The Elongated vs Round toilet debate – which one is the best? There are pros and cons to each type depending on your needs. What some may see as advantages, to others, they may be disadvantages. Therefore, It is important to know what you want and need before buying a toilet.
However, to summarize, a consensus is that elongated toilets are more popular in contemporary homes. This may be due to a more stylish look and a larger seating area.
The benefits of round toilets usually have to do with size. They provide a better alternative for smaller bathrooms because they take up less space. Round toilets can be very comfortable for small to average size adults and especially for young children.
What to look for when choosing your toilet?
The toilet that you choose should satisfy your needs but also look fabulous in your bathroom. Firstly, when selecting a new toilet you should consider the size of your bathroom. If you have a larger bathroom, then an elongated or round toilet will fit without any issues. However, if you have a small bathroom, then a round toilet may be the better option.
If you have elderly relatives in your home, then a comfort height toilet with a round bowl may be the more comfortable choice. Generally, the longer elongated bowl has more space to sit on, therefore more comfortable for teens and adults, especially larger people. Toilets that have already been installed will be difficult to return so it is important to choose the right one from the start.
How do I measure a toilet to confirm if it has a round or elongated bowl?
Toilet bowls have only three basic measurements to know: length, width, and bolt spread (toilet seat mounting holes). The length is generally the largest difference between round and elongated toilet bowls. The bolt spread is the gap that separates two toilet seat bolts on a toilet bowl.
In the USA, the bolt spread typically measures 5.5 inches, however, if you are in Europe, this measurement could be between 6 and 6.5 inches. The width of an elongated bowl measures 14.25 inches, whereas a round bowl toilet diameter measures 15 inches. However, an elongated bowl measures 2 inches longer at 18.5 inches, compared to the 16.5 inches of a round bowl toilet. To find the measurement of a toilet bowl length, you measure from the center of the bolt spread to the tip of the bowl.
Round vs Elongated Toilet Bowls: Detailed Comparisons
Let’s have an in-depth look comparing round and elongated toilets. This will help ensure you know exactly what you are getting with each toilet bowl.
An elongated toilet is about two inches longer than a round bowl toilet. As mentioned earlier, a round toilet bowl will suit a small bathroom better, whereas a longer elongated bowl will fit more comfortably into a larger bathroom. However, for public toilets, there are some legal requirements. In public toilets, ADA compliant washroom spaces require 48-inch space between the toilet bowl tip and the front wall. Some small bathrooms may need the two inches saved by having a round bowl.
Recently, elongated toilets became the popular choice for the majority of modern households. Manufacturers settled on a shape more through consensus than rigorous research. Round toilets are generally cheaper than their elongated counterparts. However, since bathrooms are becoming larger in modern homes, elongated toilets have become the more popular choice.
Because they are larger, there are more materials in an elongated toilet, therefore they tend to be a little more expensive. That being said, you can get some good value toilets in both shapes so do not let price be the determining factor. The necessity of space and seating size should influence your choice more than price. Especially when a toilet can be a multi-decade investment.
The shape of the bowl does not have to affect the appearance of the bathroom. A round or elongated toilet can look classy and attractive. An elongated bowl is oval-shaped and extends out further than the circular shape of a standard toilet. As bathrooms grow larger, the elongated bowl becomes more popular – making it appear more contemporary.
The round bowl shape is often associated with older, smaller bathrooms and is more popular with elderly users. That being said, round toilets are manufactured and available to purchase, so there is still a demand for them. And round bowl toilets are evolving to look just as sleek and modern, just like their elongated bowl counterparts.
The elongated toilet is more popular in modern homes and is seen as more contemporary in appearance. Round toilets are common in older homes. The difference between the two has more to do with shape than design. You can purchase both with a modern design, however, it appears that an elongated bowl is just viewed as the more contemporary design.
As mentioned above, an elongated toilet will be a little more expensive than a round toilet, but does it cost more in any other way? Installation costs should be no different and flushing costs should also be the same. You can purchase 1.6 GPF, 1.28 GPF, and even Dual Flush toilets in both round and elongated options. They will both use the same water quantity, so will have no difference in water bill costs.
This will depend on the user. An elongated toilet may provide more comfort to larger users because there is more space to sit on. However, smaller adults and children will probably prefer a round toilet seat to have a more snug toilet experience. Also, older people might prefer that snug seating area. For very young kids, round toilet bowls are the preferred option so they don’t feel like they are going to fall into the toilet.
