Choosing the right toilet for your bathroom is an important decision that requires careful consideration of your needs, bathroom space, and budget. With so many different styles, features, and innovations available today, it can be overwhelming trying to select the perfect toilet. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the key factors to evaluate when shopping for a new toilet. We’ll help you select the right toilet with the right features to match your bathroom and meet your needs.
The first step in choosing a toilet is deciding on the basic type. The main options are:
This is the most common toilet style, made up of a separate tank and bowl. The tank is mounted on the wall behind the bowl and contains the flushing mechanism. Two-piece toilets allow for easier access to the inner workings for repairs. They come in round and elongated bowl shapes.
As the name suggests, a one-piece toilet has the tank and bowl fused together as a single unit. Many people prefer the sleek, seamless look of a one-piece. However, they tend to be more expensive and repairs can be more difficult. One-piece toilets are also predominantly elongated bowl styles.
Wall-hung or wall-mount toilets mount directly to the wall, with no contact with the floor. They have a contemporary, minimalist appeal. Installation is more complex, often requiring interior wall reinforcement. The tank is concealed inside the wall or mounted on the side.
High-tech smart toilets integrate loads of fancy features through toilet-based tech and apps, like automatic lid opening, heated seats, personalized user presets, motion-activated flushing, built-in nightlights, and music. They also analyze usage and can automatically order replacements or schedule service calls.
Toilet bowls come in two basic shapes – round and elongated.
Round Bowl Toilets
- More compact, better suited to smaller bathrooms
- Tend to be less expensive
- Offer a tighter fit to the back wall, requiring less space
- Men may find them more comfortable
Elongated Bowl Toilets
- Oval-shaped, providing extra room in the front
- Offer increased comfort, especially for women
- ADA compliant for accessibility
- Stylish look, suits both modern and classic bathrooms
- Require more space from back wall
When unsure, opt for an elongated bowl for maximum comfort. Just be sure to double-check your bathroom measurements first to ensure it will fit.
Toilet height is measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat. Correct toilet height is key for comfort and accessibility.
Standard Toilet Height
- Around 14.5 inches tall
- The minimum height required by plumbing codes
- May be too low for tall or elderly users
Comfort Height Toilets
- Range from 16 to 19 inches high
- ADA compliant height is 17 to 19 inches
- Chair-height seating improves ease of sitting and standing
- Recommended for universal comfort and accessibility
For maximum ergonomics and comfort, look for a comfort height or right-height toilet between 16 to 19 inches tall. This provides chair-height seating that is easier to get on and off of.
Toilet Flush Systems
Gravity-flush toilets rely on the weight of the water in the tank to provide the flushing power. More modern toilets use pressurized water supply lines and precision-engineered tanks and valves to maximize flushing performance.
- Uses the weight of the water in the tank
- Results in lower flushing power
- Prone to leaks and noise over time
- Not suitable for low-flow requirements
- Compressed air in the tank provides a powerful flush
- Effective bulk waste removal with little water
- Noisy when flushing
- Components may require replacement over time
- Separate flush options for liquid or solid waste
- Conserves water with a lighter flush for liquids
- Requires a two-button flush mechanism
Double Cyclone Flush
- Two nozzles circulate water powerfully around the bowl
- Consistent, clog-free flushing performance
- Quiet and energy efficient
Look for a toilet with a strong flush system that meets the latest WaterSense flushing standards. Dual flush or double cyclone systems offer the best results while conserving water.
Water Efficient Toilets
Federal plumbing standards limit toilets to 1.6 gallons per flush (GPF) or less. Toilets bearing the EPA’s WaterSense label are certified to be at least 20% more efficient than standard 1.6 GPF models, using a maximum of 1.28 GPF.
Choosing a high-efficiency toilet is the green choice for conserving water in your home. The latest water efficient models flush very effectively while using 20% to 30% less water than standard 1.6 GPF toilets.
While often overlooked, the toilet seat plays an important role in both the look and function of your toilet. Key considerations include:
Toilet Seat Shape
- Round vs. elongated to match bowl shape
- Plastic is economical but may stain
- Wood is warmer and more aesthetically pleasing
- Molded wood pulp is durable and inexpensive
- Antimicrobial options inhibit germ growth
- Quick-release functionality allows for convenient cleaning
- Look for stable, commercial-grade mounting posts
- Cushioned closing prevents loud slamming
- Required for kids and heavily used bathrooms
- Key feature of luxury smart toilets
- Warm seating for maximum comfort
Go for an elongated toilet seat with soft-close functionality and antimicrobial or wood veneer finish. Heated seats take luxury and comfort to the next level.
Toilet Tank Covers
A tank cover lets you change the appearance of your toilet tank simply by replacing the lid. Options include:
- Wood adds warmth and elegance
- Marble, granite, or onyx for upscale appeal
- Bamboo is sustainable and soothing
- Printed designs allow customization
- Soft-close and insulated reduce noise
Replacing an old existing tank lid with a new cover is an easy upgrade that transforms the look of your toilet.
Bidets and Bidet Seats
A toilet bidet delivers a focused spray of water for superior cleaning after using the toilet. Bidet seats add bidet functionality by attaching to an existing toilet.
