Toilet Buying Guide

Typically a toilet consists of a bowl and tank. The bowl serves as a receptacle for waste, the tank holds the water used to flush the waste out of the bowl.

Water Pressure

Toilets require water supplied in sufficient volume and pressures to enable them to function properly.

Rough-in requirements

The standard distance from the finished wall to the center line for most toilets is 12 inches, this distance may vary from 10 to 14 inches. You should know this dimension before you make your purchase.

Choosing a Toilet

Toilet technology has advanced since water conservation rules were established in the 1990’s. So much so, that today the first consideration in choosing a toilet should be the flushing mechanism.
Types of Toilets
Flush mechanisms currently on the market now:

Gravity Flush Tank

Toilets that have a water tank that works on the gravity principle. Water is released into the bowl and out through the S-shaped trapway, where a siphoning action pulls the waste out of the bowl. Gravity Flush toilets are the most popular. Improved design has resulted in many good performing models.

Vacuum-Assist

Similar to gravity flush. Two plastic tanks within the toilet tank that hold only 1.6 gal. of water between them, and they are configured in such a way that when the toilet is flushed, a vacuum is created that powers the water into the bowl to produce a more efficient flush.

Pressure-Assist

Uses compressed air within the tank to propel water to the rim and siphon jet creating a powerful “push-through” flush. They tend to be louder and more expensive than gravity toilets, but have a reputation for good performance.

Electrohydraulic

Electrohydraulic toilets are the latest in hi-tech. Using electric motor(s), pumps(s), and controllers to assist the flushing action by monitoring and controlling the flush and dictating the exact discharge from the tank into the bowl.

Dual Flush

Dual-flush toilets have two buttons, one for solid waste, and one that flushes at less than 1.6 gpf for liquid waste. Some dual-flush toilets are washdown models.

Toilet Shapes and Styles

Toilets are available in a variety of styles and colors, and in a wide price range. Most homeowners will install basic units in guest baths and in children’s bathrooms, but will upgrade for the powder room that will be used by company, and will go all out for their master bath. Not all options or features are available in all types of toilets. Your choices may be limited by the type of flush system your toilet uses. Newer technologies offer a more limited range of styles, colors and options. Gravity type toilets offer the most flexibility in style.

Round or Elongated

Toilets come in round-front and elongated sizes, with many different shapes and styles to choose from.

Round-front toilets are shorter than elongated models, and are popular where space is at a premium or where a more traditional look is preferred.

Elongated toilets are 2″ longer than round front model and are the best choice for most homes. The extra space in the front makes it easier for males to use.

Wall-mount

Wall-mount toilets are fastened to the wall, do not have tank, and can be set at almost any height. Since the toilet itself is mounted to the wall, rather the floor, bathroom cleanup is easier.
While they can be used in almost any type of decor, they are most often used in a contemporary or modern setting.
Most residential tankless toilets are actually wall-mount toilets with the tank hidden within the wall itself. These units provide a sleek, clean look without resorting to smaller fixtures or sacrificing design options. Since the toilet tank is built into the wall, an additional 6″ to 9″ of floor space can be gained (depending on the bowl shaped selected).
The flush actuator is generally mounted above the bowl but some manufacturers, such as Grohe, offer a remote unit that can be placed on the wall within 6′ of the tank.

Wall mount concealed toilet tanks have been used in Europe for over 30 years. A high density polyethylene tank (shown at the right) is insulated and installed between the wall studs, and has a quieter flush than floor- mounted models. The Duravit wall mount toilet system brings high style and a sleek design to the bathroom. Available with a small remote flush actuator or a flush actuator panel, wall mounting offers a variety of convenience features making the system both unique and efficient.

Floor Mount

Standard toilets mount to the floor and have a short pedestal base below the bowl. They adapt well to almost any type of decor. There are many choices in floor mount models: round or elongated bowl, one or two piece, and a variety of bowl heights. Always sit down on a toilet before buying it to make sure the height and size are comfortable.

Height

Toilets come in a variety of heights from 10″ to 18″ (measured from the bottom to the top of the rim, not including the seat).The standard toilet is 14 1/2″ – 15″ high, which most people find too low to be comfortable.

The 16.5″ ADA or Comfort Height Bowls are comparable to the height of an average household chair making it easier to sit down without falling, and stand up without putting stress on the knees. While these units were designed to allow easier access to the facility for disabled people, those without disabilities often prefer them to traditional units. The 16.5″ height is becoming increasingly popular for use in the Master Bath, but should definitely be considered a standard for use in the Guest Powder Room. Please note, taller units are not always comfortable for shorter people or for children however.

One or Two-Piece

Most toilets are two-piece, having a separate tank and bowl. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colours and even patterns. Gravity flush one-piece toilets have the tank molded to the bowl, and they are generally considered more stylish than traditional two-piece toilets. They are also more expensive. One-piece construction prevents leaks between the bowl and tank. Noise levels are also lower than traditional toilets.