How To Measure A Toilet Seat

Ok, we realize that this may be a skill that you never before knew you needed. But if you’re in the market for a new toilet seat, then it’s important to know how to measure a toilet seat correctly.

As with all bathroom and toilet accessories, toilet sizes and toilet seat sizes can vary, and since replacement toilet seats are not usually returnable once purchased (due to reasons of health and hygiene), you want to be sure that the one you choose will fit your toilet just right.

Round Toilet Seats vs. Elongated Toilet Seats

measure a toilet seat

There are two main shapes of toilet seats in the U.S.: Round and Elongated.

Round Toilet Seats

  • Also referred to as “regular” seats
  • Measure between 16-17 inches long

Elongated Toilet Seats

  • Also called “oblong” seats
  • Measure between 18-19 inches long

How To Measure a Toilet Seat

how to measure a toilet seat


If you have an older seat that you want to replace with a new one of the same size, here is how to get a correct measurement:

  • Hold a measuring tape at the very front center of the seat.
  • Stretch it straight back to the center of the hinges between the two bolts.
  • Be sure you are measuring at the longest point, which is center to center.

You can also determine the length needed by measuring the toilet itself, as follows.

  • Hold the measuring tape at the very front center of the toilet bowl.
  • Stretch it straight back to the center between the two bolt.
  • Be sure you are measuring at the longest point, which is center to center.

With either of these approaches, the result is the length of your desired toilet seat. Again, typical lengths are 16-17 inches for round and 18-19 inches for oblong seats.

Other common measurements are width, which is typically 14-14.5 inches, and the distance between bolts or post holes, which is usually the standard of 5.5 inches.

Although toilet bowl widths do vary slightly, standard sized toilet seats and lids will work with most toilet bowl widths, as long as the bolt holes are 5.5 inches apart.

Do Specialty Toilet Seats Have Different Measurements?

You may be looking for a toilet seat that is different from the standard round or elongated seats with lid. For example, there are children’s toilet seats which are ideal for toddlers who are potty training.

When no longer needed, you can often simply remove the child sized seat and keep the full sized seat intact.

Or perhaps you are looking for an elevated or raised toilet seat. Whether you choose a style with or without handles, and that’s easy to remove or more permanent, these are ideal for those with limited mobility or back trouble.

The good news is that with either of these types of specialty seats, Unless the manufacturer of a specific brand advises otherwise, they are made to the dimensions measured above. No special hardware or sizing is required to get one to fit your standard toilet.

How Long Do Toilet Seats Last?

How long a toilet seat lasts will be dependent on a number of factors, such as the material it is made of, how frequently it is used, and how well it is cared for.

When thinking about how well it is cared for we don’t just mean keeping it clean. We mean is it being slammed up and down multiple times a day by a crowd of rowdy college kids, or is it used more gently by a one or two-person household.

And most importantly, is it being stepped on and used as a stool for cleaning or reaching a high shelf. Stepping on your toilet seat is NEVER recommended, as it not only can make your seat crack or give way long before it’s time, but it is also a safety hazard.

In general, choosing a good quality toilet seat can last you several years, even when it’s in a main bathroom that is used regularly.

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