Based on appearance, it’s easy to think that all toilets are pretty much the same. But a peek under their lids reveals important differences, and recent innovations, that make shopping for this fixture something of a sleuthing exercise. To learn more about the latest toilet technology, options, and upgrades, read on. It will make the hunt for your next bathroom fixture much easier.
Factor in efficiency when deciding the best toilet to buy
The drive to innovate started in 1994, when the 1.6-gallons-per-flush (gpf) mandate went into effect, replacing the 3.5 to 5 gpf that had been the norm. The pressure to save water hasn’t let up. Now there are high-efficiency (HET) and ultra-high-efficiency (UHET) toilets that use a mere 1.28 and 0.8 gpf, respectively. Yet, contrary to what you might expect, flushing efficacy has also gotten better; independent tests show that some UHETs can evacuate up to 800 grams (1.75 pounds) of solids with every flush.
Water usage statistics
To learn more about the latest toilet technology, options, and upgrades, read on. It will make the hunt for your next bathroom fixture much easier.
Siphonic or washdown?
A siphonic toilet (shown in the labeled illustration above) has a larger water spot, but its long, narrow trapway can clog. Washdown toilets rarely back up; their short trapways are 4 inches in diameter, nearly twice the size of siphonics’. That said, washdowns have smaller water spots, so “skid marks” are more of an issue.
One piece or two?
A two-piece toilet has a separate tank and bowl, so it’s easier to install than a heavier one-piece with an integral tank and bowl. One-piece toilets have lower profiles—good for smaller bathrooms—and no tank gasket to leak.
Round bowl or elongated?
Round bowls project 25 to 28 inches, saving precious floor space, but elongated bowls, which can project 31 inches, are more comfortable for many.
Gravity-fed or pressure-assist?
Most toilets rely on gravity to flush, but if clogging is a problem, a toilet with a pressure-assist unit may be the solution. It can empty a 1.6-gallon tank with the force of a 51⁄2-gallon flush. These units use no electricity, but they’re noisy and work only in toilets designed for them.
High seat or low?
The typical height is 16 inches, but the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates 17 to 19 inches as easier for older or less-able folks.
Types of Toilets
An appealing profile is important, as is the toilet’s flushing technology.
The elongated bowl on this gravity-fed toilet has no siphon jet; all water exits the tank through the rim for a thorough cleaning. Shown: Stinson, starting at $306 at Sterling Plumbing.
Vacuum-assist technology sucks air up the trapway, for the flushing performance of a pressure-assist toilet that’s as quiet as a gravity-fed one. Shown: Stealth, $350 from Niagara Conservation.
Mounting a tank near the ceiling, in the Victorian fashion, increases the force of the flush. Shown: High Tank Pull Chain Water Closet, starting at $1,060; Signature Hardware
This round-front model is virtually impossible to clog, thanks to a trapway that’s a full 4 inches in diameter. Shown: Sydney Smart Back Outlet, $489; Caroma
The Latest Must-Have Features
It takes less water to get rid of liquid waste than solids. That’s why some toilets let you select the appropriate flush, typically 0.8 gpf for liquids and 1.6 gpf for solids. Simple. The hard part is remembering to use it.
Fully Glazed Trapway
A slick surface minimizes the chances of a clog.
Like the Energy Star program for appliances, the EPA’s WaterSense certification makes it easy to find fixtures that use at least 20 percent less water than the 1.6 gallons currently mandated.
High MaP test score
Maximum performance (MaP) testing conducted by independent agencies determines how much solid waste a toilet can handle. A rating of 350 to 600 grams for a 1.6-gallon flush is good, although some toilets can handle up to 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds!) using only 1.28 gpf. To find a toilet’s MaP score, go to MaP Testing.
Mirror-smooth glazes loaded with antimicrobial ions (typically silver) actively kill 99 percent of the germs that try to grow on them. The toilet basically cleans itself.
The Proper Fit
Don’t forget to give a toilet the space it needs so that you’re comfortable now and remain so as you grow older.
