Navigating Toilets Today: The Difference Between Standard, Elongated & Compact

June 6, 2016 30

Whether it’s plain, high-tech, or sleekly disguised, there’s nothing quite so important in your bathroom as the toilet. This ubiquitous fixture has a big job to fill, not only in terms of function, but in terms of looks, style, and comfort as well. This may be why choosing a toilet for your bathroom may be one of the more difficult decisions you’ll face during a bathroom remodel.

There are a lot of different factors that go into selecting toilets. Some of the choices will have to do with where you waste pipe – or rough – lies, and what size of rough-in measurement you’ll need your toilet to have. Other choices will be dictated by things such as the style of your bathroom; are you suiting your toilet with a sink and tub, or coordinating one with an overarching style or theme?

How your toilet fits into the space physically will also play an important role. You want to find a toilet that fits you comfortably, but that also doesn’t take up more room than necessary. After all, space in a bathroom can often be at a premium, which makes toilet measurements so important.

There are three basic shapes for toilet bowls, which can have a big impact on how much space your toilet takes up back to front, and how comfortable they are to use.



KOHLER - Wellworth Two-piece Round-front Toilet

KOHLER – Wellworth Two-piece Round-front Toilet


The smallest and one of the oldest types is known as a standard, round-front, or plain bowl. This means that the seat or bowl of the toilet is round in the front, taking up less space. This makes a round bowl toilet a good fit for families with young children, and in small water closets and powder rooms where space in front of the toilet is at a premium. For example, the Wellworth Two-piece Round-front Toilet from Kohler measures 27-3/4-inches front to back. For extreme space-saving, the New Darling Round toilet from Duravit measures only 21-1/4-inches.



Duravit – Stark 3 Two-piece Elongated Toilet

Duravit – Stark 3 Two-piece Toilet


The most popular toilet bowl shape is the elongated. Elongated bowls have more of an oval front, extending out past the round-front bowl by a few inches, making them much more comfortable for the general population. Toilets with an elongated front can still come in many sizes; the Memoirs Stately One-Piece Elongated from Kohler, for example measures 28-1/8-inches back to front, while the Duravit Starck 3 Two-piece Elongated Toilet measures 27-3/4-inches back to front.


Compact Elongated

Duravit – ME by Stark Wall-mounted Toilet

Duravit – ME by Stark Wall-mounted Toilet


For those that like the comfort of an elongated toilet bowl, but need a little more space, there’s the compact elongated toilet. This one-piece, or wall-mounted toilet design is meant to fit into the same space as a round-front toilet, but with an elongated bowl. Typically, this is done by reducing the size of the tank, reducing the size of the back of the bowl, or simply concealing the tank in the wall. For comparison’s sake, the Memoirs Stately One-Piece Compact Elongated from Kohler measures 27-3/4-inches back to front, giving you the same style as the elongated version, but saving a little more space. Duravit’s ME by Stark Wall-mounted Toilet measures only 22-1/2-inches, saving even more space.

All three toilet shapes come in a wide range of different styles as well as sizes, and many will also have different technologies. Some basic things to consider include:

  • A one-piece toilet means that the tank and bowl are molded into one piece. This may take up less space than the same toilet design with two pieces, and creates a sleeker look.
  • A wall-mounted toilet may resemble a standard toilet or it may have a concealed tank. A concealed tank means that only the bowl is visible, while the tank is hidden behind the wall. This takes up considerably less space, but makes reaching the tank to fix issues more difficult.
  • Many toilets today also come with the option for reduced water flow. The Kohler Memoirs Stately toilets, for example, use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush.
  • Your toilet’s rough-in measurement will also affect its ultimate size. Standard toilets are roughed at 12-inches, but 10 and 14-inches are also common. Typically, the size of the bowl remains the same while the tank increases or decreases in size to accommodate, so a 14-inch rough toilet will sit out farther from the wall than a 12-inch will.

When you’re ready to begin your hunt for the perfectly sized toilet for your space, be sure to stop into any Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre location. Our expert staff are sure to find you the perfect toilet to fit into your bathroom no matter how small. Stop in today to see what’s available, and complete your bathroom in style.