Toilet Buying Guide: Toilet Terms To Know Before You Buy

Toilet Buying Guide: Key Terms You Must Know

Are you puzzled by the world of toilet jargon?

Don’t flush your money down the drain!

We understand the frustration of deciphering technical terms while shopping for a new toilet.

That’s why we’re here to help.

From bowl shapes to flush mechanisms, we’ll break down the essential toilet terms you need to know before you buy.

Say goodbye to confusion and hello to an informed decision.

Get ready to upgrade your bathroom with confidence.

Key Terms You Must Know

Navigating the world of toilets can be a bit overwhelming with all the technical jargon.

Let’s simplify things by breaking down some of the essential terms you might come across:


The trapway is the curved channel inside the toilet that transports water and waste from the bowl to the drain.

Its design and size play a pivotal role in the toilet’s flushing efficiency.

GPF (Gallons Per Flush)

GPF stands for Gallons Per Flush and indicates the amount of water a toilet uses each time it’s flushed.

It’s a measure of a toilet’s water efficiency, with lower GPF values being more eco-friendly.

Rough-In Size

This term refers to the distance from the wall to the center of the toilet’s floor drain.

It’s crucial to know this measurement when replacing or installing a new toilet, with 12 inches being the standard size.

One-Piece vs Two-Piece Toilets

Toilets can be categorized into one-piece and two-piece designs.

In a one-piece toilet, the tank and bowl are integrated into a single unit.

In contrast, two-piece toilets have a separate tank and bowl.

Water Surface Area

This refers to the size of the water surface in the toilet bowl.

A larger water surface can help in reducing stains and ensuring a cleaner bowl after each flush.

Flush Valve Size

The flush valve is the opening that releases water from the tank to the bowl during a flush.

Its size can influence the power and efficiency of the flush.

Bowl Height

Toilets come in various heights.

The standard height is around 15 inches, but there are also ADA-compliant models that are taller to cater to those with mobility challenges.

Elongated vs Round Bowls

Toilet bowls can be either elongated or round.

Elongated bowls are typically longer and offer a more comfortable seating area, while round bowls are more compact, making them suitable for smaller bathrooms.

With these terms in your arsenal, you’re better equipped to make an informed decision on your next toilet purchase.

Types of Toilets

When it comes to choosing the right toilet for your bathroom, it’s essential to understand the different types available.

The type of toilet you select can impact its performance, water efficiency, and even the noise it makes during flushing.

Let’s dive into the various types of toilets and what sets them apart:

Gravity-Feed Toilets

Gravity-feed toilets are the most common type found in households.

As the name suggests, these toilets rely on the force of gravity to flush waste.

Water from the tank drops into the bowl, pushing the waste down the drain.

  • Pros:
    • Quieter flush compared to pressure-assisted models.
    • Many models perform as well as the best pressure-assisted ones.
  • Cons:
    • Lower-priced models might not effectively displace waste.

Pressure-Assisted Toilets

These toilets use compressed air within a sealed tank to create pressure.

When flushed, this pressure thrusts waste forcefully down the waste line.

They’re suitable for large families but come with a louder flush.

  • Pros:
    • Efficient in waste removal with fewer clogs.
    • Ideal for homes with kids who might overstuff the toilet.
  • Cons:
    • Noisy flush.
    • Might not perform as well in drainline carry as top-rated gravity models.

Dual-Flush Toilets

Dual-flush toilets offer two flush options: a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.

This design aims to save water, allowing users to choose the appropriate flush based on the waste type.

  • Pros:
    • Water-saving.
    • Offers flexibility in flushing options.
  • Cons:
    • Might be pricier than single-flush models.

Wall-Mounted Toilets

Wall-mounted toilets, as the name implies, are mounted on the wall and do not touch the bathroom floor.

This design offers a sleek and modern look, making cleaning easier.

  • Pros:
    • Space-saving and aesthetically pleasing.
    • Easier to clean around.
  • Cons:
    • Installation can be more complex.
    • Might be pricier due to the need for in-wall plumbing.

~ Next up: Dive into the world of water efficiency and discover how the right toilet can lead to significant water savings. ~

Water Efficiency

When it comes to toilets, water efficiency isn’t just about saving the environment; it’s about saving your money too.

With advancements in toilet technology, there’s no need to compromise on flushing performance while conserving water.

A New Generation of Low-Flow Models

Gone are the days when low-flow toilets were synonymous with weak flushing.

Since 1994, federal standards have mandated toilets to use 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or less.

