Plumber: Exploring basic toilet bowl shapes

Ed Del Grande
Tribune News Service

Dear Ed: I’m looking into getting a new toilet and have noticed that you can get them in long-bowl or short-bowl shapes. I want the longer bowl size for comfort, but my question is when or why would you get a shorter bowl toilet.

— Al, Alabama

Dear Ed: You actually have a few basic bowl shapes to explore.

First, elongated toilets. These bowls are egg-shaped and give you a couple extra inches in length for comfort and a larger target area. Because of the longer shape, elongated bowls are popular.

Next, round-front toilets: These toilets have a circle-shaped bowl, and the slightly shorter bowl is about the only difference between the toilets. If you have a small bathroom or a door that might hit an elongated bowl, the round front bowl can be your best choice.

Finally, some toilets are compact-elongated bowls: This can offer you the best of both worlds. They fit in a round-front space but have a specially designed elongated bowl, and that’s the long and short of it.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write