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How to Choose a Toilet for Your Bathroom

When it comes to choosing a toilet, begin by pinpointing who the primary users are and how often it will be used. A good choice for an infrequently used powder room is a distant cousin from one that’s used in a family’s one-and-only hall bathroom.

A standard toilet has a 15-inch rim height, but many of today’s toilet manufacturers are now offering 17-inch rim heights, which are more comfortable for most adults and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

You can buy a toilet for under $100 or over $1,000, and both of them can get the job done. But obviously, the durability, design, quality, and style are what account for the price difference. Figure an average price of $300 for a good-quality toilet that may outlive the people who installed it. (The life expectancy of a toilet is actually over 40 years.) Set your budget first because it may limit the color selection, quality, quietness, flushing mechanism, water-conserving quality, and ease of cleaning.

Most toilets are made of vitreous china, which means that they’re impervious to water. It’s a durable material that’s easy to clean, making it the obvious choice for a bathroom. Toilets come in two basic designs:

  • One-piece: This style is seamlessly molded together, has a streamlined look, and is, consequently, easy to clean.

  • Two-piece: Less expensive than a one-piece unit but slightly more difficult to install, the more typical two-piece toilet has a separate water tank that hangs on the wall and rests on the toilet base or bowl.

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When you buy a two-piece toilet, you have to buy the toilet seat separately — strange but true.

The typical height of a toilet is 14 to 15 inches, a convenient and comfortable height for most people. For tall or large people, elevated toilets are available that are up to 18 inches high. These elevated toilets are also convenient for anyone who is physically challenged and has difficulty sitting down or rising. You’ll also find ADA-compliant toilets that meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act for wheelchair accessibility.

Here are some things to notice in your quest for the perfect toilet:

  • Comfortable size: Is the toilet too small for a large person? Consider an elongated toilet, which is usually about 2 inches deeper than a standard toilet and has an oversized seat, making it more comfortable and convenient to use.

  • Elevated height: For anyone who struggles while lowering and raising themselves, consider an elevated toilet, which is approximately two to four inches higher than a standard toilet.

  • Cleanability: If you consider the ease of cleaning a toilet the most important feature, a smooth-sided bowl is the best choice.

  • Quiet flush: Consider a gravity-fed toilet that offers a quiet flushing system.

  • Power flushing: Many toilet manufacturers have their own patented flushing systems designed to exceed performance standards. Most of these designs use water pressure to compress air in a chamber. When the toilet is flushed, the air pushes the water out of the chamber at high velocity, flushing the toilet with less water.

  • Automatic seat closing: Some toilets are designed with a slow-moving hinge that gradually lowers both the seat and lid. Doesn’t this sound like the perfect solution for the lone woman in an all-male household?

  • Insulated water tank: To prevent a build-up of moisture on the outside of the tank (a breeding ground for mold and mildew), many toilets have an insulated water tank. The insulation prevents condensation by keeping the cold water inside. This feature is popular in humid climates.

  • Two-lever flush: To conserve water, many toilets offer a double-action flushing lever. You push the small lever to release less water for liquids or use the large lever to flush away solid waste.

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