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Wood vs Plastic Toilet Seat

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Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seat: Which is right for you?

Did you know the average person will spend 416 days on the toilet over their lifetime [1]?

It makes sense to try to be as comfortable as possible over that period.

You’d be surprised just how much the material a toilet seat is made of contributes to your comfort. While the lion’s share of toilet seats are made out of plastic, wooden toilet seats aren’t that rare.

Wood Vs. Plastic Toilet Seat

Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll go over them in detail so you can choose the one that fits you best. If you don’t yet have a toilet – read our guide to the best toilets here first.

What to Look For

Related: Round vs elongated toilet seats

Whether you think of the toilet as a purely functional device or a valuable place for rest and relaxation, you’re probably looking for the same things in a seat.

First and foremost, you should value comfort. A toilet seat should be inviting and comfortable to use. But that may not apply if you’re looking for a basement toilet – which you can find out about here.

A diamond-studded toilet seat may sound very nice, but it would fail miserably in its intended purpose. Always place comfort above all else when choosing a toilet seat.

Other than that, there’s of course durability. Replacing your toilet seat every year is unsustainable.

Then there’s the price, style, and ease of cleaning.

There’s obviously some debate as to which of these is more important than the rest but comfort should be at the top of everyone’s list.

Comfort

How comfortable you find a toilet seat will be fairly subjective.

After all, everyone’s anatomy is different and there’s only so much that can change in a toilet seat.

However, there are a few distinctions between plastic and wood. The first is that there are far more models made of plastic than wood.

The shape is an important factor of comfort and finding the perfect shape will be easier if you choose a plastic seat. Wooden toilet seats are often significantly thicker than plastic and tend to be more pragmatically designed.

On the other hand, wooden toilet seats stay warmer. Wood retains warmth much better than plastic and if you’ve ever sat on a toilet seat in the dead of winter, you know how valuable that is.

Low-end plastic toilet seats also tend to feel more flimsy and unstable and can slip around more easily. But, there are heated plastic models that can not only stay comfortable but actually warm you up during the colder months.

Moreover, just touching a wooden surface creates a sense of relaxation [2]. And if there’s one thing that will help you while sitting on the toilet, it’s being more relaxed.

Durability

When it comes to durability, there’s not much of a contest.

Plastic beats wood hands down. But, you’ve got to ask yourself if it matters, and here’s what we mean by that.

When it comes to installation and usability, wood and plastic seats are virtually identical, but plastic seats last longer.

Chris Deziel, contractor

Sure, a plastic toilet seat will last as long as your toilet bowl does, probably. But a wooden toilet seat, properly maintained, can last decades. So, you have to consider with those time frames if it’s really much of a factor.

Since hardwood toilet seats are typically made out of four parts, there’s a chance that they separate. But that’s really only a problem for low-quality toilet seats.

If you often take long, hot showers, a wooden seat can suffer damage from the humidity. In that case, a plastic seat is more practical.

Price and Style

When it comes to price, there’s also a clear winner.

Plastic toilet seats are much more affordable, almost as a rule.

The exception would be certain specialty toilet seats. And some of those may very well be worth the extra expense [3].

When it comes to visual appeal, though, nothing beats a wooden toilet seat. If you get a wood grain for your seat that matches the rest of your bathroom, it can enhance your bathroom’s appearance.

There’s an old design mantra that wood goes with everything, and that’s certainly true of wooden toilet seats.

Wooden toilet seats are more difficult to manufacture so obviously, they’re more expensive. Some types of wood are especially expensive too. For instance, the aptly named bog oak makes for a great toilet seat but one will easily set you back hundreds of dollars.

Cleaning

With plastic toilet seats, there’s not much guesswork.

By and large, the plastic most toilet seats are made of is non-porous. You can wipe it clean with a disinfectant spray and leave it at that.

By contrast, wood is porous. It will absorb your skin’s oils, and potentially water as well, unless it’s coated. While most wooden toilet seats are coated, that coating tends to deteriorate and will need to be reapplied periodically.

The Seat Makes the Toilet

There’s no definitively best toilet seat out there that will suit everyone.

Wooden toilet seats are, generally, more elegant than plastic ones, but plastic seats are more affordable and offer greater variety and practicality.

Unless you have some specialized needs that require a special toilet seat, pick a seat that you can afford and that matches your aesthetic. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Further reading: Kohler vs American Standard

References:

  1. More People More Active More Often. “Inactive Brits Spend Twice as Long on Toilet per Week as They Do Exercising.” Ukactive, 24 Sept. 2017, www.ukactive.com/events/inactive-brits-spend-twice-as-long-on-toilet-per-week-as-they-do-exercising/.
  2. Ikei, H., Song, C., & Miyazaki, Y. (2017). Physiological Effects of Touching Wood. International journal of environmental research and public health, 14(7), 801. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070801
  3. Cohen-Mansfield, Jiska, and James R Biddison. “The Potential of Wash-and-Dry Toilets to Improve the Toileting Experience for Nursing Home Residents.” The Gerontologist, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16199405
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