I remember, as a kid, when the toilet seat in our basement bathroom got a crack in it. It was almost imperceptible when looking at it but it was always a gamble when I sat down; would it pinch my leg and make me yelp, or would I be spared this time? The materials used to make toilet seats have improved over the years (thank goodness!) but finding the most comfortable toilet seat means that this experience can be left in the past.
Finding The Most Comfortable Toilet Seat
Finding the most comfortable toilet seat doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience, but it does mean that you need to know what you’re looking for. What shape is your toilet? Do you want the seat to be heated? Padded? Does it need to be raised to help with family members who have limited mobility? Have you considered a bidet toilet seat?
Elongated Toilet Seat vs Round Shaped Toilet Seat
Elongated toilets, and toilet seats, are thought to be more comfortable than round shaped. They more closely fit the shape of a persons bottom when sitting and allow enough room, in front and in back, for all toilet based activities.
Choosing elongated vs round really comes down to the shape of the toilet itself. Older toilets tend to be round in shape. Newer, more modern toilets have an elongated shape; thought to increase comfort and fit. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, though. Round toilets typically take up less space and so even newer installations will be round, especially if the bathroom is small.
How Can You Tell if the Toilet is Round or Elongated?
Well, you could look at it but, as you can see from the diagram below, even a round toilet can look deceivingly elongated. The best way to determine is to measure the toilet bowl itself. Elongated toilets are about 18″ in length, while round toilets are about 16″ in length.
Can You Put an Elongated Toilet Seat on a Round Shaped Toilet?
Technically, yes you can; as long as the toilet seat you are fitting has the same fastening dimensions as the toilet you are fitting it to. For this, you’ll need to compare the specifications of the toilet seat to the toilet you are attaching it to. There are, however, some practical considerations of fitting an elongated toilet seat to a round toilet.
An elongated toilet seat is going to extend out beyond a round toilet bowl rim. There is about 2″ difference between an elongated toilet seat length, and a round toilet length. This could mean that the porcelain front of the round toilet bowl is visible under the elongated seat. It could even mean that the user will contact the front edge of the toilet bowl when sitting. For some people this is perfectly okay; for others it’s a deal breaker.
Quick Release or Standard Hinge
Quick release toilet seats are a relatively new feature in toilet seat design. Unlike standard hinge toilet seats, which only allow the toilet seat and lid to open and close, a quick release allows the entire toilet seat and lid assembly to be removed quickly and easily.
The main advantage of this is, of course, cleaning. Anyone who has had to clean in behind and around the toilet seat hinges knows of all the nooks and crannies that are difficult to reach. Removing the entire apparatus gives access not only to those difficult to reach places, but also to the underside of the toilet seat for thorough cleaning.
Heated Toilet Seat
A heated toilet seat in the middle of the night is the epitome of comfort. Heck, a heated toilet seat at just about any time is a luxury in my book! If you live in a warm climate then this likely isn’t a feature that you are looking for but if you experience winter at all then you know what a treat this would be.
As with most features there are a range of options available for heated toilet seats. Some simply heat the seat to a comfortable level, while others offer a range of temperatures, or even personal settings controlled by a remote. Price, of course, ranges also with the level of features offered.
Soft Close Toilet Seat
Old style toilet seats had heavy lids that inevitably slammed closed as soon as you left the washroom. Toilet seat lids now are much lighter, but they still have a propensity to slamming closed just like their distant cousins.
Soft close toilet seats eliminate that most annoying toilet trait. Special, tensioned, hinges control the rate at which the toilet seat can close. Even if you push on the lid forcefully, the hinges will prevent the lid from slamming closed. This not only removes the annoying slamming action, but is also safer for those with pets and children; no more worrying about puppy noses or children’s fingers getting caught.
Padded Toilet Seat
Padded toilet seats enjoyed a heyday in the early 1990’s; they were a decor item that no bathroom could be without. Their popularity has waned over the years but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a reason to consider them.
While a padded seat may be a comfortable option for many people, for those health issues they can make using the toilet a less painful experience. Those who suffer with bed or pressure sores can find some relief as they sit on the soft seat. People with limited mobility find padded toilet seats so much more comfortable, and easier to sit on and get up from. People with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome spend a tremendous amount of time on the toilet; a padded toilet seat can make this time a little more tolerable.
One of the concerns about padded toilet seats was cleaning and sanitizing them. Newer coverings and manufacturing techniques make cleaning padded toilet seats as easy, and effective, as cleaning regular toilet seats.
Raised Toilet Seat
A standard toilet typically has a ‘seat height’ of about 15″ when measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat . The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) states that accessible toilets should have a ‘seat height’ of between 17″ and 19″. This allows those with mobility issues to more easily use the toilet; it is easier to sit on and get up from at that height. Having had major knee reconstruction surgery myself, I can attest to how much easier a raised toilet is to use!
While most toilet manufacturers offer ‘comfort height’ toilets, there is no need to replace the entire toilet if a comfort height toilet is needed in your home. A raised toilet seat can be quickly installed, instantly transforming your toilet to a ‘comfort height’ with minimum fuss and investment.
Bidet Toilet Seat
As the evolution of the chamber pot, bidets were first seen in the bathrooms of aristocrats and the wealthy. The Japanese brand TOTO started the modern interpretation of bidet embedding the functionality and features within the toilet seat itself. Bidet toilet seats are relatively new in North America, but are slowly becoming popular as we realize the benefits, and comfort, that they can offer.
Bidet toilet seats come with a range of options; the most basic versions offering a water stream for cleaning to help increase cleanliness and reduce toilet paper usage. More advanced models offer warmed water, heated seats, soft closing lids, and warm air drying.
Now replacing a toilet seat could actually be a bathroom revolution!