One of our friends is looking at new toilets and they are totally lost so they asked for some help on buying the best new toilet. Best is a relative term and all toilets will need repair on about a 5 year interval no matter what brand or type you purchase. For this reason I normally recommend that unless there is a specific need that you always go with the most basic type so that parts and ease of repair is something that you can handle.
Cost really is an amazing thing when you start looking for new toilets. When you visit your local home store or start shopping online you will find ones that are below $100 and then ones that cost many many times that. For me as a contractor I am always considering the speed in which a repair can be done and that includes the availability and price of parts. Normally the higher priced toilets will have parts that must be ordered. Those parts will normally only be available from the manufacture and they will be expensive. A standard basic toilet can be fully rebuilt including tank gaskets, flush valves and even a handle will come in a universal kit for about $20 at most stores. Yes normally even big box retail stores will carry one or two rebuild kits that you can get at 3am when your toilet brakes. But that won’t be the case if you are looking at ultra low flow power assist toilets. You will be stuck without a toilet and nothing you can do about it.
Features You Should Look For In A New Toilet
In my opinion the most important thing about a toilet is how well it flushes. With this in mind no matter which brand or price of toilet you are considering you always want two features.
Fully Glazed Trap and The Largest Diameter Trap.
A fully glazed trap means that during manufacturing when the ceramic of the toilet was glazed with the shiny outside surface the manufacturer took extra care and made sure that the internal pipe or trap of the toilet also is glazed. Think of it this way if you try to slide a brick across a sandpaper floor its not going to move very fast. That is what unglazed ceramic is like it is raw clay. Glazing allows everything to flow better.
Larger trap diameters are also very important. You can normally see the specs when you are comparing toilets and the differences can be an inch or more on some models. The wider the opening of the trap means the easier things will flow through it. You are almost guaranteed to see higher priced bowls with smaller diameter traps that are unglazed and this is just pitiful considering the price you may be paying.
Toilet Bowl Size Elongated Vs Round Bowls
Most of the toilets out there are round front toilets however they do have an optional size elongated bowl found in many models. Personally because I like things simple I choose a round front toilet bowl. It will give more distance between the bowl and the apposing wall, vanity or bath tub that is in front of the toilet and it also means that things like toilet seats are easy to get. Although you can get elongated toilet seats the variety is just much less and you might need to special order one.
The reason you might want to try an elongated toilet is if you are a larger person or have trouble with the current size. This is a good option and it will give you a larger seat that is similar to many commercial sized toilets.
Toilet Tank Size and Flush Volume
Tank size and flush volume is often regulated by your state or county government. The move is to go to smaller amounts of water used in flushing but often this means you double flush or you have many more clogs.
This might be one reason to decide to keep your current toilet and rebuild it.
If you do have options the normal rule is that for every 25% you reduce the volume of water you also increase the likelihood of clogging at 25%.
It is your choice or maybe it is not your choice due to regulations but if you can you should always go with a higher flush volume and tank size.
Not every subject has been covered on selecting the best toilet but for the most part it is recommended that you choose one that is highly available from many sources and that also uses standard generic parts that don’t require special order or a visit from a plumber to install.
Look for glazed traps of the widest diameter to aid in flush flow.
Don’t overspend on special features because toilets are very basic things.. they are a bowl with a seat that is filled with water.. you use it and flush it and hope it doesn’t break at 3am. So save your money and don’t go extremely fancy or special order.
This does not mean you won’t have a huge selection of styles, shapes and even colors to match your bathroom. It just means keep sanity in mind and don’t take out a bank loan to buy what probably isn’t better than something off the shelf.