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Choose a Toilet Seat that Fits

How to Measure for a New Toilet Seat

Yvonne Harbison
Yvonne Harbison
Choose a Toilet Seat that Fits

You probably don’t think about your toilet seat very often. It’s a reliable part of the toilet, always there when needed, and relatively low maintenance when it comes to the daily use of your home. Rest assured, however, that it was made by the usual manufacturing process, purchased from a store, and it will need the same kind of consideration as any other bathroom fixture.

As it gets used, this latrine accessory can start to show its age, becoming discolored from cleaning chemicals, or chipped and worn from getting put up or down too forcibly. With time, it might become loose, and a sliding seat can be hazardous to users. Whether it looks bad or isn’t functioning properly, you need to know how to choose a toilet seat that fits your budget, toilet, and preferences when it’s time for a replacement. Here are a few things you need to think about before you purchase a new toilet seat.

What Measurements Do You Need?

It can be  annoying to find yourself ready to select the perfect seat, only to realize you don’t have all of the measurements you need. Thankfully, most lavatories have a fairly universal size. In fact, generally there are only two sizes: the toilet is either oblong, or circular. Of course, there could be slight variations on width, but most cover and seat kits will fit on a bowl even if it’s a little wider or narrower than is normal. If you’d prefer to be prepared, there are a few measurements to make at home so you get the toilet seat that will best fit your privy.

First, measure the distance between the two post holes that anchor the seat in place. Take a tape measure or ruler and measure from one post hole to the other. You can find the post holes at the back of the seat area. If you have a standard toilet, you’ll likely get a measurement of 5 1/2 inches.

Next, measure the length of your bowl. Hold a tape measure or ruler at the front of the toilet bowl, making sure it’s  centered. Stretch your tape measure to the rear of the seat, so it is at the center of the hinges. If you get a measurement near 18 1/2 inches, you have an oblong, or elongated, toilet seat. If you get a measurement of 16 1/2 inches, you have a round seat.

Finally, measure the width of your bowl. Look for the widest point on the bowl and measure from the center of one side to the center of the other with your tape measure or ruler. This is the guideline when looking for your new seat, but remember, it’s okay to get a product that does not exactly match the width. The important thing is that the seat will securely cover the rim of the bowl.

What Sort of Seat Do You Prefer?

At first glance, it might seem like there aren’t a lot of choices when it comes to your next toilet seat. Typically, you can choose from seats that are either wooden or plastic. Sometimes you might even be able to find a padded or adjustable seat. If you want to get fancy, you may even be able to turn your toilet into a bidet with just a toilet seat upgrade. So, what do you prefer? Here are a few things you might want to know about the options on the market:

  • The wooden option tends to be thicker, sturdier and more durable. Wood toilet seats also retain heat better, which means it might not be as chilly when you first sit down. The biggest drawbacks to consider are that wooden seats may get stained from cleaners and tend to be priced on the expensive side.
  • Plastic seats are usually cheaper than wooden, and lighter weight lids and seats which can offer easier accessibility for some. However, plastic seats aren’t as durable as their wooden counterparts and may get scratched easier than some of the other options.
  • Padded seats tend to be a bit more comfortable. They are also beneficial for some people with accessibility issues because they give the seat a little lift and a softer landing. On the down side, padded seats may take a little extra work to clean.
  • Adjustable seats are designed for those with mobility challenges, so they allow the user to raise up the toilet seat even more than a padded seat. This option may be more expensive and harder to clean.
  • Electronic seats and bidets are also available if you want to spend a little more money. These specialized toilet seats are the height of bathroom technology for the trendy, as well as a portable luxury for your personal bathroom experience. However, they most often require access to an electrical outlet near the toilet, which may require extra work to rewire your home, so be careful when looking into electronic seats that your home can accommodate them.

Once you know what material you want, you can think about other factors. For example, most seat offerings can be purchased with soft-close, whether plastic or wooden seats, but there’s more considerations. You may be able to get a plastic cover in different colors or patterns, whereas wood products may only come in natural tones. Some seats may have other features, such as night lights or deodorizers. All of the features available may help you determine what material you want.

What Shape Is Your Toilet?

Remember those measurements you took earlier? You’ll need to keep them in mind as you shop. A round toilet seat won’t fit correctly on an elongated bowl. It is important to pick a seat that properly fits the toilet you have, for safety reasons, as well as for ensuring your toilet and toilet seat are around for a long time. A loose toilet seat can create wear and tear on the toilet itself, and toilets are much more expensive to replace than a toilet seat.

What Is Your Budget?

As you try to figure out how to buy a toilet seat that fits, the final factor to consider is your budget. After all, you might find a heated toilet seat, but that doesn’t mean you can afford it. Remember, toilet seats don’t last forever. Normal wear and tear may require you to purchase a new seat as often as every five years. It makes sense to buy something that’s durable, yet budget-friendly.

The price of a toilet seat can vary greatly. The materials and special features usually dictate how much you’ll have to pay. For example, seats with metal hinges are usually more expensive than a product with plastic hinges. If you have a really small budget, you may have to settle for a plastic seat. You can find some plastic options that are high-quality and will get the job done. A larger budget may allow a specialty seat, like something padded or adjustable.

As you try to figure out what kind of seat you are looking for, you need to think about what’s important to you. Maybe a toilet is an overlooked, unimportant feature, but it remains a permanent part of your bathroom experience, in your home. Do you think price is more important than comfort? Are you looking for a long-lasting product or would you rather have something that can’t be slammed down? Answering these questions may help you pick a seat that fits your needs. Keep them in mind when you look for a replacement, because you don’t want to let something as necessary as a toilet seat detract from your bathroom.

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