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Everyone needs one, so you may think that all toilets are the same. But anyone who has bought a toilet can attest to the variety of models available. While the basic function is almost universal, the features and technology vary from model to model. Size, height, bowl shape, and style may depend on the layout and space available in your bathroom. Special features, such as a bidet seat, flushing technology, noise level, or water usage can be a lifestyle choice meant to elevate the experience of using the commode.
The appearance of your toilet can also have an impact on the overall look of your bathroom space. Consider all of your bathroom needs before deciding on the best model for you.
Here are the best toilets to take care of your waste easily and effectively.
Best Overall: American Standard Mainstream WaterSense Elongated Toilet
Dimensions: 29.27 x 18 x 29.87 inches | Toilet Tyle: Two-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Single flush | Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Long history of company quality
Uses less water
Repair parts easily available
American Standard has been in the toilet-making business for over 140 years and all of their models are great performers. The Mainstream WaterSense toilet has a powerwash rim to clean the bowl with each flush, uses less water than many other models, and is easy to install and repair. American Standard repair parts and seats are easy to find, so if you do need to repair the toilet or replace parts in the future, it won’t be a chore. It is available with an elongated seat or a round seat, both of which are reasonably priced. While it’s not the most decorative toilet, it looks modern and blends into the background of your bathroom decor.
Best Budget: Delta Foundations 2-Piece Toilet
Dimensions: 29.25 x 17.48 x 31.50 inches | Toilet Tyle: Two-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Single flush | Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Uses less water
Available in elongated or round bowl
Small flush handle
The Foundations 2-Piece toilet from Delta offers great performance for a budget-friendly price. It uses less water than some other toilets, resulting in even greater savings as you use it. The flush handle, located on the front of the reservoir tank, is small and a little flimsy, but still operates effectively.
Best Two-Piece: American Standard Cadet 3 FloWise Toilet
Dimensions: 30.25 x 17.25 x 30.25 inches | Toilet Tyle: Two-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Single flush | Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Less water use
Another great model from popular toilet retailer American Standard is the Cadet 3 FloWise. It is a two-piece toilet but includes many of the top features that consumers want in any toilet. It uses less water but still maintains a shiny bowl interior due to the EverClean technology that keeps mold, mildew, and stains from accumulating. It also features a slow-close toilet seat to ensure that the noise from a dropped toilet lid doesn’t interfere with your home’s ambiance. The handle can sometimes be a little bit jiggly and require that you hold it down for a prolonged time to adequately flush.
Best One-Piece: Kohler Santa Rosa WaterSense 1-Piece Toilet
Dimensions: 27.75 x 18.25 x 28.18inches | Toilet Tyle: One-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Single flush | Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
One-piece continuous construction
360-degree rinse with each flush
One-piece toilets are a great solution for those who want fewer cracks and crevices to clean in their bathroom. With continuous construction from the tank to the bowl, the Kohler Santa Rosa model looks modern, has a slow-close lid, saves space compared to two-piece toilets, and uses a low amount of water with each flush. The AquaPiston canister delivers water into the bowl from a full 360-degrees while still being easy to flush with the handle. This is a pricier toilet than its two-piece competitors, while only offering a few special features.
Best Elongated: American Standard Champion 4 MAX Elongated Toilet
Dimensions: 30.25 x 17.37 x 31.12 inches | Toilet Tyle: Two-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Single flush | Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Uses less water
Mold, mildew, and stain resistant
For one of the most top-of-the-line toilets available, consider the Champion line from American Standard. The Champion 4 MAX cleans the bowl as it flushes while still using less water than many other toilets. The powerful flush reduces the potential for clogs, which means you won’t need to deal with plungers or plumbers very often. The surface material in the bowl also fights against mold, mildew, and stains. This is an expensive model, however, so consider if it is the right investment for your bathroom. Opt for the included slow-close seat if possible.
