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Although it may seem nearly impossible to imagine life without flushing toilets, these modern latrines were only invented by the British in the early 20th century. Modern sewage systems quickly followed as the flush toilet’s popularity exploded, and today they are used by millions of people around the world. The ability to remove waste quickly and without a mess has allowed toilets to be placed inside homes and restaurants, eliminating the need to go outside to an outhouse as was the case for centuries of human civilization.
While today’s modern flushing toilets may seem like a small miracle, you still want to be sure you’re getting the best flushing toilet for your home. To help you find the right toilet for you, we considered some features that differentiate toilets such as the size and type, which affect whether they will fit in your bathroom and how comfortable they will be. We also looked at the amount of water they consume – which can dramatically impact your water bill – and what type of flush system they use, which can determine how effective the flush is at removing waste without clogging.
We spent tens of hours reading through technical specifications and customer reviews for many of the most popular flushing toilets on the market today. The result is our pick of the top seven flushing toilets, listed below. Continue reading for detailed reviews of each toilet, complete with pros and cons. Our buying guide covers everything you need to know about the features that differentiate flush toilets. Finally, we sum up our three favorite flush toilets to help you choose the one that’s right for you.
More features: pressure assisted siphon jet action, EverClean surface
Users rave about this pressure-assisted flush toilet from American Standard, one of the most trusted names in toilet construction. The flush system is so powerful that many users rarely report, if ever, using their plungers again after experiencing frequent clogging with their older gravity-flush toilets.
In addition, although they note that the flush is somewhat loud compared to gravity toilets, users were not overwhelmed by the noise of the powered flush. The 1.6-gallon flush does use a lot of water, though, so this can significantly add to your water bill if you are used to using a toilet with a lower water volume.
Users also loved how easy it is to install this toilet, noting that it took only about 15 minutes from start to finish. However, you will need to order a seat separately from the bowl and tank, and that the elongated two-piece design of this toilet makes it significantly larger than other toilets and not suitable for small bathrooms. The two-piece design can also be somewhat more difficult to clean, although users did not report any special issues and the EverClean surface helps prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria and mildew on the surface of the bowl.
One issue that users did have with the pressure-assisted flush is that it does not swirl the water around the bowl as less powerful flushing systems do. As a result, toilet paper dropped near the front of the bowl often requires a second flush to be carried away
This elegant and modern one-piece toilet from Kohler is larger than comparable one-piece toilets for comfort but saves water with a 1.28-gallon flush. The one-piece design is extremely easy to clean since there are no crevices and plenty of space between the seat and tank. Plus, the availability of multiple colors – rather than just white porcelain – allows you to hide dust slightly if you don’t clean the toilet as frequently as you should. Users also loved that Kohler built this toilet to a comfortable height that makes it painless to get on and off the toilet.
The flush mechanism is a gravity flush but incorporates Kohler’s canister flush system to give an extra kick to your flush to prevent clogging. Users found that this system is extremely effective, even compared to pressure-flushing systems, and requires very little plunging. The lower 1.28-gallon flush also saves a small amount of water, which can add up to a lot of savings on your water bill over a year. Users found that the flush was neither especially noisy nor especially quiet, but does make a weird gulping sound at the end of the flush.
One thing that users would have liked on this toilet is a soft close lid, since the seat that the toilet ships with has a tendency to slam closed. Users also note that the top of the bowl, below the lid, is not finished as well as the rest of the porcelain with the vitreous china glaze.
More features: fully glazed trap way, e-max flushing system
If you have a small half-bathroom that needs a new powerful flushing toilet, it’s hard to beat this ultra-compact toilet from Toto. The toilet measures in at just 16.5 inches wide and long, making it easy to fit this in even the smallest spaces of your bathroom. The compactness is aided by the one-piece design, which is easy to clean thanks to the smooth surfaces, and the round seat, which users found was plenty comfortable.
The flushing system is gravity-powered but includes Toto’s e-max flushing system so that there is plenty of power in each flush. Despite the compact size of the toilet and the reduced 1.28-gallon fills, users report that the toilet rarely clogs when flushing and swirls the water enough that nothing is left behind in the bowl. Users also appreciated that the small tank fills very quickly and does not slow the water flow if someone is in the shower elsewhere in the house.
Users found that the toilet is very easy to install and takes only a few minutes, with the elimination of the need to combine the bowl and tank a major advantage. The ceramic of the toilet is not finished with vitreous china as on comparable toilets, but Toto did fully glaze the trap way for sanitation. The biggest downside to the toilet is the cost – the compact design comes at a significant premium compared to much larger toilets from American Standard and Kohler.
More features: comfort height, self-Cleaning glazed surface
This dual flushing toilet from Galba offers you the best of both worlds when it comes to reducing water usage without risking quality. When operating the top flush buttons, a half flush uses only 0.8 gallons per fill while a full flush uses 1.6 gallons. Users found that it was easy to differentiate the buttons with your fingers, so you always get the right flush volume.
