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Measuring a Toilet Seat (Get the Right Size)

Updated
If your toilet seat is cracked and yellowed, it’s time to replace it. Just measure it first.

A broken toilet seat is an issue of concern. Not only can bacteria fester in cracked toilet seats, but the last thing you want is to explain a toilet-related injury.

Whether it’s broken or you’re simply looking to modernize your bathroom, replacing a toilet seat is pretty easy. The trick to making this task seamless is knowing how to measure a toilet seat for replacement. We’ll guide you and share some tips along the way.


Are Toilet Seat Sizes Universal?

No, toilet seat measurements are not standard because there are different toilet seat sizes and types to choose from.

Elongated toilet seats are usually 14 inches wide and about 18.5 inches long. Due to their extended size, they are mostly preferred by men. You will likely find elongated toilet seats in hotels, airports, and gas stations.

Round toilet seats are typically 14 inches wide and around 16.5 inches long. They are commonly found in households and fit well in small bathrooms.

How to Measure a Toilet Seat

Measuring a toilet seat is important because you might not be able to tell if it’s round or an elongated toilet just by looking at it.

What You’ll Need

  • Tape measure.

1. Measure the Length

To measure the length, locate the post holes (that are used to attach the toilet seat to the bowl). Place the tape measure between these two holes and extend it to the front edge of the bowl.

You can also determine whether you have a round or an elongated toilet bowl by taking this measurement.

2. Measure the Width

The width for round and elongated toilet seats and covers is pretty standard. But if you’re not sure what type of bowl you’re dealing with, it’s best to measure the width.

Just identify the widest part of the toilet seat and measure it from one end to another. If the measurement is not 14 inches, you’re dealing with a non-standard toilet seat.

3. Measure the Seat Post Holes

If you’re installing a new toilet seat, you need to know the distance between the seat post holes. Standard toilets have 5.5 inches between these two.

Grab your tape and measure from the center of one seat post hole to the center of the other. You don’t necessarily need to have your toilet seat unmounted to take this measurement.

How to Measure a Custom Size Toilet Seat

Not all toilet seats are elongated or round, which means you can’t rely on the standard measurement earlier in the article.

What You’ll Need

  • Tape measure.

1. Measure between Bolt Holes

Place the measuring tape between the centers of the bolt holes. You want to pay close attention to the bolt measurements for specialty seats.

The American standard is 5.5 inches, while the European standard is 15 to 17 cm. Anything other than that will require ordering a specialty seat.

2. Measure the Width and Length

As you did before, measure the length by placing the tape measure between the two bolt holes. Drag it to the front edge of the bowl and note the measurements.

For the width, measure the two furthest points of the left and right edges of the toilet seat.

3. Measure Between the Tank and the Bolt Holes

For those looking to buy a specialty seat: measure the distance from the edge of the tank to the center spot between the two bolt holes. Specialty seats may require clearance between the tank and the bolt holes.

4. Measure for Snap-On Attachments

Certain toilet seats may be called for in specific situations (like for people with disabilities). Measure the length and width of your existing seat and look for a product that has the same dimensions as your present seat.

What to Look for In a Replacement Toilet Seat

The type of material of the toilet seat will also alter the level of comfort you feel when using it. For example, wood seats are not as cold as plastic ones, making them more pleasant to use come winter.

The softness of the toilet seat is one of the most noticeable aspects that can help to improve overall comfort. A cushioned toilet set will be more comfortable to sit on, and it’s also significantly less cold.

Price should be a factor to consider, too. Don’t go for the cheapest option, as it will likely be thin and uncomfortable.

Shop around locally and online for the best deal on quality. Stores like Amazon, B&Q, Home Depot, etc. are best.

Comfort First

A padded seat could make your whole experience a little more comfortable, especially if you’re recovering from surgery or post-partum.


Final Words

Finding a suitable replacement will be easier once you know how to measure a toilet seat. The process is pretty simple, as there are only three important measurements to keep in mind—the length and width of the bowl and the space between the bolt holes.

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About the Author

Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Interior Designer. Using her years of hands-on experience, she now writes about design and DIY. She currently resides on the rocky East Coast of Canada with her family and slobbery bulldog.