They say that two things in life are guaranteed; death and taxes. We would add using the toilet to the mix. Think of the countless hours spent on the toilet throughout a lifetime. They must add up to dozens and dozens of days.
Given we spend so much time satisfying this basic human need, it’s baffling that many people pay such little attention to the finer details to make the experience as hassle free, hygienic and, dare we say it, as enjoyable as possible.
In today’s world, where there are ten gadgets for every activity and even the most niche avocation, the number of innovations specifically geared towards toilets will surprise the uninitiated. There’s a whole arsenal of quality of life improvements that seem so obvious you will be kicking yourself for not having thought of them yourself.
As we scrutinize the toilet accessory market, the self-closing toilet seat emerges from the wings and takes center stage. In this guide, we reveal why a self closing toilet seat is more useful than you may initially think, as well as a provide our top picks. As usual, our choices are based on the qualitative measures of value, quality and function.
Benefits of Self Closing Toilet Seats
Though cleaning product manufacturers are eager to scare us with stories of innumerable amounts of bacteria festering on our toilet seats, the reality is that toilet seats really aren’t that bad compared to other everyday items we have much more contact with like phones and keyboards.
That being said, the proximity of fecal matter and its inherent role as a vessel for transporting certain noxious bacteria means keeping physical contact with a seat to a minimum is recommended. The self closing seat just about removes the need to touch the seat, or at worst, only requires a gentle nudge to kick start the shutting mechanism.
The idea behind a self-closing seat is that you are taking an effective step towards minimizing contact with potentially sickness inducing bacteria. This is particularly relevant for younger children who already come in to contact with their fair share of bacteria in their everyday lives. Think nursery, crawling around on the floor, and their seemingly inexorable need to constantly put their fingers in their mouths. Any action you can take to mitigate this is worth the effort.
We are all accustomed to the loud bang of a toilet slamming shut, particularly if it happens in the middle of the night and we are awakened from our rejuvenative slumber. Closing toilet seats, by their very design, are near silent. The mechanism closes the seat slowly, thus removing the force needed to create a loud sound when it comes in to contact with the bowl.
The benefits of this aren’t only audible, but physical as well. A silent seat removes the potential risk of damage to the bowl as well as the seat itself, prolonging the lifespan of the toilet and the tedious work that replacing it entails.
Children are once again summoned as the main culprits of seat slamming and have an uncanny ability to make a sound similar to that of an orchestral gong.
Easy to Install
If you’ve ever replaced a toilet seat, you know that it is one of the easiest household DIY jobs you can undertake. Loosen a few screws or plastic winders, pop the seat off, place the new seat and screw it in. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It isn’t like having to install a smart toilet which requires a decent level of expertise.
Self closing seats are equally easy to install, meaning you don’t have the excuse of not being good at DIY or not being very hands-on. Anyone can do it.
Comfort, Ergonomics and Padding
While our western toilet etiquette and more importantly the design of our toilets may not be exactly ergonomically correct, we can all agree on one thing and that is comfort. Not to delve into too crude an image, things go a little more smoothly if you feel comfortable while doing your business.
Self closing seats keep this in mind beyond the other benefits they offer and manufacturers have taken to ensuring they are better equipped than traditional iterations via the use of padding, ergonomic shaping and even seat heating.
Beyond more functional considerations, a self-closing seat may bring added benefits to other aspects of domestic life. Namely as an olive branch in the age old battle between the seat being left up and it being put down after use. Put more crudely, this illustrates the different mechanics apparent in the toilet habits of both men and women.
Understandably, women expect the seat to be down when they visit the bathroom. Men on the other hand, through inadvertence or stubbornness, naturally veer towards the seat up camp. By having a self-closing seat, the problem completely evaporates and the seat will always be down for the next user.
An inventor even posits that his closing seat design can save marriages, and we are at odds to argue with him.
Shape and Size
The overwhelming majority of toilets have either a round or elongated seat. Their difference is as simple as the names suggest. One is suited to round design toilets, while the other sits perfectly on elongated style toilets.
Make sure you buy a seat that fits your style of toilet, otherwise you are in for a balancing act every time you visit. It’s also worth investigating the type of bumpers attached to the underside of the seat. Some are designed to equally balance out the weight of person to ensure maximum comfort and support.
Other than being one of the main attractions of the next World Toilet Day, the self closing seat can also come with a plethora of options such as infrared detectors that raise and lower the seat whenever someone approaches or moves away from the toilet. Other options include inbuilt washing mechanism, heated seats as mentioned above, inbuilt lights to aid use at night particularly for small children, deodorizers and even air dryers.
