Round Vs. Elongated Toilet Bowls: Which One Is Better?

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

Toilets are a crucial component of the design of your bathroom. Depending on your needs, aesthetic desires, and bathroom size, you have many choices to make regarding the toilet that you select. One of these choices has to do with the shape of the toilet bowl. Believe it or not, not all toilets are made equal and some are longer than others.

When it comes to toilet bowl sizes, there are two basic forms: a round bowl or an elongated bowl. Both types function nearly the same, but have distinct sizing that may or may not fit the space you have or cause it to work somewhat differently. In most cases, people find elongated toilets more comfortable than round toilets. Though, a round toilet is the ideal choice for smaller bathrooms as it takes up less space.

With that said, we’ve compiled the differences between round and elongated toilets, including the dissimilarities based on appearance, functionality, space, installation, maintenance, costs, and more. Continue reading for our comprehensive guide on round vs. elongated toilets so you can make an informed decision about which type is best suited for your bathroom space.

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Round Toilets

Traditionally, toilets found in the home were round in shape. Though the elongated variety has gained popularity in recent years, round toilets are still installed – especially in smaller bathrooms where the dimensions are slightly smaller than normal. As such, the round bowl design helps conserve space in a tight room.

Pros of Round Toilets

  • Traditional design
  • Ideal for small bathrooms
  • Less expensive than elongated toilets
  • Comfortable for children

Cons of Round Toilets

  • May be more difficult to use
  • Slightly more challenging to clean
  • Less powerful flush
  • Often less comfortable for adults
  • Fewer options available
  • Out-dated design

Elongated Toilets

Elongated toilets, on the other hand, have a longer, more oval shape. They are typically preferred over their round counterparts for those who want a more modern design and additional comfort.

Pros of Elongated Toilets

  • Usually easier to use
  • More convenient to clean
  • Some models have a more powerful flush
  • May be considered a more modern design
  • More comfortable
  • More options to choose from

Cons of Elongated Toilets

  • More expensive
  • May not be suitable for small bathrooms
  • Less comfortable and convenient to use for children

Round vs. Elongated

While round toilets are the more traditional design, elongated bowls have gained popularity for their modern look and comfortability. The key difference between a round toilet and an elongated toilet is the length of the bowl itself. As the name suggests, round toilets bowls are circular in shape and elongated toilet bowls are oval. Elongated bowls have a length that is approximately 18.5 inches, while round toilet bowls are about 16.5 inches long. Let’s explore the differences between round and elongated toilets in further detail below.


Most toilet manufacturers produce their most popular toilet styles in both a round and elongated bowl option. It’s important to note that the shape of the bowl doesn’t influence any of the stylish components of the toilet, including the detailing on the lid, detailing around the edges, whether it has a skirted base, and whether it’s a one-piece or two-piece design.

The only difference between round and elongated toilets, in terms of appearance, is the shape of the bowl. A round toilet has a shape that is closer to an actual circle, meaning it extends less into the room. An elongated bowl, on the other hand, is oval in shape and extends out several more inches into the bathroom. With larger, more modern bathrooms, elongated toilets are more common, which can give off a contemporary appeal. Whereas, round bowls are typically associated with older, and smaller bathrooms.


The exact dimensions of a round or elongated toilet will vary based on the manufacturer. Generally speaking, an elongated bowl is usually two inches longer in the front than a round toilet. Round bowls are usually around 16.5 inches long, while an elongated model from the same manufacturer will be roughly 18.5 inches long. However, some toilet manufacturers make a third bowl design that is between these two sizes.

Toilet Bowl ShapeAverage Length
Round Bowl16.5 inches
Elongated Bowl18.5 inches

In order for the toilet to pass most building codes, it needs about 21 inches of space in front of it. Though, this may vary based on where you live, and ADA-compliant bathrooms require 48 inches. For smaller bathrooms, you can see how the mere two inches of difference between an elongated bowl and a round bowl could mean failing or passing local building code.


Both round and elongated toilets are installed in the same manner. If your particular model has a separate tank and bowl, these are joined together first. A wax ring is placed around the waste pipe, followed by the toilet being lifted into position at a slight angle. After the toilet is lifted into place, pressure is applied on all sides before finally bolting the toilet to the floor and hooking up the water.

