10 inch vs 12 inch rough in toilet [With Pros Cons]

If you’re remodeling your bathroom, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right toilet. The “rough in” measurement of the toilet – the distance between the toilet’s bolts that anchor it to the floor – is especially crucial. The two most common rough in measurements are 10 inches and 12 inches. But which one should you choose for your bathroom?

In this article, we’ll compare 10 inch vs 12 inch rough in toilets. We’ll cover the key differences, pros and cons of each, and provide tips to help you decide between the two rough in sizes.

Comparison of 10 Inch vs 12 Inch Rough In Toilets

Feature10 Inch Rough In12 Inch Rough In
DimensionsMore compact and smaller sizeLarger and more elongated bowl
Bathroom FitIdeal for half baths or powder rooms with limited spaceBetter suited for standard to large bathrooms
Flushing PowerReduced flushing performance due to shorter trapwayImproved flow and flushing power from direct trapway
Water UsageMay require multiple flushes, less water efficientExcellent water efficiency with full bowl coverage
ComfortStubby size less comfortable for adult seatingElongated bowl provides more comfortable seating position
Style OptionsFewer choices for contemporary curved or sleek modelsWider selection of modern and streamlined designs
Bowl HeightTend to be lower height bowlsStandard to comfort height bowls available
ADA ComplianceCompliant models availableMore choices of ADA compliant units
Weight CapacityTypically lower 300 to 400 lbs capacityOften higher 400 to 500+ lbs weight capacity
Price$ More affordable on average$$ Mid-range to high-end price points
Best Suited ForTight spaces, small bathrooms, powder roomsStandard home bathrooms, larger layouts

What is a Rough In Toilet?

First, let’s quickly cover the basics. A toilet’s “rough in” refers to the distance between the toilet’s floor bolts that mount it to the drain pipe. Standard rough in sizes are 10, 12, and 14 inches. The rough in measurement allows you to choose a toilet that will fit properly in your bathroom space.

Key Differences Between 10 Inch and 12 Inch Rough In Toilets

There are a few main ways that 10 inch and 12 inch rough in toilets differ:

Dimensions and Fits

The most obvious difference is the overall dimensions of the two toilet types. A 10 inch rough in toilet has a shorter, more compact bowl design. The smaller size works well for tiny bathrooms or powder rooms with limited space.

A 12 inch rough in toilet has a more elongated bowl shape. The extra 2 inches of rough in space allows for a larger water surface area and more comfortable seating. But the longer size may be too big for a small bathroom.

Flushing Power and Performance

The rough in size also impacts the toilet’s flushing power. A 10 inch rough in toilet has a shorter trapway – the channel between the bowl and the drain pipe. This can reduce flushing performance.

A 12 inch rough in provides more direct trapway. The improved flow helps maximize flushing power and efficiency.

Aesthetics and Style

The different dimensions affect the look and style options of the toilets too. A 10 inch toilet has a stubbier appearance, with fewer choices of elegant or sleek designs.

A 12 inch rough in allows for more contemporary curved or streamlined bowls. There is generally more variety in styles and finishes with 12 inch models.

Now that we’ve compared the key differences, let’s go over some factors to help decide which rough in size is right for your bathroom.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between 10 Inch and 12 Inch Rough In

Choosing the ideal rough in size depends on your specific bathroom and needs:

Bathroom Size and Layout

First, consider your bathroom’s dimensions and floor plan. A 10 inch rough in is best for a half bath or small footprint. The compact size can fit in tight spaces and cramped areas.

But in a larger bathroom, a 12 inch rough in toilet can make better use of the available space. The elongated bowl won’t be crammed in or overwhelm the layout.

Drainage and Plumbing

The positioning of your waste drainage will determine which rough in size works. If replacing an existing toilet, measure between the current floor bolts.

For new bathrooms, work with your contractor to make sure the plumbing allows proper installation of your desired rough in toilet.

Existing Toilet Rough In Size

If you’re replacing an old toilet, the current model’s rough in size should guide your new toilet choice. Try to match the same rough in dimensions to avoid additional plumbing work.

Measure between the bolt holes to confirm your existing toilet’s rough in before selection a new one.

Personal Preference for Style

Finally, choose the toilet style you find most appealing for your bathroom. The shape and look of a 10 inch vs 12 inch toilet comes down to personal taste. If your priority is a sleek, modern style, opt for a 12 inch model with more choices.

Pros and Cons of 10 Inch Rough In Toilets

Here are the main benefits and downsides of choosing a 10 inch rough in toilet:


  • Compact size fits in small bathrooms
  • Short length works with cramped layouts
  • Narrow bowl adapts to tight spaces
  • Small dimension maximizes space in powder rooms


  • Limited choice of styles due to stubby shape
  • Reduced flushing power from shorter trapway
  • Poor fit for large bathrooms with ample space
  • Not comfortable for men or taller users

Pros and Cons of 12 Inch Rough In Toilets

And here are the key pros and cons for 12 inch rough in toilets:


  • Elongated bowl offers more comfortable seating
  • Greater flushing power and efficiency
  • More contemporary and streamlined styles
  • Better fit for standard and larger bathrooms
  • Provides better clearance for men


  • Larger size may overwhelm a small space
  • Limited options for tiny powder rooms or half baths
  • Requires accurate plumbing and drainage for installation
  • Not ideal for tight spaces or cramped layouts


What’s the standard rough in size?

The most common rough in measurement is 12 inches. This fits most residential bathrooms. A 12 inch rough in allows for powerful flushing performance and comfortable elongated bowl designs.

What if my bathroom is very small?

For a half bath or tiny space, a 10 inch rough in is likely the best option. The shorter size maximizes room in cramped powder rooms or tight layouts.

Can I install a 10 inch toilet in a 12 inch rough in?

You can install a 10 inch toilet in a 12 inch rough in space, but you may need to shim out the bowl or purchase a special adapter kit. This allows the smaller toilet to align with the wider drain flange.

Is a 14 inch rough in better than 12 inches?

A 14 inch rough in doesn’t offer significant advantages for residential use. The extra length mainly provides more clearance for commercial applications. A 12 inch rough in is suitable for most home bathrooms.

Should rough in match the drain pipe size?

Ideally the rough in measurement should align with the drain pipe width behind the wall. A properly matched rough in toilet avoids installation issues and maximizes flushing efficiency.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Choosing the right rough in size ultimately depends on your bathroom dimensions, plumbing, and personal style preferences. Keep these general guidelines in mind:

  • For smaller bathrooms, a 10 inch rough in is likely the best fit
  • Standard or larger layouts can accommodate 12 inch models
  • Match replacement toilets to your existing rough in size
  • Prioritize flushing power and comfort for heavy usage
  • Choose elongated bowl for contemporary style
  • Test different toilet sizes in your space before final selection

With those tips in mind, you can pick the ideal 10 inch or 12 inch rough in toilet for your bathroom remodeling project. Carefully measuring your existing plumbing and layout is key to getting the right fit. And don’t forget to consider your preferred toilet style as well. With a clear sense of your needs and dimensions, you can confidently choose between these two popular rough in sizes.

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