Have you had trouble deciding between buying a round toilet or an elongated toilet for your home or office?
You aren’t alone. Many people are confused about which toilet bowl shape they should buy between the two.
We’ve found that one is ideal for homes with young children looking for a good toilet on a budget, and the other for homes with adults, older people, or people with mobility problems looking for a more comfortable toilet.
Let’s take a closer look and discover this together.
TL;DR: Round vs Elongated Toilet
Cheaper than elongated models
Popular and more readily available
Easier for kids under five years to use
Replaceable with an elongated toilet if rough-in matches
Has a circular shape that fits well in most bathrooms and takes up less space
Cleans more easily
More aesthetically pleasing
More comfortable than round ones
Less splash-back when waste drops in
Ideal for adults, older people, and people with mobility problems
Not ideal for older people and people with mobility problems
Less comfortable because of less surface area
Not suitable for kids under five
More expensive than round seat toilets
Takes up more space hence not ideal for a smaller bathroom
- Best for users on a limited budget
- Best for homes with children under five years for ease of use and less messy sessions
- Best for bathrooms with more space
- Best for homes with adults, older people, or people with mobility problems
What is a Round Toilet?
As the name suggests, a round toilet is a toilet with a round or circular bowl shape. It is also called an “O” toilet.
The bowl’s length and shape are the two most significant distinguishing factors between round bowl toilets and elongated toilets.
A round toilet has a circular bowl shape and is about 16.5 inches in bowl length.
While the bowl’s shape is easy to see, you might have to measure the length since it isn’t usually indicated on the bowl.
The bowl length is the distance from the center of the toilet seat placement holes to the front end of the bowl. It is expressed in inches for both round toilet bowls and elongated ones.
Round toilets take up less space and are thus ideal for small bathrooms. The lesser bowl length means that there is still plenty of room left to the sides and front of the bowl.
A round toilet is cheaper than an elongated one for about $50. They are also more common than the elongated ones, though their popularity is decreasing as more people opt for the latter.
The one major downside of round bowl toilets is that their lesser bowl length reduces the surface area for human-to-bowl contact, which reduces the toilet’s comfort levels.
For homes with kids, round toilets are better because kids under five years can use them more easily during their transition period from potty usage to toilet training.
The lesser bowl length makes it possible for kids to fit better atop the seat and use the toilet without messing the bowl’s slope above the trapway waterline.
What is an Elongated Toilet?
An elongated toilet is a toilet with an oval shape and a bowl length of about 18.5 inches.
An elongated bowl’s width is about the same as that of a round toilet in the middle, but it tapers towards the front.
The term “elongated” indicates that the bowl is a bit longer than a round toilet, by about two inches. Elongated toilets are also called egg- or oval-shaped or pointed toilets.
Because of the longer bowl, elongated toilets have more surface area for human-to-bowl contact, making them more comfortable to use than their round counterparts.
Elongated bowls are more aligned with the human torso when sitting on it, making it more comfortable to use, one of the major benefits of elongated toilets.
Another major win for elongated toilets is they are ideal for homes with adults, older people, or people with mobility problems.
Adults, older people, and people with mobility problems require as much comfort and ease of use as possible. Elongated toilets provide these two aspects better than their round counterparts.
The one downside of elongated toilets is that they aren’t suitable for homes with small children.
Quite often, a child using the toilet feels like they are falling into the bowl. They have to hold onto the bowl sides to stay atop the toilet seat. They also risk messing up the slope of the bowl.
Unlike their round counterparts, elongated toilets are easier to clean. As long as most of the users are adults, the toilets don’t get messed easily. It’s also easier to clean a larger bowl than a small one.
Similarities and Differences
We now know what round and elongated toilets are and the unique features of each type. Let’s shift our focus to the similarities and differences between the two based on various characteristics.
Round Toilet and Elongated Differences
The following differences make it easy to decide between an elongated toilet and a round one.
Size and Shape
The size and shape of a toilet determine how much space it uses in the bathroom.
An elongated toilet bowl is longer than a round toilet bowl by about two inches. Elongated toilets are 18.5 inches long on average, while round toilets are 16.5 inches long on average.
Round toilets have a circular bowl, while their elongated counterparts have oval- or egg-shaped bowls.
Elongated toilets take up more frontal space and relatively less sideways space because of the tapering nature towards the front. In comparison, round toilets take up more sideways space and less frontal space.
