Whether you’re renovating your main bathroom, installing a second bathroom, or simply replacing an aged (or broken/leaking) toilet, the first question is ‘What’s the best toilet to buy?’.
It might seem pretty straightforward; a toilet is a toilet is a toilet, after all. But…there are a few things to think about to ensure that you make the best choice for you, and your family.
What’s The Best Toilet To Buy?
There are a number of considerations to think about when asking ‘What’s the best toilet to buy?’. There’s the obvious ‘how much money do you want to spend’ and ‘how much room do you have’, but also other features or functionality in various toilet models that might make a difference to the selection you make.
Here are some of the most important things to think about when choosing the next toilet for your family.
Click here to quickly jump to our reviews for ‘What’s the best toilet to buy’.
One of the first, and most important considerations (especially here at Bargain Bathroom), is budget. Pricing of this basic feature runs the gamut from under $200 for a simple model up to thousands of dollars for a ‘smart’ toilet that opens the lid as it senses you approaching, warms the seat, washes and dries you, and flushes automatically too.
Consider the cost of a new toilet in the whole budget of your plan, and include any required hardware, a toilet seat (if not included in the toilet kit), and the wax/silicone ring to seal the toilet to the floor.
If it’s a DIY project then there won’t be any labour costs; just your time to factor in. If hiring a plumber, be sure to fully describe the project and get a few quotes and recommendations before making a final decision. You want to be sure that the job is done exactly as you would like.
A simple installation likely won’t require any changes to existing bathroom features but, if you need to reconfigure piping, or cabinetry, or tiling, then you’ll need to include these costs in your budget also.
Nailing down a budget, and sticking to it, can mean a more successful project that you’ll be happier with in the long run.
There’s more to a toilet than a bowl, a tank, and a flushing mechanism; well, those are the basics, but there’s also how it looks to consider. The design of a toilet impacts how it will fit into the design of your bathroom. Whether you’re looking for a traditional look, a sleek modern aesthetic, or a luxurious feel; the design of the toilet fixture will make a difference.
One Piece or Two Piece Toilet
Two-piece toilets are definitely the more traditional option, while one-piece toilets offer a cleaner, more modern, design. Functionally, they perform the same although the two-piece models are usually available at a lower price point.
One-piece toilets have cleaner lines because they are one complete unit – meaning there is no separation of the toilet bowl and the tank, allowing your eye to follow the design lines without interruption. This also means there is no chance of leakage at this point, because there is no gasket or seal to degrade causing water to leak through.
As mentioned, two-piece toilets are generally more affordable and are still very popular meaning that a two-piece toilet will fit into most modern designed bathrooms also.
Elongated Toilet vs Round Toilet
The shape of the toilet bowl impacts not only the appearance of the toilet, but also the size, and the comfort.
- Size. Round toilets – where the shape of the toilet bowl is circular, rather than oblong – tend to be smaller in size. The dimensions of the toilet from the back to the front are shorter, meaning that round toilets take up less space – definitely an advantage if you’re working with a small bathroom.
- Comfort. Elongated toilets are thought to be more comfortable than round toilets. The oblong shape matches body proportions more closely allowing for a more comfortable sit. Men, children, and those with limited mobility tend to prefer an elongated toilet design.
- Appearance. It’s unlikely that anyone really thinks about the shape of a toilet when looking at a bathroom design. It’s not an obvious distinction, but is one that can subtly affect how the room looks. Elongated toilets are generally considered more modern and lend to a more luxurious aesthetic given their generous proportions.
Most manufacturers offer toilets in both round and elongated shapes. Be sure to select the correct option when ordering.
Visible Trap, Concealed Trap, or Skirted
The trap refers to the lower third of the toilet; the part that is below the toilet bowl. The trapway is the interior plumbing of the toilet – a folding in the piping that literally traps water so that sewer gas doesn’t escape into the toilet, and the bathroom.
- Visible Trap. These toilets have a base that is molded around the trap so you can see the outline of its shape. It is what is traditional in most toilet designs up until recently. The downside of this design is that they are difficult to clean. The many nooks and crannies easily hide dirt and grime and it can be difficult to reach to clean effectively.
- Concealed Trap. Toilets with a concealed trap still have a narrower rear than the toilet bowl base in the front, but the trap itself is concealed and hidden within the ceramic or porcelain of the toilet. This is a more modern look and makes it easier to clean also as there are no nooks and crannies to try to get into.
- Skirted. A skirted design refers to the entire base of the toilet being concealed. It provides a sleek, modern design and really elevates the toilet fixture to being included as a design element in a bathroom. Cleaning a skirted toilet is the easiest of the bunch.
While the days of Avocado Green, Sky Blue, or Pink bathroom fixtures may be over (thank goodness!), color is still a consideration when choosing a toilet.
White is still, by and large, the most common color for a modern toilet with every manufacturer producing toilets at least in this one color. It’s generally what fits best in most bathroom designs and allows the lines and features of the toilet to stand out.
Beige, or off-white, is also a common color as it softens the appearance of the toilet and is available in many shades. Use caution with this selection though as a beige toilet can also make a bathroom appear dated – be sure that the style of the toilet matches the color, and the design of your room.
Black, or charcoal, is making a scene in bathroom designs lately. Considered a sophisticated choice, a charcoal or dark grey toilet can give a bathroom a true modern element.
While white, beige, and black may be the most common colors for toilets there are, of course, many shades within these color ranges. Be sure to check for the exact coloring of the toilet you choose to be sure it will match existing fixtures in your bathroom.