Elongated toilets tend to be slightly more challenging to lift and move than round toilets, but this usually has little impact on the installation as a whole.

Ease of Use

Whether it’s by a man, woman, or child, both round and elongated toilets are used the same. Though, the longer, larger shape of elongated toilet bowls is often more comfortable to sit on. Not to mention, it’s usually easier for men and children to use with less mess. Elongated toilets also have a wider surface area, which assists those with mobility issues as they are getting on and off.

Cleaning & Maintenance

In most cases, elongated toilet bowls are slightly easier to clean than their round bowl counterparts. The elongated shape from some manufacturers features less of a crevice around the underside of the bowl, which allows for easier access for a cleaning brush than with a round bowl.

Its longer shape also makes visibility into the front interior of the bowl much more convenient, which can help you get a better clean. Clean your toilet bowl if there is mold below the water line.

Flush Power

There are a number of different flush technologies out there – from double-cyclone flushing systems to pressure-assisted. In most cases, elongated toilets have more efficient flushing systems, particularly if they use a flush that circulates water in the bowl using force. This usually provides slightly better pressure for a more powerful and more efficient flush.

Though, if the elongated toilet has a different type of flush technology, there is no difference in terms of flush power between it and its round counterpart. So long as you use the toilet that is most suited for your bathroom’s size, you’ll likely see minimal difference regarding performance.

Check this out if the water level in your toilet bowl keeps dropping.


Oftentimes, round toilet bowls are less expensive than elongated toilets from the same manufacturer and in the same style. For instance, you can expect to spend around $180 for a two-piece, 1.28 gallon flush toilet with classic styling, and a round bowl. For the same style toilet, just with an elongated bowl instead, you’ll spend around $230.

The installation costs for either an elongated or round toilet typically costs between $45 and $130, depending on the location of the toilet and the condition of your pipes. With that said, a round toilet costs between $225 and $310, including installation, and an elongated toilet of the same brand and design costs between $275 and $360 on average.

Toilet Bowl TypeAverage Cost (Including Installation)
Round Toilet$225 to $310
Elongated Toilet$275 to $360

When it comes to usage, both elongated toilets and round toilets will use the same amount of water. So, opting for one type over the other won’t save you any money on your water bills.

The Ideal Fit

There are countless toilets on the market to choose from that it makes it difficult to determine which one is the best fit. Fortunately, analyzing the rough-in distance, or the distanced between the finished wall and the center of the sewer drain for the toilet, is a good starting point. Twelve inches is the standard for rough-in distance, and the widest toilets are available in this size.

On the other hand, if a bathroom remodel uses an existing rough-in that is a different size, like 10 or 14 inches, your options will be more limited.

Generally speaking, most find that elongated toilet bowls are more comfortable, though, for small bathrooms, round bowls are space savers. Elongated toilet bowls typically measure 31 inches from the wall, while round bowls max out at 28 inches. Since round toilets are slightly less expensive than their elongated counterparts, you can save a couple of bucks as well.

How to Measure a Toilet

Although you may be able to easily tell whether your toilet is round or elongated by simply looking at it, measuring it will confirm. This also comes in handy when you need to replace a toilet seat, as it can ensure that you select the proper size. Toilet bowls have three crucial measurements that you should be aware of: the length, the width, and the bolt spread.

The bolt spread refers to the distance between the two toilet seat mounting holes located on the bowl. This measurement is a standard 5.5 inches in the United States. The toilet bowl width describes the total thickness of the bowl. To get the most accurate measurement, it’s important that you measure from the middle of the bowl. Both round and elongated toilets usually have a width between 14 and 15 inches.

The length of the toilet bowl is the distance between the center of the two mounting holes to the front of the bowl. Before you measure the length, the toilet seat has to be removed so you can access the mounting holes. Then, take a tape measure and place the end of it in the center of the mounting holes, extending it out to the front. Try to keep the tape as centered as possible.

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Related Questions

Can you install a round toilet seat on an elongated toilet?

While you can install a round seat on an elongated toilet, it is not recommended. The round seat will not provide full coverage, leaving the rim exposed.

Can you install an elongated toilet seat on a round toilet?

While an elongated toilet seat will technically fit a round toilet, both the fit and comfort of the toilet will be compromised. The elongated seat will overhang the round toilet and could lead to a very unappealing display.

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Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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