Choosing A Toilet

There's likely no item in your house that gets used as much as the toilet, but for all its usage, it is likely also the most under appreciated. In fact, many people think a toilet is a toilet is a toilet, but that's not really true. No other household item is as important to your health and comfort, so it's important to know how to make a good choice.

Style/installation type

  • Two-piece toilets

    As the name conveys, a two-piece toilets come in two parts: a bowl piece that sits on the floor over the drain and a separate upright tank. These often cost less than one-piece toilets, and they are generally easier to repair because the separate pieces improve accessibility to the internal workings.

  • One-piece toilets

    One-piece toilets are generally lower and sleeker, and their seamless tank and bowl make them easier to clean. These often have more complex mechanisms that can add to the cost.

  • Wall-hung toilets

    These models feature a bowl that hangs from the wall, while the tank is mounted behind that wall. Their lower hardware profile gives them a sleek look and makes them easy to clean, but keep in mind that the wall must be strong enough to support the bowl, and future maintenance may require reopening the wall.

Bowl types

  • Round bowls

    Round bowls can save space in smaller bathrooms, as their maximum reach is around 28 inches from the wall. Overall, they are usually a little less expensive than elongated bowls.

  • Elongated bowls

    These bowls can measure up to 31 inches from the wall, and their pear shape lends itself to a more comfortable sitting position..

Flushing technology

By law, toilets sold in the United States can only use 1.6 gallons of water, but there are a few different ways to get there. If you want to know how a particular toilet measures up, you can compare independent test results of its flushing performance.

  • Gravity

    This type of flush uses the weight of the water to build flushing pressure. They are generally quieter than toilets with a pressure assist.

  • Pressure

    The pressure-assisted flush uses a pressurized air tank to give the water more force. It's noisier than a gravity flush, but it is often more water efficient and offers better waste removal.

  • Dual flush

    These units typically feature a split plunger-style flush mechanism on top of the tank. Pushing one button releases 0.9 gallons of water (for liquid waste) and pushing the second button nearly doubles the flow to 1.6 gallons (for solid waste).

Bowl Height

Although standard toilet fixtures measure 14 inches in height, many manufacturers now offer toilets that measure up to 17 inches. These taller toilets are ADA compliant, and they are often more comfortable as they make sitting down and standing up easier, which is especially important for aging in place.


Depending on your budget, you can add features to your toilet to make using the bathroom just a little more comfortable. For example, you may want to a consider toilet seat that provides a bidet function, a soft-closing toilet seat, or a heated seat. And don't forget to make sure your tank lever matches the rest of the accessories in your bathroom!