This great debate has been raging for decades – wood or plastic toilet seats? Which is better for your bum?
Plastic toilet seats are considered the most common in residential homes, but they are not the only option. Another popular alternative is wooden toilet seats, which look pretty stylish, in a way, because they are not very common. But is it really worth switching from plastic to wood toilet seats at home?
You may already have your toilet seat preference, or perhaps you are still undecided, but this comparison guide will, once and for all, get to the bottom of this big puzzle.
Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seat
Choosing a toilet seat doesn’t need to be difficult. But since there are a couple of options available, it’s smart to take at least a good look at what makes a decent toilet seat material, especially its pros and cons.
Wooden Toilet Seat Pros & Cons
- Stylish and doesn’t look cheap
- Solid and heavy material
- Doesn’t get cold even during the winter season
- Just sandpaper and re-varnish to look like new again
- Liquid and moisture-absorbent so will likely smell
- Prone to degradation and color fading
- More expensive than plastic
Plastic Toilet Seat Pros & Cons
- Generally, the cheaper option
- Greater variety for you to choose from
- East to clean and maintain
- Doesn’t absorb liquid and will be less likely to scratch
- Prone to discoloration or staining over time
- Can be cold to sit down on, especially in the winter months
- Tends to look cheaper than the wood-alternative
Things to Consider When Choosing Plastic or Wood Toilet Seat
So, what do you have to consider when choosing the best material for your toilet seat? After all, there are so many factors to consider — some options can be more comfortable than others, or in some cases, easier to clean and maintain than other toilet seat materials.
To help you make a better-informed choice, here’s a list of factors to help you choose whether to get a plastic or wooden toilet seat:
Hygiene is one of the first things to consider when buying a toilet seat, and between plastic and wood toilet seats, plastic proves a much better option for hygiene purposes.
Plastic seats have a smooth surface, making them easy to wash and disinfect. Most often, they only need a simple wipe-down using a standard antibacterial soap and water mixture. On the other hand, wooden toilet seats are highly absorbent. Since toilet seats are often exposed to liquid and moisture, the porous nature of wood means it can develop a funky smell after some time, especially when it comes into contact with urine.
Still, some wood toilet seat options are pretty hygienic. Pick laminated wood toilet seats or those coated with sealants to help protect the wood material from moisture and keep germs off it.
But also keep in mind that these sealants can wear down over time. If your wood toilet seats have scratches and tears on the surface, moisture can start creeping through these broken sealants.
You’re going to be spending some time sitting on the toilet seat, so it makes sense to choose something comfortable to sit on.
With that being said, a wood toilet seat can provide top-notch comfort. It’s sturdy and solid, but most importantly, it won’t be cold on your bum. In fact, a good quality wood seat will remain warm even through the cold winter season, which isn’t something you can say about plastic toilet seats. It can sometimes be a little uncomfortable to make those middle-of-the-night toilet visits if you have a plastic seat, especially during winter.
But there’s an alternative to that — a heated plastic toilet seat. But that is more of a luxury item and will be a lot more expensive than a good-quality wood toilet seat.
If you’re choosing a toilet seat that fits your bathroom’s aesthetic, it makes sense to pick the most stylish one. But this factor largely depends on your personal preferences.
For instance, if you like a seat that feels more inviting and can make the toilet look warmer, wood is an obvious choice. It also fits well in a bathroom with rustic décor. Meanwhile, plastic toilet seats have a more modern and generic appearance. They won’t be a stand-out piece in your bathroom, although does the toilet seat really need to be?
One quick note — while plastic toilet seats come in a wide range of styles and colors, you can also get wooden toilet seats painted.
At first glance, wooden toilet seats are pretty solid and heavy. It makes sense to think that they are more durable than plastic toilet seats, but it’s actually the other way around.
Although wood can feel heavy and sturdy, it can crack and warp over time due to factors like excess humidity in the bathroom or high heat.
Meanwhile, plastic toilet seats are less prone to warping and cracking. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t have some drawbacks. For instance, plastic seats are prone to staining after some time, and their hinges are more easily broken compared to the sturdier metal hinges of wood toilet seats.
It goes without saying that wooden toilet seats, although available in a range of prices, are the more expensive option. If you want a toilet seat made from exotic wood, you’ll probably have to pay even more.
On the other hand, good-quality plastic toilet seats tend to be in the lower price range, which fits if you’re buying on a budget.
Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seat FAQs
As a rule, wood is incredibly porous compared to plastic. It means wooden seats are likely to absorb liquid and moisture that it gets into contact with, and for a toilet seat, that’s pretty unsanitary. But, good-quality wooden toilet seats are most often treated, meaning they come with a protective coating to prevent bacteria and germ buildup.
Plastic toilet seats are likely to stain after a while. You probably noticed that old plastic toilet seats fade or turn yellow over time, no matter how careful you are when using the seat. Sometimes, it can be that heavy usage causes the plastic dye to start fading, giving it an off-white vinyl color. Other times, the seat turns yellow, either a urine stain or simply plastic damage due to UV sunlight.
Since it’s a natural material, wood is prone to warping and cracking. Wood also tends to shrink when it’s cold, and once it gets hot, it will swell and eventually crack. Being exposed to moisture for an extended time is another reason that causes warping and cracking in wooden toilet seats unless they have a protective coating.
So, What’s Better, Wood or Plastic Toilet Seat?
Here’s a summary to help you choose between wood and plastic toilet seats for your home.
Best for Comfort
Wood toilet seat. It’s comfortable to sit on all year round, unlike the plastic toilet seat that can get cold in the winter months.
Best for Hygiene
Plastic toilet seat. It doesn’t absorb liquid or moisture, so it’s less likely to smell compared to the porous wood toilet seat. Plastic is also easier to clean and maintain.
Best for Durability
Plastic toilet seat. A good quality plastic toilet seat generally lasts longer than natural materials like wood, which are prone to degrading faster, especially when exposed to moisture.
Best for Style
Wood toilet seat. Good quality wooden toilet seats look super stylish and are classy compared to the plastic alternative.
Best for Value
Plastic toilet seat. They are generally far cheaper than a natural wood toilet seat unless you’re buying a specialty plastic toilet seat equipped with a bidet or heater.
There’s no clear winner since both wood, and plastic toilet seats have their pros and cons. Choosing the best toilet seat will ultimately depend on your preferences and which features are on top of your list.