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Are Toilet Seats Universal?

Are Toilet Seats Universal?

Did you break your toilet seat and are looking for new options? Chances are that your search will take some time to find the right toilet seat.

There is no such thing as universal toilet seats. Each toilet seat is specifically designed to fit its counterpart and the different types available make them an even rarer find. 

It’s important to know the type of your toilet seat to have a solution ready in case of any emergencies.

You can make do with options that poorly fit your toilet but if you really want a seat that fits your toilet perfectly, it’s only going to be the one that comes with it.

If you’re also one of those who went searching for universal toilet seats only to get disappointed, this guide will help you out. Keep reading to have all your queries answered:

What Are The Different Types Of Toilet Seats?

There are many things that are the standard in toilet seats but that doesn’t mean that the unique aspects are any less.

The US is known to be home to two kinds of toilet seats, one of them being the elongated one and one of them being round. 

Elongated toilet seats have an average length of 18.5 inches, whereas the latter is usually 16.5 inches long.

If you need a new toilet seat, you’ll have to take measurements from the edge of the bowl to the midpoint between the seat posts.  

Coming to the standards, the distance between seat post holes should be no lesser than 5.5 inches from the center. This stands for both types of toilet seats and doesn’t depend on the shape. 

The toilet bowl should also have a similar width that doesn’t differ, no matter what shape your toilet bowl is. In some cases, it may have a slight difference of half an inch.

Aside from the standards, it is also important to know all the details about toilet types. Here’s a comprehensive analysis of both.

Elongated Toilet Seat

This usually has a width of 14 inches and a length of 18.5 inches.

Elongated toilet seats, as the name suggests, have a linear, long structure, and are particularly famous amongst men.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t find them in residences though, as elongated toilet seats have been the obvious choice by families for many years.

Round Toilet Seat

The length of round toilet seats typically is almost 16.5 inches long, having a width of about 14 inches.

Round toilet seats have been popular in households because of their compactness.

They occupy much less area than elongated seats and are also slightly on the cheaper side.

They also become an obvious choice where the bathrooms don’t have a lot of space.

How To Measure Your Toilet Seat?

Once you have a general idea about the standards, the next step is to consider measurements to identify your seat type.

For accurate measurements, you’d have to purchase the right equipment.

Remember, you have three things to measure: length, width, and seat post holes.

Visit the local hardware store to find all the tools you need to carry out this process.

Let’s have a look at what to look for when taking the measurements:

Man using a measuring tape

1. Length

Since the width and the seat post holes follow the standard measurements in most toilet seats, measuring the length accurately becomes extremely important.

You may get away with assuming a general number for both of them but with length, you’ll have to be attentive.

Measuring the length is also important because if you skip the width and seat post holes, it won’t make much difference.

However, if you know the length of your toilet seat, you can easily identify its type even before considering the other two types.

This is not advisable though, because it’s important for you to take care of all the measurements so that you know that you have a seat that follows standards.

To measure the length of a toilet seat, use a measuring tape and place it from the end of the bowl to the centre of the seat post holes.

Don’t forget to take all the edges into your measurements because skipping them will give you an inaccurate value.

Use the standards described above to identify which type is your toilet seat. If the length is somewhere around 18.5 inches, your toilet seat probably is the elongated type and if it is about 16.5 inches, it’s probably the round toilet seat.

2. Width

The width of your toilet seat is probably standard, but it’s good to measure it, just in case.

If your toilet seat has a different width, chances are that it’ll make your toilet look weird from all angles.

All you need to do is place the measuring tape horizontally across the middle, where the toilet seat is usually the widest.

You’d have to take all the edges into account here as well because if you don’t, your measurements will be off by quite a large margin.

If your toilet seats follow the standards, their width should be no longer than 14 inches; if your measurement doesn’t give you that value then you probably have a toilet seat that does f follow the norm.

3. Seat Post Holes

For seat post holes, place the measuring tape from the centre of one post to the center of the other.

Each of the post holes should have a measurement of 5.5 inches.

It is not important to remove the toilet seat for accurate results, you can get accurate measurements while the seat remains attached as well.

If the measurement for the seat post holes is correct, your toilet can easily fit any type of toilet seat.

What Are Non-Standard Toilet Seats?

Taking all the measurements might lead you to unearth the fact that your toilet seat is not a standard size.

This may prove to be a hindrance when you want to change the seat but it’s not the end of the world; you still have options.

Before jumping into what to do in the scenario, let’s have a look at non-standard toilet seats:

Any toilet seat that fails to follow the standards qualifies as a non-standard toilet seat. It can have more than one measurement that is off and can also have a different shape than conventional toilet seats. 

If your seat post holes are off, you can try using hinges but it doesn’t guarantee a perfect toilet seat. Here are some types of non-standard toilet seats available in the market:

Interior modern design with white toilet

Proprietary or OEM Seats

Proprietary or OEM seats are just experimental products launched by manufacturers to test if they have a place in the market. Since they’re prototypes, they aren’t commonly available and are also cheaper than regular toilet seats.

European Toilet Seat

There’s a high chance that if you have a non-standard toilet seat, it’s the European type. Aside from the two typical toilet seat types, European toilet seats also have a D-shaped option available.

European toilet seats have no availability issues so don’t have to worry about the replacements. 

Final Words on If There Are Universal Toilet Seats

Toilet seats can be a tough nut to crack but getting around them always benefits you in the long run.

You wouldn’t want to see your toilet seat break apart one day and have no idea where to go for the replacement. Yes, toilet seats aren’t universal but finding a similar type isn’t entirely impossible. 

To have all your options ready, make sure you briefly go through this article to get a better idea of the different types of toilet seats!

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.