The first generation of these toilets had their challenges, often requiring multiple flushes.

But thanks to design improvements over the years, like larger trap-ways to prevent clogging and bigger flush valves for a more powerful water rush, today’s low-flow models are efficient and effective.

High-Efficiency Toilets (HET)

High-efficiency toilets (HET) are the superheroes of the toilet world.

Using only 1.28 gallons or less, they proudly wear the EPA’s WaterSense label.

Not only do they conserve water, but they can also save around 4,000 gallons of water per person annually.

Some water utilities even offer rebates for installing one.

However, it’s essential to check independent test results before purchasing, as some models might have staining or clogging issues.

The EPA’s WaterSense Label

Toilets with the WaterSense label are certified to be at least 20% more efficient without sacrificing performance.

These toilets are tested rigorously to ensure they meet strict criteria, ensuring water savings and performance go hand in hand.

Comparing Water Usage and Benefits

FeatureWater UsageBenefitsPotential Rebates
Standard Toilets1.6 gpfFamiliar design, widely availableNone
High-Efficiency Toilets (HET)1.28 gpf or lessSignificant water savings, EPA’s WaterSense certifiedPossible rebates from water utilities
Dual-Flush Toilets0.8 gpf (liquid waste), 1.6 gpf (solid waste)Flexibility in flushing options, water conservationVaries

~ Next: Unravel the mystery behind bowl shapes.

Elongated or round – which is the throne for you? ~

(Note: gpf = gallons per flush)

Toilet Features

When you’re in the market for a new toilet, understanding its features can make all the difference in your buying decision.

Let’s delve into some key features that can influence your choice.

Bowl Shape: Elongated vs Round

Elongated bowls are about two inches longer than their round-front counterparts.

This design offers a more comfortable seating area, especially for adults.

  • Pros:
    • More comfortable for prolonged use.
    • Often considered more modern in appearance.
  • Cons:
    • Might take up slightly more space, making them less ideal for smaller bathrooms.

Round-front bowls, on the other hand, are compact and can fit into tighter spaces.

  • Pros:
    • Ideal for smaller bathroom spaces.
    • Often more affordable.
  • Cons:
    • Might be less comfortable for some users.

Toilet Height: Standard vs ADA Compliant

The standard toilet height ranges from 14 to 15 inches from the floor to the seat.

However, ADA-compliant toilets, designed to meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act, have a height of 17″”-19″” from floor to seat, making them more accessible.

  • Pros:
    • Easier to sit on and stand up from, especially for the elderly or those with mobility issues.
    • Matches the height of standard chairs, offering a more natural seating position.
  • Cons:
    • Might be too tall for shorter individuals or children.

Rough-In Measurement

The rough-in is the distance from the wall to the center of the waste outlet.

The standard measurement is 12″”, but it can also be 10″” or 14″”. Knowing this measurement is crucial when replacing a toilet to ensure the new one fits seamlessly.

Flushing Performance & Ratings

A toilet’s flushing performance can be a deal-breaker.

With advancements in technology, many toilets now offer powerful flushes while using less water.

The MaP test measures a toilet’s flush effectiveness, with a scale running from 0 to 1,000 grams of removed solid waste.

A higher MaP score indicates better waste removal.

  • Pros:
    • Efficient waste removal reduces the risk of clogs.
    • Higher water efficiency can lead to water savings and reduced bills.
  • Cons:
    • Some high-efficiency models might be pricier.

Cost Considerations

Price Ranges

When it comes to purchasing a toilet, the price tag isn’t the only factor to consider.

While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest option, it’s essential to weigh in the long-term costs and benefits.

Here’s a breakdown of what you should know:

Price Ranges for Different Toilet Models

  • Gravity-Feed Toilets: These are generally the most affordable, ranging from $100 to $300. However, high-end models with advanced features can cost upwards of $500.
  • Pressure-Assisted Toilets: These are a bit pricier due to their powerful flush mechanism. Expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $600.
  • Dual-Flush Toilets: With their water-saving feature, these toilets can range from $200 to $450. Designer models can even reach $1000.
  • Wall-Mounted Toilets: These are on the higher end of the spectrum, with prices starting at $300 and can go up to $1000 or more, especially if you’re looking for sleek designs and advanced features.

Future Repair Costs

  • Gravity and Pressure-Assisted Toilets: These generally have fewer moving parts, which means there’s less that can go wrong. However, when they do need repairs, the costs are relatively low, typically ranging from $20 to $50 for common issues.
  • Dual-Flush and Wall-Mounted Toilets: These might have higher repair costs due to their unique mechanisms. A repair can set you back anywhere from $50 to $150, depending on the issue.

