Round vs. Elongated Toilet – Make a Right Choice

There is more difference between round or elongated toilet shapes than just appearance. Round and elongated toilet bowls feel as different as they look. There are various reasons to prefer one to another. Let’s see which one will be better for your household.

What is better round or elongated toilet?
Some people may prefer elongated toilet bowls because they are considered more hygienic. The larger surface area of the bowl makes it easier for men and children to use with less mess. The longer bowl size is also a requirement for ADA use, and the longer/wider bowl is generally easier to use for those with mobility issues.


By definition, any toilet that reaches 17.5” from its mounting holes to the front edge is called elongated. It’s a relatively new invention, as in older homes, you will frequently see round toilets that were once mainstream.

Elongated toilets became even more popular after the EPA was issued in 1992, and the WaterSense program started in 2006. The matter is that the elongated bowl allows for more efficient water usage, and while its volume is limited, there should be other ways to intensify the flush (which is still being improved).

vortex flush toilet

Elongated vs. Round Toilet

To see the difference between elongated and round toilet types, let’s see it from the perspective of anatomy. If you know the shape of the human buttocks, it’s quite extended, just like the elongated toilet. Logically, the distribution of the body weight will be more even on an elongated seat. That’s the primary purpose of the elongated toilet for most of us.

Another advantage of the oval toilet shape is that it allows for more efficient flushing solutions. Round toilets usually have a weaker flush system. And, finally, the larger is the bowl, the easier it is to clean it.

Then why do round ones exist? Primarily because of space concerns. In smaller bathrooms, every inch counts, so smaller ones are easier to install and maintain. Round toilet advantages get even more important for disabled people who may experience difficulties with approaching the toilet.

Space matters even more if you use a walker or a wheeled chair, so round ones are more practical for them. As for the toilet shape itself, it does not matter as much as its height.

Another reason to use round toilets is that kids may feel better about them. On elongated bowls, they may sit unstably and feel they’re falling in. This sort of discomfort is serious in such private situations, so a round one is a better option for kids.

Round toilet

Pros: Cons:
  • Easier to fit in a small bathroom;
  • Better for disabled or elderly people;
  • Better for kids;
  • More affordable.
  • Not as comfortable to sit on;
  • Weaker flush;
  • Harder to keep clean.

Elongated toilet

Pros: Cons:
  • More comfortable to sit on;
  • Easier to wash and cleanse;
  • Stronger flush;
  • Modern look.
  • More expensive;
  • Take more space.

As you see, in most situations choosing an elongated vs. round toilet depends on who is about to use it. Generally, an elongated bowl is better, unless it’s going to be used:

  • By disabled persons;
  • By someone elderly;
  • By little kids;
  • In a very tight bathroom.

These are reasons to prefer a round one. They are made in different height options, so maybe an ADA-compliant round toilet will be as comfortable as an elongated one.


To point out the most important things, here are the answers to the most frequent or the most basic questions concerning toilet shapes. Let’s start with the very definitions.

What is an elongated toilet?

The shape of an elongated toilet is somewhat oval than round, and it’s easy to see with a regular ruler or a measuring tape. To tell it when unsure, you can see the description or just measure the distance between the front outside edge of your toilet and the point between its mounting holes. If it’s 17” or less, it’s around one; if it’s 17.5” or more, it’s elongated.

Why would I want an elongated toilet bowl?

The answer is easy: an elongated bowl is more comfortable to sit on. Also, it is easier to find and choose. If we had an around vs. extended toilet battle, an elongated would win because it attracts more.

Can I put an elongated toilet seat on a round toilet?

Yes, you can, but it will look just weird and not as comfortable as the native seat. It depends on the models, but probably you will also experience discomfort because of the gap under the front of the seat.

Let’s Have a Toilet Talk

There is more about toilet shape than it might seem. It’s not a major fight over minor things, like that of Little- and Big-endian. Shape matters in many practical aspects.

The most obvious conclusion to come to is that elongated bowls are better for healthy adults, and round ones are a perfect option for kids, the elderly, and the disabled. It’s just a general concern, though; in practice, it might be different.

What do you think about that in your thinking room? If you had experience with both types, I’d like to hear about your impressions. It will also be great if you share this on your social media pages to get a perfect toilet talk with your friends (regardless of where you are sitting physically at the moment).

Also read:

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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