8 Quick Tips for Buying a New Toilet

Whether you’re planning to upgrade to a more efficient model or your current commode is simply worn out, shopping for a new toilet can be an intimidating task, especially since it’s not an item you buy very often. The information and tips below can help you find the model that best fits your family, budget and décor. Here are eight great tips for buying a new toilet.

Look for a high-performance, low-flow model

Low-flow toilets have come a long way in the 25 years since this design became the federal standard. Today’s powerful models use a modest 1.6 gallons per flush without clogging or leaving anything behind. The newest offerings include large flush valves capable of producing a robust flow of water while still reducing your environmental impact.

We have identified five incredible choices for the best toilet, all of which are considered incredibly high performance and very low flow. Those five models reviewed are:

You get what you pay for

If you choose to, you can get a very basic builder-grade toilet for less than $100, but chances are you’ll spend serious time and money repairing or replacing it much sooner than you’d like. Your toilet is an investment you’ll use every day for years, so spend a little extra money to get a quality model.

Budget at least $200 to $500 for a gravity-flush toilet and $300 to $600 for a pressure-assisted toilet. You’ll never regret buying the nicer model, but if you skimp on this purchase, you almost certainly will.

Shop around for the best deal

Big-box home improvement stores may be the first place you think of for buying a new toilet, but they’re not your only option. Check out local plumbing and bath showrooms, and don’t rule out buying a toilet online, especially if the retailer offers free shipping.

Think twice about fancy features

Unique features like designer seats and complicated flush systems may seem tempting, but they can cause you problems later on if you need to repair or replace them, especially if the company is no longer producing your particular model.

Read online reviews

Taking the time to research other users’ experiences with specific models can help you avoid the mistakes they now regret. Pay special attention to feedback related to flush performance, noise and water usage. You can also compare ratings on sites like Consumer Reports or via an online search using the term “toilet testing.”

Search for rebates on ultra-efficient models

Believe it or not, your toilets are responsible for about one-third of your total household water consumption. Installing a high-efficiency, low-flow toilet can save thousands of gallons of water each year, and that savings is reflected on your monthly utility bill when buying a new toilet.

Additionally, some utility companies offer rebates for purchasing a toilet certified by the EPA’s WaterSense program, so don’t miss out on this potential windfall if it’s available in your area.

Sit before you buy

Standard toilets set their bowls at about 15 inches from the ground, but higher bowls can be more comfortable to use, especially for people with orthopedic or other health issues. (On the other hand, a higher bowl can be challenging for small children to use.) Be sure to visit at least one store in person to test several heights and find the one that works best for your family.

When buying a new toilet, size matters

Before you hand over the cash, measure the rough-in of your current toilet, including the distance from the wall to the middle of the flange bolts that hold it in place. Selecting a model with the same footprint as your existing toilet will keep installation simple and prevent the need for major construction or plumbing projects.

Be sure to measure the size of your new bowl as well—elongated bowls can be more comfortable to use than standard shapes, but you’ll want to make sure a new bowl shape doesn’t cause conflicts with existing drawers, cabinets or doors.

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