Choosing a Replacement Toilet Seat

by Nindo Mom on October 3, 2010

One of the toilet seats in my house has been asking to be replaced for quite some time now. But when the second one broke, I knew the time had come to take action–unless we wanted to start using the back yard for reasons other than it was intended.

Before you make a trip to Lowes or Home Depot, make note of your toilet’s color. One of mine is blue, the other is beige (not almond, it turns out). If your toilet is something other than the usual white, bone, or almond, you may need to get a special order seat if you want an exact match with your bowl. Or, you can buy a wooden seat. In my case, they didn’t have a beige seat, but it wasn’t worth the trouble to place a specialty order–so I just went with an almond seat. Specifically, a Bemis Whisper Closer for about $36 from Home Depot.

The Bemis Whisper Closer is lightweight, and features a quick release from the bowl–which means you can quickly and easily remove it for cleaning the bowl. This sure beats trying to clean around those hinges all the time with the seat still attached! The other great feature of the Bemis Whisper Closer is that it’s designed so that it won’t slam closed when the toilet seat is dropped. What seems to be an air pillow shock of some sort inside the hinge eases the toilet seat cover down gently on the seat. This seat was much easier to install than the cheaper models I usually buy. I’ve also noticed it’s much more comfortable–I had never considered comfort with this kind of product before, and hadn’t realized before now that there would be any difference. Live and learn!

Since buying the Bemis at Home Depot, it has come to my attention that Amazon has a better selection of toilet seats than either Home Depot or Lowes. So if you can wait for the item to be shipping, it’s probably a good idea to check Amazon first. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

In addition to noting the color of your toilet, be sure to check if it has a round or elongated bowl–there are different seats for each.

Home Depot and Lowes both had a reasonable selection of seats. My local Lowes had a better variety of American Standard seats, while Home Depot had a lot more of the Bemis brand. Target didn’t have nearly as good a selection as either of the other two stores.

Difficulties Getting the Old Seat Off

When removing your old seat, you may discover that the screws are a bit stuck–it took me more than half an hour to get mine loose. Because the screws (which were plastic) were initially too tight to undo by hand, I used a pair of pliers to gently loosen it. I did this gradually–just a little at a time. If you apply too much pressure to the plastic screw with the pliers, there’s an excellent chance you’ll mange the screw–possibly to the point where you can’t unscrew it at all any more. So don’t do this. Take your time, be patient–and easy does it. (And yes, your thumbs may very well be super-sore by the time you’re done, if your screws are really stuck.)

This is up to you, but I elected to wear super-thin disposable rubber gloves to do this job to give my hands a little protection. I got these for a few dollars in the cleaning section at Target. They often come in 50 or 100 packs; the ones I got this last time around are pale purple. You can also order a box of Disposable Gloves – Durashield® Food Service Grade (Powder Free) Nitrile (1 Box of 100) Medium direct from Amazon and save yourself a trip to the store. I use these gloves for lots of cleaning around the house to keep the cleaner (and gross stuff) from getting on my hands.

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