In this brief article, I want to go over a few key points about toilets to help you make the right selection as you venture out in search of one for your new or soon-to-be-renovated bathroom. It is important to find the right toilet to match both your physical requirements and your interior décor. You may be a bit surprised to find that there are as many different options as we will discuss here. I suggest grabbing a piece of paper and pen or opening up a notetaking program to jot down your preferences as we go. By the time we are finished, you should have a list of your needs and desires, which you can easily compare against the actual toilets we have featured on our Toilet Reviews page.

Round or Elongated?

Your choice between a round toilet and an elongated toilet will likely depend upon two things – overall body size and the amount of available space in your bathroom. Generally speaking, round toilets are much smaller than elongated toilets. Unfortunately, most households consist of people of varying shapes and sizes, making it rather difficult to select between the two.

For example, our house has one main bathroom and one small powder room. I have a relatively small frame, as do all of our children. My husband, on the other hand, has a much larger frame. As a bulky man of over six feet in height, he has a difficult time using the small, short, round toilet in our main bathroom. Since the toilet in our powder room is not only taller but has a much larger surface space because it is elongated, he has chosen to make the powder room his own. (I’m not even kidding about this. He actually moved all of his bathroom belongings in there, from his toothbrush to his nail trimmers).

Height Considerations

There is a standard height range where toilets are concerned, but not every toilet is made equally. If you are purchasing your toilet online, it is especially important to be aware of this fact. Walking through a store will allow you to see the height differences with a single glance. Purchasing online, however, is an entirely different story. You cannot easily see the differences between the toilets in terms of their heights. You cannot walk aisles of floor-model toilets, temporarily trying each one out for size.

To navigate around this problem, I suggest that you find a chair or a toilet which is already at a perfect height for you and your family – not so short that your tallest person’s knees are hitting his or her face, but not so tall than your shortest’s feet are dangling. Of course, if your shortest is a toddler, dangling feet may be unavoidable.

One Piece or Two Piece?

The first decision you need to make when figuring out which toilet would be the best for you is whether you would prefer a one piece toilet or a two piece toilet. There really isn’t very much that differs between the two options. Many people may not have a preference, but if you find yourself liking one style more than the other it can cut the number of options in half.

A one piece toilet is much easier to clean than a two piece toilet. Since it has a seamless exterior design, you will not find yourself trying to clean inside of nooks and crevices which can easily trap dirt or even grow mold and mildew if you toilet sweats often enough.

It would appear, from first sight, that a one piece toilet would be the clear winner in anyone’s books. It should be considered, however, that a one piece toilet can be much more difficult to repair than a two piece. Say, for example, that something was to crack your toilet’s tank. A one piece design would require you to get an entirely new toilet. A two piece, on the other hand, would simply require that you replace the tank and leave the bowl where it is. This would not only be much less expensive, but also much easier. However, you should also consider the fact that this isn’t likely to happen very often.

Dual Flush?

Dual flush toilets are relatively new to the bathroom scene. I still chuckle a little to myself every time I come across someone who isn’t quite sure how to use the dual flush at our home. If you are unfamiliar with exactly what this option is, allow me to clear things up a little bit.

A dual flush toilet has two different flushing options. One option uses much more water and, thus, much more force, than the other option. The high flow flush is best for discarding hard waste, whereas the low flow option is sufficient for discarding liquid waste. We live in a world where clean water is quickly becoming a much sought-after and difficult-to-find resource. The more we do our part to preserve that water by opting for things such as low-flow toilets; the more we are doing to protect our environment for generations to come.

Dual flush toilets are, however, usually more expensive than regular, single flush toilets. Even if you would love to do your part for the environment, a dual flush may be outside of your price range. Take some time to look at the price differences between the two options before deciding which is best for you.

Gravity or Pressure Assisted Flush?

Terms like gravity flush and pressure assisted flush likely sound like gibberish to many of you and that is to be expected. Let’s quickly go over the major difference in how they work. Gravity flush toilets are the typical toilets you are probably most used to using. They use simple gravity and a specific interior design to bring water into your toilet bowl at a fast enough rate to force waste down the wastepipe.

Pressure-assisted flush toilets use new technology which puts force behind the water. Inside their tanks they look much different than traditional toilets and have special systems which force the water through at a higher speed than normal. These toilets are wonderful at ensuring that everything goes down on the first flush.

Pressure-assisted flush toilets surely sound like the way to go. They do, however, have a few downsides which may encourage you to look into a more traditional option. First, they are more expensive than traditional gravity flush toilets. Second, since they involve more mechanical parts, fixing them can also be much more expensive. Finally, they are much louder when you do flush them.

Your decision of which type is best for you will depend on your budget and your noise tolerance level. Personally, budget is a slight concern for our family. That being said, we’ve dealt with far too many clogged toilets to mess around. We opted for a pressure-assisted toilet in the powder room we share with our guests. Our family bathroom, on the other hand, is smack in the middle of our bedrooms. We have a few kids who often get up in the night to use the bathroom and decided it would be best to stick with a quieter, traditional toilet in that space.

Push Flush, Lever Flush, or Touchless Flush?

Again, this decision comes down to personal preference and price. That really seems to be a running theme here, doesn’t it? Lever flush toilets are the most often seen in household bathrooms. This is likely because they require no electrical components and are the most inexpensive options. They are, however, more difficult to clean.

Push flush toilets are quickly becoming more popular. This is likely because they are much easier to clean. They are also much easier to understand when worked into a dual flush toilet. If I chuckled listening to stories of people trying to figure out how to use this type of dual flush toilet, just think how hard I laughed when people were unsure whether pulling the lever up meant low flow or whether they should push down for low flow. Things are much more straightforward when you work with a push flush option. Of course, this option is a little more expensive than a lever flush.

Touchless flush toilets require an electrical component to power the sensor which recognizes the presence of a hovering hand. Of all three options listed here, this one is the most sanitary and the easiest to clean. That being said, you will require some electrical knowledge to set it up and it is often the most expensive option of the three.

Overall Appearance

You may not care what your toilet looks like – to a point, neither do I. However, many people do care what their toilet looks like and how well it fits in with the overall design of their bathroom space. Though I typically place function over fashion when it comes to these types of pieces, I must admit that, if all other things are equal, I will choose the toilet which matches my overall design the best, even if it is a little bit more expensive than the rest.

If aesthetic design is important to you, you will be very happy to hear that there are, now, many more options available than ever before. Toilets come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are obvious toilet shapes, whereas others are “skirted”. Skirted toilets look much more geometric and streamlined. Think of the difference between a dining chair standing on its own and a dining chair with slip cover placed over it for a fancy event – this is the different between a typical toilet design and a skirted toilet design.

Happy Flushing

Hopefully I’ve assisted you in coming up with a list of qualities that you would like in your next toilet. Use this list to help you narrow down your choices as you search for just the right one for your family and your space.