After taking an in-depth look at the most popular toilet brands on the market we like Kohler the best for it’s style, comfort and durability. Coming in a close second are the American Standard brand toilets. Your bathroom accounts for most of the water usage in your home. It is almost 75% of the total household usage, and 40% of that is from the toilet alone. This makes having a good toilet one of the most important fixtures to research before you buy one. You want it to work well, be efficient, and always be in good repair.
Toilet Buying Guide
What is a Toilet
When it comes to buying a toilet, many consumers have no idea how to tell one toilet from another. Knowing what makes a good toilet can save you a lot of money in water usage and headache by making sure you get a high-grade model that will last, use less water, and be durable. There are several things you need to do before and during your search. We’ve outlined those all for you right here so you will have the tools you need to make the right choice for you and your family.
Measure Your Bathroom
This is possibly one of the most overlooked items during the buying process. Many people over-estimate the size of their bathroom and buy a new toilet without measuring. Before you start looking, this is the first thing you need to do so you can ensure that you get the right size toilet for your space.
Measuring is fairly simple and straightforward. You are measuring the “rough-in size” in your bathroom. Measure from the center of the drainpipe that carries away the water from the toilet to the baseboard of the wall. Do not measure trim, baseboards or anything else or the measurements will be off; just straight from the center to the wall and that will give you the rough-in measurement.
You can also measure from the center of one of the closet bolts that hold down the toilet flange. If your toilet has 4 closet bolts, measure from one of the rear bolts. If your bathroom space is very small, you will want to measure from the sides of the flange bolt as well in order to make sure it fits side to side also. A standard rough-in measurement is 12”. You will find that older models can vary from 10 to 14” but it is always better to take the actual measurements rather than guess and order one that doesn’t fit.
Do you want a 1 or 2 piece Toilet?
Toilets are available in 1 or 2 pieces. A 2 piece toilet has a separate tank that is installed on top of the bowl. 2 piece toilets, on average, cost anywhere from 15 to 25% less than a one piece toilet. There is no real difference in the way a 1 or 2 piece toilet operates and they require all the same parts, but 1-piece toilets are usually easier to keep clean.
Look for 2 piece toilets with a high-quality sanitary bar. This blocks any liquid from collecting under the tank at the back of the toilet bowl. Liquid collecting there can degrade the fixtures because of its acidic properties.
An option that is gaining in popularity is the wall toilet. These are usually found in commercial establishments but these toilets are very easy to clean and maintain and keeps the sanitary conditions of your bathroom much higher than other types do. A wall mounted toilet does require different plumbing and waste disposal for these toilets to be able to be installed, as well as additional support in the wall it is being installed in, so this might be a better choice for a new build or complete remodel rather than if you are just changing out toilets.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the trap ways on the toilets you are looking for, whether 1 or 2 pieces. Most toilets have a 2” trap way that is glazed but you will have less back-up and clogging problems if you opt for the 2 3/8” size.
What Type of Bowl do you want?
There are two types of bowls you can get with most modern toilets: standard round or elongated. The elongated bowl gives 2 more inches of space and they are much more comfortable to sit on. Round bowls are less expensive and are generally better choices for very small spaces since they take up less room.
Don’t forget to think about the height of your toilet as well. The standard toilet is 14-15 inches high measured from the top of the bowl to the floor. (Measure with the seat up) Some people may prefer a taller bowl which can go as high as 19”. This height is great for taller people and also those that have physical challenges to deal with.
To be ADA compliant, the toile must be at least 16.5” high. This may prove to be a bit difficult for children or very short adults so factor in the size of the family members when choosing your toilet. Instead of buying a smaller toilet for a children’s bathroom, opt for a safely designed step stool since the children will grow and need a taller toilet as they get older.
Flushing Options to Consider
There are many different types of flushing options to consider when purchasing a new toilet. Many consumers do not realize that there are different ways toilet flushes. We’ve outlined the specifics here so you can learn and understand the differences.
Gravity-fed – These toilets operate on the natural force of gravity to dump water from the tank into the bowl. This action creates a siphon that sucks the waste down into the sewer line. These types of toilets usually work well in all conditions.
Pressure-assisted – There are internal sealed tanks in this type of flushing toilet. They fill with water and air pressure builds up. The force of pressure creates a blast of water that helps remove waste from the bowl when it is flushed. These toilets tend to be louder than other types although manufacturers are working to reduce the noise involved in this type of flushing action. This type of toilet requires 25 pounds per square inch of water pressure to work properly.
Power-assisted – These models use an electric motor to bring air pressure into the sealed tank. The tanks of these types of toilets hold a certain amount of water that is released under pressure to clear the bowl.
High Efficiency – These are your water savers and use 1.28 gallons of water or less per flush. You can have high-efficiency toilets with any type of flushing action. What makes them high efficiency is not the type of flushing but the amount of water used per flush.
Dual Flush – These are also water saving types and allow the user to “choose” either a low water flush for liquid only or a full 1.6 gallon flush for solid waste. The potential problem here is not choosing the right flush for the situation.
Choosing the Right Toilet Seat
Most toilets do not come with a toilet seat so you will need to purchase this separately and choose the right one to go with the toilet you have chosen. Seats also come in either round or elongated styles they are not interchangeable. Getting a comfortable toilet seat is important because no matter how great the toilet is, if the seat is awful you will hate using it.
Toilet seats come in different materials from plastic to solid wood. There are also cushioned varieties, vinyl and polypropylene as well. Solid wood toilet seats are very durable and comfortable but look better in bathrooms with solid wood fixtures so it fits. Another option is the slow closing toilet seat which can add some cost to the seat but is great for preventing the loud slamming that seats can do when they are allowed to close on their own.
There are many different types of seats you can choose from. Styles like the Bidet seat that comes with water jets and even warm air drying, or the seat that is coated with an antimicrobial coating to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi and reduces mold, odors, and mildew as well. They will cost more but you will love what these different types of seats can do.
When you have got all the information you need, choosing the best toilet for your home becomes much easier. Nothing is more frustrating than purchasing a toilet, getting it home and then finding out it is the wrong one. Use this information in the buyer’s guide and the reviews of the top rated toilets that we have provided to help guide you to the toilet that will fit into your bathroom, décor, and lifestyle perfectly.
Not only are you going to make your bathroom look nicer with an upgraded toilet, you will save money and water with the new efficient designs that are available and the whole bathroom experience will be much more enjoyable for you.