Choosing a Toilet: A How-To Guide in 5 Steps
By the Vevano Home Team
September 17, 2020
If it’s time for a new toilet, here’s the guide for you. Thanks to the advancements in indoor plumbing, there are different types of toilets, designs, flushing technologies, and other specifications to think about while choosing a workable toilet for your needs, both in functionality and design.
To update your porcelain throne, there are a few things to consider as you search for the right toilet for your bathroom.
Plan For Your Budget
The range for buying and installing a toilet can run from around $100 up to a couple thousand dollars and beyond, depending on the toilet type, design, tech options, and how involved the installation is. Since there are toilets for every budget it’s good to have an idea of what price range you have to determine what you might like in a future toilet.
Know the Rough-in Size & Area Width
This is an important measurement to have in hand as you go about selecting a toilet. The rough-in measurement is the distance between the wall and the drainpipe that the toilet connects to. The standard rough-in length is about 12 inches, though some may be 10 or even 14 inches, so it’s wise to measure the rough-in length before you buy a toilet. Check out our guide on how to measure a toilet rough-in for accurate toilet measurements.
Also, take note of how much space you’ll want around your toilet. The standard is 15 inches, or 18 inches for comfort, from the middle of the drainpipe (or the midpoint of the toilet) to the surrounding features or furnishings.
A Fair Flush
Once you’ve settled in on a type of toilet, consider what kind of flushing system you want. By US law, toilets cannot use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush (gpf). Most high efficiency toilets (HET) use 1.28 gpf and ultra-high efficiency toilets (UHET) save even more with only 1 gpf. Look for toilets with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense® label that indicates both water and flush efficiency.
Single flush - For a single flush toilet, every flush means the same amount of water at the same amount of pressure is pumped out of the tank through the rim to clean the bowl.
Dual flush - For water efficiency, the dual flush offers a half flush and a full flush to handle different load sizes. A dual-flush toilet, sometimes called the double-flush toilet, often marries a gravity-fed flush for the half flush with pressure-assisted flushing mechanisms for a more impactful full flush. This is growing in popularity due to the water savings it offers, though it is a little more expensive.
Bowl Shape Options
Another determining factor for comfort, style, and design is the bowl shape.
- Compact - Most often circular in shape, sometimes square. Works best in small bathrooms or for children.
- Elongated - Added 2 inches in length compared to the compact. In oval or rectangular shape. More comfortable and spacious for adults.
- Compact Elongated - A hybrid toilet bowl with an elongated bowl and the same size footprint as the compact.
Select a Seat
Know that not all toilets come complete with a toilet seat, so you have to buy them separately. We recommend at least a toilet seat with the SoftClose function for safety and noise-reduction.
If you want added functionality from your toilet seat, the standard Toto electric seat attachment (called a washlet) comes with a bidet sprayer, heated seat, water temperature and volume control, and the extra features expand from there.
Choose a Color
Most toilets are made with porcelain, thus they come in various shades of white and cream, which holds value well. A black toilet would add drama or a contemporary flair. Other color options are available, depending on your stylistic preference.
Flush Handle or Buttons?
Would you prefer your flush lever to be a handle on the sides or buttons on the top of the tank? Or if you have a wall-mount toilet, do you want buttons or a touch panel installed? Decide how you want to flush!
Ultimately, the best toilet for your bathroom should handle your “duties” effectively.