How to Choose a Toilet

Luxury is not typically associated with toilets, but innovative design, evolving technologies and unique features have moved the toilet from simple bathroom necessity to a stylish focal point.

Still, there are details to consider before shopping for a new fixture, and measuring the rough-in, which is the distance between the wall and the center of the bolts of the existing toilet, is probably one of the most important numbers a homeowner will need.

eFaucets can show you how to replace your toilet with a new one here.

There’s also the flush, the seat height, shape of the bowl and whether or not a one- or two-piece toilet will get the job done for the right price.

It’s all in the flush

Toilet flushing now uses a lot less water than just 20 years ago; as low as .8 gallons per flush compared to 3.5 gallons per flush. The Environmental Protection Agency implemented the change to help conserve water.

Shoppers can choose from dual flush toilets – low-flow and high-flow; low-flow; or gravity flush systems:

  • Dual flush – One water level for liquid waste and a higher level for solid waste.
  • Low-flow – Between .8 and 1.6 gallons per flush every time.
  • Gravity – Water and gravity work together to generate the flush.

The right height

Toilet manufacturers make toilets in basically two heights; standard and comfort. The standard height is either 14 or 15 inches while the comfort height toilet mimics a typical chair at 17 to 19 inches. A taller seat height makes it easier to get on and off the toilet and is fast becoming an industry norm.

What shape is your bowl?

Toilet bowls can be round or elongated, and the choice usually comes down to space. Both shapes are found on toilets of varying styles, but round is better for smaller bathrooms where space is more of an issue while elongated is the most popular shape primarily because of comfort.

One piece or two?

There are benefits to having a one-piece toilet over a two-piece fixture like easier cleaning and more stability, but a one-piece toilet can be more expensive than its two-piece counterpart.

The main difference is in how the toilets look. A one-piece unit is more compact and can have a sleeker design. Wall-mounted units are one-piece, and more modern toilets with integrated technologies like the Kohler Numi are also one-piece designs.

Two-piece toilets can also boast some pretty cool features like touchless flush and remain the most popular configuration on the market. Because the tank and the bowl are separate, if one or the other breaks or leaks, you only need to replace the appropriate piece. 

Toilet seats

Most one-piece models include the toilet seat, but shoppers should be prepared to buy a toilet seat if they choose a two-piece model.

The good news is that there really isn’t any guess work; buying a seat from the same manufacturer as the toilet in the same shape – elongated or round – means the right fit every time. If, however, you need a replacement seat, Bemis makes them in nearly every size and color for both round and elongated toilets.

Replacing your toilet seat is a pretty simple task; just be sure you measure it from front-to-back and from side-to-side at its widest point. For a full explanation, follow our “How to” guide here.


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