Elongated Vs. Round Toilets: Which Is Better And Why?

Many of you would agree that life’s crucial decisions are contemplated sitting on a porcelain throne in the bathroom. Therefore, you want a stunning toilet that not only accentuates your bathroom décor but is also comfortable enough to use for longer durations. To cater to this need, today, the market is overflowing with sanitary brands offering beautiful pieces of porcelain in different styles, shapes, and sizes.


While this gives you the option to choose a model that meets all your requirements, this decision can also be quite overwhelming since buying a toilet is an expensive investment and you will have to live with your choice for a good 10 to 15 years. One such decision regarding the toilet that often leaves a user in a dilemma is round vs. elongated bowl.  Is elongated toilet better than round? Which is better round or elongated toilet? Several users get perplexed with these questions and for all the right reasons.


Initially, the debate of round vs. elongated bowl was insignificant since all toilets sported a round bowl but over the past few years, the elongated bowl seems to have taken over as the more preferred shape.  They are considered more modern looking and also offer added comfort. On the other hand, the round front bowls help save on space and are preferred for smaller bathrooms.



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However, in this never-ending debate of elongated vs. round toilets, there is no clear winner as you will find valid points supporting both sides of the argument. What may seem to be lacking for one may turn out to an advantage for another. Therefore, before buying the right shape for your home, it is necessary to understand the difference between elongated and round toilets.


To help you make an informed decision, we took the prerogative and researched in-depth on elongated vs. round toilets. Through this article, we will list out the similarity and difference between elongated and round toilet and also give you the pros and cons of each.



What Is The Difference Between Elongated And Round Toilets?

When it comes to the style and functionality between elongated vs. round toilets, both the variants are at par. The one significant difference between elongated and round toilet is the shape and length of the bowl.

  • Elongated bowls sit at a length of 18.5 inches and have a protruding oblong shaped bowl.
  • The round bowls on the other hand have a circular shape and measure 16.5 inches in length.

Due to the oblong shape, the contemporary elongated toilets are much more comfortable as they provide extra legroom while the traditional round toilets are more space-efficient. To help you understand the major difference between elongated vs. round toilet seat as a user, here is a quick comparison chart.



Elongated vs. Round Toilets Summarized

Round ToiletElongated Toilet
  • More comfortable for children
  • Fits into tight dimensions
  • Cheaper than elongated toilets
  • Old and traditional design
  • Has fewer options to choose from
  • Requires more effort to clean
  • More comfortable for adults
  • Occupies more space in the bathroom
  • More expensive than round toilets
  • Has a modern look and feel
  • Offers more options to choose from
  • Easier to clean the bowl



Elongated vs. Round Toilets Compared: Differences and Similarities in Essential Features

Now that you have a basic idea of a round vs. elongated bowl, let us understand how the two types differ or are common when it comes to the essential features that users look for in a toilet.




The most striking difference between elongated and round toilet is the appearance. The rounder models are easier to spot in old houses. The elongated toilets have comparatively larger bodies with an oval-shaped bowl.


However, you will find more design options in the latter because, first they are more expensive, and second that they are more preferred in modern houses due to their aesthetically pleasing designs.


The rounder models, on the other hand, have lesser design options to choose from. But, their traditional look can sometimes gel well with both old-fashioned and modern bathrooms. When it comes to an elongated vs. round toilet seat, both designs can vary in color and material used. However, both work equally well in terms of functionality.




The next difference in round vs. elongated toilet bowl is the size. The elongated toilets are at least 2 inches longer than the round toilets. Their average length is approx. 18.5 inches while that of a round toilet is 16.5 inches. While this difference may seem too small, it can make a huge difference when you try to install a toilet in a tight space.


However, this difference also is slowly disappearing as manufacturers are making round toilets that are larger than elongated toilets as well as compact elongated toilets that can fit into the space of a round toilet. Therefore, you may be able to replace one with the other as long as the rough-in measurement remains the same.




The difference in space occupied can vary exponentially in round vs. elongated bowl. However, as mentioned earlier, the round front bowls occupy lesser space and are more apt for smaller bathrooms or a kid’s bathroom. The standard diameter of a round model is 21 inches and that of an oblong bowl is 23 inches. But, with the hybrid models coming into the picture, these dimensions too can differ from model to model. If space is not the constraint, we would definitely recommend going for an elongated bowl.




