What You Should Consider Before Buying a Toilet

Toilet Bowl In Bathroom
George Mdivanian / EyeEm / Getty Images

When it comes to finding a new toilet, buying the right one is important. That's because it's one of the elements of your home that gets the most use. It needs to be comfortable, functional, and fit your bathroom's design. Fortunately, residential-use toilets have come a long way over the years. Several advances in toilet design have to do with more powerful but water-saving internal flushing mechanisms. Make the most of your investment and learn a little more about the throne you’ll be sitting on.

  • 01 of 10

    2-Piece Toilet

    2-piece toilet

    Giorgio Trovato / Unsplash

    The two-piece toilet is the most common you'll see in stores. It comes in, you guessed it, two separate pieces: the seat and the tank.

    This toilet comes with many benefits: It's typically the least expensive option, and the pieces can be carried separately. Practical if you need to carry it up some stairs!

    These toilets are made to fit together, but there is a seam, where the two parts join, that easily accumulates dirt. Although few people actually get close enough to see it, it can be tricky to keep it clean.

  • 02 of 10

    1-Piece Toilet

    1-piece toilet in a bathroom

    simonlong / Getty Images

    The one-piece toilet is as modern and sleek as the two-piece is classic. It's generally a bit more expensive and heavier to carry, but also easier to install and clean.

    There are a few more models of one-piece toilets; some come with low-profile tanks, while others look very close to the two-piece model with a higher tank. So if you want the classic look of a two-piece, but without the potential cleaning issues, you might want to look into a one-piece toilet.

    Generally, the one-piece is now the most recommended type of toilet. If your budget allows it, it's the one you should go for.

    One-piece toilets are more suited to contemporary and modern styles, but since different models exist, you can get a more traditional look even without the separate tank.

  • 03 of 10

    High-Tank Toilet

    High tank toilet

    George Clerk / Getty Images

    Functionally, high-tank toilets work the same way as two-piece toilets. The difference is that the tank is set up much higher on the wall, revealing the plumbing between the seat and the tank.

    High-tank toilets are retro and quaint, with a certain old-world charm, and you can use the color of the plumbing as a decor element. The chain pull is a particularly retro element that most people will find cool. (When's the last time you used a chain-pull toilet?)

    These are a little more expensive than the above two toilets because of their design appeal. They're not as widely available, and that makes them a little pricier. If you're looking for that retro style, they might be the thing that makes all the difference in your bathroom decor.

  • 04 of 10

    In-Wall Toilet

    tankless toilet in modern bathroom

    Astronaut Images / Getty Images

    In-wall toilets give your bathroom a sleek, minimal profile. Whether the tank is actually in the wall or the toilet is tankless, the big bulky part is hidden inside the wall. This enables you to save some space, especially in small or narrow bathrooms

    These toilets are more expensive and require some prior knowledge of what your plumbing looks like inside the wall. Before you buy this type of toilet, you need to have taken down your wall already, or at least be sure that the plumbing is appropriate.

    Installing this type of toilet is best left to professionals, which also increases the price. If the sleek, modern, and minimalist look is what you're looking for, this will suit your decor.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Integrated Base Toilet

    Integrated base toilet

    Siraphol Siricharattakul / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Integrated bases come on both two-piece and one-piece toilets. An integrated base means that the bottom of the toilet is a full, flush piece, not full of nook and crannies like typical two-piece toilets.

    An integrated base adds a little to the cost of your toilet, but it's a nice upgrade for two reasons: It's easier to clean, and the smooth, rounded style looks nice in most bathrooms, but especially the modern ones.

  • 06 of 10

    Types of Flushing

    person lifting top of toilet tank up

    The Spruce / Michelle Becker

    After selecting the toilet type, another choice you can make is whether you want the regular flushing mechanism or a little something more.

    Pressure-assisted flushing mechanisms are set in the wall (so you should open up the wall first to see if your toilet placement is good for that) and give the water a little extra pressure so it goes faster in the bowl, and keeps it cleaner.

    It's a little extra expense, but if your setup is right and you have the money, it can save you cleaning time down the line.

  • 07 of 10

    Seat Height

    standard toilet seat heat

    SasinT Gallery / Getty Images

    Another choice you can make when it comes to customizing your toilet is seat height. Typical toilet height is 17 inches; that's what you'll get in most homes, apartments, and public bathrooms.

    If you want, you can get a 19-inch seat, otherwise called "comfort height." Generally, if you have no problems with using a typical toilet, you can ignore this option; it doesn't come with all models anyway.

    If some of the toilet users are tall or have trouble getting in and out of a seating position, the 19-inch toilet seat height will probably come in handy. Consider the current and future users of the toilet when making this decision: Do you plan on housing your aging parents down the road?

  • 08 of 10


    eclectic bathroom design

    Johner Images / Getty Images

    To be comfortable, a toilet should be at least 15 inches from any object around it, like a bath, a wall, or a vanity. Measure 15 inches from the centerline of the toilet. A good distance to aim for is 18 inches for maximum comfort.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Buttons and Levers

    flush button on top of a toilet tank

    Vera Aksionava / Getty Images

    Another option for your toilet is using a traditional lever or the more modern push buttons. Most new toilets now come with two buttons: one that does a full flush, and one that uses a bit less water.

    If you are water-conscious, the two-button option is your best shot. It's a little more expensive generally (not by much), but the water savings are definitely worth it.

  • 10 of 10


    pink bidet / toilet in a bathroom

    Sinisa Kukic / Getty Images

    A white toilet is typical, and that's what you'll see in most stores. It also has the best resale value if you eventually sell your home. But colored toilets can have a major impact on your design if you use them right. 

    Use colored toilets carefully, either to make their design stand out (like a black tankless toilet against a white wall) or when you want them to blend with the background.