Quicklist: Toilet Seats
- Open-Front (U Shape)
Remodeling your home provides the fun of creating a new space. While you do need to pay close attention to the big picture like colors and textures, you also need to mind the details. One of those details is the toilet, specifically the toilet seat.
Perhaps your toilet has held up well and it does not require replacing. It could use an updated look though and a new seat can provide that. Maybe you did not even know you could replace just the seat, but you can.
While your toilet will likely last an average of 10 to 15 years, your toilet seat won’t make it that long. The seats used to last longer, but the plastic bolts used today just do not last as long as old-school metal bolts.
That means yours could have already worn down or perhaps you moved into a new to you home and the seat seems worn. You can replace just the toilet seat and update the look and feel of the entire commode.
You’ll probably be surprised by the diversity of possibilities among toilet seats (as well as toilet brands and toilet stores). There’s a lot to choose from depending on the type of toilet, its shape, material, your bathroom’s colors and the toilet’s size. Let’s start with toilet type.
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Toilet Styles and Their Seats
Many homes only have a commode, more commonly referred to as a toilet, but some homes also have a bidet. While both fixtures have lids, their designs differ slightly. Within toilets, you’ll have those with an open front or closed front on the seat.
Unless you want a quirky look for your powder room, you need to make sure your two seats match. You will need to purchase a toilet seat and bidet seat/lid as a matched set.
This ensures that they come in the same exact color and shade, plus they fit the fixtures you have purchased. Within the designs for either you have a range of shapes.
Toilet Seat Shape: The Shape of Things
Shape means a lot. Most people probably think of an oval toilet and that’s it. Toilets actually come in three distinct shapes:
- Open or U-Shaped
- Oval or Elongated
Round Toilet Seat
A round seat and lid set will measure 16 to 17 inches from the toilet bowl’s mounting hole to front, while an oval, also referred to as an elongated, seat and lid set will measure 17 to 18 inches from the toilet bowl’s mounting hole to front.
A square seat and lid set typically comes in a standard size. Square seats come in closed-front design, oval and round seats you can find in both closed-front and open-front designs.
Round or circular seats prove the most common in home bathrooms. This traditional choice is a simple circle with no gap in front.
Open-Front Toilet Seat or U-Seats
Open-front toilet seats are a legal requirement in public restrooms in the US. The seats resemble a ‘U.’ The U shape provides a more hygienic choice since it protects the toilet from urine drips when men urinate.
It also provides more space for an individual to wipe without their hand touching the toilet bowl or seat. Finally, it helps prevent disease spread since the individual’s genitals do not touch the seat there.
Oval Toilet Seat (elongated)
In commercial bathrooms, oval or elongated toilet seats are the most frequently installed. These provide more sanitary conditions and are made from strong materials like stainless steel.
Toilet Seat Materials
Gone are the days of outhouses. Enter the era of bathroom design. Just as the other fixtures in your powder room contribute to its hominess, so does the toilet seat.
You can purchase toilet seats made of four common materials that contribute to the overall design of your bathroom. Match the following materials and textures to your interior design plan:
Wood Toilet Seats
Within the family of wood seats, you can choose from molded wood or solid wood. Natural wood provides a more versatile decorating option since you can stain it to pretty much any shade or color you desire and choose a dull or high-gloss finish.
The most popular options include bamboo, medium density fiberboard and natural wood. The downside of using natural wood is that it can damage easily if you use the wrong cleaner.
No worries about splinters, but any wood or wood product can warp in a very moist environment. Otherwise, these exhibit extreme durability and their style and elegance contribute to a more opulent setting.
Plastic Toilet Seats
Plastic toilet seats prove the most common choice. Most homes have toilet seats made of high-impact plastic. Others use a plastic coated composite wood seat and lid. The only way to change the color of these seats and lids is to purchase a new one.
If you live somewhere that the winters get cold, you’ll notice it more with a plastic toilet seat. These also tend to show cleaning marks and cold weather and time can make them tear or split.
Polyresin Toilet Seats
Polyresin or polypropylene seats provide a more lightweight, flexible material than plastic or wood. These also come in a range of colors and designs. These are your decorative toilet seats.
If you have ever desired a see-through or clear toilet seat with fish seemingly swimming in it or a lobster hanging out or want to switch out your toilet seat seasonally, these are your seats and lids.