Where’s the Tank?
Wall-mount toilets save space and ease cleanup. These Euro-style models hang from a sturdy steel or wood frame hidden in the wall, leaving an unobstructed, easy-to-clean floor underneath. The tank is also hidden; the only sign of its location is a small panel that activates the flush and provides access for tank maintenance.
The downside? Their prices start around $400, existing floor drains have to be relocated, and fewer plumbers are familiar with their installation. Geberit
At the high end, look for these new bells and whistles.
No Toilet Paper Needed
The Washlet lid automatically rises as you approach. When you’re done, a bidet head emerges and sprays you clean, a fan air-dries you, and another deodorizes before the lid shuts. Toilets start at $1,900, or $599 for just the seat; Toto
No Holes in Rim
Rim jets are hard to keep clean and prone to clogging. Toilets without them, like the VorMax, shoot water in a whirlpool around the bowl, scouring away debris twice as effectively as the jets. Starting at $298; American Standard
When a flapper opens, it gets in the way of water exiting the tank. Canister-style flush valves like the AquaPiston lift the seal straight up, allowing water to flush with maximum force. Starting at $309; Kohler
Scrubbing a toilet is nobody’s favorite activity, but with the ActiClean it’s as simple as pressing a button on the tank lid where the reservoir with the cleaning solution sits out of sight. Starting at $695; American Standard
Retrofit the One You’ve Got
Don’t want to shop for a new toilet? Enjoy the latest cool technology without replacing your old toilet. Just make sure your model is compatible with any add-on.
Pro2ProTip: “If you want a bathroom in the basement, get a macerator toilet, like the ones made by Saniflo. After each flush, an electric-powered grinder processes and pumps waste up and out to the drain. Here’s the best part: There’s no digging. The unit sits right on the slab, either under the toilet or behind it.” —Richard Trethewey, TOH plumbing expert
Who knows what evil germs lurk on the flush lever? They’re not an issue if your toilet is equipped with the Touchless flush kit. Just wave your hand over the in-tank sensor. $67; Kohler
Flapperless dual flush
Improve the performance of even high-efficiency toilets by swapping out the flapper for a canister-style flush valve like the Duo Flush. It has a 1.1-gallon flush for liquids and a full flush for solids. $30; Fluidmaster
Before a clogged or broken toilet dumps gallons of water, a FloodStop automatically shuts off the water supply when it detects a leak. $154; On Site Pro
Upgrade Your Toilet Seat
These days, the choices go well beyond cushioning or closing gently.
A motion-activated LED night-light like the Illumibowl gently guides the way. This battery-powered device, which sticks to the side of the bowl, lets you select from, or cycle through, eight different colors. $13; Amazon.
Eliminate foul odors and airborne germs at their source. One system, the Jon-E-Vac, has a fan that sucks air from under the seat, filters it through activated charcoal, then blows it back into the room. $200; Jon-E-Vac
Heaven is a warm seat on a cold night. The UL-listed LumaWarm has three temperature settings, along with a soft-close lid and a night-light. $159; Brondell
How do I know what size toilet I need? ›
Measure from the wall behind the toilet to the center of one of the closet bolts (which hold the toilet down). If the toilet has four closet bolts, measure to the center of one of the rear ones. Then measure from the center of the mounting holes to the back of the new toilet you're considering.Can you replace a 10 inch rough in toilet with a 12 inch rough in toilet? ›
Can I replace a 10-inch rough in with a 12-inch rough in? Short answer: no. It's ideal to find a toilet that matches your existing toilet rough-in dimensions so you don't have to call a plumber to update your plumbing, which could drastically increase your toilet replacement cost.What toilet has the strongest flush? ›
The Kohler pressure-assisted toilet range is one of the best-known ranges of powerful flush toilets. Many models incorporate specially engineered flushing mechanisms and use gravity to provide a more powerful flush using as little as 1.28 gallons of water per flush.What is the average cost of a good toilet? ›
One-piece toilets can cost as low as $100 and as much as $5,000 for some models. Most cost between $250 and $600 with the average cost around $500. Two-piece toilets can cost as low as $100 with the most expensive toilets costing around $3,000. Most average around $100 to $300.What is comfort height vs standard height toilet? ›
Comfort Height toilets are 17 to 19 inches from the floor to the top of the seat. Standard toilets are less than 17 inches high. They are designed to have about the same seated height as a typical chair. Taller people typically prefer a Comfort height toilet.What toilet height is better? ›
Standard-height rims are 14- to 15-inches from the floor and should work well for shorter people. If you're taller, consider chair height toilets that have a toilet seat height of 17-inches or more.
