Mistakes Everyone Makes When Buying Toilet Seats

Let's face it, our toilet seats see a lot of use every day. It's safe to say the toilet seat is an item in our home we often take for granted. It's just always there. However, eventually, they wear out. According to Residence Style, toilet seats last an average of five years. That's not a super long time, but it makes sense. Imagine how many times those seats are opened and closed, slammed, and sat on each day. That's a lot of use.

If you find yourself needing a new toilet seat, it may seem like a simple enough fix: Just order another one, right? Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Toilet seats come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, materials, and other options. 

There are several mistakes everyone makes when buying toilet seats. Let's look at what those are before you head out or hop online to grab your newest seat for your toilet

Tough to find replacement parts

That new, high-tech toilet seat looks fun and promises to make your restroom experience top-notch. However, if it should ever need repairing, you won't find the parts you need at your local hardware store. 

According to The Wall Street Journal, our bathrooms are an area of our lives where technology hasn't taken over. However, it's slowly creeping in. Toilet seats have plenty more options than they did just ten years ago. Those fun new high-tech ideas are tempting as you consider your new toilet seat. Night lights, warmth, fancy bidets, and automatic flushers could make your toilet much more exciting than your neighbors' (if toilet seat comparison conversations happen to come up while chatting across the fence, that is). The thing is, eventually, when it's time for a repair, you'll most likely need to order specialty parts for your fancy new toilet seat. Most things come standard on many seats and are easy to pick up at the home improvement store. If you choose a seat that has an unusual shape or other bells and whistles, don't count on it being at your favorite store. 

The lid slams shut

With advancements in soft-close toilet seat lids, this one is a no-brainer. Don't forget to look for seats that have lids you can literally smack, and they'll still reply with a soft, gentle, close. Parents especially have all heard the loud crash from the bathroom only to expect a broken toilet seat and possibly smashed fingers. 

According to Vinguy, there's no reason not to get a soft-close toilet seat. They have several advantages, including some we may not think of, such as back relief from bending over less, comfort, easier cleaning, less damage, longer life for the toilet, and of course, beautiful silence. 

Don't make the common mistake of sticking with what you know when choosing a new toilet seat. Advances in some areas, like the soft-close seat, are truly worth it. The great thing is, soft-close seats have become commonplace and they're easy to find, as well as their parts for repairs. 

Choosing a colored toilet seat

Hello, 1970s... avocado green anyone? Color is fabulous on walls, furniture, your car, and even your clothing. But the toilet seat? If you love the challenge of upgrading every few years and shocking others with your rare toilet, then go for it. For the rest of us, white will stand the test of time. 

Did you know toilet seats are often white not because toilet manufacturers think we should have no fun, but because white serves a purpose? A few purposes actually. According to Little Upgrades, toilet seats are white because, in addition to being made of porcelain, which is naturally white, white represents cleanliness. It's also easier to see when the seat needs to be cleaned. In addition, white toilets are less expensive, and white adds a modern touch to a bathroom. 

Color can be fun in many areas of our lives, but when it comes to a toilet seat, it turns out, white simply makes sense.

Spending too little

There are plenty of fun things in this world where we prefer to spend our money, but toilet seats aren't one of them. Still, show your toilet some love and don't go too cheap. One of the mistakes people make when buying toiler seats is thinking it's just in the bathroom behind closed doors, so why spend money on it? The thing is, you do usually get what you pay for. That doesn't mean you need to take out a loan for a gold toilet seat, but maybe look toward the middle of the road rather than the cheapest you can find. 

According to Sushi House NMB, we should stick with a budget and also compare toilet seat companies to find the best price. Quality doesn't have to be expensive. Shapes, colors, and necessary or unnecessary features all affect the price. Do a little research and decide what new technologies in toilet seats you need or don't need. 

