Plastic vs Wooden Toilet Seats: Pros, Cons and Features
Last Updated on May 19, 2022 by toilethaven
What is the Best Toilet Seat Material?
Toilet seats are made of either plastic or wood. So, between plastic and wooden toilet seats, which one are better? Which are more sanitary? Which ones are more durable? Which ones are more comfortable? Let us look at the pros and cons of plastic vs wooden toilet seats and find out the answers to all of these questions.
Most toilets these days are sold without a toilet seat. Toilet seats are also the most replaced parts of a toilet. The constant up and down movements causes wear and tear especially of the mountings, which are mostly made of plastic.
It is also where we sit while doing our business in the bathroom. Being sandwiched between the toilet bowl and our body weight, toilet seats are exposed to internal stress which often cause them to break. Slamming of toilet seats on the bowl is also another contributor.
|Plastic Seats||Wooden Seats|
|More hygienic||Higher weight tolerance|
|Usable in private and public bathrooms|
|Low weight tolerance||Less hygienic|
|Easily stained||Can't be used in public bathrooms|
|Can't be used with bidets|
Pros and Cons of Plastic Toilet Seats
Plastic toilet seats as their name suggest are made of plastic and come with either plastic mountings or metallic ones. So, what are the advantages of plastic toilet seats over wood toilets seats?
Do plastic toilet seats stain? Are plastic toilet seats more sanitary than the wooden toilets seats? Let us look at the pros and cons of plastic toilet seats.
- They are lightweight
- They are durable
- They are scratch-resistant
- They are more hygienic
- Usable in public toilets and private toilets
- Very versatile
- They are cold
- Less stylish
- Lower weight tolerance
- Easily Stained by urine
Pros and Cons of Wooden Toilet Seats
There are 2 types of wooden toilet seats. The first types are those that are made of solid wood and the second are those made of molded wood.
Solid wood toilet seats are thicker and heavier than molded wood toilet seats. You can always notice a solid wood toilet seat since it retains the color the wood it is made from while molded wood toilet seats are painted in white or other colors just like plastic toilet seats.
- Looks stylish
- They are warmer
- More Comfortable
- Have a higher weight tolerance
- Less durable
- They are heavy
- Less hygienic
- Can’t be used in public restrooms.
Wood vs Plastic Toilet Seats Comparison
Let as now look at the advantages and disadvantages of wood and plastic toilet seats in more detail. What are the features in each toilet seat type that should persuade you to buy one toilet type over the other?
1. Toilet Seat Weight
Wood is heavier than plastic. Wooden toilet seats are therefore heavier than plastic toilet seats. But how does the weight of a toilet seat affect the user? Once installed, is weight so much of an issue? Toilet seats are always hinged and therefore lifting and placing them down doesn’t even count as work.
This is how weight will affects your choice of a toilet seat. Imagine a plastic and a wooden seat both at the open position. Now slam both the toilet seats on the bowl. Heavier objects are more affected by gravity way more than lighter objects.
The wooden toilet seat is going to hit the toilet bowl harder than the plastic toilet seat. If this happens over a duration of time, the wooden toilet seat will break sooner than the plastic toilet seat.
Are Wooden Toilet Seats Hygienic?
One of the most asked questions in relation to wooded toilet seat is “Are wooden toilet seats sanitary”? The same is not asked of plastic toilet seats. So, why do people think wooden toilet seats are unsanitary?
Wooden toilet seats are made of enameled wood and are hence glossily finished leaving their surface so smooth and impervious to water or any liquid. A well cleaned and maintained wooden toilet seat is as hygienic as a plastic toilet seat.
Problems arise when the wooden toilet seat has seen better days, and as a result has cracks or the varnish has peeled off. That can be an ideal place for bacteria to thrive.
This is even serious when the males in the houses pee while standing and are constantly off target. Combine that with poor hygiene practices and your gynecologist will be seeing you every so often.
Having a plastic toilet seat does not however automatically guarantee you good hygiene. You have to keep the throne clean at all times. You will get a UTI regardless of whether you are using a wooden or a plastic toilet seat.
Everyone loves wood. Wood is beautiful. Wooden objects look elegant and stylish. This is also true for wooden toilets seats. In some ways wooden toilet seats look artistic.
In this regard I’m talking about solid wood toilet seats and not the molded wooded toilet seats. People who love rustic or farmhouse themed bathrooms will definitely agree with me that wooden toilet seats are really stand out.
Although it is not impossible to achieve style with a plastic toilet seat, wooden toilet seat are just on another level. The only way plastic toilet seats defeat wooden seats in this sense is that it is possible to buy a plastic toilet seat in just about any color, which is not possible with wooden seats.
There are cheap plastic toilet seats and there are expensive plastic toilet seats. The same is also true for wooden toilet seats.
The cost of a toilet is dependent on so many factors and not just the material. Some of the features that determines the final price of a toilet seat include:
- Slow close feature – Slow close also known as soft close toilet seats are seats with a slow closing hinge that allows the seat and lid to close slowly without the irritating slamming sound. Read more on the best soft close toilet seats here.
- Quick-release mechanism – Toilet seats with a quick-release mechanism are designed in such a way that they can be easily detached from the mounting hardware while cleaning the toilet.
