How to Choose a Toilet

With today's focus on water conservation, there are dozens of different toilet styles available on the market. Shopping for a new toilet may seem like a daunting task at first, but once you understand a few different factors, you will be able to make an informed decision that fits your home, your business, and your lifestyle.
One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Design
The first thing to consider when shopping for a new toilet is its overall design. A one-piece design is simple to clean and install, and it is a great choice when bathroom space is limited. On the other hand, a two-piece design is less expensive, and if something should go wrong, the removable tank provides access to pipes and parts. If you want durability and space-saving functionality, a one-piece toilet is best. Conversely, if you are more concerned with budget, a two-piece design offers the same operation at a lower cost.

The Shape of the Bowl
Toilets offer three different bowl shapes designed to provide comfort and save space. A round-front bowl (or plain bowl) saves the most space, and it is child-friendly. Second, an elongated bowl has an oval shape to provide additional comfort for adults, but they take up the most space. Third, and perhaps the most popular, is the compact elongated bowl. These are available in one-piece toilet designs, and they offer ample comfort along with a small profile.

Rough-In Size
Another important consideration is the rough-in size, or the distance between the wall behind the toilet and the outlet pipe. There are numerous sizes for fitting various rough-ins, including 10", 12", and 14". To measure the rough-in length, measure from bolt caps of the current toilet to the wall behind the toilet, but do not include the thickness of the baseboards.

Comfort Height
Comfort Height toilets are a little taller than their traditional counterparts are, and this makes it easier to sit and stand. Traditional toilets are 17" high or less when measured from the floor to the top of the seat, but a Comfort Height toilet measures up to 19" inches in height. When installed properly, these toilets are ADA compliant, as well.

Flushing Mechanisms
There are two different flushing mechanisms associated with toilets: gravity and assisted flush. A washdown gravity flush uses the force of gravity to send water through the rim of the toilet and through the outlet pipe, whereas a siphonic gravity flush uses the flow of water and the trapway itself to create a siphon action. An assisted flush toilet uses a small amount of electricity to expel the water from the tank to the bowl and out through the trapway.

Touchless Flush
Touchless flush toilets are popular in public settings, but more and more people are bringing them into their homes, as well. These work via a motion detection sensor that triggers the flushing mechanism automatically. It may flush either when it no longer detects your presence or when you wave your hand in front of a sensor. These are incredibly hygienic, and while you can purchase a toilet with the technology built in, you can convert your existing toilet using a special kit.

Gallons per Flush
Toilets are one of the largest consumers of water in any household, so it is important to choose a model that not only provides you with the flushing volume you need, but also the ability to conserve water with every flush. Water saving toilets use between 0.6 and 1.6 gallons per flush, and they come in assisted and gravity flush models.

Wall-Hung Toilets
These toilets are the perfect answer for tiny bathrooms because they offer a small footprint and a concealed tank. What's more, they are among some of the easiest toilets to clean since only the bowl is visible. A touchless flush system typically accompanies a wall-hung toilet.

Concealed or Skirted Trapways

No one likes to clean the toilet trapway since it is located under and behind the bowl. Toilets with concealed and skirted trapways exist for this reason; they make it easier to keep the bathroom clean and sanitary. Skirted trapways provide a clean line from the front of the toilet to the back of the tank whereas concealed trapways have a smooth surface only at the back of the toilet.

Popular Toilets for Sale at Faucet Depot

One-Piece Toilets

In a one-piece toilet, the bowl and tank are one piece rather than bolted together. The number one advantage is the elimination of potential leaks between the tank and the bowl. One of the most popular one-piece toilets is the TOTO UltraMax II, and it is available in several colors. This one features an elongated bowl for maximum comfort. Another is the Santa Rosa Toilet from Kohler, which provides a beautiful, contemporary space-saving design. Both of these work best in small to average-sized bathrooms.

Two-Piece Toilets
Two-piece toilets are the most common in homes around the country, and these consist of a separate tank and bowl held together by two or three bolts. They are easier to manage during installation, and it is possible to save money on repairs if either the bowl or the tank needs replaced. What's more, two-piece toilets are the more affordable of the two choices. One of the most popular is the TOTO Connelly, which offers a regal look in several colors along with an elongated bowl.

Compact Elongated
Compact elongated toilets are very popular in homes, particularly in small bathrooms. This is because the compact elongated bowl provides most of the comfort of a traditional elongated bowl in the same space as a round bowl. The bowl features an oval shape, and it has a much larger feel than a round bowl despite the fact that they are roughly the same size. Kohler's Santa Rosa one-piece toilet boasts the compact elongated style.

Wall Mount Toilets
Public restrooms are popular places for wall mount toilets because this toilet style maximizes public restroom real estate and is very easy to clean. The tank for these toilets is located behind the wall, and the flushing mechanism is usually automatic. The touchless flush gives peace of mind to patrons. This technology is also available for home use in models such as Kohler's Veil. The simple design is elegant and refined, and the compact elongated bowl provides comfort while saving space.

10" Rough-In Toilets
10" rough-in toilets are often some of the smallest, and this means that your selection in hardware and home improvement stores will likely be quite limited. The 10" is measured from the outlet pipe to the wall behind the toilet, and the longer the rough-in length, the larger the toilet in most cases. The Eco Drake model from TOTO gives you simple, beautiful style in the hard-to-find 10" measurement.