Custom Seats & Unusual Flush Mechanisms

  • Custom Seats: While most toilets come with standard seats, you might be tempted to upgrade to a more comfortable or aesthetically pleasing one. Custom seats can range from $30 to $200, depending on the material and features.
  • Unusual Flush Mechanisms: Some toilets come with unique flush mechanisms, like touchless flush or remote-controlled flush. While they add a touch of luxury, they can be pricier to repair or replace, with costs ranging from $50 to $200.

Installation & Maintenance

Installing and maintaining your toilet correctly can make a significant difference in its longevity and performance.

Let’s dive into the importance of proper installation and the nuances of toilet maintenance.

Importance of Proper Installation

A toilet might seem like a straightforward fixture, but its installation is crucial for its optimal performance.

Here’s why:

  • Avoid Leaks: Improper installation can lead to water leaks, which can damage your bathroom floor and increase your water bill.
  • Prevent Wobbling: A correctly installed toilet won’t wobble or move, ensuring comfort and safety.
  • Optimal Flushing Performance: Proper installation ensures that the flushing mechanism works efficiently, reducing the risk of clogs.
  • Longevity: A well-installed toilet can last for decades with minimal issues.

Dealing with Sweating Tanks

Ever noticed water droplets on the outside of your toilet tank?

That’s a sweating or condensation issue.

Here’s how to address it:

  • Insulate the Tank: Some toilets come with insulated tanks, but if yours doesn’t, consider using a tank liner. It helps reduce condensation by keeping the cold water in the tank from making contact with the warm, moist air in your bathroom.
  • Ventilate: Ensure your bathroom is well-ventilated. Using an exhaust fan can help reduce humidity levels.
  • Consider a Mixing Valve: This valve mixes a little bit of warm water with the cold refill water, preventing the tank from getting too cold.

Nonstandard Parts & Their Challenges

While most toilets use standard parts, some models might come with nonstandard components.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Availability: Nonstandard parts might be harder to find in local hardware stores. It’s a good idea to keep a few spares at home.
  • Cost: These parts can be pricier than their standard counterparts.
  • Compatibility: Ensure that the replacement parts you buy are compatible with your toilet model to avoid any installation issues.

Maintenance Tips for a Long-Lasting Toilet 🚽

  • Regular Cleaning: Use mild cleaners to prevent damage to the toilet’s surface and its internal components.
  • Check for Leaks: Periodically inspect the base and tank for any signs of leakage.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Chemical drain cleaners can damage your toilet and its plumbing. Use a plunger or a toilet auger for clogs.
  • Inspect the Flushing Mechanism: Ensure that the flush valve and flapper are working correctly. Replace worn-out parts promptly.
  • Water Efficiency: If you have an older toilet model, consider installing a displacement device in the tank to reduce water consumption per flush.

Additional Features

When it comes to toilets, it’s not just about the basic functions.

The modern-day toilet comes with a plethora of features that can enhance your bathroom experience.

Let’s explore some of these additional features that might just make your next toilet purchase a tad more exciting.

Slow-Close, Removable Seats

Gone are the days of the toilet seat slamming down with a loud bang.

Enter the era of slow-close seats.

  • Pros:
    • Reduces noise: No more startling bangs in the middle of the night.
    • Prevents damage: The slow descent means less wear and tear on the seat and the bowl.
    • Safety: Especially beneficial in households with kids, ensuring tiny fingers don’t get caught.
  • Cons:
    • Might be pricier than traditional seats.

Additionally, some seats are now designed to be easily removable.

  • Pros:
    • Cleaning made easy: Simply pop the seat off, clean, and snap it back on.
    • Replacement: If the seat gets damaged, it’s a breeze to replace.
  • Cons:
    • Ensure it’s securely attached: A seat that’s not properly attached can lead to accidents.

Cushioned Seats

For those who desire a touch of luxury, cushioned seats are the way to go.

  • Pros:
    • Comfort: Provides a soft landing, especially appreciated during colder months.
    • Aesthetics: Often comes in plush designs that can elevate the look of your bathroom.
  • Cons:
    • Durability: Might wear out faster than hard seats.
    • Cleaning: Can be a bit more challenging to keep spotless.

Custom Colors & Designs

If you’re someone who likes their bathroom to make a statement, custom colors and designs might be up your alley.

