What You Should Consider Before Buying a Toilet

Toilets are basically the reason why we have bathrooms, along with baths/showers. Once indoor plumbing was invented, there was no reason to keep doing our business outside or in a chamber pot. When it comes to toilets, buying the right one is more important than you think at first.

If you have a bathroom renovation coming up, we strongly suggest you keep reading—you might learn a new thing or two about this little piece of furniture we too often take for granted.

  • 01 of 10

    2-Piece Toilet



    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 a problem if cleanliness is an issue for you.

  • 02 of 10

    1-Piece Toilet

    One piece toilet


    The one-piece toilet is as modern and sleek at 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 can afford 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

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    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

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    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 style.

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  • 05 of 10

    Integrated Base Toilet


    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

    Cat looking into a toilet as it flushes

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    So now you've got the toilet style you want, with the right base and the right tank. 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


    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: what if 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. You measure 15 inches from the centerline of the toilet. A good distance to aim for is 18 inches for maximum comfort.

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  • 09 of 10

    Buttons and Levers

    pushing a button to flush

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    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


    Green toilet in white bathroom

    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. 

    You want to 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. 

    Ready to make a purchase? Here are some of our favorite toilets.