Round vs. Elongated Toilet Comparison

Toilets are integral to any bathroom design. There are many design choices to fit any bathroom size, aesthetic preferences, and needs. Among many others, one choice you will need to make is whether to choose an elongated toilet or a round toilet.  

Both toilet shapes function similarly, but they are different sizes, so not every bathroom can accommodate both. Choosing the wrong shape could mean the toilet doesn’t fit or work in your space.  

Is one toilet shape better than the other? Does one look better? Let’s outline the main differences between elongated vs. round toilets to help you make an informed decision.

Elongated toilet next to round toilet
Round (left) vs Elongated toilet (right)

Advantages and Disadvantages

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Pros and Cons of Round Toilets

  • Fits in small spaces easily.
  • These models are often cheaper than their elongated versions.
  • Usually more comfortable for children, women and people with mobility issues.
  • Less forceful flushing on pressure-assisted flush models.
  • Can be harder to clean, especially in small spaces.

Pros and Cons of Elongated Toilets

  • Generally more comfortable for men and larger individuals.
  • Usually easier to clean.
  • Elongated models usually have more options available (color, trapway design, etc).
  • Associated with more contemporary, modern design.
  • Usually more expensive than round models.
  • Isn’t always practical for smaller bathrooms.

Styles

With some exceptions, most manufacturers make toilet styles in both elongated and round bowl shapes. This change in bowl shape generally impact on other style portions of the toilet, like lid detailing, one-piece vs. two-piece designs, or skirted bottoms and edge details.

The main difference in the appearance of these two toilets is the shape. Round toilet bowls are circular in shape and don’t extend as far into the room.

Elongated toilet bowls are oval in shape and extend several inches further into the room. As bathrooms become larger, the elongated toilet bowl has become more common, as it has a slightly more contemporary look. Round toilets are associated with smaller and older bathrooms.

The average elongated toilet bowl is about 18.5 inches long, while the average round toilet bowl is about 16.5 inches.

Ease of use

No matter who is in your household, round and elongated toilets are used the same. Some people claim that the elongated bowl shape is more comfortable, but the comfort level depends on the toilet’s height. It is potentially less messy for children or people with mobility struggles, as there is a wider area in the toilet bowl itself.

Space

The measurements of a toilet will differ according to the manufacturer. Most of the time, elongated toilets are about two inches longer in front than round toilets. Many toilet manufacturers offer a third bowl size that falls between the two.

Most building codes require that a toilet has at least 21 inches in front of it to pass inspection. Some municipalities may require more room, while others require as much as 48 inches. A round toilet bowl could mean the difference between passing and failing your building code inspection if you have a smaller bathroom, so round toilets are usually best in small spaces.

Installation

The installation of a round or elongated toilet bowl is exactly the same as long as the rough-in is the same. Toilets can come in one-piece or two-piece designs. Two-piece toilets will have a separate bowl and tank that need bolting together before installation.

A wax ring is positioned on top of the waste pipe on the floor, which the toilet is lifted onto. Then the toilet is pushed down and bolted into place. After it’s secured, the water line is connected to the toilet.

Since elongated toilets are bigger, they can be more arduous to lift into place, but installation is the only difference. Depending on the exact model, it can be a significant difference. Elongated toilets can be significantly heavier than their round counterparts, so having a plumber install an elongated version may be more expensive.

Cost

Round toilets are often less expensive than elongated toilets of the same brand and style. A classic-styled two-piece, round, 1.28-gallon flush toilet is about $180 to $200, whereas the same toilet with an elongated bowl is about $230.

If a plumber is installing your toilet, the installation cost can range from $45 to $130, depending on whether there is pipework involved. With this in mind, the total cost of a round front toilet is between $225 and $310, whereas an elongated toilet costs between $275 and $360.

There are no-cost differences between the two with regard to water usage. Both styles of toilets use the same amount of water.

Maintenance

It is quicker to clean an elongated toilet bowl than a round toilet bowl. The oval shape has less of a crevice underneath the toilet bowl, making it easier to scrub off with a toilet brush. The long shape also makes it easier to see the interior front of the bowl, which helps you to clean more efficiently.

Flush technology

Recent moves towards water conservation have resulted in many different varieties of flush technology. If you choose a flush that circles the toilet bowl water by force, elongated toilets provide better pressure than round ones. Non-pressure assisted flushes will have no difference among toilet shapes. Overall, you’re unlikely to notice any difference in flushing performance between elongated and round toilets.

Compact Elongated Toilets

When shopping for toilets, there are more options to choose from for elongated bowls than round ones. The selection for round bowls is fewer, so it might be a little harder to find one you like. 

For example, a compact elongated toilet is one that takes up the same amount of space as a round toilet but still has an oval-shaped bowl. If you have a small bathroom but don’t want a round toilet, this is an option for you.  Round toilets can usually be replaced with compact elongated toilets as long the rough-in design matches.

Several manufacturers offer compact elongated toilets, including Kohler, Saniflo, and Toto. If you prefer the comfort of an elongated toilet but don’t have the room, this shape and design offer the bowl space and support without the extra-long front.

Measuring a Toilet 

You can usually tell whether a toilet is elongated or round by looking at it. However, before purchasing, it’s a good idea to double-check.

There are three important measurements on a toilet. They are the length, width, and bolt spread.  The length is the most important, as it will determine whether the toilet fits in your bathroom. Bolt spread is the measurement between the mounting holes for the seat located directly on the bowl, and toilets in North America have a standard measurement of 5.5 inches.

The width measurement tells you the width of the toilet bowl, not the overall toilet width.  It should be measured from the middle of the bowl, so you have the most precise measurement possible. If you’re buying a toilet in North America, both elongated and round toilets have width measurements of 14 to 15 inches. European countries have different toilet measurements, sizes, and standards.

The toilet bowl’s length is measured from the center of the toilet seat to the front of the toilet bowl. The center of the toilet will be the longest part. Ideally, you should measure it with the toilet seat removed.

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