It is an essential household item that is found in almost every home. It rarely gets noticed until it is fails to do its job, and without it your life is made considerably more difficult. When nature calls, you expect it to be there and working properly.
The item is the toilet. The first thing that needs to be said about the toilet is that not all toilets are the same even though it may look that way. They basically function in the same way, but there is a big difference between the best toilets and the worst.
As simple as the function of a toilet is – you sit down on it or stand over it to eliminate your body waste – there are a number of parts in it that interact to make flushing successful. Even though this may seem obvious, not very many people stop to consider this until they are looking to buy a new one.
Almost all toilets are made from porcelain, which is basically a mixture of clay and water. Yet this material is expected to support our considerable weight and remain relatively clean without a lot of fuss or effort on our part. The toilet has done this job remarkably well over the years, and continues to do so. In fact, even with modern technology the porcelain toilet has not been improved upon.
The inner workings of the toilet are usually the most important parts, and we will guide you through how to know the good from the bad, and which toilet is right for you. But also pay attention to certain unique features about the bowl itself, which may be important to your specific situation.
One final note. Most people do not realize that toilets simply stop working. It is not an issue of the toilet being used incorrectly or physical damage occurring. Like most man-made things, they simply stop working, which is why your purchase decision needs to be made with this reality in mind.
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What follows is a summary of what you need to look for when buying a toilet. Being prepared with this information will make your decision much easier, and when it is installed you will not have second thoughts about whether you made the best decision for your home.
- One or two piece toilet
Improved manufacturing processes have resulted in the creation of a one piece toilet, where the tank and the bowl are molded into a single unit. The more traditional two piece type has the water tank and the bowl itself connected, but separate units. The advantage to the one piece toilet is they generally save significant space in the bathroom when compared to the two piece type.
- Three basic shapes
Most people will not pay any attention to the shape of the toilet bowl, but it is an important factor when choosing a toilet. The elongated shape takes up the most room in the bathroom and is often the choice of people who opt for a two piece type. A compact elongated is the choice for those who prefer a single piece type construction, as it is consistent with the idea of saving space. The third, round front model, is likely to be found in older homes or in homes that have small children because it makes using the toilet much easier.
- Rough-in size
This is a technical term that is essential to buying the right toilet. The distance between the wall behind the toilet and the sewer pipe or outlet pipe is the rough-in size. Different toilets have different rough-in sizes, so the specific model you want may not be available.
- Toilet height
Generally, toilets will either be a standard 15 inches high from the floor to the seat or can be 17 or 19 inches high. The higher size is often chosen for older people or people who have disabilities. Taller people may also prefer the higher distance.
- Water savings
There are different models that offer a low flow design, a design that reduces the amount of water needed to adequately flush the toilet. Many of the newer models use less than the 1.6 gallons per flush as mandated by the Federal government. If you live in an area where water is a critical resource, be sure to look for the models that have a low water consumption rate.
- Pressure assist models
These are toilets that minimize or completely eliminate the water tank from “sweating.” For homes that live in climates of high humidity, this feature stores the water in an inner tank, eliminating the condensation that occurs on the outside of the tank.
- Dual flush models
Dual flush toilets have two buttons on top of the water tank that are designed to save water – one to be used for liquid waste while the other is for solid waste. Flushing solid waste will use the minimum 1.6 gallons mandated by the Federal government, while liquid waste will be flushed with 1 gallon of water or less. The water savings possible with a dual flush model can be 25 percent or more. This saves on both water and money.
- Power Assist models
These are models that actually require electricity to operate. What this type does is to create a greater force of water for flushing by adding pressure to the flush through the use of an electric pump. This type of toilet also requires a minimum amount of water to be effective, generally around 1.3 gallons per flush. This may be a lot of water for some people.
The above information is a basic guide to help you make the right decision. But as you will see as you review our selection of toilets below, the specific characteristics of your home will be a factor. If you have a smaller bathroom you will have to go with a smaller toilet. This is not always a negative, as there are some very good smaller, one piece toilets we have looked at.
Location of the toilet within the bathroom is important, as many of the best units are around 100 pounds in weight. Your flooring where the toilet is to be installed has to be able to support the weight of the toilet plus the weight of the person that will be using the toilet. That could potentially be a weight of 350 pounds or more you will be expecting the floor to support. If you need a larger toilet you will likely have to spend some time thinking about what is practical and what is possible.
The distance from the floor to the top of the toilet seat (usually not included with the purchase of a toilet) in some cases needs to meet ADA requirements. The larger models will cost you a few dollars more, so while money is not a major factor, making sure the minimum ADA requirement of 17 inches from floor to seat is met is a must.
