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When you repair or upgrade your household, new toilets may not be the most glamorous part of your remodeling efforts. It’s a purchase you may not think too much about, and it can be tempting to buy the cheapest or first model you find.
But when you take a trip to the store or look online, it turns out shopping for a toilet isn’t nearly that cut and dry. Today’s toilets come in many types and designs, they boast a myriad of technical product specs, and some of the newest lines have all sorts of exotic features like bidet settings. Some offer environmentally-conscious features, such as low water use. How do you decide which toilet best suits your needs?
BestReviews is here to make it easy. We don’t accept free samples from manufacturers; we purchase and test products just like any other consumer. This way, you get the most unbiased product reviews possible, along with our expert research and analysis.
Check the product matrix above to find our top picks for the best toilets currently on the market. Or, if you want even more information before you make the leap and purchase, read the buying guide below to learn about toilet features, types and more.
One of the best ways to save water is to choose dual-flush toilet. These models have two buttons: one flushes solid waste and uses more water. The other flushes liquid waste only, using less water.
Control germs with touchless flushing. Rather than pushing a handle to open the flush valve, these toilets include a sensor that monitors movement and flushes automatically.
A touchless flushing system activates via motion sensor, so you don’t have to physically touch the toilet.
Some toilets come with different bowl sizes to increase comfort, as well as accommodate bathroom space. For instance, elongated bowls tend to be more comfortable and fit better in narrow areas.
Many toilets are shaped with a balance of cleaning and aesthetics in mind.
The valve size influences the power of the flush. A larger flush valve clears the contents of the bowl more effectively.
Smart toilet seats provide some of the features of a smart toilet, but at a fraction of the price.
Some toilets are engineered for a more quiet flush. Others have special silent-closure lids. These are good for smaller homes or apartments.
One of the most common concerns with newer toilets is water efficiency. Many designs boast a low-flow capacity, and some models include a vacuum-assist feature that needs very little water per flush.
Traditional toilets, which operate on a pull-chain system, rely on gravity to flush away the contents. They’re still the most common design. Pressure-assisted toilets use compressed air in the tank to force waste down the waste line. They can be noisier, but they’re less prone to clogs.
Dual-flush toilets allow you to choose the quantity of water used for each flush.
Toilets last a long time, and many people don’t think about replacing theirs until they must. Through the normal lifespan parts may need to be replaced, such as flushing components in the tank, or a cracked seat. Toilets may also need repairs from a plumber if they start to leak. In many cases, simply changing the wax ring between the toilet and the floor may solve the problem.
Even if your older model toilet still works, there are several reasons to upgrade before the toilet breaks.
A common reason to upgrade a toilet is to improve water efficiency in a household. If you have an older model toilet, you’re simply missing out on some of the newer water-saving features, such as low-flow options, vacuum-assist features and dual-flush capabilities.
Try adding half a cup of dish detergent directly to the bowl to help break up a clog without plunging.
Smart home technology is everywhere, and the bathroom is no exception. Functions of smart toilets include features to prevent flushing if the toilet is clogged, touch-free flush options, heated seating, bidet functions and self-cleaning options. A truly smart toilet can also sense how much water is needed per flush and adjust accordingly.
Have you ever wanted more space in your bathroom, but just don’t see a way? A new toilet to add more wiggle room in a smaller bathroom. For instance, a model with a more rounded bowl could add walking room in the bathroom.
Again, elongated bowls are king for this. If you’re stuck on an outdated model, you may be shocked to learn how newer models have added to the comfort level.
Persistent odors might be a sign that the wax ring, located between the toilet base and the floor pipe, needs to be replaced.
When pricing potential toilets, factor in installation costs if you don’t plan to install it yourself. Installs can cost as much as $350. Without installation, toilets span several price categories. The price is largely dependent upon included features.
Toilets in this price range are the most basic models. They’ll do the job and little more. The most comfortable toilets in this range will have elongated bowls. Many of these are rated in the high-efficiency range for water use, and some even carry the WaterSense label, which means they meet EPA criteria for water usage. You might find a few dual-flush models.
In this range, higher-end features become more common, such as dual-flush technology.
Some smart toilet systems prevent overflows by detecting clogs and deactivating the flushing system.
Features such as warming seats and bidet functions are common at this pricing level. Technology is more sophisticated, including siphonic flush systems that get rid of the chain-pull model. Designs become more smooth, streamlined, compact, and “space age.” Some of the smartest models cost upward of $1,000.
One way to get the best of the smart toilet world without the $1,000+ price tag of a full smart toilet is to get a smart toilet seat. Many run in the $300 range. They attach right onto a usual toilet and add functions like warming options and bidet functionality.
The WaterSense label indicates the model has met EPA standards for recommended water usage.
You don’t necessarily have to just install a toilet and forget about it. There are several ways to get the most out of whichever toilet you buy.
One way to get the best of the smart toilet world without the $1,000 price tag is to buy a smart toilet seat. Many cost around $300. They attach like any other toilet seat but add functions like warming and bidet functionality.
Want to get rid of a clog without plunging? Pour a few cups of hot water into the toilet and let it sit for a few minutes. This may break up the fat of the clog, allowing it to clear without use of the plunger.
Dish detergent can also break up a clog. Try adding a liberal amount (about a half cup or more) of detergent directly into the bowl.
To get rid of hard water stains in the toilet, use a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Put a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and mix it with the toilet brush around the stain. Leave for one minute. Next, add one cup of baking soda and a couple more cups of vinegar. Leave for several minutes to let fizz. Use the toilet brush to cover the stain with the mixture, let it sit, then scrub if necessary.
No one knows who invented the toilet. The earliest finding of a possible toilet dates back to 3,000 B.C. A Neolithic settlement in what is now Scotland had stone huts with drains extending from recesses in the walls. November 19th is World Toilet Day.
Q. What are some of features of a smart toilet?
A. Smart toilets come with many different features. Some of the most common include auto-open and -close lids, heated seats, rear cleanse and front cleanse bidet options, a dryer, or a deodorizer. They might also offer options to make cleaning easier, such as mists of electrolyzed water to reduce the need for cleaning chemicals, pre-mists of regular water to aid in the disposal of waste.
Q. How do I know which toilet size to buy?
A. Toilets certainly come in many sizes. Your new toilet should match the existing toilet’s “rough-in” measurements. This is the space between the wall and the hold-down bolts. Elongated bowls can also add comfort, of course, but measure your space before deciding if one is appropriate. You might also considerthe height of the bowl, to ensure you can get on and off the toilet easily.
Q. How do new toilets compare to government water efficiency guidelines?
A. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 enforces a maximum flush volume of 1.6 gallons for toilets made and installed after that year. Many new toilets use less than that, at 1.28 gallons per flush. For perspective, some older models used as much as six gallons per flush.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.