Another feature that users loved about this super flushing toilet is the soft closing lid, which eliminates the noise of the seat banging down and improves the durability of the toilet in the long run. In addition, users were extremely happy with the compact size of this toilet, which retained its comfort thanks to the elongated seat and the very friendly height of the seat. However, note that the seat is more of a hybrid than a truly elongated seat. The one-piece design is also a major advantage since it makes this toilet extremely easy to keep clean.
Some users did find defects with this toilet, including valve fill issues, small protrusions in the porcelain mold, and a slight overhang on the tank. However, users also reported that Galba’s customer service was extraordinarily helpful and friendly when reporting these defects within the one-year warranty period. Note, however, that this customer service and the dual flush capability come at a price premium – this toilet is among the most expensive that we reviewed.
More features: comfort height, right-hand trip lever
The KOHLER 3989-RA-0 model is a classic style two-piece toilet with a water tank, bowl, and large trapway for a clog-free performance. The toilet is made of high-quality sanitary ware, with a glazed finish that facilitates the cleaning and hygiene of the toilet. The toilet has a double flush system, which makes it easy to save water.
You can choose between the flush mode that uses 1.1 gallons per flush or 1.60 GPF. With the Class Five Flushing Technology, the toilet is a high flushing model and should never clog. However, it uses moderate water. The maximum water usage requirement still complies with WaterSense’s maximum amount of water usage for toilets.
Regarding its assembly, the toilet comes with all the necessary elements for this, including hardware and connections. The toilet has a Comfort Height design and will be suitable for people with disabilities as using the toilet is just like being on a chair. The toilet has a right-hand trip lever for efficient flushing.
It has an elongated bowl design and is meant to be installed as a freestanding toilet.
More features: 3-inch flush valve, fully glazed trap way
This low priced toilet from Toto is great for those in need of a flushing toilet on a budget, although note that it does not come with a seat. The price of this toilet is especially impressive given that it incorporates a one-piece design with an elongated bowl, making it extremely comfortable for most people and relatively easy to keep clean. The toilet is also coasted with vitreous china glaze, putting it on par with toilets that cost nearly twice as much.
The main downside to this toilet is that it uses 1.6 gallons of water with every fill, which can actually increase the expense of the toilet over time in the form of your water bill. With that in mind, however, users were very impressed by the flushing achieved by the power flushing mechanism included in this toilet and the three-inch flush valve. Users also appreciated how quiet this toilet is given the intensity of the flush, which leaves little behind and very rarely clogs.
One minor issue that users had with the construction of this toilet is that there is a slight ridge in the bowl, which some users felt makes the bowl look dirty even when it is not. However, the fully glazed tray wrap is a nice feature for improving the sanitation of this toilet in addition to the easy-to-clean one-piece design.
More features: suited for RV, it can be fitted with a hand sprayer
While not suitable for most in-home bathrooms, this plastic one-piece portable flushing toilet from Aqua-Magic is perfect for installing in your RV. The toilet is surprisingly lightweight, small, and inexpensive, thanks in part to the plastic rather than porcelain construction. Although users found that the round design can be slightly uncomfortable compared to the elongated toilet bowls found in most homes, the small size saves room in your RV’s bathroom for other essentials.
The flush is operated by a single handle with a dual purpose – push it down halfway to fill the bowl and all the way to flush. Although this can take some getting used to at first, most users had no problem operating the flush and did not experience any issues with clogging. Plus, the swirl of the water around the bowl is quite effective at removing toilet paper with your waste.
Users did have some issues with the construction of this toilet, however. Most important, the design of the bowl needs a funnel so that it is easier to clean the toilet off waste – otherwise, it can eventually build up in the chute of the bowl. In addition, some customers actually experienced leaks that resulted in the toilet spraying water unexpectedly, but it might be due to flawed installation.
Now that you’ve read more about our seven favorite flushing toilets on the market today, how do you choose among them to find the toilet that is right for you and your home? There are a number of factors that go into choosing the right toilet, including comfort, whether it will fit in your bathroom, how much you’re willing to pay for your water bill, and whether you can flush the toilet with confidence that it won’t clog. Our Buying Guide and Frequently Asked Questions sections will cover everything you need to know about flushing toilets and answer some of the common questions that people ask when looking to purchase a new flushing toilet.
Advantages of having a flushing toilet
Most people today would not even consider purchasing a toilet that does not flush, so immense are the advantages of a flushing toilet. Having the ability to flush means that waste can be immediately removed from your home – to a septic tank or main sewage line – without having to do any of the messy work of cleaning out the toilet bowl or ferrying waste to a pit as was the case in older times. This makes your bathroom significantly more sanitary both for yourself and for any guests you may have in your home.
Features to consider while choosing a flushing toilet
While flushing toilets are clearly superior to non-flushing toilets for most homes, not all flushing toilets are made equally. Here, we’ll cover some of the most important features that differentiate flushing toilets and that you need to consider when choosing the toilet that is right for your home.
The size of your toilet is usually dictated by the size of your bathroom. Large bathrooms can accommodate larger, roomier toilets like the model from American Standard Cadet, while close-quartered bathrooms like those found in a half-bathroom or in an RV will require a smaller toilet like the one from Aqua-Magic V.