Choose from Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Hannukah, Thanksgiving, and other themes. Who wouldn’t want a cartoon turkey looking up at them when they came to use the bathroom?
Porcelain Toilet Seats
Contrary to popular opinion Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet but he was responsible for promoting some innovations through his 19th century plumbing business, including displaying the work of potter Thomas Twyford in his Kings Road showroom.
Twyford is credited with creating the first one-piece, ceramic flush toilet out of English porcelain. Crapper, who supplied plumbing for both kings Edward VII and George V, popularized the idea of in-home lavatory installations.
Who did what exactly has been lost in the mists of time but resilient porcelain has maintained its popularity as a standard material for use in toilet manufacturing.
Toilet Seats: Colors of the Rainbow
While porcelain and polyresin typically come in white or black and occasionally taupe, plastic and wood feature a plethora of design possibilities since they exhibit the greatest color flexibility.
Plastic seats come in numerous colors. The rainbow is yours, plus you can choose patterns and prints. You can make your toilet make a statement.
The color selection has grown so diverse that many manufacturers and retailers host online color chips, so you can more easily choose a set of seat and lid that match the rest of your bathroom or powder room. You may not realize the décor diversity available to you nowadays, but you can purchase a toilet seat in a color to match your tile and grout.
The choice extends far beyond blue or red. You’ll find shade options such as sapphire or raspberry. This lets you obtain an exact match to the rest of the décor.
If you really want a perfect match to your other décor, take a swatch of your wallpaper or a paint chip of your wall color to the printers. Yes, really. Ask to have a unique toilet seat in that design 3-D printed. You can obtain the exact match to your décor today.
Maybe you do not need to go that far. You just want something fun and funny for your bathroom. Try a clear toilet seat and lid with an inserted design, like fish that seem to swim about inside.
Toilet Seat Light
Another option can help you avoid turning on the bathroom light at night. That is a lighted toilet seat You can obtain a lighted glow from your toilet bowl in a plethora of colors to help you find your way to the throne in the dark.
Measuring Your Toilet Seat
By now, you probably have a pretty clear idea of what you want in a toilet seat. You feel ready to shop. Consider the shape of your toilet and measure it first. Toilet seats come in various sizes and you must measure first and buy the right size for it to work.
The measurement process is simple. You measure the following three items:
- the distance between the bolts that attach the toilet seat to the bowl,
- the width of the toilet bowl at its widest point from the outside of the brims,
- the toilet bowl’s length from between the seat bolts to the outer front edge.
Your measurements may vary from the standard for U.S. toilet seats. The standard for width between toilet seat bolts is 5.5 inches. The bolt to front measurement for a round bowl is 16.5 inches, while an oval bowl measurement is 18 inches or 18.5 inches.
Other Toilet Seat Features
Today’s toilet seats and lids also provide a range of options for those desiring additional amenities in their bathroom or powder room. It can get pretty funny how many choices you have and some of the features available.
Know that I am not making any of these up and if you would like a cushioned sea foam green, heated toilet seat with metal hinges that match your sink and bathtub and shower fixtures, you can purchase that.
These specialty seats do not have to be for a medical condition. Many specialized toilet seats are made sheerly for pleasure, such as for heating the seat or matching the wallpaper. Some folks just like to change out the seats regularly for seasonal décor.
Soft-Closing Toilet Seat
If you have kids, you’ve heard the slam of a toilet seat which is startling on the best of days and scares the wits out of you on the worst.
Avoid a heart-attack with a soft-closing toilet seat.
Aside from the standard lids, you can also choose a soft-closing lid that no person can slam. Other options include heavy-duty lids with a child toilet seat you can add, then remove and slow-close seats.
Raised Toilet Seat
Many people like raised toilet seats. These prove popular among the elderly, the tall, some people with disabilities and those with posture problems. Some come with attached handles like the one above while others are simply a raised or elevated seat.
Heated Toilet Seat
The Japanese started the heated toilet seat trend and it caught on in many places, including the U.S. If you live in the northern part of the U.S, especially, a heated toilet seat can make all the comfort difference in the frigid winter months.
Today’s shopping climate tends toward specialties. If you have your heart set on some strange feature you think might not already exist, try searching for it online. It probably already exists and you can buy it on the Internet and have it shipped directly to you.