No room for the reservoir tank

Reservoir tanks are a concern if you've chosen a bidet seat to replace your standard seat. The new seat might fit great, but if you didn't measure for the necessary reservoir tank, you're out of luck. You also need to be certain you have a two-piece toilet rather than one piece. You can't replace just the tank on a one-piece toilet, although some bidets can still work with it. The reservoir tank for a bidet seat stores the water and keeps it heated to the temperature desired and set by the user. 

Bidets are becoming wildly popular, and for good reason. Like composting toilets, they are eco-friendly, helping homeowners to create less waste from toilet paper. They also offer a cleaner result after using the toilet. So, if you want a bidet, it's definitely a good choice. Just make sure your bathroom is prepared for it. According to Many Bidets, there are three steps to follow when evaluating your current toilet to determine if it's ready for a bidet seat. They are as follows: Is your toilet elongated or round? Does it have a French curve? Will you need additional hardware to install a bidet and its reservoir tank? Get to know your toilet before running out and switching to a bidet seat. 

The toilet seat is too far from an electrical outlet

Again, if choosing a bidet seat, you'll also be unprepared if you haven't looked for the right electrical outlet in your bathroom. A bidet seat needs an outlet to work. It takes power to warm the water that is used for refreshing and cleaning your bum. According to Bidet King, bidet toilet seats need a three-prong GFCI, protected and grounded outlet that's at least 15 amps in order to function safely and properly. In other words, if there isn't one of these outlets near your toilet, you'll need an extension cord running in your bathroom. Not very attractive or safe.

If you can't live without the bidet, call your trusted electrician to see if they can add an outlet where you need it in the bathroom. Electrical issues aren't something to tackle on your own as a homeowner unless, of course, you're a licensed electrician. Changing a light bulb is one thing. Adding additional power with an outlet is another. 

The wrong shape

As mentioned earlier, we take our toilet seats for granted even though we use them constantly. Certainly, plenty of shoppers have stood in the toilet seat aisle at their home improvement store, only to find themselves scratching their heads wondering, do I need oval or round? According to Toiletseek, toilets come in five common shapes: elongated, round, U-shaped, D-shaped, and square. There's always the odd duck toilet, offering a unique size or shape, but for the most part, those five are the most common. 

A mistake shoppers often make when buying toilet seats is seeing a shape that catches their eye, only to find out it doesn't fit with the rest of the bathroom when they get it home. The new shape and dimensions might not slide into the old spot correctly. It also may have looked really cool in the store but looks terribly out of place once you get it home. A fresh, shiny, modern-looking toilet is inviting at the home improvement store, but maybe not the best option for your rustic farm-themed bathroom

Choosing the wrong material

No matter what, your toilet seat will get the job done, even if it isn't the right material. However, it's best to understand each material so you can choose the best one for your lifestyle. That seat is cleaned regularly, used often, and let's admit it, for many of us, it's the only place we can get some reading done. Choose your toilet seat wisely so you don't regret it on those days you're visiting it often.

There are many materials for a toilet seat other than porcelain. According to ToiletSeats, other popular materials are enameled wood, plastic, veneer, and soft, cushioned seats. Each offers its own benefits. As a homeowner, consider what matters most to you. A soft seat probably feels great, but does it clean up well and resist stains? Wood is warm-looking and inviting, but does it suit your decor? Toilet seat material is a personal choice. Make a list of needs in a seat and go from there.  

Tough to clean

You have enough things to take care of in your life. The toilet seat shouldn't take up too much of your time. Don't make the mistake of buying a toilet seat that looks great but adds extra hours to your week for cleaning. According to Home Depot, we need to clean our toilets once a week with a disinfectant solution that kills viruses and bacteria. Weekly cleaning of a toilet that doesn't cooperate will get old quickly, possibly causing you to clean it less often. 

Consider the parts that attach the seat to the commode when you purchase a new one. Can the seat be easily removed when you want to do a deep, thorough toilet cleaning? That gross gunk hiding under there needs to be cleaned out now and then. How about the material? Does it wipe up nicely and dry quickly after being cleaned? It should also look fairly shiny and new after cleaning. 