Speaking of money, there are a variety of flushing technologies, features, and colors you will be able to choose from. These technologies, along with a choice of colors and bowl types can add significant dollars to the final price. Unless you can justify the money spent by showing you will be able to save more money in the long run through water savings, spending more than you can afford is not recommended.
A Word About Product Reviews
Before moving on to read about some of our choices for the best toilets, a word of caution is in order. Though online toilet reviews can give you a wide range of positives and negatives about a specific toilet, the opinions of the reviewers should be considered in the context of your personal situation. In other words, you cannot see their home or their bathroom, so what might be a 5 star toilet for them will simply not work in your situation – and vice versa.
Two major consideration weighed in with our reviews – the type of toilet and the quality of the product. While price is a major consideration for almost every buyer, it is better to pay a bit more for quality now than having to purchase another toilet in a year or so because of poor quality materials or components.
Our selection of Top Toilets represents some well-known manufacturers such as Koehler and American Standard. However, just because the brand is not popular or nationally known does not mean it is a low quality product. So read the product information and user reviews carefully before accepting or rejecting a specific toilet.
Top 10 Toilet Reviews
We selected this group of toilets to review based on the variety of styles and functions that are most popular for homeowners.
Note: The abbreviation GPF used in the following descriptions is Gallons Per Flush of water after each use.
1. American Standard 2889216.020 H2Option Siphonic Toilet
A Number One Best Seller in the in Commercial Two-Piece Toilets category, this toilet weighs 92 pounds and has dimensions of 35 x 35 x 22 inches. It is a round type of toilet and has dual flush technology.
Its two major advantages are: it is a quiet toilet and has a unique H2O Option dual flush system that makes it stand out from its competitors. Plus, it has EverClean antimicrobial surface which inhibits the growth bacteria, mold, and mildew that are the cause of staining and bowl discoloration. It has a water consumption of 1.6 GPF.
2. American Standard 221DA.104.020 Colony Toilet
This American Standard model weighs in at a relatively light 74 pounds and has dimensions of 25.8 x 19.2 x 29.9 inches. What is most noticeable about this model is that it is only 12 inches in bowl size, so the round type style is consistent with the smaller bowl size.
It comes in three colors – white, linen, and bone – and has a water consumption level of 1.28 GPF, significantly less than many of the other toilets on the list. This model has a 10 inch bowl size and offers a stronger 1.6 GPF for both bowl sizes if desired.
3. TOTO CST244EF#01 Entrada Toilet
This is a two piece toilet system with a weight of just under 64 pounds and dimensions of 24.4 x 14.4 x 30 inches. The 30 inch bowl makes this an elongated type. With a 1.28 GPF water consumption, it is at the lower end of our reviewed toilets.
What makes this toilet unique is the E-Max flushing system. Here is where the innards of the toilet can make a significant difference. This flushing system has a 3 inch valve, in contrast to the standard size which is usually 2 inches, and has an extra-large siphon jet. The combination of these features allows for the reduced water consumption and quiet flush.
4. KOHLER K-3817-0 Memoirs Stately Comfort Height Toilet
This is one of the reviews that offers a well-known brand name product in Koehler. It also is one of the few toilets we reviewed that comes in 7 different colors, with different pricing to match. It weighs 93 pounds and has dimensions of 30.4 x 18.9 x 31.1 inches. The greater height and length makes this an elongated type with higher seating.
It has a water consumption of 1.28 GPF. It has a 12 inch rough-in (see the definition of rough-in above). This is very important if you are going to spend significant money and decide on buying one of the more expensive color models. It comes with AquaPiston technology which the manufacturer claims will create “harder” flushes, leaving your toilet bowl cleaner. The size of this model will require you have a medium to large size bathroom.
5. TOTO CST744SG#01 Drake Toilet
This two piece Toto model may not seem like much at first, but when you consider it is a hefty 103 pounds you have to start asking yourself why. Its size dimensions are 28 x 19.5 x 28.5 inches. What you get is a trap way that is 1/8th inches wider than the conventional models, and a 3 inch flush valve that is part of the G-Max Flushing System. Like the other Toto model, it is designed for reduced water consumption (1.28 GPF).
But what adds to the weight is the SanaGloss coating that keeps the bowl cleaner. Just to note, this is a Best Seller in the Two Piece Toilets category, and the site notes that the floor-to-bowl height is only 16 inches. This is different than the manufacturer’s specification of 19.5 inches, so you will likely need to clarify this before ordering.