It all depends on how much you are willing to spend and, we suppose, how much time you actually spend in the bathroom. Rest assured that the thrifty among you will be reassured to know that you can, of course, purchase a simple self closing seat that closes with no added bells and whistles.
Different self closing seats offer a variety of mounting mechanism, yet they all generally levitate around the simple bolt and nut design with some variation as to how it is implemented. They all seem to focus on ease of installation so as long as the seat fits your toilet, don’t worry too much about how it is mounted.
Where designs might differ is in terms of detaching the seat. Some models offer a quick-release feature that allows you to remove the seat from the fixtures. This is useful for cleaning both the toilet and the seat itself.
Best Budget Self Closing Toilet Seat
If you desperately need a toilet seat, but are wary of spending too much for what is essentially a plastic rim that supports your undercarriage, then we recommend the Mayfair Molded Wood Toilet Seat in the budget category. It is very cheap. We mean movie ticket and some popcorn cheap. Though, the price betrays its cost-effectiveness and quality.
Made with durable molded wood and finished with a chip and scratch proof high-gloss finish, the Mayfair comes in three separate colors, including a rather fetching biscuit/linen hue. It will fit all elongated style toilets that meet the standardized dimension of 18 and ½ inches making it a very versatile elongated model.
Mayfair is intent on being environmentally friendly and ensure the seat is shipped in recycled packaging and is made with renewable wood sources. Wood seats tend to be warmer than plastic counterparts so there’s that to keep in mind as well. It’s also made in the US, negating the risk of mass produced, low quality parts.
In terms of features, it consists of Mayfair’s own whisper-close shutting system, that gently and, more importantly, near silently closes with a slight touch. You can expect a small tapping sound that is barely noticeable. The seat has an easy clean feature that ensures it is removable from the hinges with a quick press of the protruding clips on each mount. The hinges themselves are a plastic STA-TITE fastening system that is easy to install and won’t loosen with use.
There’s nothing special about the Mayfair seat other than it closes by itself, but that’s exactly what we hoped for when picking a budget model. You can’t really go wrong with this model and it comes highly recommended for the more functional shoppers among you.
Best Affordable Self Closing Toilet Seat
At double the cost of a budget seat, we picked the Kohler Cachet within the affordable range. Once again, the price is prohibitive in terms of options and features, meaning we have concentrated our efforts on choosing a seat that is functional and reliable.
Constructed with crack, fade, stain, chip and peel resistant solid polypropylene plastic, the cachet comes in nine different color schemes to match the color of your toilet. It adheres to the elongated seat specifications at 18 and 1/16 inches so will fit most elongated design toilets. It also has a contoured inner edge that adds that extra little bit of comfort. Kohler also ships a round bowl model with identical features.
The self closing mechanism is Kohler’s own Quiet-Close system which ensures the seat and the lid close slowly and with minimal noise. Unlike traditional seats, all it requires is a light touch to trigger the mechanism. There are also a set of grip-tight bumpers attached to ease contact with the bowl, they also prevent movement when the toilet is in use for added stability. The lid also has pads that act in much the same way by limiting the impact with the seat.
The hinges are Kohler’s signature Quick-Release and all you need to do to remove the seat is unclasp the casing, then slide the seat forwards. This makes cleaning much easier as you can imagine. The hinges also match the color palette of the seat. The Quick-Attach mounts themselves are simple to install with only a screwdriver and relatively strong thanks to the stainless steel fasteners. We had no issues with it coming undone after repeated use.
Much like the Mayfair, we liked the Cachet for its simplicity and functionality. However, it offers a bit more robustness which you expect given the higher price. It won’t send you in to spiralling debt and does what it says on the tin. The Cachet definitely deserves an approving nod from us.
We also want to mention the Kohler Rutledge, which has the same features as the Cachet, but with a slightly different design with a rim on the top of the lid.
Finally, there’s also the Kohler Reveal with fundamentally the same features as the two seats above. The only difference is an alternative lid design that overhangs to offer a more closed-off, sealed feel than the other two.
Best Top of the Line Self Closing Toilet Seat
For some of us, time spent in the bathroom is precious. It’s a time of seclusion, a moment of peace and quiet, undisturbed by the outside world. If you happen to fall into this category and are willing to spend what some would deem an irresponsible amount on a toilet seat, then we recommend the Brondell Swash 1000. The Swash isn’t just a toilet seat, it’s an experience. Packed with features and positives, it completely transforms how we use a toilet.
