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When you’re planning out your bathroom makeover, there’s a good chance the toilet is the last thing on your list of improvements. But second to the sink, it stands a good chance that the commode will be the most used item in the room. In addition to the size, shape and color, you’ll also want to consider how eco-friendly it is, including how much water it uses, and if you want any additional bells and whistles. We've researched the best options on the market to find a toilet that suits your needs and budget.
For an efficient toilet that is praised for its small footprint, ease of assembly, and excellent flushing system, we recommend the TOTO UltraMax II. At the top of the list of its appeal? The “tornado flush” system, which the manufacturer describes as “a hole-free rim design with dual-nozzles that creates a centrifugal washing action.” The results are no double flushing and less time spent scrubbing the bowl for you; that it’s a one-piece design also reduces that nooks and crannies that collect dirt and bacteria. The universal height is comfortable for the widest range of users, as is the elongated, 12-inch oval seat. The toilet is ADA compliant and meets the eco-friendly standards set by EPA WaterSense, and California’s CEC and CALGreen requirements.
Those who like to have choices will appreciate the dual flush option this Glacier Bay commode offers. The lighter flush option uses 1.1 gallons of water while the heavier flush uses 1.6 gallons, which is still far better than having to double flush as you might with other low-flow toilets. The one-piece toilet is easy to clean and made from white vitreous china, which is less prone to fading, cracking and abrasions than standard porcelain. It’s one of the most popular options at Home Depot, with thousands of positive reviews; many note that it’s easy to install and looks good, too.
The Kohler San Souci is a marvel of design and function. The sleek, round lines of the compact one-piece toilet speak for themselves, plus it’s compact enough to fit in smaller powder rooms or tight bathrooms. As for the function, it has a 1.28-gallon flush that save up to 16,500 gallons of water a year compared to a 3.5-gallon toilet, according to the manufacturer. But with an Aqua Piston canister that shoots water in from 360 degrees, the flush is still plenty powerful and effective. Lastly, the San Souci comes with the Grip-Tight Q3 seat that offers a soft close—finally, no middle of the night accidental slams.
The Kohler Wellworth toilet offers a classic design and superior performance. The elongated 12-inch seat and standard height match any number of bathroom styles, while the long rectangular handle is easy to grasp and use. You’ll also love its Class Five, best-in-class bowl cleanliness and powerful, yet quiet, flush that uses 1.6 gallons of water. One reviewer notes that the tank fills rapidly, which adds to its quiet performance. With three pre-installed tank bolts, the Wellworth is one of the simplest toilets to install and with the Kohler name, you can count on its being built to last.
This toilet has truly earned “the throne” nickname. With a heated seat, bidet function with four settings, high-speed instant heating of the water and drying function, doing your business has never been comfier or more pleasant. The Ove even cleans itself when you’re finished, plus it has built-in LED lighting for those middle-of-the-night nature calls. You can control the various functions, the temperatures and the water pressure from the remote control. Reviewers note that it can be tricky to install and, at 110 pounds, it’s a two-person job. The Ove does need to be hooked up to a power outlet.
Can a toilet be “life-changing?” According to one online reviewer, this Toto toilet with built-in bidet is. For starters, it has an auto-open/close lid that activates as you approach and a heated seat. The toilet uses ewater+ to clean the bidet wand and the bowl after every use, plus you can choose from the front and rear water washing with five adjustable temperature and pressure control options. The commode features tankless instant hot water heating, so you’ll never be left out in the cold, literally. When you’re finished, activate the button for the warm air dryer; it offers five choices of temperatures. The toilet also features a nightlight and automatic air deodorizer. The flush uses an impressively low 1 gallon of water.
Black toilets certainly look sophisticated, but they can be tricky to clean. That’s why you’ll want one with a strong flush like this Cimarron style from Kohler. It utilizes the Aqua Piston flush the brand is known for with 1.28 gallons of water per flush. It’s made of vitreous china that is less likely to fade than other materials. The elongated bowl and chair-height seating make this Cimarron commode one of the comfiest options available. Note that this toilet does not come with a seat; you’ll have to buy one separately. An impressive 81 percent of verified purchasers on Lowes recommend this toilet.