6. American Standard 2886.216.020 Elongated Toilet
If you compare this model with our first reviewed toilet (American Standard 2889216.020 H2Option Siphonic Dual Flush Round Front Toilet, White, 2-Piece) you will only notice two differences. While the weight and the dimensions are identical, the height from the floor to the top of the toilet seat meets the ADA (American Disability Association) standard of 19 inches.
The second difference is the price, as this model is a little more expensive than its sister model. They both have the same technology and a limited 2 year warranty, so other than being ADA compliant we see no other reason for the price difference.
7. American Standard 2034.014.020 Champion-4 Toilet
This is distinctively different than the other two American Standard toilets we have reviewed because this is the one piece version of the previous models. It is a Best Seller in the One Piece Toilet category. Weighing in at a whopping 119 pounds, it has dimensions of 32.1 x 30.5 x 20.9 inches. It is a basic elongated type with a GPF water consumption of 1.6.
This model is also unique in the American Standard reviews presented here as it can be shipped to the state of California (the other two models cannot). We did not look into the particular reasons for this exception, but it is an example of why you should know your state and local laws prior to making a purchase, especially online. It also carries a significantly higher price tag than the comparable models.
8. KOHLER 3810-0 Santa Rosa Elongated Toilet
This is Kohler’s entry into the one piece toilet type. It is about 20 pounds lighter than the American Standard model (102) and has dimensions of 18.8 x 27.8 x 28.2 inches. If the dimensions seem a bit small, it is because this is one of the advantages of one piece toilets. They are able to fit under wall attachments or in bathrooms where space is at a premium.
Even though the dimensions are smaller overall, it has a seat height of more than 17 inches, making it ADA compliant. And the smaller tank has a water consumption level of 1.28 GPF. The price and features, along with the 7 optional colors, make it an excellent alternative to the American Standard entries of single piece design.
9. American Standard 2315.228.020 Baby Devoro Toilet
The first thing you will notice about this model is it is very low to the ground. The 10 inch round bowl is a dead giveaway for defining this as a toilet designed for children. With dimensions of 25 x 17.2 x 24 inches it is generally not intended for adult use – though there are reviews that say adults can use it just fine. It is still fairly weighty at about 65 pounds, which is one reason it is likely to support the weight of an adult.
Because it is primarily intended as a children’s toilet, the rough-in measurement is important – which is 10 inches. It uses an economical 1.28 GPF. For those with children under the age of 12, this is a great, relatively inexpensive second toilet for the children’s bathroom.
10. EAGO TB351 Ceramic Toilet
This may be the essence of economy in space and power in flushing. With a weight of 92 pounds and what appears to be odd dimensions of 26.6 x 15.1 x 26.6 inches, this one piece toilet has the flushing power of many of its larger sized competitors. Adding to the flushing power is its design as a dual flush system, which means water conservation is built in to its compact design.
The water consumption use is a slim 0.8 GPF for liquids and 1.6 for solid waste. But it gets even better. Every other toilet reviewed here does not have the toilet seat and lid included. Eago includes those with this model. This model is topped off with a 3 inch flushing valve to reduce wear and tear on the innards and promote consistent water flow. This model deserves a serious look.
A toilet is an essential part of every home, and it has a very specific – and unique – function. There are no practical alternatives for the toilet. Both its design and material are simple, and there are only two basic choices – one piece construction or two piece construction.
Yet all the simplicity is complicated by the many ways to save water – and money – depending on the model and features you choose. Not every toilet will fit every bathroom, and not every bathroom will have enough space to accommodate the type of toilet you want.
Looking at our selection of 10 toilet reviews, they have many things in common and many things that make each of them diverse.
Things in Common
- All conserve water, as none of the units exceeds 1.68 GPF
- White is the normal, and cheaper, color choice for the standard toilets
- There is no international shipping available for most of the units
- All are made of high quality material, with most having enhanced finishes
Things That Make Them Different
- Some have 3 inch flushing valves, while others only have a 2 inch
- Flushing technology varies, depending on the type and manufacturer
- Weight of the toilet can be significantly different, and you need to add the weight of the person sitting on it to determine if your bathroom floor area can support the weight
- Though being on a Best Seller List is a positive, remember that your home and situation are unique
- If you want color you will have to pay for it – sometimes a lot more
This guide was created to help you with your decision to buy your new toilet. Keep in mind there may be other factors that weigh into your decision, such as money or personal preference. For most people you do not want to replace your toilet every year or every other year, so the choice you make should be one you can live with for about 5 years.
What history shows us is that there is not likely to be many significant technological changes in the toilet, which is a good thing. The type and model you choose will be just as modern 5 years from now as it is today. That includes appearance, material, and function. Whatever your decision, it is likely to be one that will be a good one as long as you take this guide and apply it to shopping for the best toilet.