Best Round: Kohler Highline Arc Comfort Height The Complete Solution Toilet
Dimensions: 27.75 x 18.06 x 30.37 inches | Toilet Tyle: Two-piece | Bowl Shape: Round | Flush Type: Single flush | Gallons Per Flush: 1.28 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Less water use
A little bit expensive
Replacement parts can be hard to find
Round toilets tend to look less formal than their elongated counterparts, but this elegant model from Kohler still elevates your space. With a flared tank, soft-close seat, and crisp white details, it is attractive without taking up a lot of space. The performance is equally impressive, with low water use, powerful flushing, and easy installation that promises to reduce leaks. Kohler toilets do tend to be more expensive and replacement parts are sometimes harder to find than some other brands.
Best With Bidet: TOTO Carlyle II Washlet Toilet
Dimensions: 28.25 x 16.50 x 28.75 inches | Toilet Tyle: One-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Tornado | Gallons Per Flush: 1 | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Adjustable temperature and pressure bidet
Heated air dryer
Uses least water
If you are looking for a toilet with a bidet to keep everything clean while cutting down on your toilet paper use, the Carlyle II Washlet toilet combines a bidet seat with a high-performance toilet. It has a bidet feature with a rear cleanse and front cleanse with adjustable temperature and pressure. It also includes a heated seat, deodorizer, warm air dryer, and self-cleaning wand. It has a relatively high price tag, but it's still one of the more affordable bidet toilets from TOTO. The super-low water use per flush does help cut down on usage costs a little bit.
Best with Dual Flush: TOTO Drake 2-Piece Dual Flush Toilet
Dimensions: 28 x 19.87 x 28.5 inches | Toilet Tyle: Two-piece | Bowl Shape: Elongated | Flush Type: Dual | Gallons Per Flush: 1.6 GPF or 0.8 GPF | Rough-In Size: 12 inches
Two flush options
360-degree rinse with flush
Cefiontect finish prevents sticking
Complex install and repair
Seat not included
For maximum water conservation, a dual flush toilet that uses less water for easily flushed usage is the way to go. The Drake 2-Piece Dual Flush Toilet from TOTO has 1.6 gallons per flush and 0.8 gallons per flush options. All you need to do to control the dual flush is choose which way to pull the handle. The tornado flush provides 360-degrees of water output and the cefiontect (ceramic glaze) finish prevents anything from sticking. There are five neutral color options, but the black finish is not available with cefiontect. This is a more expensive toilet to install considering you also have to pay for a seat separately and repairs can be more costly, but using less water can help offset those costs.
Our top pick is the American Standard Mainstream WaterSense Elongated Toilet (view at Lowe’s). It is a well-made product from a company with a long history of making great toilets, available for a good price, and includes all of the features that you need to make your bathroom look and function well. For an option with more features, the TOTO Drake 2-Piece Dual Flush Toilet (view at TOTO) provides great water usage and a special finish to keep your toilet bowl sparkling clean.
What to Look for in a Toilet
The first thing to take into account when shopping for a new toilet is its size. If you’re replacing an existing toilet, you’ll want to figure out its “rough-in” measurement, or the distance from the wall to the floor drain.
The standard distance is 12 inches, but you may have 10 inches or 14 inches rough-in if you live in an older home. This measurement will help you choose an appropriate-sized toilet that can easily be installed with your existing plumbing.
There are a few styles of toilet you’ll likely encounter as you shop. Perhaps most common is the two-piece toilet, where the bowl is separate from the tank and must be bolted on during installation.
There are also one-piece toilets, which come as one seamless piece. This style tends to be more expensive, but many people find they are easier to clean.
Additionally, there are wall-mounted toilets, which provide a sleek, modern look. However, this style is more complex to install, requiring additional bracing, as well as plumbing modifications if you’re switching from a “standard” toilet.
On a standard toilet, the rim is 14 or 15 inches off the ground. However, there are also models where the rim is 17 to 19 inches, and this style is often marketed as a “comfort height” toilet because the added height makes them easier to sit on and get off.
If someone in your home has limited mobility, you’ll want to look for a model approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as these toilets have a rim that’s at least 16.5 inches off the ground, making them more accessible.