For an efficient and well-designed toilet, we recommend the Toto MS604114CEFG#01 UltraMax II (view at Home Depot). The universal height and 12-inch oval seat will be comfortable for most users. If you prefer a dual-flush toilet, though, the Glacier Bay Elongated All-in-One Toilet (view at Home Depot) is a best-selling option that offers two flush options so you can conserve water.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Toilet
Flushing toilets have been around since the 1800s—though variations of the device had existed for hundreds of years prior—created as a way to remove bodily waste from the house, without having to carry it out in a bucket. Today, toilets are a staple in bathrooms around the world, and while they might look roughly the same, there are a surprising number of options to choose from when purchasing a new toilet.
Toilets harness the power of gravity to remove waste from your home. When you press the handle or flush button, a part called the flapper, which is located in the tank behind the toilet, lifts up, allowing water to flow from the tank into the bowl. When the bowl is full enough, gravity causes the water and any contents to be sucked down into your septic system or sewer, and the fill valve then refills the tank with water. All of this happens in just a few seconds, and the toilet is then able to be used again.
While all toilets use this same general mechanism, there are many possible variations between products. For instance, you’ll discover toilets with different bowl shapes, flushing options, installation requirements and more. Depending on the style of toilet you choose, it can cost between $80 to $5,000 or more—and don’t forget to factor in the cost of installation, which is typically a few hundred dollars.
For guidance on choosing the right toilet for your needs, the following are some of the key considerations you should think about and the various types of toilets you’ll encounter as you shop.
What to Look for in a Toilet
There are several factors that differentiate toilet models, all of which can impact their comfort and functionality.
- Size: 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 a 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.
- Toilet Style: 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.
- Height: 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.
- Flushing Technology: 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.
- Water Usage: 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.
- Bowl Shape: When you sit down on a toilet, you probably don’t ever think to yourself, “Oh, this elongated bowl is just so comfortable.” 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.
- Noise Level: 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.
- Appearance: 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.
- Special Features: 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.
What Type of Toilet is Right for Me?
The following are the most common toilet styles that you’ll see when shopping.
- Two-Piece: As their name suggests, two-piece toilets are made up of two separate pieces. With this style, the water tank is detached from the bowl and base, and they must be bolted together during installation.
This is the most common type of toilet, and they’re generally more affordable than one-piece options. Some of the benefits include that it’s easy to find replacement parts for two-piece toilets and they’re easier to transport. However, many homeowners dislike that these models have more cracks and crevices to clean.
Two-piece toilets come at a wide variety of price points, starting as low as $100 and ranging up to several hundred.
- One-Piece: The other common toilet style is the one-piece. With this type of toilet, the tank and bowl are fused together to create a seamless look that many people find more visually appealing. Additionally, there are no crevices to clean, and these toilets are often smaller, saving valuable space in the bathroom.
The downsides of one-piece toilets is that they’re more cumbersome to move and require a more significant initial investment. Low-end models start at around $200, and high-end models with special features can cost several thousand.
- Wall Mounted: If you want to save space or create a modern look in your bathroom, a wall-mounted toilet might be an appealing option. There are several benefits to this type of toilet, but they come at an additional price, as well.
Wall-mounted toilets often take up less space than standard units, and they’re easier for people in wheelchairs to transition onto. Further, these toilets don’t have a base, so they’re easy to clean underneath.
However, there are downsides to wall-mounted toilets, too. For one, they’re often more expensive to purchase, starting at around $300, and installation is more complicated, as you need a thick, sturdy wall and plumbing that goes into the wall, not the floor.
- Round Bowl: Round bowl toilets are distinguishable by their circular rims. Because they are typically not as deep as elongated bowl toilets, they often have a shorter rough-in and are ideal for small spaces.
Round bowl toilets come in both two-piece, one-piece and wall-mounted styles, and you can likely find a model with many of the advanced features listed above. A basic round toilet can cost as low as $80, while high-end models can cost $500 or more.
- Elongated Bowl: The other common toilet shape is the elongated bowl, which is generally a few inches deeper. These toilets are said to provide a more comfortable sitting experience, and they often have a greater rough-in measurement to accommodate for their increased depth.
