9 Points To Consider Before Buying A New Toilet

by Dan | Last Updated: January 19, 2021

Before 1994, a toilet was a toilet. Rarely would you have gone wrong with any model that came your way. But these fixtures have stepped up on different fronts since the need to innovate started to mount up.

If you’ve had a toilet that won’t flush or one that keeps flooding your floors due to regular leakages, then you know that ‘how to select the right toilet for your bathroom’ is a course that you want to take with passion.

How To Choose A Toilet

Rough In

The worst that you could ever do is to get a toilet that does not fit in its specified location. The rough in is the most important specification that determines whether the fixture fits in or not. Trying to squeeze a commode with the wrong rough in dimensions will lead to regular clogging and leakages in future which might make your life harder than before.

The rough-in size refers to the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the center of the outlet pipe. If you want to determine the rough-in size of your current fixture, measure from the wall to the middle of the closest bolt.

There are 3 major rough-in sizes: 10’’, 12’’, and 14’’. When replacing a toilet, ensure that the new model matches the existing model’s rough in measurements.

The standard rough-in size is 12 inches. However, you can pick a 10 inch rough in toilet or 14 inch rough in toilet too. If you a remodeling or constructing a new bathroom, it’s advisable to plan for a 12 inch rough in toilet. It’s the most common and easily available. They are also easy to find and to get replacements for. The Toto CT418F-01 Aquia ranks highly in our best toilet buying guide.

Now, getting the rough-in size right is a MUST especially when replacing a worn-out commode. This ensures that the fixture fits correctly without regular leaks.

10-inch and 14-inch fixtures are somewhat hard to get and might become inexistent altogether in the nearest future. However, if your current bathroom plumbing calls for any of these, the Toto CST744SF.10 (10-inch) and the Kohler K-3948-0 Wellworth (14-inch) are worth checking out.

Without forgetting, remember that you cannot replace a 10-inch toilet with a 12-inch model. The 2 just won’t fit unless you move the flange.

Elongated Vs. Round Bowl

The choice between elongated vs round toilet usually comes down to personal preference and the space available.

Elongated toilets are all the hype at the moment. While its benefits are simply indisputable, you need to understand that their length 18-19 inches make them somewhat hard to fit in compact bathrooms. Again, remember that your new toilet should allow enough space at the front and to the right and left.

Most homeowners are of the opinion that elongated bowls are much more comfortable. These models tend to support your thigh area better, and the additional space at the front tends to favor men.

But before switching to an elongated-bowl throne, keep their size in mind. Elongated bowls measure 18-1/2 from the center of the 2 bolts that mount the seat hinge to the front-most tip of the commode. On the other hand, round-bowl toilets max out 16-1/2 inches.

Where space is a consideration, a round front toilet will suffice. These models have a bowl length of approximately 16-17 inches and might, fit in spaces where the elongated commodes won’t. In her article, Big Help for Small Bathrooms, Ilene Meyers Miller advises considering a round-bowl toilet for a petite bathroom since it consumes little space.

However, if you still need the extra space that the elongated units offer but in a smaller footprint, a compact elongated toilet might be your best bet. The market also has compact elongated toilets like the American Standard 2403.328.020. It offers the comfort of an elongated-bowl fixture but does not protrude as far.


Other than the bowl size, you also need to ensure that your ideal throne has the right sitting height that meets your needs.

Regular toilets have a seat height of 15 inches. This height favors short people, kids, and users with constipation issues.

However, you might not want to install it in your elderly parent’s bathroom. This height also brings lots of trouble to people who are taller than average and those living with arthritis.

Such situations call for ‘Comfort Height’ toilets. These thrones are 1-2 inches taller than the average standard toilet and can go as high as 17 inches.

These heights are said to be ADA compliant, and they make sitting down and standing up super easy for the tall and the elderly.

For smaller bathrooms inasmuch as you want a toilet that fits in your compact bathroom, you also need a toilet that allows you to carry out your business without struggles. In this case, you need to consider the size of the throne (standard or comfort height) and the length (elongated or round-bowl).

Water Saving Design – Going Green Starts With Your Bathroom

Did you know that your bathroom alone accounts for over 30% of your total monthly water bills? Now you do!

There is no question about this. If you want to save some bucks on your water bills, it’s paramount that you go for a toilet system that uses little water per flush. ‘Little water’ here means utmost 1.6 GPF which is currently the federal standard.

