How To Measure A Toilet Seat: 3 Steps To Find The Perfect Replacement

Over the course of its lifespan, your toilet will suffer a fair degree of wear and tear. We use our toilets every day and it’s the toilet seat that bears the brunt of wear and tear. When you notice that your toilet seat is becoming a wiggly or chipped eyesore, it’s time to get a sturdy replacement. But since toilet seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes, that last bit is easier said than done.

One of the most important factors to consider when buying a toilet seat is the size. Keep in mind that toilet seats do not come in standard sizes. It’s common for people to buy a toilet seat only to find that it doesn’t fit when it’s time to mount it hence forcing you to return it. So, what can you do to avoid this frustrating situation? Ensure that you take some measurements before heading off to your local hardware store.

Measuring Your Toilet Seat

Modern toilets come in a variety of designs. These include wall hung models, back to wall, and close coupled designs where the pan is fixed close to the cistern. Different toilet designs can have significant variations in size and shape. That’s why you need to get the correct measurements before buying a replacement toilet seat. Here’s a simple guide on how to measure a toilet seat and do it right.


Measure the Bolt Spread

Toilet seats picture

Start the process of taking toilet measurements at the back of the seat area. Measure from post hole to post hole. Here, you are measuring the length between the centers of the mounting bolts or the bolt spread. If you have not lifted the flaps and they are covering the bolts, use a flathead screwdriver or your hands to pry them up.


In the United States, the standard measurement between the holes is 5.5 inches. Some models have bolt spread of 7-10 inches — these are quite a few, though. You may need to order a seat directly from the manufacturer if your toilet doesn’t have standard dimensions. The standard bolt spread in Europe and other parts of the world is approximately 6-6.5 inches.

Measure the Length from the Bolts to the Front

Person measuring toilet seat

Holding one end of the measuring tape to the bolts that secure the toilet seat to the bowl at the back of the toilet, measure the length to the center front of the toilet bowl. Measure the length from the center of each side. Hold the measuring tape in line with the centers of the bolts for an accurate measurement. If need be, pry up the plastic covers you’re measuring with your fingers or a flathead screwdriver to see the bolts properly.

Measure the Width

To get the best fit for your replacement seat, make sure that you take the correct width measurements.[1] Hold one end of the measuring tape at the center of the right side of the seat and draw the tape to the left side of the seat. Also, get the measurements of the length between the outer edges of the sides of the toilet seat. Remember to keep the tape centered as you do that.

Measure from the centers of the sides. Measuring the width of the toilet seat is very important when it comes to finding a replacement for your toilet seat. That’s because there are slight variations in dimensions even when dealing with standardized sizes. In such a case, taking width measurements will help you find the closest match.

Round Vs Elongated Toilet Bowls

Toilet bowls picture

The measurement of the length between the center of the toilet bowl and the center of the hinges between the post holes depends on the shape of the toilet. The most common toilet bowl shapes in the United States are round and elongated. Deluxe toilets are designed with an elongated bowl while older or basic toilets are round. Take measurements between the two mounting bolts (just at the seat hinge) all the way to the tip of the bowl.

In an elongated toilet bowl, the length from the mounting bolts to the front center of the bowls is 18.5 inches. If the bowl is round, this measurement will be around 16.5 inches. Elongated bowls are the most common and comfortable design. Round bowls are mostly found in smaller bathrooms. Take note of the toilet design when shopping for a toilet seat. The difference in length is only two inches but that can make a world of a difference when it comes to mounting a toilet seat.

Record Your Measurements

Once you have taken all the necessary dimensions, record the measurements. Recording the measurements makes the process of replacing your toilet seat easier. All you need to do is hand over the measurements to the store owner and he/she will help you find the right toilet seat.

Choosing a Comfortable & Fitting Toilet Seat

The toilet seat is a very important aspect of your toilet set up. Replacing an old, worn out toilet seat is a process. Getting the measurements correct is just the first step. Now that you have all the measurements you need to get the perfect replacement toilet seat; the next step is choosing the right type of toilet seat for you. There are many factors to consider when choosing a toilet seat and one of them is comfort.

Uncomfortable toilet seats can cause bruises or rashes resulting in a very unpleasant experience in the bathroom. An ill-fitting toilet seat will definitely be uncomfortable. The material also affects comfort. When it comes to the material, the market is full of toilet seats that are soft as a pillow yet as durable as ceramic. You’ll also find toilet seats made of wood and other hard materials but equally comfortable.

Whether a toilet seat is made of wood, plastic, or memory foam, the final decision really depends on personal preferences. Some people find soft toilet seats more comfortable while others prefer wood as far as comfort goes. Whatever material you prefer, just make sure that you have the correct measurements to help you pick the perfect fit for your toilet seat replacement. 

Check out our buying guide and find out the most comfortable toilet seats to buy today.

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