Really, there is no limit to what you can find online. The selection of toilet seats has grown rather profane and slightly amusing. You can find anything you need including zebra stripes or heated wood. Your local computer store with a 3-D printer can help you even more since it can print your dream toilet seat.
The top brands of toilet seats in the United States are Kohler, American Standard and BEMIS. These brands each have their own advantages and disadvantages, as well as special features that you may want to be aware of before making a purchase.
Early on, Kohler Co., founded in 1873, specialized in manufacturing farming implements but soon branched out into plumbing fixtures after they started marketing a cast iron bathtub built from a horse trough.
Known for their high quality product lines, Kohler toilet seats feature slow-close technology, quick-removal hinge release for cleaning, nightlights, ergonomic designs, and carbon filters to neutralize odors.
2. American Standard
Source: American Standard
This is a fairly basic line of plumbing fixtures. In fact, many people will refer to them as “contractor grade”. This doesn’t mean they’re necessarily low quality, but don’t expect a lot of extra features. American Standard seats tend to have lower price points than other brands and come in four categories: Elongated, Round Front, Electrical Bidet and Slow-Close.
Bemis says, “We specialize in toilet seats so you don’t have to.” This brand is primarily sold through Amazon and other big box stores. On The Home Depot website 283 products are listed under the Bemis brand.
Toilet seat features include easy clean, soft-close, precision fit, heated, designer and potty training options.
4. Big John
Source: Big John
This is a line of specially made toilet seats. They specialize in medical seats, as well as seats designed for larger and handicapped people.
Best Type of Toilet Seat for Various Purposes
Best Toilet Seat for a Bidet
Bidets are hygienic, eco-friendly, and can improve your bathroom experience. You can install a bidet attachment to your toilet, but a toilet seat with a built-in bidet may be a better option.
“Bidets are really a more hygienic and gentler way to clean than toilet paper,” says home and lifestyle expert Kathryn Emery. “What’s going to clean more effectively: water or paper?”
The Alpha Bidet JX is a bidet toilet seat that offers on-demand water heating and an LED nightlight. It’s easy to use thanks to its remote control and shortcut buttons. This toilet seat is also equipped with a self-cleaning wash nozzle.
Best Toilet Seat for Toddlers
Potty training is never easy, but it can be simpler with the right toilet seat. Some toilet seats have a built-in potty training seat. That way, you can potty train your child with minimal fuss.
The Mayfair 888SLOW is a comfortable toilet seat that works for adults and children. Children can learn to use the big potty with confidence with this built-in child seat. The seat also closes slowly, preventing slamming and keeping little fingers safe.
Best Toilet Seat for a Heavy Person
Not only should a toilet seat be comfortable, but it should be sturdy enough to support the weight of its user. Some flimsy toilets aren’t durable enough for heavier adults. A heavy-duty toilet seat can prevent discomfort, even during long toilet sessions.
The BEMIS 1000CPT is an oversized toilet seat that can comfortably support up to 1,000 pounds. It’s made from a sturdy plastic that’s resistant to chipping and staining. Once it’s installed, a commercial fastening system will keep it firmly in place.
Best Toilet Seat for Cleaning
Toilet seats can get dirty quickly. Since you’ll be scrubbing your seat on a regular basis, you’ll want something easy to clean. You may even want a seat that you can remove for deep cleaning sessions.
The Hibbent Premium One-Click toilet seat can be detached with the press of a button. You can remove this seat for cleaning at any time, with no tools involved. It also has a quiet-close feature to prevent slamming.
Best Toilet Seat for the Elderly
Slip and fall accidents are a serious risk for older adults. According to the CDC, around 80% of bathroom injuries are caused by falls. Thankfully, the right toilet seat can reduce the risk of bathroom accidents.
“A raised toilet seat makes my life easier,” says Millie, a senior citizen. “It reduces the distance when I stand up or sit down.”
The Carex 4.5” toilet lift seat is a comfortable and sturdy seat with a weight capacity of up to 300 pounds. It has removable padded handles for extra support. The seat is easy to install and will fit most toilets perfectly.
Best Toilet Seat for an RV/Camper
If you use your RV on a regular basis, you may want to upgrade your toilet seat. You can replace the standard seat with a new seat that’s much more comfortable. RV toilets come in different sizes, which is why you should measure your toilet before buying a seat.
