How to Tell If a Toilet Seat Is Round or Elongated?

It can be confusing trying to figure out which toilet seat is the right one for your home. Do you need a round or elongated seat? But another problem is how to tell if a toilet seat is round or elongated?

Finding out if the toilet seat is round or elongated is an easy thing to do. You can distinguish between the two types of seats by measuring the length of the seat. If the seat measures approximately 16.5 inches in length, it is round. While if its length is around 18.5 inches, it is elongated. However, sometimes you can just identify the seats from their shapes. For instance, the elongated seat is shaped like an oval that is extended from one end. Whereas, the round seat is shaped more like a circle, but not much extended.

In this post, we will explain how you can measure the dimensions of the toilet seat and find out if it is round or elongated. Finally, we will cover how the types of toilet seats, and their pros and cons.

Let’s get started.

Measuring the Toilet Seat-The correct Way

The best way to find out if the toilet seat is round or elongated is by measuring it correctly. You will need a measuring tape for this job. Use the one which reads in inches.

Now, for measuring the toilet seat accurately, follow these steps:

  1. Look for the bolt holes in the toilet.
  2. Measure the length from the mid-point of the line joining two bolt holes, to the tip of the toilet bowl.  (Figure 1 shows the dimension you need to measure with the measuring tape. )
  3. Measure the length twice.
  4. Take the average to get an accurate value.
Measuring the Toilet Seat Dimensions
Measuring the Toilet Seat Dimensions

How can to find out if your toilet seat is round or elongated? 

Once you have noted down the dimensions, now you can find out if the seat is round or elongated.  


If the distance from the tip of the bowl to the line joining two bolt holes is 16.5 inches, then that toilet seat is round. Some experts say the length of the round toilet seats can be from 16.5 inches to 17 inches.

Similarly, if the same dimension is more than 18.5 inches, then the toilet seat is elongated. Elongated toilet seats have a length ranging from 18.5 to 19 inches. 

Round and ELongated Toilet Seats
Round and ELongated Toilet Seats


Apart from dimensions, the physical shape of the toilet seat may help you identify it.  The round toilet seat is shaped in the form of a circle; not an exact circle but close to it. While the elongated toilet seat is oval-shaped, with one side extended.

Now, let’s compare the two types of compare toilet seats in terms of their pros and cons.

Round Toilet Seats (Pros & Cons)

cleaning round toilet seats


  • Inexpensive: The biggest advantage of a round toilet seat is that it is less expensive than an elongated seat.
  • Easy Cleaning: Round seats are easy to clean since there are no crevices for dirt and filth to hide.
  • Consume Less Space: Round toilets consume less very less space compared to elongated toilets. They are the ideal choice for small washrooms.
  • Comfortable for kids: Round seats are comfortable for children.


  • Uncomfortable Seating: The downside of a round seat is that it can be uncomfortable for some people, particularly those with larger bodies.
  • Old Design: Roundtoilet seats are considered old and outdated.

Elongated Toilet Seats (Pros & Cons)

elongated one piece toilet
Image from CRAFT + MAIN


  • Modern Design: Elongated toilet seats are considered more modern these days due to design.
  • Comfort: Elongated toilet seats are more comfortable than round seats because they provide more support.
  • Good for people with Mobility issues: An elongated seat makes it easier to go to the bathroom if one has mobility issues.


  • Cost: Elongated seats/toilets are more expensive than round toilets.
  • Difficult Cleaning: It can be more difficult to clean because of the nooks and crannies.
  • Not ideal for children: Children don’t like elongated seats since don’t fit properly in these seats.
  • Can’t fit in small spaces: Due to their larger length (18.5 inches), they can’t fit in small washrooms.

Things to Consider while buying a Toilets Seat

There are a few things that you will need to take into consideration when choosing a toilet seat.


If you have a small bathroom, then you will need to purchase a round toilet. For a large bathroom space, you can go for an elongated toilet.

It is pertinent to mention here that most cities and small towns in the US have building codes that say a toilet must have 21 inches of space in front of it. So, keep in mind while choosing the toilet type.

a man sitting on a toilet

Usage Preference

Some people prefer round seats because they are more comfortable. Other people prefer elongated seats because they provide more coverage. For kids, the round toilet seats are much better than elongated ones.

Shape of Toilet

The choice of toilet seat also depends on the type of toilet installed at your house.  If your toilet is round, then you will need to purchase a round seat. If your toilet is elongated, then you will need to purchase an elongated seat. A round toilet seat wouldn’t sit well on an elongated toilet and vice versa.


Some people also consider price an important buying factor.  Round toilet bowls are often less costly than their elongated counterparts. However, on average, the price difference is between 10 to 15%.

The same goes with the toilet seats. The elongated toilet seat costs around $30 to $45 while the round one costs around $25.


Round toilets tend to appear a little old and classic, however elongated toilets will give your washroom a more modern vibe. If you are the one who looks for good appearances, then an elongated toilet may be a good choice for you.

Round Vs. Elongated Toilet Seats Which type of Toilet seat is Better?

So, which toilet seat is right for you? It all depends on your preferences and usage.  If you are looking for a seat for an adult or person with mobility issues, then an elongated seat is the way to go. However, if you are on a tight budget or if you have space issues, then a round seat may be a better option.

Once you have considered all of the mentioned factors, you should be able to make an informed decision about which toilet seat is right for you! We hope that this post has helped guide you through the process of choosing a toilet seat.

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