Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seat: Which to Get?

If you just installed a new toilet in your freshly renovated bathroom, or you just want to change things up a bit, something you may be considering is getting a new toilet seat. Generally speaking, you might think that all toilet seats are built the same, but this is not really the case.

One of the main differences to consider in toilet seats is the materials of which they are made out of. The two main ones are plastic and wood. Wooden toilet seats used to be very popular, but plastic has taken the driver’s seat, especially over the last few decades. That said, wood is still a good option to consider.

What we want to do right now is to take a look at the main similarities and differences between wooden and plastic toilet seats so you can make an informed decision as to which one to purchase next.

Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seat

Similarities of Wood and Plastic Toilet Seats

Usually, when we compare two things like this, we would list the similarities first and then the differences. However, the fact of the matter here is that there really aren’t any similarities between plastic and wooden toilet seats.

OK, so they’re both toilet seats that come in roughly the same shapes and sizes, both are bolted into the toilet, and yes, both are used to sit on, but other than that they are generally quite different.

Differences Between Wood and Plastic Toilet Seats

Alright, so seeing as there are virtually no similarities between wooden and plastic toilet seats, this means that there must be a whole lot of differences between them. Let’s figure out exactly what these are.

1. Weight and Thickness

One of the main differences between plastic and wooden toilet seats has to do with their weight. Plastic toilet seats tend to be much thinner than wooden toilet seats. Your average plastic toilet seat is usually not more than half an inch in thickness, whereas a wooden toilet seat can be a full inch thick or more. Yes, this also means that a wooden toilet seat is much heavier, which is also the case because wood is just heavier in general.

Keeping all of this in mind, even though the two do differ in terms of weight and thickness, the reality is that it won’t make much of a difference to you in the long run. It’s not like a wooden toilet seat is going to take up way too much space or weigh you down.

2. Overall Durability

One of the main differences between wooden and plastic toilet seats that you absolutely need to consider is how durable they are. Now, what most people think is that wood is the far more durable material of the two.

In some cases, this may be true, especially if you are comparing high-quality wood and low-quality plastic. High-quality wood will always win out over low-quality plastic. That said, toilet seats are usually never made out of high-quality wood, and often, may even be made out of engineered wood, which is of course not exactly the pinnacle of durability.

When it comes down to it, a plastic toilet seat is actually much more impact and moisture resistant. If you let your wooden toilet seat slam shut from the open position, it could very well crack it. The bottom line here is that unless you take a sledgehammer to it, a plastic toilet seat just won’t break, crack, or warp, all things that wooden seats are susceptible to, particularly as they age.

Plastic Toilet Seat

3. Moisture Resistance

One of the biggest differences between the two is the fact that plastic toilet seats are completely waterproof, whereas wooden toilet seats are sometimes water-resistant and sometimes not. Sure, wooden toilet seats are usually sealed to increase their water resistance, but that sealant only goes so far.

Usually, a wooden toilet seat will not be 100% waterproof, and even if it is, that sealant will only last for a few years. At the end of the day, this means that a wooden toilet seat may start to absorb water after prolonged use, which means that it may also warp and crack, not to mention the fact that sitting on a damp toilet seat is just not very comfortable. This is just not a problem that plastic toilet seats suffer from.

4. Staining and Ease of Cleaning

The next major difference that you need to consider between the two, also related to the fact that plastic toilet seats are completely waterproof, is the fact that plastic toilet seats also won’t stain. On that same note, even if your plastic toilet seats do have stains and dirt on them, they are very easy to clean.

Wooden toilet seats, even with a good sealant on them, after a few years of use, may start to stain. Moreover, due to the fact that they usually aren’t 100% waterproof, they can also be a bit difficult to clean.

5. Warmth

OK, so all of the benefits thus far have gone to the plastic toilet seat. With that being said, one of the major disadvantages that you get with plastic toilet seats (unless you have a heated Toto washlet or similar) is the fact that they can feel extremely cool to the touch, particularly if your bathroom is also cold.

Wooden toilet seats feel much warmer and they hold heat better too, thus allowing for a more comfortable experience when the temperatures are alone.

6. Appearance

Another advantage that you get with wooden toilet seats is the fact that they do look much nicer. No matter what the case, wood usually always looks nicer than plastic. It just has a much more classic and rustic feel to it.

7. Soft Closing

Something that you also need to realize here is the fact that wooden toilet seats, for one are very heavy, and second, they usually don’t come with a soft close feature. This means that if you aren’t careful and you let your wooden toilet seat slam shut, not only is there a chance that it could crack or completely break, but it also makes a heck of a lot of noise. Slam that toilet seat shut in the middle of the night and you’re going to wake up that baby of yours.

This is generally not a problem that plastic toilet seats suffer from. For one, very many plastic toilet seats nowadays come with a soft close feature. Even those plastic toilet seats that don’t come with a soft close feature generally are not so heavy that they create a huge banging sound when they slam shut.

8. Possible Odors

The other thing to consider here is that due to wooden toilet seats, sometimes absorbing a bit of moisture, they may begin to smell after a while.

Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seat: Which to Get?

Although wooden toilet seats do look nicer and hold heat much better than plastic toilet seats, those are the only two advantages that they have over plastic toilet seats. Sure, if you live in a very cold place and you don’t want your bottom to freeze off, then a wooden toilet seat is a good way to go. However, for every other reason than that, plastic is by far the better option.

Before committing, though, you might want to learn more about the types of toilet seats out there in general.

Summary

Although we do think that plastic toilet seats are by far the better option when compared to wooden toilet seats, the choice is of course yours to make. Just make sure to keep all of the factors in mind when making your decision.