You'll need to install it

Obviously, the toilet seat needs to come out of the box and be installed on the toilet. One of the mistakes people make when buying toilet seats is forgetting they'll need to install them when they get home. Choose wisely so installation isn't a headache. Thankfully, according to Bob Vila, today's toilet seat is often easy to install, and removing the old one is the hardest part. Old seats have old bolts that have been sitting there for years and are possibly full of yucky stuff. Do a thorough cleaning before and after removing the old one. 

When shopping for your new toilet seat, pay attention to installation instructions. The easier the better, unless you're having a professional install it. Read reviews online about ease of installation or when at the store, talk to a knowledgeable person working in the toilet seat area. For the most part, toilet seat installation is a simple home improvement project, even for beginners. 

A toilet seat doesn't have to be cold

Wouldn't it be great to not cringe as you sit down on the freezing cold toilet seat in the middle of the night? Pay attention to the many new options toilet seats have to offer so you don't make the mistake of purchasing without understanding your choices, including heated seats. Yes, heated seats! Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, it's true and those living in frigid conditions part of the year can rejoice. 

Heated seats offer more than comfort and a reason to camp out on the commode a bit longer. According to BidetGenius, heated seats are also energy-efficient, using very little power to keep your cozy little self warm in the middle of the night. The only downside to a heated toilet seat is that you'll have to eventually leave the seat and run back to bed. As far as we've come, the toilet seat does not yet offer sleeping accommodations. 

Ventilation please

Yep, your toilet seat can now add an extra touch of ventilation to your restroom. No one wants to talk about it, but let's be honest, bathroom odors are gross. Your mother may have used a deodorizing spray or a plug-in scent in the bathroom outlet, but today, we can add an extra layer of ventilation to our bathrooms with vented toilet seats. According to CNET, consumers can now purchase a toilet that uses a vent to immediately pull...shall we say...undesirable odors right from the toilet as we use it, and straight to the out of doors. Just please pay attention to where that stench goes when outside. Don't point a toilet vent right at your neighbor's house or you may suddenly have a very unhappy neighbor. 

If you choose a vented toilet seat, installation becomes a larger project than installing a standard seat. You'll need an available outlet to make the fan run, as well as a hose and exhaust fan that runs outside. 

You forgot to measure

Gone are the days of standard anything. Even our toilet seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. When it's time to replace yours, get the tape measure out, first. Here's what can happen if you forget to measure before buying: you'll have a seat that wiggles when you sit on it, a seat that cracks easily, a seat that can't be cleaned properly, or a seat that's downright uncomfortable. And of course, the obvious: If you don't measure your old toilet seat before buying a new one, you most likely won't be able to install it. That means heading back to the store. Who has time for extra trips to the store?

Measuring is easy. According to House Beautiful, there are four steps to measuring for a new toilet seat. You'll need to find the bolts that attach the seat to the toilet. Measure between those two bolts, then measure the widest part of the toilet seat. Once you have those two measurements, measure the distance from the bolts to the front of the toilet seat. These three measurements together will allow you to buy a toilet seat that will perfectly fit your toilet.

Ordering online

Who doesn't love a little late-night shopping online? It's ridiculously convenient. When it comes to a toilet seat, however, which is something you use every day, it may be best to get to a store where you can feel the seat. 

As we mentioned earlier, there are quite a few materials to choose from when it comes to a new toilet seat. Not every material is for every person. If you've had porcelain forever, you might find you can't get used to plastic, or maybe you'll find wood is the seat you've been missing out on because it's so comfy. Either way, there's no replacing feeling objects in our hands before purchasing. Sure, it's not your hands that will be on the toilet seat at home, but testing the seat in other ways in the store is frowned upon.

According to Sunrise Specialty, the average person spends 92 days on the toilet in their lifetime. That's about three months. I suppose we could say that we literally flush three months of our lives down the toilet, but that's a bit dramatic. You get the point. Shop online if you must, but understand you won't be able to feel the toilet seat material.