Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Toilet Seat

A short guide to help you find a toilet seat that’s comfortable and practical.

Your toilet seat is something you hardly have to, or want to, think about—until it fails. Then it becomes anything from a minor inconvenience to a major household crisis. You need to replace it pronto, because it’s an essential household item. But which one to get?

While we can’t tell you which toilet seat is the best for you, we can help you make an informed decision about the best seat to get based on your preferences. Then you can get the right toilet seat, install it (most new seats attach easily), and happily put it all behind you.

That said, before you order your new toilet seat, check the old seat to see if your existing toilet is either round or elongated. Round seats measure about 16½ inches from front edge to back edge, while elongated seats are about 18½ inches.

Chip- and Scratch-Resistant

This budget-friendly option is made in the USA. Bemis

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If you simply want to replace the one that broke, you can do so without spending a fortune. But be sure to get a seat that’s solid enough so that it won’t sag. Also get one with a lid that’s solid enough for you to sit down on it—something that many of us take for granted, because besides the toilet, most bathrooms don’t have any other place to comfortably sit.

Holds Up to 400 Pounds

This choice lowers quietly and is simple to remove and put back on, making cleaning easy. Bath Royale

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Fortunately, such seats are more common than they once were (although there is a downside. Now the rifle-shot-like cracks of people slamming down non-slow-close toilet seats echo across the U.S., caused by people who are have slow-close toilet seats at home, and are used to them, so they unthinkingly let non-slow-close toilet seats free-fall onto porcelain toilet basins at their friends’ homes, making people jump, dogs bark, and babies cry). Get one that’s comfortable, because many slow-close seats are lightweight (making them easier to let down slowly) and may feel uncomfortably flimsy.

Multiple Sizes Available

The porcelain throne topper comes in both elongated and round shapes, as well as slow-close and regular option. Delta Faucet

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You can’t take any more of this pain and misery and want a toilet seat that won’t ever break again. Toilet seats break at the pressure points—the hinges, of course, but also the bumpers, those projections on the bottom of the seat that contacts the porcelain rim. Those can break off after years of use and pressure. Wooden seats can also chip after time, or even crack. Invest in a solid seat that comes with a warrantee.