A majority of toilets will use the two inch flapper; however three inch flappers have become popular in recent years and can be found in newer toilets manufactured since 2005. An easy reference for determining your toilet's flapper size is to look at the flush valve drain opening at the bottom of your tank.How do I know if I need a 10 or 12 in toilet? ›
If the old toilet is still there, measure from the center of the capped bolts (on the bottom) to the wall (not the baseboard). There should be 24 inches of clearance from the wall facing the bowl and 15 inches on each side as a guideline. If your measurements are between 11.5 and 12.5 inches, it is a 12-inch rough-in.Why would I want an elongated toilet bowl? ›
Elongated bowls are also considered more 'hygienic' in that the larger surface area of the bowl makes is easier for men and children to use with less mess. The longer bowl size is also a requirement for ADA use, and the longer/wider bowl is generally easier to use for those with mobility issues.How far from a wall should a toilet be? ›
Most codes require at least 15 inches (measured from the center of the toilet) from any side wall or obstruction and not closer than 30 inches center to center to any other sanitary fixture. (The NKBA actually recommends 32 inches.) There should be at least 24 inches of clear space in front of a toilet or bidet.
Which is better round or elongated toilet? ›
Most people find elongated toilet bowls to be more comfortable, but in a small bathroom, a round bowl can save space. Elongated toilet bowls measure up to 31" from the wall, while round fixtures max out at 28". Because round bowls are less expensive than elongated bowls, they save a few dollars, too.Do elongated toilets flush better than round? ›
Elongated bowls may also be slightly easier to use for taller adults and may flush with somewhat more force than round toilets. This might mean they're slightly easier to clean regularly and require fewer “double flushes” to empty the bowl after use.What toilet is best for not clogging? ›
- Best Durable : Woodbridge One-Piece Toilet.
- Best Anti-Clogging : Kohler's Non-Clogging Toilet.
- Best For Space Saving : American Standard Non-Clogging Toilet.
- Best With High-Quality Porcelain : Horow Store's Toilet.
- Best Water Saver : DeerValley Toilet Bowl.
Toilet design is the main factor in determining why some toilets cost more than others. Generally speaking, one-piece, wall hung toilets tend to be more expensive than alternative styles. They incorporate a slick, sleeker appearance than their counterparts, and feature less crevices which makes them easier to clean.What is a fair price to install a toilet? ›
According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, toilet installation costs range from $224 to $532, with the national average at $372. The overall cost depends on the type of toilet and the complexity of the job. It takes approximately 2 to 4 hours for a plumber to install a toilet at a base rate of $65 per hour.How often should a toilet be replaced? ›
On average, most toilets will have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years, even with regular use. The lifespan may vary depending on the toilet model and the wear and tear it experiences over the years. Most toilets will start to give you warning signs indicating the time for replacement is near.Is a 1 piece or 2 piece toilet better? ›
The one-piece toilet also tends to be more durable than the two-piece since it's made of one solid portion of ceramic, with fewer exposed plumbing or flushing elements. Many people like this option for crowded bathrooms where space is at a premium.How long should an average toilet last? ›
Most plumbers agree that an average toilet can last around 50 years. However, this is only when the toilet is well maintained and gently used. If it was improperly installed or frequently misused, it may not last as long.Which type of toilet flush is best? ›
Pressure flush systems can be helpful if you are looking for a toilet flush that is powerful and gives an impressive performance. The most advanced and latest type of flushing system is the dual flush system. In a dual flush system, you can choose between flushing little or more water in your flush tank.Are comfort height toilets good for you? ›
The extra height is great for you if you struggle with back pain. As you don't have to bend as far to reach the toilet bowl. A comfort height toilet is also beneficial to the elderly and disabled. Especially those suffering with knee and mobility issues as the seat is at a much more convenient height.
