Despite the potty humor in the story, replacing your toilet is no joke, given how much use it gets, and how dire the results can be if you choose a bum toilet (okay, just that one! ). Toilets with weak flushing power will often clog, causing havoc on your home’s plumbing.
Some leave behind unsightly stains, and others are so loud when they flush that you might wake the entire household if you go in the middle of the night. Those are some of the conclusions the experts at Good Housekeeping Institute have reached through decades of toilet testing. Our engineers performed a battery of tests to find the models that provide both performance and efficiency.
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The team used colored powder, wads of toilet paper, sponges, and even golf balls (but not all at once!) to test their clogs. Several of our top-of-the-line toilets can flush more than 12 golf balls in a single flush (some even more). As a result, we used sensitive sound equipment to measure noise, as there may well be a sleeping baby in the next room.
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Kohler Santa Rosa Comfort Height Elongated
- One piece toilets integrate the tank and bowl into a seamless, easy to clean design
- Compact elongated bowl offers added comfort while occupying the same space as a round front bowl
- Comfort height: Feature offers chair height seating that makes sitting down and standing up easier for most adults
One-piece toilets are a great solution for people who want fewer cracks and crevices to clean in their bathrooms. The Kohler Santa Rosa model looks modern, saves space compared to two-piece toilets, and uses a small amount of water per flush.
AquaPiston canisters deliver water from 360 degrees to the bowl while being easy to flush. The toilet is more expensive than its two-piece competitors, but it offers few special features.
- One-piece continuous construction
- 360-degree rinse with each flush
American Standard Champion 4 Elongated One-Piece
- BEST-IN-CLASS: The American Standard Champion 4 Toilet is the very best in clog-free performance, producing a faster, more powerful, yet quieter flush that can move a 70% larger mass than a standard toilet
- CONVENIENCE AND SIZE: Our Normal Height toilets feature a convenient 15 in. rim height and 12 in. (305 mm) rough in to enhance your ease of use and comfort and is 100% factory flush tested
- FLAWLESS DESIGN: American Standard toilet has a contemporary one-piece design has a 2-3/8 in. (60 mm) fully-glazed trapway and includes our revolutionary EverClean surface that inhibits the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew
Consider the Champion line from American Standard for one of the most advanced toilets on the market. As it flushes, the Champion 4 MAX cleans the toilet while using less water than many other toilets. Its powerful flush reduces the chance of clogs, so you don’t have to worry about plungers or plumbers as often.
Also, the surface material in the bowl resists mold, mildew, and stains. Nonetheless, this model is expensive, so it is worth considering if it is a good investment for your bathroom.
- Powerful flush
- Uses less water
- Mold, mildew, and stain resistant
Kohler Highline Comfort Height Two-piece Elongated
- Comfort height elongated toilet bowl with a seat height comparable to that of a standard chair, comfort height toilets make sitting down and standing up easier for people of all ages
- 12 inches rough in. Water sense toilets meet strict EPA flushing guidelines, including using at least 20 percent less water than 1.6-gallon toilets
- 29 to 1/2 inches (74.9 centimeter) x 18 (45.7 centimeter) x 31 to 1/4 (79.4 centimeter); Seat post hole centers: 5.5 inch
Although round toilets look less formal than elongated ones, this Kohler model still elevates your bathroom. The flared tank, soft-close seat, and crisp white details make it attractive without taking up much space.
Performance is equally impressive: It features low water use, powerful flushing, and easy installation, which reduces leaks. Kohler toilets tend to be more expensive and replacement parts may be harder to find than those from other brands.
- Elegant profile
- Slow-close lid
- Less water use
- A little bit expensive
- Replacement parts can be hard to find
TOTO Carlyle II Washlet Toilet
- Elongated front washlet toilet seat with cover
- Premist of bowl before each use
- New streamlined control panel with button control for all functions
The Carlyle II Washlet toilet combines a bidet seat with a high-performance toilet to keep everything clean while reducing waste. There is a rear and front clean bidet with adjustable temperature and pressure.
Additionally, it has a heated seat, deodorizer, warm air dryer, and self-cleaning wand. Despite its relatively high price tag, it is still one of the more affordable bidet toilets from TOTO. Additionally, the low water use per flush helps reduce utility costs.
- Adjustable temperature and pressure bidet
- Heated seat
- Heated air dryer
- Uses the least water
TOTO Drake 2-Piece Dual Flush Toilet
A dual flush toilet using less water for easy flushing is the best choice for maximum water conservation. TOTO’s Drake Two-Piece Dual Flush Toilet has 1.6 gallons per flush and 0.8 gallons per flush options. To control the dual flush, you simply need to choose which way to pull the handle.