The main aim here is to offer an all-in-one seat and cleaning solution with the goal of reducing the environmental footprint of toilet usage by completely eliminating the need for toilet paper. Estimations suggest that up to 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper are used by Americans each year. The amount of trees and water required to manufacturer so much paper is mind-numbingly large, and a product that actively works to save these precious natural resources is already a winner in our minds.
Primarily constructed of polypropylene plastic, the Swash comes in both a round and elongated version that will fit 98% of toilets according to Brondell. The design is clean cut with an overhanging lid and adopts a sloping angle to accommodate the larger than usual hinge base. The seat itself is contoured and slopes inwards for ergonomic comfort.
The closing mechanism sees the lid and seat close gently and pretty much silently. There is also an inbuilt quick-release mechanism that removes the seat with one straightforward sliding motion for easier cleaning. Triggering the mechanism doesn’t take much with a light tap enough to set it off. The seat has underside padding to ease contact with the bowl and to ensure stability when someone is sitting on it.
In terms of installation, the Swash does require a little more work than a standard closing seat, though it remains relatively easy to install with most owners finding they can do so in under an hour. Note that you need a GFCI outlet to power the seat. The seat mount has a bigger surface that normal in order to house the larger base. It is installed in the same way you would hinges for a traditional toilet seat and uses the common nut and bolt and system. We found it to be very secure and movement-free.
Brondell ships the Swash with everything you require to complete the installation, though toilets with a non flexible water pipe require a flexible replacement. These are cheap and easy to find at your local hardware store. Most toilets have a flexible pipe so in theory this shouldn’t be an issue. Simply connect the t-valve provided to the piping behind your water tank and you are good to go. The seat also ships in recyclable, hassle-free packaging and with a three-year warranty.
Features are where the Swash gets interesting. Thanks to a ceramic core heating system, the Swash is able to provide continuous heated water in an eco-friendly fashion. The water is then fed to two adjustable stainless steel nozzles positioned for posterior and feminine cleaning. The nozzles also have a massage setting that oscillates the flow of water and an aerated spraying action with three size adjustments. The nozzles are also self-cleaning with a self-sterilizing system.
The name of the game here is hygiene and convenience. You could quite literally use the toilet without touching it once thanks to the water cleaning system, minimizing contact with bacteria. You could even stop using a toilet plunger and it would still be spotless.
On top of this, there is also a carbon deodorizer that actives to dissipate odors and an adjustable air dryer for a true hands-off experience. All these features are controlled via a wireless remote control with an array of settings that determine water and seat temperature, water pressure, nozzle position, spray width, and dry air temperature. You can also trigger the sterilize, massage, and deodorize features from the remote as well.
The seat itself has an automatic power-saving mode so it won’t guzzle kilowatts when not being used. It knows when to power up thanks to a body sensor that detects when someone is sitting down.
Overall, we were thoroughly impressed with the Swash and now that we’ve experienced the joys of paperless bathroom visits, it is going to be hard to go back. Also, it just works, hassle free without regular maintenance. The price is definitely high, yet we feel the sheer number of features and benefits make it a cost-effective solution, but only if you have the money and require more than what a basic model can offer. We approve very highly of the Swash 1000.
Best Self Closing Toilet Seat For Children
As adults, we often forget the challenges faced when learning to use a full sized toilet and the transition from the sit down potty can an arduous task for little children. With this in mind, as well as the many benefits of closing seats, we came across the TopSeat Tiny Hiney Potty Toilet Seat and we were drawn in by its child-friendly features.
Constructed with durable molded wood with a hand sanded high gloss finish that is scratch resistant, the Tiny Hiney is designed for elongated toilets. A round bowl version is also available. It will fit on most elongated toilets with ease and the installation is straightforward thanks to surface mounted chrome metal hinges. The hinges are also closed to avoid any chance of a little one getting their fingers trapped and suffering a sharp pinch.
The Tiny Hiney seat consists of a standard sized seat, a solidly attached toddler ring and the lid. The toddler seat attaches to the underside of the lid via a set of magnets inside a hollowed out compartment. It stays put securely until it is pulled down. This is ideal if you are hygiene conscious as you won’t need to constantly put on and take off a removable children’s seat. This negates the chance of contact with unwanted bacteria and all round makes the process more convenient for you and your children.
The closing mechanism is a slow close design that affects both the lid and seat, though not the toddler ring, in part because it can be secured to the lid. The mechanism is gentle and causes very little audible sound when it lands on the bowl aided by thick pads under the seat.