When choosing a toilet for a small bathroom, you would want to go for a round toilet instead of an elongated one to ensure you save more space.
Round toilets are widely popular and cost about $50 less than their elongated counterparts. The enhanced comfort of the latter makes them more expensive, but their popularity is still increasing.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning an elongated toilet is easier than cleaning a round one. The former has a larger bowl, which is easier to clean and keep clean for a long time.
With a round toilet, there is less room for you to manipulate the toilet brush. This makes cleaning harder, and you have to use extra force and more cleaning materials to achieve good results.
Comfort Levels and Ease of Use
The level of comfort is a significant consideration when buying either a round or elongated toilet.
Elongated toilets have enhanced comfort in mind. The larger bowl and toilet seat provide more surface area for human-to-toilet contact.
However, the degree of comfort may be relative. For example, a young kid would find an elongated toilet uncomfortable and feel like they can easily fall into the bowl.
Although both round and elongated toilets serve the same purpose of human waste management and are used similarly by men or women, different people may find one type easier to use.
For example, going by the above example for comfort levels, young children will find elongated toilets harder to use because of the larger bowl.
For young children, it’s harder to use an elongated toilet without soiling the slope of the bowl above the water level. A child would have to hold onto the sides of the bowl to avoid falling into it.
While young kids are better off using round toilets, adults and older people find elongated toilets easier to use because of the larger surface area.
Round Toilet and Elongated Similarities
Despite the many differences between round and elongated toilets, the following similarities are notable between the two types.
The process for installing a round toilet is similar to that of installing an elongated one. As such, most plumbers charge the same amount for installing either toilet.
Options and Customizability
Both elongated and round toilets are available in different colors, tank lengths, designs, and flushing systems. Both types have either one-piece or two-piece toilet designs.
Although white is the most common color for both types of toilets, you can come across other colors, such as beige. It’s upon you to choose the color that will best blend in the bathroom.
Other variations in flushing systems, tank sizes, and tank shapes are meant to allow you as many options as possible, depending on your preferences and the space available.
As long as you buy the best toilet for your bathroom, you won’t notice any considerable differences in the performance of round or elongated toilets.
What About D-shaped Toilets?
D-shaped toilets are a modern addition to the different toilet shapes.
As the name suggests, the toilet bowl and seat assume the shape of the capital letter “D”, with seemingly flatter edges and a rounded top front end of the bowl.
D-shaped toilets are not made for any special uses but for users who want a more modern feel and stylish look in their bathroom.
Some D-shaped toilets have their lid wrapping over and completely covering the entire seat, making them neater, minimalist, and even more compact.
Most D-shaped toilets have slow-close or soft-close toilet seats that reduce the annoying noise of the lid banging against the toilet.
Some models also have a quick-release button to release the toilet seat for easy cleaning and usage without manually lifting it like other toilet models.
When it comes to a round vs elongated toilet, each has its pros and cons. Round toilets take up less space and are easier for young children to use, while elongated toilets are more comfortable and make using the bathroom easier for people with mobility problems.
Round toilets aren’t quite as comfortable, but they are more popular and more affordable. An elongated bowl is easier to clean, but they take up more space and are more expensive.
People Also Ask
This last section of our discussion provides quick answers to people’s lingering questions about elongated and round toilets. We hope that any questions you have are featured below.
You can easily determine whether your toilet is round or elongated by simply checking the shape of the bowl. A round toilet has an O-shaped bowl, while an elongated one has an egg-shaped bowl.
Further, you can measure the distance from the center of the toilet seat hinge line to the far end of the bowl. The distance is about 16.5 inches for a round toilet and 18.5 to 19 inches for an elongated toilet.
You can’t put an elongated seat on a round toilet. The two types of toilets have varying bowl lengths, meaning that the toilet seats cannot match and aren’t compatible.
If you put an elongated toilet seat on a round toilet, part of the seat will be floating out off the bowl’s front end. It can be very confusing for toilet users.
The major upside of elongated toilets is that they are more comfortable. The toilet seat provides more surface area and room for sitting on to enhance comfort levels.
As a plus, there is more room or space for the wiping process without the interference of the back of the toilet.
Furthermore, elongated toilets suit men better as they don’t have to hold their privates to fit them in the toilet as it happens in round toilets.
An elongated toilet can replace a round toilet, provided the rough-in matches. Also, you must ensure there is plenty of space to house the larger toilet.