Dual Flush or Single Flush
Dual flush refers to the ability of a toilet user to choose between two types of flushes depending on the waste that is to be flushed away. Usually these types of toilets have a two sided button on the top of the toilet. Depressing one side of the button results in a low flow flush best used for liquid waste, while pressing the other side of the button allows for more water to enter the bowl when solid waste is to be flushed.
Single flush toilets are the most commonly available. One flush handle, and one flush option; although usually the flush can be controlled by either releasing the handle sooner, or holding it longer if desired.
While a dual flush toilet may be a little more expensive at the outset, it is thought that the water savings will surpass that over the life of the toilet. Plus it’s just better for the environment to use less water.
Fitting a new toilet involves more than just how it will look (and perform). One of the most important considerations is whether it will fit. If you’re renovating, or installing a new bathroom then you can design other elements around the toilet you choose but, if you’re replacing a toilet in an existing space you’ll want to be sure that the toilet you choose will fit into that space.
Standard Toilet Dimensions
- Width – measure the width from the widest part of the bowl to understand how much space the bowl part of the toilet will need. But don’t forget to also measure the width of the tank as it tends to be a bit wider and often needs to fit between cabinetry.
- Height – the overall height of the toilet is important if the toilet needs to fit underneath an existing countertop, or if you plan on building a countertop over top. Be especially careful of this if you’ve chosen a dual flush toilet model that typically has the flush button on the top of the tank.
- Seat Height – measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat, seat height can have an impact on comfort and usability for those with mobility issues. A higher toilet is recommended by the ADA to ensure that those with mobility issues can get on and off easily on their own.
- Rough In – understanding the rough-in measurement can go a long way to avoiding a headache when it comes to installation. This is measured from the wall behind the toilet (not the baseboard, but the wall itself) to the center of the rear bolt that is used to attach the toilet to the floor. If this measurement doesn’t match the ‘rough-in’ dimension of the toilet then the drains won’t line up and you won’t be able to install the toilet properly.
Gravity Fed Flush vs Pressure Assisted Flush
Most toilets are gravity fed; meaning they rely on gravity to push the water through the toilet bowl once it’s released from the tank by the flush handle. This means that the toilet isn’t relying on the water pressure in the pipes to provide the power. Usually the amount of water in the tank provides enough mass to get the water moving quickly enough to remove waste from the bowl.
This doesn’t mean that all gravity-fed toilets are the same though, as the pattern of that water movement can affect the performance of the flush. How the water enters the bowl, how it moves around the bowl, and how it ultimates leaves the bowl all have an effect on the performance of the toilet.
A pressure assisted flush toilets hold the water in the tank under pressure so that, when it’s released, it has a more powerful flushing action. As such, it uses less water as it’s not relying on the pressure of the water itself to provide the performance. Pressure assisted flush toilets are good for high use environments, where using less water is essential, or where the outer sewage system is not on level grade.
No Existing Plumbing?
Installing a bathroom in a basement, or a garage, or random back room means that there may not be any existing plumbing in place to support a toilet, and sink or shower. Luckily there is a solution for that.
Upflush toilets don’t require a traditional drain; they are plumbed directly into the house black water outflow instead. The upflush toilet system contains a macerating unit that essentially blends the waste and allows it to be discharged directly without requiring a floor drain. It’s even possible to attach a sink or shower drain to the pump system – allowing for a full bathroom to be installed where previously you may have not thought of!
Water Saving Toilet
Older model toilets are water guzzlers; typically using up to six (!) gallons of water per flush (gpf). Luckily, newer models of toilets have dramatically reduced that – often to as low as 1.28 gpf. Hopefully that’s one of the reasons you’re considering replacing your existing toilet.
Current federal regulations – set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – indicate that a toilet should only use 1.6 gpf. This is as much as a 60% decrease in water usage in a household over a year. Not only is this good for the environment, but also your pocketbook.
Look for the WaterSense Label as an indicator that a toilet meets, or exceeds, requirements as a water-efficient option.
Comfort Height Toilet
If members of your family are mobility-limited, or are aging, then a ‘comfort height’ toilet might be the right choice.
Typically toilets have a floor-to-toilet-seat height of 15″, but this can cause issues for those who may not be able to set themselves down, or get up, as easily. A ‘comfort height’ toilet meets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations with a floor-to-toilet-seat height of 17″ to 19″ making it more comfortable for those with mobility issues. While it might not yet be time to install safety bars, installing a more accessible toilet now would be future-proofing your home.
TOP PICK: Woodbridge T-001
Things to Like:
- Sleek, modern design; this toilet acts like a piece of furniture
- Dual Flush
- Siphon Flushing = Powerful and Quiet
- Installation hardware and instructions included
- Soft Close Seat
- Skirted design = easy to clean
This is our number one pick to answer the question ‘What’s the best toilet to buy?’. It ticks all the boxes and then some, proving to be a solid choice; one that perform well and last a lifetime.
This one-piece toilet has sleek, modern lines that will fit into any bathroom decor. The skirted design not only lends to the modern aesthetic, but also makes it ridiculously easy to clean; no nooks and crannies to try to reach! Dual flush functionality means even more water savings than the EPA regulations require, and the siphon flushing action means that performance is not compromised.
The price point, though, is the real selling feature. This model looks, acts, and is a high end toilet and yet the price is beyond reasonable. It’s worth checking out and making sure that it meets all your criteria. We’re betting it will.