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Different toilets are built with different needs in mind. You’ll find models with different flush systems, materials, heights, widths, and general technology.
And one of the biggest differences you’ll find is in elongated toilet bowls versus round ones.
Elongated and round toilets are the two main options on the market. But which one is better?
Both have their own pros and cons. As a general rule, elongated toilets offer more comfortable seating.
But round toilets are often much easier to install in compact spaces.
Definition Of Elongated and Round Bowl
The shape of the bowl is the key factor in determining whether something is elongated or round.
Elongated bowls are oval in shape, and they tend to be significantly longer than round bowls.
Round bowls are either rounded or oval. When they are oval, though, they’re still not as sharply defined as their elongated counterparts.
If you’re shopping for a new toilet, you don’t necessarily need to stick with whichever kind you have now. You can put an elongated toilet in the same place that a round toilet used to be.
But you need to make sure that there’s enough space, and that the dimensions fit the rough-in.
When it comes to replacing seats, though, your options are more limited. You need a seat that matches the dimensions of your toilet bowl.
A round seat won’t fit on an elongated bowl, and vice versa.
When To Choose Elongated Toilet
Elongated designs are some of the most popular in today’s world, even though round seats are more traditional.
You should look for an elongated design if you meet the following criteria:
- There is ample room in your bathroom for the toilet. You need at least 12 inches of space on every side.
- You want an ADA-compliant toilet that’s easier to sit down on.
- You want the most comfortable toilet seat option.
When To Choose Round Toilet
As mentioned, round designs are smaller. They’re also the most traditional option.
You’ll want to consider a round front toilet if you meet the following criteria:
- You have kids who can benefit from a smaller toilet seat.
- You’re working in a bathroom with a very limited room and need to save space.
- You’re on a strict budget and need a toilet that’s smaller and more inexpensive.
Other Bowl Shapes
When you’re considering round vs elongated options, you might also be surprised to learn that there are more bowl shapes. For example, you can get a toilet with a square or D-shaped bowl.
But with that said, these types of toilets are more common in Europe. If you’re looking for a toilet in the US, you’re unlikely to find non-traditional toilet bowls unless you put in a special order at a hardware store.
The building codes in your area might also have an impact on the new toilet that you buy. People with mobility issues tend to look for ADA-compliant designs that include an elongated toilet seat.
Effects On Flushing
So when it comes to elongated and round toilet bowls, which is better for flushing?
The flushing system actually isn’t affected by the shape of the bowl. Instead, the important parts of the flushing system involve the siphon jets, valves, and trapway.
When these pieces are oversized, it allows more water to flow faster through the bowl.
No matter what size bowl you get, it’s a good idea to look for eco-friendly toilets. These are toilets that have been EPA-certified to use lower amounts of water with every flush.
It’s also a good idea to look for toilets that have anti-microbial coatings to prevent bacterial buildup in the bowl.
More Flush Toilet Facts
The two main types of toilets can be understood on a basic level. But sometimes you need more details about the exact dimensions or accessibility.
Let’s break down more information about both two-piece and one-piece toilet options.
Toilets tend to be similar in width, with an average width of around 20 inches. You should always measure before getting a replacement seat.
The length is where these models differ. An elongated toilet bowl is longer than a round one.
The average length is around 2 inches more, but some oversized bowls might be 6 or more inches longer.
The average length of a round toilet is 16.5 inches, while elongated toilets are 18.5 inches in average length.
It’s possible to put an elongated toilet in the same place that used to have a round toilet. But the seats can’t be interchanged.
You need a toilet seat that complies with the dimensions of your toilet.
You need to know how much space the toilet will take up in the bathroom. Keep in mind that you should have 12 inches free on both sides, plus at least 12 inches in the front.
Round toilets are the typical choice for people working in extremely compact bathrooms.
However, some toilet manufacturers have created new models. These aim to take up the same compact space as round toilets, but they have elongated seats.
Sometimes this option is more comfortable, although it can be more expensive.
Manufacturers have managed to create these compact footprints for elongated bowls by minimizing the size of the toilet water tank and other accessories.
While there aren’t many residential building codes that govern the exact type of toilet you can buy, you will need to consider the legal necessities for any toilet in a public space.
For example, many places have a requirement that you keep at least 21 inches between the front of the toilet and the wall.
You’ll also need to consider whether you need to comply with the ADA, or the Americans with Disabilities Act. An ADA-compliant model will include the following:
- A minimum of 4 feet away from the wall
- 2 inches taller than traditional toilet heights
A toilet doesn’t technically need to be elongated for ADA compliance. But since elongated seats are more comfortable, these models are the most common.
The comfort of an elongated bowl comes at a slightly higher price. If a manufacturer creates two toilets with the exact same specifications, but one is elongated and one is round, then the elongated one will be more expensive.
However, this is not the only thing that determines how expensive a toilet is. There are also factors like whether it’s a one-piece or two-piece model, whether there’s advanced flushing technology, and what materials the design is made of.
Some people say that elongated toilets are easiest to clean, but some say round toilets are easier.
A round toilet is relatively easy to clean because it is smaller. There’s less surface space to scrub.
But an elongated toilet may be easier to clean if it’s a tall, ADA-compliant option.
Both types of toilet can benefit from double-cyclone flushing technology. The flushing power affects how much waste sticks to the bowl.
With a high-efficiency flush system, you don’t need to do as much cleaning and maintenance.
Comfort and Design
Round toilets are considered the traditional option, but elongated bowls have become much more popular over the past few decades. You’re more likely to find a round toilet in an old home.
Modern houses, on the other hand, tend to be built with elongated shapes.
There are many different exterior designs for toilets that can range from traditional to futuristic. But most people believe that elongated models tend to have a greater aesthetic appeal than round ones.
Elongated models are also prioritized for their comfort. The oval shape allows for people to sit with a larger portion of their body on the seat.
It aligns better with human anatomy, reducing fatigue at times when you’re in the bathroom for a while.
But there are some people who don’t like elongated toilets. Children often have a harder time with them.
Round toilets are better-suited to a child’s smaller body. Similarly, taller toilets might not appeal to children, because they might not be able to keep their feet on the ground.
Even though round designs are traditional, elongated ones have dominated the market. That means that if you go shopping for a new toilet, you’ll have a lot more elongated models to compare.
Finding the right round toilet can take more time, and the exact model you want might not be in stock at your local hardware store.
When you’re determining whether to get an elongated or round toilet, one of the biggest considerations is comfort. Elongated bowls tend to be more comfortable for adults, while round ones are more comfortable for children.
The other main consideration is space. For those who have very small bathrooms, a round toilet tends to be more compact.
But there are manufacturers who have created compact elongated toilets to compete.