- Provide front or rear wash functionality
- Require dedicated space next to the toilet
- Needs a water supply connection
- Replace existing toilet seats
- Provide heated water, personalized cleaning options
- Require electricity connection
- Programmable user settings
Integrating a toilet bidet or bidet seat improves hygiene and reduces the need for toilet paper. Look for a model with adjustable water pressure, temperature settings, and aiming controls.
Toilet Installation Considerations
Installing a new toilet requires some planning and preparation. Key factors to address:
- Toilet measurements – Confirm the rough-in distance from wall to waste pipe and overall toilet dimensions to ensure proper fit.
- Water supply – Modern toilets require a water supply line with adequate pressure. Old, stiff supply tubing may need replacement.
- Flange – Make sure the floor flange is in good condition and positioned correctly. It may need repair, leveling, or shimming.
- Wax ring – A new wax sealing ring ensures a watertight connection to the waste pipe. Using multiple rings can help level the toilet.
- Flooring – Remove flooring around the toilet area to simplify installation and prevent damage.
Hire a professional plumber for installation if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself. Proper installation ensures your toilet will function reliably for years.
Top Toilet Brands
The major plumbing brands design toilets ranging from basic to luxurious.
- Industry leader, known for innovation
- Extensive selection across all price points
- Excellent flushing systems
- High-tech Neorest smart toilets
- Bold styling, wide range of designs
- Comfort height and chair height options
- Touchless flush available
- Integrated PureFresh air deodorizer
- Reliable performance, great value
- Powerful Champion flushing system
- EverClean antimicrobial toilet bowls
- Range of styles from compact to elegant
- Affordable luxury, high-end features
- Soft-close seat and quiet flush
- Elegant one and two-piece options
- Excellent customer service
Stick with an established brand like Toto, Kohler, American Standard, or Woodbridge for a quality toilet with reliable performance and good warranty coverage.
Toilet prices typically range:
- Basic models – $100 to $250
- Mid-range two-piece – $250 to $500
- Luxury and smart toilets – $500 to $5,000+
The key factors affecting toilet costs are features, performance, efficiency, brands, and materials. Budget at least $250 to $350 for a good quality toilet with nice features. High-end smart toilets with tons of bells and whistles can run well over $5,000.
Choosing the Right Toilet for YOU
Selecting the perfect toilet ultimately depends on your specific bathroom space, needs, and budget.
- Measure carefully to ensure the toilet will fit well
- Prioritize comfort and ease of use
- Look for chair height and elongated bowl
- Get a toilet with a strong, quiet flush
- Consider water efficiency
- Choose quality over cost
Investing in the right toilet improves comfort, conserves water, and adds functional style to your bathroom for years to come. Take the time to evaluate all the options and choose wisely. With so many great toilets available today, you’re sure to find one that’s just right for your home and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions about Choosing Toilets
What is the standard toilet size?
The standard toilet size is approximately 28 to 30 inches wide and 20 to 21 inches deep for two-piece models. One-piece toilets are more elongated at around 31 inches wide by 21 inches deep.
How much space is needed for a toilet?
Most bathroom codes require at least 21 to 30 inches of clearance in front of the toilet and 15 inches clearance from the center of the toilet to any side wall. A minimum of 24 to 30 inches is needed from the front rim to the back wall.
What is the smallest toilet size?
Compact and space-saving toilets can be as small as 24 inches wide and just under 20 inches deep. Look for compact or short-projection toilets for smaller bathrooms.
What is the tallest toilet height?
Toilets come in heights ranging from 14 inches to over 20 inches. Extra tall models of up to 22 inches are available for improved accessibility. Standard to comfort height units are typically 14.5 to 19 inches high.
How do I know if my toilet flange is leaking?
Check around the base of the toilet for water, odors, damage or mold. Wiggle the toilet to check for a loose connection. Run a thin wire around the flange seal to check for gaps. Remove the toilet to inspect the flange for issues.
Can you replace just a toilet bowl?
Yes, you can replace just the toilet bowl if the tank and connections are all in good shape. This may be a more economical option compared to replacing the entire toilet.
How do I choose the right toilet flushing system?
Look for pressure-assisted, double cyclone, or dual flush systems that provide strong, effective flushing action while conserving water. WaterSense labeled models are the most water efficient.
What is the quietest toilet flush?
One-piece toilets, double cyclone, and stealth flushing systems tend to be the quietest options. Soft-close toilet seats also help minimize noise. Look for flushing mechanisms marked as having a low decibel rating.
Do toilets come with seats?
Most toilets do not come with a toilet seat. The seat is purchased separately so you can select the style, shape, and material you prefer. Some models may come with a basic seat.
How do I choose the right toilet seat?
Choose an elongated seat with soft-close functionality. Pick a material like wood, plastic, or antimicrobial material based on aesthetics and durability. Ensure the shape matches the toilet bowl.
We hope this comprehensive guide has made the toilet selection process easier by outlining all the key factors and choices available. Focus on comfort, performance, quality, and finding a toilet suited for your unique space and needs. Measure carefully, seek advice, and don’t settle on a toilet that doesn’t meet your requirements. Choosing the ideal toilet results in an attractive bathroom addition that provides many years of optimal comfort and reliability.