Choosing a new toilet seat might sound straightforward and uncomplicated – until you realize just how many different types there are to pick from. It’s perhaps only once you start your search that you begin to appreciate the range of options that is now available.
If you are looking for a new toilet seat that will complement your bathroom décor perfectly and need a little help weighing up the possibilities, here is our guide to the different types of toilet seat to help you find the right one for your home.
When you’ve picked out the perfect toilet seat for your bathroom, you can also check out this video to see how to fit it.
Perhaps the first variable to look at is the shape of the toilet seat. This is important since you need to make sure you choose a seat that is compatible with your toilet – if you buy the wrong type, it won’t fit on your toilet bowl.
In North America, there are two basic toilet bowl shapes, “round” and “elongated”.
- Round toilet seats measure 16.5” from the front of the bowl to the middle of the mounting holes. They are the shorter of the two types and are more suitable for smaller bathrooms – although some people might find them less comfortable to sit on.
- Elongated toilet seats are longer, measuring 18.5” from the front of the bowl to the center of the mounting holes. Most people would agree they are more comfortable, but they take up more space in the bathroom.
Many toilet seats are available as both round and elongated versions, so if you are buying a replacement seat for an existing toilet, simply make sure you choose the right one for the shape of your bowl.
If you are buying a whole new toilet, you can choose the shape of the seat according to the size of your bathroom as well as your own personal preferences.
Some other less common shapes include square and D-shaped toilet seats – these can give your bathroom a striking contemporary look, but you need to have a toilet bowl that is compatible with these more unusual models.
Another important factor to consider is the material the toilet seat is made of. Most toilet seats are made of plastic, although wood is another popular choice.
Plastic is the most common material for toilet seats, and this material offers many advantages.
Plastic toilet seats can be among the least expensive options, so this is a good choice if you don’t want to spend too much money.
Plastic toilet seats are also easy to clean and care for, making them a low-maintenance, hygienic option.
On the downside, plastic toilet seats can be uncomfortably cold to sit on during the colder months, and over time they can become stained from cleaning. They also don’t last as long as wood seats – but since they are less expensive, it won’t cost you as much to replace one.
Wood toilet seats come as either molded or solid wood versions and can have a dull or high-gloss finish. They are available in a range of colors, and popular materials include natural wood, bamboo and medium-density fiberboard.
They are not as cold to sit on in winter, and having a wood toilet seat can add a touch of class to your bathroom.
On the downside, they are easily damaged if you use the wrong cleaning products, and they can also warp in humid conditions. However, if you look after a wood toilet seat properly, it will last for many years.
The traditional color of a toilet seat is white – but nowadays there is a whole range of other colors for you to choose from.
If you want to get extra-creative, you can buy toilet seats with a variety of patterns or images on them – or even clear toilet seats with (plastic) fish, pebbles or just about anything else embedded inside.
If you want to go one step further, it is now even possible to design your own toilet seat and have it 3D-printed!
Some people prefer to opt for a padded toilet seat for an extra level of comfort. Having a padded toilet seat can add to the overall bathroom experience, and they are also less cold to sit on than plastic seats
However, the padding on the seat will eventually split, so padded seats tend to have a shorter lifespan than regular plastic or wood seats.
More advanced toilet seats offer a soft-close mechanism that prevents the toilet seat from slamming. You simply drop the seat and it closes slowly and noiselessly by itself.
These seats are ideal if you are sensitive to loud noises like slamming toilet seats. They are also useful if you have issues bending over to close the toilet seat manually yourself. Another advantage if you have children is that they eliminate the possibility of trapped fingers.
Smart toilet seat/bidet
If you want the highest levels of luxury, you might wish to look at smart seats or bidet toilet seats.
These models offer a range of advanced features, including seat heating, nightlights, bidet cleaning functions and more – and nowadays, toilet seats like this are more affordable than ever before.
Raised toilet seats
Raised toilet seats are a good option for the elderly, those with reduced mobility or those with disabilities. If you have difficulty lowering yourself down to the height of a regular toilet seat, a raised toilet seat could be the ideal solution.
Many raised toilet seats also include grab handles, making them even easier to use while reducing the risk of accidents.
Many types of toilet seats for all preferences and requirements
As you can see, there is now a wide range of toilet seat options to pick from, and deciding which one to go for might not be quite as easy as you first imagined.
When choosing the right seat for your bathroom, start by thinking about practical matters like selecting one that is compatible with the size and shape of the toilet you already own. After that, simply choose the color, style and any extra features you think you will enjoy most.