Toilet Buying Guide
Toilets are certainly not glamorous. You probably rarely give yours a second thought. But just let your toilet stop working due to clog or malfunction, and you will quickly gain appreciation for this hard-working bathroom fixture.
You might expect buying a toilet to be quite straightforward, but when it’s time to choose a replacement, there are several decisions to be made. Whether you call it the loo, potty, porcelain throne or the john, you want a new fixture that is water-efficient, comfortable and gets the job done with one flush.
What Type Of Flush Do You Want?
There are two types of flush toilets commonly used in homes. The most popular type is the gravity-feed toilet. When you flush, water from the tank rushes into the bowl, creating weight that pushes everything down the curved trap and out to the sewer. These are quiet, but lower-cost models are not always efficient enough to empty the toilet with just one flush.
Another option is a pressure-assisted toilet. These use air pressure to add a little “oomph” to the flush, sending the toilet contents down the pipe very effectively, but also with a loud whoosh that can be disconcerting. Pressure-assisted toilets also tend to be more expensive than gravity flush models.
Is Water Use A Concern?
Since 1994, all toilets sold in the US are federally mandated to use 1.6 gallons of water or less per flush. Early water-efficient toilets tended to need two flushes to clear the bowl, defeating the whole point. Newer models, however, are much improved, and in fact, there are now very efficient toilets using only 1.28 gallons per flush. The most efficient, water-conserving toilets win the label of “WaterSense”, indicating the fixture meets rigorous Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards and can shave quite a bit off your monthly water bill.
Another option is a dual-flush toilet. These let you choose between a low-volume flush for liquid waste or a regular flush for solids. Most have a double button, or lever that flips up or down to select the desired flush. These save quite a bit of water, and are especially good for a large family.
Are You Tall?
Standard toilets are between 14 and 15 inches high from the floor to the rim, not including the toilet seat. If you are tall, have arthritis or another mobility-limiting condition, or just prefer less distance to sit, a comfort-height toilet, between 17 and 19 inches from floor to rim, is a good choice. Comfort-height toilets have become very popular, particularly in a bathroom used only by adults.
Do You Prefer One Piece Or Two?
The most common toilets have two pieces – a tank and bowl. One-piece toilets are similar, but the tank and bowl are joined into one piece. A one-piece toilet looks streamlined and modern and is easier to clean than a two-piece model, but is also more expensive.
Are You Looking For A Round Or Elongated Bowl?
Toilets are either round or have a bowl with an elongated, somewhat oval shape. Elongated toilets are generally more comfortable, but take up 2 to 3 inches more space. If your bathroom is very small, a round toilet’s shorter profile will leave you more floor space.
Do You Want To Keep The Floor Clear?
Though not as common for home use, wall-mounted toilets, which are very common in commercial restrooms, leave your bathroom floor clear of any obstruction and make it easy to mop or disinfect the floor. These are not as easy to install as traditional toilets, thus usually require a plumber’s expertise.
Do You Want A Touch Of Color?
The vast majority of toilets sold are white, but if you want a little touch of fashion in your bathroom, there are fixtures available in a wide range of colors, including:
Remember that styles come and go, however, and your toilet will likely be in your bathroom for many years. You don’t want a fixture that eventually looks dated; something you won’t have to worry about with basic white.
Do You Want To Make Cleaning Easier?
Scrubbing the toilet isn’t the highlight of anyone’s day. Make this necessary, but unpleasant, chore a little easier with a toilet that has an antimicrobial, anti-stain coating, and a seat that easily detaches for quick cleaning.
Is It Time To Buy A Seat?
Most toilets come without the seat and lid, so this necessary accessory is an additional purchase. Your toilet seat needs to match the shape of your toilet and should be comfortable to sit on and durable enough for years of daily use. Flimsy plastic is inexpensive, but won’t last as long as ceramic or heavier plastic models.
Do You Have Young Children?
If you have young children, eliminate the risk of smashed fingers or loud crashes in the bathroom by choosing a slow-close toilet seat. These have hinges to prevent the lid or seat from crashing down if little fingers lose their grip.
Do You Hate A Cold Seat?
If the shock of a chilly toilet seat against your bare bottom isn’t your favorite way to wake up in the morning, a heated toilet seat chases away the chill.
Do You Want A Stylish Seat?
Buying a new toilet might not be as much fun as buying a new pair of shoes, but selecting the right toilet lowers your water costs, makes necessary functions more comfortable and renews the appearance of your bathroom.