The average toilet seat will be raised and lowered around 4 times a day, and will naturally start to deteriorate over time. Most toilet seats will last very well for around 5 years before they start to show signs of wear and tear.
If you have moved or would simply like to change your toilet seat for whatever reason, the question that will naturally arise is if toilet seats are universal, or if you will need to whack the tape measure out before you buy one.
Remember how important cleaning your toilet regularly is, as it can prevent brown water and limescale below the waterline. By getting a toilet seat that’s easy to clean and that is the perfect fit, you can make this job that much easier.
Are Toilet Seats Universal?
No, toilet seats are not universal and can come in various shapes and sizes. Before you make a purchase, it’s important to measure your toilet and determine exactly what kind of toilet seat you need.
Toilets come in various shapes, so matching the shape of the seat will be important first. You then also need to get the exact length and width right, as some toilets may be an inch or so longer or shorter, and not align with the seat perfectly.
While there are brands that claim to sell universal toilet seats, they may still not fit perfectly. Your best course of action is to take the time to measure your toilet before making a purchase, to ensure you can both replace the seat more easily, and that it fits just right.
Do Toilet Seats Fit All Toilets?
No, toilet seats don’t fit all toilets. In the UK, you can find both D-shaped, round and square toilets and seats.
If your toilet falls into one of the above categories, you will likely be able to source a new toilet seat fairly easily. All you will need to do is take a couple of measurements, and look for the appropriate style.
However, if you have a non-standard or an unusual toilet, you may need to turn to the manufacturer themselves to replace a battered toilet seat.
What is the Size of a Standard Toilet Seat?
There is no standard toilet seat size, however, most of them will be more or less of an equal width. The distance between the toilet seat bolts will likely also be the same for most toilet seats.
A round toilet seat will be about 13-15 inches wide and 16-18 inches long. An elongated toilet seat will similarly be 13-15 inches wide, but 19-22 inches long. A D-shaped toilet seat will not fit into either of these categories though, and you will need to measure it yourself.
The distance between the seat post holes should be around 5.5 inches in all cases. If it varies, there will usually be less than half an inch of difference.
Can You Interchange Toilet Seats?
You can swap out your toilet seat on a regular basis, and even fit an elongated seat onto a round toilet, but it won’t look or feel right.
In order to get the comfiest effect (because we all know just how important that can be), always strive to find a toilet seat that perfectly fits your toilet bowl. Unless you have a very non-standard one, this shouldn’t be difficult.
Do Toilet Seats Have Model Numbers on Them?
Some toilet seats will have their model number on them, but it can most often be found somewhere on the packaging.
While you don’t need to hold on to the box and the wrapping the toilet seat came in, at least snap a photo of it and save it in an album dedicated to storing product information on your phone.
That way, when you do need to replace your toilet seat, you may be able to find the exact model you currently have.
How Do I Know What Toilet Seat Will Fit My Toilet?
In order to determine what toilet seat will fit your toilet, you will need to determine its shape, measure its length and width, and measure the distance between the seat post holes.
Start by figuring out the shape of your toilet. Round toilets are, well, round and have a circular edge. Elongated toilets look like an oval and slightly resemble an egg, while D-shaped toilets look like an elongated D. Square toilets will have perpendicular sides.
Next, grab a tape measure and take these four measurements:
- The lengths of your toilet from the holes to the front edge of the bowl
- The width of your toilet from edge to edge
- The height of your toilet from the holes to the cistern or wall
- The distance between the centre of each fixing hole
Once you have all of these written down, you can either start shopping online, or take yourself to a local store.
How Do I Know What Type of Toilet I Have?
To determine what type of toilet you have, just take a look at it from above and note if it is round, elongated, square or more D-shaped.
These are the four most standard shapes of toilet, so chances are yours will fall into one of them.
How Do I Know If My Toilet Seat is Round or Elongated?
An elongated toilet seat is shaped like an egg and is usually between 19 and 22 inches long, while a round toilet seat looks more like a ball and is 16-18 inches long.
These are mostly American toilet shapes though. In the UK, chances are your toilet will be either round, D-shaped or square. To determine which it actually is, use your best judgement. The image above may also be able to help.
Can I Put an Elongated Toilet Seat on a Round Toilet?
Yes, you can, but the seat won’t fit perfectly. It will neither look nor feel right, and sitting on the wrong kind of toilet seat may be quite uncomfortable.
The distance between seat holes is most often the same, so you should be able to fit any kind of toilet seat shape to any type of toilet. If you are looking for the best solution though, take the time to measure your toilet and purchase the perfect seat for it.
Are Toilet Seat Hinges Standard?
Toilet seat hinges are not standard, and not all hinges are suitable for all kinds of toilets. The two main types of toilet seat hinges are top fixing and bottom fitting, but there may even be discrepancies between different kinds of hinges of the same type.
You can also buy soft close hinges, or the kind that lets you lift the entire seat off for easier cleaning.
To determine what kinds of hinges you need, measure the length of the ones you currently have. Aim for hinges made of more durable materials, as plastic ones tend to deteriorate more quickly than metal or pneumatic ones.
Wrapping It Up
While toilet seats aren’t universal, all you need to do to ensure you buy one that fits your toilet is to record a couple of measurements before you head out to the store. Remember: the better the quality of the toilet seat, the longer it will last, and the more comfortable it will be.
To save yourself time while cleaning and make cleaning the toilet a bit easier, buy a toilet seat that is easy to clean and that doesn’t have the kinds of hinges that are impossible to wipe.