With the tornado flush, you’ll get 360-degree water output, and the cefiontect (ceramic glaze) finish prevents anything from sticking. Cefiontect is available in five neutral color options, but the black finish is not available. Installing this toilet is more expensive, considering you also have to pay for the seat separately, and repairs can be more expensive. However, using less water can help offset those costs.
- Two flush options
- 360-degree rinse with flush
- Cefiontect finish prevents sticking
- Complex install and repair
- Seat not included
American Standard Single Flush Right Height Round Front Toilet
- American Standard
- Elongated Two Piece Toilets
American Standard has been manufacturing toilets for over 140 years, and all of its models are known to be highly reliable. The Mainstream WaterSense toilet has a powerwash rim that cleans the bowl with each flush, uses less water than many other models, and is easy to install and repair.
There are a variety of American Standard repair parts available, so if you need to replace parts or repair your toilet in the future, it won’t be a hassle.
The chair is available with either an elongated or round seat, both of which are reasonably priced. While it’s not the most decorative toilet, it looks modern and blends in with bathroom decor.
- The long history of company quality
- Uses less water
- Repair parts are easily available
- Not decorative
Delta Foundations 2-Piece Toilet
- Double cyclone technology
- Powerful, quiet flush every time
- Complete kit includes: tank and bowl, toilet seat, wax ring, installed
With the Foundations two-piece toilet from Delta, you get great performance at an affordable price. Since it uses less water than most other toilets, you save even more money over time. The flush handle on the reservoir tank is small and flimsy but still functions well.
- Uses less water
- Available in elongated or round bowl
- Small flush handle
American Standard Cadet 3 FloWise Toilet
- BATHROOM TOILET: Compact Cadet 3 One-Piece Elongated Comfort-Height Bathroom Toilet features a one-piece design, a comfort chair-height bowl, and an antimicrobial bowl surface for a toilet that stays cleaner longer
- ONE-PIECE DESIGN: Features a one-piece design that eliminates areas where dirt builds up; Ultra-high efficiency flow rate of 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf)
- COMFORT HEIGHT: Compact Cadet 3 Toilet features a convenient chair height of 16-1/2 inches for accessible applications and is ADA Compliant; Includes slow-close and silent seat lid
The popular toilet retailer American Standard offers the Cadet 3 FloWise. Although it is a two-piece toilet, it includes many of the top features that consumers look for. The EverClean technology prevents mold, mildew, and stains from accumulating while using less water.
Furthermore, the toilet seat closes slowly to prevent noise from a dropped lid disrupting the ambiance of your home. Occasionally, the handle can be jiggly and require you to hold it for an extended period of time in order to flush properly.
- EverClean technology
- Soft-close lid
- Less water use
- Jiggly handle
KOHLER Corbelle Comfort Height Toilet
- Two-piece toilet
- Elongated bowl offers added room and comfort
- Skirted Trapway simplifies cleaning
Kohler has a reputation for producing some of the best bathroom fixtures, including toilets. This positive track record continues with the Corbelle two-piece gravity-feed toilet, which easily flushed even the toughest solids in our tests.
During our tests, we were able to flush 21 tissues, seven sponges, and fourteen golf balls. The toilet’s comfort-height design is extremely ergonomic for older homeowners, and it uses just 1.28 gallons of water per flush, making it extremely water-efficient.
Keeping the toilet clean is also easy with the skirted trapway and surface treatment that inhibits the growth of water scale and mineral stains.
- Brand reliability
- Good ergonomics
- A bit pricey
- Two-piece design means more crevices to clean
HOROW Small Short 1-Piece Toilet Dual Flush
- Modern, Compact One-Piece Design: Perfectly fit for a small bathroom. The toilet seat is 16.5'' length, 2'' shorter than an elongated toilet seat. 25 inch Depth from the wall to the end. Space saver. The seat height is 16.5'', it's a good height for Short/Medium people.
- Easily Installed: Two big opening holes on the side to fix the toilet much easier. Soft closing PP seat is included to facilitate installation and use. (An upgraded durable seat is optional for separately purchasing: HWUF-8733)
- Note: This toilet is designed for floor mounting, 10” Rough-in. It works for U.S. standard 7/8'' waterline. An adapter for 1/2'' waterline is pre-installed. (The toilet for 12'' Rough-in is also listed, please choose the correct one for your bathroom plumbings)
Our tests showed that this no-frills toilet from Glacier Bay does a great job at flushing away solid and liquid waste. Despite its amazing price tag, it has some innovative features, including dual-flush technology, a great way to lower your water bill.
With the elongated seat, it provides maximum comfort, and the one-piece design makes it easier to clean since there are fewer crevices.
- Excellent price
- Dual-flush technology
- Only available in basic white
What to Consider When Choosing a Toilet
When shopping for a new toilet, size is the first thing to think about. When you replace an existing toilet, you’ll need to measure its “rough-in,” or the distance from the wall to the floor drain.