The installation method of round vs. elongated bowl is pretty much the same. The first step is to fix the tank to the toilet. Then a wax ring is placed around the waste pipe and the toilet is mounted on the floor at the desired location. Once the position is set, pressure is applied to all sides to secure the toilet firmly to the ground and finally, the water supply is connected.


Though the standard steps are pretty much the same, the difference in round vs. elongated toilet bowl may arise due to individual space needs.  If installing a toilet in a small bathroom, it is easier to maneuver with a round toilet as it is smaller and lighter. The elongated toilets are usually heavier and larger and, therefore, may require an extra hand for shifting the toilet from one place to another.



Ease of Use

Users often ask is elongated toilet better than round in terms of usage? The answer to which is subjective. The elongated bowls can be uncomfortable for children or petite individuals or anyone who finds it hard to maintain balance while using the toilet. A few users also feel as if they would fall into the bowl.


On the other hand, rounder seats are less comfortable for people with wider bottoms or taller height. Hence, in the elongated vs. round seat argument, there is no clear winner as they both have their own limitations.



Flushing Power

Both round and elongated toilets come with different flushing technologies such as gravity-fed flush, pressure-assisted flush, double cyclone flushing, etc. In case the toilet harnesses the force of gravity to create a swirling action of water, the elongated bowls work slightly better than the round ones.


For other technologies, the shape of the bowl has got little to do with the flushing efficiency. Therefore, as long as you get a toilet that meets the needs of your family and comfortably fits in your bathroom, this difference between elongated and round toilet should be insignificant.



Cleaning and Maintenance

When it comes to round vs. elongated toilet bowl, the latter is easier to clean since the larger surface area facilitates easy maneuvering of the cleaning brush to reach the crevices. But, at the same time, their larger bodies require more time for scrubbing.


However, the rounder bowls are definitely trickier to clean because the brushes often fail to reach the smaller nooks and crannies. In the event of a clog, a good auger should work equally well in both types of bowls. Therefore, in such cases the shape of the bowl should have a lesser influence on the question “Which is better round or elongated toilet?”




For elongated vs. round toilet seat, the general consensus is that elongated seats are more comfortable to use for individuals with different built since they provide more seating area. The rounder bowls feel awkward and are also susceptible to mess due to smaller bowls. However, some users feel that the elongated bowls are also awkward and unbalanced at times. The larger bowls are also uncomfortable for children and for users who struggle sitting low.




There is a significant difference in round versus elongated toilets when it comes to their pricing. The round toilets are less expensive compared to the elongated bowls even if they have the same style and are manufactured by the same company. For e.g. if a round toilet with 1.28 GPF capacity costs $180, the same make with an elongated bowl will go up to $230. Taking the installation cost into consideration, which usually varies from $45 to $130, a round toilet will cost between $225 and $310 while the other will cost between $275 and $360.


If comparing elongated toilet vs. round toilet on water cost, both the models use the same amount of water. So the bowl shape will not affect your water bills.



Legal Requirements

The difference between elongated vs. round toilet seats can come in handy when you want to install a toilet for public use. The local bodies define certain norms for installation. For e.g. the majority of buildings require at least 21 inches of free space between the toilet and the front wall.


If you want to install a toilet for a physically disabled person, you must install an ADA compliant toilet that has 48 inches of free space from the front wall and should also be 2 inches taller than the standard toilets. In such a scenario, the difference in length in the round versus elongated toilet can impact your decision. However, in tighter spaces, it is always better to go with the round toilets.




For elongated toilet vs. round toilet, you will find a plethora of options for the elongated models. You will have options for different colors, tank shapes, one-piece, two-piece, water consumption, rough-ins, and so on. When it comes to round toilets, unfortunately, the choices are limited. Plus, if you are looking for a different rough-in measurement, it can be even more difficult to find a model that matches your requirement.



Elongated vs. Round Toilets: Pros and Cons

In the war between round vs. elongated toilet bowl, the clear winner will the one that suits your pocket, fits in your bathroom, and is comfortable to use for all family members. Despite both being excellent in their own terms, they do have their sets of merits and demerits. Let’s do a quick recap of the pros and cons of elongated toilet vs. round toilet.



Toilets With Elongated Bowls

In terms of size, the elongated toilets sport a larger bowl which is generally 18.5 inches in length. However, the exact size of the elongated vs. round toilet seat may differ from model to model and brand to brand. Nonetheless, the elongated toilets, as already mentioned, are much more comfortable to use for adults with different body types. Plus, their large surface areas also improve the water pressure in gravity-fed toilets to give you more efficient flushes. Let’s take a quick look at the common pros and cons of an elongated toilet.