Some users have complained that the toddler ring detaches from its compartment before the lid fully closes, though this seems to be an issue with the strength of the magnetics than doesn’t affect all Tiny Hineys. TopSeat are good about replacing faulty models so this shouldn’t be an issue. There’s also a three-year warranty to cover such eventualities.
Overall, this model is ideal for young children learning to use the toilet. The toddler seat is comfortable, reasonably sized and hides away into the lid nicely. The price is reasonable and we feel it is commensurate with the quality of the product.
If you desperately need a child-friendly model that has a slow closing children’s ring, then we highly recommend the Kohler Transitions. The price is higher than the Tiny Hiney, though there are more features and the inclusion of a self-closing children’s partition is worth the money.
The features are very similar to those found on the other Kohler models in this guide, mainly the Quick-Attach mount and the Quick-Release hinges for easy cleaning. There’s also Kohler’s Quiet-Close closing mechanism that works on the lid, child ring and seat with sound dampening Grip-Tight bumper pads. The Transitions model is as easy to install and clean as the Reveal and Cachet. The three way closing works well and isn’t as jumbled as you would expect with each part closing in turn without any undue contact or extra noise.
You can also get one with a nightlight option that runs off a pair of AA batteries and ensures a light source on a seven hour cycle with varying brightness settings. This is perfect for little ones that can’t yet reach the light switch or are wary of the darkness.
Best Self Closing Toilet Seat For Cleaning
Cleaning toilets is an unpleasant experience as it is, due to the type of dirt and grime you have to contend with, but when you consider the difficulty of reaching certain cracks and crevices, it becomes a nerve racking experience.
In an effort to mitigate these unruly emotions, certain manufacturers have gone to lengths to design models purposefully built to make cleaning a doddle. As they are easier to clean, you will go to the effort of cleaning the seat more often, improving the overall hygiene of your bathroom. Among the models on offer in this section of the market, we kept returning to the Bath Royale Premium Round Toilet Seat.
The Bath Royale is made from high quality, durable, and stain resistant polypropylene plastic, a non porous material that is particularly adept at repelling moisture, thus eliminating the humid breeding ground that bacteria covet so much. It is argued that polypropylene is also softer than molded wood alternatives and warmer to the touch due to it being a thermal insulator. In other words, it keeps the heat in for those chilly winter mornings when a cold seat is as unpleasant as it gets.
Polypropylene is also resistant to chemicals meaning cleaning products won’t shorten its lifespan. The high-gloss finish is comfortable as well as resistant to peeling, chipping and fading. It also comes in three different colors to match your existing toilet decor.
As the name suggests, the Bath Royale fits the majority of round toilets from leading manufacturers. A quiet-close system is fitted to ensure a slow and silent shutting mechanism. All it requires is a gentle push to send it on its downward path. A four non-slip pad layout on the underside of the seat also cushions the impact between the seat and bowl.
The Bath Royale truly shines as a sanitary toilet seat when we consider the quick release system on the hinges. All you need to do is close the seat and press on the easily accessible button to release it from the mounts. The seat slides off two protruding metal spindles attached to the simple to install chrome or matching color mounts (both designs are shipped with each unit).
Once the seat is removed, you have easy access to the gap between the seat and hinges to thoroughly clean any residue and dirt. Equally, the seat can then be soaked in bleach or other product for a thorough, deep clean.
The amalgamation of the quick-release feature, the sanitary use of polypropylene and the functionality of the closing mechanism makes the Bath Royale a clean-freaks dream toilet. We wholeheartedly agree and that is why it was at the top of our list for the best seat for cleaning. It also ships with a two-year warranty.
Best Self Closing Toilet Seat For The Environment
Environmentally conscious products are all the rage, in part due to millennials reaching an age where they have enough spending power to have an impact on sales, and also the fact that more and more people are aware of the imminent, all too real consequences of the rapid depletion of our world’s natural resources. This extends to the toilet seat industry and among the models on offer, we found the Brondell Swash EcoSeat 100 Bidet to be head and shoulders above the rest. As with Brondell’s flagship seat, the Swash 1000, it is packed with great features.
The EcoSeat is made with polypropylene plastic for its hygienic and durable attributes, and is suited to most elongated toilet setups. The seat is contoured for maximum comfort. As with the Swash, installation takes about an hour and can be completed by most owners fairly easily if you have a standard tank toilet. Brondell also ship a t-valve that provides water to the seat and all the hardware you need for installation.
The only caveat is that you may need to install a flexible pipe from your water source to the tank to allow space for the valve. The EcoSeat doesn’t require electricity from a socket or batteries because it uses hydro-power to run. In other words, it uses the natural energy found in water pressure. This make installation a whole lot easier as well.
