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How to Shop for a New Toilet

Toilets aren’t usually the first thing anyone has on their mind when starting a bathroom renovation. Although, when you think about it, they are probably the most fundamentally important part of your bathroom. While it is possible to have a bathroom without a shower or tub, no bathroom is complete without the commode.

Before you begin thinking about things like style and flushing power, begin by considering three important criteria:

Users – Think about all of the people who will be using this particular toilet. If it will be going into a master bathroom, you may want to think about things like toilet height, shape, and functionality differently than you might with a bathroom that will be used by children or guests. For example, you may want to consider a taller toilet in a powder room, should you need to accommodate any older guests or those with a disability. This is because taller toilets are easier for those with mobility issues to use.

Performance – Flushing power should be the top priority when selecting your toilet, since the ability to flush is the entire purpose for buying it in the first place. At the same time, you might also want to think about water-saving capabilities.

Size –Choose a size to suit the space. While your powder room may require a more compact commode, you can consider something larger for your master or main upstairs bathroom.

More importantly, if you’re simply replacing a toilet and not taking on a complete gut-job renovation, you’ll want to match the new toilet to the existing toilet’s rough-in measurement. This means the amount of space between the wall and the toilet flange. This will be 12 inches, in most cases; although variations do exist. So be sure to measure first and shop second.

As you review and prioritize all of the different features of your new toilet, it is best to keep the primary users in mind.


how to buy a toilet

There are two different methods by which toilets operate: gravity-flushed and pressure-assisted.


Quieter and typically more affordable, gravity-flushed toilets are flushed by using a valve that relies on gravity (as the name suggests). The water descends from the tank, into the bowl to move the bowl’s contents down the drain.


Pressure-assisted toilets are far less likely to clog than the gravity-flushed variety. Pressure that is generated via water-compressing air within the tank works to force the contents of the bowl down the drain. While this type of toilet is better performing, it is also substantially louder and requires at least 25 pounds per square inch of water pressure.


how to buy a toilet

Source: Map-Testing

The style of a toilet speaks to the way it’s assembled and/or mounted. Presently, there are three main toilet styles available on the market: one-piece, two-piece, and wall-mounted.


A one-piece toilet integrates the bowl and tank into a single piece of porcelain. This makes it easier to clean and lends a sleeker, more sophisticated look.


This is the most common style of toilet available. The traditional two-piece toilet has a separate tank and bowl, which must be attached upon installation.


Outside of public washrooms, wall-mounted toilets are seen more often outside of North America, although they are still an option for Canadian homeowners. Space-saving and ease-of-cleaning are the primary benefits of this style of toilet.

Bowl Shape

how to shop for a toilet

Round Bowl

At 16 ¾ inches or less, the traditional rounded bowl is the best option when the space in your bathroom is limited. This is also the better option if it is going into a bathroom that will be used by children.

Elongated Bowl

Elongated toilet bowls are considered to be more comfortable for adults to use. Although, you will also find that they take up more space, sitting at 18 5/8 inches or larger.


The standard height for a toilet is around 14 ½”. This measurement considers the height from the floor to the bowl rim, not including the seat. In addition to this standard height, “comfort height” toilets can also be found on the market. These taller toilets are meant not only for taller people, but also for those with mobility issues, who may have trouble sitting and rising from standard-height toilets. These toilets usually measure around 16 1/9”.


how to buy a toilet

Source: ZDNet

Even toilets have become more advanced in recent years. Now, users can select between different flushing methods, personal cleansing options, and even Bluetooth connectivity.

Dual Flush

This is a button-operated toilet that allows users to select between a flush for liquid waste and another for solid waste. This allows some water conservation, since the liquid flush option uses less water. However, some users have found dual flush toilets to be less powerful, and likely to require two flushes to completely evacuate the bowl.

Additional technological advances can include functionality designed to make use easier, cleaner, and even more entertaining. These additions can include:

  • Built-in Bidet Functionality
  • Nightlights
  • Hands-Free Flushing
  • Warmed Seats
  • Deodorizing Seats
  • Bluetooth

For more inspiration or help with your next bathroom update, be sure to browse the listings of bathroom renovation experts, here at

Featured Image: Kohler

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