14" Rough-In Toilets
While 10" rough-in sizes correlate with smaller toilets, the 14" size is common among larger toilets. Again, this is not a common size and it can be hard to find a good selection in home improvement stores. An outstanding choice is the Highline from Kohler. The raised tank and innovative 1.28-gallon flush provide beauty and water conservation in one.

Comfort Height Toilets
Although the rim of most toilets tops out at 17" from the floor, a Comfort Height toilet offers up to two additional inches. People who have back problems or certain medical conditions find that these extra inches help them when it comes to sitting down and standing up. There are many Comfort Height toilets available, and one of these is the Persuade from Kohler. It has a very modern aesthetic appeal and boasts a dual-flush mechanism for those who are concerned about saving water.

Touchless Toilets
Touchless toilets use motion sensors to trigger the flushing mechanism, and this may occur in one of two ways. Some toilets after the user leaves the area; others flush when the user waves his or her hand in front of the sensor. This prevents the spread of germs and keeps the fingerprints at bay. Kohler's Cimarron model looks and feels just like a traditional elongated bowl toilet, but instead of a standard flushing mechanism, there is a motion sensor in the tank lid. This keeps the toilet and the bathroom free of germs.

Dual Flush Toilets
The benefits of low-flow toilets are many; they save half a gallon or more of water per flush when compared to their traditional counterparts. However, there are times when more flush volume is desirable, and that is where a dual flush toilet comes in. These provide two separate flushing mechanisms that each allow for a different volume of water. Thus, it is possible to choose the volume with every single flush. One of the best is the Kohler Wellworth toilet with its beautiful modern design and choice between 1.1 and 1.6 gallon flush capacities.

Concealed or Skirted Trapways
A concealed or skirted trapway makes the toilet easier to clean from front to back, and many find the streamlined look more sophisticated. In a traditional toilet, the exposed trapway is behind the bowl, and it is often difficult to reach when it comes to cleaning especially in tight spaces where there are walls on either side of the bowl. A concealed trapway toilet has a smooth surface at the back that essentially covers the trapway. A skirted toilet, on the other hand, provide a clean, sleek line from front to back, and from the top of the tank to the floor, making it easy to clean.

Gravity Flush Toilets
Most of the toilets found in homes are of the gravity flush variety. When the handle is pushed, the force of gravity allows the water to flow down from the tank and into the bowl, sweeping the contents of the bowl down into the trapway and out into the sewer drain. Then, the tank refills itself with a small water line until a float reaches a predetermined height and shuts off the flow. However, if the float is set too high or fails, an overflow tube is in place to drain excess water, preventing potential floods.

Assisted Flush Toilets
An assisted-flush toilet makes use of an electrical pump of sorts that combines with gravity to provide a more forceful flush. These types of toilets may use a pump alone or an air compressor to add force to the flush. Although they are more expensive in terms of initial cost and repair, and even though they do use a small amount of electricity with every flush, they help to reduce water consumption by allowing a forceful flush with 1.1 to 1.4 gallons of water as opposed to the standard 1.6-gallon tanks.

HET/WaterSense Toilets
HET and WaterSense Certified toilets meet a very strict set of guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency in terms of water consumption. Older toilets manufactured before 1994 use up to six gallons of water per flush, and toilets manufactured after 1994 can use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. WaterSense and HET toilets take things a step further by reducing the amount of water to 1.28 gallons per flush and sometimes even less. All of this is accomplished by simple design changes and technologies. One of the most popular WaterSense certified toilets available today is the Cimarron from Kohler. It uses 1.28 gallons of water per flush and provides Comfort Height with an elongated bowl. Another is the Eco Drake from TOTO, which also uses 1.28 gallons per flush but offers a standard size and appearance with its two-piece design.

Siphonic vs. Washdown
A siphonic toilet creates a vacuum effect with water that pulls waste down through the trapway and out into the drain. There are two types of siphonic flushes: the gravity flush and the assisted flush. This is the most common flushing system in the United States. On the other hand, a washdown toilet has a larger trapway than usual, and it uses the sheer force of gravity to move waste through the trapway. These are less susceptible to clogs, but the flushing power is minimal.

Macerating Toilets
A macerating toilet takes waste disposal a step further by incorporating a motorized blade into a tank placed on the floor behind the toilet bowl. The tank's blades reduce all solid waste, including paper, to a liquefied slurry that is easier to flush into the sewer system. While most applications do not require the use of a macerating toilet, they come in very handy when waste must travel uphill to reach the sewer. Thus, toilets installed in basements or at the bottoms of slopes benefit from this design. The most popular macerating toilet on the market today is the SANIACCESS3 from Saniflo. It comes in four distinct parts purchased separately or together.

Bidet Seats
Bidet seats are popular in Europe, Asia, and other developed parts of the world, but they are not quite as common in the United States. A bidet uses a gentle stream of water to cleanse the part of the body exposed to the toilet after use, providing a hygienic alternative that reduces paper consumption. A bidet uses very little water, and retrofits are easy. Kohler offers the C3 125, one of the most popular bidet seats in America. Controls on the side of the seat allow the user to control water pressure, temperature, and pulsating motions. It also comes with a heated seat and an adjustable warm air outlet for drying. Another option is the TOTO Washlet, which offers outstanding controls for three spray settings, water and seat temperature, and more. It even comes with a self-cleaning water wand.