Speaking in terms of ecology, the system is essentially self-sustaining making its environmental footprint pretty much non existent. Not only do you benefit from a clean toilet experience, but you are not wasting energy doing so. This alleviates any fears of closing seats with added features being a luxury that you can’t really justify.
The closing mechanism is gentle and quiet, working for both the lid and seat itself. All it requires is a light touch. The hydro-power allows a dual nozzle system to offer an aerated posterior spray as well as a feminine wash at ambient temperature. The two nozzles are made of nanosilver ceramic and are self-cleaning thanks to a sterilizing water filter.
The water pressure is controlled via a set of controls to the right of the seat if you are sitting down. They also allow you to control when the water is sprayed and whether you use the rear or front nozzle.
To conclude, the EcoSeat is great for the environment without sacrificing any of the functionality you would expect from a self closing-toilet seat. The design and look are strong too. It even ships with a one-year warranty for peace of mind and is surprisingly affordable compared to many other high-end models.
Best Self Closing Toilet Seat For The Elderly
The later years of life are littered with everyday challenges that become harder as our physical capabilities deteriorate. From making simple tasks like climbing a flight of stairs to lifting objects easier, finding novel solutions to make the lives of the elderly easier represents a huge market. The idea is that these small forms of help can extend the independence of older people giving them a renewed vigor for life.
With certain manufacturers claiming benefits that don’t turn out to be as good as advertised, it can be hard to find quality products. We have therefore done the hard work and picked the Toto Washlet S350e Elongated Bidet Toilet Seat as the best for the elderly.
The Washlet is an elongated seat that will fit most toilet models without too much hassle. Toto, a renowned toilet manufacturer, also ship a round version for a very similar price. The polypropylene construction is also durable and hygiene-friendly as we’ve outlined above. Setup is well within the realm of an able-bodied adult, but may be too difficult for someone with limited dexterity or difficulty bending down. We therefore recommend hiring a certified plumber if you are of an advanced age.
If you are doing it yourself, you should have no issues if you have a tank toilet because the instructions that ship with the Washlet are very clear and precise. The mounting bracket screws on with the tightening of two screws, then the seat slides on. Plug it into a GFI outlet and connect the pipe to your toilet’s water pipe and you are done.
The opening mechanism is fully automatic meaning hands-free. By way of a sensor, the seat detects when someone approaches and opens either the lid and seat, or just the lid depending on the settings. Once the person moves away, it closes itself. The seat also quick-releases for easy cleaning. It also has adjustable heating.
The Washlet has a self-cleaning wand that offers both front and rear warm water sprays. The water itself is what Toto call ewater+, which is basically a safe and reliable form of electrolyzed water. It is always warm so you won’t have to wait for it to heat up thanks to an energy saving feature that determines the most common times the toilet is used and can also be set on a timer to conserve even more energy. The wand self cleans before and after every visit with its pre-mist function, and sprays the bowl every eight hours to ensure it remains clean and fresh.
Other features include an automatic deodorizer, a warm air dryer and a night light that illuminates the vicinity for injury-free nightly visits. The provided touch pad remote control with backlighting can set the water pressure to different levels based on preference, decide the temperature of the water and the seat, and adjust the temperature of the air coming out of the dryer. The wand position is adjustable as well. You can also decide whether the water spray is soft or normal and whether it oscillates or pulsates. It can also store two preferred settings so you won’t have to fiddle around with it every time you need the toilet.
Overall, the Washlet is a purpose built toilet seat for the elderly thanks to the hands free opening, self cleaning mechanisms and the water cleaning wand. Using the toilet and not cleaning up after ourselves properly can become truly demeaning. The Washlet offers a dignity restoring solution packed with features and simple enough controls not to confuse even the most technology-averse person.
We particularly like the memory function of the controller which simplifies the whole process and creates the same reassuring experience every time you use the Washlet. All in all, the price is high, but you definitely get what you pay for and more. In truth, there’s no price too big when providing comfort and independence to an elderly person.
Jen Miller is a former electrical engineer and product specialist with more than 20 years of product design and testing experience. She has designed more than 200 products for Fortune 500 companies, in fields ranging from home appliances to sports gear and outdoor equipment. She founded Jen Reviews to share her knowledge and critical eye for what makes consumers tick, and adopts a strict no-BS approach to help the reader filter through the maze of products and marketing hype out there. She writes regularly and has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, The Huffington Post, Tiny Buddha and MindBodyGreen.