How high should a toilet paper holder be for a comfort height toilet? ›
Use a level to ensure it's straight, and then tape the template to the wall. A standard rule is that toilet paper holders are set about 26 inches above the floor. It should also be 10 inches in front of or next to the toilet.What's the difference between 1 piece and 2 piece toilets? ›
One piece toilets are typically heavier and easier to clean, and there's less space for bacteria to grow. Because two piece toilets feature a detachable tank, they're more customizable for preferred styles and heights. Both styles can include bells and whistles like bidet attachments or low-flow energy saving.Are pressure assisted toilets worth it? ›
You can save up to two thousand gallons of water a year with a pressure-assist toilet. Using fewer gallons per flush adds up in the long run. So, a pressure toilet is a great investment for your monthly budget as well as you're plumbing.What is a normal toilet size? ›
Standard toilet dimensions are typically between 28–30" deep, roughly 20" wide, between 27–32" high, and have a rough-in between 10–14". Now you can find the perfect toilet.How do I know if I need a 2 inch or 3 inch toilet flapper? ›
Look at the flush valve drain opening at the bottom of your tank. If the opening looks about the size of a baseball or orange, you need a 2″ flapper. If the opening looks about the size of a softball or grapefruit, you need a 3″ flapper.Is 3 feet wide enough for a toilet? ›
For a single family residential application, you only need 2'-6” of width to fit a toilet. If you have accessibility concerns, then bump this to 3' wide. A wall-hung toilet can save you about a foot in floor space.Are higher or lower toilets better? ›
The higher bowl height can be good for the knees and back and can offer real advantages to taller folks, the elderly and people with mobility problems—these toilets are extremely popular and widely used. But comfort height isn't comfortable for everyone.Are elongated toilets better for seniors? ›
A tall toilet height means that users can exert less effort getting on and off the seat, which can be greatly beneficial for seniors with leg, hip, knee, joint, or back problems. The extra inches also make these toilets a good choice for taller people who find standard toilets uncomfortably low.Does the height of the toilet matter? ›
These are generally called “comfort height” toilets. A taller toilet is important for people with a number of physical disabilities, including those who suffer from knee injuries, arthritis in their knees or hips, need to transfer from a wheelchair, suffer from neuropathy, and more.Are chair height toilets better? ›
Benefits of Comfort Height Toilets
The taller seat simply makes it easier to sit down and stand up. The higher seat alleviates discomfort that comes from squatting down and cocking the knees out to the sides. A comfort height toilet is especially beneficial for taller people, seniors and anyone with knee or back pain.
Does a toilet need a vent? ›
And the answer is yes, your toilet has to have a vent. For more information on the great importance of plumbing vents, read our plumbing vent article here. And the size of this vent pipe depends on your local plumbing code. If your code is the IPC, then your toilet's individual vent is sized at 1.5.”How far away should a shower be from a toilet? ›
Leave at least 15" of space between the shower and toilet or other obstacle. If you have a swinging door, take into consideration nearby fixtures.What is the difference between S & P trap toilets? ›
An S-trap is an S-shaped trap between the toilet outlet and the sewer system. It is connected to the drainpipe through the floor. On the other hand, a P-trap is shaped like the letter P and is connected to the drainage system through an opening in the wall.Why do commercial toilets flush better? ›
Toilets Are Limited By Underground Plumbing
With a commercial toilet, the water needs to come from a larger diameter water supply line. A residential line simply does not have enough water pressure to flush a commercial toilet.