The standard distance is 12 inches, but you may have a rough-in of 10 inches or 14 inches if you live in an older home. Using this measurement will help you choose a toilet that is easy to install with your existing plumbing.
During your search, you’ll likely encounter a few different types of toilets. The most common type of toilet is the two-piece toilet, in which the bowl is separate from the tank and must be attached during installation.
Another option is one-piece toilets, which are seamless. Many people find that this style is easier to clean, but it tends to be more expensive.
In addition, wall-mounted toilets provide a sleek, modern appearance. Nevertheless, this style is more complex to install, requiring additional bracing, as well as plumbing modifications if you’re replacing a standard toilet.
A standard toilet has a rim that is 14 or 15 inches from the ground. There are also models with rims that reach 17 to 19 inches, and these are often marketed as “comfort height” toilets since the added height makes them easier to sit down on and get up from.
In order to make your toilets more accessible, look for a model approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has a rim that’s at least 16.5 inches off the ground.
According to the introduction, the majority of toilets use gravity-flush systems to force water and its contents out of the bowl. Flushing systems of this type require little maintenance and are quiet, which is why they are so popular.
However, there are also newer styles of flushing systems. Pressure-assisted flushing, for instance, uses pressurized air to force water into the bowl. There are also dual-flush toilets, where you can select between a full or partial flush depending on what you’re emptying from the bowl.
Each of these newer styles has its own benefits, but they are usually more expensive and require more maintenance.
In today’s world, laws dictate that toilets can’t use more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush, so you don’t have to worry about your new toilet wasting water.
There are also high-efficiency toilets that use just 1.1 or 1.2 gallons per flush to save even more water. The Environmental Protection Agency’s “WaterSense” label is often attached to these products.
Many people do not even realize there are different shapes of toilet bowls until they are shopping for one. However, buying a new toilet is a big decision. As you browse various products, you’ll find two common shapes: Elongated bowls are more oval in shape, and they’re marketed as more comfortable to sit on. In contrast, round bowls are a few inches shorter, making them ideal for small bathrooms.
In the event that your new toilet will be installed somewhere where noise is an issue, such as next to a bedroom or a nursery, you’ll want to consider how loud it is.
Generally, gravity-flush toilets are the quietest, and some toilets have special fill valves that are designed to be quieter. Furthermore, if noise is a concern, choose a lid that has a soft-close feature to prevent it from slamming shut.
Once you’ve figured out the technical aspects, you can think about how your new toilet will look in your bathroom. White toilets are the most common, but you can also find models in black, gray, tan, and even bright colors like pink or yellow.
Also, you have options when it comes to the trapways of a toilet or the pipe bends behind the toilet bowl. With a model that has visible trapways, you can see the bends and will need to clean them. Considering a toilet with concealed or skirted trapways, where these bends are covered up, may save you a bit of time and make the toilet look sleeker.
There are toilets that have special features that cost extra, as with many household appliances. Some toilets have touchless flushing, where you simply wave your hand to activate the flushing action.
Other advanced features include heated seats, overflow protection, night lights, bidets, and self-cleaning. While these options will increase the initial cost of your toilet, they may also require more maintenance over its lifetime.
How should you measure for a new toilet?
When shopping for toilets, the most important measurement is the rough-in, which is the distance between the wall behind the toilet and the center of the drainpipe or bolts that hold the toilet in place.
Standard rough-ins are 12 inches, but older homes may have 10- or 14-inch rough-ins, which require specialty toilets. Make sure you measure the vertical and horizontal space available so you can determine the size of your new toilet.
How do you install a new toilet?
Installing a toilet begins with removing the old one and repairing or replacing the flange (if necessary). The next step is to test fit your new toilet by placing it on top of the flange.
This will ensure that the bolts align with the holes in the base and that the unit sits level. The next step is to apply a new wax ring to the horn, then install the toilet, tighten the nuts, and finally connect the water supply tube.
What’s the best way to unclog a toilet?
Plungers are usually the best way to fix toilet clogs, but you’ll need a toilet plunger (also called a flanged plunger or closet plunger), not a cup plunger. To unclog your toilet, insert the plunger at an angle into the bowl, allow it to fill with water, and then place the cup over the drain opening at the bottom of the bowl.
Push down on the plunger with swift thrusts, creating enough pressure to loosen the obstruction. As long as you have a good seal, most clogs can be removed with five or six thrusts.
How often should you clean your toilet?
At least once or twice a week, you should clean the toilet, including the bowl and seat. Nevertheless, if there are several users, you may need to clean it more frequently.
The American Standard Mainstream WaterSense Elongated Toilet is our top pick. A well-made toilet from a company with a long history of making good toilets, available for a fair price, and with all the features you need to make your bathroom look and work well. The TOTO Drake Two-Piece Dual Flush Toilet comes with great water efficiency and a special finish to keep your toilet bowl sparkling clean.