The main pros and cons of a round bowl toilet are:


  • Offers more sitting space on comparing elongated vs. round toilet seat
  • Easier to clean
  • In the competition of round vs. elongated toilet bowl, the latter helps boost the power of the flush
  • More comfortable to use for adults and individuals with larger bodies
  • Offers a stylish and contemporary look
  • While comparing round vs. elongated bowls, the latter comes in a variety of options
  • Not ideal for bathrooms with smaller dimensions
  • More expensive
  • Not very comfortable for kids


Toilets With Round Bowls

Talking of round vs. elongated bowl, toilets with a round bowl feature a smaller bowl that usually measures 16.5 inches in length. For those who are unsure, this length is measured from the post holes to the edge of the toilet bowl. While this is a standard measurement, you may even find smaller models from different manufacturers. These toilets make the ideal match for powder rooms or smaller bathrooms. Also, if you have kids in the family, you might want to consider having a round bowl toilet. The main pros and cons of a round bowl toilet are:


  • Fits well in smaller bathrooms to give more legroom
  • Better for people with disabilities or limited mobility
  • More comfortable and accessible for kids
  • Occupies lesser space
  • More affordable if you compare round vs. elongated toilet bowls
  • Can be a little difficult to clean
  • Not very comfortable for adults or taller people
  • While equating elongated toilet vs. round toilet, the latter looks odd in a large bathroom
  • Has a traditional design that may not complement modern bathrooms


Frequently Asked Questions

How to check if my toilet is round or elongated?

The difference between elongated and round toilets can be understood by measuring the bowl size. To know whether your toilet is a round toilet or an elongated toilet, take a measuring tape and measure the length of the bowl from the seat mounting holes to the front edge of the bowl. If the length is roughly around 18.5 inches, it is an elongated bowl. If the length measures close to 16.5 inches, then you have a round bowl toilet.



Can I install an elongated toilet seat on a round bowl toilet?

Though an elongated toilet seat will fix on a round bowl toilet, it may not be very comfortable to sit and may even slide off. Since the toilet seat is usually made of plastic, the overhanging part will also become prone to breakage if used by a heavier person. Plus, the rim of the bowl may be visible under the seat, which is not only unsightly, but it can also be uncomfortable for the male users. If you do not have an option of selecting an elongated toilet vs. round toilet and want to fix an elongated seat over a round bowl, it is best to measure the toilet seat opening first to check if the seat will overhang or not.



Can I fix a round toilet seat on an elongated toilet bowl?

Technically, yes you can install a round toilet seat over an elongated bowl. However, it is not recommended since the round shape will not completely cover the toilet leaving the rim of the bowl exposed from the front and sides. Though the competition between elongated vs. round toilet seat has got little to do with the comfort of using the toilet, for look-conscious users, it certainly affects the aesthetics of the toilet and the bathroom in general.



Why should I buy an elongated toilet bowl?

Many users often ask is elongated toilet better than round? Since their oval-shaped design is 2 inches longer than the round toilets, they are more in sync with the human anatomy and therefore offer a larger surface to sit comfortably. Plus, they provide more legroom for taller individuals. They are easier to maintain and can also bolster the flushing power of certain flushing mechanisms. So, if these are the features you’re looking for – elongated toilets are just the right type for you.



Can I replace my round toilet with an elongated toilet?

Yes, an elongated toilet can be installed in the place of a round toilet as long as there is enough space in your bathroom to accommodate its larger body. Plus, the rough-in measurement of both the toilets should be the same. In case you want an elongated toilet but have limited space, manufacturers also offer compact elongated toilet to kill the competition of round versus elongated toilets. These models can fit into smaller dimensions and yet provide the same comfort as an elongated bowl.




This brings us to the end of our elongated vs. round toilets debate. We are sure that after reading the entire comparison of round versus elongated toilets, you would have arrived at a decision. It is difficult to give a verdict since the answer for “which is better round or elongated toilet?” is highly subjective.


However, if you still ask us “Is elongated toilet better than round?” our answer would be “It depends.” While there is no significant difference in the functioning of these two models, what gives the elongated bowl an edge over the other is the added comfort and the looks. But again, the choice entirely depends on individual requirements such as bathroom dimensions, budget, age of users in the family, etc.