Today, there is a wide selection of toilets with elongated bowls, as they are the more popular of the two styles. You can find elongated bowls on two- and one-piece toilets, as well as on wall-mounted options. A low-end model will cost you $100 or less, while a high-end version can be several thousand dollars.
- Gravity-Feed: As mentioned, gravity-feed flushing systems are the most popular in modern toilets. Not only is this type of toilet quieter than other flushing systems, but it also can work with low water pressure. However, because these toilets rely on gravity to move waste through the pipes, they’re more prone to clogging.
Gravity-feed flushing systems are available on most all toilet styles, and they can cost as low as $80, ranging up into the hundreds for more advanced models.
- Pressure-Assisted: Pressure-assisted flushing systems supplement the power of gravity with pressurized air, pushing water and waste down the pipes with more force. As such, these toilets are less prone to clogging, making them popular among large families.
However, there are a few downsizes to pressure-assisted toilets, including a significantly noisier flush. Additionally, you’ll need a higher water pressure to ensure this type of toilet works properly. Pressure-assisted toilets are typically on the more expensive side, starting at around $300.
- Dual-Flush: Dual-flush toilets are a great option for those who are eco-conscious and want to conserve water at home. These models have two flush settings: a “full” flush for solid waste, and a “partial” flush for liquids. In general, the full flush setting uses around 1.6 gallons of water, while the partial setting uses around 1 gallon.
Because they have two flush settings, this style of toilet often has button controls as opposed to a standard handle, and they come in both two- and one-piece designs. As an added bonus, these toilets aren’t as pricey as you might think! A standard model can cost you less than $100.
- Waterless: If you want to install a toilet in a location that lacks traditional plumbing, you may need to look into a waterless toilet. These are popular options for remote cabins, barns, RVs, and more.
There are two common types of waterless toilets: bagging and composting. With new bagging toilets, any waste is sealed into an airtight bag when you “flush” and you simply throw the bags away periodically. On the other hand, composting toilets are connected to a separate bin where waste accumulates, and over time, the organic material breaks down and can then be used as fertilizer.
Because they’re a niche item, waterless toilets are significantly more expensive than standard models, starting at around $500.
- Smart: For a more luxurious bathroom experience, you may want to look for a “smart” toilet. These high-end toilets are typically one-piece styles, and they come equipped with a host of luxury features. A few common options include heated seats, built-in bidets, automatic lids, touchless flushing, and more.
As you might expect, these high-end models don’t come cheap, starting at around $1,000. Keep in mind that many of the features are powered by electricity, so you may need to plug it into an outlet.
As you shop for a toilet, you’ll likely encounter several popular brands. Here’s what you should know about each.
- KOHLER: A well-known brand for all things bathroom and kitchen, KOHLER offers a huge selection of toilets, ranging from no-frill two-piece options to high-end “intelligent” toilets. This brand is known for its minimalistic, modern designs, and the majority of its products are well-received by consumers.
- American Standard: Another highly-rated toilet brand is American Standard, which offers hundreds of toilet models at affordable prices. This brand is known for its traditional two-piece toilets, but you can also find more modern options from the company, as well.
- Delta: While this brand doesn’t offer as many products, Delta toilets are some of the most highly-rated products across the board. When browsing Delta’s selection, you’ll find high-quality two-piece models in traditional styles, as well as cool toilet lids with built-in night lights.
- TOTO: No matter your budget when shopping for a toilet, you’ll likely be able to find an option that suits your needs from TOTO. Known for its sleek one-piece toilets, this brand offers a wide selection and recieves consistently top marks from buyers.
There are a variety of accessories you might choose to purchase along with your new toilet, most common among which is a different seat and lid. The majority of toilets come with a standard seat and lid, but many homeowners want to upgrade to a seat that’s more comfortable, stylish and/or functional. A few examples of upgraded toilet seats include slow-close lids, which prevent slamming, and wooden seats, which tend to be a little warmer and more durable than plastic options.
Additionally, you may want attachments for you new toilet, such as a night light, bidet or self-cleaning option. Many of these accessories are surprisingly affordable and can increase the functionality of your new toilet.