Bathroom with toilet bowl

Elongated vs Round Toilets

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Leslie

November 09, 2021

Not all toilets are made in the same way. Some require ample space, while some are space-efficient. Some are more comfortable than others. Also, some are longer than others, or have a shape that is quite different from what most people think of when someone mentions the term “toilet”. 

But in most cases, a toilet will be either round or elongated, with each type having its benefits and drawbacks. So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of elongated vs round toilets? In other words, who is the winner of the “battle” called elongated vs round toilet? If you’re looking for an answer to this question, you’re in the right place. 

What Are the Differences Between Round and Elongated Toilets? 

White flush toilet bowl

As you can already guess, the only difference between these bowl shapes is in their, well, shape. Round bowl toilets have a length of around 16.5” and a circular shape. An elongated toilet, on the other hand, has a length of around 18.5” and is oval-shaped. 

Generally speaking, round toilet bowls don’t take up as much bathroom space as their elongated counterparts. However, elongated toilet bowls are generally considered to be the more comfortable choice. 

Even though most toilets in the US sport a round or elongated bowl, there are many other bowl shapes available on the market. The most popular of these are square toilet bowls and D-shaped toilet bowls. However, these aren’t that popular in the United States and are mostly used by Europeans. So, if you’re from the US, your best bet would be to go for a toilet with a round or elongated bowl. 

Elongated vs Round Toilet Bowls – Pros & Cons 

The Pros of Elongated Bowls 

So, if you’re shopping for a new toilet, why should you opt for one of the elongated toilets? Here’s what makes elongated toilet bowls better than their round-shaped counterparts: 

  • Comfier for adults 
  • Modern design
  • Easier to keep clean 

The Cons of Elongated Bowls 

Unfortunately, opting for an elongated shape also comes with a couple of disadvantages. These are the most important ones: 

  • More expensive 
  • Take more space 
  • Less comfortable for small children 

The Pros of Round Bowls 

Those considering to go with a round bowl toilet will be happy to know that going with this option brings several advantages: 

  • Relatively cheaper 
  • Save space 
  • Comfier for kids 

The Cons of Round Bowls 

However, just like in the case of elongated toilets, choosing to go with the round ones also has its drawbacks: 

  • Older design 
  • Not as many options 
  • Not as comfortable for adults 

It’s pretty safe to say that purchasing a toilet is a long-term investment. That’s precisely what makes surveying all the available options before making the actual purchase so important. After all, buying a toilet for a regular master bathroom is significantly different from buying a toilet for a bathroom that will be used only by kids or disabled people, and so on.

Toilet rings are a downside to both elongated and round toilet bowls; your toilet is bound to develop one sooner or later. If that happens, check out my How to Get Rid of Toilet Ring guide.

How Do I Measure a Toilet? 

While it’s not that difficult to tell whether a particular toilet bowl is round or elongated, it’s never a bad idea to remove your doubts by doing some actual measuring. This can also come in quite handy whenever you’re replacing your toilet seat – you’ll never end up with a toilet seat of the wrong size. As their name suggests, elongated toilets are longer than round toilets.

A toilet bowl, whether it’s round or elongated, has three critical measurements. These are width, length, and bolt spread. Out of these three measurements, the length is the most vital. 

Measuring the Length 

The length of the toilet bowl is defined as the distance between the two toilet seat mounting holes and the bowl’s front part. Put one end of your measure tape at the front of the toilet bowl and extend it to the spot between the aforementioned holes. Make sure that the tape is as centered as possible. 

An important thing to mention here is that one can’t measure the length of the toilet bowl without removing the toilet seat first. If you don’t unfasten the toilet seat first, you won’t be able to access the mounting holes. 

Measuring the Width 

This measurement is defined as the thickness of the toilet bowl. To get the most accurate measurement possible, measure the width from the bowl’s middle. In the United States, both round and elongated toilets have a width of between 14” and 15”. 

Measuring the Bolt Spread 

This would be the distance between the mounting holes mentioned above. This measurement is a standard 5.5” in the US. 

Elongated vs Round Toilets – The Comparison

elongated toilet

In this part of the article, we’ll be comparing round and elongated toilets in more detail. This should help you determine which one of the two types would suit your needs the best. 

Legal Requirements 

Those planning to install toilet seats in a public space should know that there are certain legal requirements concerning such an undertaking. For example, there needs to be at least 21” of free space between the front wall and the toilet bowl itself. 

There is also the matter of seat height – an ADA-compliant toilet needs to be at least 2” taller than the standard toilets. Such a toilet also has to be at least 48” away from the front wall. 

The two inches of difference in length between elongated and round toilets can come in quite handy in certain scenarios. It goes without saying, but folks with small bathrooms should always opt for a round-front bowl. 

Toilet Design 

Round toilets are a bit more traditional – there’s no doubt about that. Elongated toilet models, on the other hand, are more modern and, therefore, typically found in modern houses (just like their round-shaped counterparts are usually found in older homes). 

While this is totally up to personal preference, a lot of people tend to agree that an elongated toilet bowl looks a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the round front toilet bowl.

Toilet Size 

As already mentioned, elongated toilets are longer than the round toilets by around 2”. The average length of an oval toilet stands at about 16.5”. The average length of a toilet with an elongated bowl stands at around 18.5”. 

The consequence of this is the fact that you can’t install a round toilet seat on a model with an elongated toilet seat opening (it will leave the rim exposed). However, you can replace a round toilet seat with an elongated seat. It’s important to make sure that the rough-in measurement is identical, though. 

Required Space 

For folks with small bathrooms, a round front model is always a better option. In fact, such a toilet is always the best choice for any small bathroom, including the one made specifically for kids. On the other hand, those with more room in their bathrooms can feel free to opt for a toilet sporting an elongated shape. 