There should be no difference between these two shapes in regards to flush power. The shape of the bowl should not make a difference to the power of the flush. You can get most types of flushing systems in both round and elongated toilets. However, there does appear to be more of a choice of elongated toilets on the market, therefore you may find it easier to get the exact toilet you want with the exact flushing technology, in an elongated shaped bowl.
Maintenance and ease of cleaning
Round bowl toilets are smaller in size, so it may be easier to see down into the inside of the bowl of an elongated toilet. This may make it easier to clean, insert a scrubbing brush or plunger into the bowl. On the outside of the bowl, both toilets should be similar to clean and maintain.
Ease of use
As mentioned above, an elongated toilet bowl may be easier to use for larger adults, whereas round toilets may be the better option for smaller adults, children, and the elderly. For people with mobility issues, a comfort height toilet is the area you should be more concerned with, as a taller toilet will be easier to access. Both elongated and round toilets have comfort height toilet models to choose from.
Pros and Cons of Elongated Toilets
- Greater choice
- More comfortable for larger adults
- More modern in design
- More expensive
- May not be suitable for small bathrooms
- Not great for small children
Pros and Cons of Round Toilets
- Perfect for smaller bathrooms
- Less expensive
- Ideal for small adults and young children
- Can look outdated
- Too small for larger adults
- Fewer options to choose from
Example of a Leading Elongated Toilet
The TOTO Ultramax II is a fantastic toilet, and it’s easy to understand why it’s one of the most popular from TOTO. Not only does it look great, but its performance is extremely efficient and effective.
It is a highly efficient WaterSense Certified toilet using only 1.28 GPF. It also makes use of the highly regarded Tornado Flushing System, which gives a strong flush every time. To have a closer look at this toilet, read this Ultramax II review.
Example of a Leading Round Toilet
The Drake Round Bowl toilet is a fantastic alternative for individuals who want a normal-height toilet but don’t want the standard elongated bowl. It is suitable for people of average height and below, as well as children.
Because it is smaller than an elongated toilet, you might be inclined to believe that it won’t perform as well or be as powerful. The flush system on this toilet is amazing and highly rated. However, it is worth noting that the Drake is not WaterSense Certified since it uses 1.6 GPF, thus it will not be suitable for use in certain states. To have a closer look at this toilet, read this Drake review.
Can I install an elongated toilet seat on a round toilet?
You can install an elongated toilet seat on a round bowl and vise versa, however, you may find it more difficult to get the exact fit that you want. If you can’t find a seat that fits exactly right, you may have to settle with the one that is a little too big for your toilet bowl.
The most important part is that the toilet bowl rim is not visible through the seat hole. If an elongated toilet seat overhangs the round bowl, then it shouldn’t cause too many issues. However, if the elongated seat is a lot larger than the round bowl, making the inside of the rim visible, then it is just too big for the bowl.
Is there any difference in the installation process?
It generally seems to be easier to install round bowls when compared to elongated toilets. A round toilet is usually a little more compact, easier to lift and carry into place. It’s not as heavy and it does not have a larger footprint to contend with. In this area, it is an easier option.
Elongated toilets might be a little more difficult to install due to their dimensions. They tend to be heavier and require more space for installation.
Can an elongated toilet replace a round toilet?
Yes, they can. A round bowl toilet will fit into a space that has been designed for an elongated version, and vise versa. Most toilets have a 12″ rough-in, therefore, when replacing your toilet, it is important to replace it with the same rough-in measurement. Otherwise, you will have to alter the flooring or any tiling around the toilet. If you can replace it with the same rough-in size, there should not be too many problems for either type of bowl.
Conclusion to the Elongated vs Round Toilet Bowl Debate
Despite the slight differences, overall the difference between an elongated toilet bowl and a round toilet could be considered minimal. The term “elongated” is usually used to describe the overall size of the bowl which is slightly longer than a round bowl.
This can confuse, as many people think that “elongated” means that it has a larger flush capacity. However, the term “elongated” is just used to describe the size of the bowl and does not represent any special flushing technology.
Overall, an elongated bowl does seem to be the more popular option because it has a more contemporary look. The round toilet bowl appears to have a more dated look in the eyes of a modern household, however, a round bowl is more compact and a more suitable fit for small bathrooms.
Since the difference between an elongated and round toilet is purely cosmetic, the decision on which one to buy is a personal preference. In the end, you should choose a bowl that fits into your bathroom and matches your current style.