  • Pros:
    • Personalization: Match your toilet to your bathroom’s color scheme or go bold with a standout design.
    • Aesthetic appeal: A unique toilet can become a conversation starter.
  • Cons:
    • Cost: Custom designs often come with a heftier price tag.
    • Resale value: While you might love a neon green toilet, future buyers of your home might not share the sentiment.

Bidets are gaining traction in modern bathrooms, and for good reason.

They offer a refreshing and hygienic alternative to traditional toilet paper, and with the variety of models available, there’s a bidet for every preference and budget.

Let’s take a look at the top 7 bidet models and brands that are making waves in bathroom showrooms.

1. LuxeBidet Neo 120

This non-electric bidet attachment is known for its simplicity and affordability.

It’s a popular choice for those new to the world of bidets.


  • Easy installation.
  • Self-cleaning nozzle.
  • Adjustable water pressure.


  • Lacks advanced features like warm water or air drying.

2. TOTO Washlet C200

TOTO is a renowned brand in the toilet industry, and their Washlet C200 model is a testament to their commitment to quality.


  • Heated seat and warm water.
  • Deodorizer to keep the bathroom fresh.
  • Multiple wash modes for personalized comfort.


  • On the pricier side.

3. Bio Bidet BB-600

This is a feature-packed bidet seat that doesn’t break the bank.


  • Dual nozzles for posterior and feminine wash.
  • Warm air dry.
  • Energy-saving mode for reduced water consumption.


  • Bulkier design might not fit all toilet models.

4. Brondell Swash 1400

A luxury bidet seat that combines aesthetics with functionality.


  • Stainless steel nozzle for durability.
  • Built-in night light.
  • Wide range of adjustability in water temperature and pressure.


  • Requires an electrical outlet nearby.

5. GenieBidet Seat

A sleek and straightforward bidet seat that’s easy to use.


  • Soft-close seat to prevent slamming.
  • Separate nozzles for front and rear cleansing.
  • Non-electric, so no need for an outlet.


  • Lacks advanced features like heated water.

6. Kohler Puretide

Kohler is a trusted name in bathroom fixtures, and their Puretide bidet seat is a testament to their quality craftsmanship.


  • Manual handle for easy operation.
  • Quiet-close seat.
  • Quick-release hinges for easy cleaning.


  • Non-electric model, so no warm water option.

7. SmartBidet SB-1000

A bidet seat that offers a balance of features and affordability.


  • Multiple wash modes.
  • Warm air dryer.
  • Energy-saving mode.


  • Remote control might have a learning curve for some users.

Bidets are more than just a luxury; they’re a step towards better hygiene and comfort in the bathroom.

Whether you’re looking for basic functionality or a spa-like experience, there’s a bidet out there for you.

And remember, while the initial cost might seem high, the long-term savings on toilet paper and the environmental benefits make it a worthy investment.

Final Verdict!

In the vast realm of toilets, knowledge truly is power.

From understanding the intricacies of trapways to the luxury of bidets, being informed ensures you don’t just buy a toilet, but you invest in an experience.

Remember, it’s not just about the porcelain throne you sit on, but the confidence with which you choose it.

So, the next time you’re in the market for a new toilet or bidet, arm yourself with this guide and flush away any doubts.

Upgrade your bathroom, elevate your experience, and most importantly, make every flush count! 🚽👑


What do I need to consider when buying a toilet?

When buying a toilet, consider its size, flush mechanism, water efficiency, style, and installation requirements.

What you really need to know about toilets?

Toilets are essential sanitary fixtures in homes and public places, and their efficiency, durability, and design can impact water usage and overall bathroom aesthetics.

Which type of toilet is most suitable?

The suitability of a toilet type depends on individual preferences, space constraints, and specific needs. Both one-piece and two-piece toilets have their advantages.

What is the difference between a cheap and expensive toilet?

Cheap toilets might not be as water-efficient or durable as expensive ones. Expensive toilets often come with advanced features, better materials, and longer warranties.

Which toilet is best Indian or Western?

Both Indian and Western toilets have their benefits. Indian toilets can be more hygienic due to the squatting position, while Western toilets offer more comfort. The choice depends on personal preference and cultural habits.

Steven Bosque

Dale Cogburn

Hi, I’m Dale Cogburn! I’m passionate about helping people get the most out of their bidets. I’m an expert on all things related to bidets, from installation and maintenance to product reviews. I’ve been using and researching bidets for over 10 years.

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