The Dometic 385312073 is a slow-close wood seat that feels very sturdy. It doesn’t make noise when it closes, so you won’t have to worry about waking people up when you use the bathroom at night. This seat is also very easy to install.
Best Toilet Seat for People with Disabilities
Many toilet seats can make life easier for the disabled. Open-front toilet seats are ideal for adults that use colostomy bags or catheters. Wide toilet seats work well for people in wheelchairs.
The BEMIS 7850TDG is one of the best open-front toilet seats on the market. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and will stay in place once it’s installed. Since it’s soft, you won’t have to worry about the toilet seat pinching your skin.
Another option is the RMS Raised Toilet Seat. This soft seat adds 5” in height, making it easier for people with disabilities to sit down and stand up. It also has two adjustable width handles that provide additional support.
Best Toilet Seat for People with Sciatica
Sitting for long periods of time can make sciatica worse. That’s why it’s best for people with this condition to choose a toilet seat with plenty of cushion.
This foam toilet seat from Blue Jay provides two inches of cushion. It also has adjustable hook-and-loop closures to keep the seat in place. With a cushy seat like this, you’ll be able to use the bathroom with minimal pain.
Where to Buy Toilet Seats
Frequently Asked Questions
How are toilet seats measured?
There are three dimensions you need to bear in mind. These are:
The Length: This is the distance between the seat post holes and the front edge of your toilet bowl. The best way to measure the length is to measure the outside edge of the toilet bowl. Most seats range between 16.5 inches and 18.5 inches.
The Width: This is the distance between the widest part of your toilet bowl. Ensure that you measure from outside edge to outside edge.
The Distance Between Seat Post Holes: This is the distance between the center of one seat post hole and the center of the other.
Are toilet seats universal? Are all toilet seats the same size?
All toilet seats are not the same size. That’s why it’s important to take measurements of yours when shopping for a replacement. Besides varying in size, they also vary in shape.
How do bidet toilet seats work?
Most bidet toilet seats come with a wand or rod. These wands or rods have built-in nozzles, which spray water to provide wash or cleanse.
Most modern-day bidet toilet seats have multiple nozzles, each spraying water in a different direction to increase effectiveness. The water used by the bidet seat comes from the water line that fills the toilet tank. Notably, the bidet itself doesn’t touch you.
What are toilet seats made of?
Porcelain is the most popular material when it comes to toilet seats. Most people prefer porcelain because it’s easy to clean and sturdy. Other materials used to make toilet seats are plastic, wood, duroplast, resin and medium-density fiberboard.
Can you paint toilet seats?
Whether or not you can paint toilet seats depends on the material. Some materials like wood, acrylic, and rigid plastic are eligible for painting. Even then, you have to be careful when picking the paint. Epoxy paint would be a good pick. This paint is compatible with most materials.
Why do toilet seats have a gap?
Some toilet seats have a gap at the front to make it easier for users (especially women) to clean up after themselves. The gap also ensures that the user’s private parts don’t touch a place where someone else’s private parts were recently touched. There is also a theory that toilet seats with a gap are more ergonomic.
Are toilet seats recyclable?
Toilet seats are recyclable, but that depends on the material. For instance, toilet seats made of silicone resin or eco-resin can be recycled. On the other hand, those made of duroplast cannot be recycled.
Why are there no toilet seats in Italy?
Research shows that all public toilets in Italy originally had seats. However, people would stand on them to avoid direct contact due to their poor hygienic state. That leads to breakage of the seats, hence the lack of them.
Why do toilet seats crack?
The major culprit of a cracked toilet seat is excessive weight. Usually, toilets are designed to hold up to 300 pounds. Excessive movement when sitting on the toilet seat can also lead to cracks. Notably, some materials are more prone to cracking than others. Age can also lead to your toilet seat cracking.
What to do with old toilet seats?
An old toilet seat can be useful. If you love art, you can create a nice piece out of an old toilet seat. To make it spectacular, you can play with paint, patterns, and designs. If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can add embellishments to it.
Are wood toilet seats better than plastic?
Both wood and plastic have pros and cons. To begin with, plastic toilet seats are more durable than wooden ones. That’s because wood seats are heavier, making them more prone to warping and cracking in high heat or humidity.
Plastic seats are also available in a wider range of styles, not to mention that plastic is easier to clean. However, wood toilet seats are more aesthetically pleasing.