distance between the seat post holes may not be the regular 5.5 inches.
You can purchase hinges that will match up to the size of the seat post holes in case they are of a different size. And, this can be a much cheaper option compared to purchasing a special-sized toilet seat.
But you may not be able to resolve every issue with new hinges and you may have to purchase a toilet seat specially made for your non-standard toilet. While you will be able to replace the toilet seat of your non-standard toilet; however, finding the perfect seat may be a bit of a challenge.
You may have a non-standard toilet seat because often toilet manufacturers come out with new designs, shapes and styles of toilets to remain competitive. And, these styles of toilets usually use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or proprietary seats.
Replacements for these toilet seats may be quite difficult to find on the market. While it is possible to purchase replacement seats for these toilets directly from the manufacturer, this can be quite an expensive option.
You can check out specialized plumbing stores, DIY stores or online for odd-shaped or sized toilet seats and you may be able to buy them at much cheaper prices too.
Another reason why you may require a non-standard seat is that you have a European toilet in your home. While European toilets also have round or elongated seats; however, they also commonly have other shapes such as D-shaped, angular or square seats.
Toilet Seats – FAQs
How to tell if my toilet seat is elongated or round?
Often, the toilets found in the United States are elongated or round in shape, whereas in the UK, toilets come in various shapes including round, square, D-shaped or angular. However, you can tell if your toilet seat is round or elongated by measuring the length of the seat.
Is it possible to fix an elongated toilet seat on a round toilet and vice versa?
While technically, a round toilet seat will fit on an elongated toilet and vice versa, the fit won’t be proper. Installing an elongated seat on a round toilet will cause the seat to overhang and the toilet will be visible within the toilet seat opening. This may be uncomfortable to use, especially for men.
On the other hand, if a round seat is fitted on an elongated toilet, the seat won’t cover the elongated bowl rim fully and leave it exposed. While this won’t affect the functioning of the toilet per se, it will affect the aesthetics of your toilet and look quite bad.
Are all toilet seats fixed in the same way?
No, all toilets don’t fit the same because there is a wide range of toilet seat fittings available. Some toilet seats are top fixing, while others are fitted from under the fixing holes. Apart from the fittings, toilet seats come with a variety of hinges—from standard to soft close hinges, stainless steel, nylon or other metals. And each toilet seat comes with its individual fitting instructions.
The Final Word
In conclusion, the simple answer to the question, “are toilet seats universal?” is “absolutely not”. Toilet seats come in various shapes, sizes and lengths and you need to purchase a toilet seat, which is appropriate for your toilet.
So, whether you’re replacing your toilet seat because it is worn out or you’re looking for a more comfortable option, whatever the reason may be, before purchasing a new toilet seat, make sure that you measure your toilet carefully and check its size.
Do your homework and buy the proper toilet seat appropriate for your toilet because you don’t want to spend your money and end up with the wrong one that can compromise your comfort when using the toilet.
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