- The type of mounting – Toilet seats will have either a top mounting installation system or a bottom mounting one. The top mounting system is the best one.
- The brand name – Some toilet seats brands are more expensive than others. That is just how things are.
- Heated or not– Some toilet seats will be heated at all times using electricity while others will be always cold. To see my recommendation of the best heated toilet seat check this post.
- Nightlight or not – Toilet seats with a nightlight have an LED light illuminating the bowl for easy bathroom navigation at night.
- Color – White toilet seats are often the cheapest. Colored toilet seats like black costs a little more.
- Type of wood – When it comes to wooden toilet seats, the type of wood used to make the toilet matters a lot and definitely affects it price. Check a detailed post on the best wooden toilet seats here.
It is now clear that the cost of a toilet seat is determined by much more than just the material used to make it. That said, a basic solid wood toilet seat will surely cost more than a basic plastic toilet seat.
Let’s picture two people waking up at 2 in the morning to go use the bathroom. One with a wooden toilet seat and the other with a plastic toilet seat. We can all agree that the one with a wooden toilet seat will enjoy his trip far more than the one with a plastic toilet seat.
Wood is a poor conductor of heat. Because of this reason, a wooden toilet seat will not transfer heat from your body to the toilet bowl and beyond. Plastic toilet seats are as cold as the bowl and the floor
The only way to beat wooden toilet seat in this regard is to buy a heated plastic toilet seat. A heated toilet seat is warm 24 hours a day. You electricity bill will However shift Northwards.
Toilet seat durability depends so much on the user more than the material used to make it. A couple with 3 kids will replace their toilet seat 5 times before another old couple living alone replaces theirs. This is regardless of whether the toilet seat is wooden or plastic.
Holding all factors constant though, a plastic toilet seat will last more than a wooden toilet seat. A plastic toilet seat will not in any way be affected by water. A wooden toilet seat will.
Although wooden toilet seats are varnished, they peel off and crack with time as a result of constant cleaning and slamming. As we know, wood is an organic substance. Add water/urine to it. Rotting starts.
Plastic toilet seat are thin. Wooden toilet seats are thicker and can take more pounds than a plastic toilet seats. Wooden toilet seats are therefore the best toilet seats for heavy persons.
If you are looking a for the best plastic toilet seat for a a heavy person, the Big John toilet seat is a decent choice. Check it out here on Amazon
Comfort also depends on the manufacturer’s attention to detail other than just the material being used. Modern plastic toilet seats are contoured to provide maximum comfort to the user
There is a legal requirements in the United States that all toilet seats in all public toilet must have a gap at the front. These are called U-shaped toilet seats or open-front toilet seats. They are meant to allow women to reach back and wipe their nether regions. Something impossible with close-front toilet seats.
Open-front toilet seats also prevent men from staining the seat with pee, as that might transmit infections to other toilet users.
Wooden toilet seat can therefore not be used in public toilets since none has a gap at the front.
There are very many types of plastic toilet seats but wooden seats are almost all similar, apart from the material they are made from.
That is why there are heated plastic toilet seats but there is no heated wooden seat. Are very new type of plastic toilet seat that is changing bathroom uses across the world is the bidet toilet seats.
There are electric and non-electric bidet seats, electric bidet seats being the most luxurious. They are have a nozzle at the back that washes you after using the toilet instead of using a toilet paper, using warm water.
Bidet toilet seats also dry you with warm air and some even deodorize the room. There are no wooden bidet toilet seats.
To read more on 7 of the best bidet toilet seats check out this post.
Best Wooden Toilet Seats
There are way more plastic toilet seats models to choose from than there are wooden seats. Choosing a good toilet seat therefore becomes very hard.
As had said earlier, you can choose to either buy a solid wood toilet seat or a molded wood toilet seat. You will notice that the solid wood toilet seat are pricier than the molded wood toilet seats.
One thing that you will need to pay attention while buying wooden toilet seats is the hinges. They need to be strong enough to carry the weight of the toilet during all of its up and down traffic.
Some seats may be advertised as having chrome or even bronze hinges but turn out to be coated plastic. This is something you really need to be very careful about.
I have written a whole article reviewing some of the best wooden toilet seats in the market. Read it here.
There are so many plastic toilets to choose from depending on the type you want to buy. One of the best plastic toilet seat is the Kohler Cachet. Although it is made by Kohler it can be installed in most toilet models whether round or elongated.
Read more about here.
Both plastic and wooden toilet sets have their pros and cons. The rule of thumb is always to buy the type of toilet seat that will complement your toilet and bathroom décor as well as your own taste. You spend a lot of time sitting on you toilet seat. Buy the best.
1. Do wooden toilet seats smell?
Wooden toilet seats smell on when they are cracked or have peeled of. Water and urine seep inside the wood and start producing an awful odor. A brand new and/or properly finished wooden toilet seat should not smell.
2. Do plastic toilet seats stain?
Plastic toilet seats are easily stained by urine, especially in a house with men and/or boys. This is indicated by yellow stains which are not easy to remove without scratching the seat.
3. How do you clean a wooden toilet seat?
Use a mild detergent and sponge. You can also use a baking soda and vinegar solution. What you should avoid is highly abrasive chemical like bleach and a material that can easily scratch the seat’s finish.