Round vs. Elongated Bowls (Explained)

If you look closely, you’ll notice there are two types of toilet bowl types: round and elongated. Though this may seem like a random design choice, the type of toilet bowl you have can greatly affect your comfort level and user experience.

Your toilet bowl decision also affects the individuals in your household that may need ADA-compliant features in the bathroom. Comfort is the most important aspect that buyers look for in a toilet, alongside the price. Why not take the extra step and look into models that are truly comfortable and accessible for all?

To learn more about the core differences between round and elongated toilets, see our guide below.

Round vs. Elongated Bowl Differences Explained

The Design

The size of your bathroom will help you decide which type of toilet to buy. If your bathroom is small, then a round model may be the best choice because it takes up less space than an elongated bowl would.

Elongated toilet bowls take up the same amount of floor space as round toilet bowls, but they are longer. Think of them as oval-shaped, compared to their more circle-based counterparts. Their length tends to be more than two inches longer than their widest point horizontally. Though specific measurements will vary, round-shaped toilets will have less of a drastic difference between their widest horizontal and vertical lengths.

Elderly individuals who have trouble sitting and standing up will benefit from an elongated toilet seat because of the added stability. Smaller children will have an easier time with a round toilet.

The elongated toilet is available in a range of sizes, including compact models that will fit into smaller bathrooms.

Size and Comfort

Girl browsing on phone while sitting on toilet

Round toilets come with a smaller bowl and seat compared to their elongated counterparts, making them ideal for small bathrooms or those with limited space.

As the opening of an elongated toilet is wider than that of a round one, larger people can use them with ease. The elongated nature of the bowl disperses the user’s body weight, making them a great choice for those with mobility issues as well.

The elongated bowl also makes the toilet easier to clean, since there are fewer places in the bowl where dirt can get trapped. However, both types of toilets have models with skirted trapways, which also cuts down time on cleaning and maintenance. Without a crevice for dust to settle, the only thing the trapway needs is a gentle wipe down once in a while.

Price Tag

In general, the price of a round toilet is lower because it requires less material to manufacture than an elongated one. This means that the labor cost will be lower as well. Both bowl types use the same amount of water resulting in the same annual water bills.

Square Toilets

Yup, you read that right. Although less common, square toilets are also a design option when it comes to modern toilet bowls. Don’t worry – we were confused too. But after a few test tries, we have the information you need regarding this avant-garde bowl shape.


Square toilets have a futuristic feel to them, due to their clean lines and angular structure. Naturally, their toilet bowls take up a bit more room than their elongated and round counterparts. However, if you have the space, a square toilet can be a fun addition to your bathroom. They are solid, durable units that can become a staple piece in any space they occupy.

Installation may be a bit more difficult for square toilets due to their weight. Users have reported they opted in for professional help to avoid any complications down the road.

Square toilets don’t require any additional maintenance or cleaning techniques. In fact, most square toilets have a completely solid base due to their structural support needs. Similar to a skirted trapway, this means dust and grime don’t have any place to hide. Every once in a while, just use some mild soap and water, with a gentle wash cloth and you’re done – quick and easy, with no headache.

Size and Comfort

Surprisingly, square-shaped toilets are very comfortable! This is because the square toilet bowl provides extra support for your entire body by evenly dispersing your weight.

The large size of the toilet also reduces the chance of your body hanging off the sides while sitting. There are multiple square toilets on the market that are also ADA-compliant, meaning you don’t have to sacrifice accessibility for a funky and fresh design.

Price Tag

Square toilets tend to be slightly more expensive than round or elongated toilets. They are also less prevalent on the market so finding one that meets all your personal preferences and requirements may be a bit difficult.

Final Thoughts

Deciding whether a round or elongated – or maybe even square – toilet bowl best suits your needs comes down to personal preference and bathroom space. For compact spaces, round toilets are a better fit but keep in mind that elongated toilet bowls tend to be more accessible for different kinds of users.

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, consider a square-shaped toilet as well. Though unconventional, you might find that these models are more comfortable for you. Preferences are dependent on your personal experiences. When you get a chance, try sitting on a variety of models in a bathroom-fixture store. Only by testing out the difference can you truly know what works for you.