Some drought-plagued States like California have made the rules even stricter by recommending manufacturers to come up with High-Efficiency Toilets (HET) that use 1.28 GPF. What this means is that some toilets that fail to meet this threshold might not be legally available in such States. You might want to consider a toilet that not only saves you money on this front but also complies with your local toilet water consumption regulations.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, anyone who is still using the pre-1994 toilets that use between 3.5 and 6 gallons per flush not only waste water, but also flush a lot of their hard-earned money down the drain.

The good news is that installing this toilet will not only save you money, but you could also be paid for doing that through rebates. So, if you are after a water-saving system, check out WaterSense-labeled unit like the Kohler 3810-0 Santa Rosa. These units have a 1.28 GPF flush rate and perform equally to the high-gallon toilets if not better.

You might also want to pay some thought to the dual flush toilets that use far much less water when flushing liquid waste. Consider a eco flush toilet or a dual-flush toilet, for instance, the Galba Small toilet. It uses 1.6gpf for solid waste and 0.8 gallons only for liquid waste.

This might save you lots of water especially in a home with lots of kids. Choose wisely though. Some dual-flush systems might be hectic to use and might end up using even more water.

Easy Cleaning

Cleaning the toilet isn’t the best chore around the house. But you still have to do it. In that case, a crapper that cleans easily might be a savior. If you don’t fancy cleaning, these fixtures, a one piece toilet with a special glaze that prevents debris from sticking and a skirted trapway might suffice.

Flush Mechanism

This is one of the most neglected checkpoints in the buying process but also quite important. Before heading to the market, you’ll want to figure out the type of flushing mechanism on your next commode.

Here are some of the most common styles:


In my opinion, the color of your toilet is a personal thing. Whether you want it to be avocado green or pitch black, it’s entirely up to you.

Here is my two cents though.

While pink, blue, and other weird hues are quite eye-catching and appealing at present, these weird colors always wear thin and leave the throne to appear lost in your bathroom.

That’s why I always advise homeowners to consider a white or bisque toilet. These toilets never get out of fashion, and they are also much easier to match with other fixtures in the bathroom.

Again, they are also easily transferable to other homeowners.


The cost of toilet depends on a few things including performance and configuration. Usually, 2 piece toilets are relatively cheaper than a one piece toilet. But do know that the latter is relatively easier to install.

By the same breath, elongated-bowl commodes are relatively pricier than their round-bowl siblings. Compact-elongated fixtures can be even pricier. Again, you should expect to pay more for a model that conserves more water.

As you can see, the cost of toilets goes high depending on how advanced they are. You could get a fixture for as low as $80 which is still right if you want to save. However, do know that cheap toilets mostly suffer from poor flushes and consume a lot of water. They also tend to break down more often and could, therefore, cost you more on maintenance.

Do yourself a favor, just don’t under budget. Toilets come in all prices, so it’s advisable not to pinch pennies.  A good toilet could cost you anywhere between $250 and $600 depending on its flushing system or $2.5 million if it’s made of 24 carats of gold. While you could get away with a 100 dollar commode, such low end models are often plagued by lots of performance and durability issues. The cost of subsequent repairs may add up to more than you would have spent on a better quality. Also remember that you’ll be sitting on that commode every dayfor almost a decade to come.

It really pays to check out the best unit that you can get for your budget. However, I recommend having the maximum amount that you want to spend in mind. This prevents wasting time on highly priced commodes that you won’t buy.


A good quality toilet costs between $300 and $600. As it’s the case with other household items that cost this much and considering how prone they are to breaking down, it’s only safe if it comes with a warranty.

There is a general presumption that units that come with a shorter warranty are of slightly lower quality and might start showing defects soon after the warranty period is over. While this holds water to some degree, it’s not always the case with toilets.

Rather than scour the web pages searching for the brand that has the longest warranty, I highly advise my readers to go for a brand that is known for quality and excellent performance. I really don’t see the point of being enticed by a 10-year warranty from an unknown brand that you might not be able to contact when the need comes.

What about the issue of an extended warranty? Should you get one for your toilet? In my opinion, NO. Extended warranties are partially safe for pricey things like cars. But in the subject of toilets, this is a losing bet.

The problem with extended warranties is that most dealers always find loopholes to not to honor them. So, instead of risking your money, I would highly advise you to have your commode installed professionally and discipline yourself to use it in the right way. Secondly, save money for its regular maintenance.


Irrespective of how much your toilet costs, it’s convenience and comfort that matter most. Go for a fixture that won’t require you to move walls or reinstall your linen cabinets. It should also be comfortable for the intended users, good flusher, and an excellent water saver.

Dan is the editor in chief and founder of this site, after running into troubles with his own old toilet a while ago. Discussing toilets is not your everyday topic, so let’s talk toilets today.