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9 Perfectly Good Reasons Why Public Toilet Seats Are U-Shaped

Updated September 17, 2019 10.3m views9 items

Have you ever taken the time to study the toilet seat in a public bathroom? Even if you've only given a passing glance, you've probably wondered why public toilet seats are U-shaped (especially since the one in your house is a closed oval). Even the weirdest toilets on earth have this seat shape. It turns out there are lots of good reasons and theories to explain why public toilet seats are shaped like a U - it's cheaper, more hygienic, and maybe even more comfortable than the rounded model you have in your bathroom at home.

Just as there are smart explanations for why toilet stalls come up short, there are plenty of excellent answers to the question, "Why are public toilet seats shaped like that?"

  • Photo: Shutterstock

    They're Cheaper To Produce

    Here's an obvious one: U-shaped toilet seats require less material to produce than the fully rounded ones. Since they're most often found in public restrooms, it makes sense that business owners opt for the cheaper design in outfitting their facilities.

    So next time you sit on your personal, fully rounded seat, take the time to bask in its luxurious circularity.

  • Photo: Shutterstock

    They're Less Tempting To Toilet Seat Thieves

    Toilet seat thieves aren't exactly clamoring to get their hands on one of these U-shaped treasures. In fact, one of the alleged benefits of the U-shaped seats is that they're less likely to be stolen. And before you ask, yes, toilet seat thieving is a real problem.

    It's so much of a problem that some public restrooms have begun forgoing toilet seats altogether .

  • Photo: Shutterstock

    They're Allegedly More Ergonomic

    There's also a running theory among lay toilet connoisseurs that the U-shaped seat design is simply more comfortable. If that were true, though, wouldn't more people use the open-front design for their personal toilets at home?

  • Photo: Shutterstock

    They May Be More Flexible And Able To Support Different Body Weights

    Besides what the law says, there are plenty of additional minor theories surrounding the porcelain abode. One Reddit user suggested the missing material on a U-shaped throne allows for greater flexibility to accommodate the varying weights of its users.

    An engineer on Reddit also weighed in to corroborate, explaining that circle-shaped objects have high rigidity and can break more easily than horseshoe-shaped ones.