While choosing a toilet can be overwhelming in itself, getting the right toilet seat to go with it can be an equally challenging project.
In this article, you will learn what types of toilet seats are available on the market from a variety of different perspectives.
Toilet Seats by Shape: Round vs. Elongated
The first way to look at the different kinds of toilet seats is to look at their shape. Here, rather than your preference, the type that you will have to go with will depend on the toilet bowl you will be attaching the seat to.
Elongated Toilet Seats
If you have an elongated toilet bowl, then you will want an elongated toilet seat to go with it. Elongated toilet seats are oval and more pointy at their tip than their round counterparts.
That makes them more comfortable to sit on at the expense of them taking up a bit more space.
Round Toilet Seats
Similarly, if you have a round toilet bowl, you will need to get a round toilet seat. As its name suggests, rather than having a slightly pointy tip like elongated toilet seats do, round toilet seats have a round front.
Because of that, they are slightly less comfortable to sit on than elongated toilet seats are. However, they also take up less space (from the wall to the tip of the toilet). As such, they can often be found in smaller apartments and houses with smaller toilet rooms.
Toilet Seats by Material: Plastic vs. Wooden
The second way to categorize toilet seats is by the type of materials they are made out of. Unlike with the seat’s shape which will be dictated by the toilet you use, the seat’s material you will go for will depend purely on your preferences.
Plastic Toilet Seats
Most commonly, toilet seats are made out of plastic. Even then, there are three different kinds of plastic toilet seats, each of which I talk about in a bit more detail below.
Thermoplastic Toilet Seats
Thermoplastic seats are made out of thermoplastic materials – plastics that become softer and thus moldable upon reaching a certain temperature and harder as the temperature cools down.
The biggest advantage of a thermoplastic seat is its low price. In fact, most entry-level toilet seats are made out of thermoplastics. They are also fairly durable and can look nice and shiny – at least before they get scratched.
On the other hand, because of their lightness, they might also feel cheap. And, they can also attract a lot of dust and so they require lota of cleaning.
Thermoset Toilet Seats
Thermoset seats are made out of thermosetting materials – plastics that start out soft or liquid and harden as they are heated. Once thermosets harden, unlike thermoplastics, they cannot be reheated to be molded again.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of thermoset seats is that unlike thermoplastic ones, they cannot be scratched. Besides that, they look more like a ceramic than a plastic which makes them aesthetically appealing.
The only downside of a thermoset toilet seat is that it’s generally more expensive than a thermoplastic seat. But, overall, the extra is well worth paying for.
Resin Toilet Seats
Resin toilet seats are the third, and last, kind of plastic toilet seats. As the name suggests, they are made from resin. Because of their uniqueness, they are more of a rarity than a standard fixture in homes.
This material is mostly used to make seats that are transparent, and in many cases include some sort of solid objects inside them. They are ideal if you are looking for a bright and slightly quirky design for your toilet room.
The upside of these seats is, of course, the fact that the options when it comes to the seat’s design are limitless.
On the other hand, while you might find a design appealing at first, you might get bored of it quicker than you would of a standard white thermoset toilet seat.
Wooden Toilet Seats
While not nearly as common as plastic seats, there are many people that prefer toilet seats made out of wood. Just like with plastic ones, there are different types of wooden toilet seats.
MDF Wood Toilet Seats
MDF, which stands for medium-density fiberboard, is a type of wooden board made by taking wooden fibers and binding them together with wax and resin. It’s a bit similar to plywood, although it tends to be much denser.
Toilet seats made out of MDF are some of the heaviest ones out there, and given that they are coated, they are fairly easy to clean. Because of that, they can also be decorated with different graphics and so you will have plenty of options to choose from.
That said, most of them are white and sometimes they are hard to distinguish from plastic ones from distance.
Another advantage of these seats, unless you get a heated plastic seat, is the fact they they tend to stay warmer than plastic seats – something that can be useful especially in winter.
They typically don’t last as long as plastic – especially thermoset – toilet seats do.
Solid Wood Toilet Seats
The last material that is used for making toilet seats is solid wood. In other words, a piece of wood turned into the shape of a toilet seat and coated to be smoother and durable.
Just like with MDF seats, solid wood toilet seats are generally warmer than plastic seats, and so many people find them more comfortable to sit on. Also, depending on the style of your toilet room, they can be an aesthetically fitting addition to your furnishings.
Solid wood seats come in a very wide range of prices given that they can be made of a variety of different types of wood. Similarly, depending on the type of wood and quality of processing, a wooden toilet seat’s lifetime can range from a couple of years to more than a decade.
If you are buying one online, make sure you are not buying a plastic toilet seat made to look like a solid wood one.
Other Types of Toilet Seats: From Soft-Close to Potty Training
While the above two were fairly distinct categories of seats – i.e. a seat can either be round or elongated, or plastic or wooden – the following is a collection of types of seats that are more “functional.”
Soft Close Toilet Seats
Standard toilet seats have relatively loose hinges and so when you lift the seat or cover and let it drop, they are quite noisy. If that is something that annoys you, then you might want to consider getting a soft close seat which solves this problem.
Rather than dropping right away, a slow close toilet seat’s lid or seat will fall down slowly thus eliminating any noise made from the impact.
If noise is something that bothers you a lot, besides looking into getting a soft close toilet seat, also make sure to check my article about soundproofing your toilet room.
Quick Release Toilet Seats
Cleaning a toilet seat can be quite the task given all the nooks and crannies that it has. That is especially the case with standard toilet seats which you have to clean while attached to the toilet. (Or you could unscrew the bolts, but that can be a lot of hassle.)
That’s the reason why quick release toilet seats were invented. With these seats, the lid and the seat can be taken off with ease, without having to unscrew the bolts holding the seat attached to the toilet.
Thanks to that, you can not only clean the lid and the seat with ease, but you can also access places of the toilet bowl to clean that you would not be able to access with a standard seat.
Toilet Seats with Bidet Function
These seats were originally popularized in Japan, and are aimed at turning a toilet into a bidet. Given that they are a piece of technology rather than just simple toilet seats they are some of the priciest toilet seats out there.
Toilet seats with bidet function also referred to as washlets, are usually equipped with a water nozzle that has both front and rear cleansing modes.
Besides that, the seats also commonly feature a heating function.
Children’s Toilet Seats
If you have small children at home then you might want to look at children’s toilet seats.
They generally come in two versions – a regular seat with a smaller seat attached on top or a standalone seat that is placed on top of a regular seat.
Whichever way you go, it will keep you at a piece of mind since it will prevent your kid from potentially falling into the toilet.
Whether you are getting a brand new toilet or your toilet seat broke and you need its replacement, it is importan to get the right toilet seat.
The shape of your toilet will determine whether you will need a round or an elongated toilet seat. Other than that, however, it is completely up to you.
While having a toilet with bidet function might be something that appeals to you, it can also get quite pricey. As such, if your budget is limited, I recommend you to get a simple thermoset plastic toilet seat.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a more natural look, you can also get a solid wood toilet seat. For a more detailed comparison, check my plastic vs. wooden toilet seats article.