The majority of toilets use a gravity-flush system, as outlined in the intro, to force water and its contents out of the bowl. This type of flushing system is quiet and requires little maintenance, which is why it’s such a popular option.
However, there are newer styles of flushing systems, as well. For instance, you may come across pressure-assisted flushing technology, where pressurized air forces water into the bowl. There are also dual-flush toilets, where you can choose between a full or partial flush, depending on what you’re emptying from the bowl.
These newer styles each offer their own benefits, but keep in mind that they’re typically more expensive and can require more maintenance.
Today, laws dictate that toilets can’t use more than 1.6 gallons of water with each flush, so you don’t need to worry that your new toilet will be wasting water.
However, there are also high-efficiency toilets that only use around 1.1 or 1.2 gallons per flush, conserving even more water. These high-efficiency products are often identified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s “WaterSense” label.
Many people don’t even realize there are different shaped toilet bowls until they’re shopping for one! However, it is a big choice you’ll have to make when buying a new toilet. Today, you’ll find two common toilet bowl shapes as you browse various products. Elongated bowls are more of an oval shape, and they’re marketed as more comfortable to sit on. Round bowls, on the other hand, are a few inches shorter, making them ideal for small bathrooms.
If your new toilet is going to be installed somewhere that noise is a problem—such as next to your bedroom or your baby’s nursery—you’ll definitely want to consider how loud it is.
In general, gravity-flush systems are the quietest, and some toilets have special fill valves that are designed to be quieter. Additionally, if noise is a concern, you’ll want to get a quiet-close lid, which prevents it from slamming shut.
Once you’ve figured out the more technical aspects, you’ll also want to consider the appearance of your new toilet and how it will fit into your bathroom. The most common toilet color is white, but you can also find models that are black, gray, tan, or even bold colors like pink or yellow.
Additionally, you have options when it comes to the trapways of a toilet, or the pipe bends behind the toilet bowl. If you choose a model with visible trapways, you’ll be able to see the bends and have to clean them. To save yourself a little bit of effort with cleaning and create a sleeker look, you may want to consider a toilet with concealed or skirted trapways, where these bends are covered up.
As with pretty much any household fixture, you can find toilets with “special” features—for an additional cost.
For instance, there are models with touchless flushing, where you simply wave your hand to activate the flush. Other advanced features include heated seats (yes, really), overflow protection, night lights, bidet capabilities, self-cleaning, and more. However, these options will not only increase the initial cost of your toilet, but they may require increased maintenance over the life of the fixture.
How should you measure for a new toilet?
The most important measurement when shopping for a toilet is the rough-in, which is the distance between the wall behind the toilet and the center of the drainpipe or bolts that hold the toilet to the floor. The standard rough-in size is 12 inches, but older homes may have 10- or 14-inch rough-ins, which require specialty toilets. You’ll also want to measure the amount of vertical and horizontal space available so you know how large your new toilet can be.
How do you install a new toilet?
To install a toilet, you’ll start by removing your old toilet and repairing or replacing the flange, if needed. The next step is to test-fit your new toilet by placing it on top of the flange to make sure the bolts align with the holes in the base and that the unit sits level. From here, you’ll need to apply a new wax ring to the horn, then you can set the toilet in place, tighten the nuts, and finally connect the water supply tube.
What’s the best way to unclog a toilet?
Most toilet clogs can be fixed using a plunger—but you’ll need a toilet plunger (also called a flanged plunger or closet plunger), not a cup plunger. To unclog your toilet, insert the plunger into the toilet bowl at an angle, allowing it to fill with water, and then fit the cup over the drain opening in the bottom of the bowl. From here, you’ll want to push down on the plunger with swift thrusts, creating enough pressure to loosen the obstruction. Most clogs can be removed with five or six thrusts, as long as you have a good seal.
How often should you clean your toilet?
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, who has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. She loves to find products that will add value and performance to every room of her home. Katie has renovated three homes with a total of eight bathrooms.