An important thing to mention here is that the newest elongated toilets take up almost the same space as their round front cousins. A lot of toilet manufacturers have come up with elongated models that are compact and don’t take as much space while still remaining very comfortable to sit on – more on that later. 

Toilet Comfort 

When people are choosing between elongated and round toilets, they often forget about the importance of comfort. In this department, the elongated toilet seat is the clear winner – it was made to be as comfortable as possible. The long shape of the elongated toilet seat provides a larger surface to sit on, and this form is also parallel to human anatomy. 

However, it should be pointed out that the elongated toilet seat isn’t that comfortable for everyone. When sitting on this type of toilet, some people feel like they’re going to fall into the bowl. Furthermore, an elongated toilet is never as comfortable for kids as the round toilets are. 

Flushing Performance

Toilet flushing water

When it comes to flushing performance, it should be mentioned that a lot of people consider the round toilet to be the one with the higher flushing power. This is, however, just an opinion of some folks – there is no proof that any round toilet has more flushing power than its elongated cousins. See this post on different types of toilet flush systems for more information. I’ve also written a guide on how to fix a toilet that’s not flushing properly.

Ease of Cleaning

Person cleaning an elongated toilet

If we take a quick look at the shape of each type, we can come to a conclusion that the elongated toilet is easier to clean. However, the difference in the ease of cleaning is quite marginal and definitely not something that should decide whether you should go for an elongated or round toilet. 

Toilet Cost 

It’s pretty safe to say that an elongated toilet will almost always cost more than a round toilet, even if both models are made by the same manufacturer. 

Apart from the shape, the cost of these pieces of sanitary hardware is determined by several other factors. But, when it comes to installation, you can be sure that the plumber – who will set the wax ring around the waste pipe and then affix the toilet to it – is going to charge you the same amount of money to install an elongated toilet and a round toilet. 

Toilet Options 

It’s far easier to buy an elongated toilet that looks just how you want it to look than it is to purchase a round toilet whose design will fit the decorations inside your bathroom. That’s because the former category of toilets includes way more available models – you’ll be spoiled for choice. 

Unfortunately, not so many different models of round-shaped toilets are available on today’s market. Finding the right one can be even more difficult if you want a model with a non-standard rough-in. 

Round Toilets vs Compact Elongated Toilets 

One topic worth discussing here is that of the compact elongated toilets. As its name suggests, this would be a toilet that provides the comfort of elongated models while taking up as much space as your standard, oval-shaped model. 

A compact elongated toilet is a phenomenal option for folks whose bathrooms aren’t that big but who still want the comfort that comes with elongated models. One really good thing about this kind of toilet is that it can easily replace an already-existing round-shaped model – provided they have an identical rough-in. 

It goes without saying, but compact elongated toilets offer more comfort than most round toilets – their design and shape provide users with a larger area to sit on. What is more, this type of toilet provides more support for one’s thighs. 

Here are some of the market’s best compact elongated toilets: 

Best Elongated Toilets 

In case you’ve decided to go with an elongated toilet, make sure to check out the following two models – they’re among the best toilets this type you can get for your money: 

TOTO Drake

TOTO Drake

This popular comfort-height unit is a two-piece, single-flush model with an elongated toilet seat. As expected, it utilizes the manufacturer’s proprietary G-Max flush technology, famous for its phenomenal performance. 

Unfortunately, however, the model cannot be used in some US states due to its 1.6 GPF water consumption. But it’s still a great option for many families due to its fantastic performance and budget-friendly price. 

Check Price on Amazon


Toto UltraMax II 

Toto UltraMax II

The second of the two models with elongated toilet seats is also made by TOTO, and its name is UltraMax II. This is a WaterSense-compliant, one-piece toilet that is available in several different colors. 

Besides the fact that it provides the user with powerful double-cyclone flushes, this model also has a very low water consumption (1.28 GPF). Moreover, it is fully ADA-compliant, as it has a height of 17.25”. 

Check Price on Amazon


Best Round Toilets 

If you are, on the other hand, more interested in a model with a round toilet seat, consider these extremely well-made (and very popular) models: 

American Standard H2Option 

American Standard H2Option

Here we have a round-front, two-piece, dual-flush model with an optional comfort or standard height. It was made by American Standard – one of the world’s most famous manufacturers of plumbing fixtures – and it’s available in linen, bone, and white colors. 

As its name suggests, the model gives its owner two options – to use 1.28 or 0.92 gallons of water per flush. One particularly great thing about it is its EverClean surface, which makes cleaning a breeze.

Check Price on Amazon


Kohler Wellworth Classic

Kohler Wellworth Classic

This is yet another comfort-height, round-front, two-piece model, only this time made by Kohler, yet another famous US-based manufacturer. It is available in four different colors – almond, biscuit, black, and plain white. 

Whichever color you choose to go with, you’ll be getting a WaterSense toilet that uses only 1.28 gallons of water per one flush. It’s a WaterSense-compliant model that utilizes the manufacturer’s proprietary Class Five flushing technology. 

Check Price on Amazon


Elongated vs Round Toilets – The Conclusion 

Round-shaped toilets are getting replaced by their elongated counterparts at a pretty fast rate – and for a couple of good reasons. These fixtures are more modern and they’re more comfortable to sit on, which is usually the thing that makes people choose them over round-shaped models. 

Compact elongated toilets are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best type of elongated toilets (and the best type of flush toilets overall) available on the market – they’re almost as space-efficient as round toilets but also just as comfortable as the regular elongated models.

While you are here, you might want to check out this post on the different parts of the toilet tank as well.

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