Don't Buy the Wrong Toilet: 11 Features to Avoid

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Buying a new toilet may seem like a pretty straightforward proposition: Head to Home Depot, find something on sale, hand over your credit card and wait for delivery. What happens then? Possibly, you spend the next decade with a noisy, uncomfortable, peach-colored commode that blocks your bathroom door. Steer clear of toilet bummers by avoiding these 10 features:

  • 01 of 11

    Noisy Flusher

    Photo © Niagara Conservation

    There are plenty of positive things to say about pressure-assisted toilets, which account for half of all toilets purchased, according to Consumer Reports.

    Their brawny flushing action is water-efficient, helps keep the bowl clean and virtually eliminates clogs. But that high-octane power comes with a price: some pressure-assisted toilets sound like jet engines as they forcefully perform their job.

    Fortunately, the technology continues to improve as manufacturers tinker with noise control solutions. One model to consider is Niagara Conservation's Stealth Toilet, which — thanks to a patented hydraulic system — provides a strong, effective flush that is quieter than its competition.

  • 02 of 11

    Non-Standard Replacement Parts

    Duravit's Vero rectangular toilet is super stylish, but its parts may be expensive to replace.

    Some folks rail against anything that's merely ordinary, and that can include the hum-drum appearance of the average toilet. But before you plunk down your hard-earned cash for a chill European model with a custom seat and unusual innards, think about the cost of replacing those parts when they wear out – and they will.

    Your bathroom remodeling budget will be better spent on a high-quality showerhead or fancy bath towels.

  • 03 of 11

    Slamming Lid

    Photo © American Standard

    A toilet lid that bangs closed like a brick is one of those small annoyances that can loom large when it's the middle of the night or there are little ones around.

    Look for a toilet with a slow-drop seat that closes gradually, sparing your ears as well as tiny fingers. Some slow-close seats, like the one on Porcher's Veneto, are also removable, which makes cleaning a snap.

  • 04 of 11

    Any Color Other Than White

    © Ben Ryerson / Getty Images

    Remember harvest gold and avocado green? These hues were ubiquitous in American kitchens and baths in the 1970's, where their appeal eventually wore thin. The same holds true for today's crop of colored toilets.

    What feels fresh to you now will likely seem dated in five or ten years and could even make your home harder to sell. It's best to buy white or bisque fixtures that never go out of style.

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.
  • 05 of 11

    Too Long

    Eljer's Diplomat features an elongated bowl that fits in the same space as a round toilet.

    Pull out your measuring tape before you switch from a standard round toilet to one with an elongated bowl. While many people appreciate their comfort, elongated models can eat up two extra inches of space in your bathroom, potentially blocking drawers, cabinets or the door.

    Compact models like Eljer's Diplomat are a happy solution. The Diplomat features an elongated rim that uses the same amount of space as a round front toilet.

  • 06 of 11

    Tacky Seat

    High Angle View Of Commode
    Darryl Penny / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Just as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, one person's tacky toilet seat may be another's objet d'art. But there are some toilet seats that everyone knows are just plain ugly. Please don't buy one of those, not even for laughs.

  • 07 of 11

    Too High

    American Standard's Tropic toilet features a moderate 16.5 inch rim height.

    Today's so-called "comfort height" or "right height" toilets feature bowls that are 17 to 19 inches high, as compared to the standard 15 inches of a regular toilet. The higher bowl height can be good for the knees and back and can offer real advantages to taller folks, the elderly and people with mobility problems. But comfort height isn't comfortable for everyone.

    Some health experts claim that the chair-like posture inhibits natural functioning. And if you're short or there are small children in your household, a right-height toilet may not be your best bet. It's a good idea to sit on the model you're considering before you buy it to make sure it suits your needs.

  • 08 of 11

    Too Cheap

    Glacier Bay high-efficiency dual-flush toilet sells at Home Depot for $107.

    Yes, it's possible to buy a toilet for less than $100. But since you'll probably live with it for years, the money you save now won't mean much later when inferior parts and workmanship — not to mention weak flushing capability — cause all sorts of headaches.

    According to Family Handyman, you should spend between $100 to $500 for a gravity toilet and $225 to $600 for a pressure-assist model.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.
  • 09 of 11

    Sweating Tank

    Kohler's pressure-assisted San Raphael's separate water tank eliminates "sweating."

    A sweating toilet tank is messy and unsightly. You can avoid the problem by purchasing a pressure-assisted toilet.

    These models hold water within an inner tank, which keeps dampness away from the exterior. Some gravity toilets also feature insulated tanks, although these models can cost an additional $50 to $100.

  • 10 of 11

    Tough to Clean

    Interior of bathroom in cold tone
    stocknroll / Getty Images

    Because they feature a separate bowl and tank, traditional two-piece toilets often have all sorts of nooks and crannies that can be a pain to keep clean. If you really hate this household chore, consider spending more for a sleek one-piece model.

    Some toilet manufacturers offer a special surface finish that inhibits mold and bacteria. And if you're battling both grime and a lack of space, a wall-mounted toilet can be a genius (though expensive) solution.

  • 11 of 11

    Wasteful Water Tank


    Wasting water is definitely not cool. A water-conserving, low-flow toilet will help maintain those critical water reserves, especially as droughts become more and more common in certain parts of the world.

    Excellent, affordable choices for water-conserving toilets include the Toto Drake II and the Niagara Stealth

Hopefully, there's the perfect toilet out there for you. Avoiding these 11 features will definitely go a long way towards long-term satisfaction on the throne!