Using Toilet Auger:
In case the matter is more serious plungers do not work anymore and at this point of time plumbers come up with a much stronger instrument known as the toilet auger or toilet snake. This is a cable-like tool that plumbers twist in deep into the toilet to the clog.
Toilets can develop drain clogs for any one of several basic reasons, usually involving partial or complete obstruction in one of the various parts of the drain system: the toilet trap, the branch drain line, the vent pipe, or the main sewer line.Why do all my toilets keep clogging? ›
Oftentimes, a clogged toilet is caused by a few common issues, such as too much toilet paper used, clogs in the toilet drain, toilet trap, or toilet vent, a sewer line clog caused by tree root penetrations, and even older low flow toilets.What do you need to replace a toilet bowl? ›
- Closet Bolts.
- Closet Bolt Covers.
- Wax Bowl Ring.
- Closet Flange Extension Ring.
- Toilet Flapper.
- Toilet Tank Lever.
- Oatey Liquilock (optional)
The three main bowl shape options are round, elongated, and compact elongated. A round toilet bowl offers a more space-saving design. However, the round shape is not as comfortable for many individuals as an elongated seat. Elongated toilet bowls, on the other hand, are more oval-shaped.How long does it take to replace a toilet for a plumber? ›
In essence, that depends on your skill level and experience, plus the type of toilet you have. If you've done this before, it should be a piece of cake. However, if it's your first time, and depending on the complexity of the job, it could take anything from one to four hours on average.
Is it worth it to replace old toilet? ›
Should I Replace My Old Toilet? While your old toilets may technically do their job, they're simply not as efficient as newer models. Not to mention if your old toilets start to show their age by cracking, leaking, or clogging, it's often best to consider toilet replacement rather than repair.Can you replace a toilet without a plumber? ›
Can I install a toilet myself? Yes, unless you have issues with lifting heavy weight—a toilet typically weights around 100 pounds. If you're in your own home, feel like doing a home improvement project, and can get your hands on the necessary tools, then go for it.How much does it cost to change a toilet? ›
According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost to replace a toilet ranges from $224 to $532, with a national average of $371.How often should you change your toilet bowl? ›
On average, most toilets will have a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years, even with regular use. The lifespan may vary depending on the toilet model and the wear and tear it experiences over the years. Most toilets will start to give you warning signs indicating the time for replacement is near.Do all toilets fit the same? ›
Do all toilet seats fit the same? No, not all toilet seats fit the same because toilets come in a variety of different shapes, so you'll need to check yours before buying.Is a round or elongated toilet bowl better? ›
Most people find elongated toilet bowls to be more comfortable, but in a small bathroom, a round bowl can save space. Elongated toilet bowls measure up to 31" from the wall, while round fixtures max out at 28". Because round bowls are less expensive than elongated bowls, they save a few dollars, too.What type of toilet is easiest to clean? ›
One-piece, wall-hung toilets are the easiest type to clean. These types of toilets incorporate a sleeker profile and feature less crevices than two-piece, traditional toilets, for instance, which makes them much easier to clean.Should I replace a 20 year old toilet? ›
For most toilets, a 20-year lifespan is the outer limit. A toilet may continue to work after this, but it will be at a higher risk of starting to leak and suffering from numerous clogs and other repair issues. Get ahead of the problem and replace a toilet that's 20 years or older.Should I replace a 25 year old toilet? ›
According to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, toilets installed after 1994 must have a flush volume of 1.6 gallons per flush. Toilets manufactured before this policy went into effect used between 3.5 to 5 gallons. The bottom line on aging toilets? If you know your toilet is at least 25 years old, consider replacing it.Should I replace the whole toilet? ›
The general rule of thumb is that you should replace the toilet if the cost of repairs is more than half the cost of getting a new toilet. Sometimes, the issue is one big problem. Problems like a crack in your toilet bowl can be a major hassle, so they are almost never fixed.