One-piece or two-piece?
Although the decision between one- and two-piece toilets isn’t life-changing, it can make a big difference in your ability to clean the toilet. One-piece toilets, like those from KOHLER 3810-0 Santa Rosa,TOTO MS853113E Eco Ultramax, and GALBA MU133, are constructed with the tank and the bowl in a single piece, which eliminates the hard-to-clean crevices found on two-piece toilets. One-piece toilets also typically have a slightly lower profile, making them better for smaller bathrooms, and are easier to install since there is only one piece to move and only one package shipped from the manufacturer. However, two-piece toilets are typically much less expensive.
The vast majority of toilets are made with porcelain, a very durable and easy to clean style of ceramic. Many toilets are coated with vitreous china, a glaze that gives the toilet a high-gloss finish for a modern and sleek look. Note that some toilets, like the one from Aqua-Magic V, are made of plastic for reduced weight, although these will also be less durable in the long-term.
The flushing system is one of the most important parts of the toilet – after all, if the flushing system isn’t doing its job it’s going to be a bad day! While gravity flushing – which uses the weight of the water itself to force the water downward – is among the oldest technologies still available, many newer flushing systems are available.
Pressure-assisted flushing uses pressurized air to force water down into the bowl. This system offers a large amount of flushing power but is also quite noisy.
Dual flush systems have become popular as a mechanism for saving water. These toilets allow you to choose whether to do a partial flush or a total flush and allot water accordingly.
The amount of water that your toilet uses will be defined by the manufacturer and, unless you have a dual-flush system, will be the same with every flush. While toilets that use more water may be less prone to clogging, using more water will also add to your water bill – and using a half-gallon more of water with every flush can add up to a huge cost over the course of a year. In general, opt for the most water-efficient toilet that you can afford and that you feel comfortable using.
Toilets come in a variety of shapes, which can impact both their size and how comfortable they are for most people who sit on them. The primary shapes are known as compact and elongated.
Compact toilets have a round or square-shaped seat and take up two inches less floor space than their elongated counterparts – perfect for people with small bathrooms.
However, elongated bowls, which have an oval shape, are typically found to be more comfortable for most people. Hybrid bowls are also available, which use a compacted oval to save space while increasing comfort.
Toilets are typically relatively simple to install without any plumbing experience, especially if you order a one-piece toilet. In general, the tank of the toilet will need to be hooked up to an existing water line in your bathroom, while the bowl of the toilet will need to be hooked up to an outgoing sewage line.
You may not think about toilet noise until you come across an especially loud toilet, but they do vary in the amount of noise they make. Toilets that flush with more power, such as pressure-assisted flushing toilets, will typically be noisier than gravity toilets.
Most toilets are white, in part because this is the color people expect to see. However, some toilets, like the model from KOHLER 3989-RA-0, do come in additional colors and can fit every design.
The size of the tank depends on whether the toilet you are using is a one-piece or two-piece design and how much water the toilet you are using flushes with. In general, two-piece toilets will have a larger tank, as will toilets that flush with more water.
All of the toilets we reviewed come with a one-year warranty to provide you with peace of mind in your purchase. However, be sure to check customer reviews to find out whether different manufacturers offer good customer service.
The answer depends on your plumbing system. A modern flushing toilet typically has two lines running through it – an input water line that connects to the tank and an output sewage line that carries away the water and waste from the bowl. If you are unsure of whether your plumbing system can handle a modern flush toilet, it is typically best to call in a plumber to evaluate your system and make a recommendation.
You can slightly change the power with which your toilet flushes by adjusting the water level in the tank and adjusting the slack in the chain. Adding more water to the tank with each flush will provide more pressure within a gravity flush toilet. For best results, adjust the water level to ½” below the valve and adjust the slack in the chain so that there is about ¼” of slack. You can also purchase an adjustable flap to make the system even more adjustable.
Unfortunately, yes, although to what degree depends on the flushing mechanism of your toilet. Opting for less water with each flush may save water and money on your water bill, but you want to make sure that you have enough water to carry away your waste without clogging – which is where a dual-flush toilet can come in handy to provide the best of both worlds.
The rough-in dimensions of a toilet describe the distance between the wall directly behind the toilet and the outflow pipe where waste leaves the bowl. You can check the rough in on an existing toilet by approximating the distance from the wall to the closest bolts that hold the toilet into the floor. The toilet from American Standard, for example, has a 12-inch rough-in distance that needs to be accounted for in how much space you need in your bathroom to install the toilet. Although 12-inch rough-ins are the most frequently found, rough-ins measuring 10 or 14 inches are also very common.
Users appreciated the comfort height of the seat on the Kohler toilet, while the 1.28 gallons per fill for the Kohler and Toto toilets greatly reduce the overall cost of the toilet in the long run by saving on your water bill. The ability to get the Kohler toilet in multiple colors – and match it to the rest of your bathroom – is also a significant style advantage.
However, we feel that the American Standard toilet is the overall best flushing toilet for your bathroom given the pressurized flush, relatively low noise, and the sanitation provided by the EverClean coating on the toilet.